Stranded, at 70 | Pakistan Today

Stranded, at 70

Same old story?


Not surprising, if you consider our checkered history, that yet another important milestone (70 years) finds Pakistan facing yet another grave crisis. And once again some of the same old players are playing the same old game, yet in a different way. Once again Nawaz Sharif the prime minister has been shown the door, unceremoniously, though this time the PML-N government will stay, from the looks of things, all the way to the next election. But how dangerous is it that the courts that were only recently celebrated by all and sundry as the bastion of our democracy are now stripped of legitimacy on the streets, in front of thousands?

And what does it really mean when the ousted prime minister, his senior courtiers, and all the ruling party loudmouths say they respect both the military and judiciary, yet also blame the “establishment” and the “five judges” of a “conspiracy” to oust Nawaz Sarif and destabalise the country? Also, if most of the newly appointed ministers are not in their ministries – getting to know their new assignments before proceeding with them – but rallying crowds to please the ex-PM all the way to Lahore, has someone factored in how much work will not be done in Islamabad?

Meanwhile, the headlines attend to our real, lingering problems – terrorism, power, water, poverty – only when there are new news-worthy crises. The push and pull of deal-making, tickets, seats, etc, will now dominate the narrative till the election, not the hamstrung economy with a black-hole deficit or the sectarian and terrorist threat that is yet to be overcome. Once again politics has left the people behind. At 70, Pakistan is sadly no closer to finding its identity than other instructive phases in our history, despite judicial revolutions, charters of democracy, complete democratic cycle, etc. And, disturbingly, our leaders are far from realising, much less addressing, the widening cleavage between what was supposed to be and what has come to pass.