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Logs, pot, broth, and lid

08 February, 2012

By Dr. Ghayur Ayub


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Consider the following items - logs, pot, broth and lid. Logs as fuel, pot to hold the broth and lid to stop the spill over of boiling broth. Now, think of Pakistan and take the logs to be the public; the pot as the democratic system; the broth as composed of the judiciary, legislation and executive, and the lid as the armed forces.

The public or the logs is burning in sizzling poverty, blistering corruption and mordacious lawlessness. Hunger is making them disown or even kill their dear ones. Rampant corruption has eaten away the fabric of society, making the public more miserable than ever. Personal and communal safety is in tatters. Life has become worthless. Despondency has taken over the public psyche. To put it mildly, they have become indifferent to their surroundings, which is the sign of societal decay. As a result, the very foundations of the State are shaking.

In such a despicable situation, the symbol of democracy-the pot- filled with the broth of the executive, judiciary and legislatives is simmering with issues unrelated to the public. When it reaches boiling point, the mighty military comes into action and puts a lid over it to stop the spill over. The result of spill over could be disastrous as it would disrupt the society and with it might lead to disintegration of the country. This is the sad story of Pakistan.

The present turmoil started a few months ago, when the notorious Mansoor Ijaz threw a bombshell, which engulfed the whole nation in a frenzy. Talk-show anchors came into action; the leading real and pseudo intellectuals rolled up their sleeves; the army chief, along with the ISI boss grimaced; the soft spoken, nervous Gilani started throwing his hands helplessly in the air; Nawaz Sharif knocked at the door of the Supreme Court; Hussain Haqani was thrown out of his lucrative post; and Asif Zardari had a panic attack, needing hospitalisation. The broth reached boiling point once again. But did it spill over and most importantly, does it really matter whether it did or didn't?

The public doesn't care. The boiling broth has nothing to do with their lives. They have bigger problems on their hands than Memogate, PM's court contempt or Swiss accounts. No body in important places seems to care about their needs. Hassan Nisar is right when he ranks the Pakistani public less than animals. He labels them as 'Keray Makoray' (the worms). That's how the elites see them. He is right when he shouts on top of his voice calling Pakistan the nation of dead people. He knows living among the dead public is painful and keeping sanity amongst the insane elite is agonising.

While the broth is boiling from non-public-related issues, the public is burning in the fuel of non-available day to day basic needs. Every Tom, Dick and Harry from the bureaucracy, executive, legislation, and civil society comes on TV talk shows posing as Plato to prove or disprove why the broth is boiling. The self projecting political gurus among them ignore the needs of those wriggling wormy public under the heated democratic pot. And the shows go on.

Imran Khan, who felt the pain of the commoners for fifteen years rose from their ashes, but within fifteen days stumbled when he inducted those faces who burnt the public for decades. They consistently proved to be the burning fuel in civilian governments and when it suited them they turned to the military junta. Now they are cordially holding Imran Khan's hand to save the public they have been burning for years. The only contrasting figure among them is Javed Hashmi. He is the man of the public. I cannot forget the tears rolling down his cheeks when in 1998 he visited a village in KP (then NWFP) to see a WHO-run program on alleviation of poverty called Basic Minimum Needs (BMN) program.

He was listening to the problems of a weeping poor woman who wanted to be included in the program. The then high ranking bureaucrat from the province who was facilitating the program whispered in my ears, 'is he a wus?' I turned back and looked at him; there was a mocking smile on his face. Obviously the bureaucrats in Pakistan, like their other ingredients of broth did not comprehend the pain of the public. The question is, what would Javed Hasmi do if the powerful group around Imran Khan succeeds in changing his mind and he joins the 'burn the public' club. Would he turn 'Baghi' again?

Coming back to the heated pot; at one stage when the broth was boiling, Sheikh Rasheed was talking about one grave and two bodies, Hussain Haqani was presented as Masood of yesteryears, Babar Awan was threatening 'Takht-e-Lahore', Faisal Reza Abidi was waving a paper in a famous talk show with the names of five allegedly corrupt judges in incumbent superior judiciary, and Grossman not getting a visa to enter the country. Then suddenly change set in and the pot began to cool. The TV talk show host, in whose show fingers were pointed at five allegedly corrupt judges has not been seen ever since. His talk show is presented by another anchor. Faisal Reza Abidi and Babar Awan have also been out of the picture these days.

And as the pot is getting cooler, there is talk of a deal between unknown groups involving foreign countries. Apparently, the history of unholy deals in Pakistani politics is being repeated. Meanwhile, the public keeps on burning as logs, the pot keeps on getting stronger as democracy, the broth keeps on getting thicker from off and on boiling, and the lid keeps tightening when needed, to stop the spill over.

No wonder the grin on the face of president Zardari is getting wider. He is known to skilfully dilute the real issues by divulging attention to newly created issues. His proponents call him a shrewd politician who knows how to play the political chess game; his opponents call him a lucky trickster. And the public? Listen to Hassan Nisar one more time. All one can say is that there is a complete disconnect between the logs, the pot, the broth and the lid. Someone rightly said that Pakistan cannot progress in the existing system as it keeps bringing back the same old faces whose track records are fetid and whose characters are tainted. If Imran Khan failed to change the system, the public would turn to new players such as Alama Tahir-ul-Qadri and Zaid Hamid.

Allama had been working meticulously through Minhaj-ul-Quran at national and international level and gathered enormous followings in Pakistan, India, South Africa, Malaysia and other Muslim and non-Muslim countries. He is articulate in his discourses, clear in his expression with a spiritual leaning, and open about his public friendly policies. Zaid Hamid has penetrated the youth of Pakistan in universities and is gradually spreading his wings. Both follow the dream of spiritual philosopher of the subcontinent, Allama Iqbal. The truth is whoever links the logs, the pot, the broth and the lid according to the wishes of the public will emerge as the saviour of Pakistan and the winner.

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