Illegal custodians of a false democracy | Pakistan Today

Illegal custodians of a false democracy

On the run and where to go, what to do?



My friends and relatives were bemused that I was returning home from London with such turmoil in the offing. They will never understand nor accept that I am a creature of the volcano. When a volcano is about to erupt what business does its creature have being anywhere except in its crater? I love to see history in the making and wouldn’t have been anywhere else for anything in the world.

Only God is king, not this ruler or that. None should ever forget that, be he prince or pauper.

Historical forces are on moving fast in Pakistan, but only the few beneficiaries here and abroad and of the current system and government are clinging on to what passes for ‘democracy’ in this sad country. An example of not understanding history-in-the-making is the US strategic think-tank Stratfor saying: “Pakistan’s civilian forces are undermining democracy.” What democracy? Do rigged elections mean democracy? Actually, they are trying to bring in real democracy for the first time. But I forget: in the Third World, the western electoral process that passes for democracy is the hegemon’s weapon that throws up poor governments that can be manipulated in its interests. A Pakistani wiseacre wrote that the custodians of democracy are destroying democracy, or words to that effect. He should have added, “once again”. The truth is that “the illegal custodians of a false democracy are destroying the sham and thank God for it”. Hopefully it will lead to a new dawn and not something even worse than what we have. You never know.

As always, the ball seems to be moving towards the army’s court. When the crunch comes, it will perforce have to become the final arbiter, the question being whether it will fall behind Nawaz Sharif on one side or Imran Khan and Tahir ul Qadri on the other. Apparently the army has said that it will remain neutral. That is bad news for Mr Sharif, for he would have expected this vital institution of the government to be on the government’s side. He is mistaken. The army is on Pakistan’s side and if a particular government is damaging Pakistan then it can hardly be expected to side with it for in so doing it would be violating the very purpose of its existence, which is to protect Pakistan. But one thing it mustn’t do, which is take over directly as it has done four times before and come a cropper. If it must, it should only act as enabler and midwife. To say that it shouldn’t even do that would be the height of idealism and theorising in the zone of irrelevance.

As always, the ball seems to be moving towards the army’s court. When the crunch comes, it will perforce have to become the final arbiter, the question being whether it will fall behind Nawaz Sharif on one side or Imran Khan and Tahir ul Qadri on the other.

Right now it seems that only the few beneficiaries of the government are battling with the many opponents of the system that throws up such governments as we have always had after elections under an alien system that we have flawed beyond recognition. If one takes these people seriously one is in danger of getting distracted from an understanding of what is happening. What is happening is the movement of historical forces that cannot be stopped or diverted. As the poet Faiz said: “Rivers that have danced up and broken their banks cannot be stopped by sticks” and the moment has come “when crowns are flung high and thrones toppled”.

Those who still cling to our hypocritical and contradictory constitution, to this political system and what they think is ‘democracy’, have fallen by the wayside as historical forces have crunched on like a juggernaut. They are in danger of being left behind by history, of being on its wrong side. Someone inconsequential once asked me (and my dead father, if you please) why we father and son are always on the wrong side of history? This was in relation to my support of President Musharraf’s government against the then chief justice. I could see that if he and the same old political faces return Pakistan would be put on the destructive track. As it transpired, I have been proved right, not that it matters in the larger scheme of things.

Once when two huge weather systems met over the Atlantic, they created the Perfect Storm. In Pakistan we also have a Perfect Storm coming, one called Hurricane Imran, the other Typhoon Qadri. They are but the instruments of historical forces, catalysts, triggers, agents of change. Don’t focus on people; focus on historical forces, on history in the making. Together Hurricane Imran and Typhoon Qadri threaten to swallow up the small dust storm called Nawaz Sharif and hopefully the system too. What this Perfect Storm does remains to be seen, for this article is being written on Friday afternoon and the two storms have still not reached Islamabad. But one thing is obvious: Nawaz Sharif is in big trouble. I’m not saying yet that he is done, but out of abundant caution he should be packing his bags and planning where he will go and what he will do. The dung will hit the fan later today or on Saturday, so by the time you read this some of it may already be dated. Actually, the dung has already hit the fan along the way in Gujranwala where stone throwing, gun-firing goons of Nawaz Sharif, his brother Shahbaz and mindless minions attacked Imran’s cavalcade. Police were caught on camera standing by and watching and patting their hoodlums on the back, just as they patted the hood Gullu Butt after the massacre of Qadri’s innocent men and women in Lahore in June. This time the head hood was one ‘Qaumi Butt’ – ‘National Butt’ if you please. What’s with these Butts anyway, except that they are Kashmiris like Nawaz Sharif? Why not a ‘Choora’, another Kashmiri name that also means ‘dagger’ in Urdu? Better Gullu who wielded a baton than a Choora who could have taken his surname seriously and wielded a dagger. Far more lethal. The many civilised Butts of the world should be in umbrage for their good name being spoilt. Worse could come. The violence may be even more horrific because rumour has it that once the storms get to Islamabad, Nawaz Sharif’s goons will carry Qadri’s party flags pretending to be his workers, go to Imran’s rally and attack, and vice versa, Nawaz’s goons wielding Imran’s party flags would attack Qadri’s rally to start a fight between them. This is how challenged minds think. Remember a flag is attached to a heavy baton and it’s a good way to hide a weapon. In the unfortunate event that this were to happen, Nawaz Sharif’s government will hurtle faster towards its demise than it already is. And the army will hurtle faster towards the hotspot. Not good.

