I am a dreamer.
I dream of a 2012 in which Pakistan will unshackle itself from the rigours of the year past – a year which jolted the country with shocks and after-shocks of mostly man-made crises. A year which reminded us of the folly that man is, especially if the man hails from Pakistan. But men make mistakes — Pakistani men perhaps more than others — so there could still be redemption if the right lessons are learnt from the ash-heaps of wrong decisions.
I dream of a 2012 in which gates of the memo are finally slammed shut, as are the gates of the slammer which will house the culprits. The judicial commission will act judiciously by commissioning the right men and material and produce the smoking gun if it exists. Conclusions will be drawn, verdicts passed, actions taken and penalties imposed. The civil-military balance would be restored, soldiers will holster their guns, judges will sheath their gavels, government would return to doing nothing and the political fairy dust would settle down. The memo would then end up being a piece of paper that nearly brought down an empire. Oh, and Mansoor Ijaz would ride off into the California sunset, never to be heard of again.
I dream of a 2012 in which the stage for free, fair and transparent elections will be set. This means all bogus votes would finally be junked, a credible and universally-acceptable voter list would be compiled, an upright chief election commissioner would be appointed with consensus, and politicians would agree on a mechanism for a caretaker set-up. Elections will then be held later in the year and produce a result which is unchallenged.
I dream of a 2012 in which the new government takes the flat-lining economy as its first challenge and begins to take the tough decisions which the PPP’s incompetent leaders chickened out from. The public sector enterprises (PSEs) get top professionals as their heads, who then initiate restructuring and reform, get rid of dead wood, and catch the corrupt by the scruff of their necks and shake them till their teeth rattle.
I dream of a 2012 in which an effort is launched to address the genuine grievances of the people of Balochistan. A year in which people stop going missing, and those already gone missing start coming home; a year in which the military stops calling the shots, and firing them too, and a legitimate and competent government starts to drive policy in Balochistan.
I dream of a 2012 in which the Abbottabad Commission produces a credible and substantive report which pinpoints the people responsible for the May 2 outrage. The government then has the guts to take punitive action so a precedent is set that incompetence will have serious consequences regardless of grade or rank. Similarly, the Saleem Shahzad Commission also reaches a conclusion and comes up with findings which identify his killers. The courts then hand these killers sentences which makes their miserable lives short, nasty and brutish.
I dream of a 2012 in which polio is finally eradicated from Pakistan with Bill Gates’ money. A year in which the family of late Salmaan Taseer finally hears some good news about his son, and the killer of the former governor gets the punishment he deserves.
I dream of a 2012 in which Karachi remains at peace with itself. A year in which the TTP disbands, or is forced to disband and the drones stop droning over Pakistan. A year in which the Americans have their elections, and let us have ours without much meddling. A year in which our new ambassador to Washington DC successfully repairs the damage inflicted on the relationship and the CIA is forced to reduce its footprint on Pakistan.
I dream of a 2012 in which the media in Pakistan realises that its true role is not to be a player but a chronicler of life. A year in which journalists, news managers and media owners stop playing power-games, and start to treat this noble profession with the respect that it deserves.
I dream of a 2012 in which Pakistan is a better place than it was in 2011. A year in which Pakistanis begin to believe in themselves, and the governments understand that the real strategic assets are those who populate this land of the pure.
Is all this asking for too much? Perhaps. But what choice do I have?
I am a dreamer.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 1st, 2012.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