September Issue 2005

By | Editorial | Opinion | Published 16 years ago

Of the people, for the people and by the people, were what the local bodies elections were touted to be. What the establishment conjured up, however, took even the most cynical by surprise. Their ham-handed wizardry propelled rigging to a new realm, where even some federal ministers echoed the opposition’s refrain and accused their own party leaders of cooking the ballots.

That the fledgling blade of “grass roots democracy”‘ was never meant to flourish, was corroborated by none other than General Musharraf himself. First, when he took to the campaign trail to canvas for his chosen candidates and then, when he phoned Altaf Hussain to congratulate him on the MQM’s victory. Perhaps, the General can still fool some of the people some of the time, but the days of fooling all of the people all of the time, are long gone.

Meanwhile, on the shores of the Bosphorus, Foreign Minister Kasuri made a controversial rendezvous with history and returned home with some “good news”. Evidently, Pakistan’s “growing stature in the international community” can play a key role in solving the long-festering Palestinian issue. The government claimed that the Kasuri-Shalom meeting in Istanbul was the first step in that direction. Interestingly, the Palestinians made it crystal clear that they thought otherwise. And so, the plot thickens.

In yet another historical first, the General is all geared up to become the first Muslim leader to address the American Jewish Congress, in an inspired move to promote inter-faith peace and harmony. All very commendable, noble and, no doubt, kosher. However, global accolades aside, there is the small, but urgently pending, matter of the fate of the beleaguered people of Pakistan.

We have long grown weary of the monotonous rhetoric and the slick sound bytes that are long on promises, but pitifully short on delivery. We all know that you can talk the talk. Now it’s time to walk the walk.

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