This Perfect Storm could have been avoided if Nawaz Sharif had displayed some wisdom. Instead, his has been a litany of errors. I am loath calling it “a comedy of errors” because what he has done and is doing is not funny.

This Perfect Storm could have been avoided if Nawaz Sharif had displayed some wisdom. Instead, his has been a litany of errors. I am loath calling it “a comedy of errors” because what he has done and is doing is not funny. Far from it. It’s downright tragic and crassly stupid.

Storms always leave some destruction in their wake. But we don’t know destructions extent yet and what will emerge in its wake – a bright new dawn that everyone wants or a political winter. Whoever coined the phrase “pregnant with possibilities” had a good turn of phrase. It applies beautifully this moment’s Pakistan – our situation is pregnant with possibilities.

For Nawaz Sharif to get out of this in one piece, leave himself a political future and save the country, he should resign immediately and call snap elections, ask the president to dissolve the national assembly and also ask him to tell the provincial governors to dissolve all provincial assemblies, form caretaker governments comprising men and women of general acceptability, ask them to iron out the wrinkles in the electoral system and then hold elections. Having painted himself in such a difficult corner, there is no other sensible option left for him as far as I can see. He has only himself to blame for the situation he finds himself in today. But ironing out wrinkles is easier said than done. Our national population census is 15 years old, five years delayed. How can we hold credible elections when we don’t even know how many people we are, where we are and how old we are? The census should also correct the imbalance between our rural and urban populations to break the feudal hold. Overseas Pakistanis should be given the franchise. Census will require the re-demarcation of electoral constituencies and making new electoral rolls, getting in biometric ink and asking the army to oversee their fairness because it is the only credible institution to undertake such an onerous task. That’s a tall order and will take time, but nothing short of this will do.

Those who ask what moral authority the caretaker governments would have should know that moral authority comes not from Supreme Courts but from the people who are God’s vicegerents on earth, God who is sovereign over the omniverse. Those who say that Nawaz Sharif has so many million votes behind him (we don’t know exactly how many because the elections were so rigged) and Hurricane Imran and Typhoon Qadri have only one million marchers between them at most are simply bleating nonsense. Every one of the marchers has at least 10 empathisers behind him or her. That makes it 100 million, more than our registered voters, for not everyone registers. Take any figure you will, it will be more than Nawaz Sharif’s claimed votes. So can your imbecility. We have had enough of your nonsense. Nawaz Sharif and his followers are completely outnumbered. Imagine a million people coming into a city of 1.2 million. Only Saudi Arabia that arranges the annual Haj could manage it. We are in for an interesting next few days. God help us. Whatever happens and emerges should, please God, be good for Pakistan.

Humayun Gauhar

Humayun Gauhar is a veteran columnist in Pakistan and editor of Blue Chip magazine.


  1. Malveros said:

    The author is living in Cuckoo land, a pithoo of Musharraf Tola. People of Punjab have given the mandate to NS. Nobody can dare to take away the mandate. Nautankee Khan can stay on the other side of Attock. He is not welcome in Punjab anymore. The biggest joker of Democracy aka Nautankee Khan lies exposed and publicly shamed by the flop Azaadi March. The participation was less than even 40 thousand people which were mostly children, young and emotional men besides women folk not to mention the afghani daily wagers brought from KPK by the corrupt lota Pervaiz Khattak. RIP Nautankee Khan.

    • Mukhtar said:

      What a knuckle head has vometed as comment to Hamayun's fair article. If NS has not rigged the election then she should have agreed to audit 4 spots but his intransience has brought the country and its Economy to this disaster. It proves his lack of ability to calculate the extent of damage this political unrest will bring to Pakistan. Hamayun is not a Pithu of any one as he lives in London and has no stake in this mayhem. One thing that is permanently attached to PAKISTANI people is the notion that a wealthy person has the right to govern the country, whether his upper story is EMPTY. I always thought NS is an honest and simple gentle man but he has proved himself a dishonest opportunist by rigging the polls. Further to his bolt adventure of rigging, one can see his coterie of RELATIVES showing his sincerity to help common man. It is flipping a coin, if head I win and tail you loose. Quoting HAFIZ: "CHE DALAIR DUZd AST KE DAR KAFF CHIRAQ DARADD" ( meaning a thief is so bold that he is stealing have lamp in his hands) I sypathized with him when he was oppled but now I am convinced tha he deserved gullotine . KHAS KUM JAHAN PAK. PAKISTAN DOES NOT NEED SUCH IDIOT LEADERS.

