Sunday, May 9, 2010

Where is the Leader?

May 7, 2010
Where is the Leader?
By Saeed Qureshi
I am not a prophet of doom but I deserve a right to be despondent about the murky situation in Pakistan. Honestly, I don’t visualize a plausible picture of Pakistan. With a rogue law minister, would any one entertain the slightest perception that law would be allowed to take its course? The verdicts of the apex courts have been wantonly and obdurately thrown into lurch by the incumbent government with the law minister in the lead for such an abominable mission. “Upon my dead body” is his battle cry to the demand for producing the records pertaining to the Swiss courts. Is he trying to shield the president, the principal actor in the entire episode? Should it be construed as a service or a slap on the former’s face? Doesn’t it provide an implicit proof of the gubernatorial crimes now being swept under the rug?
With a corrupt and morally bankrupt coterie at the helm, the country has diminishing chances to come out of the dark woods it is groping in. The state’s Attorney General resigns followed by the law Secretary. Something terribly stinks in the ministry of Law and Parliamentary Affairs. The president gives immunity to both the Interior minister Rehman Malik and the Law minister Babar Awan not to be interrogated about Benazir Bhutto’s assassination.
The probe committee is lameduck and cannot mow a blade of grass and is said to be covertly in league with the law Minister who is assuming the stature of a monster not to be trifled with. He asserts that the Swiss cases are closed and not to be reopened. That assertion flies in the face of even a modicum of moral decency, besides contravention of the constitutionally binding orders of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. So here is a sordid stalemate that would erode whatever legal or judicial decorum is left.
The monsters of corruption mostly the people in power and specifically the legion of ministers are devouring money and shooting left and right under the sun and in full view of the harried and powerless people of Pakistan to amass as much as wealth by robbing the state funds, misappropriating the discretionary monetary allocations, throwing fabulous contracts to the friends or the highest bidders without blinking their greed filled eyes.
At the end of this never ending sleazy game they still remain as holy cows. No one can check their unbridled lust and misuse of powers for making a mockery of the law and infringing the basic norm of modesty which to say the least is bizarre and abominable.
There is an opposition, having some kind of tacit or covert understanding with the cutthroat cabal in power. There is a civil society crying in the wilderness for blatant violations of such sublime norms and values as the fundamental rights, kidnapping of the citizens by the secret agents under the fake suspicions of being saboteurs----Some have disappeared for years: no clue, no rescue and no explanation where they are. The target killings sprees between the rival groups or for personal vendettas or by the state intelligence agencies is taking place with immunity and with no chance of being checked or restrained.
There is an insurgency fast picking up in Baluchistan for an independent greater Balochistan. There is a war going on in the tribal belt of Pakistan entailing countess casualties of the armed forces. Whose war is this by the way? The watershed 7th NFC (National Finance Commission) award and the landmark 18th amendment have been rendered ineffectual and meaningless in face of the Baluchistan separation movement. There might be external forces stoking this fire and there might be an indigenous movement and volatile sentiment for separation.
But why is there no breakthrough and some respite in the ferment of the parochial sentiment, getting out of control by the day? Lately, it has assumed frightening dimensions by way of target killings of non- Balochis. Does this appalling scenario is a replay, though of lesser intensity, of what happened in the erstwhile East Pakistan some four decades ago?
The contracts for import or export and for domestic or foreign sale or procurement for sugar, flour, cotton, fertilizers, steel, rice, gas, petroleum and all such essential products that are vial for the country and the industry carry a commission tag or kickbacks. This time it is not confined to paltry 10 per cent. For those in power to issue permits in complicity with the hoarders, the black-marketers, and the smugglers, have no bar on how much they are capable of making from the underhand deals.
There is no fear of chastisement for treasonous violations or disdainful disregard for the courts’ orders or the farcical accountability. Double speak is the order of the day and the ministers seem to have excelled in that ignoble skill. The predominant lot of Pakistani leaders both in power and out of power is adept in self preservation, aggrandisement and nepotism
There must be some concern for the woes of the people caught in the cobweb of scarcity and unbearable prices of daily necessities, power cuts, poverty, malnutrition, pitiable health and education systems, chronic corruption, insecurity, rap, highway robberies, break ins, adulteration of drugs and food, noise pollution, the environmental degradation, the police barbarities , extra-judicial and target killings, arbitrary arrests, the slow pacing of the justice system, the over -lordship of the phony clerics, the complicated regulations, the highhandedness of officialdom, the senseless dereliction of responsibilities by the elected leaders, members of parliament, and finally the inhuman sway of the privileged feudals, the heartless tribal chiefs, the ethnic and religious marauders.
The time is ripe for a revolution; the people are ready for a radical change: where is the leader?

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