Dare I discuss anything besides the prevailing political crisis? Typically, when a massive event unfurls, regardless of when, where, and how, secondary discussions peter out against pressing narratives and eventually cease to exist. We are consumed by the power and strength of a massive supernova – an explosion amidst menial dialogue. The supernova occupies our headspace; demands our attention; our time; our opinion; and ultimately collective action.
In dear old Pakistan, the supernova was something akin to a swarm of flying insects, endlessly circling a light bulb in the darkness of the night: many of us moved to the dancing rhythm of a burning flame but didn’t really get anywhere. Instead, every day, at the break of dawn, when the night ended, we were tired, broken and again gathering steam for another journey to the bulb and back.
For a state that provides little beyond the national identity card, people are unsure about tirelessly circling a light bulb and the dividends it will pay. We are a nation that relies on its own resources to survive and many still fail to see the power in collective action. Indeed, the silent majority has significantly shrunk to a lesser majority, but those who have now suddenly found the courage to break the silence, how far beyond the tip of their tongue are they willing to go? Will they surgically amputate themselves from the comfort of their homes and step outside in the pouring rain to protest?
Another reason why pressure on the ruling party hasn’t exacted results is that activists who made the distance were divided in their motives. Some enjoyed the song and dance and rain. Others professed the desire to marry their leader. Some had personal grievances with the current leadership but knew nothing about what their own leader envisioned for Pakistan beyond toppling the government. Fewer still were concerned about the atrocities committed against innocent lives in the Model Town tragedy. And hence, the basic premise behind ‘critical mass’ – a unified, homogenous force, significant enough to spur a series of reactions – was lacking.
In good news, the ruling party has most certainly felt the reverberations of mass disapproval; people who were absolutely apolitical finally broke the silence; and electoral reforms now seem like an unavoidable end. In bad news, people are more intolerant, more polarized and more politically charged than ever before which means being apolitical, in many quarters of society, is almost a crime.
My sincere advice to all those glued to their television sets: plug your head out of this miserable reality show and ventilate. There is an enormous world beyond the drama on Constitutional Avenue that needs your attention. Go back to your office. Go back to your school. Go back to your family. Go work. Build. Create. Produce. Generate. Grow. Live. Construct. Progress. Flourish. Prosper. Bloom. Or protest if the government doesn’t let you do any of the above. But please don’t sit on your couch and consume the drama that unfolds before you and then fill up chat rooms and drawing rooms with endless hot air. There’s no point adding more noise to the cacophony of opinions driving the country insane.
Anyway, is now an inopportune moment to recount a story about my dog and how he has no rights in Defence Housing Authority? The political fabric of our nation is being torn to shreds, the fate of this country hangs on the precipice of a tired battle between the people and the powers that be, and I would rather talk about my dog and his rights. You are enraged. Furious. Red hot in your face with anger. If I didn’t know any better, I would think your head would explode. In this moment, you have promised yourself to drill a hole in my head and extract my thoughts before they pollute other minds. Dogs are impure anyway. Why talk about dogs? To hell with dogs.
Only a mild taste of the intolerance brewing within us. It will do you a world of good to shun it. Think of it as a mosquito hovering over your body for a taste of your blood and then with that thought, zap it.

n    The writer is a communications consultant based in Lahore.