Please sir, see the light

Published: September 23, 2012

The writer is the Editor of The Express Tribune kamal.siddiqi@tribune.com.pk

Mr Prime Minister. Please forgive me if I sound impertinent. We have not had the pleasure of meeting because I feel it is a futile exercise meeting people who don’t mean what they say. Your talks on the media are also pointless. Nobody now gives much weight to what is said by those in power.

You are surrounded by sycophants, as well as people of ill-repute and of questionable motives. Much of what you do in office is irrelevant.

But my plea to you is that if you cannot do any good, at least try and minimise the harm. Your call to arms for Friday — possibly yours is one of the few governments that asks people to cut their nose to spite their face — left at least 26 people dead in the senseless violence that followed. Did you not realise that given the build-up of the days before, such a move might actually backfire? Some people say that you did this deliberately. I don’t think so.

Now, let me tell you something your sycophants won’t tell you. It doesn’t matter to me or most Pakistanis whether you stay as prime minister or not. In fact, with the passage of time, how much the government matters to most of us will become more and more inconsequential. Your cat and mouse games with the judiciary do not help the average Pakistani in any way. It makes things worse for us.

With foreign investment dwindling and economic activity in a slump, jobs are scarce. Your government’s answer to this is to create employment in the public sector as against making economic conditions better so that jobs are created in the private sector. Your party’s left of centre credentials possibly make you think that this is the way to go. But by stuffing party faithful and many others who are faithless, you are actually bringing down some of the institutions that have held us in good stead in the past. Like PIA and the Pakistan Railways. If you continue on your path, these national entities will collapse. The resignation of the PIA chief is a wake-up call for you.

He will not head a sinking ship.

If that’s not all, your government has the distinction of creating white elephants so that more of the faithless are rewarded. Take the Sindh Bank where the prime purpose is to give jobs, not do banking. At the rate the bank is hiring staff, very soon it will have more staff than possibly the largest private bank in the country and the business generated may compare with the smallest private bank in operation.

You are well within your power to ask me what gives me the right to say all this. Well, I won’t say that being a member of the Fourth Estate, I can question the executive. Also, I will not say that as a voter, I have a right to ask this of the government that I may have helped put in power. But I will say that I pay more income tax than you and possibly many of your cabinet members put together. And every day, my heart bleeds when I see my money being wasted by you and your government at the altar of political expediency.

You have disappointed me on many counts. As an awami prime minister, one would have expected you to stand with the people. Instead, you were so scared of the people that you actually used a helicopter to survey the damage caused in a factory in Karachi — the worst fire across the world at a factory in a decade. Your chief minister in Sindh was quick to announce compensation from the public kitty. I would have wanted the government to seize the assets of the billionaire owner of the factory, auction them within a month and divide the money amongst the victims. You are quick to take into custody 12-year-old Rimsha Masih. But not those who run faulty factories or airlines that kill hundreds.

Your government continues to concede ground to the extremists and the militants. I thought the whole purpose of democracy would be to bring a party to power that would have the mandate to set things right.

Please sir. See the light. Do something right.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 24th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (23)

  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Sep 23, 2012 - 11:43PM

    I am a PML(N) supporter but I recognize that PPP government played very smart by joining protesters. The mood in the streets was to find and crush anyone resisting on this day. If the government had not joined protests, then these fanatics would have come all out to take down the government. Although it was Government’s duty to protect lives and properties of its citizens but this is Pakistan. Here religious sentiments are used to accomplish hidden agendas. The opposition political parties will not recognize it, but this government saved democracy and future elections.

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  • De Taali
    Sep 23, 2012 - 11:45PM

    It’s a bit too much to ask an inefficient former minister for power to see some light. He is a bigger disappointment as a PM. Good article!

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  • Lahori
    Sep 24, 2012 - 12:03AM

    If Kamal Siddiqi thought that he could make people ignore his bad English and disjointed ideas by resorting to the tried and tested formula of criticising the President, then he surely failed. This piece is a waste of time.

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  • sidjeen
    Sep 24, 2012 - 12:20AM

    the real tragedy is that being the only left of center party PPP is the only choice of us liberals now where do we go i envy the conservatives they have so many choicesRecommend

  • Saba Khan
    Sep 24, 2012 - 12:22AM

    “Please Sir. See the light. Do something right.” Bravo Kamal Siddiqi.

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  • udontneed
    Sep 24, 2012 - 12:36AM

    Haha. Nice article.

