Only the (whole) truth can set us free

The people have shown how they feel about being disregarded. They have shown what they think of being played. If only their champions would believe in them.
Published February 23, 2024

The Pindi commissioner has come out and said that the entire district was rigged on his directions and he cannot have this on his conscience. He has then said the army is not to blame and all the onus of rigging falls upon the Chief Election Commissioner and the Chief Justice of Pakistan.

In accusing some and absolving others while becoming a fall guy in the twilight of his career, the commissioner has still told too much of the truth for it to be convenient to those he may have thought he was helping.

That’s the thing about using truth as a weapon. It can only set you free. It isn’t very useful for precision bombing and causes a lot of collateral damage — perhaps the fear of that very outcome has led to access to social media platform X (formerly Twitter) being disrupted countrywide.

We are also told that a deal has been reached — a new government comprising everyone other than the party which received the most votes from the people will now be serving them. Shehbaz Sharif, being the joint candidate for prime minister, also means that a full page ‘story’ [which was actually a paid advertisement] carried in all Pakistani newspapers has seemingly bounced — the fourth coming of the saviour, Nawaz Sharif, is no longer upon us.

Dealing with the devil

Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett collaborated to write ‘Good Omens’, a fantasy fiction comedy about the end of times. In it, there is a character called Crowley — a duke of hell. He has been sent to earth to await the birth of the child of Satan, an event that will herald the end of times. Crowley is to prepare for the coming beforehand and to ensure a smooth arrival.

When the spawn of the devil finally does arrive — disguised rather appropriately as the child of the American ambassador to England — Crowley has already lived on earth for a few millennia. He has begun to enjoy life on earth, driving his hundred-year-old vintage Bentley at impossible speeds through the English countryside, while drinking from his personally collected stash of centuries-old wines and whiskeys.

Secretly, he doesn’t want it all to end. He would have to go back to hell if it was all over, and it’s a rather chaotic mess to be in, even if one is a duke. He doesn’t want an Armageddon, and he decides to work with the archangel Aziraphale, his angelic counterpart on earth, to stop it from happening.

The thing about truth

I used to think that all truth was sacred. That it would set you free no matter the circumstances. Our current CJP and the proceedings at his Supreme Court have shown that this needs further qualifying. The truth is a good thing. The whole truth is even better. The whole truth at the right time, that’s what is sacred. Because truth without timing is just pedantry.

Had Nawaz and Maryam told the whole truth when Nawaz was first disqualified and called out the establishment’s “conspiracy” with the judiciary while it was in progress, maybe the barrage against them would have abated. Instead, they waited till there was no hope left of a rapprochement and then started selectively calling out a player or two before exchanging favours with the same players and promptly shutting up.

Had Imran called out the puppet masters when he first noticed their strings around his own arms and legs, and called them out fully for the games they played — which included his own ascendancy as a pawn — who knows how different the lay of the land would have been. But he waited until there was no hope left and the writing was on the wall — and even then he made an excuse of an international conspiracy and named people only metaphorically.

Had the PDM government told the truth about why they decided to hold onto power after the April 2022 vote of no confidence and that it singularly concerned the fresh appointment of a public servant, perhaps people would have been more forgiving at the ballot.

If only…

The people have shown how they feel about being disregarded. They have shown what they think of being played. They have shown what they think of oppression and machinations. If only their champions would believe in them consistently and constantly.

There is a point where Crowley’s scheming against hell’s ordained catastrophe is discovered by another duke of hell, who comes after him. Crowley decides to get rid of his assailant by putting on some kitchen gloves, unlocking his safe and taking out his most formidable weapon — holy water. Holy water is truly sacred; just like truth with timing.

Crowley waits for the opportune moment and proceeds to spray it upon his fellow duke, melting him into nothingness.

In the twilight of his career, Nawaz should introspect and consider how much he owes to our democratic system. He should see that currently, he holds the key to keeping hell itself at bay.

After a career of wheeling and dealing at all the wrong times, Mian sahab was supposedly coming back to set his daughter up as the heir and to set the record straight with regards to how he was kicked out of office the last time. It was also a little about vengeance and teaching the system his worth — making them all realise he is necessary.

This is now about more than just his legacy. More than his daughter’s right to ascend to his throne. He should unlock the safe and bring out the holy water. For a brief moment in Gujranwala, where Nawaz made his presence felt via video link, there emerged a sliver of hope that we would see this happen. But old habits die hard and soon enough, he was all too ready to take the easy route again.

All is not lost, though. There could yet be truth in that ‘story’ carried by every newspaper — the one that heralded the fourth coming of the saviour. But Nawaz can’t save us by ascending to power. There’s only one path to salvation.

Tell us all the truth Mian sahab. Tell us the whole truth, nothing but the truth and tell it when it’s still relevant. Tell it now, and save us from having to wait for it to out when it counts for nothing.

Spray the holy water like Jam-e-Shereen from the winner’s podium. For a man wronged in both victory and defeat, whilst in power and without, what a fitting last hurrah it would be.

To melt the dukes of hell into nothingness.

To set the people free.