The events in Pakistan during last few days have proved one thing, that the rulers are terrorists, not the poor people.
The poor people are actually the victims of terrorism by the rulers. Now their real faces have been exposed to the world.
An editorial of a leading newspaper discussed the situation in detail. The editorial exposed the ugly faces of the rulers. It stated that the Election Commissioner (EC) under Justice (Retd) Qazi Farooque accepted the nomination papers filed by President General Pervez Musharraf. This was followed by a violent clash between a clutch of protestors from the lawyers' community and a handful of opposition politicians on one side and contingents of the police in uniform and plain clothes on the other. Ominously, Pakistan once again proved true the observation that all "decisions" - electoral or judicial - tend to result in disorder rather than the pacification known in other normally functional states.
Retired judges and prominent lawyers led the protest march on the Election Commission, promising that their presence outside the EC office would be peaceful "unless provoked by government action against them". Earlier, the lawyers had clearly expressed their unhappiness over the Supreme Court verdict by rejecting the petitions filed against the re-election of President Pervez Musharraf. Most opposition politicians too had echoed their objection, saying that the Supreme Court had become "independent" in April but had now decided to become "enslaved" to the Doctrine of Necessity in September.
Violence amid mutual pelting of stones was also perpetrated on prominent lawyers and PPP leader, Mr Aitzaz Ahsan, and some members of other political parties. Since the media were in the thick of the action, they too got it in the neck. Several cameras were broken and some heads were opened up. The state minister of information, Tariq Azim, helped one injured journalist to the hospital but when he returned, he was attacked by angry journalists.
The general opposition to President Musharraf has little faith in the Supreme Court now. On the other hand, the government is morally much better armed after the verdict to face those who want to bring it down through protest. The opposition now expects the Pakistani public - "160 million waiting for justice" - to count the judiciary too among the anti-democratic forces that they have to fight. The respect that the judiciary had achieved over many months, since 2004 when it began its "suo moto" phase, was enhanced by the opposition and the lawyers from March to July this year. But now they want the people to believe just the opposite.
The violence seen in front of the Election Commission is bound to exacerbate the political situation in the country. When the opposition goes back to the Supreme Court to challenge the EC, the atmosphere will be greatly charged. So far the honourable court has avoided pronouncing on the merits of the cases brought before it; now it will be asked to pronounce a clear stance on the petition. Already, politicians are unfairly pointing to the Punjabi-non-Punjabi split among the 9-member bench. It is feared that "non-compliance" of the orders of the Supreme Court, initiated by the government in the matter of the return of the PMLN leader Mr Nawaz Sharif, will now spread to the opposition too.
There are "three streams" of opposition to President Musharraf in Pakistan. The political parties are arrayed against him partly because of his inability to negotiate with them. The lawyers' community wants to use his "moment of weakness" to correct the balance between the military and civilian forces in the country. The third stream is the process of Talibanisation under Al Qaeda that is gradually undermining the ability of the state to enforce its writ. Unfortunately, all three streams are feeding upon one another despite their clearly separate agendas. As the post-verdict disorder spreads, violence might take the upper hand. There are far too many elements in Pakistan today willing to resort to violence. And that doesn't bode well for governance either under the current incumbent party or any other that might follow it.