It’s the System, Stupid

Democracy is a ToolBy Humayun Gauhar

Imran Khan is holding a one-day rally in Islamabad today to protest against blatant rigging in four constituencies where he wants re-elections. Perhaps his real intent is to show that the entire electoral exercise was deeply flawed and illegitimate, which it blatantly was. But that is no longer the issue. The issue is that this system must go.

Tahir ul Qadir on the other hand is also holding a one-day rally today. His intent is to overthrow the political system and craft a truly democratic constitution. He is right. The continuous protest movement will start around July, says Qadri.

Qadri sees the big picture, Imran doesn’t. Imran doesn’t even want mid-term elections, just re-elections in a few constituencies. “See the big picture, Imran. Leave your alpha male ego aside and join hands with Qadri. Take our people to revolution that they so badly want. Remember what I told you a long time ago? ‘You cannot change the system from the inside. It will change you instead without your even realizing it’.”

What I am about to say may be yet another pipedream but it is worth trying, for then there will be no regrets and we can stand confidently before the Almighty on the Day. People should do what they believe is right and let the devil take the hindmost. A Muslim never loses hope. Don’t expect success in your lifetime. Become a link in the chain of revolution. One day your children and children’s children will see the dawn. Allama Iqbal wasn’t there to see Pakistan’s birth. But without him it may never have come to pass.

The world is always changed by dreamers and idealists, not by pragmatic realists who worship the satanic status quo or are afraid of rocking the boat. Dreams are the stuff revolutions are made of, mindless pragmatism born of fear of the unknown is the stuff decadence is made of. All God’s Messengers were initially called unrealistic dreamers. When they succeeded they were called great revolutionaries who changed the world. Their enemies are remembered only because they were their enemies. Their followers deformed their Messages but others became reformers and returned to the original ideal. This is so with secular revolutions too. See how Deng Xiao Ping reformed Mao Zedong’s ideology and gave it new life, taking China so high so quickly that the greatest number of people came out of hunger and poverty in the shortest time ever. It was a revolution as great as the Great October Revolution, but without Mao’s revolution Deng’s revolution would never have happened. Each is a link in an ongoing process of change and progress – The Permanent Revolution. The time for Pakistan’s Revolution of  2014 is nigh, to return us to the ideals of our founders.

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When the irresistible force of the people meets the immovable object of an anti-people autocracy camouflaged in the cloak of democracy, it blows a hole through it. Don’t get diverted by this politician or that, this political party or that, sham democracy or rigged elections. Focus on upturning the system that begets such politicians, political parties and rigged elections.

We have to free our country from the tentacles for an avaricious few. But sitting back to witness the spectacle and hoping that Qadri and Imran will succeed won’t do. Unless all of us participate in our own way with whatever energy and talent the Almighty has bestowed upon us, they cannot do it alone.

Nothing is working. All we have are hollow shells passing for institutions. Our governments are pantomimes playing government-government, like children play doctor-doctor. Adults playing such games are retarded and cause incalculable damage. Children playing doctor-doctor don’t actually cut open another’s stomach pretending to do a surgery. Adults playing government-government actually do rip open stomachs by taking unconsidered decisions driven by personal benefit that leave the country bleeding. By now Pakistan has lost so much blood that it is totally anemic and in danger of dying of blood loss.

The executive treats Pakistan like a fief, not realizing that when it deviates from its mandate it loses legitimacy and the right to rule. The people have not given them a mandate to rule for five years. They have given them five years to deliver their mandate. When they forget their mandate they lose the right to rule and become usurpers. If your lawyer deviates from your brief you sack him and get another. Same with rulers, five years be damned. Five years more and our country could be dead or beyond reprieve, God forbid.

Our parliament is just a building infested with violators of Articles 62, 63, toothless in checking the executive and balancing its excesses – obviously, when the executive is born from parliament’s womb. The judiciary fails to deliver justice down the line. All institutions and organizations under them are in a shambles. The media are unregulated and have become runaway political groups, some mindlessly working against the State for pecuniary gain. Laws and courts don’t exist in the book of the rich, powerful and ugly, except when they work in their favour or to take revenge.

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The only institution left standing is the military, but it is under vile attack by the government in cahoots with powerful parts of the media and judiciary. Their nefarious design is to degrade our army and upgrade our enemies so that it can never intervene again when a civilian government goes completely over the top, like hijacking our army chief’s aircraft and asking the pilot to take him to India with all our military secrets, war plans and nuclear codes in his head. Talk of being bananas. They don’t have the brains to understand that if they rule well and don’t violate their mandate no one would dare overthrow them or even wish to.

Pakistan has been serially abused but still has enough life left in it to kick, with the non-errant media, writers and the public hitting back. Many tunes have changed diametrically as happens when an intelligent person realizes that his survival is at stake because the Big Bad Wolf is about to blow his house down. If only they could see the pathetic condition of stateless people. They are without identity, without rights, with only a piece of paper that allows them to live somewhere at someone’s compassion, charity and mercy. They are non-persons. Their identity is their struggle. Their sole objective: to regain their statehood. Ask the Kashmiris in Indian Occupied Kashmir or the Palestinians moving from ghetto to ghetto. Their homes are burned down at will, their women raped, their lives in perpetual danger of being extinguished. It is worse than the old slavery because those slaves at least had owners. No one owns stateless people and stateless people own nothing except their pride, self-esteem and struggle. Struggle, struggle and perpetual struggle is the story of our Holy Prophet Muhammad’s life (pbuh). It should be our life story too. Struggle is Jihad against an inhuman, anti-people system to forge a better one. That is exactly what Muhammad (pbuh) did. That is exactly what we should do to win our freedom from our own ruling elite. No one will win it for us and give us freedom on a platter. We have to win it ourselves.

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I don’t know what will come of Imran and Qadri’s efforts. They might fail. That is in the hands of God, on whether He thinks Pakistan is worth saving or not. But we have to try saving it ourselves before God does because He helps those who help themselves first. Our situation is so dire that the time has come for all patriotic Pakistanis to come out in protest. Not everyone may like or agree with Imran and Qadri, but in the face of extinction such feelings become facetious. Save your home, your identity, and your country first. Overthrowing this horrible system should be our only objective right now, so we should support all forces trying to save Pakistan and not indulge in nitpicking. This may be our last chance. It is incumbent upon us to see the big picture and support Qadri, Imran and others taking to the streets in protest against this vile dispensation.

Imran is right, but re-elections in certain constituencies will not solve the problem. It’s the system, stupid, not its spawn the politicians or particular governments. Elections under this system will always throw up the same sort of dreadful governments. Even if you win Imran, your government will be infested by your collection of ‘electables’ that degrade your party. Democracy will obtain when there is a system in which the carpenter defeats the carpetbagger. Imran should see the big picture that it is Pakistan that needs to be saved, not an election or this system.

Qadri is out to change this alien system born of our perpetual colonial hangover by changing the constitution that begets all our rapacious systems. The legitimacy of this constitution is questionable anyway, made as it was by a rump assembly of losers, mutilated repeatedly by civilian more than military dictators. Hopefully, others will join him too, most importantly the downtrodden people, media, civil society, small bureaucrats, traders, shopkeepers, farmers, women and youth to bring revolution. All put together we can build such a powerful head of steam that this ugly fairyland of criminals that our ruling elite has built for itself will be swept away by the tidal wave of humanity and “crowns flung high and thrones overturned” in victory. Defeat or victory, the struggle goes on. Pakistan Zindabad.

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