Had Maulana Azad been around, he would have said something rather simple, yet very true: “I told you so.” As much as we dislike the grim picture of Pakistan that Maulana Azad had once painted in his time, he was perhaps right. Pakistan is in the news very often, and mostly because of some crisis or turmoil. Back to back, one after another. The ruling class, whether plain clothed or uniformed, seems to be cocooned in its own little world, creating such never ending frenzy and chaos at its own whim.
Yes, the late Maulana had sensed that the people around Mr Jinnah were not visionaries and that the lack of such people of foresight was going to cost the once nascent country very dearly. The present government as incompetent, inept and at times silly as it is, is a mirror image of what the Maulana must have sensed many years ago. The country is going through its cyclical and usual turmoil. The uniformed have opened up a war front in the mountainous region up north and the silly government has been acting like a warrior on the political field with all and sundry. Too many fronts and too many battles so that it finds itself stretched thin. Whether it is the military, ISI, electronic media, Imran Khan or Tahirul Qadri, you name it and our incumbents are in combative mode with everyone.
It may be acceptable to open multiple fronts, provided you are slick and capable enough of handling such multiple and complex onslaughts simultaneously. Unfortunately, with utter respect to the ruling party of the PML-N, they are very poor in political acumen. One would have thought that Mr Nawaz Sharif would have learned his lesson from his prior stints but it sure seems like the capital and its premiership do not bode well for Mr Sharif’s senses. In Urdu, there is a saying, “Aa bail mujhey maar” (Oh bull come and hit me). Both the Prime Minister (PM) and Chief Minister (CM) are trying very hard to draw the attention of every raging bull towards themselves.
Although by now the incident of Model Town has grown old, it is a prime example of the follies of the two brothers. Yes, both may pretend that they knew nothing but that in itself opens up a whole new dimension of ineptness and incompetence. I agree with many gifted analysts that the respected CM, Mr Shahbaz Sharif, should have resigned as well. That would have given an immediate boost to his political stature. In politics, perception means everything. Making tough decisions and giving the impression of true leadership to constituents and opponents sends strong signals.
Instead, this Qadri drama has really exposed the follies and political immaturities of the current administration. Had the Model Town incident been avoided, Mr Qadri would have been cooling his heels in the Canadian Rockies, especially in light of the war theatre in North Waziristan. However, both rather politically challenged brothers just had to hand it on a platter to the attention-deprived Mr Qadri. So, from there on, it has been a comedy of errors — one after another, from each side. One of my fellow scribes very aptly commented recently that our government has still not come to grips with the fact that it is the ‘elected’ government. It is acting like it is an opposition party itself. The tit-for-tat with Qadri is the high point of its folly. The poor government fails to understand that Qadri is baiting them at every step and they respond to all of his tantrums and antics.
Let us not single out our unsavvy ruling party. There are pretend experts, analysts and journalists on the idiot box openly painting the picture of a military takeover. One such ‘medical doctor’ turned ‘political analyst’ openly told his female co-host to talk about the only possibility ahead, and that is martial law. One has to just sigh at the audacity and gall of such treasonous gibberish being uttered on the idiot box. These nightly ringmasters want their circus to flourish at any cost. For what happened in Model Town, there is no justification for that at all. The police used excessive force and killed unarmed civilians. Besides convictions, there should be statutory, compensatory and punitive damages paid to the victims. By the same token, one cannot defend Mr Qadri’s supporters in Islamabad when they wounded law enforcement personnel. The madness is on and the people are being totally sucked into this revolutionary nonsense. For the very dim, there is no such thing on the horizon. Mr Qadri is no Imam Khomeini and Pakistan is not Iran. The follies committed by Mr Qadri at Lahore Airport, that too with a foreign airline, just add to the layers of insanity that we are now known around the world for.
Mr Qadri has a personal vendetta against the Sharifs and he acts as quite the charlatan. The problem with the Sharifs is that they are hung up in the old days and with the old baggage. A government that succumbs to noise and overreacts to every distraction is perhaps good for schoolyard squabbles and not for a country of millions.
The writer is a Pakistani-American mortgage banker. He blogs at http://dasghar.blogspot.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He tweets at http://twitter.com/dasghar