Tuesday, April 3, 2012

MQM and PTI Should Join Hands to Salvage a Shipwrecked Pakistan

March 25, 2012

MQM and PTI Should Join Hands to Salvage a Shipwrecked Pakistan

By Saeed Qureshi

Our beloved country Pakistan reels under a civic system that is out of sync with the imperatives of a modern society. It is decrepit and utterly inadequate to provide decent, modest and worthwhile living environment to the people of Pakistan. The roads and highways network is not enough to cater for fast growing movement of both travelers and freight. Travelling between the cities and within the cities in Pakistan is hazardous, slow, and unsafe.

Unlike western societies, Pakistan at first glance looks primitive, dirty and disorganized. From traffic to business activities nothing seems to be without sleaze and impropriety. Despite our society being deeply religious and people with total religious orientation, ethical practices in social dealings and human interaction are woefully deficient. There is always a wide gap between what the leaders profess and what they do.

Our social sector figures lowest in our national priorities. The health, education, transportation and other public related services are moribund and woefully inadequate due to a variety of factors including paucity of funds, erroneous and faulty policies and planning and lack of vision to make them universal, accessible, organized and modern. The population is growing at an alarming pace. We have ramshackle old frames and structures of buses shorn of necessary facilities like air conditioning, heating etc. Overloading of passengers is common scene on Pakistani roads.

Social vices like bribery, corruption, pilferage of government resources, adulteration and selling of sub-standard commodities and medicines, evasion of taxes and a host of other odious crimes have always been rampant. Despite being deeply religious people lack moral fiber.

There are no standardized procedures for conduct and regulation of civic life. Even if there are such procedures, no one bothers to follow them in order to check the mal-practices and violations in daily life such as encroachments, violation of building rules, sanitation rules, and maintenance of premises and public places.

Likewise traffic rules are complicated, cumbersome, outdated and ignored by both public and the concerned departments. Traffic in Pakistan has ever been messy. The civic code is outdated. The cities are brimming with filth, stench, encroachments, horse and bullock driven carts. There are no strict codes for raising new dwellings.

There is a mushroom, unabated and unplanned growth of houses and shantytowns in and around all the major cities in Pakistan, choking and stultifying the already meager and insufficient utilities. The water is rationed by hours, the electric power goes off frequently, and the voltage is low and unstable. There is no well-planned or scientific method of removing garbage from the lanes, roads, houses and public places in Pakistan.

Our railways is ramshackle, mismanaged, is a relic of the past and starkly lacking in the modern system of management as we find in the railways of the developed societies. The railway stations have deplorable and endemic problems such as sanitation, non-provision of computerized communication, operation system and utilities like air conditioning, heating and reservation etc. There are countless flaws in our railway system. Our railway is in dire need of complete overhauling so as to make it modern and efficient.

Same is the case with other service providing organizations such as WAPDA, PIA, customs, municipal and local bodies police, courts and judicial system, postal, revenue and taxation departments: to name a few. All these organizations and departments are chronically infested with corruption, mismanagement, inefficiency and other flaws.

The Judiciary, Police, bureaucracy and all other nation building institutions that should serve the people in the fairest and the freest manner have remained subservient to the interests of the powerful local lords, wealthy sections, aristocracy, robber barons, elitists classes, bureaucracy, and the political mandarins.

The unavailability of uniform, inexpensive and prompt justice, adulteration, timely decision making, stealing of mail, counterfeit stamp papers, usurping public land and property are part of our morbid system that needs to a drastic surgery and purged of its deformities, disabilities and disorders. Expired and spurious drugs are sold unhindered without any qualms of conscience or fear of law. Hospitals lack the milk of human kindness and lack proper facilities for the ever-increasing patients. We sell adulterated food without any moral prick and without any fear of legal or social reprisals.

In order to bypass the complicated, cumbersome, and unclear rules for issuance of essential and ordinary documents such as driving licenses, passports, identity cards the people are forced offer to graft and bribes to the officials or the touts. In short there is a complete moral, institutional and organizational mess and mayhem in the society.

Pakistan is to be liberated from the clutches of feudal classes and privileged families, rapacious mafia, pressure lobbies and special interest groups that have held the state and the society hostage since the inception of Pakistan. These unassailable rogue entities and powerful individuals do not allow Pakistan to function as a liberal, free, democratic, modern, progressive and prosperous country.

