Thursday, April 22, 2010

Kiamat (Doomsday) in Pakistan

April 11, 2010
Kiamat (Doomsday) in Pakistan
By Saeed Qureshi
In 21st century, a country called Pakistan is slipping back to dark ages. In Pakistan, the electricity that runs every household, every industrial unit, moves agricultural implements; is a dire need for schools, hospitals, street lights, commercial enterprises, offices, bazaars, railways and which is an indispensible lifeline for a society goes off for as long as 20 hours a day. Is it possible to calculate the depth and level of harmful impact on the lives of the people of Pakistan? Disastrous is too slim an adjective to describe the horrendous spectacle with which the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is awash.
Let us content ourselves by paralleling it with the euphemism of the scriptural “Doomsday” when the whole humanity would be running helter and skelter in a complete state of frenzy and in a climate that would be unbearably hot because the Sun, according to dogma, “would be as close to the earth as the length of a lance.”
So the panicked, frantic, devil stricken people of Pakistan are raking, agitating, rallying, clamoring, blockading, protesting and finally finding nowhere to go. These crazy segments of humanity are outraged against damning spells of power shut downs, technically termed as load shedding, as if the electric power is in excess and its overload is being off-loaded. The callous indifference shown by the hypocritical, liars, thieves, inside traders, money grabbers, sitting in high offices at public expense, of the miseries of the grief stricken Pakistanis, is devastating and mind boggling. The People are turning mentally infirm because of the darkness, because their children are unable to prepare for examination, because of the silent fans in sizzling summer, because their patients cannot be operated upon and because their water pumps do not function.
One is reminded of the storming of the Bastille prison a symbol of royal tyranny, on 14th July 1789. This momentous event turned out to be the flashpoint for the French Revolution, and it subsequently became an icon of the French Republic. Thereafter, fired with the spirit of liberty and change the ordinary citizens of Paris attacked the elitist classes, the wealthy landlords and members of aristocracy paving way for the blissful French Revolution. Those who pioneered this historic change were ordinary, impoverished, dispossessed people, driven to rebellion by the ruthless and unbearable exploitation of the royalty, the feudal and aristocratic classes.
The 18th amendment is passed. The question is relevant and pertinent: what about the people’s problems that are devouring their lives and pushing them back to dark ages? I don’t pretend to be a messenger of doom and willfully paint a bleak picture of my country of origin. But no one even an imbecile or cynic can overlook the frightening state of affairs fast deteriorating in Pakistan. The Law is infringed with immunity, the courts are ridiculed, monstrous lies and fabrications are splashed by the leaders to bamboozle the citizens already innervated by the appalling civic utilities and poor social amenities. All the state run enterprises are ramshackle, primitive and in huge losses. During the past several years and even now national assets are being sold like peanuts. The magnificent word good governance is heard in Pakistan but practiced overseas in heathen and unislamic polities.
The Minister of Law and Parliamentary Affairs aggressively saber rattles against all those who talk of respect for law and propriety and decency. He is positioning himself like Genghis Khan, ambushing all those who dare come in front of his bullish head-on forays. He is aggressive, violent, and vituperative and a slur for the sublime virtue of law of which he is a minister. His freakish and bellicose behavior has forced quite a few senior bureaucrats including the auditor general and his secretary to resign. And still the president showers accolades on him for facilitating the 18th amendment. Should someone have the courage including the prime minister and the president, to look into the accusations against him for taking hefty bribe from felonious businessmen?
The Supreme Court orders are being flagrantly flouted by the government and particularly by the law minister. He is reported to be turning hostile and vindictive against all those who refuse to become party with him in his delaying and dodging, machinations in regard to complying with the apex courts’ directives. Instead of bucking up the real architect of the 18 amendment, Mian Raza Rabbani, who burnt the midnight oil, the flamboyant president throws the credit for this magnificent feat in the lap of the law minister, who has been rather posed as an irritant during the formative stage of the 18th amendment draft.

We can see the mockingbird Minister of Water and Power sitting close to the prime minister in the National Assembly on the memorable day of passing the 18th amendment bill in that he is feigning spurious and conspiratorial smile while talking to a bird of his flock. Flatly and unabashedly reneging from his past myriad phony deadlines of ending power load shedding, he now claims he would never make such false promise.
Close on the heels of the scandals engulfing the rental power generating units another colossal gas purchase scandal is doing rounds in Pakistan. This time the kickback is guessed to be around one billion dollars. The trick is that first, an artificial shortage of food items and utility services is created by the factory owners and stockholders who are also holding ministerial posts and later the prices are arbitrarily raised. To escape starvation, the people forget the price hike and buy at the artificially contrived prices. In Pakistan, how easy it is for the powerful thugs to make huge profits.
In his speech on the death anniversary of the founder of the PPP at Garhi Khuda Bakhsh, president Zardari, in a regal spirit, has arrogated to himself the royal prerogative of making any one a king or a beggar. Such is the height of arrogance and morbid drunkenness of power that an elected head of state who should be as humble as a saint, is casting himself into the role of a dynastic monarch.
When PPP came into power, majority in Pakistan were happy and jubilant. The people of Pakistan pinned great hopes in PPP to revolutionize and reconstruct Pakistan as was done by ZA Bhutto after the dismemberment of Pakistan in 1971. But the people forgot that Zardari is made of a different stuff. He is a kind of a drawing room manipulator who jumped into the power band wagon because his wife and co chairperson of PPP died and that she in her will, appointed Zardari to be her successor. Now old habits die hard. Zardari’ penchant with increasing his wealth and favoring his friends and kith made him oblivious of the gigantic challenges of nation building.
The PPP, contrary to its √©lan and promises protected the status quo, gave a huge cabinet to the nation, and dithered on implementing the agreements made with other parties, restored the judges unwillingly and under the public pressure and demonstrated no inclination to investigate Benazir’s assassination. But what outraged people and other poltical parties is that while no economic charter and social contract is unfurled, the PPP rank and file indulge in rank nepotism and its ministers have earned the dubious distinction of being corrupt. The party on the whole was thrown into a vortex of sleazy scandals of misuse of power, profiteering and bribes. President Zardari kept his eyes shut to the allegations of malpractices against his ministers.
Instead of a clean and efficient governance, the party in power remained locked in legal and constitutional battles. It fell back upon adhocism and short term measures to resolve such fundamental issues as provision of flour, water, electricity, law and order, education, health, and eradication of poverty, hunger and disease. The PPP as a major coalition partner suffers from trust deficit of the people because it failed to deliver its mandate of a socio-economic and civic revolution and turning Pakistan into an egalitarian society.
President Zardari wasted the golden opportunity of refurbishing his tainted image of a corrupt person. On the contrary he has further tarnished it. The 18th amendment though is a good threshold for parliamentary democracy, yet it came very late and at a time when power outrages have robbed the people of their peace of mind and when eking out two square meals has become a tall order for a common man.

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