Deconstructing Pakistani liberals: A response to Shashi Tharoor and Raza Rumi
The Civil Society Bulletin – by Abbas Baloch
Some myths and realities about the self-labelled civil society – by Shahid Khan
“Supreme Court shall not remain a spectator if Parliament decides to make Pakistan a secular state”, Chief Justice; a self-proclaimed custodian of theocratic state warned in his remarks. That was followed by a policy statement by Chief of Army Staff that “policy of ‘strategic depth’ (extremism enterprise) shall be continued at all costs”. The two statements reflect the mindset and vision of civil and military establishment about future of Pakistan and widespread extremism in society.
“We, the liberal and moderate ‘forces’, should form a ‘broad based alliance’ against bigotry and extremism”, one regularly hears from members of a tiny but noisy crowd, afraid of establishment’s backed religious fanatics. The crowd wants PPP to move for a head-on clash and be a casualty against bigots supported by ‘holy judges’ and ‘righteous generals’.
Alliance of liberal and moderate forces is a good idea. But against whom they want to form this alliance? Are the civil society liberals really a considerable force without blessings of establishment? Sadly, their existence or otherwise does not make any difference in political or ideological landscape of Pakistan. However, they are good enough for TV talk shows for the consumption of urban middle class.
During the so called lawyers movement, English speaking urban middle class ‘activists’ promoted themselves to the rank of ‘civil society’. As we know today, the movement was a joint project of local and foreign establishment. The so called ‘civil society’ got more media coverage than it deserved. Under the impression of being a newborn ‘power’, some section of that crowd miscalculated that they are powerful enough to ‘make and break the governments’.
The democratic government lead by the Pakistan Peoples Party was the first practice target. They put their weight behind the ‘right-wing’ supported ‘righteous’ judge in their crusade to oust PPP government through a judicial verdict. Majority of that crowd consisting of lawyers, students, journalists and religious parties are currently busy showering rose petals on the assassin of Governor Taseer.
Politics and ideological divide in Pakistan is not as simple as perceived in a democratic society. It has been a bloody game where establishment ruthlessly slaughtered the voices of sanity to promote its ‘Jihad Enterprise’ and installed its puppets in every field of life.
PPP still remains the only force which can bring a social change opposed to agenda of ‘mullah-military-judges alliance’.
The tiny crowd calling itself ‘civil society’ passionately hates PPP. They are powerful enough to make noise but unable to bring down the government lead by a popular party. Their disillusion of making and breaking governments vanished the moment PPP decided to respond during the judicial activism assault.
With assassination of Governor Taseer, the so called ‘civil society’ finds itself vulnerable to religious bigots. Unlike the ‘pseudo-liberals’ of urban middle class, Governor Taseer was an ardent supporter of PPP. He boldly stood and fought for Bhutto’s dream of liberal and moderate Pakistan. He never cried out of fear but became the part of struggle which demands blood.
Afraid of fanatics, they want PPP to fight and give blood, so they can live without fear.
If urban liberal crowd does not feel comfortable with the manner PPP is fighting, they should ask the same from some other political party. Is not it simple? But, there is none else except PPP to stand against the blood thirsty forces of darkness.
No wise men. No trap this time. PPP should not give blood on their fake cries and establishments time frame. PPP should pick time and strategy which suits it best to fight the monster. If all their hopes are with PPP, then they should be part of it. They should also struggle for their liberty outside drawing-rooms and talk shows. If they do so, undoubtedly Governor Taseer will be happy and victorious.
That will require a bold and clear stand against the real architects behind extremism – much loved Judges and Generals, not the Mullah alone.
The tiny crowd which poses to be civil society in Pakistan supports Chief Justice for defending theocracy and praises Governor Taseer for his bold stand for a secular Pakistan. At the same time, they would paddle the establishment’s propaganda against PPP. If they are genuine, they should pick a side in this struggle. Either they are with us or against us.
A plan well executed
Salman Taseer: Another victim of the deep state
Salman Taseer’s murder and the footsoldiers of media – by Qudsia Siddiqui