Rarely in the history of humankind has sorry state of affairs been more accurately, and agonisingly, personified. The affairs are indeed sorry, and so is the state, whose writ it has challenged from within with acquiescence replacing it on the proverbial piece of paper supposed to denote sovereignty.

This reality was further driven home through that five point document that embodied this personification. For, those being acquiesced to rubbed in the fact that it was an abject surrender by ‘apologising for ‘inadvertently hurting’ others.

Minus that clause and you have a state on its knees begging for mercy. Add that clause and you have a state on its knees begging for mercy from a sadistic monster it has planted, nourished, proliferated – one that it has increasingly been offering itself on a platter.

Of course, it is unfair to attribute sadism to only one party. For, the leader of the government exhibited masochistic sadism by asking the opponents to not challenge the writ of the state. As it turned out, the message was valid only for dine-in and the state was ready to home deliver its writ. Maybe that’s why it overcompensated, after taking more than the allotted 30 minutes to deliver the order.

The sadistic masochism runs so deep in the current government machinery that its own ministers are saying that the dealing of the situation was flawed. It could’ve been interpreted the usual opposition hangover that they seem to manifest off and on, not realising that they themselves are the government that they are being critical of. But this time it appears to be more warped and with ante definitely being upped on sardonicism.

Perhaps what we misconstrue as state is just a grand stage – the grandest to have ever been staged – to play out a theatre of such colossal absurdities that everyone herein is an actor – led of course by the non-state breed.

Could it be that we now live in a state where not just elections, protests and violence are engineering, but one where everything is scripted to such a microscopic detail so as to compel us – the citizenry – as inadvertent participants as props in the open-ended drama?

The editing of show is definitely improving given that what took two weeks last year was only depicted in two days of screen time. The choreography appears to be pretty spot on as well, given that everyone knows their steps – including those that are not to be take one.

Perhaps the only criticism could be the recent disjointed performances. For instance, in two consecutive occasions, in two successive months, the message given by the state has been of defiance, while the next scene played out is that of capitulation.

If that was deliberately designed as such, then the writers deserve the plaudits. For, no one saw it coming – especially the second time around. It takes a certain amount of genius to fool the audience twice with the same gimmick.

A word of advice for the directors, however: the next time the government says it won’t bow down, even the most culpable in the audience wouldn’t fall for the twist. But of course the script writers and directors would know best, given how masterfully they are pulling the strings.

This is pantheistic filmmaking in a dimension yet to be explored by scientists – political or otherwise. However, since the filmmakers, the film and the audience are all a part of the picture, the narration depends on what each of the actors do.

The state actors and the non-state actors are following the script and the direction to the tee. Where the film goes next will depend on how long the audience tolerate it.


The writer is a Lahore-based journalist.