The opiate of the masses -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

The opiate of the masses

The biggest gift that Musharraf gave to Pakistan was the forty plus TV channels, which have brought a high level of awareness and these last few months have taught the public more about law and the constitution than the original drafters of the now, born again, re-valued document, which people have sworn to uphold, and to die for.

The same, much trampled, distorted, mutilated, has now allegedly been restored as the constitution of Pakistan -till the next test!The media has taken upon itself to beat the drum of doom. Everyday, this litany is repeated across the airwaves. Every political analyst is predicting the downfall of Musharraf.

Let us for a minute see the line-up against the president.
The Sharif brothers are effectively out in the cold, with Nawaz being held incommunicado. The PML-N without a leader, with the second string players being picked from their various addresses, and put away in safe custody.

Qazi Hussain Ahmed compromised by the Saudis. Maulana Fazlur Rahman is pro-Musharraf whether he admits to it or not. The MQM will ensure that there will be no trouble in the South. The PPP is hostage to the MQM with only as much freedom as allowed by its host.

In reality, the PPP is just being brought on stage on the command of the Puppeteer Uncle Sam. This makes for a good press in the US where the Americans are inclined to buy the new BB, exquisitely packaged – long suffering and with a father murdered by the state and husband locked away for ten years.

Truly a tearjerker of epic proportions, now in its tenth rerun. The stash of $1.5 billion is conveniently glossed over.

All the above have a role over the next two weeks, but cannot possible derail the juggernaut that is the president’s. To top it all there is the army that sees Musharraf as the cleanest of his predecessors.

So where is the threat, other than in the minds of the political analysts, and the carpetbaggers trying their hand at blackmailing and pocketing a few crores before October 6.

The media has done a fantastic job, in creating monsters, and then proceeding to dissect and to view them from all possible angles, ala Hollywood. The script is being reworked daily. With bit players like the Slapper, now outdone by the incomparable Ahmed Raza Kasuri, giving the scriptwriters enough material to last for years.

The media is in the business of entertainment which they are providing, to rapt audiences, and to everyone’s benefit.Of course, Benazir has given a statement in the US, that if she comes to power then she will offer Dr Qadeer Khan to the IAEA for questioning.

Now that will surely guarantee her many brownie points in the US, but in Pakistan he is revered, and she has certainly lost the plot, for there is not a single Pakistani who is not beholden to Dr Qadeer Khan, and the unqualified respect he commands.

He is up there with all our heroes, and the Bhutto’s are certainly not hero material. He has given Pakistan something we are all proud of, and lifted us out of the ordinary. His achievement is so precious that it cannot be quantified in monetary terms.

To be-little the man and subject him to any further humiliation would be suicide for any Pakistani politician.
Considering the exciting turn of events being enacted on our national stage, where the Twenty20 world cup was just a blip, and Pakistanis were hurriedly turning to the news channels, for the latest local news, so much interest had been generated by the media.

However, it is not all-good. For television is now the current Opiate of the masses. And the public has been kept off the streets by the TV programs, with the audience thinking that they would better served in the comfort of their homes – and with better coverage.

Making it more difficult to bring people onto the streets save the die-hard party workers. These are already being rounded up by the efficient storm troopers of the Chaudhry brothers. With the people of Sindh under a tight leash, the crowd will be pro-Musharraf courtesy the MQM, and allowing Benazir to take the credit.

The MQM is the only party today that can call a crowd on command – successfully.With these formidable allies, in place, the general has learned the wiles of politics, and has managed to outwit the old hands, with consummate ease.
Epilogue: His reign has been the least painful of all his predecessors.
Source: The Nation
Date:9/29/2007