Why we have reached this stage of “chaos”? Because many of us inside ruling PMLN, in political parties, so called Opposition, in bureaucracy, in judiciary and in media whose job was to take positions honestly and with sincerity to mediate conflict between warring sides didn’t. They failed us. And they failed us either because they didn’t understand the gathering storm or were insensitive and worse: in many cases they were bought as ‘voices’ to say what they were saying against common sense and collective interest.
Protestors shouldn’t have entered PTV. Dr. Qadri and Imran should categorically tell their supporters not to enter any building and I have heard Qadri doing that; he should also apologize for the brief period of vandalism his supporters may have done in Ptv Cafetaria. But this ‘event’ however distasteful it may look is only part of a bigger picture and without resolving that conflict these events can get worse.
I have read the comments on Twitter; the sense of shock, disgust awe and fear on protestors entering PTV and endless conspiracy theories and spin. One is tempted to believe them, as good citizens but unfortunately I remember how many of these same people were defending the murders, killings and brutality on 17th June in Model Town. While “Political thugs & Mafia” used Police to terrorize their political opponents these same “decent people” on Twitter were justifying those acts of terrorism by spinning and at times by openly lying. For instance they kept claiming: Police reacted only because it was fired upon; why Qadri people are fighting police; why there are barricades; several policemen have died; huge caches of arms and explosives have been recovered that were to be used for terrorism across Punjab; people in Model Town wanted Police to do the clearing operation etc. Those who have read the JIT Report know that all of that was spin and lies. But it was obvious even then.
But why Model Town massacre is important now? Because that massacre, the way it was done, and the way endless attempts have been done, using levers inside executive, judiciary and the media to cover it up to stop facts from emerging has practically finished the moral authority of PMLN govt and the political system stitched around it. From a government of all people that rules with trust, they & their allies have reduced themselves to a “political group” wearing the mask of a government. Now they threaten to browbeat their “real opposition” by endless references to Constitution, law, 11 parties inside Parliament and the responsibilities of the Armed Forces. But the dynamics of “real politick” cannot be fudged by “fake matras” – What they want is that Armed Forces should use their ‘moral authority’ and ‘fire power’ to restore their ‘controlling position’ on the system so that they can fix up their ‘real opposition’. Its only common sense to ask: Why should they?
Look at the insane propaganda being repeated adnauseum by “political & economic interest mafia wearing the mask of a govt” that there are just few thousand people sitting in Islamabad and how could we accept mob demands. Two days ago, the “political & economic interests” that call themselves “govt” tried throwing them out by finding an excuse; dozens died, hundreds were injured including policemen and yet crowds have not only stayed but have multiplied. Why? Because apart from “spin & lying” there is another phenomenon that has escaped these ‘apologists’. This is an age of TV and internet and countless millions across a large country stand behind these ‘protestors’; they are not on roads now, but an extremely charged polarized feeling is there. If situation in Islamabad is not diffused politically, if PMLN & allies continue to deal with this as a mob, as a sect, as miscreants to be dealt as an administrative matter or even manage to kill a few hundred and throw them out this violence will spread across the country, if not in three days then in three weeks.
Armed Forces cannot and should not try to erode their moral authority to restore ‘physical authority’ of a regime that is tottering and is unable to restore its moral authority through a political process of bargaining. Supreme Court already sullied and bruised should also tread carefully; whatever authority it has ultimately depends upon “force projection” and Obama however it may love Nawaz is not going to ask Pentagon to restore order across Pakistan. And Modi is not interested either. To find the political solution PMLN & allies needed to give a serious “pound of flesh” a meaningful political concession, as Altaf Hussain had been hinting in his poetic harangues. 3-4 days ago, before the killings in Islamabad, this could have been “resignation of CM Punjab” plus some credible guarantees by Armed Forces for an Election Audit – saving PM Nawaz in lieu. PMLN lost this opportunity because they are continuously thinking of petty smart moves like creating a “Judicial Commission” here and there. But where is the trust after Judicial Commission on Model Town?
This political crisis will not go away by petty smart moves; Cinderella and the handsome prince can’t live happily ever after; there are no kind witches around to create a horse carriage out of pumpkins and rats; this is a ‘real politick’ situation and needs a larger political vision for future ahead.