Thursday, March 12, 2009

Long March and state of Pakistan

Much awaited - and dreaded - long march kick started, in fact, butt started, today from Karachi and Quetta simultaneously. The plan was to gather momentum as cities and towns got covered. Primarily, Karachi and Lahore were to be the basic stronghold of men and muscle. Zardari had other ideas.

In Karachi, I witnessed low traffic and almost no customers today. And lots of jammed areas around old city like Regal chowk and High Court. That is the sad part. These old parts of Karachi earn most in terms of revenues. Wholesale markets, as a matter of fact, are the engine of any economic society. If they are hit so is the basic business of the place.

Today, I also heard sporadic news of arrests and beatings as day passed in relative tension. People back in Karachi really fear 16th March. I was personally not expecting such robust action by our Zardari knickers, The MQM. But I am sure MQM and other side kicks will be in full show. And why not. Their arch rivals, Sunni Tehrik and Jamat-e-Islami are part of this long march.

Unfortunately, Zardari and his cohorts don't understand the point. By making all the noises, beating men on the streets, putting containers to stop the marchers, and by creating fear among common Pakistanis, he is doing harm to himself and to the party's image as a democratic force of the country. He could easily earn for himself a severe punishment from Punjabi-led Pakistan Army. In any case, Punjabis don't tolerate, or have ever tolerated, Sindhis or Baluch to rule them. So he is only giving them a good reason to show their antipathy towards him and his ethnic community by kicking him off. [USA seems to be sticking with Zardari].

Long March, if seen on a larger spectrum, makes Pakistan look like a failed state. No matter what we as Pakistanis have to say on the subject, international media led by the likes of Jewish CNN and Hindu India have been proved right once again by our misdeeds and a series of misfortunes. By beating and shutting down hundreds of black-coats (and black sheep) we are doing no good to our image and Zardari, as President of Pakistan, should shoulder most of the responsibility. And by failing to bring to Justice those 13 men (or were they less?) who specifically targeted Sri Lankan cricketers in Lahore we have proven without doubt that the worst form of democracy is actually not better than the best form of dictatorship. Both are either equal or in our case, dictatorship happens to be much better than the likes of Zardari and Nawaz Sharif (Amir-ul-Momineen and Shia'-teen)> By hitting on this movement with so much force (one report in press puts it at 600 containers for stopping marchers from reaching Islamabad) Zardari-led govt. has proven that he is no better than Musharraf, though he came here by votes.

So where do we go from here? Is Long March going to change anything on political and social level? Will it end up in a blood bath? Will Zardari succeed in stopping angry looking protestors from reaching Islamabad? Only time will tell.

Let's keep our fingers crossed and hope that our luck and the luck of the country doesn't fall out fast.

NOTE: India's RAW could have a field day on 16th March. Killers won't be blamed. Victims won't get justice.

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