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Pakistan Politics As Interpreted By Kafka And His Doomed Vermin
More than political intrigue.
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Kaaf League and Kafka

The writer is head of the BBC Urdu Service aamer.khan@tribune.com.pk

Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis, written way back in 1915, is an utterly brilliant piece of writing. Its central character, Gregor Samsa, turns into vermin in the very first sentence

Kafka takes us on a roller coaster emotional and philosophical ride as he describes the family’s initial horror at discovering that its main bread winner has turned into such a repulsive creature, their eventual acceptance of the revolting reality, their unstated drift away from the creature that was once their beloved Gregor Samsa and finally, their relief at the creature’s death and their admiration for his sister who bears most of the emotional brunt through this period.

Let us switch from Kafka’s vermin to Pakistani politics. Although the name Muslim League predates Pakistan, current generations are unlikely to remember anything earlier than the last two of its many incarnations. The first, which we now know as PML-N, was born from the womb of General Ziaul Haq’s evil military regime and the second, PML-Q, from the equally fetid sanctum of General Pervez Musharraf’s personal ambition.

So despised were these leagues that it took many millions of dollars and countless intrigues to bring them to the forefront of the country’s politics. The story of these intrigues and the millions spent on them can be found in substantial detail in dossiers often referred to as Operation Midnight Jackal.

What is not documented, though, is the Pakistani nation’s love for politics, for democracy, that was perhaps as deeply responsible for lending these vile crowds the political eminence that they command today as any amount of skulduggery by the military leadership of the time. In voting these parties into power, Pakistanis repeatedly made the statement that given a choice, they would rather try a democracy than a dictatorship.