Ms Zuha Tiwana is a psychologist, freelancer, and analyst. She can be reached at [email protected]
No internet services, a reeling economy, violation of the constitution, misuse of state machinery for personal and political gains, an increasing hatred for the most prestigious institution of the country, burning homes, mass destruction, humiliation, and disrespect of women.
Let me continue: raids, bloodshed, violating the sanctity of the courts, communication through fire and bullets, closed schools and colleges, blocked roads, populism reaching its worst, people crying for water, mistreatment of the people, illegal arrests, and an absence of rule and law—welcome to my poor country, Pakistan.
My four-year-old came to me last morning and asked something that urged me to write this article. When he asked, “Mama, why are people fighting on TV?” I told him they were bad guys. “No, Mama, they are police, and Baba says police are good guys.” After distracting him, I sat back and thought about his question. Unfortunately, I did not have the correct answer for him.
There is no denying fact that the national circus going on in Pakistan has blurred the clarity of the most significant thing: peace. Every party is stepping into the game to exploit the people. Be it PDM, PTI, or the establishment, the policies are killing John Doe. Who has talked about the real issues of the ordinary Joe these days? The skyrocketing inflation, the derailing rupee, and the lack of basic facilities for poor men are all the real issues that have been crushed under the circus of narrative building from all sides.
Five days and a loss of 1.9 USD million in tax revenues, 5.4 USD million estimated loss for the telecom operators, deprivation of 125 million people from access to education by closing institutes, healthcare by blocking roads, and commerce through internet blockage. What a pity!
I am disgusted by how some of the corrupt politicians and mafias have used the chaotic situation for their political gains. The “narrative building game” has brought Pakistan to the verge of destruction. By destruction, I mean the instability brought in by the falling economy, surging terrorism, and the prevalence of hatred against a prestigious institution in the country.
Is the establishment the only reason behind the national circus? No. Is Imran Khan a traitor? No. Is the government not responsible for the illegal use of state machinery against the local people for personal gains? Doesn’t the police have to be accountable for not maintaining law and order in the country? Isn’t the fascism that has prevailed in the country since April 2022 superintended for what we all witnessed last Tuesday?
Aren’t the illiterate masses who blindly follow the personalities and not the ideologies responsible for the drama going on in the country? Hasn’t the role of the judiciary become questionable? Where is the sanctity of the Constitution of Pakistan? Why is everyone silent on the violation of the same? Why is democracy being shattered? Why are free and fair elections such a big deal?
Every institution in Pakistan has drowned in the sea of corruption, lack of accountability, absence of meritocracy, poor policymaking, and negligence towards John Doe. Neither one institution nor one personality can be held responsible for the present situation in Pakistan. It is the collective outcome.
Unfortunately, Pakistan has become a country where basic human rights are not protected, where brutality prevails, where freedom of expression is a myth, and where democracy has become the worst form of governance because the handlers of the same are corrupt, above the law and cannot be brought to the book.
Those maligning the Pakistan Armed Forces must not forget that absent its armed forces, Pakistan is a piece of cake for enemies and competitors. The enemies have kept an eye on everything that has happened in the past few days. Insurgent groups and anti-Pakistan actors are active everywhere. The instability in the country is their best opportunity to weaken Pakistan to its core. The West is silent, and China has spoken nothing.
Internal polarisation has blurred the minds of the youth. Zalmay Khalilzad added fuel to the fire by leaving some insensitive bullets on Twitter wherein he advised the COAS to resign for mishandling the situation. However, the Pakistan Armed Forces need to think outside of the box to manage the situation peacefully and wash the stains of hatred from the hearts of people.
The policies must be reconsidered and should be in the best interest of Pakistan rather than the institution only. In addition, Imran Khan must behave as a leader. He must focus on creating ways and means to have a dialogue with the opponents and resolve the matters on the table. Nothing is more important than the state and no one is more important than Pakistan. The egos must be kept aside and Pakistan should be saved from the threats within.
Social media warfare has damaged the minds of the youth. Spreading false news and propaganda for the sake of a few likes and followers is the new normal. It must be alleviated from both ends. Making it a personal thing, and ignoring the real issues of the people, is not an attribute of a leader. Imran Khan should reframe his policies and bring all state actors together, in confidence and ready for a free and fair election because that is the only solution towards stability. Utilitarianism is a very wise concept and all the state actors should follow the theory to bring the greater good in the country.
I cannot see hope in the present situation, and I am unable to detect that silver lining in this dark. I think peace talks are the best possible solution to the ongoing chaos in the country. My country is bleeding, burning, and being mocked. Next time, my son asks anything, I want to show him hope and those stars in the dark sky that can bring light to the very nights my beloved country, Pakistan, is having in the name of a national circus.
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