In my previous article on the same subject, my friend, Max, had been skeptical, and commented, that as in the past, this tsunami would also turn into a ripple and an ebbing tide.
However, it seems that this time, both Imran Khan and Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri mean business and seem to be well prepared, especially after they announced, that they will march side by side to the Federal Capital on 14th of August.
This confirms the fact that this time the tsunami will be unstoppable and will succeed in flooding the quiet and tranquil streets of Islamabad with a sea of men, women and children. But the success and outcome of the march will all depend on what role the army and the LEA play when push comes to shove.
Dr. TQ has warned the LEA’s not to obey the orders of their superiors and refuse to fire on the citizens, which we have already witnessed on our TV screens. IK has appealed to the Armed Forces not to intervene, if ordered to do so.
So, as we wait for morning of the 14th and the possibility of clashes between the opposition and the government, we can only hope that the Azadi March and the Opposition’s Revolution do not end-up in bloody clashes.
But the Pundits of Doom and Gloom were proved wrong,for as the overall law and order situation during the Azadi and Inqilab marches by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and Awami Tehreek, remained calm, except an isolated incident which left four policemen injured.
The political temperatures were relatively cool, when police started removing hurdles after the provincial government allowed PAT chief Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri and his followers to march on to Islamabad. The long marches set out separately for Islamabad from Lahore as the government allowed them to enter the federal capital. Earlier in the day, unprecedented police deployment and hurdles were witnessed in and around Model Town to prevent PAT leadership and its thousands of activists from launching their march.
Areas of Model Town, Faisal Town, and Garden Town remained completely sealed till Thursday noon along with suspension of cell phone services. However, later thousands of PAT activists led by Dr. Qadri left for Islamabad, through D-Block Model Town after police removed containers. Dr. Qadri procession then moved on to Ferozpure Road.
Even after the PAT rally’s departure, police remained present at all barricades till Thursday evening. They also removed some containers, barriers and barbed wires from different streets and arteries.
DIG Operations told a group of unidentified PAT activists, that allegedly armed with clubs and sticks, captured four on-duty constables and subjected them to severe torture around 5pm.
He said Rescue 1122 ambulances shifted the injured policemen to the Lahore General Hospital, where one constable was stated to be in a critical condition for internal head injury, while the other injured colleagues were also under treatment.
The police claimed that 50pc of the police deployment and containers placed in and around Model Town had been removed. Only nominal deployment would be in place around Minhaj-Ul-Quran secretariat. Police escort led by two additional SPs was also provided for security of PAT rally as soon as it reached Ferozpure Road. A visit to Model Town and its adjacent localities showed that policemen remained alert with prison vans, water cannons, rescue 1122 water trucks, tear-gas, sticks and shields to counter PAT activists till the government allowed the march to proceed.
Majority of police reserves and lady police, who were deployed in and around Model Town, were seen sitting or standing in the shade due to the scorching heat.
By the time PAT began its rally from Model Town’s M Block, not a single policeman or vehicle was seen escorting it as stick-wielding PAT force guarded the caravan of buses and vehicles. Meanwhile, policemen and traffic wardens were found missing from important crossings, where they were deployed to check Independence Day revelers on motorcycles and cars. Most of policemen were busy with handling political rallies at the cost of their law and order duties in connection with the freedom day.
Huge traffic congestions were reported on Canal Road, The Mall, Jail Road, Gulberg’s Main Boulevard, and Ferozpur Road because of the political gatherings and Independence Day celebrations.
But overall, all remained peaceful, except for a few ‘trouble-makers’, who tried to disrupt the Kafla, and they were soon removed from the scene and now, there is a possibility that we might soon see two new Captains at the wheel of this gigantic, battered and unsinkable Titanic, with a 180 million passengers, change course in a turbulent and rough sea, sail this limping vessel into a safe harbor free of corruption, introduce a just social order, and improve the quality of life of the million of citizens, who struggle every day just to survive.
A tall order perhaps and almost a Mission Impossible, but an order that has to be fulfilled, for if both these opposition leaders fail to remove the PM and the present government, introduces the changes and implement the promises of a NEW Pakistan, free from corruption, electoral reforms, free and transparent elections, a just social order, and an end to the daily hardships of the people and fail to deliver even 40% of what they are promising, then it well be another betrayal and another sad day for the wretched millions, who are promised a change in our system of governance and end up with the usual nothing.
And if that happens, then all the King’s Men and Women will not be able to stop the Hounds of Baskerville that will descend on Islamabad and the cities of Pakistan. Neither the Preacher from Canada nor the Captain from Punjab will be able to restrain the Hounds. And to save the day, the Men in Khaki will have to step into the arena and save Pakistan from plunging into chaos and anarchy. Many analysts of Pakistani politics are of the opinion that it has always been the original game plan of the army, to find a way to re-enter the political arena, after the mess created by Gen. Musharraf.
Hence, enter Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri, a man brought in from the cold and give them an opportunity to return from the barracks and march through the city streets, removing the trouble makers and restoring law and order.
What follows is anybody’s guess.
The writer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org