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Political Play
Zulfiqar Shah
Realities behind the Pakistani 'Revolution' 08 September, 2014
Islamabad drama would sooner or later reach climax or the anti-climax. The script writer of the sit-in drama probably has been changing the script according to the tide.
Despite going into reasons, dynamics and frictions behind this live theatre of the political jockeys, if not jokers, let us see briefly who has apparently been benefited out of the drama within Pakistan and who has been saying and doing what.

Rent a revolution

The protest sit-ins that were led by Imran Khan's Pakistan Tahreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and cleric Tahirula Qadari's Pakistan Awami Tahreek (PAT) used the radical slogans of 'Azadi' (Freedom) and 'Inqalab' (Revolution). Contrary to the fancy slogans, the apparent demands of the sit-ins were to undertake investigations in the 2013 election frauds and the resignation of the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

At the earlier stage, it was seen that both Qadri (left of the right) and Khan (right of the centre) are separate entities but later on it was proved that both have staged sit-ins through 'coordinated efforts'. 

Those who rebelled with PTI later on said that Pakistan Army was behind the scene. Some even mentioned the names of ISI head General Zaheerul Islam, MI's Brigadier Ejaz and four other generals from the Pakistan Army. It also popped up in the news that both of the protesting leaders much earlier met in London for rehearsal of the drama.

Harvest of another kind

As soon as the preparations of Islamabad sit-ins began in July, Pakistan Army and its associated agencies started military operation in Sindh and Balochistan. Over 100 Sindhi and Baloch nationalists were killed in the fake encounters, military operation, throwing out the dead bodies of earlier abducted Sindhi and Baloch, as well as military backed targeted killings of Sindhi and Baloch in Karachi apparently by the non-state actors.

This also includes the mysterious discovery of dead bodies of the persons whose identities still remains unknown. Simultaneously, hundreds of the Sindhi and Baloch political activists and dissenters were either arrested in fake cases or involuntarily disappeared. Sindh Government said that Pakistan Rangers is killing Sindhi and Baloch in the fake encounters.

What else?

  • Pakistani Tribunal on the mass graves found earlier this year in Balochistan gave clean chit to Pakistan Army in their alleged involvement massacres.

  • Sindhi nationalists, who earlier planned and later on announced the movement against armed forces' occupation of over one hundred thousand acres land in Karachi, postponed the movement due to dominance of Islamabad scene locally and internationally. The land is to be used for developing townships to settle down non-Sindhis in Karachi from Punjab and elsewhere from Pakistan as well as from outside Pakistan in a bid to convert Sindhis in the numerical minority in Sindh particularly in their capital city. Save Sindh Committee, an alliance of Sindhi nationalists, however has announced to launch a massive movement once Islamabad drama is over.

  • Pakistan Rangers, a second tier armed force under the military, saved their officials who were involved in killing Sarfaraz, an innocent citizen, in Karachi. One of the culprits was given death sentence and others were put in the jails for almost life-long. Pakistan Rangers succeeded in taking undue relief from the superior judiciary. The death sentence of the main culprit was converted into the life imprisonment; meanwhile the punishment of his other aids was reduced to a few years imprisonment.

  • Sindh Government was made agreed to recruit 1000 retired army officers in Sindh Police.

  • Many a land grab incident by Pakistan Army were under-reported during the period.

  • It was for the first time in sixty-seven years history of Pakistan that Sindh extra-ordinarily observed protests on the 14 August against Pakistan. Almost all cities and towns were carrying either black flags or the flags of Sindh Freedom political parties. Some of the pro-Pakistan rallies that were organized; however, by the settler non-Sindhis. It also happened for the first time in Pakistan's history that Pakistani armed forces hoisted Pakistani flags in Sindh after cordoning off the settlements of the locals. They also dismounted the black as well as secessionist parties' flags from the various places.

All this went extremely under-reported due to these Islamabad sit-ins, which otherwise surely bound to gain Pakistan wide and international attention.

Hidden strings and intentions

Pakistani newspapers of August 2014 tell too much. They also pointed to many hidden agendas, demands and intentions of the protest sit-ins:

  • Safe exit of General Pervez Musharaf from Pakistan. Musharaf himself gave statements that army should coupe and he also expressed that in the given scenario he would not leave the country. He was hinting for a couple and his rise again to the presidential post if softer coupe becomes successful.

  • ISI head and four senior Generals of Pakistan Army are retiring in September and October. Extension in their services or the promotion of those who are associated with their ethnic and sectarian lobbies in the army.

