I am often asked this question by my friends in the most erstwhile manner, why do you bother to write about politics man? Well the reason is simple, first it keeps me sane and helps me define my own strategy (yes everyone here needs one just to get through the week) and second and most important, is my belief in increasing awareness becoming an agent for change. Much more of an agent than the recently pompously hyped, good for nothing million man march upon Islamabad which may have resulted in the hotel and food industry along its way to gain a boost in the arm but not much else.
So it was deemed by all and sundry who seem to be the only ones who care for this country to set about from places such as Karachi and Lahore and Thatta and Hyderabad and Jhung and Rawalpindi, to gather together in the name of democracy. With the slogan “we are going to save the country, join us now” A noble idea indeed in the onset, but the result was a mass melee of fiery speeches and promises heard so many times by so many people in our countries history that all impact is lost.
I have to admit when the procession of by my estimates around 160,000 to 175,000 people (this is in itself being no small number) got to Islamabad i could not help but get a little carried away in excitement. Could they do it? I wondered as i sat glued to Geo tv last night watching as more and more people arrived in waves to join the mass throng close to parliament house in Islamabad.
When Nawaz Sharif took the stage at around 3am and the area resonated with sounds of almost 200,000 people chanting “GO MUSHARRAF GO” a chill crept down my back. It really seemed like something was going to happen. At one side the ominous threat of even a small explosion in this sea of humanity poked at my nervousness. While at the other end a small part of my hope flickered, even set alight for a minute or two by the seemingly positive outcome of this huge march of humanity. After all someone had to listen right? something had to give.
I went to sleep all excited at the prospect of waking up to see the judges having been restored and the country swept away in the elation of whatever good will come of that. Although i still fail to see how restoring one mans job will save us all from rampant inflation, loss of business and over all bad economic indicators for the foreseeable future. Still i went to sleep with hope damn it!
I woke up to find out that for the lack of facilities the original plan of having a sit in in front of the “Parliament House” for 48 hrs till the judiciary was restored was cancelled by dissolving the march. So by midday the entire throng had gone home!! With a few listless people looking around bewildered at the anticlimax of the year.
Now i wonder while those poor 100’s of thousands of souls danced and cheered for democracy and the rule of law in the wee hours of the morning, what went on behind closed doors between the leaders organizing this march and our current government. What sort of insane hope dashing spirit crushing drama was this?? Where the entire exodus happening but the final sit in did not?? Who will answer the call for freedom next time as the people now returning home from parts of civil society are becoming the butt of jokes such as “how was the short march?” All of this at the expense of millions of Rupees and the countless hours wasted while traveling by road to Islamabad by the thousands of people, bankers, lawyers, students all to no avail. Funny how we gather so many for nothing while when a neighborhood suffers from pot holes or some other civic breakdown not even 5 people gather to protest their democratic rights.