They hate the very concept of a civil society in Pakistan. Civil society means freedom of expression and unhindered observance of faith, and un-curtailed movement and pursuit of happiness in conformity with the human and fundamental rights. These groups and entities are enemies of progress and therefore of the people of Pakistan.

Pakistan is still far away from having a democratic order that is unvarnished and truly based on the popular vote and people’s aspirations. For most part of its existence Pakistan was under the army rule, bureaucratic dispensation or quasi-democratic system. Elections in Pakistan were seldom free and fair. The National Assembly and Senate assailed by the powerful classes would not function in an independent manner and only serve the privileged sections. There is no accountability at any stage in bureaucracy and officialdom. Accountability in Pakistan is used for vendetta against the political contenders.
The leadership that was in power all along has, thus far, miserably failed to address and resolve the myriad socio -civic, economic, political and even day to day problems of the people. The hapless people of Pakistan have been waiting for so long for a better time to come but it is now foregone that the leadership in Pakistan is birds of the same flock.

The leaders lack vision, sincerity, seriousness and the will to transform Pakistan into a modern, liberal and prosperous state. With the abundance of natural resources, vast productive land and industrious manpower that Pakistan is endowed with, our country has the capability and potential to stand shoulder to shoulder in the comity of developed nations in a few years’ span.

What therefore, needed is to hand over power to such people who are down-to-earth, who possess the vision, unshakable will, absolute honesty and sincerity to bring about an encompassing revolution for a glorious Pakistan as well as for a vibrant and prosperous
civil society. Since the political leadership in Pakistan has failed to provide a stable democratic political system, there has been a pervasive socio-civic and economic chaos that the country is perennially suffering from.

With a crowd of political parties already in the country it would look superfluous to form another political entity for the much needed watershed revolution in Pakistan and to change it structurally from a primitive, backward, poor, mismanaged to an institutionalized, orderly and dignified modern nation. Yet without a dedicated and visionary leadership the hope for a better, prosperous and stable Pakistan would always remain dim. It means that for making Pakistan a great country, it is indispensable to change the leadership first.

After more than half a century’s governance, it is obvious that the privileged and elitist classes that believe in running the country via plutocracy, oligarchy or aristocracy, are neither capable nor sincere in good governance. The reason for their inability to earnestly serve the nation and country is that they are not mindful of the common man’s problems nor are they interested in ameliorating the plight of the citizens whose predominant majority is suffering from bad governance.

It is now incumbent that the power should be exercised by the dispossessed sections of the society. The common people understand their problems well because they are affected by them. But while the political power should now pass on to the underprivileged or unprivileged, there must be a team of such experts and men of excellence and vision who should formulate policies and planning that can put the country on the road to progress and prosperity and inject order, discipline and social peace into our ailing society and mode of governance.

In the light of the above assessment one would wonder and it would rather be pleasantly awesome if MQM and Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) can join hands to save Pakistan and steer this nation out of the dire straits of ignorance, poverty, lawlessness, decadence, social and moral vices, plunder of the privileges sections, endemic corruption, gas and power load shedding. They should restructure failed and dysfunctional institutions departments and industries, renovate Pakistan with a modern infrastructure and infuse life into its ailing economy and stir a fresh hope about a glorious future and a great destiny.

I mention MQM and PTI because notwithstanding their shortcomings and, they possess the grit and resolution to straighten the awry situation in Pakistan. Their leaders are eminently honest with committed cadres to get the things done. The exemplary unity and strict discipline in the ranks of MQM with a mission to root out feudalism, nepotism, perfidious privileged mafias and similar abominations is a boon and the indispensible tools to harness Pakistan and reorder it rudder. Above all Both of
them have a meritorious record of formidable social and civic service in Pakistan.

PTI is a new entrant into the political arena of Pakistan. Their slogans and manifestoes too are revolutionaries and their chief and his associates are reputed for their patriotism and clean hands. They possess the pain and a desire to revolutionize Pakistan with radical transformation of its rotten system from a Patwari to the running of the state of Pakistan. They should get a chance to stem the burgeoning rot in Pakistan.

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