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Thursday June 01, 2023

A dream on the cusp of fulfilment

March 24, 2023

What we are witnessing in Pakistan these days has all the ingredients dreams are made of. Fortunate are those people who are beholding this happening in their lifetimes which may spiral a change stalled through decades by the beneficiary elite patronizing a sordid and decadent status-quo ritual which brought nothing but humiliation to Pakistan.

When Imran Khan was removed from office some eleven months ago, no one realized that he would capture the imagination of the people the way he has. There is not a soul which has not been stirred by the way things have crystalized to the current pinnacle where hundreds of thousands of people are willing to lay down their lives for the cause that Khan has come to represent.

This cause is firmly rooted in divorcing a past replete with instances of loot, plunder and surrendering national sovereignty for promoting foreign-inspired agendas and, instead, fostering a free and self-respecting country exercising its inalienable right to take decisions which would suit its strategic and economic requirements and also facilitate welfare for the people who, deprived even of their basic rights, have struggled endlessly to survive on the fringes of life.

At the other end, Khan’s party has been termed “a gang of miscreants trained by foreign organizations”. This has been proclaimed by none other than the criminal concoction which has been vested with the power to run the country by their patrons and masters through a brazen and unashamed use of pelf and privilege. They are the very people who have sucked the blood of the country through their countless stints in power in the past. They have allegedly vowed to proceed against the PTI by banning it as a political party.

This vow to proscribe the PTI has been made at a time when the brutal and draconian apparatus of the state has been let loose against Khan, his party, and his followers whose houses are being raided in midnight assaults and who are being arrested and incarcerated in blatant violation of the law. The interior minister’s statement before the specially convened joint session of the parliament was a pack of absurdities to brand the PTI as a lawless party and exhort the Supreme Court (SC) that elections to the dissolved provincial assemblies be held simultaneously with those for the National Assembly.

Though a blatant violation of the constitution and the adjudication of the SC, the Election Commission has obligingly postponed the holding of elections in Punjab till October 8. This breeds a constitutional crisis where institutions will be pitted against institutions. Obviously, this is going to have serious repercussions which may assume the form of violence-tinged protest spread throughout the country. For the SC, it is a test case for asserting its authority and restoring the sanctity of the constitution. It is hoped that no ‘doctrine of necessity’ will impede its way.

Alongside the habitual transgressors of the constitution and the law, there is this sell-out tribe of ‘intellectual’ perverts who constantly attack the collective will and consciousness of the people. They believe that they are, unto themselves, wiser than the combined intelligence of the whole nation reflected in their choice of leaders and parties. They also contend that they alone are more important and relevant than the system based on the universally accepted principle of one-person-one-vote. Their singular desire is that the responsibility of running the country should be bequeathed entirely to them and their greater wisdom.

It is a mocking charade which is being enacted routinely and promoted through a wide network of compromised individuals and organizations. Nothing could be more sinister than the presumption that this vile coterie of sell-outs reflects a group of wizards ‘more equal’ than the rest of the people who have struggled incessantly to disentangle their country from the shackles of usurpers of a variety of dimensions and put it on course to securing its freedom and its right of formulating and implementing decisions of its choice. This sell-out crowd will passionately espouse the cause of postponement of elections.

Like the mistake that the orchestrators of the regime-change project made at the time of implementing it, postponement of elections and contemplating a ban on the PTI and its leader would constitute a blunder which would be more grievous than anything they can imagine at this moment when all their machinations to contain Khan politically have backfired and his popularity continues to surge.

But then maybe this is the reason that necessitates contemplating drastic and draconian measures for arresting the spread of a political force which has caught the imagination of the people. If one were to go by the intensity of passion that is on display every time people step out for their espoused cause, one would realise that we are beholding a dream which is on the cusp of fulfilment. One can also see that, if confronted, this could spell out onto the streets of the country.

It is time for sanity to return to the fold. Postponing elections or imposing a ban on the PTI and its leader will spark a flame that may be impossible to douse. It may become an inferno to turn the surroundings into a smouldering wasteland. It is not just one person that the government is confronted with. It is a party that has hundreds and thousands of passionate adherents and a leader who is the singular embodiment of the dreams and aspirations of a whole nation. It is neither easy nor advisable to just wish it away by declaring it ‘anti-state’. It will boomerang with unmitigated intensity and may wash away the wobbly edifice raised by the incumbent criminal concoction and its patrons and promoters. Like I said, it is time for exercising sanity. Thoughts pertaining to banning the party or postponing elections should be banished.

The country sits tantalizingly on the fringes of a wholesome change which will obliterate the sordid and rotten system that has dumped its fate in a bottomless pit and enslaved its people whose reins are pulled by the miniscule beneficiary elite with their empires standing on foundations of loot and plunder which they have accumulated using their positions in power. The desperation is because this illicit edifice is crumbling and there is no way this process can be stalled. Banning the most popular political party of the country and disqualifying its leader is only going to aggravate the situation beyond the realm of control or repair.

We are witnessing a dream on the cusp of fulfilment. No form of obstruction will dent its impact. Notwithstanding the constitutional crisis that is brewing, this is indeed an elevating spectacle. Imbibe it. Savour it. Celebrate it. This truly embodies the future of Pakistan.

The writer is a political and security strategist, formerspecial assistant to former PM Imran Khan, and currently afellow at King’s College London. He tweets @RaoofHasan