I wonder if this is a coincidence or whether these two dates were decided on purpose. On May 12, 2007, the real guardians of the country used their prodigies to play a game of fire and blood. Now with the help of the same prodigies, May 11 is all set to become the most memorable and significant day in the history of Pakistan. Last May 12, they waved their fist in the air warning us to fear their strength. This time, they have all five fingers in the ghee as everything is going according to their plan.
Neither will Mian Sahab get all the votes, which means he won’t be getting out of control. Nor is our Khan Sahab going to ‘sweep’ the polls so that the nation enters a ‘Naya Pakistan’. If the circumstances were at all unfavourable for the PPP, ANP and MQM, then they have improved somewhat with the Taliban’s help. The remaining ones will also get a handful of seats. And then, a new era of reconciliation and division shall begin where there will be more stakeholders than before. Then they will sit down together to eat out of the treasury. But before that, they all must recognise and accept the share of the largest stakeholder amongst them.
Even this time, the largest stakeholder has played a game as usual. Those who posed a threat in the past have now been put in their rightful place. The one who was sab pe bhari now only remains so upon himself as the entire weight has shifted back to its origin. They are the only ones who wish to see democracy flourishing in the country because it never sullies their respect and honour, no matter what type of a democracy it is. The rest of the time, democracy can just be used to pin all the blame on the politicians and for all the problems of our country.
They are only looked up to when the people are deprived of a crippled, sightless, deaf and mute democracy. Enough experiments of this kind have been conducted over the decades. It took them ages to finally wash off the stains left by Musharraf Bhai. Now only democracy shall rule in this land but it will be of their choice; feel free to use your vote then. The only difference is whether they are the Taliban or the good Taliban. If you take out the good, then you’d still be left with the Taliban. You know that they’re all bad, just that the lesser of the two evils will eventually be your choice.
-Illustration by Khuda Bux Abro.
But first, they aim to leave those who are actually good in a condition so atrocious that they will never dare to enter the fray. How can you loot something that isn’t there? Those who managed to plunder everything from others can spend ever so generously now. Whether you turn on the TV or the radio, everything being aired is a paid broadcast. Where have the plays, news and other entertainment programs gone? It seems like the entire election is being contested on the TV. The Taliban are already working towards preventing people from attending and participating in the rallies. Those who really enjoy the rallies now just sit at home and watch them on TV.
Whether or not anyone else earns in this election, the TV channels are making a stash of cash, not with two, but eight hands. The paid broadcasts are separate from the other broadcasts. There are live telecasts of rallies, while tickers play constantly on the bottom of our screens. The leaders sit comfortably in London and Dubai but their screams can be heard in every house in every neighbourhood. Sometimes it seems like the people who watch all the rallies sitting comfortably at home might end up thinking that their vote is to be cast over Facebook or the TV. To be honest, that day isn’t too far when we will be able to cast our votes from home.
-Illustration by Khuda Bux Abro.
The entire nation is eagerly awaiting a surprise, which we get every moment anyway. Sit in front of the TV and you won’t be disappointed. No surprises and you get your money back. This is a game of money in which our TV channels are earning. A single channel earning will then produce several offspring channels in order to multiply their earnings. It doesn’t matter if someone wins or loses, our channels will continue to earn in ‘silver’, which should actually be gold – I actually don’t know why they call it ‘silver’.
The channels, using the paid broadcast time as an excuse, are now gathering all the booty gained by the politicians in their famous plundering exploits that the channels told us about. Those who have jumped into the fray on the basis of passion, honesty and thinking and have no party, family connections, wealth or property are in the most difficult situation. Neither can they publish advertisements in newspapers nor do they have the means to buy broadcast time on the TV channels to publicise their campaigns. They will fall flat on their faces. Only a lucky one out of them all would get a chance to win and become a part of this army of plunderers.
It is said that the Election Commission will crack down upon those who spend more than the amount stipulated by the ECP. But those with the means are spending limitlessly on their campaigns, while the ECP isn’t acting against them because either they were paid to not act or they are waiting for the right moment. Whatever the reason is, why should we be bothered? Just two more days to go, soon we will know which side the scales will tip, right or left.
And which side the scales will tip towards, we don’t care about either. We only care about May 11 not becoming May 12 and that we can pass peacefully into the new Pakistan. If the new Pakistan doesn’t seem new anymore, we shall simply fall into step with another slogan, like we have nothing to lose. ————————————————————————————————————————————————
The author has dabbled in every form of the visual arts. An activist to the core, Abro’s work deals with social themes and issues ranging from human rights to dictatorial regimes. He is currently working for DAWN as an illustrator. ———————————————————————————————————————————————— The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.