November Issue 2014

By | Editorial | News & Politics | Opinion | Published 10 years ago

So, are the days of revolutions and revolutionaries finally over? Has the tsunami receded or is it  just taking a breather to recoup its dwindling strength?

Possibly. For now, Qadri has called off his 70-day dharna. This, amid strong rumours of being paid off by the Sharifs. Now that his dream of a revolution has gone sour, the maulana has proffered the convenient excuse that he is undertaking a world tour to reactivate his party offices in preparation for the next elections.

Meanwhile, the kaptaan’s dharna, too, seems to have lost its steam. Not that his ego will allow him to concede defeat in his latest innings.  Also, the issue of his 30-member team’s resignations from the National Assembly continues to hang fire.  Let’s say Khan is down, but not out.

Meanwhile, the MQM is not just down, but out — of control. Its on/off relationship with the PPP is on hold for now, as it accuses PPP’s opposition leader in the National Assembly, Khurshid Shah, of blasphemy for referring to the word ‘mohajir’ as an expletive.  For a party that boasts secular credentials to be fighting on religious turf is alarming, but then the MQM never ceases to amaze one with its constant flip-flops.  What’s more, instead of focusing on its just demand to the Sindh government to hold the local bodies elections, it is pressing for a mohajir province, reducing it to an ethnic party once again.

Meanwhile, the object of its fury, the PPP, is now on the mend and attempting to redeem itself and salvage its secular credentials. After receiving a sound bashing in the last elections and, further, taking its cue from PTI, the party is trying to reinvent itself by putting on a brand new face — even if not a brand new name.  So enter Bilawal, young, of Bhutto stock — but alas not quite. Many see Bilawal as a Zardari — a name that is anathema to most.

The Bhutto scion seems to be making the right noises. But the days of sloganeering are over.  Performance, not promises, will appease the masses.  The PPP has failed to deliver even on basic services such as electricity, sewerage and sanitation. Pakistan’s economic lifeline, Karachi, presents the picture of a massive garbage dump.

More recently, when a parliamentarian drew the attention of the Sindh Assembly speaker to the cyclone that was headed towards Karachi’s coastal areas, he confidently stated that the shrine of Abdullah Shah Ghazi in Clifton would, as always, protect Karachi and anyone who feared its imminent arrival, should move to interior Sindh!

As for the party that occupies the throne, it rests easy once again, now that the tsunami unleashed by the PTI and PAT seems to have died down. But stories of PML-N’s incompetence continue to surface now and then, the latest being its disastrous polio eradication programme, which is being trashed by international health organisations: 85 per cent of the polio cases found in the world are from Pakistan.

Imran’s cries of a ‘Naya Pakistan’ may have resonated with the country’s masses, but until the rulers of this country pay heed — or as with Rehman Malik are made to pay heed — the more things change, the more they will remain the same.

Rehana Hakim is one of the core team of journalists that helped start Newsline. She has been the editor-in-chief since 1996.

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