A lot of people have been irked by the not-even-nearly-enough inflammatory rhetoric from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif after his ouster following a business-as-usual judicial coup. Of course, nobody wants to see anarchy and disorder spread around them. It makes perfect sense.
Now that is particularly true if you live in politically dead cities such as Rawalpindi and Islamabad, and if you don’t find a bone of political activism in you. I sort of include myself in that category, but no such excuses will be good enough when people will attribute the absence of political activism and a lack of civil responsibility for a weak democracy in Pakistan.
You could say that the verdict to disqualify the Prime Minister has been a resounding slap on the people of Pakistan. One day you have someone as a Prime Minister and the next day, you don’t and for no apparent good reason at all. Disqualified for life, just like that. There is someone else making that decision for you.
In many ways, the verdict is as outrageous, if not more, than corruption in carrying out the elections. Indeed, such doctoring with the legal term of an elected Prime Minister is a form of electoral corruption in itself.
We seriously need to ask ourselves this question. How do we respond to coups?
What do we do as citizens and soldiers to resist the tyrants taking over a democratically elected administration? What do we do as citizens and soldiers to actively prevent such situations? Why are coups almost always bloodless in Pakistan? Without a single shot being fired? And after all, who will fire that single shot?
Even if we ignore the Judicial ones under the pretense that the honorable Supreme Court carried out a legitimate verdict and that there was nothing political about it, we still have examples of military coups. People old enough still recall how smooth the 1999 military takeover was. Only the Prime Minister happened to get arrested.
Why is that we in Pakistan can only be amazed by the Turkish people who came together to save the government of an elected leader who is bitterly divisive? Why is it that we in Pakistan put our partisan affiliations above the office of the elected leader of the nation?
We probably would be a little more chaotic than the calm we prefer in our resistance to the bureaucratic tyranny in Pakistan if we were more committed to the constitution. Perhaps the fault lies in our political class for not being able to make a case strong enough for democracy and even for the supremacy of the constitution.
Perhaps the fault lies in our civic education that failed to convey to the people about the importance of the rights that the constitution guarantees. Perhaps it is the weakness of democracy that they fail to grasp the importance of their rights and have learned to love their tyrants.
Perhaps our democratic leaders are fools to believe that the people will go out on the streets and riot for them. They overestimate our commitment to democracy and our right to vote. They probably have no idea how we abhor political activism and even worse, much prefer unelected bureaucrats to govern us.
But in a way, it’s much better this way. Nobody wants damage to property and lives. All that for what?
We don’t want trouble. We don’t want chaos. All that too for these corrupt politicians in the name of democracy?
Pakistan might be on fire soon enough, but never for this reason.