Gilani’s speech: Meet the obfuscators
The prime minister's much-awaited address did little but obfuscate on issues that Pakistanis want addressed.
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.)