One has to develop amnesia and lose one’s memory to start believing in the present regime’s assurances that it can, and it will hold free, fair and transparent elections. All our past experiences do nothing but confirm the authenticity of the apprehensions that an incumbency which is as determined to stay in power as President Musharraf and his protégés are, will have to develop saintly attributes and qualities to refrain from taking all kinds of ‘steps’ it is capable of taking—to ensure the kind of success it has already ‘reserved’ for itself.
The care-takers who have taken upon themselves the task of holding fair, free and transparent elections, have not taken any pains to dispel the popular perception that they are no more than hand-picked functionaries in the service of the crown. President Pervez Musharraf has added one more ‘adjective’ to the ‘free, fair and transparent’ elections that his loyal appointees are going to hold. The adjective is ‘peaceful’.
Peace is one commodity today that can beat ATTA in terms of scarcity. President Musharraf expects his appointees to hold the world in bewildered awe on the 18th of February 2008, by doing four miracles at a time.
Miracle number one: Free elections.
Miracle number two: Fair elections
Miracle number three: Transparent elections
And miracle number four: Peaceful elections
Miracles do happen
Let us assume, for the sake of feeding our optimism, that February the 18th 2008 will be a day of miracles.
The Musharraf-appointed Election Commission will shock its detractors by announcing results that will truly reflect the mood on the ground.
The care-takers will force their detractors to eat their accusations by taking no special measures to ensure that no postponement occurs in the pre-arranged celebrations in the camp of the pre-determined winners.
But there can also be an assumption of quite the opposite nature.
Miracles of altogether different nature make their way into the scheme of the things.
When the people of Pakistan wake up to greet the sun of the 18th of February 2008, they in overwhelming numbers find themselves entranced by the songs of abundant progress played by the Royal Band, and feel an irresistible urge to rush to the polling booths to cast their votes en bloc in favour of authoritarianism, cronyism and opportunism – the three recognized pillars of justice and development.
Most incumbents are infact depending upon this ‘miracle’ to happen. There is no point in being cynical on occurrence of such a miracle in the wake of BB’s sinister elimination, of the endless queues of the hungry people desirous of laying their hands on a kilo or two of Atta, of the long blackouts in recognition of an ‘energized’ economy, and of the ever-more-likely blasts resulting in littered pieces of human frames.
Miracles after all are miracles.
And because miracles happen to be miracles, there are many in the shock-prone ranks of this ill-starred nation, who happen to be pinning their hopes on a sudden and dramatic change of heart, mind, dispensation and thinking processes on the part of President Musharraf, who may one fine morning wake up with a realization that what this nation needs is not any miracle, but a belief that its “WILL” will not be subjected to a brutal rape at the polls.