No matter who it was, the level of butchery perpetrated was exactly the same. Gates were smashed, doors were smashed, gas shells rained down, batons were swung, windows were smashed, corpses were slashed, and blood flowed. The country was taken over by policing terrorists along with plain-clothed mafias and goons. These were photographs of police operations against old citizens, mothers carrying newborns, and unarmed teenagers seeking to express their democratic right to demonstrate, rather than Zarb-e-Azb operations against hardened terrorists. On the 26th of May, the world witnessed horrific and heart-breaking scenes on the streets of Lahore, Islamabad, and Karachi.
All in the name of democracy, the rule of law, the state’s writ, and the prevention of anarchy. All of this is in the name of whatever it is that one wants to call it. Legal equality, political freedom, and the rule of law are the three main core foundations of democracy. The notion of legal equality necessitates a systematic rule of law that follows due process in order to offer equal justice, as well as equal protection, guaranteeing that no one or group of individuals is given a legal advantage over others. The right to select, vote, speak, protest, and agitate are all examples of political freedom. The fundamental distinction between tyranny and democracy is that the people’s will takes precedence over the government’s mandates. In recent weeks, we’ve seen sequences that look to be taken from Latin American military coups or films depicting the wild west being governed by organized crime. Let us look at how this democratic tragedy is being played out throughout the country:
The leader sets the example by leading by example. While democracy permits the majority to govern, it does not let the majority rule without the passage of legislation. It becomes a dictatorship when there are no rules or when laws are dependent on the whims of the authorities. Pakistan may be the only democracy in the world where the Prime Minister and Chief Minister are on bail and were scheduled to be indicted on the day, they were sworn in. Some may claim that in a democracy, the majority vote may be swung in anyone’s favor. This is an overly simplified argument. It ignores the fundamental idea of the rule of law and how it is abused by the majority of legislators who seek to preserve their own self-interest rather than the public interest. In this scenario, the bulk of the PM’s cabinet members is also on bail. If the bulk of the population is involved in criminal activity, they will defend criminals’ interests.
Institutional subversion – In a democratic society, institutions are more important than people. The executive and judicial branches of government are divided in power. The democratic framework is defined by independent media, the judiciary, and state institutions. State institutions are under the control of the government in a dictatorship. As a result, if the administration undertakes institutional reforms directly connected to its corruption cases in the FIA, NAB, and other agencies upon taking office, this is an anti-democratic activity. The NAB is being turned into a legal zombie.
Law of jungle – Law enforcers become law forcers. The police have evolved into the rulers’ armed political wing. No democratic society enables the government to infringe on the right of citizens to voice out. This administration has shown a criminal mindset that seeks to suppress any public movement that dares to question its methods of rule. Imagine an interior minister threatening to “fix,” “jail,” or “thrash” anyone attempting to attend the Islamabad demonstration. Imagine tear gas being used on elderly ladies and toddlers to knock them out instantly. Consider the impact of hefty batons on the windshields of automobiles driven by families. Imagine a Chief Minister’s provincial cavalcade from other provinces being attacked on the spur of the moment, and ex-ministers being thrashed mercilessly. Sadly, this is not fantasy; it is the sad and tragic reality of today’s terrified, dictatorial, and frightened government.
It’s not over yet. The movement’s life is defined by the quality of its resistance in the face of terrible tyranny. To fight for the right, it is necessary to:
Despite not having the strongest court system, legal counsel and protection is the only method to counter “state-organized crime.” Every legal misuse and ambiguity should be brought to the attention of the Supreme Court and the subordinate courts. It is necessary to have clear court directives on governmental action and reaction, as well as the future of democratic movements. Otherwise, it will be a textbook illustration of the strength of the state crushing the power of the people.
Political movements are usually multifaceted and require a planned coordinated strategy. Both the administration and the protesting parties should consider all political possibilities. The key item on the agenda is the election schedule, which can be negotiated. Maximalist methods such as “now” or “in 2023” should be negotiated in order to achieve a win-win outcome for all parties involved. Economic, political, and geostrategic problems must all be taken into account. Stakeholders must demonstrate adaptability and knowledge. Delay just serves to leave a sour and bitter taste in the public’s mouths, potentially leading to an implosion that no one can control.
Allow the general population to speak and walk — make no mistake, the general people are outraged. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that the general populace is devoid of delusions. Many stakeholders’ masks have come off. Many “experts'” facades have broken. The general public is out and about. The rumour mill is in full swing. The “no-go” zones’ chains have been broken. The first lengthy march may have been halted, but it has torn down fear and uncertainty barriers. To keep this democratic movement going, the public’s desire to express, stand, talk, join, counterattack, and retaliate must be supported.
This is no longer just a movement against the regime change; it is also a movement for “true” democracy as well. The country has achieved significant progress in combating attempts to repress, oppress, depress, and regress the country on constitutional, legal, socio-cultural, and political levels. Democracy is the result of the desire of the majority, and the majority of Pakistanis are no longer terrified of governmental force and persecution. They’ve finally learned what Abraham Lincoln stated all those years ago: “The ballot is more powerful than the bullet.”