The ides of March | Pakistan Today

The ides of March

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The hustle bustle over the weekend, finally, culminated as results of the senate elections surfaced. Saturday night turned into a night of celebration for some and a state of fury for others. News channels remained clamored with talk of foul play. Horse trading, most notably, was the cry vented out by many. Especially those who witnessed their political stakes being defeated by the might of the rich.

Despite all previous, despicable, performances in different by-polls all around the country, the saieen from Sindh struck again. This time with another one of his clever game plans and tactical maneuvering. PPP sailed rather comfortably through the senate polls in Sindh. With luck being on Farogh Naseem’s side at the very last minute he was able to secure his seat. Nevertheless, the rest of the MQM people exhibited where their actual loyalties lie. Not with an individual. But with a set of green and blue colored paper, sporting the Quaid’s picture. There is no denying the fact that money was involved. It always has been running right through the core of the senate polls and there is little democracy could do to avoid its influence. After all, an individual’s free will and desire is supposed to be the beauty of democracy.

The highest bidder in town called the shots even in provinces where the bidder didn’t have any significant presence. Quite astonishingly, for some, PPP procured two seats in KPK. Another feather in the PTI’s failing political hat. Zardari sahib snuck a senate seat from right under their noses and there wasn’t anything the revolutionaries could do about it. But, then again, experience in the game does matter and as PTI is reminded time and again this is no cricket match.

Expect the unexpected as the wise men say. Pakistan is an interesting country. Full of surprises, our nation has never failed to enthrall the spectators. A party not condoned by the vast majority is set to elect its own chairman in the Senate and the only thing we can do is cry out and complain. The art of persuasion has once again worked for Mr Zardari. Though regretfully, his political gimmicks have to be acknowledged. Saving the day in a time where their mere existence is deplored is quite a feat. Frank Underwood maybe a political genius for many, but our leaders leave him far behind. The house of cards here is much more sensational.

Quite similarly, it is quite enchanting to see where a few months ago the PML-N occupied the chief minister house and the corridors of power in Balochistan, the same remained wiped out from the local Senate polls. The lions were not able to secure a single seat in the largest province of the country when not too long ago they ruled it. Saieen made sure to remain true to his words; “Hum jab chahien apki hakumat gira sakte hein”

In another upset, PTI managed to save themselves by getting Chaudhary Sarwar elected. Lodhran may be forgiven in light of this development. With presence of a thunderous majority, PTI did fit in the vacuum created by an uncertain future. Predominantly, it is being termed as a victory for the N leaguers, however I tend to disagree. Punjab was already theirs undeniably but a win in the rest of the provinces would have been the actual victory. Had they been successful in securing the chairmanship, comfortably, there would have been no denying it. Punjab alone isn’t going to save them this time though.

On the other hand, Imran Khan remained out of the picture for most of the day. Maybe he did not foresee the umpire’s finger being raised in his favour, probably why he didn’t consider it worth his time to step down from his Bani Gala sanctuary and be part of a democratic process by casting his vote. If he truly believes in leading by example then the very least he could have done is to join his comrades in using the power of their thumb, regardless of the outcome. Otherwise critics wouldn’t be wrong to suggest that maybe he actually considers himself above the parliament. Especially following his recent rant against the parliament in its present form. Though that had been misinterpreted.

Amidst horse-trading and, allegedly, foul play Pakistan did take another step towards democracy. People might disagree but senate polls being conducted on time is an achievement for democracy in the country. The reservations and apprehensions that many of us hold are systematic problems which need to be addressed. However, in the larger context we continue to stumble and stagger towards stabilising ourselves in a democratic setting. At least the senate polls were held as the constitution requires them to be. Again, foul play is a part of the failing system which, optimistically, will be resolved sooner or later.

The political maneuvering by the likes of Mr Zardari are factors present throughout the world. Every other analyst sits on television and compares us to America. First, kindly bother to examine the American politics closely. It is but again a brawl between might and the mightier. How else do our experts explain Donald Trump? Had it not been for the exponential amounts of money spent by him, I find it hard to reason that he would still have been elected the president of the most powerful country in the world. A single fundraiser in the US generates millions of dollars for the aspiring candidates who in turn use the proceeds to expedite their respective campaigns. In fact money dominates every single aspect of our daily lives. After all we are part of a capitalist system.

Nevertheless, the 3rd of March cast another evil shadow on this dirty game called politics. In order to do away with such condemnable practices, the people of Pakistan need to choose the people they send to the halls of power much more wisely. Only when educated people occupy these benches will we see a changed paradigm. Till then:

Aik Zardari phir se sab pe bhaari