January 10 was quite a sad day in Pakistan. Three bomb explosions at Quetta and one in Swat claimed the lives of over 100 people; five labourers were gunned down in Karachi; the deadline for Dr Qadri’s ultimatum to the government for a change in the system ended and the secret behind the much hyped political drone attack by Altaf became known. It is said that events do not happen in isolation. The intent and purpose of all these incidents was disruptive in nature and one perforce has to ask a question, is there a connection between them?

Even if it is conceded that these happenings were just a coincidence carried out by different actors and entities having no coordination, there is a strong connection between them in regard to the purpose that they serve; harming the unity and integrity of Pakistan.

A tiny minority, called the TTP, has destroyed peace in the country, created a severe law and order situation by challenging the writ of the government and is trying to brutalise and scare the society into submission and foisting their brand of Islam on the majority. A cleric and politician, who has a very small following in the country, is threatening to turn everything topsy-turvy through coercive, divisive and unconstitutional manner in the name of change.

The MQM, a creation of the establishment and also having a very small following in a country of 180 million, has held the entire country hostage to its machinations relying on its linguistic culture. Apparently, the drone attack by Altaf Hussain in his speech was not making the personality of the Quaid controversial and justifying the dual nationality of his own and Dr Qadri, but the implied threat to demand the division of Sindh. By supporting Dr Qadri, he intends to kill two birds with one stone.

Quaid’s Pakistan is in danger, due to the shenanigans of the minority groups. The power hungry generals in connivance with some judges have in the past been repeatedly committing acts of sedition and insulting the genius and mandate of the people. The antics and policies of military dictators pursued to prolong their stints in power have irretrievably harmed the unity and integrity of the country.

The rightist elements, who even opposed the creation of Pakistan, have assumed the role of self-styled reformers and in certain cases acted as agent provocateurs for the powers opposed to democratic and constitutional norms and have hijacked Pakistan. The most worrying thing about the whole affair is that the majority has shown inexplicable indifference to the divisive ploys of these groups. The only way Pakistan can be saved from their machinations is the awakening of the passive majority who could resist any move that promotes fissiparous tendencies in the country and takes it away from its cherished objectives.

Pakistan’s future lies in constitutional democracy; a real democracy in which the masses remain relevant all the time. Our politicians unfortunately have also not played their due role in strengthening democratic institutions and changing the feudal character of politics that has promoted a culture of graft and entitlement.

Nevertheless, the political parties, particularly PPP, do deserve the credit for forcing the dictators to abdicate power and reviving democracy. The need for change can hardly be overemphasised. It must come and come through constitutional means.

A culture of respecting the constitution needs to be promoted and strengthened. The Supreme Court of Pakistan can play a very vital role in this regard. Now is the time for it to prove its credentials, as custodian of the constitution by applying its suo motu powers to stop change through unconstitutional means. Dr Qadri’s assertion, that the people’s Parliament will decide the country’s future and the changes to be made, is absurd, self-contradictory and a flagrant violation of the constitution. He claims that he wants the implementation of the constitution, but has adopted an unconstitutional way of getting it done. His claim that the rally and sit-in will be peaceful is not credible. Such a huge assembly of the people, besides paralysing life in the capital will inevitably create a law and order situation. The Supreme Court must act before it is too late and the country is consigned to another round of turmoil.

It is heartening to note that almost all the political parties, intellectual circles and the Supreme Court Bar Association have expressed their resolve not to allow democracy to be derailed and ensure the holding of elections in time. It is advisable for Dr Qadri to prove his democratic credentials by participating in the elections and bring the change by winning over the people. He must understand that political parties in power and those sitting in the opposition have the mandate to run the country and can organise public rallies much bigger than his at Lahore. Such rallies are not the touchstone for judging the popularity of a party. The real test is the elections. Till the time Dr Qadri proves his strengthen through the ballot, he cannot claim the majority support. It is for the masses and the Supreme Court to block the way of opportunists like Dr Tahirul Qadri out to harm the country through unconstitutional means.

The writer is a freelance columnist. Email: ashpak10@gmail.com