Sit- in Protests Have Set a Bad Precedence in Pakistan

 Are Pakistani Politicians really men of their words?

There is no denying the fact that some agitations and protests in Pakistan’s political history had been significant in toppling governments. The historic PNA agitation in 1977 against Z.A Bhutto and later Benazir Bhutto’s Long March against Nawaz Sharif are two perfect examples of successful protests. However, the recent trend of sit –in protests does not draw inspiration from the above mentioned protest of 1977 and 1993. Actually this new tradition of Long March and sit-in protests have been inspired from the famous Arab Spring. Since the Arab Spring was a series of anti- government protests, armed rebellion and uprising against oppressive regimes that had trapped people in low living standards.  Pakistan’s political landscape for the most part has been shaped by two large political parties PPP and PLMN which despite being democratic where autocratic regimes in reality. Resultantly, improving the living standards of the common people had never been a priority for those who had been in power. Ironically despite not bringing any substantial socio-economic change in Pakistan the poverty of Pakistan’s rank and file is often referred to as a pretext to criticize the ruling elite.  In the aftermath of the Arab Spring the idea that Pakistan was likely to experience a revolution as severe as the Arab Spring was introduced by some politicians. Moreover, the famous French Revolution was also referred to suggesting that corrupt politicians would one day have to face the wrath of the general public. Cult of Personality is the real driving force behind Pakistan’s politics. For a better understanding let us first understand the above mentioned term.  Cult of personality refers to a heroic and worshipful image of a leader.  Other than the Bhutto’s and the Sharif’s there are a few examples of leaders who enjoy cult status. One such example is of Tahir ul Qadri who called for a million men march to Islamabad to protest against the corruption of the ruling elite in 2012. Similarly year 2014 witnessed two protests PAT’s Inqilab March and PTI’s Azadi March.  Sit-in protests despite being popular could not avoid criticism for attempting to topple the government by means of agitation and protest which could potentially create anarchy.  Therefore, the tradition of sit- in movements and long marches against the ruling elite is believed to have set a bad precedence in Pakistan’s politics. Ironically Mualana  Fazal ul Rehman was himself an opponent of these sit-in movements and even suggested to file case against the protesters.  However, this time Mualana had to resort to a long march and sit- in movement demanding the resignation of PM Imran Khan.   The idea that a large number of demonstrators can break into the Prime’s Minister House if the Prime Minister refuses to resign is truly aggressive and therefore unacceptable.  However, Mualana  Fazal ur  Rehman is not the one who has set this bad precedence.   Therefore, he should only be blamed for following the bad precedence initially set by PAT’s leadership and later endorsed by PTI. These sit –in movements cannot be described as a true revolution which is a good sign since revolutions lead to bloodshed and violence.  Therefore, it is certain that none of the political leaders who have endorsed sit- in movements would actually want mayhem as it would derail the democratic system.  So what can then one conclude that Pakistani politicians are not men of their words as they do not actually mean what they say?  Therefore, it seems that sit- in protests are a clever tactic not only to pressurize the government but to befool the public.

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