Once again the command to reboot the system for a revolutionary change is being pushed for – led again by a charismatic Khan and a sanctimonious Allama. Buoyed by a wide array of seasonal hawks and naïve followers, they are promising to ‘liberate’ us on the eve of Pakistan’s 67th Independence Day. It matters little how many of us take them seriously, their potential to jam the wheel of our daily life as well as that of national governance cannot be doubted hence calling for our clear rejoinder.
The promise of revolution is not new for the poor, suffering folks of Pakistan. Leaving aside the left wing’s agenda – as it has always been marginal – the first ‘successful revolution’ was brought about by the General Ayub. This precedent, culminating in the successful rescue of West Pakistan in 1971, has been looming on the fragile shoulders of our nation since then. A number of attempts at revolution have been made since then, succeeding only in achieving the most reactionary element of any revolution, i.e. changing the sitting government, not even the system. Bringing about another system is too farfetched to require a mention. And there is not a trace of reason to believe that it is going to be any different this time. The only variation from the past, however, is the change in attire; the uniformed messiahs have been ruled out, to be replaced only by their civilian comrades.
The two main actors of this ‘change’ theatre, Imran Khan and Allama Tahir-ul-Qadri, are not new to Pakistani audience. Both of them have a track record of supporting military dictators and coopting with the existing system in the not-too-distant past. Khan’s party is already ruling in KPK and a number of his own party members subscribe to the sane option of restricting themselves to work for what is already their political obligation in the conflict ridden province. Qadri on the other hand, who refrained from electoral politics, is ostensibly looking forward to amass political powers as a late runner. What both of them are relying on is the naivety of a populace who believes that the only problem with this country is that of higher leadership. Their conception of revolution visualizes only in changing the faces of civilian government. To what extent they will deviate from the non-democratic, subversive politics of opportunism is all too explicit in both of their political careers.
After decades of one step forward, two steps back, Pakistani politics finally appeared to enter a stage where the progress was usually indorsed in the sentence that the politics of 90s will not be repeated. In simple terms it means that the political opposition, backed by unseen hand, will not undermine the continuity of a democratic setup. But what is being heralded now in the name of revolution is quite the opposite. Are these not attempts to push Pakistan back to the 90s? If so, then any effective blow may push us decades behind, if not worse.
Both Khan and Qadri might have genuine grievances, but nothing out of that, added more importantly with their obscurantist vision of a different Pakistan, justify a call for revolution. Add to it the fragile context of a struggling political system and the ongoing military offensive against Pakistan’s biggest security threat of Taliban, such notions of change would seem nothing short of opening a Pandora box of problems for Pakistan.