My younger daughter, who’s just six-and-a-half, placed a bet with her older sibling, who’s all of eight-and-a-half, and won. The upstart had wagered that Imran Khan will not join the Qadri long march. I consoled the older one, saying even I had suspected he would!
You could say, with some conviction, that this was the result of a charged environment whose sweep was being felt in television-equipped homes across Pakistan although the little one is pretty prodigious in her own right and well nigh capable of straight-on judgments (for instance, calling TuQ the Pied Piper and dubbing her timeout from school closure as Qadri Holidays)!
When every Tom, Dick and Harry has an opinion on an issue as debatable as the TuQ long march — who is he, who and what are the force(s) behind him, what is his agenda and the rendezvous the Complex Republic of Panicstan — you’ve had it.
Like everyone else glued to the idiot box the four cold days TuQ rained on them — from the comfy confines of a Rs35m container — I, too, wasn’t spared with views, summations and conclusions whose credibility pulled up and down like a yo-yo.
The funny thing is the jury is still out on all the basic aforementioned questions and is no closer to finding out the answers today than they were when he rabble roused the changelings on December 23 last year. They have googled and they have trawled the youtube (where they’ve found some footage to chuckle about) but nothing to prick the balloon with.
Some of the evidence, one hears, would only embarrass the PPP and PML-N given the unsuspecting patronage their leaders derived from TuQ when he wasn’t deemed such a phantom. Benazir is purported to be have been even a member of Minhaj-ul Quran and one’s sinful eyes have seen a picture of Nawaz Sharif’s dastarbandi at the hands of you-know-who!
However, the past, as my mentor Omar Kureshi used to say, is another country. It would be unfair to dwell on it when attempting to read the genesis of the D-Chowk road show. Because of the changed circumstances, the past and the present have no connect.
(Let’s say the grapevine had it) the security establishment had a quiet but strong message delivered to TuQ on the fourth day — to pitch in his last and be done with; there was to be no fifth day histrionics. A large delta force in civilian façade was also purportedly within the gathering.
An attempt was also made to evict the status quo challenger but it came to naught not because the driver had the presence of mind to break the gear, but for the interior czar’s command, on second thoughts, to let it go.
The fourth day sabre rattling from the apples are oranges confounder may or may not have been only meant to instill the fear of God but the Prez was on the ball and fully cognizant of games people play — and how they have a funny way of rebounding on the player.
What is not in doubt however, is that the day was saved — for all those seeking a face-saver. The face-saving may have saved the system and its purveyors for now, but who will save the people of Pakistan from the saviours?
– Kamran Rehmat