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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Marching orders

"Left-Right-Right-Right-Right-Halt!" goes the new marching call in my mind.

True Democracy (as much a figment of an idealistic imagination as The Truth) demands that Benazir Zardari, Nawaz Sharif, Qazi Husain Ahmad, Imran Khan, Fazlur Rahman, and General Musharraf be able to stand for elections. The scenario is frightening enough, even if the elctions are "Free and Fair". Add to that a caretaker government that's been taken care of and one soon realizes that, as a Pakistani, one is in a lose-lose situation.

Thinking of the above should be enough for most people who do not share their skin-thickness measurements with hippopotami to lose sleep over. But nothing, really nothing, ever seems to interrupt our stupor. It's alsmost as if we'd swallowed a whole bottle of Valium.

Just this morning I read the following on Dawn's Page #2 (though it was not deemed worthy of space on its Internet Edition, it can be seen in the ePaper version) :
ISLAMABAD, Nov 21: The federal government on Tuesday imposed a ban on open debate on media curbs, suspension of judges and emergency in all colleges and universities in the country.
Unbelievable! When places of learning cease to be - by law (a law promulgated by an 'independent' caretaker government, to be sure) - places of open inquiry and debate, things have sunk to the lowest of depths. Zia had turned our already-weak learning centres into platforms of indoctrination, discrimination, and horror. It had taken several years to see Reason begin, albeit with caution, to knock at those doors again. And now this!

I can imagine His Master's Voice advising, as it always does - primarily because we never tire of asking it for advice (See Manto quote below) - "I've gotten away in this country with a lot more - despite its tradition of perceived democracy. Surely you can do better!" ... And then the chorus of the Chosen Few chime in and chant Jalib's masterpiece: "Advisor" (quoted on an earlier post on my blog).

Aaargh. Where's that Valium?
Manto (Extract from Letter #5 to Uncle Sam)

One day my school-going niece requested me to draw the world map for her. I asked her to wait for a few days and let me inquire from my Uncle Sam which of the countries will disappear from the world map with the use of atomic weapons and which ones will survive. This will make my task of drawing the map easier.

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Blogger Sidhusaaheb said...

Worry not so much, Sire!

We, in the neighbouring country, are not in too much of a win-win situation either.

I attained voting rights at the age of 18 and till now, when I am 32, have not been able to find any candidate worthy of being voted for, in any parliamentary or state government election, from the constituencies that I have been a part of.

23 November, 2007 02:50

Anonymous Pakistan Weblog said...

Pakistani politics is a mish mash thing. The primary reason of this including the imposing of emergency in the country is our politicians. Imagine for a moment that this lot of present politicians has to seek votes from the people in the UK, USA or any other developed country. What people will say and think about them. When Pakistani voters will start evaluating them same way on the basis of reality then you can hope for some improvement. Till that time you can only pray and support the person who has a more credible record. If you still think and believe Benazir or Nawaz Sharif can take the country to some higher level of progress. Then only I can say God bless you.

25 November, 2007 12:42

Blogger Zakintosh said...

@pw: Our hands are tied. We can only vote under the guide provided by our Election Commission.

25 November, 2007 13:47

Anonymous BeanZ said...

So, we should not fret or be outraged because assholes abound in neighboring countries?

And by criticizing a dictator, it automatically follows that she who speaks out against tyranny is pro Benazir or Nawaz?

If not our spirits, at least naivete is alive and well!

The army has sleazily managed to infiltrate every sphere of Pakistani life and the military establishment will go to any lengths to maintain its stranglehold. It consistently undermines democracy by propping up liars and cheats like Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif, and creates an environment of fear and terror by beating the crap out of anyone who dares to speak out or stand up.

As per plan, "educated liberals", who have been successfully brainwashed, tell us that the emergency was imposed for the greater good of Pakistan, that the media had gotten out of hand and needed to be curbed, that the lawyers were way too rebellious, and who else is there anyway, to run the country other than the man with the credible record. It all works like a charm.

It's astounding how people find ways to legitimize and justify, and worse still, accept crimes against humanity.

25 November, 2007 23:00

Blogger Zakintosh said...

Fawad Zakariya's The Myth of Musharraf's "Sincerity" offers an excellent analysis.

26 November, 2007 07:00

Blogger Sidhusaaheb said...

Well, those who wish to fret or be outraged may please do so to their heart's content...

What I meant to convey was that 'democracy' is not a magic wand...Good governance is what is required...

As to how that may be ensured, I really have no idea...

In societies like India and Pakistan, where honesty is no longer thought of as the best policy and where honest people are actually looked down upon in this day and age, I really can't see where honest and sincere leaders are going to come from...

Waise...Coming to think of it, no longer does honesty seem to be thought of as the best policy in most parts of the world...How else does one explain the 'coalition against terror'...

Just thinking out aloud...

27 November, 2007 01:28

Blogger Zakintosh said...

Honesty isn't really Honesty if it is the end-product of a Policy, no?

27 November, 2007 02:12

Anonymous Anonymous said...


yaar apna link tou theek say daal

27 November, 2007 02:18

Anonymous the olive ream said...

Time to wake up! Sod procrastination and apathy for once. One must do something; blog, speak up, discuss, chat, debate, exchange ideas and information or protest...anything to fight against the insanity of these draconian, illegal laws and regulations that are being sold under the guise of War On Terror and 'democracy and freedom'.

No better time to stick it to the MAN and shout "Sell crazy somewhere else, we are all stocked up here!"

27 November, 2007 13:01

Blogger Sidhusaaheb said...

Er...I meant that it's no longer 'cool' to be honest in our societies...

27 November, 2007 15:29

Anonymous rahmat masih said...

@sidhusaaheb: Say what you mean and mean what you say is what I say

28 November, 2007 18:00

Blogger Sidhusaaheb said...

@Rahmat: That's what I do. The last comment was meant to be an add-on, an explanation, and by no means a retraction of anything that I had written earlier.


30 December, 2007 15:55


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