Thursday, August 12, 2010

It’s Plutocracy: Not Democracy

It’s Plutocracy: Not Democracy
By Saeed Qureshi
August 8, 2010
There is no real democracy in Pakistan. This is a sham democracy sans accountability. It was the plutocracy that was there all the time with brief interregnums. It has once again been revived and propelled with full force by the elections of February 2008. A bunch of hardened self-seekers is ruthlessly debilitating Pakistan economically, politically and socially. Pakistan has never been under the tutelage of a coterie of rulers who were totally alienated from the people or unmindful of the million miseries that their masses are suffering from.
There cannot be a more stunning question than to ask president Zardari as to what was so inevitable that he had to be in Europe at a time when a Noah like deluge had engulfed the length and breadth of Pakistan. The countless villages have been marooned and the crops over millions of acres have been destroyed. The surging, raging torrents swept away countless helpless, trapped human victims. No high-sounding hyperbole or embellished adjective can explain the enormity of the catastrophe as well as the sheer callousness, and loathsome indifference of the ruling cabal.
I refuse to accept that the worst democracy was still better than the best autocracy. The system of the government is measured and judged by its performance. Democracy can function for the benefit of the people only if not hijacked by feudal lords, elitists or aristocratic classes, and influential pressure groups. It must remain exposed to the strict accountability than is sine- qua- non for the veritable democracy to function in the best interests of the masses and the country.
Former president Musharraf in his fading days of power, tried to work out a quid pro quo with a powerful political force, the Pakistan People’s Party to give his unpopular government a representative semblance or character. He failed and had to quit because a host of forces were arraigned against him. Some events such as the dismissal of the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, worked as a strong catalyst to hasten his departure from the presidency. The murder of the PPP chairperson Benazir was also instrumental in paving way for her party to win the elections that ultimately empowered it along with other parties and civil society organs to force Musharraf to quit.
Now all of sudden in inexplicable mysterious circumstances Benazir is killed and according to her Will, her spouse Asif Zardari steps in and assumes the role of the chairperson of the party. He chooses to become the president of Pakistan by forming a grand reconciliation with other parties especially the runner-up Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz faction. Later he ditches the PMLN and instead builds a coalition with fringe parties MQM and ANP whose whims and demands he has been constantly fulfilling to keep them in good humor and within the coalition fold.
However, as the leopard cannot change his spots, so a corrupt person already under trial for corruption cases cannot overcome his avarice for money and the penchant to enhance his wealth. While the president lacks the qualities of a credible head of state, he has demonstrated little inclination to serve the nation by eschewing his inborn obsession for money and dubious past pursuits to enrich himself.
The country is in a shambles, the national honor is in tatters, the morale, and hopes of the people are at their lowest ebb and are completely depleted. Rule of law and good governance are seen nowhere. The deviousness, the falsification, the duplicity, the inaction, and the criminal complacency to address the monumental problems both internal and external are the guidelines of the incumbent government. People are enormously dismayed.
This murky state of affairs cannot last long. The president is being kept in the saddle of power because he is doing the same job for the United States that his predecessor used to do. However, Musharraf had some modicum of sobriety, some semblance of modesty, some tinge of intelligence and craftiness to pursue his ignoble goals of fighting proxy war and bounty killings which he publically and even in his book has boasted of doing. President Zardari is not in the habit of listening to any advice how beneficial or sublime it may be. He set off for his European tour amid an unparallel chaos at home. And look what a mess he has made of this tour for both the country and for himself.
Woefully, during his meeting with the newly elected British prime minister David Cameron, he was made to sit on a crude chair in front of the grate and talk in an uncomfortable position as if he was a convict and was being questioned by a psychopath interrogator. Notwithstanding his personal debasement, it is a sheer disgrace for Pakistan and brings calumny to the august office of the presidency.
There was no obviously plausible reason to meet a prime minister who poured out venom against the dignity of Pakistan on the soil of a country that happens to be the inveterate enemy of Pakistan. He followed the tormenter back to his country to get more disgrace. At least he could have escaped the stigma and insult of shoe throwing at him at Birmingham party rally. But since he has the unbeatable knack of being thick skinned, he brushes off all the innuendos and curses with rank nonchalance.
Pitiably there is no revolutionary élan left among the top brass of the Pakistan People’s Party, founded by charismatic popular leader Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. It is now infested predominantly by rank opportunists, shoddy characters and such individuals whose only propensity is to make hay of money while the sun of their power shines. These seasonal birds would then fly away to distant safe shores once the tide of time throws them out of power.
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