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Pakistan: Azadi and the tweets
  • Maulana Fazalur Rahman
    Maulana Fazalur Rahman
“If people like you had said "Go Imran Go" with such passion I would have resigned and gone to re-election immediately if I am man of honor” said Imran Khan during his own Azadi March in August 2014. But of course, we know from Shakespeare's Julius Caeser what 'men of honor' do and also how they ended up. Given by Maulana Diesel and the current Azadi March joined by the members of oppostion a two days frame to resign, Imran shows no willingness to abide to his previous words and, for once in his long and full of twirls and twists political carrier, keeps quiet. The one who speaks, as usual, is the Commander-in-Chief of Twitter and TV warriors: the general ISPR Asif Ghafoor. Ghafoor, who felt the need to reply to Fazlur Rehman allegations against 'the state institutions' gave a TV interview in which, as Latins would say, he enginereed an 'excusatio non petita' meaning a not required excuse/explanation. Maulana Diesel had accused in his speech the 'state institutions' to support an 'illegitimate government' and asked Imran Khan to resign. In what it is practically a photocopy of Imran's dharna in 2014 against Nawaz Sharif, Fazlur Rehman alleges rigging of the past elections and accuses the current government to have ruined the country. So, the brave Ghafoor replied with the old good song sung by the Army since the advent of civilian governments made them able to rule the country without facing accusations of military dictatorship or taking any responsability for the sorry state of both internal and foreign affairs. According to Ghafoor, “Maulana Fazlur Rehman is a senior politician. He should clarify which institution he is talking about” and address his concerns about rigging of elections to the concerned institutions. He further added that “Pakistan’s armed forces are an impartial state institution which always supports democratically elected governments” and that “Nobody would be allowed to create instability as the country cannot afford chaos”. For once, the Twitter Commander in Chief is right. Pakistani Army always supports democratic elected governments. He just forgot to add: until these Governments do exactely what the Army wants, and that's why they always try to make sure the Governement elected suit or can be forced into suiting the Army's will. Imran Khan, who's political carrier has been boosted by the late Hamid Gul and other ISI and Army prominent ranks, has been carefully selected for this purpose. Unlike Nawaz Sharif, Imran Khan never complained when the Army Chief was accompaning him and practically acting as the actual Prime Minister and seems quite happy to follow the directives given by the Army. His problem? The past few months have proven it is difficult for him to measure his words. He gets incensed by applauses and what he believes is consent of the crowds, and gets carried away. It could be, according to some analyst, one of the reasons why Maulana Diesel and his pals have been allowed to stage the current dharna. However there are other theories spreading in the past few days, the most accredited one saying that some Army Commanders are not happy with General Bajwa getting an extension of his office. But the Army, through Ghafoor, gives a befitting reply to rumors and noises and launches his favorite kind of war: tweets. An ashtag has been launched by the Ghafoor's Trolls Factory: #ArmyStandsWithElectedGovernment. The ashtag is trending in Pakistan since today, and so is the oppositions reply: #NationDemandsUnbiasedArmy. The funny, or tragic thing, depends of point of views, is that it is not a case of democratic voices against an illiberal and selected government. Maulana Diesel is, if possible, even worst than Imran. First of all, women have been advised to stay away from the march, and female journalists have been harrassed and ousted from the ground. After many complains, Diesel and his crew said ladies are most welcome at the march's site, supposed they are 'properly' dressed. They respect women, respect them so much that they want to shed them from misbehaving men. Because Fazlur's crew respect women, but only if they are sitting at home cooking and praying. But what really strucks, is that so called liberal parties are joining hands with Maulana Diesel and sharing the stage with an integralist, undemocratic and bigot leader of a religious party and with thousands of madrasa chaps who, most probably, despise the liberals and the democratics. It tells something about Pakistani politics, that no liberal or democratic party ever thought to stage a demostration or a protest by itself. Truth is, they would never be allowed by the Army to gather people, while the Maulna can, most probably, being controlled. Because, if this is not true and the Army did not give a clean chit for the march, a question arise: Fazlur's only demand is Imran's resignation. If he refuses, and he will, what will happen to the march? Or to Pakistan?
Francesca Marino