    • akhtar said:

      This malveros or whoever is as mindless as his master sharif brithers are,this government is the worst ever in the history of pakistan Nawaz and cronies must be removed from power and hanged at minar e pakistan

    • Yaser said:

      This reply more than aptly describes the psyche of every PML N die-hard. The "days of ignorance" have returned.

  2. Azher said:

    HG best article so far. Clock is ticking for the iron mongers. Their monarchy is over!

  3. Waseem said:

    Wishful thinking at the authors part aside his maths do not add up when he say:

    //Every one of the marchers has at least 10 empathisers behind him or her. That makes it 100 million, more than our registered voters, for not everyone registers.//

    Is he implying there are 10 million marchers now!!!

  4. Abdul Qudus said:

    This drama has left every one confused. Both Khan & Qadri can not dislodge the current government. Military is reluctant to participate. Few days ago I commented, that nothing will come out of it. Pakistan is not ready for any change, hence do not expect any change. I am not a political pundit, just an average person who left Pakistan 38 years ago, because I had lost all the hopes.

  5. Abdul Qudus said:

    I think neither the column writer, nor Qadri, or Khan know what one million means. If you start counting one million, it will take you nonstop 10 days and nights. Here in the USA each time this term was used by some politicians, the number of participants did not reach even a fraction of that; exaggeration seems to be the favorite means of expression for the people who are delusional. All this has done, created a big nonsense. Revolutions are not brought by theatrical actions.

  6. ishrat salim said:

    Just in…national govt with consensus with limited agenda & limited time-frame is being worked out….so guys wait !

  7. Azher said:

    Iron mongers from Lahore. Your time is over. Goldsmiths have come to replace u. Lol

  8. Sumaira said:

    This nation have become comfortably numb we hav resigned to the fact that we don't have the same rights as those few God forbid lord and mighty.And they keep talking about the number game if they seal the whole city block every entry exit thn number won't increase and anyways at least the writer hav the courage to go for what he believes in rather thn the drawing room politicians acting as keyboard warriors .I respect the passion and courage of these ppl who are out today in search of there identity they hav a right to ask for the taxes they pay and with which the govt build there castles abroad.May God keep them safe. May God save these few ppl marching to exercise there basic rights they at least hav the courage to go for what they believe in

  9. Pmahmud said:

    I have never seen any writing of author other than praise of dictatorship. His world starts ans right there.

    • Musharraf said:

      This is because this man Humayun Gauhar was the ghost writer of the Dictator Musharraf.

      What else do you expect from a Lifafa?

  10. Ibrahim Janjuarajput said:

    In democratic societies one cannot expect Quick decisions. Ppolitical process is Always take time but a dictator can make Quick decisions. In fact all blåmes should go to the Qadri and Imran. Qadri has never accepted the democratic system in Pakistan and he Always encourage his follower to offer their lives at any cost and Imran is denying all the institions of Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Both of the want the to destroy the political system and bring back the old way of bedding for the Military to take over and that shall be the most unfortunate for the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

  11. Mukhtar said:

    The self-styled friend of the Pakistani AWAM drew himself to his guillotine even erecting a safety valve of 15,000 his personal security guards in the name of FIA. True "Man proposes and God disposes" . Somthing really is wrong with Pakistani people's behaviour. When on the ground they try to preach equality and on social elevation they assume dictatorial powers- almost all forget the common man and are intoxicated in vainglory. What is it? Can't they stay on ground floor and serve the people they promised to serve? I've seen BHUTTO with his downside and all of us witnessed his assuming KINGSHIP and taking his sycophants on site-seeing and holy places on Public money. Any one who questioned him was severely dealt with. And the " KADA KADD KADD GIA' leaving a bunch of rowdies to mourn his premature drive. And rest is HISTORY. COMING to NAWAZ SHARIF, his love for Pakistan and his country men- 84 highly important positions were ostensibly alloted to Relatives. THIS IS NOT NEPOTISM. Who Cares because he won (stole) the Mandate and ….. This is ridiculous. No further comments.

  12. aryanaslam said:

    I endorse the views of Mukhtar. You borrow money on harsh terms and throw that money for distributing laptops free tandoor.roties, danish school and metro etc etc. Look they have destroyed the whole of Islamabad infrastructure in the name of metro. why they have been supporting SEthi? every oneknows. You know who is Attorney General for Pakistan? he is partner of law firm CLM , in which Hamid Khan is senior partner. The Ferearation counsel defending petition on Aticle 245 in Islamabad, is the employ of CLM. The govt is being run by Kahsmiris a thin minority in country and close to NS. NS must go for the sake of Pakistan and its people. Why dont they bring their assets into Pakistan. They rule in Pkaistan and invest outside Pakistan.

  13. Musharraf said:

    The stubborn goof Imran Khan is suffering from a disease called “Nawazophobia”. He should be immediately admitted to some mental hospital for cure!
    Imran Khan made a cancer hospital in the memory of his mother and now his sons & daughter will make a mental hospital in his memory.

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