What do Ben Ali, Hosni Mubarak, and Ahmed Quraishi have in common? Quite a bit, as it turns out. Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak learned the lesson when they got on a plane and left. Ahmed Qureshi titled his own article, ‘A lesson from Egypt & Tunis’, but as usual he got the lesson hilariously wrong.
Actually, Ahmed Quraishi’s spin is laughably bad. He terms dictators ‘politicians’, and yet still goes on to praise them. The man who has never met a dictator he didn’t fawn over like a blushing bride, Ahmed Quraishi looks at Hosni Mubarak’s record of iron-fisted rule and writes:
We can say a few good things about Hosni Mubarak who consolidated the position of the country and gave an opportunity to the middle class to grow but he failed to fully represent the potentials of the Egyptian people.
That’s right. Ahmed Quraishi believes that Hosni Mubarak’s failure was not fully representing the potentials of the Egyptian people. Secret police? Iron-fisted rule? All of these are just fine with Ahmed Quraishi who knows all too well what dictatorships and covert agents are up to. He has even said so himself, defending the release of the fake Wikileaks story by saying that it is justified to use fake media stories for political ends, and he followed up this astonishing admission of manipulation by calling for a blatant authoritarian regime in Pakistan that will “enforce discipline” and “tolerate dissent but not chaos”. Was Ahmed Quraishi a speech writer for the newly deposed dictators? It certainly sounds like it.
According to Ahmed Quraishi, the solution to all of the country’s ills is to give unchecked power to the establishment, and this time he wants to make sure meddlesome justices like Iftikhar Chaudhry do not get in the way of dictatorial powers.
Within a few hours of the flight of its President from the country, the army arrested all the presidential nearest and dearest who were suspected of plundering the national wealth. Remember, they were arrested alone as suspects and they did not wait for an investigation by an agency like NAB or a legal court.
This is no suprise. Ahmed Quraishi has been condemning the lawyers movement and all demands for fair and neutral justice for years. His latest article is another boring display of his same old fetish for coups and military strongmen.
Tunisians and Egyptians may have held their own long marches to remove dictators and win democracy, but Pakistanis won our own freedom a few years ago. But now Ahmed Quraishi wants to hijack the Arab pro-democracy movement and twist its meaning to support the return of military dictatorship to Pakistan. I’m sorry, but we have seen that movie too many times already. We all know how it ends and we’re not interested in seeing it again but thank you for the suggestion.
A much better explanation of Pakistan’s political situation is made by Dr Pirzada in Daily Times on Wednesday.
When after Tunisia, Egypt started to rock with shouts of “revolution”, an important western embassy in Pakistan ordered an immediate “risk assessment” to determine if Pakistan could be “next”. The ambassador was told: “Don’t you worry, for while Pakistan presents all factors ripe for revolution, sadly it does not have any leadership to lead this.” This is certainly true, but it is only part of the explanation. I would have told him: “Excellency! Relax and welcome to a multi-polar, raucous but democratic Pakistan.”
This is precisely what many in Islamabad and certainly Washington have not realised — not so far. When some of us were naively whispering in worried American ears: “Sir, we will fix it up in a day”, they did not realise that the country has changed; today it has many centres of political authority, dozens of TV channels — all trying to outwit Fox, hundreds of chirpy radio stations and countless racy publications. And precisely because of this multi-polar and multi-media situation, our courts have found the space to assert themselves as independent entities and they in turn add to the depth of a rough, volatile and fragile mix that despite its many failings is the new democratic dispensation in which no one is all-powerful, no one, not even the good old GHQ has total control. If they are creating impressions of ‘control’, they too are bluffing.
Democracy is neither orderly nor neatly pressed and tidy like the khaki uniforms worn by the Hosni Mubaraks and Ziaul Haqs of the world – establishment ‘liberators’ who gladly free their countries to serve their own interests and those of their lackeys. It’s really sad that people like Ahmed Quraishi are willing to take the sacrifices and the dreams of people for democracy and twist them into distortions that claim to promote the very dictatorships that people are struggling against. Thankfully, the power of the people is greater than the power of any dictator, and certainly more powerful than Ahmed Quraishi.