In April 2007, one of my favorite cousins who was then a student at the prestigious LUMS in Lahore visited me on the evening of Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry’s “historic” procession in Lahore (during the Lawyers Movement). She said she was joining many of her colleagues who were already at the event.
Knowing my past as a former student activist, she was taken aback when I told her I’m not all enthusiastic about the commotion.
Responding to my lukewarm reception to her youthful idea of “bringing a revolution,” she said the principle behind the tumult is vital.
“What principle?” I asked.
“Justice and democracy,” she said.
“But you don’t even vote!” I smirked. “90 per cent of the middle-class people I’ve heard passionately supporting the cause of the CJP (who was fired by the Musharraf dictatorship on corruption charges), have never bothered to vote. What democracy are you talking about?”
However, I did add that she should go to the rally to learn.
“Learn what?” She asked.
“Learn how the most vivacious leaders are better at hijacking movements than they are at initiating revolutions,” I replied.
“So why were you guys so gung ho about Benazir Bhutto in the 1980s?” She asked.
“Because Benazir inherently represented so many sides that were a natural anathema to whatever Zia’s dictatorship stood for” I said. “First of all, in an era of Hudood laws, chauvinism and mullah politicians, she was a woman; an educated and outspoken woman. Benazir shone brightly like the country’s finest hope for a democratic system.”