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  • Javed Khamisani
    Sep 24, 2012 - 12:45AM

    I think you have covered most of the points if not all which an educated and honest citizen of Pakistan would feel.

    Personally I feel that you are engaged in a futile venture. ” Bhains ke aage been bajana ”

    As per your own words ” I feel it is a futile exercise meeting people who don’t mean what they say. Your talks on the media are also pointless. Nobody now gives much weight to what is said by those in power.” , likewise they dont care of what you or people of Pakistan think of them or about their government. They are busy filling in their coffers and making arrangements for time when (if) they are thrown out of power. After all they would need funds to survie in those times.

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  • M. Adil
    Sep 24, 2012 - 2:41AM

    One of the most honest and inspirational op-ed I’ve ever read. And I’ve read a few. Wah jee…. kudos.

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  • Gary
    Sep 24, 2012 - 4:57AM

    “As an awami prime minister, one would have expected you to stand with the people.”
    The Prime Minister is the head of government and LEADER of the executive government.
    we expected him to LEAD the nation and not just stand with the people.

    “Your government continues to concede ground to the extremists and the militants.”
    Not just government, think all political parties and leaders in Pakistan have conceded ground to the extremists and the militants, instead of confronting/fighting the ideology of extremism and fanaticism. Hope the the leaders, intellectuals, and media work to reduce the exploitation of youth by extremist groups who speak in the name of religion while seeking to spill the blood of Muslims and innocent civilians. Extremism and fanaticism, stem mostly from education, or failure thereof; hope Pakistan leaders fix the education system before it’s too late.

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  • S. Siddiqi
    Sep 24, 2012 - 8:03AM

    RE PIA, Rao appears to have jumped ship, but only after doing the damage he was probably assigned to carry out. The implications of his bizarre acts are in the hundreds of million of $.

    Minister of Defence, in his 12 Sept written reply to the Parliament, more than confirms Rao followed the agenda more precisely that the past CEOs. here’s link to the news item:http://bit.ly/RI1Umw.

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  • S. Siddiqi
    Sep 24, 2012 - 8:08AM

    ‘Faithful and faithless’ are probably not the problem, rather character less is the protagonist. Any thoughts?

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  • S. Siddiqi
    Sep 24, 2012 - 8:11AM

    @sidjeen:
    What is a liberal? And what makes a conservative?

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  • Polpot
    Sep 24, 2012 - 10:12AM

    ” Please sir. See the light. Do something right. ”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Nothing can be seen and there is no light at the end of the tunnel.

    Loadshedding is on ! Thank the PM for that.

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  • IZ
    Sep 24, 2012 - 10:45AM

    @Lahori – And if you thought your ad hominem attack on the author would distract us from the fact that you obviously didn’t bother to read the article then you didn’t succeed. The article criticizes the Prime Minister, not the President.

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  • Raza Khan
    Sep 24, 2012 - 11:23AM

    Excellent article! But will make hardly difference on them.

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  • Mariam Shakir
    Sep 24, 2012 - 2:16PM

    You have given voice to many through this piece

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  • MALICK
    Sep 24, 2012 - 8:05PM

    You are absolutely correct.

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  • Mirza
    Sep 24, 2012 - 9:28PM

    Yes you are right. We all need to find a scapegoat and the current PM is a great candidte for that. Let us put all the blame of failure in all sectors of Pakistani society on his “long” tenure as PM and Chief executive.

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  • majaa
    Sep 24, 2012 - 10:09PM

    Kamal !! you are expecting MIRACLES :-)) my teacher used to say, that a “BASEER” leads
    leads to DEEP DARK WELLS :-)))

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  • elementary
    Sep 24, 2012 - 11:01PM

    Valiant effort!! But alas!We have lost the ability to see the light;we are a nation of blinds lead by the blind to the abyss.

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  • meekal a ahmed
    Sep 26, 2012 - 9:49PM

    @Lahori:

    I don’t see anything wrong with his English and his thoughts are not “dis-jointed”.

    In any event, I share his sentiments as do many others.

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  • Farah Jamil
    Oct 29, 2012 - 11:41PM

    Really an informative article. One can open his mind by reading this article, reality has clearly highlighted ,about which the people should know…Recommend

  • Farah Jamil
    Oct 29, 2012 - 11:43PM

    An informative and reality based article, interesting as well. All the real things have clearly highlighted in this article. Good job of writer!

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