  • Revival of Local Government system in Sindh against which people of Sindh revolted in 2012 and hence the system was successfully reversed according to the will of people.

Unanswered Questions

  • Allegation of 2013 general election rigging by the political parties and media analysts are on the record in the print, electronic and social media. If one reviews these resources, Pakistan People's Party (PPP)'s seats were claimed to be rigged from Siraki South Punjab and Karachi city. PPP was bound to sweep from there due to PPP government's serious steps for carving out a Siraiki province from Punjab. Unexpectedly to the general feel and folk political wisdom, PTI remained beneficial most from there.

    ANP won no seat from Khyber Pakhtunkhuwa (KP), which is almost unbelievable especially in the context of PTI's sweep from the province where it had almost no roots. The overall number of participants of Imran Khan's sit-in talk volumes and the number of Pashtun protesters makes things clearer. Both PPP and ANP are against sit-ins and favor continuity of the government and the parliament. Sindhi nationalists and Pakistan Muslim League - F alleged PPP for elections rigging in some constituencies of Sindh but they are not in favor of these shit-ins.

    The moderate Baloch nationalist like Akhtar Mengal and his party, whose defeat was unbelievable to all, also cried for election fraud in 2013; however he is also not in favor of Islamabad sit-in. In fact, the voters turn-out in Baloch areads of Balochistan during the elections held after 2000 have actually remained below five percent. Imran Khan vociferously talked about election rigging by Mutahida Qomi Movement (MQM) in Karachi against PTI candidates but both seem to be in alliance concerning Islamabad sit-ins.

  • When Imran Khan moved from Peshawar, media reported that he is having around 25000 activists and followers. When he reached Islamabad, the participants according to media were 5000. If the both of the media reports are true, then where these rest of 20000 persons went?

  • Media also reports that Tahirul-Qadri's protest is having lesser than 25000 persons. Real or the pseudo, a revolution is not the business of 25000 agitators, with no support among the masses. Whose support is this that both military and judiciary have been showing their sympathy with the protesters?

In fact, those whose allegations of elections fraud can largely be considered genuine, are either against or silent over Islamabad sit-ins. And, those who got maximum benefits from the election frauds are staging protest sit-ins against rigging. Are they protesting against the lesser level of election frauds against the promised one by the military establishment?


The wavering most statements regarding the Islamabad sit-ins were of the MQM and the Punjabi led Pakistan civil society leaders. MQM Supremo Altaf Hussain earlier moderately supported the sit-ins, later on demanded the military rule in Pakistan and said that democracy is not in the interest of Pakistan. Later on, he demanded that the civil actors should not resist amry's path to takeover, and finally he also asked his party's parliamentarians to submit the resignations. And, when he saw that the Islamabad sit-ins have lost their expected impacts, he once again spoke in the favor of democracy.

The civil society of Pakistan also issued some statements. Led by Asima Jehangir and Karamat Ali, the Pakistani civil society actors at earlier stage were against the sit-ins. When they saw that army is making inroads, Asma Jehangir, according to the newspapers said, that none should fear the third force / third umpire. Hence, she went against the virtue of civil society as such by hinting at mediation by the army.

When Islamabad police opened water cannons and rubber bullets on her Punjabi brethrens and sisters involved in the attack on the Parliament, Prime Minister House and Pakistan Television, she wept on a TV channels for the use of violence against the protesters. Surprisingly, when protesters lost the strength, both of the civil society leaders started talking again in the favor of elected government.

The secessionist Sindhi and Baloch nationalists termed the protest series to further colonize Sindh and Balochistan in very modern way through the use of engineering of baseless socio-political movement; however while saying this they also opined that they had no interests in such kind of dramas since both the elected governments and military rule have been occupying their motherlands and exploiting their resources. They also said that they will not inch back on their demand for the freedom of Sindh and Balochistan. The believers of provincial autonomy in Sindh and Balochistan also said that such drama are aimed to further intensify the oppression of Sindhi and Baloch; however they were of the opinion that Sindhi and Baloch would not support military government.

Still unknown

What hitherto is hidden, apart from the above, the other aspects of real agenda behind the Islamabad sit-ins? The drop scene would make it further clearer very soon.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
About The Author
Zulfiqar Shah is a stateless activist, analyst, and researcher. Although he is a refugee, and living a life in exile, he is a born Sindhi and South Asian. Currently he lives in India.
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