Editorial: December 2014
….and now “shutting down” urban centers
Dr.Rasheed Hasan Khan
Hardly had the public heaved a sigh of relief on the peaceful passage of 30 November, when the PTI supremo Imran Khan announced his “Plan C”. This cast a pall of anxiety over the country once again. Plan C is the time table for shutting down various large cities of Pakistan one after another, and a country wide shut down at the conclusion if the demand for an investigation into the rigging and mismanagement in the 2013 election is not met with. According to Imran Khan If the Plan C fails there is Plan D and so on till the alphabet is exhausted. Brave words, but facts on the ground show that Imran’s intractable attitude is possibly a cover for his weakening position after nearly five months of fruitless agitation. Moreover, his co-crusader, the Messiah from Canada, Molana Tahir ul Qadri has departed to the USA for the treatment of his cardiac condition, leaving Imran Khan without the fighting force of his shock troops. The nuisance value of the dharnas or any street action of the PTI is thus very much minimized, because the PTI support rests mainly on a class that is not very familiar with street contests with the police. Then again, during five months of agitation it was also borne out that military intervention in the current political contest was not a possibility. Thus the uncompromising demand for Nawaz Sharif’s resignation as a prerequisite for negotiations was abandoned and a relatively sane approach seems to be in ascendency.
The government on its part seems to have pulled its act together and is ready to engage Imran Khan in a dialogue regarding his demands. It is also paying serious attention to the political process of building a consensus with other political parties. The most important thing however is whether the government realizes the importance of winning the support and sympathy of the masses by a serious effort to ameliorate the unbearable hardship that is the lot of the common man in Pakistan today. Democracy is not merely the casting of a ballot paper once every five years,it also means constituting a government that strives to ensure the political, economic and social wellbeing of the common man.
The savants and wise men of the party in power must surely have analyzed as to how and why an ambiguous and unclear political platform was able to gain such a modicum of popularity in the masses. Granted that there are also invisible factors and forces involved in the present contest for power, but no one can deny that for six decades or more even civilian governments have ignored the pitiful plight of the working and the middle classes in our society. The alienation of the government from the people is an important reason as to why the nebulous slogan of “change” gained such viral magnitude. As far as the common man is concerned any change from the naked oppression and exploitation which is prevalent today is a welcome change.
In conclusion there is the question as to what will be the outcome of negotiations, Or Plan C,D etc.? Unfolding events will soon answer this question but one thing is certain it is not going to be any change of system or revolution, there may be some alterations to accommodate the new aspirants to power, or failing that a continuation of the present ruling party if it succeeds in forcing the challengers to retreat,