Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Paralyzed Government

March 5, 2011

By Saeed Qureshi

The erstwhile jail bird and currently the president of Pakistan his Excellency Asif Ali Zardari hovers over the globe in the presidential aircraft, like a bewitched midget, touching one capital after another. The Prime Minister Gilani is busy in his frantic efforts to make unworthy compromises for remaining in power. His beloved son is so far successful in blunting all judicial and executive efforts to nab him in one of the stupendous money making scams.

The Defense minister Rahman Malik is in the lead for his inimitable skill of compulsive lying. With his unremitting falsifications, he reinforces the belief in the reincarnation with Goebbels’ soul in him.

The crime is mushrooming as a way of life. The people in the streets, markets, public places and even in their homes are being targeted and killed for a host of insidious reasons. The law minister Babar Awan is successfully breaking and defying the law by not taking the judiciary’s decision with an iota of seriousness and reverence. President has appointed a person as governor of Punjab who is involved in a big bribe case.

The dauntless and superbly professional GEO reporter Wali Khan Babar laid down his life in the line of duty. His case is allowed to become irrelevant and cold as to lose its urgency. The two dutiful individuals who witnessed the gruesome murder have also been killed in mysterious circumstances, understandably, to erase the evidence against the heinous culprits, more power than the state of Pakistan.

The Federal Minister for Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti, an illustrious, liberal and patriotic Pakistani from the Christian community was gunned down evidently by the same assassins who assassinated the governor of Punjab Salman Taseer. These are high profile murders that have come to the public limelight. Those common folks who are murdered for ransom, or in gang wars or for extortion money, or for sectarian reasons are countless. The country called Pakistan is gradually or rapidly turning into the killing fields of the citizens.

The internal and external outcries for catching the murderers of these slain marvelous Pakistanis are cries in the wilderness. If a political party in power has failed to vigorously and promptly pursue the murder of its own chairperson - the daughter of the founder of the party Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, how it can be expected to be serious, earnest and prompt on other murder cases.

We have a government that looks like the scarecrow or a phantom or a weathercock, utterly docile or unfit to determine which way to go and what to do and how to do. The recent cabinet reshuffle patently was an exercise in futility as the change or reshuffling crooks with crooks is not going to improve the horrendous situation. There is no check on the fast deteriorating law and order situation in Pakistan.

Pakistan is paralyzed by sectarian divide, political factionalism, a teetering economy, the broken and obsolete civic system, malfunctioning institutions, bad governance, widespread corruption, glaring patronage and swelling violence. The ineptitude, incompetence, apathy and indifference of the people in power and also themselves becoming part of the melee of plunder are taking Pakistan to a situation of a failed state.

The government has lost its moral rudder to steer the country out of dire straits. It is trying desperately against all its disqualifications to cling to power. Its performance is as useless as the fleeting clouds after a downpour. The government was brought into power by the consent of the people and by their representatives in an unprecedented show of support, unanimity and solidity.

And watch what they have done to the nation and the country. They are bleeding it white by their ravenous avarice and interminable lust for money through every conceivable channel and means.

They overlook the crimes, murders, dacoities, rape, kidnapping, poverty, power outrages, paucity of potable water, the filth spattered on every wall of Pakistan, perfidious mal -nutrition, the dwindling educational standards, the plummeting economy, sky rocketing prices, the odious nepotism, and the dreadful drift that is tearing apart the already fragile cohesion and frail fabric of national unity.

Asif Ali Zardari is a replica of Col Mummar Qaddafi of Libya. Qaddafi is tenaciously hanging on to power and seems to be unmoved despite a civil war situation brewing up in his country. Qaddafi has no place around the world to seek asylum or shelter. He would, therefore, fight to the last because he has no other option to fall back upon. Either power or death is the message that he is giving by his shrewish behavior.

Zardari on the contrary, has roots and considerable clout in Sindh. He is not a ruthless dictator but a pliable greedy plutocrat whose hunger for wealth never recedes. But like Qaddafi, he would resort to all machinations to remain in power.

It is his sham timidly or cunning that has so far kept him in the highest office and his party in power. He has the knack of making most humiliating compromises if such a behavior helps him to rule the roost. He would simultaneously ditch his closest cohorts and allies if he visualizes that their alliance was less advantageous or of no avail.

Precisely for this shrewdness, he has accepted the separation of PMLN and accompaniment of MQM, although the later is turning into an albatross in the neck of PPP by opposing various critical decisions such as taking back the petroleum price hike. Zardari very well knows that, on its own, the MQM was not in a position to form its own government at the center and in provinces. He is also mindful that, in comparison, the PMLN poses a greater challenge to the PPP”s government.

What Qaddafi and Zardari commonly share is the insatiable desire to remain in power, although they employ different tools and tactics to retain it? Qaddafi believes in the use of uninhibited brutal force and repression. Zardari believes in chicanery, duplicity, deceit, cajoling and low lying compromises. The objective of both is to hold on to the power. But in the longer run, both theses stratagems and maneuvers back fire. And this is what would be happening to both these contemporary heads of Islamic states.
The writer is a senior journalist and a former diplomat
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