Rude Awakening

Jawaid IqbalThink of the devil and the devil is here, says a catchphrase that seems more valid and cogent to the point of rude awakening for a country like ours, whose inhabitants seem to have very little faith in the government and have now gone to the extent of registering their protest by provoking disorder and causing unrest through the most violent means and methods. This time, the devil does not refer to any external forces and outside actors, or a carefully thought-through conspiracy hatched by our arch-rivals from the other side of the fence. Indeed, May 9 can be rightly referred to as a black day in the history of Pakistan when public outcry brazenly surpassed the level of civility and urbanity, and defied all mannerism and social grace by launching mob attacks on the government buildings and by burning of the Lahore Corps Commander’s residence, along with military memorials, and the public and private properties in some parts of the country. More than a metaphorical genie out of the bottle, it were the people of our own country, though very few in numbers, who came to the street and crossed the red line. However, such an instantaneous, yet violent uprising against the regime should be taken as a wakeup call, in place of availing of these unfortunate moments to label the indignant dissenters or their ill-advised leadership as terrorists and traitors.

Put it bluntly, Pakistan, since its inception, has been run as a security state, with the most powerful establishment calling the shots from the word go. Now having passed its more than 75 years, the country has been morphed into a land of perpetual crisis that values political expediency and revels in employing impromptu measures to set the ball rolling one way or the other, without any forward planning or embarking on a long-term vision that could positively reshape the land of an ill-starred fate into a progressive nation-state. At a time when neighbouring nations seem to have surpassed our beloved country in all socio-economic status scales and human development indicators, Pakistan is found nowhere in the comity of nations and is fast becoming a global liability that needs a nonstop financial protection and fiscal security in order to sustain on others’ hard-earned money. Still, there is no end in sight as far as the string of predicaments that have plagued the country are concerned. In the PDM-led coalition government, as things currently stand, the level of political maturity in the face of what can be considered a mother of crisis is at the lowest. On the other hand, the opposition forces, mainly the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), are equally responsible for the current state of affairs, characterized by a tunnelled vision, widespread chaos, political point-scoring and mass unrest to the extent of defying the state apparatus.

At the end of the day, sanity must prevail as no country is made to suffer such a horrible fate by its own citizenry. Despite ongoing political turmoil and economic meltdown, there can be no second opinion about the inviolability of the armed forces, which is a symbol of national integration and stability. At a time when Pakistan needs us most, it is incumbent upon all of us to stand as a unified nation and shun our political differences for the sake of the country, which could be the ultimate loser if such vendetta-based politics is allowed any longer. In the time of unprecedented crisis when even the most revered military institutions have not been spared from both rhetorical and violent attacks, it’s high time for the government, the mainstream political forces, the judiciary, the civil-military bureaucracy and all the state stakeholders and public institutions to stick together, set their political grievances and vested interests aside, and act in unison, before it’s too late.

Syed Jawaid Iqbal
President & Editor in Chief