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Non-Violence Versus The System

 Over a century and a half ago, Claude Frédéric Bastiat, a political economist, a liberal theorist, and member of the French Assembly warned:

 “When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.”

Non-Violence Versus The System


September 03, 2014

      To settle disputes, parties follow universally accepted rules. So the current standoff arises from opposed perceptions of democracy. Some take human rights very seriously, not just on paper. For others it’s a convenient label slapped onto an established feudal and patronage system. What some see as elitist entitlement, others see as corruption and nepotism. Entire economies can be dynastic fiefdoms or special-interest cabals; police and bureaucracy are merely tools of enforcement. Democracy is perfectly adhered to in appearance and form. — Except that the media exposes its ugly, hidden side.


     Some sections of relatively comfortable civil society insist that  the ‘democratic process’ should not be ‘derailed’ under any circumstances;  but  that’s exactly what protestors don’t want either; that they be activated  instead.       There is deafening silence on the part of some ‘democratic process.’ Even a section of civil society working for social and human rights don’t see the dead-end reality of double standards; of laws selectively applied  to the weak but not the strong. The Model Town case is no big deal; nor  the other underhand police actions that followed!        Diversionary tactics swept primary issues – basic needs and curtailing corruption – under the carpet. Not once did the government offer  to correct these with clear-cut plans. Yet revolutionaries — out to undo the status quo – are expected to follow ‘rules’ that government itself  refuses to. After two generations, and millions having passed away  without  ever knowing a decent life, many are unwilling to wait for the  turtle-slow ‘process’ to bring results.        After 17 days of peaceful, determined non-violence, viewers watched in horror and incredulity the unexpected all-night assault that unfolded on television screens, with militarized riot police using methods usually reserved for enemy combatants on battlefields.  Comparisons flashed through countless minds. How is this qualitatively different from the way the Israelis enclose and oppress the hapless, unarmed Palestinians in Gaza? Or was it more like Iraq, where phosphorous and other chemical weapons were used, passed off here as  ordinary tear gas? Or did it resemble the infamous 1919 Jallianwala Bagh  (Amritsar) massacre when Colonel Dyer and his men mercilessly gunned down  a  crowd trapped in a walled-off area?        A non-violent movement gives despotic governments a bad image. Once  the idea is understood, non-violence makes it easier for the poor and  weak to join up and swell the ranks. So it becomes necessary to nip it in the bud – to drive people to a breaking point that can spark violence in the  most non-violent of persons, when opportunistic mobs can no longer be  differentiated from real political workers.      When the call was made to move to the lawns of the Prime Minister’s  house, it was touching to watch the women carrying their babies, their  rolled-up mats, their water-cans and bundles of clothes, to trustingly walk forward. That day the crowd had swelled to a peak: an unexpected  side-effect of the ‘dharna’ was that it served as ‘langar’ (free food kitchen) for the curious or unemployed looking for a free meal.        Several times during the 17 days when police contingents would suddenly appear and surround the protestors, there would be a palpable “silence of the lambs” – before police relaxed or melted away. Protestors were lulled into confidence by government statements that they’d never be fired upon. Unfortunately, their non-violence made them sitting targets.       It takes a particular kind of person to be violent on order without any compunction whatsoever. If lucky, soldiers trained for war may never see battle, while others return as psychological wrecks because they belatedly discover they can’t stomach killing and atrocities. After all, people are not born violent, cruel and sadistic. The potential may be  dormant, but degree and willingness vary. Some cops are able to impersonalize the violence they inflict on others. Some come into it for livelihood because of a lack of choice; some to acquire power which they don’t otherwise have, so that others can’t push them around. Few choose it so they can be Robin Hoods.        What kind were those involved in the Model Town and PM House operations? It’s a frightening thought, especially when it’s been going on and growing for almost seven decades. With fellow-citizens like these, who needs enemies? With ‘democracy’ like this, who needs martial law? Some emperors become so devoid of guilt and shame, they no longer care about being seen without any clothes on. An old adage from Bengal baldly summed up the attitude of ancient kings: “It’s because I am shameless, the  kingdom is entirely mine.”       One question remains unanswered. When unarmed protestors, including women and children were shot from the back and shelled all night, why didn’t the army step in — not to declare martial law, but to stop the Punjab Police assault? Can’t citizens expect that much without compromising the army when their own government attacks them?         Hopefully PTI and PAT have learnt many lessons:

  •      – don’t trust party-hoppers;
  •      – playing cards aren’t shown off once dealt;
  •      – all boats shouldn’t be burnt; and
  •      – chickens shouldn’t be publicly counted before they’re hatched.

