Objective and constructive criticism is the cornerstone of secular liberal democracies. In that regard, those who have disagree with the current Pakistani president’s trip to the UK have the right to express their protest at what they perceive is wrong.
At a time when Pakistan is facing unprecedented challenges, common sense dictates that different political forces need to stop using the biggest natural disaster in Pakistan’s history to score cheap political points. Unfortunately that is not the case. After initiating and signing the 18th amendment and having it passed unanimously by Pakistan’s elected parliament, Zardari has voluntarily reduced his governance powers and restored such power back to the federal Prime Minister and the provincial chief ministers. As such, his recent trip is based on using his political party’s structure to collect relief funds for the devastating floods and to mobilize the international community into donating even more; aside from Muslim countries, the rest of the world has already started donating generously.
Nonetheless, that is not enough for some. Even if his political opponents felt the need to protest, they could have done so in a manner that was constructive and made sense.
However when the two main groups at the anti-Zardari rally in Birmingham are the PTI, a reactionary Islamist party whose one known leader and chief demagogue, Imran Khan, is more known for his rabid apology of the Taliban and the Hizb ul Tahrir, a violent Islamist group which makes no secret of imposing a global totalitarian dictatorship, one wonders if this is informed and principled political protest or simply an expression of budding fascism.
The intention of these two Islamist groups who constituted the protest became apparent when the following slogans were aired by their activists:
“KASHMIR PAKISTAN KA HAI AUR AMERICA KI BARBADI”.
(Kashmir belongs to Pakistan and is the Destruction of America.)
“KHALIFA IS THE ONLY SOLUTION FOR Pakistan”
“Jihad, Jihad, Jihad”
It becomes apparent that this protest has nothing to do with a principled opposition to Zardari; this was simply a crass display of the fascist and violent sentiments of two Islamist parties that have never made any electoral gains in Pakistan and whose ties with the shadowy establishment supporters of Islamist militias is known to all those who do not subscribe to an ostrich mentality.
It is equally disappointing to see some of these sentiments on the blogs of the pseudo intellectuals of Pakistan whose headlines seem as they though they have been dictated by the shadowy anti-democratic intelligence community. Awab Alvi, of the Teeth Meastro blog is one that tops the list. His hatred for Pakistan’s secular political parties is matched by his smug canvassing for Pakistan’s chief Taliban apologist, Imran Khan. His selective support for the Al Qaeeda operative, Aafia Siddiqui is matched by his ignorance of those groups in Pakistan that are feeling the brunt of the attacks by the local Taliban affiliates. There is smug celebration on many of these blogs and facebook walls of a shoe throwing incident at Zardari’s speech in Birmingham; an act that was advocated in advance by those whose visceral hatred for secular politicians is matched by their mental servitude to the Islamist establishment.
This is truly a sad reflection of the state of affairs. One wonders if these educated upper class elites who scoff and selectively criticize Zardari will ever have the guts and courage to take an unequivocal stance against the Taliban. Will these elites ever advocate for the rights of the marginalized Balochis instead of labeling them as fifth columnists and traitors due to their (Baloch) opposition to the brutal military crackdown against their nationalist youth. Will they ever criticize the security establishment for allotting 80% of the national budget for themselves and thereby denying the development of crucial infrastructure such as dams that could have reduced the severity of the current floods.
It is disappointing that no one is pointing out the hypocrisy of the protesters who wish the destruction of Western civilization (“Down with the West”) whilst enjoying its material social welfare benefits. Similarly, none of these elitest blogs mentioned what has been stated in the Al Jazeera report by Najam Sethi regarding Zardari’s European trip. That the protest and outrage against Zardari has been orchestrated by the security establishment because Zardari has not adopted a confrontationists attitude with the British Prime Minister regarding the latter’s condemnation of pointing out the obvious linkages between the Taliban and Pakistan’s establishment.
Their false bravado of throwing a shoe at Zardari will never be equated by their willingness to advocate the same treatment to army generals, Pro Taliban media anchors, self-righteous judges, Gulf shaikhs, muftis, hardliner ayatollahs and Jihadi leaders…..