Looks like I missed all the excitement in Islamabad this weekend. Blockades around the city, a convoy of protesters marching towards the capital, last-minute negotiations, and finally, celebrations in the street. While I was busy picking out the best probiotics to pack for my trip, my very soon-to-be-home country was in turmoil, agitating for the reinstatement of the chief justice who was booted from the Supreme Court in 2007 by then-President Musharraf. Oh, you didn’t know presidents could fire judges? Welcome to Pakistan. Although at least on this day, it appeared to be a different Pakistan, as lawyers and citizens took to the streets to demand justice, and Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry was returned to his post.
What I don’t know about current Pakistani politics could fill several large, heavy volumes. Today’s storyline has a lot behind it, including old rivalries, new political tensions, past judicial proceedings, and lots of bad blood, but it can also be summed up rather simply by a novice like me: Something fishy happened. Today it was rectified. People rejoiced. (Come to think of it, the same words could be used to describe the events of January 20, 2009 right here in the USA!) Today’s situation in Pakistan can also be summed up in another way, as in the short yet comprehensive description my friend in Islamabad sent me earlier, in words that I’m only reprinting because my dad doesn’t know about this blog:
The past 48 hours have been maybe the most tumultuous of my 3.5 years involved with Pakistan. Islamabad under siege, cell phones service cut off, gas stations closed, marching lawyers, trips canceled, embassy closed, everything dead quiet for the storms, all roads blocked in and out of the city so my mom can’t come, only to wake up and have it all disappear, to dance and celebrate all day…and end the night with a 16 year old blowing himself up in Rawalpindi, killing 15 people, and my mom getting back on that plane in the morning bc I guess the crisis is over…at least that crisis.
You’ll love it here. I am so glad you are coming.