musings

Waiting for the Phoenix to Rise

By: Humayun Gauhar
Published: October 1, 2017
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My objective is to acquire the Phoenix, the mythical firebird that rises out of the ashes. Our poets call it ‘Anqa’ or ‘Huma’, mythical birds which, if they fly over one’s head, change destinies for the better. My objective is not the change of this prime minister, or that, for it makes little difference.

My objective is a change of system for the better, one that provides good governance and constantly improves the human condition starting from the poorest. That is what ought to be in a state that calls itself ‘Islamic.’ Else it is hypocrisy of the worst kind, for one is trying to fool the Almighty Creator, as I suspect we are.

What follows is based purely on suspicion and conjecture. I could well be wrong – I hope I am. But what I say has the weight of reasoning and some experience behind it.

We are suffering from confusion of the worst kind, with new questions and suspicions arising every day. The only thing that seems certain is that Pakistan is going down every day, while most people are convinced that good days will be upon us soon. I suppose that it is an inbuilt natural human defence mechanism.

Nawaz Sharif’s wife Kulsoom has won the election on the seat vacated by her disqualified husband. Does that mean that she could become de jure prime minister and Nawaz Sharif the de facto prime  minister?

The same goes for Asif Ali Zardari. He has been cleaned up by a Category 5 carwash. He and his henchmen have been allowed to proceed to London supposedly, and as usual, for ‘medical’ reasons. Confusingly, some have been allowed to return. The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has challenged his acquittal in a case regarding his assets allegedly illegally acquired.

Methinks that perhaps we are being fed oodles of opium to create the illusion that things are finally moving in the ‘right’ direction

In a fit of optimism, a newspaper was moved to headline the story: “ZARDARI’S JOY RIDE CUT SHORT BY NAB CHALLENGE. Accountability watchdog moves LHC against acquittal of former president in illegal assets reference.”

Watchdog my foot, NAB is an accountability carwash. Nawaz eyewash, Zardari carwash: is that our fate? Methinks that perhaps we are being fed oodles of opium to create the illusion that things are finally moving in the ‘right’ direction.

If we wish to see behind the seemingly utter confusion, we have to tear down the veil that blinds us.  We are blinded by the fact that things are not always what they seem, not just in Pakistan but also worldwide. And behind the veil you see different views, like a room of mirrors that can drive a person nuts. Looks can be very deceptive.

One view, simplistic and innocent in the extreme, is that after the Supreme Court verdict disqualifying Nawaz Sharif from holding public office for life, the process of across-the-board accountability had started and all the other corrupt would soon be brought to book too. Not just that, many thought that our cannibalistic political system would change for the better, one that produces good governments in which the public good is central to all policies. Not so.

Tear down the veil and you will find the obvious question lurking: “Why would beneficiaries of a system change the system and endanger their own benefits?”

Start thinking. Start looking. Consider. The powerful beneficiaries of our inhuman system have got rid of only one person: Nawaz Sharif. They have no intention of changing the system for the obvious reason that it benefits them hugely too. Why would they get rid of it and damage, perhaps destroy, themselves? Doesn’t make sense.

By trashing Nawaz Sharif they have actually let enough steam out of the volcano to stop it from erupting and bringing the whole cathouse of iniquity down

So why trash Nawaz Sharif? They got rid of him ONLY because he had crossed all limits of corruption; nepotism and misgovernance would be tolerated by an unlettered people; how much he could get away with without the volcano erupting and the masses being roused to revolt against the system.

I wonder, therefore, whether it was really a national rescue mission in the guise of a sham accountability exercise to save the system from itself. or whether it was a mission to save Pakistan from its enemies within?

By trashing Nawaz Sharif they have actually let enough steam out of the volcano to stop it from erupting and bringing the whole cathouse of iniquity down. They have actually saved the system from itself for themselves.

The return of Nawaz Sharif and his corrupt finance minister Ishaq Dar fortified the notion that this accountability is Sharif specific. Dar has already been charged or indicted by the accountability court; Sharif should have been by the time you read this. Then he may well be allowed to go abroad to look after his ailing wife.

They don’t want to make a hero out of him, do they? They want to take the wind out of his sails by not allowing him even the modicum of an excuse that all the demands of due process and justice were not met. In the event, they are overdoing it and may well find that Sharif or some baby Sharif may return to bite them on their generous derrieres again.

About the Author
Humayun Gauhar
The writer has been a journalist and columnist since 1980. He writes for various national and international newspapers.