And the much awaited happened! Chief Justice Iftikhar M. Chaudhry was restored with effect from March 22, 2009. Citizens rejoiced, the media was excited and the political workers were dancing. After midnight when the breaking news flashed on the media about the possible resolution of the issue, and the announcement that the Prime Minister was going to address the nation shortly, everybody was waiting endlessly sticking to their TV sets. The speech came at around 9:30 pm the following morning. at 10:30 we saw the footage of dancing people in different parts of country. Despite having very strong reservations about the person of Justice Chaudhry, I had been sincerely wishing for this seemingly impossible to happen. It was basically because of the fact that people’s will and their power was being testified. This will and power had thrown an all-powerful dictator out of power. And now a popularly elected government was resisting people’s will. A contradiction in terms!
When we saw people dancing in the streets of Pakistan, I was overwhelmed. I wanted to dance as well. I wanted to be with rejoicing people. We picked up the keys and left for Aab Para, where reportedly hundreds of people had gathered and were dancing. We rushed to that place. On our way, we stopped at Melody, which is very close to Aab Para and was also reported to be a place of people’s rejoicing according to umpteen media channels. We took our pounding hearts to that place only to find it deserted. I was intrigued. I roamed around in the market, where around 90% of shops were still closed (it was around 11:30 a.m.). Tried to talk to the people, who looked absolutely disinterested. The khaakroon (sweeper), the paan waalah (beetle leaf selling person), the chhaabri waalah (kiosk man), the waiter of a food kiosk and the sales man sitting in a food corner . . . all were but ignorant to the idea that they should be actually celebrating! When asked whether someone was dancing here, they expressed their utter ignorance. Just a man in the street told that there was a shop keeper who was member of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf, celebrated by distributing sweets.
Disappointed, we left for the Aab Para market. It was exciting to see the sight of marchers over there. I rushed to them, who were standing in two groups facing each other. One group was holding flags of PML-N and placards with pictures of Mian Nawaz Shareef. The pictures were interestingly displaying MNS in an attire that resembles the image of Asif Ali Zardari – clad in Ajrak and Sindhi topi (cap)! The other group was holding PTI’s flags.
The PML-N group got excited to see me, mistaking me as a journalist, and started shouting slogans of dekho dekho kaun aya, sher aya sher aya (Look who has come, the tiger, the tiger!), with tiger being PML-N’s electoral symbol and general symbol of bravery.
The total number of marchers belonging to both groups was not more than a hundred. when asked about the “dancing” all the channels were reporting about, they told me that they had just arrived there half an hour ago and don’t know about any dancing episode. When asked why they were not dancing, they said they wanted to but they couldn’t find dhol waalahs (the drum beaters).
Once again disappointed, I went on to ask some bystanders about it. I was told that at 10:00 a.m. there was dancing by some lawyers who were there, and that too at the demand of some media persons who wanted interesting footage to fill in air space!
I left from Aab Para and try to comb Islamabad’s other busy centers to find any “rejoicing”, just to find deserted roads!
Aahh . . . so much for “efficient reporting” by an efficient and unbiased media!