The R in Evolution

Published: November 15, 2014
The writer is Executive Director News, Express News. He tweets @fahdhusain

The writer is Executive Director News, Express News. He tweets @fahdhusain

There is a fear lurking in the shadows. It is a fear that preys on optimism and feeds on dread. It is here, there, somewhere and everywhere. Are you sensing it?

Pakistan is gradually sliding back into the old normal. The signs are everywhere. The stench of the government’s arrogance is slowly and tortuously blending with noxious odour of its masterly inactivity. We now appear to be wading back into the rot.

Is there no escaping the vicious tentacles of the status quo? As this shattering reality slowly dawns upon the dreamy-eyed among us, fear begins to well up. What if this is it? What if the tide has weakened? What if hope is fading?

What if Nawaz Sharif has won and Imran Khan has lost?

The visual evidence is surprisingly potent. The dharnas are all but fizzling out; Tahirul Qadri has hopped, skipped and jumped to Canada; the army is sitting out this political battle; the political parties are satiated because they get to keep their fingers in the national pie; and even the media is now slowly losing interest. Yes indeed, the November 30 march on Islamabad will make waves, and perhaps ratchet up the pressure on Sharif and his merry men, but it will not change the inevitable: Nawaz Sharif stays prime minister.

This is the best thing that could have happened. This is the worst thing that could have happened.

Confused? This evident contradiction best highlights the unbearable dilemma that we face: how to proceed with gradual evolution and yet smash this rotting status quo with revolutionary zeal. The logic goes like this: if you force out Sharif like Khan wants to, you’re playing into the hands of the anti-democratic forces and undermining democracy. But if you let Sharif and his brand of politics stay, you’re strengthening the status quo. So you scratch your head, and ask yourself: should I wait for the Sharifs to ultimately reform themselves, change their thinking, alter their worldview and transform themselves into path-breaking statesmen? Or should I roll up my sleeves, fire up my passion, and vow to bring down the Sharifs for the good of this nation?

The problem is we have locked ourselves into deeply polarised political positions and pegged ourselves to specific personalities and their agendas; and by hunkering down in political trenches, we may be losing sight of the national landscape that lies in ruins.

Step back for a moment and review the landscape. Has Sharif won? No. Has Khan lost? No. Does it matter at this point? Not really.

Allow me to unpeg you from personalities. Loyalty to a cause is always nobler than loyalty to a person. Sharif has made blunders. So has Khan. The system almost ground to a halt. Then petty politicking took over. Now Khan is struggling to extricate himself from the corner he himself pushed himself into. The government can lend him a hand. But it won’t. Yes it won’t because it thinks petty, sounds petty and acts petty. There will be tactical moves and counter-moves, but the strategic reality is that Sharif will stay in government and Khan in the opposition.

Which is fine. For now. While the tumultuous events since August may not have altered the political composition in Islamabad, they have dramatically transformed the way we perceive politics. For some, the most important fact is that Sharif hangs on to power that they believe he acquired through the ballot box. For others, the perseverance of Khan against heavy odds is the defining aspect of the dharnas. But these are person-oriented gains.

The real revolution within this evolution is the rediscovery of the Pakistani spirit. Yes, a spirit that propels hearts and minds into a glorious future where justice and merit stalk this land instead of fear and loathing. It is this spirit, this determination to make Pakistan a better place for all of us and our children, that is making us think beyond day-to-day political manoueverings. It is this new-found idealism wrapped in a can-do attitude that is enabling us to delve deeper into how we can trigger a revolution within the slowly unfolding process of evolution.

Let’s talk evolution. It means continuity of the present way of governance. It means giving time for the system to mature; allowing for Parliament to reform electoral laws that will ensure completely free and fair elections. Evolution means trusting the present and future governments to — at some point — realise that investing in human beings is the first and last priority of every ruler. It means allowing another five decades to pass before all Pakistani children can go to school, because education will not become the top priority of any ruler any time soon. Evolution means placing the future of your children in the laps of rulers who rise to power through a restrictive system and have no incentive to change it. Evolution means hoping and praying that the second, third, fourth and fifth generations of the present lot will suddenly grow a heart and decide to reform whatever is left of the moth-eaten system. Evolution means expecting global progress and advancement to take a time-out so the Bhuttos, Sharifs and their like can play catch up.

Wanna chance it? Why don’t you roll up a snowball, toss it into hell, and see what chance it has.

If evolution has to work, it needs a strong dosage of revolution. No, not the violent, overthrowing kind of revolution, but the type that speeds up things and filters the filth out of the system. Goal — as Napoleon Hill wrote — is a dream with a deadline. We need a deadlined evolution. Yes, the rulers and their minions will need to be put inside a public opinion pressure cooker with the release valve sealed. They will need to be pushed and shoved into reforming fast.

One thing is clear: this stinking status quo cannot — must not — endure. And those who cannot smash it, must be pushed aside to make way for those who can, and will, put the R in evolution.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 16th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (21)

  • Umar
    Nov 16, 2014 - 12:31AM

    ‘Yes indeed, the November 30 march on Islamabad will make waves…..but it will not change the inevitable: Nawaz Sharif stays prime minister.’

