SUKKUR: The twin rallies, 'Azadi' and 'Inqilab', have now reached Islamabad, but their effects are reverberating throughout the country. The Karachi Stock Exchange has plummeted and the business community in general seems to have come to a standstill as investors wait for a conclusion to the political turmoil before making any investments.
However, the common man seems to have little interest in the ongoings and care little about who runs the nation, as long as they receive their basic needs. The Express Tribune talks to citizens of Sukkur on Sunday to find out their views about the current situation.
"I don't see any democracy in Pakistan," said one woman, before throwing her support to an upheaval. "I don't think Imran Khan or Tahirul Qadri can bring about revolutionary changes in the lives of the poor but they still seem to be a step up from the likes of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and former president Asif Ali Zardari."
The owner of a grocery store, Mueen, felt that Qadri's demands are just and in accordance with the wishes of the common man. However, Mueen was also quick to condemn all politicians. "I have seen many a government in my time but all the rulers care about are their own vested interests," he said, adding that he hopes that Qadri has learned his lesson from his previous long march and will this time be successful in toppling the government.
Others believed that all politicians are cut from the same cloth and claimed that they couldn't care less about who sits on the 'throne' in Islamabad. "I don't trust any politician," said an elderly man dismissively, busy eating nihari at a hotel. "They think about their own children only, never about the children of the country."
Some felt that democracy is in danger. "I think Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will not step down," said another customer at the hotel. "The rallies will turn violent and as a result, 'big brother' [the army] will take over. I am against martial law but our people do not deserve to live in a democracy."
Meanwhile, the idea of 'merciless accountability' appealed to the ruthless nature of a few. "Nawaz is a businessman, he is only looking out for his financial interests, and he should be held responsible for ignoring the common man," they said.
The vendor, a delicious-looking set of fruits decorated in front of him, felt that Qadri and Imran seem sincere to the nation but had little idea of what may or will happen if they are able to topple the government. All we want, he continued, is a house, two meals a day and cheap utilities.
Cobblers also had their two cents to share. "I don't think the government is going to fulfil the demands of Qadri and Imran," he said confidently. "I come from a family of cobblers and it seems that my children will follow me into this profession."
Published in The Express Tribune, August 18th,2014.