With each passing day the Allama appears to be getting more belligerent in his statements, assertions and demands. The latest example of this is his statement Wednesday last that “people would throw out the caretaker government if it was set up prior to the Long March”.
“MODESTY” The Allama is being “modest”! Between the lines one can read that it is he who promises to do the throwing out and not the unnamed “people”! No one was talking about throwing out the caretaker government before he landed with a thump after several years’ absence abroad, mainly in Canada, his adopted country. The audacity of the statement is breathtaking coming from for one who is a newcomer to the political scene in the country with no visible political stake and no representation in the Parliament. He appears to be posing as a modern personification of Julius Caesar: “He came, he saw and he conquered”.
FALL BACK PLAN IN SIGHT? On the other hand singing a different tune he is reported to have said during a talk show on a TV channel, that doors were open for talks on the March which can be called off if he was if he were categorically assured by ‘trustworthy guarantors’ (presumably the Army and the Judiciary) that his agenda in relation to a caretaker set-up and electoral reforms ahead of 2013 general election would be implemented in letter and in spirit. “I’ve not closed doors for talks. I’m open to every suggestion,” Qadri said. This climb down, audacious nevertheless, indicates that the absurdity of the declared 4-million March and the hazards and uncertainties involved may be gradually sinking in after the initial euphoria.
DUBIOUS GUARANTEE DEMAND Why would the Army and the Judiciary try to give (even if they could) the required assurance, and of all the people, to the Allama, a non-stakeholder in current politics who has returned to his country after spending years abroad and acquiring Canadian citizenship to which country he has taken an oath of allegiance in the process? Just because he has threatened everyone who would listen with his famous 4-million March on Islamabad?
REALLY 4 MILLION? COME AGAIN!In the first place, it would be difficult to see anywhere near that many people dropping everything and embarking on a foolhardy venture with no tangible, clearly defined and understood goalpost or landmarks. Already the Allama is taking about not four million but three million people starting with him on the March with the fourth million (how easy that sounds) to join them on the way. Even that would be risky since if the number in the March turns out to be say a quarter or less than the claim, it would be a serious setback to Allama’s agenda and any more pompous claims he might choose to make in the future. So why not bargain and back out?
TROUBLESOME WEATHER The weather these days is unsuited, even hazardous for the kind of undertaking the Allama plans to launch in Mid-January. Sheer logistics of so many people out on the roads for a number of days defies imagination. If the campaign extends over several days where will the millions sleep, where go for their toilet needs, how will they be fed, how will those falling sick be tended and by whom? No doubt the Allama has proved his apparently newly acquired organisational skills but the March and Dharna of millions is a different kettle of fish, as they say, from the Lahore show.
SECURITY And what about security? The state of security being what it is in the country, army and police personnel and installations under daily murderous attacks, suicide attacks galore, rulers uncaring, the March and the Dharna would be like huge and hugely vulnerable sitting ducks for any miscreant who decided to wreck havoc if for no reason other than adding to existing insecurity. The latest is the scare added by Rehman Malik who is responsible for (in addition to keeping Altaf Bhai satisfied) internal security, claiming that TTP are likely to attack the March. Though it is difficult to take RM seriously on any subject (from what we have seen of him for over five years now), his current statement is ominous under present circumstances.
WOULD GOOD SENSE PREVAIL? Putting my wishes before what looks probable at this point in time let me express the hope that good sense will prevail and the powers that be, those visible and others who pull strings from behind, will offer a face-saving formula to the Allama and he would thereby be enabled to cancel the March in triumph with the claim that the objectives had been achieved for now. Am I mouthing a serious wish for the sake of national security or merely indulging in wishful thinking or making a calculated forecast? I wish I knew!
THE MURDER THAT SHOCKED!Murders of the hapless by the high and mighty of the country are nothing new. But the sheer audacity of the alleged killers in the Shahzeb murder has shocked the nation across the board. Here is a highly connected (how hateful the expression sounds?) young man boasting about his lineage (you know whose son I am?), killing someone in cold blood and driving away without an apparent care about consequences that could follow.
THE “HANDICAP” RACE! The police (subservient to the rich and the mighty as always) started a handicap race against the alleged killers by giving them a “handicap start” and then starting a chase but making sure that target is always one jump ahead. One accused is said to have fled to Australia and the police started making a great show of vigorously pursuing the other in the country on his known addresses. Would he have obliged by staying put? We already have another example in the flight of OGRA Chief Tauqeer Sadiq, accused of corruption amounting to Rs 82 billion, who has been “chased out” of Pakistan, then out of Nepal, then out of Bangladesh and then out of God knows where without the perspiring pursuers getting close to him!
UNDER THREAT ONLY It was only when the Supreme Court threatened to disrobe the Police Chief that the police was galvanised into action made highly visible on TV screens and a number of arrests were made. No matter! Between the cup and the lip there is many a slip! A weak prosecution, vanishing witnesses, interminable delays and so on are always at hand to save the high and the mighty from receiving their just desserts.
NOT AN ISOLATED CASE!Meanwhile an Urdu newspaper, quoting its own resources reported that Siraj Talpur one of the two accused in the Shahzeb murder case, was the occupant of a flat in Defence in which he lived alone surrounded by his guards and playing host to “like-minded” friends – men and women – including the main suspect Shahrukh Jatoi, indulging in frequent revelry and misbehaving with occupants of other flats in the building. In fact according to the report following complaints from them Siraj Talpur was already on notice to vacate the flat. Only the police were not aware of the goings on it seems or of the several empty liquor bottles put out routinely as trash be the servants employed in the flat! As we write this Siraj Talpur, now under arrest, has turned approver claiming that the killer was Shahrukh Jatoi, still absconding.
ALTAF BHAI’S “DRONE”!As we write this we have not heard about the identity of the promised “Drone” but as you read this you may have! One wishes that the Rabita Committee had advised Altaf Bhai to choose a different name since the word Drone has agonising associations! By the way would the promised “Drone” turn out to be a sort of alliance between MQM and TMQ?Wajid Naeemuddin, "Spotlight: Police chasing criminals in ‘handicap’ race!: Will TQ abort the march with a face-saving bargain?," Business recorder. 2013-01-08.