STRAIGHT TALK

During the pre-election months, we were bombarded with warnings from the Great Khan, our Knight in Shining Armour and The Preacher from Canada, of the Day of Judgment and how, after the elections, the human tidal wave created by the tsunami, would sweep the corrupt and the dishonest in our parliaments, into the sea.

During those absorbing days, intriguing, finger-biting, high profile dramas were being played out on the Supreme Court stage and our TV talk shows, by state and non-state actors.

There were mudslinging, finger pointing accusations and the ‘I said – you said – I did – you did’ matches, triggered by the wicked ‘PakiLeaks’ and Dr M, which seem to be without an end and each day, there would be another juicy scandal about the antics of our holier than thou leaders and politicians and the hidden skeletons in their cupboards.

The ‘Reveal All’ leaks had kept snowballing, sparing no one, embarrassing and rattling many old timers and even some new comers and ranged from dual nationalities, mis-declaration of wealth and personal assets, fake degrees, loan and tax defaulters, to back-door deals and compromises.

The leaks had forced our aspiring leaders to think, not twice, but thrice, about contesting the Crown and the risks that go with it, remembering that, ‘Heavy is the head that wears the crown’, for in the world of dirty politics, a place at the top is always dangerous and treacherous, as you and the skeletons in your cupboard become public property. 

Even the Great Caesar, when offered the crown by Marc Antony, had refused the thorny crown thrice, but succumbed to temptation the fourth time, accepting the honour, which proved to be fatal, leading to his brutal assassination by the hands of his friends.

Targeted and sectarian killings, suicide bombings, the March of the Taliban, institutionalized corruption, breakdown of law and order and the civic agencies, the energy crisis, failure of our foreign policies, rising inflation and the explosive PakiLeaks and exposures, had proved that the past government had failed to establish its writ or provide any form of governance in the country.

As such, the field had been thrown wide open for the contestants of the elections and the crown was for the taking, but the political pundits had proved to be right, as the Great Khan failed to win the coveted prize of being crowned as the Prime Minister, as the sweeping tsunami that he had been promising during his election campaign, never materialised and the threatening tidal wave gradually turned into an ebbing tide. 

The Preacher from Canada had mesmerised millions of Pakistanis, as he swept across our TV screens, holed up in his air-conditioned, silver caravan, convincing the nation that he was the Chosen One. But his Tsunami also fizzled out and instead, torrential rain and gusty winds forced the men, women and children, that had threatened to storm Parliament House, to disperse and quietly melt away into the dark night and the swelling crowd had turned into a small group of disenchanted and disappointed followers.

Even The Great Khan had refused to join the Preacher’s caravan and turned his back on him. However, if IK had joined hands with The Preacher, things might have been different in Pakistan, as the status quo and the old moulds would have been broken and we might have the seen the beginning of the Arab Spring Revolution and a new chapter would have opened for Pakistan. 

But that was not to be and now that the elections are over, though the level of institutionalized corruption may have reduced, but the spectre of target killings, power crisis, nepotism, vote rigging, confusion, miss-governance, etc., loom large and it is bad-business as usual.

However it seems that the Great Khan is now having second thoughts and regretting not joining hands with The Preacher and according to Charley, my singing canary, there are strong whispers that the two Avengers might join hands and with the blessings of the two powerful Hidden Hands, launch a movement to shake, rattle and roll out the present confused and bewildered NS and his government and replace it with a National Government. Fact or fiction? Well in this land of the Pak and the Pure, anything is possible.  

Tsunamis and revolutions are led by do or die young Turks, with fire in their belly for freedom and change, but even the old dictatorial regimes are falling like kingpins and are being replaced by ‘People’s Revolutions Without Leaders’, fighting for freedom and democracy. But unfortunately, though they are launched with good intentions, most of them are ending up in violence, bloodshed and an uncertain future.

Meanwhile, on the home front, there will soon be a changing of the guard, as the present COAS has wisely decided to march off the parade ground at the end of November, his silver baton, proudly tucked under his arm, before the vultures start to look for chinks in his armor.

In most developed countries, where democracy, rule of law, accountability, etc., are the fundamental way of running governments, the appointment to key government posts, including the appointment of the Army Chief, is according to merits, seniority or the next in line.

However, in this land of the Pak and the Pure, such is not the case and who will replace the chain-smoking Gen K, after he retires, is still not clear, sending a message to the nation, that nepotism is still alive and kicking and the way PML-N government operates, something that NS had promised would change after the elections.

The mysterious, Gen K. who is not a man of many words, has earned the respect of the nation for the cool and sensible way he handled the various crises that he encountered during his tenure. He remained unruffled and cool and handled the issues in a professional and proficient manner, except for the OBL fiasco, which still remains shrouded in mystery.

So now, the question is, will the new COAS march to the tune of the Yankee Doodle, the National Anthem or his own drum beat? And if the present government fails to get its act together and the country continues to stumble from one crisis to another, will the General have the patience to see his young soldiers being blown up, watch the comedy of errors that our governments are so famous for and resist the temptation of marching in, like some of his predecessors?

n This dear citizens, only time will tell.

(Email: trust@helplinetrust.org)