As the crisp autumn sun in London peered through my window, it made me nostalgic for home in Pakistan. Could I and many others like me, for whom home has been made inaccessible by a powerful military leadership ever more eager to punish dissenting voices, hope to return, now that the former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has spoken up? Can Sharif change the political value system so that people don’t have to abandon home to save their lives?
Addressing virtually, at the All-Parties Conference held on 21 September, Nawaz Sharif, himself in exile in London, spoke bravely about the military and its agencies as the “State above the State”. Is he ready to push back a military that is well-entrenched in power politics, today? Sharif’s words voiced the concern of many thinking Pakistanis, or even the average man on the street who is not blinded to the fact that the present Imran Khan government represents civilian rule at its hollowest— the government denotes a hybrid martial law rather than a democracy.
But the more important question is that can Nawaz Sharif succeed in his journey? And should this be considered a moment that carries the potential of delivering Pakistan from the clutches of the Army General Headquarters?