The hottest place in hell is reserved for those, who in the time of great moral crises, preserve their neutrality.’ Many peers and friends have satisfied themselves to tilt one way or the other in search of heaven. But my compass is skewed, I would rather go to hell than be in heaven and stay eternally conflicted as to whether I made the right choice.

This is an open letter to all political parties to justify themselves and convince the undecided to support them. I need help to get to heaven and I have questions which emanate from the complex political war game being employed by all. So, here is my ‘shikwa’, and while undoubtedly it will lack Iqbal’s vision, I do hope for a ‘jawab-e-shikwa’.

1. The numbers game. PTI built it up as the million man march, but they failed to reach anywhere near that mark despite inflated numbers through PAT supporters. The ‘junoonis’ it would appear, are not that junooni. On the flip side, PML-N needs to realise that when its Government is being rebelled against, there is no pride in winning a numbers game, especially when people have been sitting through torrid weather conditions for 20 days.

2. The Government’s Hypersomnia. The Government keeps treating Imran Khan as just a retired cricketer. Newsflash: when a person has been a politician for almost 20 years, it is time to shave off that tag. When an issue is raised by the second largest party in Pakistan, have a few cans of Red Bull and stay awake. React swiftly, and appease the situation. The hypersomnia’s effect on brain functions started with Model Town, unjustifiable by any humane set of rules, and continues to package every infirm decision being taken. This is a result of decisions being made in closed quarters by a certain few, with decisions being prejudiced by personal ambition.

3. The ‘Give Me More’ Demands. PTI demanded investigation of 4 constituencies for electoral rigging. PTI produced circumstantial evidence in support, and then threatened to launch nation-wide protests. Throughout, the Government just slept. The night before the Azadi March, the Government offered openness to scrutiny. (Is this really what it takes for you to react?) But before chanting, ‘Go Nawaz Go’, Mr. Khan, be reasonable! You marched to Islamabad. Your further intrusion to Aabpara was also allowed. Seemingly unsatisfied by the PM’s refusal to resign, you entered the red zone, and were still accommodated. And then you have the gall to attempt entry into state buildings, where you were the stalwart against drone attacks on the touchstone of Pakistan’s sovereignty? It is extremely hard to balance massive shelling on citizens with hostility on the Parliament’s premises, but you forced that hand. Your slogan of peaceful protest lost its innocence. Your biggest draw, Mr. Javed Hashmi, also distanced himself, stating that this action was against the party’s decision. Mr. Khan, be it your cricketing career, Shaukat Khanum Hospital, the university or politics, you deserve commendation. Continue with your struggle to achieve greatness, but please do not make these baffling decisions. All your claims of rigging may be true, but please let the system change in its due course of time, and personally convince yourself that even if you never become PM and are resigned to the history books as the man who brought change in the country’s electoral process forever, it is an achievement just as great, if not greater.

4. A Game of Thrones. The PM is unwilling to resign, and while he should not resign, the motive does not appear to be the preservation of the democratic system, but to remain on the Iron Throne. And the PTI is not really protesting for democracy either. If it was, I would have snapped up the deal on offer, a consequence of which could have led to the PM’s resignation. But the PTI wants power now, and has used various political manoeuvres to achieve this goal.

5. Pakistan Army. For all my respect for the Army, I am against Army intervention in politics. Where all other institutions failed, the Army succeeded in stopping the marches, and the protestors cheered for them. Is the Army Pakistan’s godfather? Why should General Raheel Shareef, who by all accounts is an outstanding leader of men, intervene when the legacies of Ayub, Zia and Musharraf are defined by disgraced endings? And yet, the Government has sought its intervention with Mr. Sharif smearing the Parliament’s unanimous mandate to stay as PM. However, a certain leader of PTI has also been meeting with the top brass on a regular basis, which casts a sinister shadow over the whole thing. ‘Naya Pakistan’ may just be ‘refurbished and serviced Pakistan’, and require fine tuning once more in a few years.

6. The Political Martyrs. The Government remains rigid, yet their actions and inactions have left the country open to destruction. They are inciting intervention, perhaps due to a belief that if it happens, they can leave as political martyrs, dislodged at the cusp of Pakistan’s revival. PTI is also in limbo, despite knowing full well when they headed out, that the PM probably would not resign. They are ready and willing to get beaten up and tear-gassed before returning, so they can claim that the resignation was about to be inked when the ‘intervention’ happened. Long live the political martyrs.

Mr. Khan, Mr. Sharif, to what extents are you willing to go if your godfather stays mum (because it has a certain Zarb-e-Azb to worry about)? Does any stakeholder have the gall to give answers, or does hypersomnia kick in once more until we start worrying about something else?

The writer is an Advocate of the High Courts, having been called to the Bar at Lincoln’s Inn in England and Wales, and an avid golfer, cricketer and basketball player.

usman.sahi@clm.com.pk