Hoping against Hope

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Malik M. Ashraf

While the horrendous events of May 9 are being widely condemned by the entire nation and there exists irrefutable evidence regarding who planned, facilitated and executed that nefarious plan, there is no dearth of unscrupulous and paid intellectuals desperately trying to exonerate the mastermind of those cataclysmic events and project him as the ultimate saviour destined to winch the country out of the quagmire it is stuck into. I, therefore, feel compelled to explode the myth about their claims.
One of those who have sold their souls to the devil in his latest article, while referring to the arrests being made with regard to the involvement of the individuals in the attacks on military installations, has observed, “It appears that the wheel of the reason is being driven in the reverse. Instead of beginning with details of an alleged crime and presenting it before the law to get a judgment, we are working it backwards by finalizing the desired outcome and then filling in with bits of fake and fictitious evidence to secure a guilty verdict. There is a maniacal fixation on clinching the required outcome irrespective of whether the accused person is guilty of the crime, and whether there is actionable evidence available to proceed against him.”
What a shame that he is saying this notwithstanding the fact that the entire nation saw on their TV screens the enactment of those horrendous acts of terrorism. The PTI leaders and some close associates of Imran Khan who have said adieu to PTI have also raised accusing fingers towards their former mentor as the mastermind of those dastardly acts. Against the backdrop of all this, is it not intellectual dishonesty to say that Imran was not responsible for what happened on May 9 as he was under detention and could not have played any role in what transpired on that day?
The process of disintegration of PTI is very much akin to the way the party was stitched together when Imran Khan was catapulted to the corridors of power through a well-conceived conspiracy. This stands proven in the backdrop of events unfolding after his exit from power. Imran was a stooge who has lost his mental balance after losing power.
PTI was never a political party but a cult. It was like a speedy bus without brakes, which crashed into a wall and fell apart. The migratory birds, which had jumped on it in the hope of enjoying the spoils of power, have flown out sensing the end of the honeymoon. That is what Pakistani politics is all about. Their flight from the party is not due to the pressure and torture being inflicted upon them during their detention as wrongly observed by that soul-seller.
Even more regrettable observation made by him despite the track record of Imran Khan with regard to his reliance on false narratives and politics of vendetta and what happened on 9th May–being decried by the entire nation–is his claim “boundless sincerity and irrevocable commitment to the cause of Pakistan were never the missing links.”
Well, it is an inexcusable indiscretion if someone categorises the attacks on military installations and monuments of martyrs, which are the pride of the nation, as boundless sincerity and commitment to the cause of Pakistan. He still has the audacity to eulogise Khan as a harbinger of inevitable change with these words, “The need for change is an undeniable reality. It has taken deep roots in a vast section of society, and they are unwilling to sacrifice it. The realization of this dream is directly linked with Khan and is reflected in his unprecedented popularity, particularly among the young of the country. The use of even the most brutal state apparatus is not likely to dent it. As a matter of fact, it may spur it further. This is Khan’s strength, and a legitimate strength, for which he can be genuinely proud. The history of defiance of law and instruments of morality has cost us dearly. Let’s not plunge ourselves into a pit of debasement from where there will be no coming out-no matter how brutally the state apparatus is used.”
However, one positive and saner advocacy in his discourse is for PTI to ponder on what has happened and avoid a clash with the state institutions by saying “Though born of genuine desire, it must reflect upon its strategy for achieving the coveted target of bringing about a fundamental change in the manner the state and its affairs have been handled through decades in the past. This strategy should not be driven by the prospect of a clash with state institutions, but a desire to work in collaboration with them to secure the desired results”.
He concludes by saying “The apparent meltdown is not the end. The phoenix could rise again – a little chastened, but not deprived of extensive and passionate public support to trigger a foundational change that every Pakistani has yearned for” Would that! he had given this piece of advice to Khan when he was madly moving on the path of destruction. The reality is that he has been supporting Khan’s anti-establishment rhetoric and his attempts to demean and denigrate the Army. The advice that he is giving now is poles apart from what he has been propagating for the last more than four years. It is too late and beyond redemption now to talk about recalibrating strategy when nothing is left of the cult he calls a party. It is hoping against hope.
After all that has eventuated, if he still thinks that the phoenix could rise again with public support to trigger a foundational change, he is living in a fool’s paradise. There is no harm in daydreaming and conjuring up scenarios to one’s liking but that must have some rational basis which is missing in this case. Perhaps it would be for the benefit of the readers to understand the story of the phoenix. In classical mythology, it is a unique bird that lived for five or six centuries in the Arabian desert burnt itself on a funeral pyre and then rose from the ashes with renewed youth to live through another cycle.