While money can facilitate elections, it cannot buy a general election, especially for a sitting government, if their performance has been dismal and there is genuine discontent and anger amongst the masses. Never has the performance of a sitting government, especially on issues concerning common man, such as insecurity, crippling power shortages, inflation, unemployment, collapse of health, education, public transportation, organized extortion, land grabbing and apathy towards common man, been so poor as it has been during the tenure of the present government.

Except for successfully carrying out amendments to constitution, or enactment of laws, without political will for implementation, neither an effort to alleviate sufferings of those displaced by natural disasters, anger and frustration of masses is a foregone conclusion. While this government looked after big landlords by supporting elevation of agriculture produce, it did nothing to ensure that millions employed on the farms get a proportional increase in wages, or health care, education and basic civic necessities.

It is a government which never tired of rhetoric about importance of education and development of natural resources, but in practice appointing semi literate and corrupt cronies to head vital state corporations like PIA, Railways, OGRA, CAA, NEPRA, OGDC etc destroyed them financially and jeopardizing the future of millions of employees. It scandalized HEC only to protect fake degree holders and in the process harmed higher education.

In such circumstances, even billions allocated for launching a political campaign will yield no positive results, because sufferings, anger and humiliation are very recent and cannot be washed away by pep-talk. Those in power must remember that the powerful establishment, with all its resources, could not stop Benazir Bhutto’s electoral win, because the public sentiment desperately wanted a change in 1989. In recent American elections, Romney in spite of launching the most expensive election campaign in history of USA could not steal the elections, because the public had still not recovered from wounds inflicted by eight year Republican party tyrannical rule of George Bush and his pro rich economic policies, the 2008 economic recession and collapse of financial institutions, insurance industry and housing mortgage it triggered.

MALIK TARIQ ALI,

Lahore, February 3.