September Issue 2009

By | Editorial | Opinion | Published 15 years ago

It’s a no-holds barred war of words.

“Mend your ways or else we’ll expose hundreds of corruption stories involving PPP leaders,” says the PML-N information secretary. “Go ahead, we are not afraid of any ultimatum,” retorts the PPP information secretary.

The masses are witnessing yet another sordid episode in the never-ending saga of the PPP and PML-N’s on again/off again affair. And the media is having a field day pulling out an assortment of characters from the dustbin of history. From former and present ministers to former and present governors to Rangers and strangers — in short, anyone who will squeak. Why, even the wily ‘midnight jackals’ have been resurrected, as has Jinnahpur, giving its alleged architect a chance to shed copious tears for the MQM’s dead (in the army operation and their own torture cells) on television channels. All of which would add up to a comedy of errors, if the country’s situation wasn’t so tragic.

Balochistan is threatening to break away; Malakand is in the throes of violence; Swat is still reeling from fear — 22 young recruits for community policing were killed in a recent suicide bombing in Mingora; the minorities are being targeted systematically by extremist elements, and the war against extremism is far from over. Then there are the pressing issues of rising prices, power breakdowns and electricity shortages.

But those at the helm are expending all their energies in a battle royale that is beginning to grate on everybody’s nerves in these trying times. Why, Mr Sharif is even threatening to embark on another long march, as rumours of yet another martial law hang heavy in the air. Can we afford the luxury of another long march, another coup, another election?

Past attempts by the PPP and the PML to dislodge each other have only provided adventurist generals opportunities to step in and boot out elected governments.

So, will sanity and better sense prevail, or will the quibbling Mr Sharif and Mr Zardari bring each other down and derail the battered train of democracy yet again?

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