    ‘And those who cannot smash it, must be pushed aside to make way for those who can, and will, put the R in evolution.’

    I am at a loss to understand what the writer is advocating. If 30th November will not make a difference, if PTI cannot ‘smash’ the status quo then who will put the R in evolution ?


  • Parvez
    Nov 16, 2014 - 12:31AM

    Out of all the people I have been reading on this subject you seem to understand the situation and you also have the unique ability to express your thoughts ( incidentally mine as well ) extremely well.
    The thing to understand is that Imran Khan has won and won big…….because he has forced the people to open their eyes and say ‘ this what is happening is wrong ‘. If the status quo advocates refuse to understand this simple truth……they do so at their peril. Injustice and inequality can not last forever…..something will have to give, lets hope its not the country.


  • Humair Khan
    Nov 16, 2014 - 12:36AM

    Beautiful article enough to open eyes of leaders of PPP & PMLN who wants to run Pakistan with their stone age ideas


  • Faisal Hameed
    Nov 16, 2014 - 12:56AM

    Depression is some how setting in. Do we really deserve nothing better. Go Nawaz Go has such a nice sound to it.


  • Sarah Rehman
    Nov 16, 2014 - 1:24AM

    One can only hope against hope that these rulers with an insatiable hunger for money will ever bring relief to the citizens. Instead, they would continue stealing their mandate and playing havoc with their lives. In my opinion they do not deserve another chance, rather they should be taken to task now because we’ve just had enough of their dirty politics!


  • Masood
    Nov 16, 2014 - 5:04AM

    Yes, I agree with Fahad that we definitely need to put the “R” in the evolution. But we also need to rise and contribute our share for putting this “R”. Our society must do it right now and join hands with the forces struggling to do it and calling us everyday to join them. Otherwise we will miss the deadline and may see another 68 or may be several decades wasted in waiting for another such opportunity.
    This support needs to be extended urgently. Specially in view of recent news that a “Revised and Updated 2014 edition of London Plan” with new chapters on politics of “Mufahemat” and “Muk Muka” is soon going to be released in the market and status-quo intends to apply the recipes given in the book as soon as possible.


  • ObserverUSA
    Nov 16, 2014 - 5:17AM

    “Evolution means trusting the present and future governments to — at some point — realise that investing in human beings is the first and last priority of every ruler. It means allowing another five decades to pass before all Pakistani children can go to school, because education will not become the top priority of any ruler any time soon.”
    Evolution or revolution, realistically it would take Pakistani children to go to school, yes, in five decades, that means all children and that is because no matter what, Pakistan is not going to have the resources to send all children to school anytime sooner. Do you ever do a feasibility analysis ever?
    “They will need to be pushed and shoved into reforming fast.” Yes, they have been. Don’t you see the urgency and the speed that the Government has picked up? Any stronger “dosage of revolution” is likely to be counterproductive and would put Pakistan into a negative trajectory.


  • Z H Hashmi
    Nov 16, 2014 - 8:08AM

    I am ready to bury a past of last 25 years , since my adolescence till early 40s. A quarter century more or so left . and the idea that in these 25 years i have to see and bear up with the next generation of Mounis , Maryum , Hamza , Bilawel and other siblings,set of cousins , bro /sister in laws and son in laws in provincial / national assemblies, alas! .Alas we could not stand with Khan, politically he might be seen as loosing an inch day by day, but i don’t think so. What Bhutto did 40 years back that he brought the common man out on streets. IK has brought the youth and specially urban youth out. The demography is in favour of IK wherein more than 60 % population is around 35 -40 or below will definitely come out in next election.
    Any way for me it is not Hubb e Ali , it is BUghz e Maa’wiya that frustrates.


  • Asad Mian
    Nov 16, 2014 - 12:06PM

    I believe … I will continue to believe … PTI needs to PUSH HARD for REFORM not OUSTER OF GOVT. 30th Nov ripples should be used to that effect. Push the NS Govt. in a corner for reforms.


  • nadeem
    Nov 16, 2014 - 12:12PM

    We have a long history of military interventions none of which did anything revolutionary to reform the system. This is why many people like me who smell anything resembling military intervention – the kind of smell we had when both Imran and Qadri ran off to meet the Chief with uncontrollable glee – are forced to defend the indefensible “system”. Before any meaningful legislative reform takes place, the civil-military disequilibrium will need to be rectified.


  • y
    Nov 16, 2014 - 12:45PM

    Honestly, if IK fails, it is solely because of the Pakistani awaam. So if IK fails God forbid, which he wont InshAllah (and considering the current political atmosphere it doesnt look like he’d fail either), then Pakistanis should shut up and accept their fate because they’re the ones who let the Sharifs and the Zardaris stay at the top.


  • sidjeen
    Nov 16, 2014 - 12:47PM

    and yet when we pointed out these things we were called patwaris even though we have absolutely no sympathy with N-league. i ask you when five of the six demands of imran khan were agreed to by N-league why he did not agree to it. thats why we called him a naive politician thats why he has a hand in the continuity of the status quo.


