KARACHI: Bhoolja is not the name of an airline. It simply means (they will) ‘forget it’. It is also a mindset, a mental inertia of those, who choose lip service over actions, cosmetics over content, first aid over root causes and ‘buddy-ism’ over competence.
When a state adopts this mindset as its official policy, a series of mindless events begin to happen. ‘Buddies’ become director-generals and ‘shake-down’ inspections begin to replace stringent airworthiness requirements and procedures. Check out a Boeing 737-200 manual, and you will find daily checks, transit checks, B checks, C checks and D checks but, nowhere, will you find the ambiguous and skin-deep ‘shakedown’ checks that were ordered by the government to convey an image of doing something important.
Bhoolja is based on a belief that peoples’ memory, anger and emotions have a short shelf life and can be easily pacified by statements such as ‘the PM or the president have taken notice and ordered an inquiry’. That is where all matters come to an end.
For any accident to happen there ought to be immediate, contributory and root causes. The root causes often point towards poor management practices. However, when organisations adopt the bhoolja way of thinking it does not take long for things to start falling apart. The current ‘buddy’ system has created leaders who are neither capable nor interested in determining the root causes. Only this year, several workers died in a boiler explosion in Lahore, although industrial boilers undergo a yearly inspection and approval. A few weeks later, over a hundred heart patients died because they received contaminated tablets. The entire system of drug licensing, inspections and controls failed to detect the presence of anti-malarial Pyrimethamine ingredients in the tablets which were otherwise meant for heart patients.
It is time to realise that we need to do away with the bhoolja approach, depoliticise our institutions and insist that they follow professional and ethical standards.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 30th, 2012.
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