NOTES FROM A SOCIAL SCIENTIST

By Dr. Haider Mehdi

Jo Qaid Ka Ghaddar Hai Moot Ka Haq-dar Hai

(Whosoever disobeys and betrays the Leader deserves a violent death.)

~A party slogan scribbled on street walls in Karachi

Is Mulk Ka Hukmran Shuroo Sa Angrez Ka Sath Thai Aur Ab Bi Angrez Ka Sath Hai

(Since Independence, the traditional ruling elite of this country were with the white man and they are still in cahoots with the white man.)

                        ~Shaik Rasheed Ahmed on The Eleventh Hour TV show

In today’s Pakistan, two vital questions in the post-tramatic Ramazan and Eid of August 2011 need to be asked and understood by each and every citizen in this country. 

One: Is the former Interior Minister of Sindh Province, a former Senior Vice President of the ruling Pakistan’s People’s Party, a former member of an elected legislative assembly and a self-confessed life-long friend of Asif Ali Zardari, a conscientious objector?  Or is Dr. Zulfiqar Mirza  a scandalous actor in the political theatrics and meticulously scripted power manipulation drama authored by the President of Pakistan in Islamabad?

Two: Should or should not every Pakistani turn now into a conscientious objector to finally rid the country of what Dr. Mirza calls “the wretched politics” and Shaik Rasheed terms the curse of White Man’s patronage of the corrupt traditional political culture and ruling elite of this country. 

The former Senior Vice President of the PPP, in his recent tsunami-like political explosion that has rocked every nook and cranny of the country, claims that he has made the most important decision of his life: A final farewell to the wretched politics of Pakistan and a commitment that he will dedicate the rest of his life to fighting the “injustice” meted out to the people of Karachi and Sindh in particular and to the rest of the country in general.

Well said. Noble thoughts. Appreciable sentiments.  Courageous undertaking.  Historical and unprecedented political stand.  Powerful statement of purpose.  Saintly act…and so on and so forth. 

But the formidable but important issue here is to sort fact from fiction in the long list of serious and alarming allegations leveled by an important member of the incumbent ruling party against specific stalwarts of his own party as well as against a powerful, highly organized and politicalized force in Karachi and its top leadership.  Incidentally, that “political force” has been an important political ally and partner with the PPP in the governance of the country, although recently going astray and posing diabolic challenges to the political and economic interests of Zardari’s regime and its present associates. 

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An upright question here is: Was the political explosion in Karachi a planned assault against opponents to and a political force against PPP’s might in Karachi? Or is this truly a personal decision of a “conscientious objector” to strike at the heart of the political darkness and moral dilemmas that have plagued this nation’s politics endlessly for decades and now at its peak during the 3-year PPP regime of Zardari-Gilani’s so-called democratic dispensation?

In a Self-Awareness, Behavior Modification and Communicative Articulation course that I have taught for years, I have always advised students to “go for the simplest solution when faced with a problem.”  Let us adapt the same conflict management strategy here: To make the entire Ramazan Karachi political episode simplistic and understandable, we might assume that all of Dr. Mirza’s allegations are untrue, a figment of his imagination. Let us not ask Dr. Mirza any more questions.  Let us stop listening to him.  Forget him.

But by doing that, by throwing Dr. Mirza’a accusations in the dustbin of history, would it resolve Pakistan’s current problematics?  Irrespective of the allegations made in press conferences in Karachi by Dr. Mirza, haven’t brutally grotesque killings taken place in Karachi?  Hasn’t the Zardari-Gilani regime failed to protect and provide safety for the lives and property of the people of Pakistan?  Isn’t “bhatta” (mafia tax) a reality? Hasn’t an organized genocide of Balochi dissidents and innocent civilians been carried out 

under the watch of this government?  Hasn’t this regime failed in maintaining law and order in the country?  Hasn’t the PPP political administration been unsuccessful in stopping gang wars, ethnic strife, turf wars, and mafia control? Hasn’t it, in fact, contributed to the destruction of the economic-political-financial structure of Karachi and the rest of the country?  Haven’t innocent citizens died in drone attacks? Haven’t hundreds and thousands of children been orphaned, women widowed, youthful sons slaughtered, old and young made homeless? Hasn’t poverty reached unprecedented levels while this nation’s dignity and self-respect have suffered?  Haven’t we been made into a mockery amongst the international community of nations? Hasn’t our foreign policy during the last 3 years of PPP democratic rule been a failure?  Hasn’t this so-called democratic outfit been a direct result of US-Britain political patronage? Isn’t this regime and its leadership the product of an illegitimate, unethical, immorally-imposed NRO by foreign powers on this nation? 

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Let us be candid and bold in openly saying that it is not possible for a democracy or its leadership to be considered gifts to be handed over on a piece of paper from one person to another.  Democracy has no hereditary ownership.  I say the PPP leadership plan has reached its endgame: it has lost all of its legitimate mandate and moral claim to stay in power.  It must resign now – but, as we know, it won’t.

So what should be done at this critical moment of our political abyss?  What ought to be the next step in national political discourse, at this moment, when political wretchedness, deceit and utter incompetence of the powers-that-be stand openly exposed? 

In the context of a democratic political management strategy, I would like to advise Mian Nawaz Sharif, as leader of the main opposition party, to play the legitimate role of the opposition and drive over to the PTI office and offer his personal and PML-N’s unconditional support to Imran Khan to mobilize people’s street power and force the incumbent PPP regime to voluntarily resign.  Mian Nawaz Sharif, in his final act of political benevolence and statesmanship, should also announce his retirement from politics in the future as well as commit to organizing a grand democratic alliance of all parties to unseat the Zardari-Gilani regime. Enough is enough.  It would be instructive for Mian Nawaz Sharif to understand that history is made up of bold, courageous and daring acts of political wisdom than simply a desire to stick to power.  Mian Nawaz Sharif should start thinking of serving the nation in another way, which he undoubtedly can – History will then remember him as a visionary leader who spearheaded a people’s political movement to restore a true democratic dispensation in Pakistan and succeeded in doing so.  It is a lot more heroic to make history then to be set aside into oblivion by the tides of time!!

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Imran Khan might not be the mythical, mystical, saint-“qalandary” leader that the Pakistani people are waiting for as a celestial intervention by God’s heaven – and surely there won’t be one, anyway – but Imran Khan offers a last hope to the people of this nation at this moment of our ultimate helplessness and distress at the hands of a corrupt, inefficient, incompetent and absolutely politically perverted leadership that Dr. Zulfiqar Mirza likes to call the “wretched politics of Pakistan.”  Imran Khan has demonstrated full personal integrity and credibility; he is a brilliant student of politics and the understanding of political history and dynamics; he is dedicated and honest, relentlessly devoted to people’s welfare and full of transformational ideas for political change.  A 68% favorable public rating makes Imran Khan the leading contender in the country, if not the uncontested absolute leader in possible forthcoming general elections.  And that’s where the nation needs to capitalize on at this moment – and that’s where all national political forces need to merge in order to transform the political culture and political destiny of this nation. 

 Pakistan is now ripe for a snap election.  We need an interim government to hold free and fair elections in the country under an independent Election Commission. Period. There is no other option for our dignified survival and existence as a nation. 

 As Shaik Rasheed Ahmed will phrase it, spill the beans now or submit to the slavery of Angrez forever. Rightly said, Shaik Sahib.

 We all need to turn into conscientious objectors, don’t we?

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