“First they will ignore you, then they will laugh at you, then they will fight you and then you will win.” I was only nine years old when my father told me these words of Mahatma Gandhi during a walk when I cried and complained about some class fellows, who used to make fun of me, suddenly started fighting and beating me before securing first position in exams. He persuaded me to follow the quote of Gandhi and take the insult as a key to win. I still wonder that was my first position later in exams was due to that insult or hard work.
The purpose to write that incident of childhood and mentioning the quote is Multan election. Because, after decades those words started blinking like a bright flash light when the nation saw the most interesting and tough electoral contest in Pakistan after 1990’s. Although it was a by-election contest on the vacant seat after the dismissal of Pakistan’s another ELECTED Prime Minister by a controversial decision of only three member bench (out of 17) of Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan. However, it captured the attention of whole country and media to see the response of public after that dismissal.
Former Prime Minister Gilani’s own son Abdul Qadir Gilani contested against an independent candidate Shaukat Bosan in a nerve wrecking election. Mark Twain has once said that it is not the size of the dog in the fight, it is the size of the fight in the dog. Therefore, nobody took the contest as a single seat by-election but it was taken as PPP’s worth after the grave charges of corruption, poor governance and the rage of public according to media and survey reports. Although, it was obviously likely that Gilani’s son would win as the seat belonged to the areas which are traditionally the stronghold of the Gilani family. Nevertheless, the hype created by the media, the support of all opposition parties and the impression that people would not support PPP after SC’s decision really made the election as one of the great contests in Pakistan’s history of elections.
Although Bosan apparently fought as an independent candidate but it was crystal clear that PML-N, PTI, JI, DPC openly supported him and the most surprising thing, which is beyond imaginations that Mr Bosan even used name and photos of Chief Justice during his campaign.
Pakistan, where anything is possible in politics, has left another surprise for the critics and lawyers that under which law any political person can use the name and posters of a serving Chief Justice during an election campaign, that the people who support Honourable Chief Justice should vote for him. Not only this, the most surprising thing that why no court took any suo moto action for that action as a contempt. In addition, the major groups of media played a key role to provoke people of Multan, also, opposition parties persuaded them to SAY NO TO GILANIS due to the corruption and scandals charges. Therefore, it was not only a contest of PPP v all, but also a test case for coming elections that what would be people’s mood after a massive media campaign. However, as Gandhi said that when they will fight you then you win, so he won, though with a narrow majority of almost four thousand votes. But he won.
Now, the matter to discuss that why people of Multan did not consider the media propaganda. Why charm of Imran Khan, the romance for honourable Chief Justice and the magic of Nawaz Sharif could not work? Why they again elected a corrupt person? Why PPP won again? Benazir once said that People of Pakistan see her as symbol of democracy, my question that why still charisma of BHUTTO factor overwhelms his followers when no Bhutto is leading the party.
Unfortunately, the dilemma of critics and political actors remained beyond repair when they blamed people of Multan for a wrong decision. It was really interesting to see media tycoons biting lips, and ridiculing the people that why they again elected the corrupt. Wonder, if they would really understand the mind set of a rural man and not the surveys of urban organisations.
An ordinary person of Multan, Dadu, and Mansehra has nothing to do with the elite class and technocrats. They watch programs, they discuss programs, they like programs, but when it comes to vote, they would not only go to the Biradri system but they would also judge that who is more helpful and influential to solve their problems. Jamshed Dasti is bright example to understand the mind-set of rural voters who thrashed the orders or disqualification of Courts, people elected him again, and may re-elect him again. That is the basic mentality, which is not grasped by an intellectual of Lahore or Islamabad who has never been in the Otaq of any Wadera or Sardar. No matter he belongs to PPP , PTI or PML, but the local influence in rural area would always play key role in winning the constituency. Perhaps that was the basic formula, which compelled Imran Khan to change his policy of change by induction of large number of SIYASI LOTAZ to secure more seats in assemblies.
Although in urban areas situation can take any turnover at anytime, although in the battle of “Untouchables” a common man is left empty handed having no electricity, security and peace but the role of impartial media and civil society can play a vital role for the defeat old players. I still remember the reaction of Pindi voters with Shaikh Rasheed, however, Churchil also said that in war you can only be killed once, but in politics many times. Similarly, one can again rise as a TITAN if once defeated. However, for such results, it is necessary to let the system go accordingly.
The main reason of whole disturbance and chaos is the vigilant role of some media people and unelected parties to provoke courts and hidden forces to derail the democracy. We are perhaps the only country where our judges make up the mind after watching talk shows, and the echo of boots starts haunting within few years of a democratic process.
Let the people decide their fate as democracy is the best revenge. It is not the prophecy of media to dictate or the non-political actors to overcome for the change of system and leave it with more wounds. The filtration or accountability is only possible by a true and fair process of elections, not by laughing, and then fighting because it would end up only in another victory.