Sunday, July 22, 2007

Celebration time in Pakistan

Picture: Daily Times: July 21, 2007

Celebration time
By Dr Farrukh Saleem: the News, July 21, 2007

Iqbal had a dream; their lordships have turned Iqbal's dream into a reality. Rahmat Ali gave us a name; their lordships have given Rahmat Ali's name a meaning. Jinnah gave us a country of our own; their lordships have now given us a direction of our own.

Remember, lawyers; they sang in rain and they sang in sun. They did no damage to anyone but sing. They sang duets and they sang chorals. They sang all night long. They had no tanks and they had no bombs. They had songs and they had rhymes. Their songs their tanks and their rhymes their bombs. They sang on roads and they sang in parks. They did nothing but sing.

At the next stop, even more showed up. They danced in black coats and they danced in black ties. They danced at the beat of dhol and they danced on chimta. They danced on tumbi and they danced on tabla. They had no Kalashnikovs and they had no bullets. Their black coats their Kalashnikovs and their black ties their bullets. They did no damage to anyone but danced. They danced in streets and they danced on rooftops. They danced all night long. They did nothing but dance.

They carried no stones and they brought no rocks. All they had was flowers and petals. They threw no stones and they pelted no rocks. They drowned his car in flowers and they drenched him with petals. He neither danced nor sang. He neither said much nor heard much. Neither a Buddha nor a Sufi. But, he was kissed on the forehead and kissed on the cheeks. Kissed for what he had done.He went to Peshawar and he went to Multan. He rolled through Pakhtunkhwa and he rolled through Punjab. That's 300,000 square kilometres of Pakistan and that's where six crore Pakistanis dwell. Not all, but half of them came out. They came out to see neither an Ataturk nor a Mandela. They came out to see a Pakistani who had done it; did something that hadn't been done before. Said "no".

Four months of singing and four months of dancing. With not a drop of blood shed they have won. They have hurt no one and won. They have damaged no property and have still won. They have won and we have won. Jinnah has won, Iqbal has won and so has Rahmat Ali.

Friday is when Pakistan danced, once again. Friday is when Pakistan sang, once again. There were SMS's and there was mobile telephony. I heard from friends who hadn't called in a year. Friends within and friends outside.

They came in yellow dhotis and they came in red kurtas. They had nothing but mithai. They did nothing but doled out mithai. Who were they and why were they doling out mithai? There hasn't been an election. Have we won a war?

He was wearing neither a black coat nor carrying a party flag. In the heart of Islamabad he wandered like a wanderer; with a basketful of mithai. I had neither seen him before nor heard of him before. He did nothing but shoved a ghulab jaman through my teeth. Now, that's a first in my lifetime. Shoved it and went on. Neither waited for my thanks nor for my views. Shoved it and went on.

What's next? Trias politica; separation of powers. You do your things right. We shall do ours. You put your house in order. We'll put ours. Black robes have neither been a check nor an impediment; a 60-year nightmare. Nightmare becomes a dream. Dream shall take time but the Executive beware, there now is a check and an impediment. Yes, there will be constitutional deviations and, yes, there will be Executive indiscretions but not another 60-year nightmare. Yes, there is a new endangered species list; dual offices, controversial elections and monopolisation of power by the Executive. And, yes, Pakistan's civil society can take care of Pakistan's problems.

Twenty-one thousand days of going nowhere. Black robes have changed all that. Ukraine had an Orange Revolution. White shirts have done it here. Serbia had the Bulldozer Revolution. Black robes have done it here. Kyrgyzstan had a Tulip Revolution. Petals have done it here. Estonia had a Singing Revolution. So did we. Georgia had her Rose Revolution. So did we. No one has yet had a dancing revolution. We did.

The writer is an Islamabad-based freelance columnist. Email:

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