The death of democracy in Pakistan is beyond the ritual period of mourning; it happened so long ago that no one even remembers its anniversary. It died before its birth. It never saw the light of day. Those who killed it before its birth have made sure that no one even talks about it, for all the talk since its death has been about its fake double known as "our special kind of democracy" in this part of the world.
It is the death of this fake double that is often the subject of articles in newspapers and on talk shows. This fake democracy has never really died but rather has always lived in an intensive care unit. In the hallways of this intensive care unit are spoken the unforgettable words of one who now rests next to the recently dug grave of his daughter: "My Lord, this is not the trial of a murder, it is murder of a trial."
No one wants to hear these words in the intensive care unit; they open too many unwanted doors; they demand answers to too many questions. But then, no one really wants to remember the hanged man either; he was hung in the dead of night so that the generals could keep their control of the intensive care unit and so that shadowy creatures could keep walking in the dark. The place where he was hanged is not far from where his daughter was recently killed by those who will never be discovered, help from Scotland Yard notwithstanding.
The murder of democracy before its birth is a thing of the past. What we see now is a protean creature -- its fake double -- which sometimes rises from its deathbed in the intensive care unit and walks the streets in broad daylight to confuse people. People, poor, disempowered, disenfranchised men and women shout with joy, they gain a little ray of hope, there it is, just around the corner, democracy, it is walking now, it is walking and we are just about to see the grand reversal -- the one for which we have been hoping all our lives. We are going to see it happen, with our own eyes.
But before anything happens, the deathbed is reoccupied with the sickly double fake; blood spreads over lands and hills, and the business of normalcy calls back those who had hopes and desires and aspirations. No one remembers hundreds of unnamed and unnamable men, women, and children who die in the carnage; unlike the unknown soldier, whose grave is visited every year, there is no grave of the unknown civilian anywhere in the world.
The Kafkaesque narratives pour from the lips of those whose only task in life is to create so much confusion about the simplest and most obvious of all events that no one can solve the mystery afterwards. Within hours of the carnage there appear so many conflicting versions of what actually happened that -- just like the limbs and bones flying out to every nook and corner of the disastrous place, making it impossible to know which hand or foot or head belongs to which body -- there remains no possibility of ever knowing who is behind this game. Who are the actors? Who are the plotters?
In the end it does not even matter, for, just as in a Kafka novel, the prisoners and the imprisoned are the same. The fake double of democracy in countries like Pakistan lives its sickly life in the intensive care unit because our political monarchy cannot let it die. The nineteen-year old, who is even unable to speak any of Pakistan''s several wonderful languages, has been anointed the next king; until he comes to age, his father -- yes, the same man who until yesterday was known to the world as Mr 10% -- is going to be the caretaker, the emergency doctor keeping the sickly double alive. Imagine, Mr 10 Percent becoming prime minister of Pakistan as Mr 90 Per cent! O God, have Mercy on us!
Our amnesia is incurable. We have so quickly forgotten everything of the recent past that we can only keep our heads low and keep silent about the "democracy" within any of our several political parties, including the so-lled religious parties. What hope can there be for anything but a sickly double fake of democracy in a country where political parties have monarchies and where leadership is inherited just like cows and sheep and houses and palaces?
What future for a country where nothing remains but the sickly double democracy with its shameful acts of emerging once in a while to give people dim hopes only to immediately disappear? What hope for the beloved land where one cannot even walk out on the streets with any degree of certainty that one will return home that evening? What hope for a polity where there is not even a single political party that operates on recognized political principles?
The murder of democracy in Pakistan is a thing of the past, forgotten by all, but its fake double is yet to leave us alone. Its apparition is going to be taken out, once more time. On February 18 it will walk around in sickly attire, only to return to the dark corridors of the intensive care unit and leave us to gasp for air.