In Pakistan's Chor Bazaar, The People Are The Heroes

In Pakistan's Chor Bazaar, The People Are The Heroes
It really is a case of too little, too late.

There was a mantra ‘never complain, never explain’ that was famously adopted by the House of Windsor, the indication being to just carry on with the job because nothing else mattered.

Yesterday’s presser by the DG ISI and DG ISPR was nothing short than a complain and explain session.  Clearly too much has happened and everything matters now.

For far too long the players – political and otherwise - have brought in the usual tactics and old faces that once secured success. But the one thing they all failed is the population explosion – the disposable factor that was seen as a mere human resource has now come back to to demand answers for the utopia that will never be delivered.

Now with 75 years of history, half of a country lost and Kashmir partly lost, a failed experiment and an increasingly angry electorate yesterday’s show was a sorry one. To see the establishment come out and explain what a citizen’s right is, what constitutes as democratic activity and to counter any criticism as ‘personal attack’ just showed how deep the damage has hurt.

But mistakes have been made and the establishment is facing the music and paying for it. For the first time the DG ISI felt compelled to emerge from the shadows and give a press conference, which did not quite go as smoothly or successfully as planned.

And when your brand image is tarnished you’ll deny everything – or not admit to anything.

During the presser yesterday upon being asked if the establishment brought in Imran Khan, the DG ISI refused to say anything about their role but failed to deny as well.

Mere moments before it had been mentioned that their role was to bring intelligence to the state and let governments decide. One can only ponder what level of intelligence is at play when it comes to audio leaks, or the infamous ‘letter’ which is now known to be a transcript. Is it any wonder then decision after decision resulted in U turn after U turn?

What then of the ordinary civilians, gone by and current, who have been paying for the consequences of the mistakes on the part of the establishments? Decades on, imbalance is too much and like a pressure cooker, every slight is fuelling this young nation.

The scenes of the outpour of grief and rose petals at Arshad Sharif’s funeral outweigh that of Mumtaz Qadri’s; the impact of Asma Jahangir’s work outdoes the work of the finest COAS; the written word continues to silence the silencing; the outpour of protestors in Swat is stronger than any bullet; and in the digital media wars referred to as Fifth Generation, the people are outmanoeuvring the khakis on all fronts.

The establishment is right. Pakistan’s greatest strength is its people. And in this chor bazaar, this strength is now flexing its muscles.

Just today at the commencement of the Long March we saw two politicians, Azam Swati and Imran Khan, brazenly take names and confront the military over their media courtship yesterday.

In the darkness of this chor bazaar, the people are rising. Civilian democracy is strengthening, but the results of it are yet to be seen.