Saturday December 02, 2023

Dance of the devil : The Friday Column

September 23, 2022

The vicious circus that has gone on in the country over the last few months is both bewildering and worrisome. For such has been its wickedness and its divorce of everything righteous that it shames those who still have an appetite for morality and who speak out their mind whenever and wherever doing so is felt essential.

There is one development though which is heartening: the intensity of widespread protest that is emanating from multifarious quarters is deafening and speaks volumes of the extent to which things have deteriorated in the country. One sees that those that may have played a corrective role, for they are constitutionally tasked with doing so, have become part of an endless circus of lies and deceit, be it parliament, or any other state outfit dealing with regulating society along paths in conformity with the stipulations of the law. It is absolutely distressing to see that all those who have committed grievous crimes by exploiting positions of power they occupied are being protected and secured by those that are supposed to hold them accountable for their misdemeanours.

In the last few weeks, we have gone a step further in perpetuating the hold of crime in the country. Those inducted in power through a well thought-out and executed conspiracy, most of whom hail from the tribe of convicts, alleged-criminals out on temporary bails, and absconders, have incorporated exclusively self-serving amendments in the NAB laws which have helped them gain a clean chit from their crimes. More than fifty such cases have already been sent back to the investigation agencies and accountability bureau with the comment that courts are no longer empowered to hear them. It would be impossible to find such a parallel in the democratic world where the accused would themselves sit as exclusive arbiters to alter, even abort, the fate of their criminal indulgences.

Where are we headed? What are we turning this country into? A crime-land where the ruling elite could, forever, indulge in their wicked penchants without fear of being held to account? Where should the impoverished and marginalized millions of this forsaken land seek justice from? Will their fate continue to remain hostage in the clutches of their economic enslavers and the wielders of the arsenal of power and pelf encompassing an unjust system, widespread societal disparities, the indescribable horror of the police stations and the cruelty of the clan of patwaris?

Will they always be at the mercy of the land grabbers and the ring-leaders of crime? Will they continue to endure indignity to find some measly morsels for sustenance? Above all, what was the compulsion for passing on the reins of the country in the hands of the very people who had plundered it mercilessly through their numerous stints in power and, of that, there was invincible evidence available for conviction?

It is no wonder that one sees this bunch of fraudsters and swindlers swirling around in a maniacal celebration of the art and practice of lies and deceit. I ask of the bands of criminals and their orchestrators: does this make a country? Does this make a nation? Does this serve the foundational ethos of our creation? How does it benefit the toiling multitudes of the country, those who deserve support? How does it bring them relief and succour? How are they going to survive the humiliating rigours of life? The criminal bands remain unmoved as do their handlers. Together, they manifest the dark which is enveloping the country.

The country is caught up in a downward spiral of degeneration. It has lost out on its morality and, consequently, its writ. These have been taken hostage by the criminal operators who are exploiting their power and illicitly-earned billions to perpetuate their vicious stranglehold. A lot has gone wrong and a lot more continues to go wrong. The saviours are being punished and the dacoits patronized. The patriots are being scorned and those wedded to self-advancement fondly embraced. The whole thing is rotting. It stinks from a million miles away. This cycle of crime has to be reversed. Criminality has to be ousted and quotients of justice and compassion injected to play a remedial role in putting the country back on track.

But who is going to do this? It is not an easy task. It involves taking on the mafias who have their fangs out to pounce on anyone who threatens their interests. They have deep-set stakes which they defend with full might of their power and influence which is widely spread out. They have their patrons to support them and save them. The entire system, in its present shape and form, together with its operative institutions, is at their beck and call to be used as may please their devilish dispensations. There is no exception. There are no easy remedies.

But there is some light filtering through swarming dark clouds. The country has passionately espoused the cause of change, either through holding free and fair elections or pushing ahead with the burgeoning revolution. The change that elections can bring would be institutionalized, spread over many months and years, but the change that will be triggered by more drastic methods would be sudden and comprehensive. The former is being resisted by the forces which have their hands soiled in corruption, and the latter is being urged on by those who have suffered perpetually at the hands of the looters and plunderers. On the face of it, the situation has deteriorated well beyond what can be cured through implementing systemic and peaceful changes. It is appetising stuff revolutions are made of.

If unchecked, this nauseating dance of the devil will consume the country. People spread across all corners are clamouring for change. They cannot be denied. They are waiting for the call to march which has been made incumbent because of the intransigence of the cabal of criminals who are laying siege to the country and who, aided and abetted by their sponsors, have already washed themselves clean of their sins.

The ruling crime syndicate is unwilling to take the risk of holding free elections to see Imran Khan back in power. So, revolution it may be that would come as the saviour of the state and its people. One thing, however, is patently clear: the devil stands naked as change becomes increasingly inevitable.

The writer is a political and security strategist and the founder of the Regional Peace Institute in Islamabad. He tweets @RaoofHasan