This is the title that I would give if I were to make television soap on the current national scene - as opposed to the bold and the beautiful! The month of June is seeing some rapid developments. People are in a do or die mood with protests, rioting and angry demonstrations being held countrywide at the lack of electricity. No amount of reduction in fuel prices is going to compensate for the misery the common Pakistani is facing as temperatures reach boiling point this summer, both literally and figuratively.
What we see of it are shambles and tatters of its former glory. The people representing it do not sound overly convinced themselves when faced with the defence of their policies. In fact, they appear decidedly uncomfortable apart from unconvincing. It is so apparent that their heart is not in their sheepish side of the story. I found the comment of PPP MNA Chan so amusing which he made when he was questioned about the media being in hot soup, he replied informally: “Media ko hamari haa lagi hai - hamara koi hashr kiya hai char saal iss nai!” After the former Prime Minister was given marching orders, the party kept having its meetings at the presidency, which is also a violation of sorts because the presidency symbolises the federation and is supposed to be non-partisan. (Will eminent legal expert Babar Sattar shed some light?) Young Bilawal sitting in the middle also appeared so uncomfortable and out of place. As somebody remarked on the social media that the PPP could share its slogan with a famous cooking oil: “Nasl der nasl Bhutto naam per aitmaad!”
While all executive powers have been transferred to the Prime Minister from the President, according to the 18th Amendment, in actual the power remains with the President, as we are witnessing due to his position as Co-Chair of the party. It is his vision, his concepts, his superior mind-games that are being played out and implemented. The new PM will, by the look of it, be another ‘dulhan aik raat ki’ and be dumped and forgotten after he has played out his bidding and time. Despite the flaws that are evident, it is, however, wished that the solution is found in more democracy and not less. There are very few who want to go back to martial law or have an unelected government that remains out of the ambit of accountability and treats the country as a guinea pig to experiment upon. All we need is a good leadership with direction. It remains my idealistic belief that we can rally around it, if we can find it, to pull ourselves out of our huge sea of problems.
The media has been in a state of anguish and self-doubt after the famous leaks on YouTube. It has resorted to self-analysis in earnest and begun to realise that without credibility its role is meaningless. It is doing its own detox and the leaks have been a good wake up call. The Pemra has to be made into an independent body to be effective. Regulations cannot be implemented in a partisan manner. The poor, current Acting Chairman of Pemra has suffered a heart attack after the questioning by SC of rules that Pemra follows. Cleaning out of the stables is the flavour/theme of the month in the capital. There is a prediction by the Met Office that the Monsoon rains are going to be heavier than normal. We wait to see what they wash away with themselves this time. It may well be a flood of another kind!
Postscript: Despite the laws being in place of sexual harassment of women at the work place, the remarks made by a male member of the Punjab Assembly about his women colleagues in the Assembly are liable for his disqualification. He represents a mindset that still prevails and is the major stumbling block in the way of women’s progress. Chief Minister Shahbaz must take notice of his remarks and punish him. No amount of disagreement or disenchantment with female parliamentarians warrants their comparison to circus dancers. When will men learn that it is unfair to insult all working women and lump them collectively as being objectionable, solely on the grounds that they have careers. Times have changed. The clock cannot be put back. It is in the interest of all to follow the ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’ policy as far as women are concerned.
The writer is a public relations and event management professional based in Islamabad.