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Where is the patriotism?


The current status quo prevalent in the country seems to reflect a rather different approach towards celebrating Pakistan’s sixty-seventh independence. Yes, this country never ceases to amaze when it comes to hardcore politics, but 2014 has been more ambitious a year vis-à-vis drama, politics and rivalries. 
The closer we get to the much-awaited 14 August, the more the chaos around the country. When I write chaos, I mean the literal meaning – absolute disorder and confusion. Instead of uniting on the day when Pakistan turns another year older, we display ourselves in manners, which resemble the actions of true hooligans. Who’s to blame? Well, if only there were one party responsible for this madness. Sadly, all those in power have played an equal role in bringing the nation to this stage. 
Firstly, Kaptaan Khan, the so-called saviour to all those residing in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), needs to come to terms with his denial that the elections are over and that his party is solely responsible for the well-being of KP and its residents. Merely supporting anti-polio campaigns and education initiatives will not suffice. There needs to be an unequivocal statement made by the great Imran Khan, which should ensure that he is here to stay, come what may. For now, he needs to be the face of KP, not the face of Pakistan. 
The sensible play for Khan would have been to accept what his party received without chewing more than he could bite. KP, being a hub to terrorist hideouts, was the perfect province to make a statement and mark his territory. Perhaps, winning the trust of the people of KP by taking on the security situation head on would have been a better move.
Ranting on about fraudulent elections is certainly not the smartest of decisions; especially when you are in the middle of an ongoing war. Yes, Zarb-e-Azb began recently, but your rhetoric has been going on for over a year without any plausible outcome. The country is already on the brink of war with extremist organisations. The last thing we need is unnecessary political drama. 
If I remember correctly, 14 August was supposed to be a day of celebration and joy. It was a day when the people of Pakistan came together to take part in festivities as a mark of our ‘Azadi’ as opposed to committing themselves to long marches. It was a day when youngsters hung Pakistani flags on their cars as a sign of patriotism, not the flags of political parties. It was a day when the world knew that Pakistan was born and that we are proud to be Pakistanis, not a day when we are uncertain about which political party to support. 
Clearly, times have changed. The blame game can keep going on but the honest truth hurts. It is as simple as this; Imran Khan should have displayed his dissatisfaction more sensibly. Holding Azadi March as a disguise to front your own displeasure over last year’s elections is just downright selfish. There could easily have been a better day for this fine debacle. 
Dr Tahirul Qadri, on the other hand, also thought it wise to join the bandwagon and make his statement. I am sure he is very proud of his ‘so-called’ followers and how they have portrayed themselves by resorting straight to violence. Agreed that the police may have used extra force, but what did he expect of a country, which is on the verge of turmoil? The police lack training and people lack patience. It was inevitable. Repeating history will simply make things worse and he, alone, will bear the responsibility for any unforeseen act. Even more alarming is how Imran Khan is betting on Dr Qadri’s support for his march. Goes to show how secure Khan actually feels when committing to something. 
In addition, there is the heated debate regarding the functions of the Armed Forces acting in aid of civil power under Article 245 of the constitution. Given the current security situation around the country, it is not the worst idea having the armed forces guard the federal capital. With Khan and Dr Qadri coming in around Independence Day, our security forces require as much manpower as they can get. The Taliban have been making open threats to the media. Imran Khan’s long march and Dr Qadri’s observation of Youm-e-Shuhada will attract almost all of the country’s media channels. We cannot afford another big hit. Hence, thinking smart instead of thinking selfish would prove more pragmatic in the long run. Kaptaan and Canada’s very own would be practical in causing less drama than that which they have already caused. 
Therefore, in light of such drama and chaos one must pause and think – are we truly where we should be at this given point in time? Has Pakistan achieved that what it was set out to achieve? Have we done justice to the suffering of those who sacrificed their lives to bring Pakistan on the map? Have we learnt anything but at all from the failures of those previously in power, or do we simply continue to follow them? Do we wish to change the face of this country, or do we just move on achieving the bare minimum without thinking of the consequences of our actions? It’s time to change. It’s time to come together as a nation. Sadly, petty politics is not the answer. Pakistan Zindabaad.


The writer is a research analyst at a think-tank.

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