Tariq Amin’s Response to CPPC Statement on Khan/Tahirul Qadri agitation


I’m truly amazed at reading the statement of the CPPC, which is a blanket support for the Nawaz Sharif government. This is indeed depressing!!!

What “ghair jamhoori qowatenh” is your group speaking about? Are Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri “ghair jamhoori qowatenh”? Or is CPPC speaking of the military; or further still, are you conflating the military and these two political heads and their respective parties? By not making this clear, your group’s statement is an uncritical support for not just the Nawaz Sharif government, but the PPP and the all and sundry, including the opportunist mullah parties.

Now I am very clear that the both Imran Khan and Qadri are equally bourgeois, but they need to be distinguished, which your statement doesn’t do. However, they have both been wronged. Imran, ever since he recovered from his fall, was initially talking about “rigging” on four seats in the Punjab, but in the past few months has been speaking about how widespread has been the “rigging”. This, ever since the US intelligence disclosed about the “35 punctures,” a conversation which Najam Sethi (the caretaker Punjab’s Chief Minister) had with apparently one of the Sharif brothers on how he has delivered 35 seats to them. Imran has also moved motions in the Assembly, but all to no avail. He has been warning since the past 14 months that if his complaints were not addressed, he would lead a “Long March” on August 14, and he stuck to his word.

I really have no time for Qadri, but his workers have been killed and abused by the state – without any redress. So, if one claims to be progressive, one has to support those who have been wronged. Qadri has also been asking for Shabaz Sharif to be made accountable, as both Chief Minister and Interior Minister of Punjab, for allegedly ordering the police to fire on PAT protestors that resulted in 14 deaths and more than 80 people with bullet wounds. He has also been saying that if Shabaz Sharif is not made accountable, he will lead an “inquilab” march – whatever hokey claim that may underlie! Now, the TV channels in Pakistan are reporting that the Commission that was appointed after the 14 deaths has come out with its report, but the Punjab government is not releasing it as it implicates Shabaz Sharif.

As for the Pakistan military, it is quite plausible that they could have used the protest to launch a coup. But the fact is that they DID NOT. Now, one could argue that Sharif and other political parties kept the military at bay. But I will argue that it was Nawaz Sharif who made a deal with the military on August 28.

Paradoxically, it is Imran Khan who has been accused of getting a wink and a nod from the military. But, the events of August 28 (the meeting between Sharif and the COAS – see ‘DAWN’) show the desperation of Nawaz Sharif to cling to power by essentially handing over to the military the reins of state policy in some of the most critical areas: foreign policy and relations with the US, India and Afghanistan. Areas where the military has bungled in a phenomenal manner, especially as it continues to cling to its bankrupt “strategic depth” policy.

So, if Imran Khan was destabilizing the established order – without inviting the military, which seems to be the case – his civil disobedience movement should be supported by progressive people. But the myopia of most progressive forces both in and outside Pakistan has been truly astounding.

If you don’t wish to support Imran Khan, the CPPC should not be issuing such a lame statement, as your group has, in favour of an enormously corrupt bourgeois status quo. And, certainly, not have its representative proudly pose in a photograph with Nawaz Sharif’s bureaucrat. That’s pathetic!

Even if your support is not forthcoming for Imran Khan, isn’t the CPPC concerned that its statement lends support to a most corrosive, corrupt, oppressive, and colonial-era state system – which has to change if the country is to survive. I have no illusions that Imran Khan will do this, but at least he is speaking loudly about this greasy biradari and nepotistic system.
The concern of the Pakistani state under Nawaz Sharif, as a legatee of the former colonial state, is with the maintenance of the status quo and with the enforcement of controlover the populace at all costs – without accepting the will of the people – just as the colonial did. Small wonder, then, that all political parties have lined up in “support of democracy.” This, despite their own acknowledgements in their respective Assembly speeches of “massive rigging” and the accusations of kickbacks, etc – as witnessed in the slugfest between Chaudhry Nisar and Aitzaz Ahsan.

I’m really glad that Imran Khan has raised the temperature on the corruption/status quo thermostat. If there wasn’t rigging beyond the four seats, the Sharif government would never have agreed to most of PTI’s demand (see “Negotiations explained: What PTI wants, and what PML-N says” – DAWN-Sept. 5, 2014).
As you all know very well that the reason this legacy of the colonial state remains is because the biradri-backed feudal and mullah politicians, and the well-heeled bureaucratic upper crust are the real beneficiaries of this decrepit system. Is this the democratic order that you folks wish to support?

I’m truly saddened by CPPC’s position,