Revolution, Azadi and Inqilab

Published: September 1, 2014
The writer has a master’s degree in conflict-resolution from the Monterey Institute of International Studies in California and blogs at

The writer has a master’s degree in conflict-resolution from the Monterey Institute of International Studies in California and blogs at

Unfortunately, “democracy” only exists in Pakistan either through the lineage of a Bhutto or Sharif. While the masses are increasingly fed up with the regurgitated choices offered to them every election year, the PTI and PAT’s march was doubtful to bring about the changes they seek. In fact, these protests were an ill-timed distraction. Pakistan is already besieged with an IDP crisis and a military that is busy conducting the Zarb-e-Azb operation in North Waziristan. Yes, there was electoral fraud along with discontent about the poor quality of life, but a call for a “Tahrir square” revolution is not the solution. Can any rational person claim that present-day Egypt is the ideal model for the future of Pakistan?

Nawaz Sharif’s government has failed to curb electricity blackouts which share a great deal of the blame for the crippled economy. Add to that the gross lack of social justice, poverty, extremism and one arrives at a toxic mix with the right ingredients for an uprising. Case in point, the murder of eleven protestors this past June would be unthinkable in any democratic nation. However, enticing the crowd with whimsical promises such as housing and jobs for everyone is cruel and doesn’t achieve anything. Instead, energies should be focused on becoming a formidable opposition in the parliament and coming up with a realistic plan to tackle the root causes of the issue such as the ever growing population, illiteracy and corruption.

It is also important to realise that for a revolution to occur in Pakistan the nation has to be one. Since Sindh, Balochistan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab are ethnic divisions within Pakistan, the very essence of revolution is missing. Rebellions are born amongst the people and not created overnight by foreign clerics in containers. For instance, the current crisis in Iraq is due to the fact that every single aspect of the Iraqi government was dismantled by the US, subsequently leading to a takeover of the country by the ISIS. Iraq is now fractured along sectarian and ethnic lines possibly even facing disintegration.

While it was clear from the start that the Azadi and Inqilab marches were not going to bring about a revolution or the resignation of Nawaz Sharif, the last few days have still been a wake-up call for the current government which has been left weak. While the government has agreed to form a committee for electoral reform, it has clearly stated that resignation of the prime minister and fresh elections are off the table. Even though Imran Khan’s cause is commendable, his methods have been irresponsible and his demands inconsistent. He should use his influence to focus on electoral reforms rather than the misconceived call for an Arab spring-style uprising, civil disobedience and resignations. Sending this farce of a democracy packing is not going to bring about a revolution in Pakistan. Instead, as many citizens have mentioned, Imran Khan should impose his revolutionary ideas in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and make that into a shining example for the rest of Pakistan to strive for. Without a proven path to pursue, rhetoric rings hollow. Pakistan can ill afford more empty promises and chaos at the moment.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 1st, 2014.

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Reader Comments (10)

  • Usman Nazir
    Sep 1, 2014 - 4:50AM

    Very well written


  • zakir ullah
    Sep 1, 2014 - 7:58AM

    Excellent but u have to leave some other defects of PTI in KPK.I appreciate ur ideas and PTI is totally miscalculated and mis management.I think they don,t know the plants of these seeds which they bow.


  • Saleem
    Sep 1, 2014 - 8:00AM

    You have hit nail in the head, Looking at disgust that Imran Khan and Thairul Qadri has for Nawaz Shari, to me whole thing is personal. Both Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri has gained benefit from Sharif family. Especially Tahirul Qadri, who claimed in his last sermon at Sharif family mosque that Shabaz Sharif used to tie his shoes and Nawaz carried him to see Ghar e Hira. What happened now is nothing but personal vendetta and they are making fool of whole nation..

    I wish Imran Khan would have proved his mantle in KP but judging his one year performance he realized that he will not be able to bring the change that he been promising. So he has up the ante. Though I agree with almost all the things that he been demanding but I totally disagree with his tactics. And when he decided to take over state building then he lost my respect. No one claiming to be doing anything in the name of democracy will ever do that as that will bring nothing less than Martial Law. I wish this naive Kapatan has little sense to think through.


  • Humza
    Sep 1, 2014 - 8:26AM

    By aligning himself with the most dubious of political mandarins such as Sheikh Rasheed and the Chaudries of Gujrat, Imran Khan sealed his own fate. He doesn’t sound like the voice of a Naya Pakistan. He sounds more and more like the voice of an old jaded, unscrupulous leader who will do anything, even destroy democracy and the state to become PM. Many former PTI supporters including me, have no sympathy for his antics. We all wanted him to show us his credentials by transforming KPK and we all would have voted him in the next time around. He just can’t wait his turn and has resorted to mob violence to assuage his bruised ego.


  • Weirdity
    Sep 1, 2014 - 9:51AM

    “Instead, as many citizens have mentioned, Imran Khan should impose his revolutionary ideas in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and make that into a shining example for the rest of Pakistan to strive for”

    IK is a fraud. He has no revolutionary ideas so he doesn’t have anything to impose on KP. What he has in abundance is greed for power and he wants it by all or any means even if it means the foxes(u know who i am talking about) get to raid the hen house using the street violence as an excuse.


  • vinsin
    Sep 1, 2014 - 11:26AM

    There was nothing like Iraqi government before US invasion. It was just a rule of a dictator.


  • Murthy
    Sep 1, 2014 - 3:58PM

    A very sane article that voices the concerns of the people. I thought that IK has allowed himself, by naivety or design, to be used by the military to take over the country. Otherwise, I don’t understand why a huge crowd could have been allowed to proceed to NS’s house.


  • majid
    Sep 1, 2014 - 5:16PM

    IK has raised the issue of rigging and electoral reforms in the parliament for last one year without success. This is Pakistan guys. Things have to be pushed to get appreciation and so now the govt is on its knees begging for negotiations..only IK has the courage to do it.


    Sep 1, 2014 - 11:31PM

    Can there be a democracy in a feudal society. There is nothing like Azadi oe Inquilab, the post Zia generation who don’t have any political consciousness are being exploited by the recycled leaders like Shah Mahnud Qureshi etc. it is a power struggle not revolution. if these leaders are really sincere they should demand abolition of feudal system to create equal political opportunities for all citizens of Pakistan and to create condition fir MODI a tea boy to become OM of this country


  • Kolsat
    Sep 2, 2014 - 1:35AM

    @MUHAMMAD KAUKAB: Democracy cannot exist in a plural society as well as in a society where population is uneducated religious fanatics who can be easily persuaded to violence. Just tell them that the religion is under threat and they rise. India for all its faults is a democratic society where a chai walls can become the Prime Minister and the defeated parties accept their fate and religious leaders keep quiet and do not interfere. Of course even if they interfered the people would not listen


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