Are We Out Of The Woods Yet?

Will the people of Pakistan ever be able to throw away the yoke from their necks and find enough courage to tell their earthly gods that we have had enough?

Pakistan flags fence

Namedeo Dhasal was a very aggressive Dalit rights activist and a poet in India. One of his Marathi poems, when translated from its Urdu version, reads:

Ishwar, you were assigned to look after the universe,

You failed to fulfil your responsibilities.

All worships for you are hereby discontinued.

Why do I quote the poem here? I will come to it later.

When one of the advisors of Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto asked him to make the Hamoodur Rahman Commission Report public, Bhutto, declining the suggestion, is said to have remorsefully responded that he could not because “we are not out of the woods yet.”

Even now, 45 years down the road, it is obvious that we are not out of the woods yet.

What else does Anwarul Haque Kakar’s anointment suggest? That, the only lesson we have learnt from our history is that we have learnt no lesson. That, to quote Mir Taqi Mir’s worn out, oft-quoted verse, we are still consulting the same chemist’s son for the medicine, who caused us the illness in the first place.

In the above paragraph, I have used the word “anointment” purposefully. Anointment literally means dedicating someone to gods in a religious ceremony. Is Mr. Kakar going to be as dedicated to the gods as Mr. Shahbaz Sharif, or, Mr. Imran Khan was before him? Or, more?

The gods of Olympus have overlorded this unfortunate country for so long that the people of Pakistan have forgotten the meaning of the word democracy. If something in the name of democracy really exists, the mortals fated to live in Pakistan don’t know what color that bird is.

Who is Anwarul Haque Kakar Sahib anyway, may I ask?

Who, with an average knowledge of Pakistani politics had heard of him before he was crowned by the augurs who saw in him the qualities of a messiah?

I am under no illusion to know the political continuum of the country completely. However, I follow the country’s politics closely. To confess my ignorance, I had barely heard of him before his name was announced in the media as the next savior of the nation.

What are his credentials to reassure the disillusioned nation that if the elections are not held in 90 days, as it looks more and more obvious now, he will be able to steer the country out the troubled waters?

A mere look at the composition of a large cabinet imposed on the nation is enough to portend the plans of the deities dictating the country. Regardless of whatever is ordained in the Constitution of the country, elections are not going to be held within 90 days. Period.

Isn’t it strange how all the prodigies of Pakistani politics readily and all too enthusiastically agreed to hand the country over to an amateur, “on Raja Riaz’s proposal”? A country’s prime ministership on Raja Riaz’s proposal! Honestly speaking, I would have to think thrice before appointing a clerk on Raja Riaz’s recommendation.

But, will it be Mr. Anwarul Haque Kakar, who will run the country for whatever period the gods dispose to extend the interim government’s period? If so, I offer him my unequivocal and unconditional best wishes.

However, from the way the chessboard is being set up, it looks like it will really be Shah Enayat, to quote Bulleh Shah this time, who has set up hooks and pulleys and plans to pull the strings surreptitiously (Shah Enayat kundiyan paayiaan, lik chhup khhichdaa dor).

If it is indeed the gods’ intention to run the country from behind the curtains, then the whole drama makes no sense. Which takes us back to the basic question: after the miserably failed recent attempt at running a hybrid system in the country, should the overlords not have learnt a lesson? Or, from the history?

For who else has been ruling the country for the last 75 years, if not the Olympian gods? Does the responsibility of all the failure not fall squarely on the gods of Olympus?

India’s Chandrayaan III Lunar Mission has successfully landed on the Moon. By contrast, in Pakistan, a nation carved out of the same landscape and same people, mortals are finding it hard to make ends meet, send their children to school and pay the ever so rising bills of ever so elusive electricity. This all, thanks, solely, to the pantheon of gods who have plundered the country so pitilessly since its inception that there is hardly anything left of the country to run.

There is a saying in Persian “Gar hami maktab-o hami mullah, kaar-I tiflaan tamaam khwaahad shud”, meaning, if this is the school and he is the teacher, then the children are doomed!

For what sins of our ancestors are we paying that there seems to be no end to the nation’s suffering? From defending the country to dispensing justice, the Olympan gods, the Ishwars of this land, have failed the nation in every which way possible. 

Do you understand now why I started this rant with Namdeo Dhasal’s poem?

Will the people of Pakistan ever be able to throw away the yoke from their necks and find enough courage to tell their earthly gods that we have had enough of you? Will the people ever be powerful enough to tell them that they have failed us as a nation. That they have failed in fulfilling their own responsibilities, as well as the responsibilities they assumed by force without people’s will or approval?

That, we, the people of Pakistan, hereby discontinue all worships for you.

The writer is an independent political observer based in the USA.