Unlike one of Shakespeare’s most popular comedies, human errors don’t always result in laughter and comedy. In Pakistan, individual and institutional errors have been giving rise to serious trouble, and the people of Pakistan have been paying for them. Some time ago, former president Asif Ali Zardari used the term ‘political actors’ for those who were harming both the system and the state through their undemocratic and irresponsible behaviour. At present, some ‘political and non-political actors’ can also be seen actively performing their part on the national stage.

After successfully presenting Season I of his Inqilab drama last year, Season II of the Inqalab-Azadi revolves around the ‘get-resignation-spree’ of a cleric and a cricketer. The cleric is the harbinger of revolution while the cricketer is a protagonist of change. They, simultaneously but separately, started their ‘million-man march’ towards capital, along with their workers and followers, to achieve their objective. As the plot involves considerable travel from one city to another, two moving stages have been prepared for both performers.

Having lost a decisive match on account of ‘ball tempering’ done by his political rival last year, the cricketer has lost faith in all the field empires. Now he decides to take revenge. He is quite confident of his success. In order to win, he looks justified in ‘fixing’ this match with the connivance of a ‘third umpire.’ However, this third umpire remains obscure throughout. On the other hand, the cleric is determined to accomplish his divinely guided mission. He believes that ‘angels’ will help him achieve this noble goal.

There is also a ‘messenger’ who is believed to be instrumental in producing this ‘scripted play.’ and has been promoting this production for a while. He predicted the toppling of PML(N) rule this year by hinting at a ‘sacrifice before the Festival of sacrifice.’ The cast also includes some former political heavy-weights, sectarian leaders and media persons. All these versatile characters have already successfully performed their role in aggressive maneuvering against a popular media house in the recent past. The play is full of suspense and thrill, and keeps a firm grip on its audience till the end. In the final episode of this play, appears a whistle-blower—a “baghi” par excellence, who spills the beans and uncovers the real plan. The drama seems to be over but the curtain is yet to fall.

Critically analyzing this theatrical production, one finds numerous flaws and inconsistencies. It has been an ill-conceived, poorly-written, mis-performed drama. The storyline is familiar to the audience. The writer seems to be over-confident and overly optimistic. To begin with, he erred in judging the IQ and disposition of his audience accurately. He also failed to perceive the logical impact of ‘media activism’ and the possible outcome of the constant and exhaustive media coverage of the event. Indeed, all people cannot be fooled all the time.

The performers failed to establish their spontaneity, originality and truthfulness before the audience. They caused all political parties to be united against them through their constant and general bashing of the political class and the institution of Parliament. They also seem quite unaware of the behaviour of the ‘third umpire’ who hardly takes any risk at the cost of his public image. They erred in analysing the dynamics of the situation in which the so-called third force considers it justified in making an intervention in the ‘larger interest of the state.’

Tragedy is the ultimate result of these errors. A majority of Pakistanis are upset over the political state of affairs in the country. For them, it is frustrating that a rowdy mob of a few thousand have so easily challenged the writ of the state in the heart of its capital. The buildings of the premier state institutions, which symbolically represent the federation, popular sovereignty, rule of law and national pride, have been besieged in the name of ‘genuine democracy.’ Additionally, the confrontation has badly distorted Pakistan’s image in the world.

Now, the non-political character, impartiality, constitutional commitments and professionalism of the most powerful institution of the country are being openly questioned and discussed. It is feared that already troubled civil-military relations will deteriorate further. The chaos has virtually brought the country to a standstill. Consequently, many precious human lives have been lost. The economy of the country has suffered a loss of hundreds of billions of rupees. The turmoil has jeopardized the Chinese President’s scheduled visit to Pakistan, which will be another blow to national interest and the economy.

The whole fiasco has shaken the trust of many committed followers and supporters of the PTI who had hoped that Imran Khan would bring real change to Pakistan. At this stage, the disappearance or irrelevance of a mainstream political party like the PTI can be a great loss for democracy as well as multi-party politics in the country.

Since independence, various national leaders have been fooling the people of Pakistan in the name of religion, democracy, socio-economic reforms, change and revolution. After this incident, the disillusioned and disappointed masses of the country will be wary not to trust any “social reformers” or revolutionary leader for a long time to come. And perhaps that is the way it should be.

    The writer is a lawyer.