Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pakistan is Withering

October 15, 2011

By Saeed Qureshi

In the wake of the escalating violence and unrelenting terrorism that are brutally rampaging Pakistan, the country’s future and destiny seems to be murky and bleak. I am not exaggerating nor am I a prophet of doom. I am simply warning the average citizens of the impending hell that would engulf a country that otherwise can be a paradise for its picturesque natural beauty, its untapped inestimable deposits and its precious human resource.

Pakistan is an alluring country, for a perfect and ideal harmony between its four seasons, for the grandeur of its tallest peaks, the splendor of its glaciers, the charm of its serene valleys sparkling with azure emerald like water; its captivating mountains, its vast mysterious deserts, its awesome and mighty rivers, its fertile lands, and a unique geographical location.It connects east with the west and north with the south. It borders China as well as Russia: the two formidable countries.

It is a gateway to Central Asia, opens on the Persian Gulf and Asia Minor, and sits atop the most precious outlet for the Arab and Iranian oil. It distinguishes itself as a phenomenal abode of the most ancient civilization known as Indus Valley Civilization. The diversity of cultures, languages, customs and traditions and folk lore, races and complexions give it a wondrous mosaic profile.

Yet it is in a state of drastic decline and moving fast down the hill. The state of Pakistan is withering at an alarming rate and its fabric being torn asunder. Its very existence as a geographical mass of land is exposed to fragmentation. This horrid transformation was sown at the very outset after its inception that went on inflating as the time moved forward. The rudest and unforgettable jolt that sliced this country into two halves came in 1971.

Pakistan’s former smaller part now called Bangladesh is believed to have become a haven for the Pakistani entrepreneurs and industrialists. They are seeking refuge and investing in that erstwhile part of Pakistan. Bangladesh is one fifth of the size of the existing Pakistan while its population is a little less than that of Pakistan.

Yet the violence, the social disorder, the colossal upheaval, the gross mismanagement, the loathsome governance; the chronically corrupt, self serving and inept leadership that one can witness in Pakistan is not hugely attributed to Bangladesh.
India is dreaming to walk into the shoes of an economic and technological giant and a regional power that aspires to countenance China. Pakistan looks a midget in comparison to neighboring India now leaping forward at a terrific speed in technology, with its stable democratic tradition and with ballooning economic boom.
Pakistan is trapped in huge debts and earns unenviable reputation as a failed state.

The leadership that we have is not worth a stack of chaff. A country ablaze with leaping fires of violence, with shameful and futile proxy wars being fought by its armed forces on its own territory, with the contagious curse of sectarian, ethnic and regional bad blood spilled all over; the hope for a better future is dimming fast.

Well all the maladies, challenges and the monstrous damnations that Pakistan is suffering from are known to even a child sleeping in a suffocating hut without electricity. Pakistan looks like a lunatic asylum where people are losing their sense of proportion, undergoing nervous breakdowns and sapped of any hope of a good time that is getting elusive by every hour and every day.

Is there is way-out for revival of Pakistan? This is a moot question that reverberates in the entire length and breadth of Pakistan. Can Pakistan survive under the ongoing stifling conditions and in a social milieu that is frightening? Can it successfully tackle the utter lack of basic facilities and ugly civic order and provide a decent living to its people? Can Pakistan disentangle itself from the thorny international commitments that serve no purpose except its disintegration and that are cutting across its viability? Can Pakistan be cast into an abiding democratic framework with free and untainted electoral system?

Can Pakistan shed its abominable curse of feudal, priestly, parasitic, papal and mystic, exploiting and comprador classes? Can Pakistan hammer out a truly federal system by which the populations of all the regions get their equal status and rights by creating more provinces with less lordship from the center? Can the country be salvaged from the morass of degeneration, it is sinking into? And so on.

If there are no immediate short term or long term solutions of these and similar other burning questions that revolve around the viability, welfare and survival of Pakistan, then mark my words there is no hope for the people to survive in a cohesive united, geographically contiguous land as it is now. The drift and disintegration is hovering over horizons of Pakistan and sooner or later it would descend and lead to an unstoppable decay and further dismemberment of the residue Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

The leaders of this marvelous nation are endemically hypocritical, deceitful and incorrigible thugs. They lack vision and insight and in contrast possess abundant obsession for power and boundless lust and irresistible appetite for money and self-enrichment. The press and judiciary are free but such a freedom is meaningless unless the government believes in accountability and right behavior and has respect for the judicial verdicts.

