I cannot recall who had said that past was nothing but the graveyard of time. Looking-back at Pakistan’s past, I can’t help remembering this saying.
Quite clearly Time is not buried in one mass grave (as often are those who are targeted by America’s missiles). Time is buried moment to moment in a new grave. Certainly there are such graves too in which decades — not moments are buried. You look back and find your eyes glued to such graves.
Here is the grave in which Ayub Khan’s famous decade of reforms is buried. Not far is buried Ayub Khan himself, who despite his recently published diaries (and his son’s book) happens now to be more of a relic of’ the past than the towering, authoritative and much -feared Field Marshal whose word was law before General Yahya Khan decided to remind him about his mortality, and to tell him that it was time for his decade to pass into history, and get unceremoniously buried in some corner of the graveyard of time.
And here is the grave of the famous decade of Zia’s well-doctored Islamization—some metres apart from the grave that is supposed to house the remains of the blown-up general, but may well be as empty as a non-believer’s soul.
I can take you to the graves of the Bhutto era and the pre-Ayub era too—in which lie buried many a great longing and many a crazy pursuit.
Among the most recent—quite fresh graves, is the grave of BB’s first tenure as PM— then the subsequent Mian era— followed by BB’s second term— and by the heavily-mandated return to power of Mian sahib.
There can be no end to the phenomenon of the living moments breathing their last and finding their final resting place. Every moment has to die, get buried in the graveyard of time and remembered occasionally with nostalgic fondness and sometimes with sorrow and sense of loss.
The era of General Pervez Musharraf will be no exception. There is no escape from mortality—from the steady drift towards what will be labeled by historians as yet another failed bid on the part of a mortal to perpetuate himself.
The graves are ready to receive their dwellers—those whose word is law today—and those too who want to write the laws of tomorrow.
Previously Published on 10-09-2007