With the faintest glimmers of hope for a change in the balance of power in the country with the disintegration of the PDM, the compromise policy of the compromised leaders of the main opposition parties has left an undisputed and dominant political actor.
You don’t get any points for guessing who it is. And in the current circumstances where, according to the Prime Minister and his Minister of Information, the media are completely free, I do not have to tell you as you already know.
After all, what good is a medium, especially if it is freer than in the West, as Imran Khan often tells us based on his “18 years of experience playing cricket and living in England”, if he leaves Pakistanis uninformed of what is going on at home?
However, in the unlikely event that you don’t know, don’t expect me to tell you. I am shamelessly humble; lacks the backbone that some of my journalist friends have displayed. They did so, well aware of the likely consequences: hardship for themselves and their dependents by being forced out of their jobs.
Not only the transgressors but also the “opposition” political parties will be brutally judged by history.
I can’t really afford to be unemployed. Or, to be more precise in my case, without a column. This column gives me the opportunity to struggle, to breathe in a stifling environment. Please don’t hate me to be honest it also helps me pay some of my bills. It is also very important.
Yes, important in a time like this when many journalists – who resist imposed authoritarianism disguised as patriotism and still believe that the will of the people must come first – often find themselves wishing to know how to update the donor / shipper ‘lifafa’ database.
What else would explain the case of the missing lifafa (envelopes full of cash), other than the current missing address of the recipient? Granted, hybrid-sponsored social media activists seem to know, are able to count, and go public with each case with the name of the recipient.
The “beneficiary” thus becomes a double loser. First, they face the insult of grappling with an individual, party or one or more foreign powers hostile to Pakistan, when they stand up for the rights of their own shirtless compatriots, the voiceless and then the “lifafa” is also lost on the way for them.
The term “twice loser” may not adequately describe such a miserable member of the Fourth Estate. I would say the three-time loser can be more specific. Yes, because between insults and forced unemployment, the most provocative will also be beaten, shot, and even killed.
It is also true that looking at the idiot box, one has the distinct impression that there is also no shortage of “co-opted journalists” who have fully embraced authoritarian values and strive to regurgitate those who have not. shame every morning and evening, like a life affirming mantra.
And then there are those who can be compared to Nero playing the flute while Rome was on fire. Everyone will have to carry the cross of their own “brand” of journalism on their backs whenever the story is written or told. Rest assured that will be the case. It’s always like that.
Also, rest assured, not only the transgressors but also the “opposition” political parties will be brutally judged by history. For their compromises, the first of which is to accept as a given the ascendancy of a power which should not have a role in a constitutional democracy.
Many are disappointed with the way the PPP conducted its policy. The truth is that the PPP now seems to be reconciled with ruling Sindh and Sindh alone for the foreseeable future and therefore its ambitions are informed by this reality. He has Sindh.
Why should he let someone else proclaim “I have sinned” and jeopardize the freedom of senior leaders Asif Zardari and Feryal Talpur? If there was any doubt that the PPP put opportunity above all else, it disappeared in the manner of the notification of its candidate as leader of the opposition in the Senate.
It is not clear if this is the reason why the PDM forced the hand of the PPP the following month by demanding the resignation of its parliamentarians before the long planned march. What was clear was that this was not going to happen.
The party leadership has made this clear on several occasions since the formation of the PDM. The resurgent PPP will not tip the boat. He feels he has sacrificed enough for the cause of democracy. It was someone else’s turn to fight while enjoying the fruits of a deal or “dheel” as some observers say.
One would have thought that the final battle whenever this happened would have been decided in central Punjab with Nawaz Sharif’s October 2019 Gujranwala story providing the required street support and any gaps being filled by JUI cadres. -F.
Enter Shehbaz Sharif. Released on bail on his own terms after “one day less than seven months” in jail. Looks like he likes his freedom too and looks like the leader of the PML-N who kept more than 50,000 supporters away from Lahore airport.
He did not want a confrontation that would pit PML-N supporters against the state when his brother and niece were arrested on arrival before the 2018 election and sent to prison. They had been found guilty of clearly spurious charges. Some have said he did it for a bigger cause: he was promised Punjab after the elections.
It didn’t have to be. But his faith is intact. He says he’s avoiding confrontation because the country can’t afford it. Agreed. He dreams of a new social contract with free and fair elections after electoral reforms, where all institutions remain within their constitutional framework, the judiciary is independent and free from all influences and the popular will prevails.
Without a word on his proposals from the main arbitrators, or even a clue that will be the guarantor of such an arrangement, he either fell in love with what the (current) “good cop” whispered in his ear, or preferred to be the modern male reincarnation of Alice in Wonderland.
The writer is a former editor of Dawn.
Posted in Dawn, June 6, 2021