STRAIGHT TALK

Since the creation of Pakistan, except for the first few years of good governance during the Quaid’s and Liaquat Ali Khan’s time, each successive government, civil or military, has always been clueless, out of touch and out of step with reality and the conditions prevailing in this ‘Land of the Pak and the Pure’.

They failed to establish a democratic system that is free of corruption and has a just social order that would improve the quality of life of the multiplying citizens. And due to absence of the rule of law and accountability, this country, like the ill-fated Titanic, has been on a collision course with one crisis after another, which has brutally battered its hull and disillusioned the 180 million passengers on board.

Our checkered past has shown how our leaders and saviours never learned from  mistakes. The most glaring example of this was Gen Musharraf, who promised radical changes through his 7-point agenda, followed by the five disastrous years of PPP, with its worn out, unfulfilled Roti – Kapra – Makan slogan of the 70s.

After 3 years in power, the Gen had become out of touch with reality and was clueless of what was going on in the country. After his misguided attempt to sack the Chief Justice and his brother judges, the Lal Masjid fiasco and the killing of Akbar Bugti, his end was inevitable and he was finally forced to leave in shame and humiliation.

It was mind-boggling that, as a front-line state against terrorism, the General’s government, with its supposedly “super-vigilant” intelligence services, was clueless of the Red Mosque and its radical and black brigade men and women, who had been openly challenging the writ of the government from within its backyard.

And when the siege was brought to an end, as per usual practice, the same old, worn out questions were asked. A commission was established to prepare a report on the acts of omission and commission of those responsible and submit its findings to the PM. And as always, a wishy-washy report was made public, but no one was held accountable and the report was quietly brushed under the carpet.  And so it had been with the killing of Akbar Bugti, the assassination of Benazir Bhutto and now with the Abbottabad Commission Report.

This Report was completed some time back and submitted to the ex-PM, who in his infinite warped wisdom, never made it public and would have been forgotten, had it not been leaked to Al-Jazeera for a paltry sum of $15,000.

The democratic PPP govt that followed the Gen had also been clueless from day one and during its five years of bad governance, it had brought the country to the brink of disaster. And the tragedy had been that, despite the writing on the walls, the government kept insisting on ‘All is well’. This itself shows the height of how clueless the government was.  

The General’s government proved to be the height of incompetence, while the PPP was the height of corruption. And both were mainly due to the incompetence and corrupt practices of its advisors, ministers and leaders.

This dishonest role of our leaders has resulted in moral and intellectual corruption, both in government and society and we have lost our respect for basic values and laws. This has led to the ‘Crisis of State and Society’, a situation that has existed in the country since its creation.

And yet, like in the past, the government seems hell bent on ignoring merit, experience, credibility and persons with a proven track record and is still making the same mistake and appointing cronies and friends with a shady and murky pasts, into key government posts and institutions. These questionable appointments of square pegs in round holes has reached such an extent, that even the CJ has taken notice.

The roar of the 60s, that this country would be the future Asian Tiger, has turned into cries and shrieks of sorrow, despair and pains of suffering. The streets of Karachi  have turned into battlegrounds and killing fields between warring political and criminal groups.

At the same time, hardened criminals and murderers escape from police custody with ease, while Lyari has become a battleground and families are being forced to leave their homes.

The situation has become so bad, that the clueless Sindh government, in its desperate bid to stop the killings in Lyari, has decided to build the infamous Berlin type walls to separate the warring factions.

Over 1700 innocent citizens have been killed in the city in the last six month, but despite this dreadful state of affairs, the Sindh Government has again chosen the same clueless CM, who is totally out of his depth and unable to take effective action, as the guardian of this city of lights. 

And among all this violence, there are apprehensions of a backlash against the expected announcement by the London police, relating to its leader, which could push its workers to join the ongoing violence in the city and add fuel to the already explosive situation.

No doubt, it is too early to judge the government’s performance, however, the first 100 days show which way the tide is turning. Therefore, if the government does not get its act together, we might have early elections and the recycling act will start again.

The last election was the beginning of the end of the PPP government and whether the PML-N will meet the same fate in the next election, is for the soothsayers to predict. But if it does, then what will follow, is anybody’s guess.  

The writer can be reached at  trust@helplinetrust.org.