They inadvertently armed the sharp-speaking lawyer, PPP’s Aitzaz Ahsan, who set the tone for other speakers to safely follow, to take pot-shots at the PM to grab away some bargaining chips while leaving the dynastic parties of the three provinces intact (in the same breath undermining PAT and PTI – albeit to an already captive National Assembly).

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It’s the System, Stupid



Crux  of  the  whole problem , a SICK SYSTEM which  is  flawed ;  It  has  to  go .  kayser  durrani




Sunday May 11, 2014

It’s the System, Stupid

Humayun Gauhar

Imran Khan is holding a one-day rally in Islamabad today to protest against blatant rigging in four constituencies where he wants re-elections. Perhaps his real intent is to show that the entire electoral exercise was deeply flawed and illegitimate, which it blatantly was. But that is no longer the issue. The issue is that this system must go. 

Tahir ul Qadir on the other hand is also holding a one-day rally today. His intent is to overthrow the political system and craft a truly democratic constitution. He is right. The continuous protest movement will start around July, says Qadri. 

Qadri sees the big picture, Imran doesn’t. Imran doesn’t even want mid-term elections, just re-elections in a few constituencies. “See the big picture, Imran. Leave your alpha male ego aside and join hands with Qadri. Take our people to revolution that they so badly want. Remember what I told you a long time ago? ‘You cannot change the system from the inside. It will change you instead without your even realizing it’.”  

What I am about to say may be yet another pipedream but it is worth trying, for then there will be no regrets and we can stand confidently before the Almighty on the Day. People should do what they believe is right and let the devil take the hindmost. A Muslim never loses hope. Don’t expect success in your lifetime. Become a link in the chain of revolution. One day your children and children’s children will see the dawn. Allama Iqbal wasn’t there to see Pakistan’s birth. But without him it may never have come to pass. 

The world is always changed by dreamers and idealists, not by pragmatic realists who worship the satanic status quo or are afraid of rocking the boat. Dreams are the stuff revolutions are made of, mindless pragmatism born of fear of the unknown is the stuff decadence is made of. All God’s Messengers were initially called unrealistic dreamers. When they succeeded they were called great revolutionaries who changed the world. Their enemies are remembered only because they were their enemies. Their followers deformed their Messages but others became reformers and returned to the original ideal. This is so with secular revolutions too. See how Deng Xiao Ping reformed Mao Zedong’s ideology and gave it new life, taking China so high so quickly that the greatest number of people came out of hunger and poverty in the shortest time ever. It was a revolution as great as the Great October Revolution, but without Mao’s revolution Deng’s revolution would never have happened. Each is a link in an ongoing process of change and progress – The Permanent Revolution. The time for Pakistan’s Revolution of  2014 is nigh, to return us to the ideals of our founders.  

When the irresistible force of the people meets the immovable object of an anti-people autocracy camouflaged in the cloak of democracy, it blows a hole through it. Don’t get diverted by this politician or that, this political party or that, sham democracy or rigged elections. Focus on upturning the system that begets such politicians, political parties and rigged elections. 


We have to free our country from the tentacles for an avaricious few. But sitting back to witness the spectacle and hoping that Qadri and Imran will succeed won’t do. Unless all of us participate in our own way with whatever energy and talent the Almighty has bestowed upon us, they cannot do it alone. 

Nothing is working. All we have are hollow shells passing for institutions. Our governments are pantomimes playing government-government, like children play doctor-doctor. Adults playing such games are retarded and cause incalculable damage. Children playing doctor-doctor don’t actually cut open another’s stomach pretending to do a surgery. Adults playing government-government actually do rip open stomachs by taking unconsidered decisions driven by personal benefit that leave the country bleeding. By now Pakistan has lost so much blood that it is totally anemic and in danger of dying of blood loss. 

