The good news is that the Difa-e-Pakistan Council (DPC) long march on the federal capital ended with a peaceful dispersal of the crowd, on Monday night. The bad news is that the DPC announced it will continue its protest against the reopening of Nato supply routes through Pakistan with long marches from Quetta to Chapman and Peshawar to Turnham, scheduled respectively for July 14-15 and July 16-17. Both will end at one of the crossing points that Nato trucks use. The recently reopened supply routes, are at peril should large crowds converge under the DPC banner and this will most definitely be a warning bell for peace and stability in the country. However, it must also be remembered that the DPC’s tall promises of ensuring an end to the supply routes with this particular march are nowhere near having been met. While protests are the right of all, the march was not the only way. Th PMLN and PTI chose to maintain a safe distance from the DPC leadership and resolved to register their protests independently.
The speakers associated with the DPC draw a link between the restoration of Nato supplies with “foreign control” over Pakistan, instead of laying stock by the much more reasonable an argument of showing disrespect to Parliament, whose conditions for restoration were not followed. There has been no end to drone strikes. The comparison of Islamabad’s D-Chowk, where the leaders spoke, with Tahrir Square, and the declaration that there was no harm in undemocratic means, was a pointed reference to the Arab Spring, which has seen the removal of four Arab regimes (Tunisia, Yemen, Libya and Egypt), none through elections. However, it must be remembered that one is to stay within the realm of reality and that this formula neither applies to Pakistan, nor is a denunciation of democratic means at all appropriate in a country which has seen just how much of a utopia nearly half its lifetime spent under military rule is. The government should remember that it faces an election in the coming winter, and there is deep public resentment which they have brought on themselves through bad governance and which is now being channelled into anger against the supply routes reopening. The reopening, also, negotiated through seven long months, with every day bringing new lionised claims of an unconditional apology being sought and at the end being whittled down to a form which left language experts scrambling to explain just how the words spoken constituted an apology was another stunning demonstration of how, perhaps, we are at times our own worst enemy.