Fe’reeha is currently in Pakistan, and reporting from there
I spent all last week talking to the people on the streets of Pakistan. I traveled to Islamabad, Lahore and was on the roads in Karachi. As far as I can see even most cynics are embracing themselves for change in Pakistan.
A general feeling on the ground for Pakistanis is of hope and aspirations. After the turmoil of almost a year, the general public is hoping for stability and economic progress from the new government. A naÃ¯ve but well founded reason to hope against hope.
The repercussions of the morning after are still there. Remember the famous nursery rhyme lines:
All the men horses and all the King’s men
Could not put Humpty Dumpty together again
We know now that King’s men are gone. It’s time for the horses.
Pakistan’s capital Islamabad is currently a hub of political activity. The winning parties are having discussions on forming government. A large number of independent candidates emerged as winners this election so horse trading is undoubtedly rife.
Even Nawaz Shareef, leader of PML-N announced last week that the run away bigots of his party would be embraced if they decided to return to their parent party. But most analysts have written off the future of President Musharraf at last. He seems to be on borrowed time.
I almost feel sorry for the man and then I have to rebuke myself out of it. If he leaves in peace, that would be setting a new trend in the Army-trampled political history of Pakistan.
But no matter how the new government would be formed, it would face major challenges and bear the heavy burden of people’s expecations.
Today, a large rally of lawyers in Islamabad is tantamount to the fact that people who have struggled against the establishment would not forget the promises that were made to them.
Restoration of the deposed judges (who were removed under PCO by President Musharraf on 3rd November) was an important promise of the PML-N which came out as second largest party in the national assembly.
Security and Peace:
While fear appeared to have kept many people from the polls, security and peace is the major desire of the majority of Pakistanis. The natural hope of people from the new political situation is of peace and an end to terrorism which has been plaguing the country in the last few years.
Basic food items
The first priority on Pakistanis’ priority list: price control of staple items. Politcal paralysis has played havoc with management of the economy in the last six months and Pakistanis have had to struggle with soaring fuel prices, shortages of basic food stuff and gas and worsening power cuts.
Many have said the vote was an indictment of Musharraf’s policies. President Musharraf was always considered Washington’s most important Muslim ally in its fight against al Qaeda. The rout of his allies in Pakistan’s parliamentary election could herald the end for his policies.
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Filed in: Current affairs,Pakistan