Two messages from May 11, 2014

Daily: Daily Times
Date: 14.05.14

The first message is that a Canadian national, Islamic cleric Dr Tahirul Qadri of the
Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT), can stir people in Pakistan to achieve the target of reforms
set by him in Canada for the welfare of Pakistanis. The other side of the message is that
the Pakistani people are still too naïve to understand the reason their benefactor prefers
the nationality of some other country to Pakistan’s nationality. If Qadri is feeling so much
pain for Pakistan, he should not have switched his loyalty (and nationality). One problem
with Pakistanis is that they do not question, they just follow. This trait is exploited by any
person who can make them emotional and there is no dearth of people in Pakistan who are
ready to join the emotive ranks of any party, especially when the party has a religious tinge.
Pakistanis can be made emotional in the name of religion. They think that in being
emotional lies their success in this world and salvation in the hereafter.

In a press release circulated to the media after concluding a rally on May 11, 2014, the PAT
has claimed that certain Articles of the constitution are not being followed in letter and spirit.
For instance, Article 11 is being violated by not prohibiting child labour (below the age of
14) in Pakistan. Similarly, Article 25 A is being violated by not giving every child free
education. The question is, has Qadri ever appealed to his followers or the Pakistani public
to resort to population control? Similarly, is there financial capacity in the country to provide
free justice to all under Article 37 D, which the PAT claims is not being acted upon? Even
those who are paying substantial fees to lawyers (and who also make possible the living of
those who run businesses around the courts) are not getting justice to their satisfaction,
then how can the concept of free justice deliver real justice in Pakistan? The PAT claims
that Article 38 is also not being followed, which otherwise offers provisions for the standard
of life, offers certainty about the distribution of wealth and guarantees the reduction of
poverty in society. Perhaps the PAT does not know that the dream envisioned through
Article 38 cannot be fulfilled if people do not become technically equipped with skills. The
PAT can use its power of mass mobilisation to make them learn technical skills to come out
of the shackles of poverty and live an honourable life. Is the PAT ready to turn its premises
into vocational institutes in the country? If yes, the Green Revolution, which the PAT claims
to have launched, will be rewarding; if not, the revolution will just be disappointing.

The PAT also claims that Article 63 has been violated as tax evaders and candidates with
criminal records have become parliamentarians through rigging. In this regard, the PAT
overlooks the fact that there was an independent election commission. There might have
taken place certain irregularities at certain places but the previous election was more free
and fair than in the past. If the system has the ability to improve, it can improve further. In
principle, the PAT should have launched its own candidates and gotten them elected to
show Pakistanis how legislators of repute can be elected to represent the people at the
provincial and national levels. Unfortunately, the PAT chickened out of the electoral
competition for fear of electoral rejection in 2013 and now thinks that by using the words
‘Green Revolution’, it can inspire Pakistanis in general to turn against the system.

The second message is that words can be eaten publicly, as done by Imran Khan of the
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) at D-Chowk, Islamabad. It was quite painful to hear him
speaking against ‘Aman ki Asha’, launched by a certain publication house, to foster peace
ties between Pakistan and India. This was not a hidden programme but an explicit one and
Khan himself praised it several times on television. As he has spoken out, Khan’s grievance
is that the television channel was favouring peace on the eastern border of Pakistan with
India but the channel was promoting war on the western border of Pakistan with the
Taliban. Khan expressed a related grievance: that he had been named ‘Taliban Khan’ by
the same television channel. In this way, Khan basically said that India (and another
country) is funding the television channel to work for peace on the eastern border while
escalating conflict on the western border of Pakistan and condemning all those, including
Khan, who are against any military action against the Taliban. This is the point where Khan
has aligned himself with the General Hameed Gul school of thought.

One trait is now apparent in Khan and that is his (immense) political immaturity, which is on
display. He seems like a reactionary and intolerant of electoral defeat. Politics is not cricket;
he has not yet understood this point. In the past, Khan used names such as ‘Jangla
brothers’ and ‘Dengue brothers’ to belittle and deride Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif. If a
politician such as Sheikh Rasheed resorts to such name calling, it may be understandable.
However, the level to which Khan has stooped is not a good omen for Pakistani politics or
perhaps it is expressive of the true level of Khan. Nevertheless, the demand for having a
biometric system of voting next time is a good one but this can be made without maligning
and accusing others. Earlier, Khan tried to establish a nexus between the electoral victory
of Nawaz Sharif and the role of the same television channel. Iftikhar Ahmed, the in-charge
of the electoral cell on the same television channel, has been waiting for the past 200 hours
for the appearance of Khan or any member of his team to prove the allegations levelled at
the channel.

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