Illustration by Khuda Bux Abro
Illustration by Khuda Bux Abro
It is the glory of the labyrinths of power that whomsoever has entered this maze has never returned unchanged. It would be a miracle if someone did emerge unaltered. You cannot imagine how much they struggle just to get inside these labyrinths. That includes all the promises they made and the promises others made to them, as well as the dreams that they showed to the public. But they guard their dreams from everyone, ensuring that no one knows about them until they are fulfilled. Their path forward can only be paved by showing several different dreams to people. Otherwise they would spend their entire lives hovering at the edges like evil spirits without a single chance of entering the labyrinths of power.

Curing someone who is addicted to wandering in these labyrinths is a complex task. Such people refuse to come out if they are already inside. If they must come out for some reason, they immediately begin struggling to return to it, which continues until their objective has been achieved. If their separation from the mazes is lengthened, they either fall seriously ill or leave this country to go to another country, hoping that they could have all the comforts offered by the other countries even if they can’t have the luxuries in their own country, aptly known as self-exile.

So the exile replaces the labyrinths of power, while every street, village, town, metropolitan cities exist only in name and whose roads are like archaeological sites. These people only visit the villages when they are struggling to return to power again. They also must greet and hug these people, something they never want to do. Only some people are lucky enough to live next to Masjid Nabwi in Medina and see the holy mosque every time they peek out of their window. Then there are those who prefer the streets of London and Dubai where there’s no chance of an unknown bullet being shot from the gun of a target killer. Whether they are in power or out of it, they are always surrounded by armed guards.

Illustration by Khuda Bux Abro
Illustration by Khuda Bux Abro
Everyone living in exile for the last five years returned home expecting that they’ll finally enter the labyrinths of power this time. But if they didn’t succeed for some reason, they shall soon return to their life in exile. Some people love their exile so much that they aren’t prepared to return at all. But there’s not a leaf that can flutter without a statement being issued to the media from there. Occasionally, the media discovers that a leaf moved here when this statement is released from abroad. This is an exile that keeps one so closely connected to one’s homeland that one’s country would be ashamed for keeping its sons away from her.

However, it doesn’t matter which nationality you obtain because your country won’t let go of you so soon. Whichever country you may be in, whether you are asleep or awake, you remain aware of the news that is transmitted from your country. Sometimes our friends and family living abroad tell us that there is a riot in our neighbourhood or bullets are flying in the streets. But why are we talking about this? These poor souls are the people who have neither seen the labyrinths of power nor been in exile. They live in luxury both here and there. Only those who are used to it grow thin due to anxiety. The country continues to operate in the same manner as it has always has and will continue to do so.

By the way, there are those who can’t secure enough votes to come into power. Their chance comes when a military coup occurs or a caretaker government comes into force. It’s like our social activists, technocrats, businesspeople and even the literati and journalists have won this lottery. They finally get a chance to visit the labyrinths of power on the basis of their honesty in speaking and writing the truth and their services to the society. One should only possess true passion; your luck and the agreement of your colleagues in power will be enough to take you to the labyrinths of power without having to go into exile wherever you aspire to be. Alhamdullilah! This time around one returned just as empty-handed as when one first came into power. In any case, it’s useless to discuss transfers, promotions and postings. Whatever we do, we do so because of our passion to serve our nation. We have nothing to do with give-and-take, we are Allah-lok and no one knows it better than you!

It depends entirely on you whether you find yourself in the old Pakistan or the new one. It’s not going to change by changing your cap or curing your baldness. Previously, video messages were relayed from an undisclosed location by our old friends, the Taliban. Now video messages are also transmitted from the Shaukat Khanum hospital. Change will come, but slowly, as this nation cannot tolerate an overnight miracle. The difference between those in power and those who aren’t will eventually start becoming evident. What’s the hurry anyway? Please wait some more. We haven’t even forgotten the loadshedding yet. So, we must muster up some courage to accept the gifts that the upcoming budget is going to bestow upon us.

The presents this new budget is going to bring along aren’t for those who are in power or for those who are in exile, but for us. Our acceptance of it won’t matter, as it’s a part of our fortunes. At every step, we would have to bless them with our acceptance. You already have been accepting everything for the last 65 years, thinking it’s God’s will, so why avoid it now?

Illustration BY Khuda Bux Abro
Illustration BY Khuda Bux Abro
Only those who are actually focusing on something else avoid it. If their focus was entirely on the nation, then we must accept everything as it is, just like we always have done. Those who are eyeing the labyrinths of power continue to remain mesmerised in the mazes of power, whether they are dreaming it or it’s real. They only come in the real world when they get support from above and from below. The people on the outside bless them and those who are inside cannot stop supporting them. The only other option they have is exile. You know how some people have spent years abroad in exile, saying that their party workers don’t permit them to return so they cannot return yet.


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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.

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Comments (3) Closed


Parvez
Jun 06, 2013 01:40pm

Always like reading you but this time you got lost in the writers labyrinth...........the subject matter was very relevant.

Be Happy
Jun 06, 2013 05:59pm

Your articles are thought provoking and pointed. Unfortunately A team goes out and B team comes in to play the inning. Players of previous team flock back to the ground weaing different caps! Somehow, we manged to pass 66 birthdays, but so called" never grew up" . Thank you Mr Khuda Bux... keep writing.

RAJA
Jun 07, 2013 09:22pm

Now I know how printed circuit boards(see the illustration#1) linked to Power.