Inqilaab-e-Pakistan: Revolt if you are confused

Calls for revolution are getting stale. Can these rebels please look around and appreciate the democracy we live in...

Zoha Waseem March 23, 2011
The orchestrators of Inqilaab-e-Pakistan on Facebook and Twitter are urging Pakistanis to “retake their land” on March 23.

They demand the resignation of the “US puppet regime in Pakistan”, protection of our sovereignty, end of the feudal system, and the implementation of Islamic law according to the constitution of Pakistan.

Currently, the social network groups have over 10,000 confirmed attendees. They plan on protesting in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and other cities.

What these ardent followers don’t realise is that they are being exposed to ideological confusion and propagandist material. Pakistan doesn't need a revolution.

Here's why:

1) Democracy is not the enemy

The Egyptian revolution was a civilian protest to establish democracy. In Pakistan, a revolution will wrench us away from a democratic framework.

Pakistan does not need a revolution like Egypt or Libya. Our so-called revolutionaries fail to realise that Pakistan achieved democracy in 2007, albeit a weak and unstable version.

No new political regime achieves success and stability overnight; it’s a process that can take years, even decades to work properly.

Instead of revolting against it, every civilian can contribute towards sustaining and strengthening democracy.

You don’t require a revolution to overcome poverty, illiteracy, or terrorism for that matter.

2) The misguided Inqilaabi

A young Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf inqilaabi has become an overnight celebrity in Pakistan.

This inqilabi, Zohair Toru, symbolises the sort of ideological confusion gripping Pakistanis who refuse to give the democratic system a chance.

I feel sorry for the poor chap because weather conditions just did not seem appropriate for this patriot and his fellow revolutionaries. Perhaps he would like an apology from the state for sending police there for security as well?

Or maybe, while rocking the t-shirt and shades brought from Canal Street in New York, he would like an apology from the US for not bartering Aafia Siddiqui for Raymond Davis, because God knows there’s no dearth of lunatics in Pakistan.

3) Revolution is dangerous

If a revolution takes place in Pakistan, it will be violent and could have devastating consequences.

Terrorists could take advantage of such a movement if it takes place. Who’s to say a revolution will not be hijacked by extremists hell-bent on establishing Pakistan as a ‘caliphate’ and returning to a medieval way of life?

Who’s to say this is not a propagandist call by the notorious Zaid Hamid, before whom the likes of our current leadership will seem tolerable?

4) Our friends and enemies

Our army is battling extremists in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab, engaging with neighbouring forces in Kashmir, and defending our borders.

An Egypt-style revolution means deploying forces away from unstable regions to maintain peace within cities where protestors have senselessly taken to the streets.

This situation not only gives time and control to terrorists within Pakistan, it can allow unrestricted infiltration through unprotected borders. Such circumstances will present ideal conditions for terrorists to relocate, increase their violent and illegal activities, incite hatred, and attempt to gain support for their cause.

Let’s not forget, that those arguing for a revolution against the corrupt officials in Pakistan will have this as their strongest common denominator with TTP and alQaeda. The latter will never shy away from taking this for granted.

5) We are not our neighbours

Some cite the Iranian Revolution by way of example. Although successful in establishing an Islamic state and ousting the Shah and his secret police SAVAK, the revolution was anything but theocratic in nature.

It was a civilian effort; Shia and Sunni Muslims and Christians combined against Shah’s regime for its failure of reforms, violation of the constitution, and total disregard for human rights.

The revolution started as a campaign of the moderates, primarily from the middle class, and other active non-Islamic groups, including Marxist university students and Tudeh (Communist Party).

Because of lack of leadership, Khomeini backed by the ulema became the face of this resistance.

The moderates had no choice but to fall in line with Khomeini’s tactics, not fully understanding his intentions of establishing a theocratic state and the violation of human and minority rights that would follow.

Conditions for a revolution in Iran were ripe in that Iranians were united against the Shah.

It is difficult to understand what the Pakistani populace can be unified against given its social and ethnic divides and who would be its leader. Most importantly, the autocratic regime that existed in Iran does not exist in Pakistan.

Here’s what’s good:

Pakistan is an established democratic state where various political parties co-exist and there is enough opposition to keep the state in check. It has a long way to go in terms of accountability and independence, but perhaps we’re too impatient to let democracy take its course.

Pakistanis are not an oppressed majority. Freedom of press, human rights, and judicial independence today should make young activists reconsider whether we truly have an atmosphere and culture ripe for a revolution.
Zoha Waseem A masters graduate from King’s College London who blogs for
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.

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