Subcontinent has a penchant for mystery and flair for metaphysics; primarily so because the land was once inhabited by people of diverse mythical beliefs who were all lumped by the British Raj Census as Hindus.
Hindu was a reference to the Indus people once known as Sindhu with cultural connotations. In common usage, it refers to religion. The old civilizations of Harappa, Mohenjo-Daro and Mehr Garh have a script yet to be decoded. These are beyond 5000-8000 years old civilizations. Fiction writers and conspiracy theorists added a myth that these civilisations were destroyed by nuclear weapons. Western writers interpreted from Sarath Kumar Ghosh’s 1909 novel ‘The Prince of Destiny’ as a quote from Mahabharata. History channel claimed that Mohenjo-Daro still has nuclear radiation. It quotes that, “Krishna’s enemies sought the aid of the demons, which built an aerial chariot with sides of iron and clad with wings. The chariot was driven through the sky till it stood over Dwaraka, where Krishna’s followers dwelt, and from there it hurled down upon the city missiles that destroyed everything on which they fell”.
Prime Minister Modi of India and some Hindus actually believe these mythologies of space ships, nuclear weapons, head transplants, out of womb pregnancies and outer space travel. Some Indian historians also claim that Prophet Abraham was in fact the Hindu Brahma and his wife Sarah was actually SaraSwati (Sara from Swat). Incidentally, Saraswati is the mythical river that once flowed parallel to Indus with folklore names as Ghaggar, Hakra, Reini and Nara whose disappearance is linked to decline of civilisations.
Hinduism is an ancient religion that predates Judaism, the first of Abrahamic religions. Discovery of ancient sites, Rigveda, Mahabharata and legends do warrant research in search of the past. In the scientific community, geologists, archeologists and anthropologists are still digging and studying these codes.
Here in Pakistan, Modi’s closest friend Mian Nawaz Sharif has also started airing mythologies. He believes that aliens are at play to punish him and subvert the next general elections. Given his historical and evolutionary experience, he may have his particular logic in this mythology.
As a corollary to Modi’s beliefs, Nawaz Sharif is metaphorically a true ‘out of womb’ conception and likewise can grow to be a man of many heads. Having fallen from the grace of gods he adored for so long, a rush of adrenaline in his blood stream is creating panic.
His father Mian Sharif had convinced Governor Jilani that the young Sharif needed mentoring in order to lead Pakistan to the cherished goals of Liberté, égalité, fraternité. Thus the process for the ‘Out of Womb’ conception began in General Jilani’s cradle.
To facilitate the family against Bhutto’s nationalisation of Ittefaq, Sharif’s was the only family that was returned the factories with all losses and indemnities covered along with an unprecedented payment of Rupees four hundred million. In contrast Pakistan’s biggest industrial house BECO, once a training ground for Chinese, Malaysian and Thai engineers was never returned because the original owners had no capital to buy back the factory and cover losses. If BECO had been given the same preferential treatment as the Ittefaq, who knows, BECO would have jumped back and rivaled TATA of India.
Thus was born in 1981, a mythical creature, later to assume multiple heads. Their game of get rich began much before 1981 and culminated in Economics Reform Act 1992, a legislation to launder money outside Pakistan. His victory as head of IJI and become the first time prime minister was facilitated by his ‘gods from outer space’ who channeled millions into his election campaign on the commitment of Liberté, égalité, fraternité. He brought religious reforms in the constitution including the blasphemy laws and at one point almost declared himself the Amir ul Momnin.
Wary of Asif Ali Zardari, the ‘gods from outer space’ still loved their begotten son to ensure a landslide victory in 1998. Equipped with absolute majority he set out to dismantle the organs of the state. His first target was the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court applying checks on his unbridled governance. He physically attacked the Supreme Court and bought the majority of judges in the apex court who successfully launched an ‘in house’ coup. He forced the army Chief to resign in mysterious circumstances and then got rid of President Laghari. The proverb, ‘kill by the sword and die by the sword’ proved true when his handpicked army chief deposed him in 1999. He begged clemency through Saudi Arabia and parked himself in Saroor Palace for another reincarnation.
It is believed that ‘gods from outer space’ still had some faith left, mainly due to the policy of two brothers acting as good and bad cops. The experience with Zardari’s government because of Abbotabad Raid and Memogate was not good. Imran Khan the only option and leading a growing political party was critically wounded and deemed ‘Left out of Battle’. Elections in Punjab were meticulously rigged and forty odd independents were persuaded to join PMLN. Nawaz Sharif had a carte blanche to govern and pillage the country.
But there was only one obstacle; Imran Khan defied all odds, rose from his sick bed and spearheaded a campaign against Nawaz Sharif from 2014 onwards culminating in a 126 days dharna. ‘Gods from outer space’ ensured that Nawaz Sharif withstands the onslaught and that the Judicial Commission of Electoral Rigging does not get into inquisitorial mode. Nawaz Sharif withstood the first onslaught to ensure that the much touted civilian superiority over the armed forces become a reality.
But the unexpected came in the form of Panama Papers.
Undeterred by consistent but manipulated failures, Imran Khan again took to streets resulting in acceptance of his Public Interest Litigation by the Supreme Court of Pakistan. In 2017, the Supreme Court disqualified Sharif from holding any public office. In 2018, he was also disqualified from holding any office in a political party and for life. The gods had finally disowned him and the apex court had started asserting itself. The conduct of Supreme Court infused a new life in National Accountability Bureau that has inextricably tied the noose around the Avenfield Apartments. Even the British government, the beneficiary of his offshore money havens is not supporting him. The ‘long hand of law’ has reached Nawaz Sharif that can only be averted by anarchy.
With the ‘gods from outer space’ abandoning him, Nawaz Sharif is struggling to find new havens in Pakistan’s parochial politics. His aides are anyone who has an ‘axe to grind’ against the armed forces, a segment of pseudo liberals, segments of Baloch sub nationalists, Pashtun separatists with god fathers in Mahmoud Khan Achakzai and Asfand Wali Khan. He also hopes that militant outfits in Punjab whom he gave a free hand in Balochistan will also rise in his favour once he launches the ‘Get Army’ campaign.
Having lived in the shadows of god’s he has a delusion that the nation will rise to his call and he will emerge as the undisputed leader. He could not care less for Pakistan’s stability. He desperately wants to create a scenario when a nuclear Pakistan plummets to chaos and attracts outside intervention.
But knowing that it was gods who repeatedly catapulted him, his nightmare is that gods will now shatter his myth. The grandiose delusion of grandeur will ultimately break but at a cost. Every Pakistani must be prepared to pay that cost.
The writer is a political economist and a television anchor person.