Where We Go From Here

March 18, 2009 § Leave a comment

Amidst the jubilation and the cheers, the months of frustration and “agony bleeding into simple ecstasy” as a friend recently put it, it is also time to step back and grasp strong the hope that has found us.

If we are to look back at this movement as the birth of participatory democracy in Pakistan, we must not stop here.  For the first time in decades there is a real demonstrable answer to the apathy and defeatism with which the Pakistani elite, in the dusk of smoky living rooms, dismisses talk of change and progress in Pakistan. 

We can build on this momentum and reach for more — more of what is right and what has always and continuously been denied the people of Pakistan: Justice, dignity, security, opportunity and an end to the politics of provincialism, patronage, fear and feudalism.  We need never again be cowed before the prospect of army rule.  We need not accept ‘deals’ between corrupt and self serving politicians.  Name them, blame them, and lets move on to demand a resurgent, peaceful, hopeful society.

An exerpt from Kamil Hamid’s excellent piece on what we must do once we stop celebrating: 

We fight on. We watch the judiciary with a hawk-eye fastidiousness that we have failed to apply to our institutions and politicians in the past… We put our demands forward, using the restored judiciary and maintain that, short of valid, democratic reform, nothing can interfere with the constitution… We hone our memories and learn from history… Believe it or not, this is where it all starts: Our dreams of pouring resources and bringing new life to our guttering, failing healthcare and school systems only comes true if we fight tooth and nail for it. We tell the Bhuttos, Sharifs, Elahis, Hussains and countless others that we have grown sick of their power-hungry, self-centeredness and that we will not have them rule us… Our goals should not stop at targeting mainstream parties either…

We must continue to take to the streets and protest, but this time about issues such as our identity being hijacked by people who claim that they act in our name by strapping bombs to themselves and blowing themselves up in areas where the most people can die. We need to demand that proper action be taken against the Swat insurgency, not in the form of peace deals or military action, but infrastructure and education being provided to areas where the Taliban have become widespread thanks to their promises to the locals to provide what basic necessities the government has denied them. We also do not stop at religious militarism, but also take action against provincialism and ethno-fascism in the nation. 

Read the whole article here.

Zindabad

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