Beggar at Ghazi Chowk


You’ll Need a Security Guard.

11 Apr 2010

So this is some more interesting commentary I found at the Dawn Blog, published late March. Asif Akhtar writes:

“With all this finger pointing on who is a Taliban and who isn’t, and all this debate over whether the Taliban are really that bad, and trying to find alternative paranormal explanations for the frequent blasts, I think sanity has packed its clothes (from the closet) and taken a good long vacation, leaving our politicians et al to beat their chests in the parliament we have as an excuse for a political institution.”

The rest of the article is here. It’s titled “You’re a Taliban. No! You’re a Taliban!”

It draws from political name calling on various statements made, and now the most common accusation to gather public support being along the lines of “he supports the Taliban”.

It tells you where anti-Taliban sentiment is at the moment. But the last paragraph itself is not very hopeful. Unfortunately, even with the war, with the need for focus, and even some much awaited policy change, politics in Pakistan at times remains a mess of an identity crisis, a lack of leadership and evidence of general stagnancy.

Many young people have already decided to stay away from politics, unless their family has been involved in politics before. Which brings to mind a talk/seminar we had at the Woodrow Wilson school here at Princeton – a rather depressing tale of the state of affairs in Pakistan led by Zia Mian, and others involved in International Relations with Pakistan). My friend and mentor asked exasperatedly in the end, “So, what do I do? As a Pakistani, what should I do?”. Zia answered, “Get a security guard and go into politics”.

It was moving for all of us. Not least because none of us planned to do so in any case, the depression of the details of the talk still looming over our heads. It remains still.