“Off with his head!” is so much more effective than, “Off with his head, as per Article (x) of Section (y) Sub-section (z) of PPC as per the Constitution of 1973 amended as of nineteen hundred and blah blah blah.”
Oh, the joys of simplicity!
And yet these are the joyous melodies that we are being serenaded with as Pakistan experiments its way to a better future. Is there a linear way – devoid of all crossroads of doubts – that shall take us to the Promised Land? Surely the empires of our times got there through different routes. How do we know which one to take?
Perhaps we do not. Never have. If we did, we could have perfected one system of governance and run our lives accordingly. We could have graduated beyond the never-ending debate of this-vs-that and scaled higher rungs of collective self-actualisation. We wouldn’t have then lived under the duality of pretending to follow one set of principles while actually following another set. It has made life complex. We would rather indulge in the art of simple.
So we manufactured simple. Our problems became simple. Our solutions became simple. Our heroes became simple and our villains became simple. Our narrative became simple and our explanations became simple. Even our processes became simple. As did our crimes and punishments. Good is good, bad is bad and never the twain shall meet.
PTI simpletons simplified the simplicity of simple when they said Imran Khan’s ascension to the throne of Pakistan would trigger an avalanche of dollars from simple-minded people believing in simple solutions simplified further to accentuate the simplicity of their generosity.
PTI simpletons simplified the simplicity of simple when they said they would catch the “corrupt thieves and dacoits” of the PPP and the PML-N and throw them in jail because they did not need the complexity of the legal process to soil the simplicity of their simple yet powerful beliefs that corrupt dacoits should be simply branded so and flung inside the slammer.
PTI simpletons simplified the simplicity of simple when they said they would bring in billions of dollars of looted and laundered money and solve Pakistan’s solvency problems within 90 days because, after all, who could argue with the beautiful simplicity of the logic that looted billions were the only reason Pakistan was an economic basket case.
Such simplicity is simply adorable.
For what else would you call the simple yet effective arrest of PMLN’s Rana Sanaullah? There is something serenely simple about discovering enough heroin in a politician’s car that would make Pablo Escobar envious. NAB indictments are so infuriatingly complex, what with reams of documents splattered with numbered mutations lost in a maze of white-collar ingenuities.
Heroin is so simple. Simple is good.
For what else would you call the vanishing difference between an accused person and a convicted person? It is so maddeningly complex to investigate, collect evidence, build a case and prosecute in a court of law. It takes time. It takes skill. Both are usually in short supply in Pakistan. So why not just throw the accused in jail, declare them guilty and be done with it?
Verbal conviction is so simple. Simple is good
For what else would you call the Prime Minister’s sudden urge to banish the rule of production orders in parliament just like the banishment of those for whom the production orders were originally framed? It is so exasperatingly complex to figure out that logic behind production orders was to ensure that the government could not detain parliamentarians at key moments to ensure passage of legislation. In a system of checks and balances that a democratic dispensation is all about, this was a check against the misuse of authority by a government. But who cares? Why not just rubbish the rule because it is a nuisance for the PTI simpletons’ simplistic narrative?
Eliminating logic is so simple. Simple is good.
For what else would you call the National Assembly Speaker’s audacious decision to ban the word “Selected” not just from the House but also from the public domain? It is so annoyingly complex to figure out why the Speaker has been vested with the power to expunge certain words in the House. It is so complex realise that the Honourable Speaker has no clue that he cannot ban the word from media or public discourse. But why bother? In the simple but beautiful world that the simpletons of the PTI inhabit, words can be banned, deeds can banned, virtues can be banned, vices can be banned, hopes can be banned, aspirations can be banned and perhaps even bad thoughts can be banned.
Banning is so simple. Simple is good.
But while PTI simpletons float on the simplicity of their simple and delightfully colourful world, the rest of Pakistan must suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous complexity. It is the complexity of grappling with a complex system that is dressed as a democracy but acts as something else. Simpletons in the PTI leadership take sustenance from the failures of this complex system because few have bothered to understand the fundamentals of the system. Checks and balances constitute the foundations of a representative system because this system evolved from the simplistic linearity of despotism and authoritarianism. But who cares? Why bother?
When the man at the top is clean, everything else is a needless complexity. Jail them, ban them, expunge them and eliminate them and let’s be done with it. Then dollars will come. Then wisdom will come. Then happy days will come.
“Off with his head!” is so much more effective than, “Off with his head, as per Article (x) of Section (y) Sub-section (z) blah blah blah.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 7th, 2019.
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