These seasonal birds, predators of national honor and agents of worsening status quo, would hang around befooling the people in the name of a certain ideology or deceased zealot or divine retributions. They would vanish when the tide turns against them and Pakistan become utterly unmanageable. These are indeed the worst times and the darkest days for Pakistan. The leaders and parliamentarians are not servants but enemies of the country and hastening the demise of Pakistan as a sovereign, independent and viable country.

The poor people with dust and deprivation covering their skinny faces are running amok for a bowl of rice or a loaf of bread and for a few rupees to travel, or a bed in the hospital or admission of child in a school or to pay the bill of a utility or to buy grocery and to bribe a clerk for a birth certificate or ID card.

The president travels in presidential jet, sleeps in the well guarded presidential palace, issues orders, makes appointments, and collects commissions and kick-backs. The prime minister a scion of exploitative sainthood is a useless rubber stamp with not a grain of modesty, prudence, intellectual or political astuteness. The political friars designated as ministers look like goofs and clowns hovering around the top custodians of powers for favors.

This is our government and these are our leaders and we expect of them a magnificent turn around and a watershed revolution and safeguarding Pakistan’s territorial integrity and fine governance and rule of law and a civil society, fundamental rights of equality and integrity and education and health for all. The gulf between poor and rich has become alarmingly so wide as to make the middle class disappear.

Nursing the culture of nepotism and protecting clan interests are the most favorite pastime of the elected leaders as well as of those not elected. The fleecing of the national exchequer on such white elephants as rental power plants and dubious deals is apace in the power corridors. The national institutions and enterprises such as the railways, airlines, and steel mills are deliberately being rendered bankrupt and dysfunctional to finally sell these or auction to the private bidders.

They leave not even a slim chance to skim their share on every sale or purchase including import and export of commodities. They make and break scornful and expedient alliances to remain in power. This is brazen misuse of power and daylight robbery.

Army is a privileged class by itself. Army bungled in East Pakistan in 1971 and has donned a mercenary role for the past two decades. It devours most of the state funds and sits idle otherwise. Kashmir cannot not be gained by force or by the military means. India militarily is several times powerful than Pakistan.

So when would the time to protect the territorial integrity of Pakistan come? And if it comes can our meager army repel the aggression? Are our civil and military leaders aware that Pakistan army is outmatched by India in relation to its military equipment and number? The vital task of defending Pakistan from external attack would be more onerous as a good portion of Pakistan’s army is locked in the tribal region.

The religious bands of all hue and cries are busy always in wrecking the peace and tranquility of the state. They mercilessly annihilate each other in the name of sectarianism and different strands of faith. The Islamic Republic has become the hunting ground for Islamic sectarian chauvinism. The religious multitudes pose a stupendous threat to the normal and smooth functioning of Pakistan.

These religious entities have become pressure cartels which in their frenzied pursuit of a caliphate have been destabilizing Pakistan as a nation state. The sectarian schism is much more hideous and lethal in Pakistan than in Bahrain, Iraq and Syria. Can Pakistan subdue these faith based warring sects and enforce generalized version of Islam that should not pose a challenge to the unity, social harmony and stability and even existence of the country?

Let a student. A teacher, a barber, a teacher, a laborer, a peasant, a vendor, a doctor, a nurse, a shopkeeper, a clerk, a brick maker, a woodcutter, a bus driver, lead 5 million people and set up a camp in front of the presidential palace, parliament building, the prime minister house. They should force these fat bellied hoodwinkers to come out and face the public outrage.

Similar camps and rallies should be staged in provincial capitals. A parallel masses ‘government should be constituted on the constitution avenue to make such decisions that can fix the public enemies, punish parasitical power grabbers, and that can help reclaim the sinking Pakistan. Anna Hazare of India has set the example for such a mammoth assemblage. Let another French revolution recur in Pakistan.

Am I talking sense or getting crazy and unloading my pent-up frustration?

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