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Friday, November 30, 2007

Doomed to Repeat: October 12, 1999 - November 28, 2007

Where were you then, where are you today? Where was Pakistan then and where is it at today? And before we pause to ponder over the answers to above we should also briefly think about the course are we heading for from today.

In 1999 Pakistan was tethering on the brink of bankruptcy of a different kind. The foreign exchange reserves were at an all time low. The bug in Mr. Sharif's ears has been telling him to become an all powerful Amir ul Momineen. He, who professes the restoration of 'Nov . 3 Judiciary' as a first precondition had sent his goons to storm and cow the same Judiciary. To change Lord Acton's words slightly - "power corrupts, absolute power maddens".

Brothers Al Sharifosky had seemingly lost their marbles then.

The for-life chairperson of Pee-Pee-Pee, the lady in white and green with a tasbih had already left Pakistan under a cloud. Gross corruption cases against her and her beloved Mr. Ten or Mr. Fifteen Percent, more serious charges of ethnic cleansing (they were worded as extra judicial killing) leveled at her government by a President appointed by her Mr. Leghari.

Today, the former general is eating his mangoes.

The NA has completed its term. Foreign Exchange reserves are at a respectable level. Power has been devolved some. Electronic Media Revolution is in place (despite the temporary teething troubles.) Emergency is to be lifted December 16, 2007 and elections to be held on January 8, 2008.

In a general sense - we and the country both are a little better off today than we were on October 12 in 1999.

But a skeptic might say we are worse off today. There is less law and order in the country. Religious fanaticism is at an all time high. Inflation is gnawing at the poor and middle classes. Livelihood and safety is a greater issue.

And a handful of intelligentsia - the lawyers, journalists, activists and some students are fighting. Am sorry for this reality check - but where are the people?

Fighting for what? For a return of the Sharifs and the Bhuttos?

Those who refuse to learn from the past are doomed to repeat it. Is this our death wish?


Blogger khanabadosh said...

I agree that we should not struggle for the retun of BB and NS; but I like to think that is not what the struggle is for. It is for the rule of law, freedom of the media, and independent judiciary.

Shouldn't we struggle for that?

December 01, 2007 1:16 AM  
Blogger kinkminos said...

i think the fundamental (no pun intended) problem is that we-the-people have, collectively, given up all hope of things ever improving in pakistan. thus we grow ever selfish and self-absorbed, and plan elaborate strategies for immigration to canada, amreeka, australia (and sunny dumbai) (all for the sake of the future of our children and our children's children, of course).

one of the reasons for this is, no doubt, the fact that there is no viable inspirational political leader of unimpeachable integrity to galvanise us into the kind of action which will lead to revolutionary change in the status quo.

yes, we are worse off today, because the trendline of our collective fortunes, if plotted, has always been a steadily downward sloping curve. are we at rock bottom? probably not. but we can't be far away from it. the sound which will be heard when we do finally hit rock bottom will, instinct tells me, be more thud-like than earsplitting bang. a faint anti-climactic splat even. (we might not even hear it.)

December 01, 2007 3:46 PM  
Blogger temporal said...


thanks for your comments!

yes the struggle should continue for the judiciary AND the legislature AND the executive

the task is to find a way to build those institutions and empower them again with check and balances so that not one group (the army or the bureaucracy or the feudals or the industrialists) can hijack the country

i kknow, asking for this is asking for the impossible - but a long journey has to begin with a single step

December 01, 2007 4:26 PM  
Blogger temporal said...


thanks for your comments

it is darkest before dawn break:)

December 01, 2007 4:27 PM  

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