So - what if the only relatively honest politician in the country has been booted out of his job? After the initial round of commiserating 'Oooohs and 'Aaaahs those who could have leapt to his defence will quietly fade back into the woodwork as their collective habit dictates and that, my friends, will be that as issuing forth 'Oooohs and 'Aaaahs is just about as far as anyone is prepared to go in these days of dark uncertainties and increasingly dire straits. So - what if our apology for a 'democratic government is fully engaged in playing the Raymond Davis & Co card to the hilt in a contemptible parody of outmanoeuvring the big bad yanks in the pay-off time stakes? The grief-stricken families of the murdered and mown down, their hands firmly manacled by callous people with, despite legal attempts to the contrary, nothing more on their minds than ensuring, once under the table deals have been both dealt and delivered, that the murdering American espionage agent is whisked silently out of the country, freed to continue his nefarious career in pastures new and to hell with public outrage: An outrage that if expressed in the form of protests and other demonstrations will, undoubtedly, be violently squashed in the manner so recently used against anti-government dare-devils in Libya. At least two, if not all three, of the additional spies whose vehicle ran over an innocent bystander as they rushed, too late as it turned out, to rescue incriminating evidence from Davis hands, were quietly allowed, there is no other word for it, to leave the country unscathed and without being brought to book but, come next week or next month all will be, by the governments involved and both of which should stand guilty of aiding and abetting criminals to escape justice, conveniently forgotten until the next time. The families of the murdered will be the only ones to suffer long-term as the public at large will, like the all so democratically elected government, have moved on to reassuringly 'Ooooh and 'Aaaah about whatever catches their fickle attention next. So - what if prices of essential commodities are periodically inflated or subjected to artificial shortages in the name of private profit? It really doesnt make much difference to those with money in their pockets,who will 'Ooooh and 'Aaaah then pay the asking price anyway and the voiceless poor, as always, will suffer in silence. So - what if forecasts of catastrophic financial collapse happen to be true and the rupee, which already buys less each and every day, is devalued to the point of extinction? Everyone will, quite naturally, scream. The once rich much louder than the always poor, who have nothing to loose anyway other than the ability to feed themselves, which is a hit-and-miss affair at the best of times. The rich of course, after 'Oooohing and 'Aaaahing, as if they had Raymond Davis on their tails, will suddenly remember the dollars, pounds, yen, euros or whatever other currencies they have stashed away on foreign shores and prepare to make good one way or another, but the swollen middle class ranks, their pockets empty, plastic money melted away and no survival instincts to speak of will crashland into a terrifying reality with a shockingly audible bang, as 'living beyond their means comes home to roost. So - what if fear stalks the streets and terror rules the countryside with each man and woman solely out for family ends and survival of the fittest rules supreme? The law of the jungle has long been the only law strictly adhered to in this land of ridiculosity and hypocritical self-centeredness so there is nothing new in this except that in the wake of economic collapse it will be more than the downtrodden poor who regularly miss meals and hungry people, it must be remembered, are justifiably angry ones. So - what if everything falls apart at the seams when the proverbial kit and caboodle finally hits the fan? Havent things been toppling like dominoes for years? Shortages of potable water are seasonally endemic; electricity loadshedding reached the critical point long since with gas loadshedding more recently joining in and both causing public and commercial mayhem which further compounds the economic morass. Householders, not all of them rich by any stretch of the imagination, have become heavily dependant on diesel powered generators, on UPSs and other forms of emergency power to tide them over while those less fortunate burn kerosene lamps, candles or trip over things on the dark as all know that standing up and shouting about this lack of essential services will get them nothing but possibly beaten and arrested. So - what if we smugly complacent people periodically dream of revolution, a dream so recently fuelled by successful outpourings of public anger in Tunisia and Egypt, and less successfully (at time of writing) in Bahrain, Libya, Algeria and Yemen? Revolution Pakistani style is nothing more than a pie-in-the-sky non-starter: As a fragmented conglomeration of diverse and complicated peoples rather than a unified whole, we would never get past the starting gate as the 'So what if the Punjabis gained more ground than the Sindhis,and the Pathanswhupped the Baloch? would halt us in our increasingly divergent tracks. So what if the sky turned green, the sun was purple and the grass pink? Then, and only then might, just might mind you, things be different. The writer is a Murree-based freelance columnist. Washington Watch