Games people play

Exceeding the norms of propriety from time to time, Imran’s tactics have been reasonably successful. Once

Ikram Sehgal September 17, 2014
Games people play

Imran Khan has irritated some in the drawing rooms of Pakistan with his rather disconcerting tactics and fiery rhetoric. However, with a Zulfikar Ali Bhutto-type method to his madness, he has struck a deep chord among the masses of Pakistan aiming for meaningful and effective democracy from the grassroots level upwards. For every vote lost in the drawing rooms, he is possibly getting thousands more from those who have no drawing rooms. Flood victims protesting Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif’s visits and the recent PIA incidents are symbolic that the general public is reacting. Galvanised by his message, the youth are joining the electoral rolls in droves, the demography is on his side.

The electronic media perceptions of Shaikh Rasheed whispering sweet nothings in his ears makes a lot of Imran’s well-wishers want to throw up. Those allegedly using Shaikh Rasheed as a conduit to Imran Khan’s needs to get their heads examined.

Aberrations like enormous funds being diverted from other priorities for the Metro Bus projects notwithstanding, one cannot detract from Shahbaz Sharif’s efforts to deliver governance in Punjab. However the deliberate prevarication in applying the rule of law despite the unambiguous indictment in the June 17 Model Town tragedy delivered by a one-man High Court judge tribunal is damning! Reportedly, the incriminating evidence of the Direct Conversation Record (DCR) is the “smoking gun” “why have the ‘shooters’ not come into action?”! Can the true picture about the Model Town horror ever emerge while Shahbaz remains CM?

Meant to shore up “democracy”, live TV coverage of the joint session of Parliament backfired in public perception, exposing the self-serving motivated intent of our legislators. The absolute farce on display in our Assemblies was disastrous. Our parliamentarians are desperate to maintain the feudal status quo, preferably without local government!

The obnoxious stories targetting the army for ‘scriptwriting’ is partly the khakis’ own fault. Five general officers close to retiring or being newly promoted does not matter, what matters is the consensus the COAS evolves from his Corps Comds, which he must convey to the prime minister, not publicly but privately. In previous years the generals gave the commands for intervention and the soldiers were content following orders, this time around the rank and file are unanimously aligned with the message Imran and Tahirul Qadri are delivering.  There is a vast difference between supporting a political party or supporting a message, in this case the song more than the singers!  Whatever their personal feelings, the generals have to take notice of the feelings widely pervasive in their command. Understanding that military intervention could be disastrous if the previous ‘scripts’ are followed, give a mature military hierarchy credit for standing by seeing their country being looted while their soldiers continue giving the ultimate sacrifice in Fata and Swat. Give the generals (not five but all) credit for remaining patient in the face of grave provocation created by badmouthing through outright lies by fabrication and double-speak, not only in the joint session but outside Parliament.

Exceeding the norms of propriety from time to time, Imran’s tactics have been reasonably successful. Once the electoral system is remedied by Parliament, the rulers will have a moral obligation to get a fresh mandate according to the reforms, it will also fulfill a legal necessity. Instead of going for an “overkill”, everyone will be better off if the “sit-inners” adopt the KISS (keep it simple, stupid) formula, concentrate simply on reforming the electoral system.

Failure to keep one’s aim simple can complicate matters that will lead to frustration and rage, that can turn into violence. What will our patient generals do then, shoot thousands to prevent anarchy?

Published in The Express Tribune, September 18th, 2014.

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Syed Ahmad | 9 years ago | Reply

I feel sometimes the comments are motivated rather than being objective. Attacking the personality of the authors reflects bias and prejudice. I suggest we should focus on the intellectual integrity of the author, the issues raised and the facts presented. I find Mr. Ikram Seghal has been frank and fair in analysis. The issues highlighted by him are real and close to the hearts of many. The solutions and recommendations made by him do reflect his patriotism and deep sense of loyalty to Mr. Jinnah's vision of Pakistan. I feel his critics have issues with his unflinching love for Pakistan and his hope for the future of the country.

Akram Hafeez | 9 years ago | Reply

Enemies of this country admire writers like Ayesha Siddiqa for their biased opinions against Pakistan army, and patriotic writers like Mr. Sehgal are targeted by them. The people recently stood up against the flight being delayed due to one VIP because they saw thousands standing up in the capital for more than a month. Sometimes you need a push and IK has given that push. But those who would continue to blame the establishment won't understand this as it will hurt their ego. The definition of change can be different for different people. Those for whom this dharna has been a complete "failure" are overlooking many realities.

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