  • abida
    Nov 16, 2014 - 4:15PM

    ” Loyalty to a cause is always nobler than loyalty to a person. ”
    The only thing people need to understand and dilemma is,nobody does.


  • nosh ali
    Nov 16, 2014 - 4:27PM

    I can not understand as to why do you want to oust Nawaz and destabilize this democracy which is nothing but in infancy right now …. While the entire system requires overhaul and there is no doubt on it but it will be unfair to put all the blame of the so called ‘Status quo’ politicians. How can one ignore the fact that this country was run for the longest time by dictators so they must share the responsibility of it and held accountable. These ‘Status Quo’ politicians were born and in flourished in the laps of these dictators. They learnt the art of surviving while ensuring their masters ruled smoothly. But then there is hope and we should all be thinking positively about that. Yes the evolution requires some revolutionary steps and the right way to do it is putting pressure at the right forums, mobilizing media to work in the larger interest of this nation and not just selfish purposes, resort to streets as and when required but don’t derail the system, don’t take the power of Vote from ordinary pakistan… the same Pakistani who cut the once powerful PPP to the size of small regional Party in 5 years… The same citizen will bring the real evolution with and R in this country…. The fruits of democracy take time as they did in India or US or any other successful democracy of the world. But derailing is not an option, that only makes the ‘STATUS QUO’ heroes again. The choice is ours whether we want the Real sustained, long term change or continue with STATUS QUO with occasional blips of change here and there …


  • KT Shamim
    Nov 16, 2014 - 4:38PM

    Good problem statement but bad solution.

    In the end only Divine hand’s involvement in evolution enabled it to succeed otherwise if only Darwin’s theory was to take hold then “might was right” which is not true many times. So, in our evolution, the Divine Hand ensured that humans were the final product over a billion or so years. Survival of the fittest only took hold at the very limit.

    So, in the same way, unless people are changed from grass roots to adopt higher moral and spiritual values VOLUNTARILY they will fail to change. In fact they will change for the worse. Pakistan, if we really insist on your Revolution, will become a jungle. Status quo would remain the same.

    To change people from inside a moral revolution is required. And in the history moral revolutions have only appeared via Divine intervention … via Prophets of God. That is the reason the Promised Messiah, slave of Islam, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was sent by God. To bring about a moral and spiritual revolution in people’s hearts.


  • Javeed
    Nov 16, 2014 - 5:41PM

    No doubt IK has an ambition to become PM however that is not for his personal gains but for the prosperity of Pakistan. He knows that living life only as a philanthropist may change the lives of some individuals but not of a nation. For that the political process needs to be cleaned up, merit and justice system need to be brought. This can only be achieved by reaching at the top where u have all the powers to make such change. Why don’t the Nawaz brothers bring merit system and curtail corruption as they do have the powers, the eminent reason seems that they are the beneficiary of the very rotten system. We need a person at top who has nothing to fear for a real change.


  • omer
    Nov 16, 2014 - 6:27PM

    Great read. Who will put the R in evolution? R is definitely needed. The sacrifice of more than 50000 people should be allowed to go in vain? When you think keeping those numbers on your shoulders you have to think wise. It doesn’t matter what happens. But all those sacrifices must not go in vain. Pakistan is on a critical juncture in its history. And only faith can prevent it from plunging into darkness. Peace must be an end result. But with preparations for the worst. Its time to bargain. With the world. On the shoulders of 50000 martyrs.


  • spiki
    Nov 17, 2014 - 1:18AM

    your articles only help me improve my vocabulary.


  • Lt Col Imtiaz Alam (retd)
    Nov 17, 2014 - 1:14PM

    It is a lopsided view. The current Imbroglio is a change in the Status Quo. Right versus Wrong. Truth versus Falsehood.


  • Tariq
    Nov 17, 2014 - 10:20PM

    The answer is simple. Hold PML-N accountable in the next elections. Vote them out if they do not perform.

    The trouble is, Imran is fearful that people will also hold HIM accountable for the performance of PTI as the governing party in KP. He knows that convincing a majority of Pakistanis that PML-N deserves to be thrown out is only step 1. He also needs to convince the same people that the PTI deserves to be voted in in place of PML-N. To do that he has to perform in KP, and I believe he realizes that if people start judging his party by its performance in KP, he may not get three seats in the next Parliament.

    This is why Immy is trying his undemocratic dharnas. To deflect attention from his sorry performance as the majority party in KP. He realizes that at all costs he must not allow the Pakistani voters to start paying attention to PTI performance in KP if he has any chance at winning in 2017.

    I don’t think it will work. Pakistanis are smarter than this blog writer and various starry eyed KPI supporters give them credit. They can see through handsome Khan’s tricks.


  • Atif
    Nov 17, 2014 - 10:48PM

    Very well written article covering the major issue that carries in the mind off this nation.
    This evolution will be carrying R sooner as the mindset of nation is being changed of nation.
    I cannot able to defend myself when NY nephew ask why Maryam was appointed and why she resigned……what if he ever caught by police; whether we will be able to release him with justice. Etc etc…….and I remain clueless…
    Winning or losing is destined but the change has transformed the thinking process of out nation.
    Thanks to all who are contributing above…evev this was never happened:)


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