Pakistan does not need a revolution

Published: February 24, 2011
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Protesters chant anti-government slogans in a square in Benghazi city, Libya. PHOTO: REUTERS

This spirit of revolt witnessed in Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain and Libya is being termed a new era of democracy, liberalisation and freedom. It is spreading like wildfire. Some people are asking whether this fire will ever reach Pakistan. One can only wonder what they are talking about.

The conditions that provoked the uprising in Tunisia are not at all identical to Pakistan. People here are discontented due to unemployment, poverty, inflation and widespread corruption. But in Pakistan we have a free press – the most free media in the Islamic world, a democratic government that works in fits and starts – but still works, and a country where everyone seems to have the chance to abuse our leaders on a daily basis.

The general public is of the opinion that instead of resolving public issues the elected representatives are busy securing their seats or making deals with their coalition partners in order to remain in power. But at least they can say it. In countries like Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, they would be picked up soon after and nothing would be heard about them after that.

That is why, possibly with all the repression in these states, a single incident triggered an uproar, pushing people off the edge and on to the streets. In Pakistan we are a more happy-go-lucky bunch.

Take Pakistan’s cricket team for instance. They are known to be unpredictable and have many a time won a match against all odds. The same can be said about the people of Pakistan.

We do not need the same level of protests to achieve the same results as in Tunisia. We have suffered a lot at the hands of our rulers, especially our dictators. The young men and women we see in Pakistan today were born in the Zia years. They have seen the good and the bad.

Libya is in a state of complete dictatorship and had no outlet for expression.  That is why it exploded. We do not need a revolution in Pakistan. Here changes are coming gradually, but we are far ahead than most Muslim states.

Saba Musheer

Saba Musheer

A Karachi based journalist who manages the Sunday pages of The Express Tribune.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.