As I have said many a time before that, for whatever strange reasons, we in Pakistan are not able to plan or look too far ahead. We can only see up to wherever our noses are, even when it’s absolutely clear weather. Besides, we are given to excitement by temperament. So, while the analysts are pulling at our reins and saying ‘whoa’, there are still quite a few of us wishing for Doctor Tahirul Qadri to pull a miracle and help in bringing about a change for the betterment of the people. It may happen as early as January 14, nine days from now.

It does sound definitely odd that a person who has not been a part of Pakistan’s mainstream politics and who has been living in Canada since the past four years or so quietly should be able to come back just before the elections and make demands which have shocked the two main parties out of their comfort zones. Obviously, they are not going to like it. As this is a serious issue about getting hold of power all guns have been turned full volume on to the doctor who is threatening to rock the boat and in the process maybe also drown some who thought they had the crown in their pocket – all set to be reworn.

While I know which party I am going to support in the elections let me put on record what I find interesting about Doctor Tahirul Qadri. For starters I like the fact that he is such a well educated scholar and not just a cleric of the preaching, screaming variety. I also really like the fact that he talks about social welfare and about the implementation of Jinnah’s vision and that he advocates inclusiveness instead of divisiveness à la the Sufis. If he can get the majma in Islamabad to be of the appropriate numbers – we have seen in the past that when there are enough numbers, containers and blockages can be lifted like feathers – it will lead to having a neutral caretaker setup. That’s what we all want anyway. This time the army is not going to take over or support delay in the elections. Neither will it shoot at its own people. So, those predicting this fallout if anarchy prevails are wrong. If anything, it may just hasten and streamline the electoral process.

Those saying that the doctor has no authority to be saying what he is saying have a point. If we adhere to the point we can continue with the way things are functioning in our democracy in the vain hope that eventually the process will improve itself. That line of argument would have been fine if we had the luxury of time on our side. Since we do not have time my take is to go with the doctor because even if he destroys us, we were going to be destroyed anyway with the status quo, so we can’t do too much worse by ourselves.

Our political parties are beckoning their voters with slogans, promises and the introduction of heirs apparent as the new heroes and heroines on board the political parties’ soap opera. The new entrants are all good looking young men and women with the sole criteria of being offspring of existing heads of their parties. It was all planned out so smoothly until this man in the clergy’s attire dropped out of the sky, literally. It remains to be seen what happens between now and mid-January and then on January 14. We had barely put one expected qayamat behind us on December 23 – exactly the date that there was the biggest gathering at Minar-e-Pakistan – that we now await January 14. And oh yes, the best thing about the Dececember 23 jalsa, in my opinion, were the countless fluttering and uniform green Pakistan flags. It seemed quite like a ‘Pakistan Bachao Tehrik’ as opposed to Tehrik-e-Minhajul Quran. ‘Tehrik’ and ‘Tehrir’ are beginning to have similar connotations!

Post Script: The murder of Shahzeb, the 20 year old boy in Karachi a few days ago, who was allegedly killed for no real reason except for daring to stop a feudal’s staff member (sayien tau sayien, sayien ka naukar bhi sayien!) from harassing his sister has caused a furor. His killing resulted from a small argument he had with Nawab Siraj Talpur over this matter. Siraj and his friend Shahrukh Jatoi allegedly followed him and the latter shot him. The Supreme Court has taken notice of this but the possibility of the culprits ever being caught and brought to justice (with famous Sir Names like Talpur and Jatoi) seems improbable as Shahrukh Jatoi has already managed to escape to Australia.

It is incidents like these and that of the gang rape and worse of a 23 year old girl in a bus in India that force us to think of extreme measures to bring about change and reform in our societies that tilt too readily in favour of the powerful. We too deserve our place under the sun. The ordinary sons and daughters of this country also need protection and opportunities. Wishing everyone a happy new year and may it prove to be one that brings about real change. 

As the song goes ‘Ik najoomi nai kaha hai ke ye saal acha hai’!

   The writer is a public relations and event management professional based in Islamabad.


    Twitter: @tallatazim.