Pakistan is not your talking point, it isn’t your political news of the day, the trending global current affair you want to learn so you seem more cultured to your friends. It’s not your choice blogging topic. It isn’t Gaza or Ferguson. Sometimes spreading awareness can backfire and do more harm than good. Why are you caring about Pakistan now when this protest was under way for the last two weeks and when many people were discontented with the Nawaz regime for the past year? How can you say anything about it when you don’t take loadshedding into account and in fact have never sweltered in the summer without air conditioning because the circulation of electricity is limited and available foremost to the rich and privileged, something directly contributing to the people’s agitation? How can you say anything about it when you know nothing about the military dictatorship Pakistanis suffered in the 1990s and the recent 2000s? Are you only caring about it now because the crisis has escalated, friction and violence have increased and it’s going to make headlines and receive more attention? You will view this event in an isolated vacuum, decontextualized from the factors that produced it in the first place. Martial law is imminent. The bourgeois democracy we suffered has all the traits of a regime, but a military coup cannot help us again.
My only request is to be sensitive in how you circulate information. My only request is that you don’t sensationalize it. My only request is that you don’t use language that trivializes and insults the people on the ground just because they’re faraway from you. You cannot understand a political crisis without knowing the 60+ year long history of the country, its institutional dynamics, the praetorianism that has characterized the state since its inception. And most importantly, you cannot understand this without knowing the mood, hope and aspirations of the people in the face of mass poverty, government corruption and military subjugation. The masses are being manipulated and used as pawns. Their rightful rage against bourgeois democracy that is both class exploitative and repressive in freedom of speech is being coopted by highly opportunistic and dishonest politicians cum demagogues, Tahir al-Qadri and Imran Khan, who care more about expanding their power than on nation-building and helping the people, and who are most likely in cahoots with the military. Seasoned Pakistani activist Lal Khan described it best
Khan is a right-wing politician with religious and national chauvinism at the core of his ideological bearings. Qadri is an impostor mixing religious mysticism and demagogic sloganeering including references to poverty, deprivation and welfare, but this is more rhetorical than any serious programme. Both are staunch supporters of free market economics, foreign investment and neoliberal capitalism and, hypothetically speaking, if they ever came into power, they would be steered by the military, imperialism, and financial institutions like the World Bank and the IMF…
The PTI of Imran Khan, with its azaadi march, has no real solution for the woes of the populace. Qadri’s revolution does not even have a name, what to say of a concrete programme or a strategy. Both totally fail to call for even the basic of human needs, i.e. free health and education. They will not dare call for the nationalisation of corporate vultures known as the IPPs to end the curse of load shedding. The PTI leadership is actually a reunion of old Aitchisonians. None of them would ever call for the nationalisation of their mother institution, built by the British imperialists to create and educate a class for the perpetuation of their colonial rule. It is an institution reflecting the grandeur of the colonial and postcolonial elite, disgustingly slavish to their imperialist bosses.
Health and education are the most profitable businesses after the drug trade and ransom in today’s Pakistan. Both these radical forces cannot touch these and other leeching enterprises as their support and finances are dependent on these very entrepreneurs and imperialist monopolies. For that matter, all political parties of the present bourgeois political order are representatives of these different black and grey crony capitalist and feudal classes. These ‘freedom’ and ‘revolution’ marches are in fact primitive putsches to derail and subvert the real tide of a revolutionary tide that can erupt from below. The serious strategists of capital can feel the heat of this seething revolt underneath the surface. They are terrified of a volcanic explosion of society. Once that class struggle erupts with a Marxist leadership it will be unstoppable; the state, clergy and the political elite will be swept away. The capitalist, landlord and imperialist stranglehold shall be obliterated. It will break this boisterous stagnation and society will surge ahead towards a socialist victory.
What we’re seeing unfolding in Pakistan right now may be an engineered military coup or the army propping up the political puppets that will most closely cater to its interests and appease the severely agitated people. The state police feel threatened by the organized protesters in their tens and thousands and react in police brutality. The economy has suffered under Nawaz, Pakistan has come into the yoke of the IMF and the energy crisis is neverending. The military has already become involved as a so-called ‘mediator’ when in reality it possesses foremost control over the situation because it is the most powerful institution in Pakistani society. Pro-Musharraf and dictatorship people have already come out of the woodwork and are calling for army intervention. In the end, the people lose. For them, both openly military and democratic regimes are exploitative, murderous and oppressive. Keep the average working class Pakistani foremost in mind whenever you blog, tweet, or post about this. They’re the ones who are most adversely affected by this, and they’re the ones paying for it with their lives.