Tahir-ul-Qadri’s Long March ended with an anti-climax. The revolutionary zeal of the protestors was rewarded with a compromise. As the dust settles on another vital episode in Pakistan’s foremost soap opera, the character who will come out strongest is Imran Khan.
When PTI decided to boycott the 2008 elections it was subjected to endless abuse by supporters sick and tired of the incumbent regime. These people saw the party as a ray of hope amidst a horizon laced with crooks and criminals. They felt betrayed by the party’s stubborn refusal to budge. It was conveniently forgotten that these “elections” would be held under the aegis of a PCO judiciary unlawfully appointed by a military dictator. Furthermore, this judiciary was responsible for the passing of the NRO, granting amnesty to the biggest criminals of Pakistan. This leads us to a wider malaise infecting the nation: the addiction to quick fixes and fleeting pleasures. The commonly held notion implied that simply getting rid of PML-Q and Pervez Musharraf would somehow solve our problems.
What followed was extremely predictable yet scarcely believable. Musharraf was ousted to wild celebrations, just 9 years after being greeted in the same manner. He was replaced by Asif Ali Zardari, otherwise known as Pakistan’s biggest thief. Since then the journey has been increasingly downhill, towards hell itself. How could we expect anything else from the products of NRO? We lament the presence of tax evaders and hardened criminals in our parliament but after the sham elections of 2008 expecting anything else is absurd.