Saturday, September 23, 2000

Journal Entry

I never knew that blogging was what I had been doing all along. Actually it was something in between a blog and net-activisim. Keeping a journal is not new to me. But it seems that I have been simply at a loss of zest to do so for quite some time now. My previous attempt to record events was more like a thesis on the worsening political conditions of Pakistan. My venture started in 1997 when in February the Muslim League came into power as the sole representative of the dreams & aspirations of the people of Pakistan. It is ironic to note that the 1996-97 polls induced the lowest number of voters in the political history of this country. And even then the government expected to bring about drastic changes with the so-called heavy mandate only because our prime minister had an ostensible majority at the ballot box. I dare not say that there were any unfair means involved in the political victory of the PML. All I want people to think about is that how can one expect democracy to work properly in a country where more than 70% of the total population is not only illiterate but is unaware of it’s basic rights? How can these people (the real majority) decide what is best for them when most of them never cast their votes. And when democracy becomes a game of just obtaining the highest number of votes, no matter how low the turn out may be. I dare say that majority is not always the authority. Nor is the decision of the majority always right. Well coming back to the subject, the Nawaz government right after coming into power gives the impression that the country was about to go into all sorts of anarchy had he not come to power. And immediately calls for a nation wide strive for saving the country from a major economic crisis. The news clipping says; “It pays to be patriotic” (Standard & Chartered). People donate funds to save the country from total default. The establishment of Ehtasab Commission takes place, with the sole purpose of tracking down major loan defaulters. In the same year the 8th amendment is dissolved followed by the wheat crisis. Princes Diana makes a donation for the Shaukat Khanam Memorial Cancer Trust. I play my first squash tournament at POF Wah Cant during the same year. (Hey it’s my blog, I’m supposed to be here too =] ).
Then Lady Diana dies in a car accident in France. In July Hong Kong is liberated from colonial rule. Pakistan celebrates its 50 years of independence. President Laghari resigns and Raffique Tarrar is elected or should we say 'appointed' the new president. The Motorway project is completed and work on Islamabad–Peshawar section begins.
The year 1998 was a very eventful year. I played my second squash tournament. This was organized at Holiday Inn (crown plaza) Karachi. Although I made it only to the second round but it was quite an experience for me. In May Pakistan tested its nuclear deterrence capabilities. I’d like to quote WB Mirza here, "the people of Pakistan say; 'we are proud of our nuclear capabilities but we are ashamed of the corruption in our country'". In August I went to a Cross Cultural Youth Meet, which was organized by Adventure Foundation Pakistan. On 28th August USA launched a cruise missile attack on targets in Afghanistan and Sudan. I am selected stage secretary for the Urdu declamation contest being held at our college. I participate in our college’s annual function. I buy a Pentium II PC with the intention of not upgrading for at least the following 2 years. (P.S: I sold it off in 2003). I participate in a marathon organized by the Pakistan Sports Board.
Then I took a long break from diary writing until Tuesday the 14th, October 1999. It was for the first time in the history of PTV that the transmission was completely cut off. It was history in the making. I was sitting in front of the TV set when suddenly a special bulletin was announced. The news was that PM Nawaz Sharif had dismissed the then army chief of staff (Pervaiz Musharaf) and appointed the ISI equivalent in his position. Then the screen went blank as abruptly as the bulletin itself. Later on I discovered the cause of the sudden breach in transmission. The rest of the story about the military coup is pretty well known to all of us. How both the sides justified their actions, and surprisingly Nawaz has been rescued without much or any resistance. He’s currently in exile in Saudi Arabia. The strange thing about his departure is that Musharaf himself advocated his release in his following speech. Such bias attitude by our leaders will bring no positive results when it comes down to nation building. By exiling Nawaz we have erred yet once more. The guy is an industrialist genius besides being a politician. His mind and his experience are an asset to the country. His capabilities could have been harnessed to serve the country. The Arabs took him with open arms because they know about the business potential of Nawaz. It makes no difference to him if we exile him for a further 20 years. He’s living a life of luxury by serving the oil rich nations. The better way out would have been to bar him from further political activity and to levy taxes on him that could help revive the economy.
If we look into our history, we can clearly see that democracy has never really worked for us. In fact except for a minority no one in this country wants democracy. Martial Law hasn’t done any good either but it has still been a better option or should I say a better imposition. People want reforms, the system has to be changed. We have seen military rule, politics behind doors, people’s government, Islamic democracy mixed with martial law and now our general sahib is trying to cook up the brew of true democracy. Why can’t we as a nation tell our leaders that we don’t want democracy? We want reforms. A restructuring at all levels.
The referendum followed by the elections stank of nostalgia. We are yet to have a democratic government. Turning our backs to the Taliban may have been one of the most crucial mistakes since the creation of this country. Musharaf is yet to yield the promised results. My mind churns up many unanswered questions. Questions that closely border trepidation. But the real question is that, am I making a difference or is it that my own cause is narrowing the very circle around me? This only time can tell. I must write more often. Because that’s the only way of letting you know that I’m still here.