>A month or two ago, while I was walking down the long road from the university gate to the department, I overheard two girls expressing deep dissatisfaction over the present government’s efforts “for the people”. One was zealously expressing the need for the people to stand up for themselves, and according to her what was needed, was a revolution and no less.
I smiled and moved on.
But several weeks later we saw how a young man who set himself on fire in Tunisia sparked a series of revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, and now Libya. Does Pakistan need one too? I think not. . .
Zine ul Abidine Ben Ali been ruling since 1987, two years before I was born. Hosni Mubarak had been ruling for 30 years, while Colonel Gaddafi has been ruling for more than 40 years to date.
In Egypt and Libya, the main demand of the protesting masses is the basic right of freedom of dissent from the two dictators.
This budding media scene is in sharp contrast to the environment created by Col Gaddafi in the decades since he came to power in 1969. Under his restrictions newspapers and broadcasters have exercised self-censorship and according to the media rights body Reporters Without Borders, press freedom has been “virtually non-existent”.
His National Democratic Party (NDP) monopolised political power through a mixture of constitutional manipulation, repression and rigged elections, cronyism, and the backing of powerful foreign allies.
The main drivers of the unrest have been poverty, rising prices, social exclusion, anger over corruption and personal enrichment among the political elite, and a demographic bulge of young people unable to find work.
Out of the three countries Egypt had problems closest to Pakistan. But, the protesters in Tahrir Square demanded their basic human rights which indicated the frustration over alternative political allegiances, other than the National Democratic Party. Egypt is the media-hub of the Arab world which makes it the odd one out out of the three revolution hit countries.Despite that, media persons could be prosecuted for directly attacking the President and his close officials.
While Tunisia has enjoyed economic stability what it didn’t offer along with Libya was the freedom of press.
While Pakistanis may lack the liberty of being given various rights provided under the law, one they have access to, and exercise with carelessness is the right to express themselves. Everyone and anyone has an opinion and they express it. We have a multitude of political parties, and people are free to associate themselves with any of them. There is open satire on our leaders and public figures and our leaders bear with it. Often times than not, the very freedom of press becomes liability as well.
While many Pakistanis talk of a revolution that would solve all the problems of food, health, shelter, security, … another system to replace the one that is not working as well as they hoped it would. That my friends is just the problem. There have been too many changes and revolutions- the Arab style revolution has already hit Pakistan when the public demanded the resignation of Gen.Ayub Khan. We have had leaders sway our country from liberal left to the Islamic right. Swati militants wanted a revolution. That wouldn’t have done us any good either.
So when I hear the people talk about a revolution, it gets drowned in all the noise that’s supposed to make the harmony of a stable governance. We have an orchestra, but it only produces music when each musician plays only his instrument at the right time. We need harmony, not noise, and we definitely don’t need a revolution.