26 – 03 – 2008
What has started occurring in Pakistan is more or less an unfolding of a soft revolution.
But the term ‘soft’ may not be accurately and truthfully reflective of the hard struggle that has led to the climactic moments of March 24, 2008, when Makhdoom Yousuf Raza Gillani, as the “thumpingly” elected Leader of the House, walked up to the gallery where Bilawal Bhutto Zardari was seated, and raised his hand in a victory sign – and not much later, the long-detained Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry made a historic appearance in the terrace of his residence to thank thousands who had swarmed there in a jubilant display of triumphant rejoicing.
From March 2007 to March 2008, the road to this soft revolution has been bumpy, thorny, perilous and stained with blood.
Countless precious lives were lost in largely unexplained acts of terror. The sanctity of the constitution was repeatedly violated by those very people who had under oath vowed to uphold the rule of law and the supremacy of constitutionality. The guardians of justice went on an unprecedented rampage to wreak havoc on the very institution that delivers justice – the judiciary. And as a consequence of all that ‘dark saga’ of adventurous assaults on the very ‘ethos’ of our nationhood, a historic movement of lawyers supported by the civil society was launched which till recently has occupied the center stage of Pakistan’s socio-political scene. This movement has produced its own heroes and its own icons, maxims, and traditions. Without the dauntless resolve of the legal fraternity of the country – comprised of both the Bar and the Bench, the climactic triumph of democracy would not have registered its epoch-making arrival first on February 18, 2008, and then on March 24, 2008.
Not meaning thereby that the sacred blood of the daughter of the East, spilled on the 27th of December 2007 hasn’t contributed centrally to the Emergence of a New Pakistan. She in her martyrdom has acquired the stature of an ever-living icon and ideal. All her less admirable qualities have forever been buried under the weight of the greatness that she happened to grasp in the final hours of her mortal life.
This revolution we are celebrating today wouldn’t have been as ‘soft’ as it is, had she not laid down her life to hasten it.
And let it be acknowledged that the immensely bright ‘possibilities’ that the emergence of this soft revolution has unfolded are in a very large degree owed to the dynamic vision that Mian Nawaz Sharif ‘the Fired Leader’, and the mature sagacity that Asif Ali Zardari ‘the Political Wizard’ have displayed in these momentous times when history is taking a dramatic turn.
Yet let it not be forgotten that the gods of despotism – groggy though they are – happen still to be on their feet. And not till they are knocked down – followed by a full count in ‘boxing’ terms – the fight should be declared to have been won.
All revolutions in history are known to have fallen into periods of “enthusiasm-decline’ when the task of translating ‘the objectives’ into ‘reality’ begins.
What is required now is some kind of a mechanism that will ensure that any probable decline in enthusiasm does not take the dimensions of an inertia. This mechanism, I have good reasons to hope, will be provided by the leadership of Mian Nawaz Sharif, Asif Ali Zardari, and Asfandyar Wali Khan.
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani will be the embodiment of these THREE.