Pakistan and its democracy, which have been in shambles since its inception, now present an image of a war-torn rentier state. Masters with sticks are losing their grip on power and control over the popular narrative that dominated the psyche of the people for many years.
The proud “Tax-paying Parha Lika Punjab” rioted for Imran Khan and attacked military buildings. The biggest mainstream patriotic defenders of the military establishment are from Balochistan. Gulzar Imam was “misguided,” and Wajahat Saeed Khan is the biggest critic of the current military establishment. Who would have imagined that? At least two projects back, if someone had analyzed it, even in private conversations, they would have been called a deranged junkie who is just high on some medicine. However, the patriotic defender from Balochistan was imaginable and existent in multiple shapes and forms.
The reason to paint this depressing picture is just to bring the conversation to today and now. The PDM leaders (the champions of democracy, the saviors of the economy, and the righteous upholders of the constitution) were quick to develop a consensus on the Kakar-Bugti duo. Not in the mainstream, but surely they were stunned by the unexpected caretakers brought by those who permanently take care of the affairs. The champions of democracy, with Imran Khan out of the picture due to the blunder of May 9, thought the caretakers (which they would bring, or would be brought) would only smoothen their matters, and the only discussion would be about sharing the spoils of the war against Imran Khan, which the champions would distribute among themselves. But alas! The Kakar-Bugti duo arrived at the scene, and all they now do is play with their feelings.
The only so-called task that the caretakers have is to run the day-to-day matters and ensure the next elections, but their day-to-day activities and statements show an intention to get involved in everything except for doing their actual job. This piece isn’t about a claim that elections are going to be held soon or not going to be held soon, or when they are going to be held. But with the old project failing and the new not gaining much momentum, there is hysteria going on, a mass distraction from the genuine matters at hand. This is the weapon populists around the world, left-wingers or right-wingers, have been using for decades.
The caretakers have been constantly engaged in diverting attention to meta-problems that neither could be resolved with short-term actions of a short-term government nor which they would be able to execute. Take the matter of border trade, for instance. What do the caretakers have to do with the informal nature of the rural economy? Can their magic wand turn it into mainstream market economies connected with the global mainstream overnight? Of course, such an argument would be absurd. Right after it, now they are creating havoc on the Afghan immigrants. The issue of Afghan Refugees is not only a long-standing matter of security but also a humanitarian issue. The current setup can only capitalize on this matter, but neither do they have the capability of sending them back, nor do they want the “generosity” of international funds for the refugees to stop.
The Kakar-Bugti duo is not making the way for the next elections for sure, but it surely is struggling to smooth the way for the next project. Credit should be given when it’s due, the duo surely has all the requirements of the starter pack. The only thing that anyone would be curious about is how successful they would be in installing the post-hybrid era of Pakistan.
There is a chapter titled “Election Season in a Dangerous Democracy” in the book AZADI by Arundhati Roy where she writes, “We have learned to connect the season of elections with the onset of all kinds of violence. Divide and rule, yes. But add to that-divert and rule. From now until the elections, we will not know when, or where, or how the fireball will fall on us, or what the nature of that fireball will be.” Even though she has written that in the context of India and specifically the elections which were to be held in 2019. The situation of today’s Pakistan or even Pakistan during each and every election presents an image of deteriorating democracy with all kinds of violence, where the fireball falls upon us unexpectedly in multiple shapes and forms.
Roy is right in the matter that when the current master starts to lose its popularity, it gets hyperactive and gets in favor of all kinds of havoc and uncertainty. Not to blame, but the current scenario of news flowing day after day on totally different matters without an intention to resolve and the capability to do so. The dangerous democracy is once again throwing people into havoc, and the masters are anxious about the success of the project they are launching. Let’s hope they don’t descend into madness so soon.