Sunday, November 2, 2008

Hope - All's lost or All that remains?

It has been a year and a half now. It all started with that gloomy morning of March 9th last year when (ex) President Musharraf decided to dismiss then Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chauhdary, and we haven’t had any respite since then.

It seems as if we have gotten into a never ending cycle of disappointments, disasters, depression and dismay. Suicide bombings, processions on roads, strikes, political tug of war, assassinations, economic melt down, flight of capital, earthquake and what not has stricken this ‘Land of pure’, since then, all of which earlier seemed to have been doing quite well, atleast since 2001. Musharraf, a dictator, had everything under control, apparently, until his decision to sack the Justice. Things just never got back on track, if they ever were, but deteriorated with every passing day.

We saw a panel of Supreme Court judges reinstating their ‘Boss’ back onto his position only for a couple of months before they all were to go because of an ‘emergency’ imposed by the former President/Army Chief of Pakistan. Country was back on streets, chanting anti Musharraf slogans and reciting revolutionary poems in corner meetings, from Khyber to Karachi. All of a sudden ‘Army ruled-Land of the Pure’ had found new saviors in form of leaders of protesting lawyers. Nawaz Sharif, former Prime Minister, ousted by Musharraf in a bloodless coup back in October 99, attempted to come back to the country he once ruled  after an 'exile’ of about seven years, only to find him thrown on a Jeddah bound flight just an hour after he touched Islamabad. He eventually was allowed back again, in a month’s time, after dew deliberations by ‘foreign friends’ of the ‘Holy Land’.

Benazir Bhutto, too, ended her self imposed exile and came back to Pakistan after a deal brokered by British, later hijacked by the Americans to lead the supposedly ‘planned’ setup that was to form after the polls. She was greeted by thousands of people and a bomb blast in Karachi.

Unfortunately we lost her in the following month in a successful assassination attempt. No one has yet claimed responsibility of this murder. This brought Asif Ali Zardari, the ‘unpopular’ widower of late Ms. Bhutto into the forefront of Pakistan's political wrestle mania. In the aftermath of Bhutto’s assassination, country saw widespread lawlessness for at least three days, especially in her native province, Sindh. Polls were delayed for a few weeks. 

February 18th was the D-Day. People voted. Pakistan Peoples Party of the deceased former Prime Minister won a majority in the centre and Sindh, with Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) coming in second lead in centre. Musharraf backed party, PML Q was voted out but not completely. Sindh went entirely to the PPP, where as Punjab got a coalition government as did NWFP and Balochistan.

People held high hopes of this new government, rightly or wrongly, and the whole nation seemed up beat, which wasn’t to last long. A tug of war started between PPP and PMLN on over the issue of deposed judges. Governance was ignored all this time. A sudden flight of capital started from Pakistan and within months Pakistani rupee devalued by some thirty percent. Federal reserves decreased by half and country came on the brink of bankruptcy. In the midst of all, Musharraf ‘wilted’ under the pressure put by the ‘democratic forces’ and resigned. This brought Asif Ali Zardari, aka Mr. 10%, at the helm of the affairs as he was crowned as the ‘Fresh King of Islamabad’. Rupee devalued even further, stock markets crumbled, industries closed down when democracy finally ruled the 170 million frustrated people after nine years. International financial conditions and oil prices didn’t help either. As of today, Pakistan has agreed to enter in a support program with IMF, an institution Pakistan had got rid of only two years earlier. 

 All this time, western borders of the country adjacent to Afghanistan have seen an intense fight between Pakistani forces and ‘Taliban’. Conditions have been sores then ever before with people being killed day in and day out in this ‘holy war’ of sorts which doesn’t seem to be ending anytime soon.

It has been several months since the inception of the new ‘ray of hope’ government, but things have gone worse. Economy and terrorism are the two bleeding wounds draining this overly populated country of ours, Pakistan.

So, should we lose hope? I don’t think so. I am hopeful that things would change – for good- if we pull up our socks and take on all these problems head on.




Sikander F Khan said...

Those were the handful educated people of Pakistan. You should have gone into streets, and you'd have know what I am talking about. Not just that, even many educated people were quite happy... IRP (an orkut community) was flooded by congratulatory posts when Zardari got elected as President. It is I think a 'national psyche' of sorts. We tend to get bored of faces.. thus become unnecessarily happy on a 'change' however good or bad.

Usman said...

I wasn't physically in Pakistan at that time but whoever I talked with over the phone or the internet was AGAINST democracy, especially if PPP under Zardari was to take over.

Usman said...

"People held high hopes of this new government"

I disagree with this statement of yours. Only brainwashed and a handful of sane people actually held any hopes from THIS government.

Sikander F Khan said...

On the contrary, I feel, only a handful of 'sane' people thought that this was going to be a disaster, from the very beginning. Everyone else, by that I mean masses, were jubilant and going ga ga over this new found 'democracy'. Unfortunately the feeling is exactly the opposite now.

kunwar said...

In India, Musharraf's imae was that of a passionate, if a little foolish leader. He should have calculated his moves. Yes sacking of the justice was outright foolish and Bhutto's assassination, whether brought about by him or others seeking to gain from the oppurtunity, it was the final nail in the coffin for him.
I don't think Zardari can be an inspiring leader, he doesn't have the makes, people voted for him out of their love for Bhutto, which is not the work of aware citizens.
I say if Pakistan are to improve, they will first have to elect the right kind of leaders, who can bind the country with some powerful opinions and actions.

Anand said...

Musharraf in India was seen as the architect of the Kargil war. But deep inside we knew that if Pakistan had a bright future, it was in the hands of this man. Now that he is gone, we feel secure ;)

Faysal F. Bhadera said...

Pakistan's "demon-crats"

Except for sucking all the blood out of Pakistan’s veins and leaving it crippled, the PPP and PML (N) really did not accomplish anything during the previous tenure of their leadership. How dare Zardari and Sharif come back acting like Pakistan’s saviors now? And how dare PPP call itself a democracy when their very leadership is nothing more than a family owned business, a throne shared between fathers and daughters and sons and now even husbands, no matter how ineligible and destructive they were and are as leaders.

ayyo.... said...

@ Sikander
Hope is all that remains..! Seriously.. because we would never venture into politics and would always pray for a messiah.. rather hope for a messiah..