Sunday, 31 August 2014

Protests in Islamabad Turn Violent

On one hand, these amateur political leaders, Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri, say the entire establishment must step down, from the PM to all the Assembly yet they expected nothing to happen when they started marching towards the PM house in the middle of the night. Did they expect the police to offer them cups of tea?

If weeks of protests and sit ins in front of the Parliament did not result in the government stepping down, would marching a few metres up to the PM house have changed the outcome? That too in the middle of the night?

Police brutality is the third certainty of life after death and taxes. It is common even in the most established of liberal, democratic states like the US and UK. Yes, it is deplorable that that protestors were attacked, but why was the march ordered and to what end? And why so late at night?

Their entire political posturing consists of threat-making and demands to step down - nothing else. Imran Khan's rhetoric has become childish and vulgar - he talks about the government wetting its pants. Last night Qadri had a woman up on stage and used her personal tragedy to exploit the sentiments of poor folks. At one point he was openly weeping. Then he started quoting scripture and then the Constitution. Why can't our politicians come up with written, concise and clear speeches?

The questions and issues Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri raise are good political debates: corruption, electoral reform and social justice. But these are existential questions that Pakistan has never addressed in a meaningful and productive process anyway. Pakistan has a long way to go before it becomes a just and equal society. Nawaz Sharif is part of a diseased system, he did not spring up from nowhere. Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri must continue asking these questions and raise political consciousness. They must build better, transparent and mature parties. But demands to step down is not a revolution.

Do Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri really want to bring about a revolution? Is asking Nawaz Sharif to step down going to automatically usher in a new Pakistan?

We have an incompetent and clearly a very insecure government besieged by political amateurs and opportunists.

I blame Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri for misleading their supporters into danger and exploiting their sentiments for political gains.

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