On Friday, former Prime Minister’s cavalcade on GT Road brutally crushed a twelve-year-old boy. The death of Ahmed Chughtai in Lala Musa and the callous attitude of those in the march for democracy was on full display as everyone carried on. Including the medical teams travelling with Sharif. Later, the PMLN stalwarts shamelessly washed Ahmed’s blood from their hands and appropriated his stained lifeless body as the first ‘martyr’ of democracy.
We have a few questions to ask Mr Sharif: you were so keen to rush to your rallies – as the self-styled crusader for people’s rights — yet forgot to attend his funeral. Indeed, you were back on the road the very next day. Mr Sharif: a child not borne of wealth is of no import? What is this democracy for which you want to fight? Does it mean having Elite force escorts when one is no longer in government or office? What is this revolution of which you talk?
Does it mean a deposed premier acting like the opposition whilst his party remains at the helm? Does it mean putting the man above the party? Or, perhaps, the premiership above the assemblies?
We might have offered Mr Sharif a slight benefit of the doubt. We might have even begrudgingly admired his statesmanship. The way he swallowed his pride and got down to the business of politics. Putting the party first with this ‘homecoming rally’ that represents little more than hitting the campaign trail early and in earnest.
We might even have been able to overlook the alternative. That this was a last ditch attempt to rewrite Sharif’s legacy. The most enduring being one that sees the party and family as they always were, intact. And as one. An eternal reminder that Nawaz Sharif is the party.
But Ahmed Chughtai’s death has saddened us and the country. Worse, it has reconfirmed the insenstive elite culture that haunts Pakistan’s future as a democratic and equitable society. The truth is Ahmed Chughtai wasn’t martyred. He was manslaughtered. This isn’t semantics. This is lowering the bar all the way to the ground.
All. Lives. Matter. *
Published in Daily Times, August 13th 2017.