October Issue 2007

By | Editorial | Opinion | Published 13 years ago

Where do we stand today? It’s been a fast and furious ride from the day in March earlier this year when a uniformed president decided to show the senior-most judge of the Republic the door. Just when it seemed that protest in the country was a thing of the past, a wave of popular support made its presence felt.

For once, it seemed, the forces of right wielded more power than those of might. There were hopes that the country would take the path of constitutional rule and allow democratic principles to prevail over mere whims.

Where did we go from there? Back to the land of the pure. With the presidential elections at stake, the wheel turned full circle. The general in his labyrinth came up with an ingenious scheme for ‘national reconciliation’ and the Daughter of the East fell right into the trap, taking not just her own but her party’s reputation with her.

The opposition parties that had managed to put up a show of unity fell into disarray, as one alliance crumbled after the other. A dejected Nawaz Sharif was bundled back to Saudi Arabia to serve out the rest of his ‘sentence.’ The MMA, true to type, failed to match its sound and fury with action in the assemblies. Threats to quit the assemblies in an effort to undermine the credibility of the presidential elections remained just that.

The courts reserved their judgement while events took their own course. Lawyers who dared to protest outside the Election Commission brought on an unprecedented display of state brutality, of which journalists got their fair share.

Once the coast was clear, the outgoing assemblies elected a president in uniform, giving him a term that would outlast their own by a period of five years. The win remained unofficial, and its legality questionable, as the Supreme Court had still to rule on Musharraf’s eligibility to stand for election while in uniform. Unfazed by it all, the president declared, ” Democracy is about majority.” And continued to flourish the sword of Damocles over our heads. “Let them come to their decision, then we will decide.” So much for the sanctity of the courts and the rule of law.

The politicians looked to the spoils while the people remained pawns in the game. The curtain dropped on one more act in the theatre of the absurd. Is the script likely to change when it rises again?