Pakistan by marin

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Pakistan
Synopsis:

A not so topical, but unfortunately still political sattire of our allies in Pakistan.

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A quick tale of familial dysfunction: when we were younger my brother upon being punched by me would not attempt a counterpunch, but would gun instead for my little sister. It was a seamless transfer of violence, a kind of conservation of aggressive energy. What makes bullying (even this diluted Disney version) so insidious is not only the localised personal trauma it inflicts but the almost teleological chain of harassment it jumpstarts. Little sister pesters me, I browbeat brother, who then goes for sister again. The self-perpetuating and cyclical momentum of such events continues ignorant of its own squalid iterations and impervious to irony.

 Let’s transpose the scenario onto the international stage: Big brother Bush, middle boy Musharaf and budding Prime Minister Bhutto.

 Musharaf imposed a state of emergency a fortnight ago, ostensibly to fight terrorism. Now I dislike lawyers as much as the next hack, but I’m not sure they could be labeled terrorists, nor can their questioning the legitimacy of the Pakistani electoral process be deemed a terrorist event.

 Anyway, back to our little drama of power and intimidation. Naughty Musharaf received a ‘frank’ call from Bush. ‘My message’ said the prophetic Bush ‘was that we believe strongly in elections and that you ought to have elections soon and you need to take off you uniform’. The president of the U.S. and commander-in-chief of the most powerful army on earth added: ‘You can’t be the president and head of the military at the same time’.

The desired effect of the phone call was obviously for Musharaf to set a date for elections and to halt his power-grab. However, as we know from the logic of my little analogy, having his knuckles wrapped would only make Musharaf more determined to exert his will upon those less powerful. And so it proved. Musharaf’s armies continued spilling out onto the streets quashing protests, imprisoning and injuring lawyers, civilians and rival party members.

He all but slapped away the prospect of a power sharing deal with Ms Bhutto, effectively placing her under house arrest, (for her own good, of course). Pakistani Police barricaded her house. ‘I'm your sister, I'm the daughter of Bhutto. I'm unarmed - let me go’ cried Bhutto. However, police insisted she go back inside her home, where she belonged. Armoured police later prevented her from driving out of her compound. She should have been nowhere near a car they said.

Now within the mechanics of our (admittedly simplistic) paradigm Bhutto, responding to Musharaf’s belligerence, would incite her own subordinates with heavy-handed rhetoric.

It should be remembered that even before the imposition of the state of emergency Bhutto harassed her PPP party into this symbiotic deal with the dictator. Her party was very concerned about the fallout from doing business with the military leader, unthinkable not long ago and unpalatable even now. Bhutto herself has all but admitted that the deal will cost her many votes, the condemnation of other opposition leaders and the slippage of the party’s historical anti-establishment image. But it’s a small price to pay to once again roam the halls of power. At least for her.

Having already coerced her party into a power-sharing agreement with Musharaf she is now inciting them to hit the streets against him in a long march from Lahore to Islamabad and then participate in a sit-in until democratic process is restored. This is despite knowing that her supporters are no longer immune from Musharaf’s armies.

She will no doubt ratchet up the rhetoric of delivering a democratic Pakistan, hoping that the international community (by which of course I mean America) will force Musharaf’s hand and he in turn will punish if not Bhutto then some lowly cabinet figure, (all of them already resembling compliant drones, having rubber-stamped the state of emergency).

So the cycle of wrist slapping and browbeating continues.

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A not so topical, but unfortunately still political sattire of our allies in Pakistan.

A quick tale of familial dysfunction: when we were younger my brother upon being punched by me would not attempt a counterpunch, but would gun instead for my little sister. It was a seamless transfer of violence, a kind of conservation of aggressive energy. What makes bullying (even this diluted Disney version) so insidious is not only the localised personal trauma it inflicts but the almost teleological chain of harassment it jumpstarts. Little sister pesters me, I browbeat brother, who then goes for sister again. The self-perpetuating and cyclical momentum of such events continues ignorant of its own squalid iterations and impervious to irony.

 Let’s transpose the scenario onto the international stage: Big brother Bush, middle boy Musharaf and budding Prime Minister Bhutto.

 Musharaf imposed a state of emergency a fortnight ago, ostensibly to fight terrorism. Now I dislike lawyers as much as the next hack, but I’m not sure they could be labeled terrorists, nor can their questioning the legitimacy of the Pakistani electoral process be deemed a terrorist event.

 Anyway, back to our little drama of power and intimidation. Naughty Musharaf received a ‘frank’ call from Bush. ‘My message’ said the prophetic Bush ‘was that we believe strongly in elections and that you ought to have elections soon and you need to take off you uniform’. The president of the U.S. and commander-in-chief of the most powerful army on earth added: ‘You can’t be the president and head of the military at the same time’.

The desired effect of the phone call was obviously for Musharaf to set a date for elections and to halt his power-grab. However, as we know from the logic of my little analogy, having his knuckles wrapped would only make Musharaf more determined to exert his will upon those less powerful. And so it proved. Musharaf’s armies continued spilling out onto the streets quashing protests, imprisoning and injuring lawyers, civilians and rival party members.

He all but slapped away the prospect of a power sharing deal with Ms Bhutto, effectively placing her under house arrest, (for her own good, of course). Pakistani Police barricaded her house. ‘I'm your sister, I'm the daughter of Bhutto. I'm unarmed - let me go’ cried Bhutto. However, police insisted she go back inside her home, where she belonged. Armoured police later prevented her from driving out of her compound. She should have been nowhere near a car they said.

Now within the mechanics of our (admittedly simplistic) paradigm Bhutto, responding to Musharaf’s belligerence, would incite her own subordinates with heavy-handed rhetoric.

It should be remembered that even before the imposition of the state of emergency Bhutto harassed her PPP party into this symbiotic deal with the dictator. Her party was very concerned about the fallout from doing business with the military leader, unthinkable not long ago and unpalatable even now. Bhutto herself has all but admitted that the deal will cost her many votes, the condemnation of other opposition leaders and the slippage of the party’s historical anti-establishment image. But it’s a small price to pay to once again roam the halls of power. At least for her.

Having already coerced her party into a power-sharing agreement with Musharaf she is now inciting them to hit the streets against him in a long march from Lahore to Islamabad and then participate in a sit-in until democratic process is restored. This is despite knowing that her supporters are no longer immune from Musharaf’s armies.

She will no doubt ratchet up the rhetoric of delivering a democratic Pakistan, hoping that the international community (by which of course I mean America) will force Musharaf’s hand and he in turn will punish if not Bhutto then some lowly cabinet figure, (all of them already resembling compliant drones, having rubber-stamped the state of emergency).

So the cycle of wrist slapping and browbeating continues.

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Comments

This all still holds

thomas says on - 31 July 2009

This is a very important topic to write about and the essay is a good start at that. The satirical allegory makes it all the more appealing, although there is definitely room for improvement in terms of style. I think the piece would be much stronger if its argument developed further.

burcu says on - 18 March 2009

Just thought it ended a bit quick, it was perfect for what it was, but just needed following through a bit further, for me anyway

Drew says on - 18 March 2009

This is definitely topical

rizwana says on - 18 March 2009

This is definitely topical even if the event is out of date. very raraely is something painfully hilarious and poignant, but this piece achieves it.

A pure writing talent

rizwana says on - 18 March 2009