Thursday, November 08, 2007


Prepare yourself for big riots in Rawalpindi, near Islamabad, on Friday. Supporters of Benazir Bhutto will defy a ban on public gatherings there. And since the protests will start right after Friday prayer, there is a very big chance religious right wingers will join in.

Just to be clear; Bhutto's PPP-party is a, more or less, left leaning, secular party. The Islamists are extreme right wingers, trying to establish Sharia law in Pakistan. Both sides, again more or less, work together these days because of their common hatred towards president Pervez Musharraf. It all smells a little like Iran in 1979 on the eve of the fall of the American backed Shah and the start of the Shi'ite Islamic revolution.

What many, especially secular demonstrators, do not seem to realize is this: What if Musharraf is ousted? What then?!

Compare it to three people fighting for one chair.

At the moment, Musharraf sits on it. But two other persons - who formed an alliance -really would like to kick his butt and take over his seat. Let's assume Musharraf's butt is indeed kicked. What will follow is a fight between the two others, because - hey - there is only one chair and one seat available.

We've seen this before in Iran 1979. Secular left and Islamic extreme right together against the shah. And after his fall, the secular leftists were wiped out by the islamists. 28 years later, they still run the show in Iran.

In Pakistan too, there is only one chair. And although secular Islam can count on my support, they have no chance of winning the battle with the islamists, who have shown - over and over again - to be extremely ruthless in dealing with an enemy they consider anti-Islamic.

Anyhow, on the eve of this almost certain violent confrontation between Musharraf's police and anti-Musharraf protesters, just enough time to post two innocent pictures from Pakistan.

The first one I took today, in Rawalpindi (with mobile phone) and shows how the Pakistani police deals with parking violators. Hilarious but effective! Will they use this tomorrow as well to remove demonstrators? Who knows...

I took this second pic some days ago, while aboard a PIA plane travelling from Karachi to Islamabad. It´s around 05.20 in the morning, we just took off. It is praying time. Old man walks up to the stewardess, asks if he can role out his prayer rug. No problem, she says. He starts praying next to the front door. I took the pic from my seat. Just to be clear: We were 10 kms up in the air of course. Pretty cute actually. Only in Pakistan!

Harald Doornbos


Anonymous said...

it doesn't look good there. But traffic police very funny.

Bastienne said...

Hey Harald,
Any Happy Campers at the campsite? I'd expect Walter (the German from the older couple with Mercedes bus) to be there

Harald Doornbos said...

long live the -alsmost empty - campingside! was hit by a stone today in Rawalpindi, luckily dont have a car. ciaoo