One Step Forward, Two Steps Back


Right now concerned citizens are asking themselves: Where do I sign up for a revolution in Pakistan? How can I bring down the government because it’s so, so terrible?

Easy there, concerned citizens. Let’s bring the rhetoric down a bit, and really study the myriad of issues we face as a nation. For anyone truly concerned about the future of Pakistan, serious discussions must be had, requiring cool minds and an acknowledgment of the facts. Vigorous public debates are healthy – they are the calling card of a free society. However, we cannot tolerate discussions that incite hate, or encourage violence. This is not a respectable discussion or anything resembling journalism. Our free media must take its role seriously and be an informative tool. Because they are they medium through which people debate, their role is key in national discussions.

An example of the alarming violent speech is this talk of a “an inevitable revolution in Pakistan.” I think they must mean a metaphorical revolution, right???

As we watch the Arab world fight for democracy, we must stand in solidarity with them, not shake our heads at their “mistake.” We should applaud their bravery and courage. For countries like Egypt, where a revolution successfully toppled Hosni Mubarak, the real challenges begin now. A regime can be topped in a matter of weeks, but the building of institutions takes much, much longer. Unforeseen dilemmas will surely arise as the country tries to steer towards its goal of democracy. It is a struggle worth having.

And yet in Pakistan, some are not talking about a revolution in metaphorical terms. In Lahore there was an actual youth protest against democracy, and for some sort of pan-Islamic form of government to unite all the Ummah. The sky-high absurdity of that is astounding. First of all, Muslims are in every part of the globe. The logistics would be difficult enough! All joking aside, it is really tragic that the Islamic world is rising towards democracy and freedom, while many in Pakistan are bent on bringing it down.

Is our government perfect? No, of course not. We must always be working towards a more perfect society. Problems will plague us and obstacles will always be in our path. But are we willing to sacrifice Jinnah’s Pakistan to some idealized vision of dictatorship?

It’s time to really just calm down and think. Concerned citizens, wake up and have a look around. Haven’t we been through enough of that back and forth between dictatorships? Haven’t they done enough damage? Protestors and pundits alike speak with conviction against our current democracy. Yet very few have the real courage to build things up, strengthen institutions, or even engage in a civil discussion.




  1. Why do assume that a revolution in Pakistan’s context only means moving towards a military dictatorship?

    Years of military rule has twisted the entire frame of argument where any criticism of the political system in the country is taken as support for a military or religious dictatorship.

  2. @AHK What is the alternative? We already have a democracy. So if you don’t want a democracy, and you don’t want a dictatorship, what are you suggesting? But more to the point, I think it is fair to assume that the military is not going to allow some other form of government. If the civilian democratic government does not succeed, they will simply take power, revolution or not.

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