Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Why PTI protesters have much to learn from the past.

I addressed hundreds of rallies in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, organised meetings, participated in and led marches, and was at the receiving end of police batons dozens of times.
But I never threw a stone or a punch.
In my youth, we struggled against General Ziaul Haq’s martial law. The educated and well-off youth were not part of our struggle.
Today, it is different: the educated youth have been mobilised on a large scale and the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) deserves the credit for this.
I am though concerned about how this political activism is manifesting. The teargas in the air and the containers on the roads repeat the story of violent protests. Pakistanis are, justifiably, expressing their discontent at the state of affairs.
But unlike the semi-literate, lower middle-class youth with whom I protested, I see the upper and middle-class youth active on the streets today. However, their activism doesn’t reflect the maturity of their privilege and education.
What I see are seemingly educated youth who are ignorant of how to be active in the political sphere.
I see PTI supporters throwing stones at the police and some even wrestling with law enforcement officers in Islamabad.
I see PTI-supporting lawyers in Lahore attacking cars and assaulting parents transporting children on motorbikes.
This is no way to be an enlightened political activist.
Our youth need mentoring. There is a way to be a jiyala or cheetah, and it does not involve throwing stones or punches.