The executive treats Pakistan like a fief, not realizing that when it deviates from its mandate it loses legitimacy and the right to rule. The people have not given them a mandate to rule for five years. They have given them five years to deliver their mandate. When they forget their mandate they lose the right to rule and become usurpers. If your lawyer deviates from your brief you sack him and get another. Same with rulers, five years be damned. Five years more and our country could be dead or beyond reprieve, God forbid. 

Our parliament is just a building infested with violators of Articles 62, 63, toothless in checking the executive and balancing its excesses – obviously, when the executive is born from parliament’s womb. The judiciary fails to deliver justice down the line. All institutions and organizations under them are in a shambles. The media are unregulated and have become runaway political groups, some mindlessly working against the State for pecuniary gain. Laws and courts don’t exist in the book of the rich, powerful and ugly, except when they work in their favour or to take revenge. 

The only institution left standing is the military, but it is under vile attack by the government in cahoots with powerful parts of the media and judiciary. Their nefarious design is to degrade our army and upgrade our enemies so that it can never intervene again when a civilian government goes completely over the top, like hijacking our army chief’s aircraft and asking the pilot to take him to India with all our military secrets, war plans and nuclear codes in his head. Talk of being bananas. They don’t have the brains to understand that if they rule well and don’t violate their mandate no one would dare overthrow them or even wish to. 

Pakistan has been serially abused but still has enough life left in it to kick, with the non-errant media, writers and the public hitting back. Many tunes have changed diametrically as happens when an intelligent person realizes that his survival is at stake because the Big Bad Wolf is about to blow his house down. If only they could see the pathetic condition of stateless people. They are without identity, without rights, with only a piece of paper that allows them to live somewhere at someone’s compassion, charity and mercy. They are non-persons. Their identity is their struggle. Their sole objective: to regain their statehood. Ask the Kashmiris in Indian Occupied Kashmir or the Palestinians moving from ghetto to ghetto. Their homes are burned down at will, their women raped, their lives in perpetual danger of being extinguished. It is worse than the old slavery because those slaves at least had owners. No one owns stateless people and stateless people own nothing except their pride, self-esteem and struggle. Struggle, struggle and perpetual struggle is the story of our Holy Prophet Muhammad’s life (pbuh). It should be our life story too. Struggle is Jihad against an inhuman, anti-people system to forge a better one. That is exactly what Muhammad (pbuh) did. That is exactly what we should do to win our freedom from our own ruling elite. No one will win it for us and give us freedom on a platter. We have to win it ourselves.  

I don’t know what will come of Imran and Qadri’s efforts. They might fail. That is in the hands of God, on whether He thinks Pakistan is worth saving or not. But we have to try saving it ourselves before God does because He helps those who help themselves first. Our situation is so dire that the time has come for all patriotic Pakistanis to come out in protest. Not everyone may like or agree with Imran and Qadri, but in the face of extinction such feelings become facetious. Save your home, your identity, and your country first. Overthrowing this horrible system should be our only objective right now, so we should support all forces trying to save Pakistan and not indulge in nitpicking. This may be our last chance. It is incumbent upon us to see the big picture and support Qadri, Imran and others taking to the streets in protest against this vile dispensation. 


Imran is right, but re-elections in certain constituencies will not solve the problem. It’s the system, stupid, not its spawn the politicians or particular governments. Elections under this system will always throw up the same sort of dreadful governments. Even if you win Imran, your government will be infested by your collection of ‘electables’ that degrade your party. Democracy will obtain when there is a system in which the carpenter defeats the carpetbagger. Imran should see the big picture that it is Pakistan that needs to be saved, not an election or this system. 

Qadri is out to change this alien system born of our perpetual colonial hangover by changing the constitution that begets all our rapacious systems. The legitimacy of this constitution is questionable anyway, made as it was by a rump assembly of losers, mutilated repeatedly by civilian more than military dictators. Hopefully, others will join him too, most importantly the downtrodden people, media, civil society, small bureaucrats, traders, shopkeepers, farmers, women and youth to bring revolution. All put together we can build such a powerful head of steam that this ugly fairyland of criminals that our ruling elite has built for itself will be swept away by the tidal wave of humanity and “crowns flung high and thrones overturned” in victory. Defeat or victory, the struggle goes on. Pakistan Zindabad. 



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