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Shriek Chairman’s Last Shriek


By: Hakim Hazik

The Islamabad Spring II

The dam is about to burst. Rehman Malik, the morally bankrupt, financially corrupt and mentally deranged major domo of Zardari has brought the country to a standstill. Malik obviously reflects, most closely, the personality of his master, who, with extraordinary foolishness has blown the enormous reservoir of goodwill that he was lucky to have acquired after the death of his wife. The slow death of People’s Party is a tragedy unfolding in front of our eyes. One hopes that the majority of the party will act soon to get rid of Zardari.

Against many predictions, the lawyers’ movement has refused to die. They have been handed this extraordinary gift of the dismissal of the Punjab Government, which means that Nawaz Sharif supporters are seething with anger, and are turning the Long March into a tidal wave. Zardari’s time in the President’s House and possibly in the PPP is up. Revolution is on the way.

Actually the revolution has already taken place. Consider this: A provincial lawyer demonstrates on a highway with some of his supporters in a remote outpost in Balochistan. Ten years ago nobody would have known or cared. 3 days ago Ali Ahmed Kurd was stopped in Jacobabad and his dharna was beamed across the world, turning it into an important political event. This is the revolution: The revolution in the media that brings together people in all corners of Pakistan and in the Pakistani Diaspora; the revolution in the civil society that allows people to be mobilised with text messages, blogs, twitters, press, TV and radio; the awareness that the common people can make a difference; the fact that public figures cannot lie to the people and be allowed to get away with it. It means that the establishment cannot defy the will of the people without provoking the ire of the people.

This Is The March Of History

This has come about on the background of demographic change, more urbanisation, movement of people within and outside the country, growth of an urban middle class, greater connectivity due to the communication revolution and probably the biggest factor of all: the media revolution. Another extraordinary development is the consensus across the country on the rule of law. This consensus is across the classes, provinces, ethnicities, religious and political affiliations. There is the threat of militancy and extremism, as there is threat of political chicanery and corruption. However this does not reflect the will of the society and will resisted by the emerging consensus on the rule of law. There is no room for either Baitullah Mehsud or Asif Ali Zardari in the new consensus, they will either have to accept it, or be swept aside.

Winners And Losers

Reputations have been made and unmade during the epic struggle of the civil society over the past two years. Pakistani electronic media has come into its own. Real issues are discussed on public platforms. The efforts to muzzle the media by the civil and military dictators have been unsuccessful.

Unfortunately some of the leading ‘liberal and secular’ media personalities have been found wanting. Perhaps the most prominent among them are Najam Sethi and his establishment. They found a God given opportunity to take the lead in the civil society movement to establish the rule of law. They blew it in their blind support of first Musharraf and then Zardari. A majority of their readers, which include professionals, students, academics and the most progressive sections of the society support the rule of law movement. Many of thema were out on the streets or filling the cyberspace with their campaigns while they were sucking up to the establishment in a most craven way. Their excuse was that the Islamic militants are the real threat, whereas the national consensus is that the rule of law is the only way to solve these problems, including militancy.

They have also peddled statements, totally unsubstantiated, that the Chief Justice Chaudhry is partial towards one political party as compared to the other. These have been published in national and international news magazines. As a result they stand totally discredited in the eyes of their own readers.


Americans, as always are slow to catch up on the act. They blackmailed Benazir into co-operating with Musharraf, when he had already been dealt a mortal blow by the justice movement. They have the same kind of leverage on Zardari, i.e. billions in foreign accounts that the Americans can freeze or confiscate.  What they have still not wised up to is that he is a fast diminishing asset. They should move quickly and seen to be supporting the aspirations of the people of Pakistan. The strongest movement in Pakistan is the rule of law movement. It has the backing of the majority of Pakistanis. It offers the only way of dealing with extremism.

Khakis Make Up Your Minds

Pakistani generals’ stance is not clear. As Islamabad taken over by the long march, it seems likely that the army will be requested to mobilise by Rehman Malik. They should refuse. They should be clear, unambiguous and public about their policy. The policy should be that they will obey and protect the constitution. Unfortunately the recent history of the generals involved does not inspire confidence. Kayani, as intelligence chief was heavily involved with the misdeeds of Musharraf, including the negotiations regarding the NRO. He and the top military brass may have reasons to fear an independent judiciary. But they should know that the time has run out. Battered as they are by the militants and their prestige at rock bottom in the eyes of the public, they cannot go against the will of the people.

As I file this comment, Rehman Malik is on TV, outlining his strategy of protecting Islamabad. Reminds me of Saeed Al Sahhaf,  ‘Comical Ali’, the Saddam Hussein minister, who was on TV promising victory when American forces were only a few blocks away.

A sea of people is knocking at the doors of Islamabad. This is the third Islamabad spring for the rule of law movement. It will be victorious this time. Congratulations to the people of Pakistan. 


See also The Islamabad Spring    


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