National Na Ehli

A year and five days, that’s about how long it took for us to go from a joyously democratically elected nation to one fraught with suspicion, unrest and teetering on the brink of a massive implosion of our newly founded freedom.

I speak of the day we held our last elections, almost free and fair depending on whose telescope you see it through, to the day we decided that the public’s mandate does not matter a bit. How did we manage this glorious act?

Well historians will say it started again from the day the Sharif Brothers were declared “Na Ahel” or “Unfit” to be members of any political government in Pakistan. A full year after one of them stood in the elections, was cleared by the election commission and won a heavy mandate of the people of his constituency and their party, an overall overwhelming majority in their home province of Punjab. Not that it matters anymore as the Supremes to be in the “Supreme Court” of Pakistan have considered it fit to reject all their appeals against this verdict on this day.

While at the same time I do understand the extreme importance of the writ of law being paramount in our land. But are the judges who sit on this august panel not aware of what they have set in motion? Obviously their credentials are unchallengeable or their decisions, but aren’t they citizens of this country? Do they not see what has been put into motion? Not to say that the people punished have had any regard for law either in their respective tenures as Chief Ministers and twice Prime Ministers of our country ala Justice Qayyums’ infamous tapes. It does hurt the heart a great deal to see that the same politicians who were elected by the people of this nation are effectively removed from serving their office due to a clause in the 17th amendment which in itself is a joke on all of us. Set into the constitution on the tip of a dictator’s baton whose own rule on this land was littered with mistakes in the latter half.

This is why we sit and suffer in silence because to all of us our own personal egos are more important than the land we live in. How can a nation, filled with so many egos ever emerge on the world stage as anything more worthwhile than a group of petty-minded individuals beating their own collective chests and making a fool out of themselves in front of all and sundry?

To top it all off our leaders have the nerve to tell us this is the much-awaited and much fought for democracy we toiled 8 years for. A democracy where party leaderships are permanent and leaders selected in almost all cases by horse trading, bargaining amongst feudal families and a system of nomination without any general consultation of party members. Where the heads who sit on the committees that matter do not even have the power to question the decisions being made on their own tables!

If this is democracy then we should seriously just hand the baton back to the army and forget all about the lofty ideals parroted to us by aides from the white halls of power. I do not know about you but to me everything about this democracy seems to be a big fat lie. The media which promotes it to chamkofy their own dukaans – when they can tear it down in a mass of ratings at the first mistake, to the leaders which ply it as a trade to make a quick buck at the expense of millions of improvised and deprived citizens, to those that sit afar and push buttons that cause mental and physical explosions day in and day out. The reams of information, of propaganda, of movements being pushed down our throats for the service of a few seem less true today than the tears I saw onscreen in the eyes of a general who we forced into resignation. Perhaps that was more of an omen than we gave it credit for.

Still even now there is time, even now the parliament can repeal the said amendment and mend fences to move forward, taking all with them in tow, corrupt or not, of sound mind or not to help forge some semblance of a future for this great land. The point now is will our leaders see the moment for what it is, or will the public have to show it to them on their own terms?

As published in the 7th(March) Issue of The Green Kaliedescope