Emad's Blog (Under Renovation)

Friday, November 09, 2007

Day 6 - My Pakistan

After the events of yesterday where the processions were well-attended, the momentum was kept up today in Lahore through smaller more symbolic protests. An effort to coordinate the various colleges and universities across the country continues to make headway. LUMS and other institutions still experience a large police presence on their entry and exit points. Things should be shaping up and transforming for the students movement over the next few days.

In Karachi, groups of young people have begun a series of 'Flash Protests'. A brilliant strategy, where at a short notice, people come together at prominent places, engage in an out-of-the-ordinary activity (such as surround themselves in chains or have their mouths sealed with duct tape) , hold placards and give out leaflets. Within minutes and before the approach of police, the protesters disperse as quickly as they had assembled. So far results have been looking effective as they attract enough public attention to have people stop and read what they have to say. Mobilization at universities remains a challenge in the city though.

While official govt figures put arrested individuals at 2000, the Human Rights Watch has estimated actual figures to be many times higher. A large number of lawyers and civil society members are still under arrest, some by intelligence and military agencies. There was a National Security Council meeting that took place and the end of the 'emergency+' was discussed. However, no mention has been made of the fate of the illegally disposed judiciary, removal of which was clearly the primary aim of this action by the General. The Army Act is also being amended, to allow military courts to prosecute civilians - I cannot even begin to imagine the horrors this would bring the country.

CNN and BBC have come back on air, though, so some information will begin to get disseminated. Unfortunately, this looks like a rather convenient time for this to happen, since the coverage is entirely focused on Benazir, who for the benefit of all, will more correctly be referred to in a manner that correctly reflects her American agenda: Benny Bhutto. Her recent statements to the NYTimes and to BBC are portraying her as the knight in shining armor for Pakistanis. Sadly, at a time when other political parties are off the scene, in the larger immediate interest of removal of martial law, one must swallow a bitter pill and support the mass movements called by her party, as maliciously 'manufactured' as this entire scene appears to be.

I'd like to mention something that is becoming an increasingly frequent question for many Pakistanis - 'What's the use for all this protest. It will result in nothing.' It's personally a question that I've been struggling to find a response to. But an interesting thing was said today by someone I have grown to admire:

"Perhaps there isn't a result to this. Perhaps those doing this are driven not by an interest or by even an outcome. Perhaps there is a slightly less 'rational' explanation. Perhaps the only reason they continue to protest and to voice themselves is because within them speaks a feeling that what is happening is wrong. Perhaps it's really just that simple. Of course the larger picture is that if enough people just do this for this reason, the eventual outcome will of course result in numbers that will shake the very foundations of this regime". Perhaps.

Friday is a national holiday, and Benny's party has called a major rally in Rawalpindi. Security situation is likely to be a concern so if you're in Pakistan, please stay safe.

For my readers that understand Urdu, is a little parody of a national song, below. Hilarious. Translation follows for others. Not that hilarious once translated. :)

Pakistan is neither mine, Nor yours
Pakistan is his who is the President of Pakistan

The bigger the shop, the more stolen goods it sells
The one who is the most dishonest, he is the President of Pakistan

The stick defines his rule, the uniform defines his identity
The one whose bottle of spirits is the strongest, he is the President of Pakistan

Whoever is your minister, they're all without a conscience
The one that is the biggest devil, he is the President of Pakistan

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  • I so know what you mean: sometimes you just protest because that's what you gotta do, because there is a feeling inside you that's telling you what is happening is wrong. And when that feeling is there, nothing can stop you -- you just gotta do it.

    Reminding me of our cold October 2004.

    Yes, at the very end most of us will stand there for the Right, and not for a politician. Have been reading BBC news, indeed, not giving enough information and is rather confusing. Keep relying on your blog and Saba's channels.

    My thoughts are with you, guys.

    Sending energy

    By Blogger Oksana, At 9/11/07 20:53  

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