Gilani’s speech: Meet the obfuscators

The prime minister's much-awaited address did little but obfuscate on issues that Pakistanis want addressed.

Waqqas Iftikhar October 18, 2010
On a Sunday night, Prime Minister Gilani came on prime time television at about 8:30 pm to deliver a much-anticipated address to the nation.

It contained a half-hour of monotone sentences harkening to a few ‘golden eras’ in our country’s history and was delivered with as much gusto and verve as an anecdote by a comatose Mitch Hedberg.

For the first time, we have had the prime minister address the nation while flanked by ‘representatives’ from all the provinces. The simple act of overdoing this show of unity and strength shows that the government has definitely been affected by the criticism leveled against them regarding their abject failure to perform during crises that have occurred in the last two years.

The speech has thrown the electronic media into overdrive in order to analyze the significance of the nothingness contained in it. He spoke about the responsibilities and respect that come with his position as the elected representative of the people. He is probably unaware that respect is earned, not commanded. Furthermore, he spoke about how his orders, whether delivered verbally or in letter, should be treated as an official command, which is ridiculous, even for the slow-moving train wreck that is the current government. The law minister claims that the right to amend the constitution lies exclusively with the parliament. He claims this to be the case regardless of whether or not the parliament is replete with individuals whose educational qualifications cannot be verified and who have dodged court cases via the get-out-of-jail-free card called the National Reconciliation Order (NRO).

The soporific address did not answer-or even indicate-whether or not the government had a strategy to combat the basic issues of the social and economic welfare of the people. Instead, the speech focused on utilizing the rumours of the attempted putsch on the restored judiciary to deliver a long-winded spiel of the past glories of the PPP, beginning with the late Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and his nuclear armament program. Moreover, Prime Minister Gilani tip-toed around the core issue of whether the government intends to follow the decisions made by the judiciary. Obfuscation, it seems,  has thus become the official ideology for the government.

The questions we are interested in asking are: has the government has used the flood rehabilitation money properly? Why is Khairpur Nathan Shah still under water? What has happened to the killers of Mughees and Muneeb Butt? What are you doing to lower inflation? How are you going to solve the transport problems in major urban areas? What are you doing to solve the problem of affordable healthcare and education throughout the country?

If they do not have an answer to these and other questions of the ‘common man’ that they so gladly purport to represent – then they should get off our TV screens. (They are not exactly riveting to watch and definitely not prime-time fare.)
Waqqas Iftikhar An economist who works in a foreign bank in Karachi. He writes about sports.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Murtaza Ali Jafri | 13 years ago | Reply @ Waseem Raja: All Hail the Ministry for Dis-information. Your brilliant words have made me realize that all the killing that have happened in Karachi over the past few days are an absolute myth, those weren't riots those were actual parties on the streets. The PM in a single address united the entire nation, how could I have ever been so skeptical and callous. Thank you for setting me straight. I applaud you, for showing us what a true statesman our PM is. Your contribution to the Great Nation of Pakistan will never be forgotten.
Murtaza Ali Jafri | 13 years ago | Reply Great piece. Oratorical talent seems to be the Prime Property of the Karachi Grammar School. All Hail Grammarians. (@Waqqas, I bet you hate me now).
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