Thursday, January 27, 2011



Many readers of my articles have asked me: Can Tunisia happen in Pakistan with all its problems and difficulties?I have posted my answers to this question in my Twitter site (ramanthink). For those, who haven't had an opportunity of seeing my Twitter postings, I am repeating them below as bullet points:

* Only the then East Pakistan had a tradition of mass street protests---not present Pakistan.
* Even angry Balochs haven't been able to organise mass street protests. Only sporadic insurgency.
* So too Pashtuns, Mohajirs & Sindhis.
* Pak never had strong students or trade union movements.
* Even Islamic fundamentalists were not able to organise sustained street protests after the Lal Masjid raid.
* When there is anger in Pakistan,it is expressed thro' terrorism & not street protests as happened after the Lal Masjid raid.
* Hence chances of a Tunisia in Pakistan are low.
* Lesson from Tunisia for Pakistanis: What a well-organised and well-led mass protest can achieve, terrorism cannot. (28-1-11)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: )


ambi said...

just wait for 6 months. as G2 ll get scrwed up n oil prices go up up n away........

Akshaya Handa said...

The armed forces (including the police) are the final weapon of any despotic regime.

History proves that for such peaceful movements to succeed, a part of (if not the full) the armed forces, need to be affected by the demonstrators cause. Even the British Raj (the declassified papers of the British Raj shows) decided to quit India, when they suspected that they were losing control over the Indian Armed forces as symbolized by the Indian National Army trials and the Naval Mutiny. I at least cannot think of any peaceful revolution / demonstration to have achieved a regime change without subversion of a part / full armed forces. This subversion may be in the form of the latter coming out openly in support of the demonstrators or refusing to take action against them.

In Pakistan - as it is said - the nation does not have a army, but the army has a nation. Therefore conditions for such subversion neither exist as on date nor are likely to come up in the near to middle term.

A Tunisia in Pakistan therefore is unlikely to take place for this reason too apart from lack of a student movement as brought out by Mr Raman Sir.