The nation has spoken. It has spoken as loudly as it did on 7 December 1970. However, those voices fell deaf on the ageing sclerotic ears of then members of junta, who only heard the insane murmurings of their inner isolated circle. Now once again, the nation finds itself at another critical juncture and waits in agony to find out whether those holding the reins of power repeat their fatuous history.
Will they act with fear and hate or with wisdom?
Fear is a strange phenomenon. It robs one of wisdom, reason and clarity. And it perceives ghosts in shadows and swords in pens. Fear reduces the weak to submission and the powerful to wanton acts of barbarity. There is no greater tyrant than the powerful one who senses defeat in the field, and who is fearful of his own fate and threatened by his perceived enemies. As a wise adage says, “One should never act out of fear,” nor due to hate and jealousy. These are three sins that convert a man into a beast, an honourable person into a despicable creature and a responsible leader into a vengeful monster.
Anyone having absolute authority with an iota of wisdom and self-respect would decide rationally and in the interest of the nation has raised him or her to lofty status.
In our times, we have the glaring examples of Hitler against the Jews, the Jews against the Palestinians, Pol Pot in Cambodia, West Pakistan against the East Pakistanis, Hutus against Tutsis and Stalin in USSR; all episodes of history where abominable atrocities were committed out of fear, hatred or jealousy. The person who hates, creates his own fears in his heart and mind.
It should be remembered by all and sundry, who profess to be guardians of physical, moral and ideological boundaries of the nation, that they will be judged and punished by the people and history
From that infamous night of swords in April 2022, when the Supreme Court assembled at the stroke of midnight to invalidate the National Assembly Speaker's ruling, to the Supreme Court's infamous denial of election symbol to Imran Khan's party, many people have been killed, humiliated, tortured and incarcerated. It would be prudent for everyone to remember history. No tyrant has gone unpunished, either physically in his own lifetime, or by the slow but certain hand of history.
The Shah of Iran, Videla of Argentina, Pinochet of Chile, the Myanmar juntas and their ilk live in infamy. We all remember Imam Hussain (AS) and Saint Peter. Millions of Muslims proudly trace their lineage to that great tortured family and their companions. However, the world denounces their tormentors ever since. They are not even owned by their own progeny.
In our time, the children of General Yahya or Justice Munir would rather avoid being linked with these unprincipled betrayers of this unfortunate nation. It should be remembered by all and sundry, who profess to be guardians of physical, moral and ideological boundaries of the nation, that they will be judged and punished by the people and history.
As for continuing the senseless policy of persecution, Sahir Ludhianvi’s following warning must be heeded;
Zulm Phir Zulm Hai, Barhta Hai To Mit Jaataa Hai
Khoon Phir Khoon Hai, Tapke Ga To Jam Jaaye Ga
(“Tyranny cannot last forever; Innocent blood cannot be erased”)
Life is short but memories are long. One can either be on the right side of history or in its dustbin. Obstinacy, obduracy and interagency are signs of fear, hate and insecurity. This is a country for which my parents and grandparents – like millions of other Muslims – suffered a lot, so that we, our children and our grandchildren could live in peace, justice, security and harmony.
It is said that the prosperity of a nation is directly proportional to the number of its people who speak the truth. In light of this, there is no salvation in sight for our nation because here everyone, from the highest office holder in government, judiciary and defense forces, to the lowest menial worker in the street, tells lies without any qualms. Lawyers lie on oath in the courts, politicians speak blatant lies in the parliament and the clergy sells myths on the pulpit.
The recent establishment-controlled elections tell a story of outright theft, injustice and usurpation, during the process of compilation and announcement of results. The nation will suffer for this deceit and deception.
A corresponding timeframe of reckoning would be the months of June this year and February in 2025
In the previous tragic episode of this nation’s history, the elections were held on 7 December 1970 where people opted for a soft coup. On denial of peaceful transfer of power to the winner, three and half months later, East Pakistanis declared independence on 26 March 1971. Barely a year later, the GOC of Pakistan’s Eastern Command signed the instrument of surrender in a publicly humiliating ceremony.
The current elections have taken place on the 8th of February 2024. A corresponding timeframe of reckoning would be the months of June this year and February in 2025. There is still time to hear the resounding verdict of the people and redeem the lost hopes in the future and well-being of the country.
A soft coup or a bloody anarchy? There is not much time to decide.