Long March, Judiciary and Farooq Naik

Posted on March 14, 2009
Filed Under >Adil Najam, People, Politics
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Adil Najam

The Lawyer’s Long March from Lahore to Islamabad is literally hours away as I write this. Arrests of activists continue and a number have just been arrested in Lahore. As if things were not complicated enough, the unseating of the Shahbaz Sharif government in the Punjab and subsequent political developments have added new fuel of Pakistan’s many political fires.

The Zardari government, already losing some important allies from within its own ranks, has gone all out to make sure that the Long March does not succeed. The Lawyer’s movement and Nawaz Sharif (for rather different reasons) are going all out to make sure that it becomes a game changer. In the next many hours we will begin to get clues about which it will be.

Meanwhile, there can be no better commentary about where we have been and come from on this then these clips from now blocked GEO TV. It shows before and after ‘power’ comments from Farooq Niaq – until recently the PPP’s Law Minister and now Speaker of the Senate (and, therefore, next in line to the Presidency).

55 responses to “Long March, Judiciary and Farooq Naik”

  1. Bonobashi says:

    @Omar Ali

    Greetings from an Indian style corruption ridden democrat. Congratulations on coming to the end of your beginning – nobody can accuse you of precipitate haste or undue obsession with the passage of time. As you prepare for the next part of your journey, and fend off the four fierce elements that are likely to obstruct your successful progress, you might like to consider some free advice from your neighbours.

    Only factors 3 and 4 are likely to be of any consequence in the medium term.

    It is unlikely that the MQM is proof against the glorious prospect of power; in our style corruption ridden democratic analysis, no politician can give up the opportunity of playing with the laws, fiddling with institutions and attempting to put their own mark on processes that they find working perfectly when they come to the chair. It is like children dressed neatly who face a patch of delectable, gooey mud – irresistible. Your problem 2 will vanish during the course of multiple elections. I agree that holding multiple elections is a major achievement, but can assure you that it becomes a matter of habit after a while. Give it about thirty or forty years before getting impatient and calling Nanny back from the barracks; she needs her beauty sleep.

    The Americans are likely to be a greater problem, if only because once they decide to befriend a nation, it can be a stifling embrace and a cloying love affair. You have to break it off tactfully and with delicacy; try to prevent your public officials going to Washington for the next 30 years, for instance. Since from our personal experience, they are prone to interfere even with those whom they dislike, a break-up may not immediately solve your problems.

    Regarding problem 4, you will solve it once you decide to solve it. Unfortunately, there is at the moment no clarity in Pakistan regarding what you ought to do about them, when and through whose instrumentality. There is nothing else standing in the way.

    Regarding problem 1, learn to live with it. It’s part of your DNA now and you won’t ever get rid of them. You have already understood that it’s no longer a question of corruption, but of permanent power and authority.

    Before I forget, a very warm welcome to noisy, smelly, corruption ridden democracy. It’s so ethnic and colourful, and totally unlike the neat, clean, clinical processes of other methods of governance, as is well known. Just remember to shower afterwards.

    Now, with your permission, I will remove my tongue from my cheek.

  2. Bloody Civilian says:

    Omar Ali, it would be difficult to be more on target than you have been. You haven’t mentioned the effect of all this on the nation’s mentality, though.

    How, being forced to learn what does not add, through Zia’s textbooks, they are now either confused or have abandoned logic altogether (since a school kid cannot be selctively logical. he can either rebel agains the lies, or decide that reistance is futile because he does not want to disown what is his. and as a kid.. has no way to counter the lies being taught to him).

    The result is that people are either cynical about absolutely everything, or still have very little patience with politicians and associate practically magical powers with the military. They condone the state’s unforgivable capitulation in Swat. Or, at least forgive it as the only way to achieve peace! Accept that an army of 587,000 cannot sort out at most 8,000 militants.

    They do not see the TSNM as a threat. Indeed they see it as close to their ideal. Even if Sufi Muhammad defies the Consitution and has sent the judges home and appointed his own Qazis… exactly as Musharraf did on Nov 3. Yet there are no calls of a long march against Sufi Muhammad!

    You can confirm this view, tendency and mentality by surveying the media. Especially the electronic media and the Urdu print media. Everybody is in denial as to the only logical trajectory and destination of such a mentality.

    Why don’t we question the fact that not asingle terrorist who attacked the Sri Lankan team was apprehended? Because we don’t want to hear the answer.

    We do suffer from parochialism too. How else would you explain the rest of Pakistan’s apathy towards the little innocent girls of Swat who can no longer go to school?

    Yet, it was good that the middle class experienced some kind of empowerment today. But much much more needs to be done. Minds need to be changed and opened up.

  3. omar ali says:

    This is, of course, not the end, nor even the beginning of the end, but it is the end of the beginning. Personally, I foresee the most serious threats to the evolution of a better, more democratic order (and i hasten to add that my standards are not high: Indian style corruption ridden democracy would be enough for a start) to come from 4 interconnected forces:
    1. The intelligence agencies that became the unaccountable masters of the state under army rule and which still have potential for mischief. Those who are simply corrupt are not the biggest threat. They can readjust to new realities and continue with several kinds of financial corruption in a more democratic, civilian led order. But there are still ideologically motivated cadres in these agencies who see their role in messianic terms and will not easily cease their various conspiracies or give up their proxies.
    2. The MQM, which has real public support and ability, but may find it hard to adjust to even minimal rule of law. They are not an insoluble problem though. With some delicate handling and (this is a bitter cup for most of us, but may have to be swallowed) if not pressed too hard on May 12th, they may yet opt to function semi-reasonably in a pakistani context. But Its not going to be easy

  4. Eidee Man says:

    The old guard of the PPP redeems itself! Things are nowhere near complete yet, but we’re on our way:

    Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better. — Samuel Beckett

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