Status quo ante

Zardari government boosted party, those sitting in powerhouse seats than affect tenuous lives of ‘beloved awam’.


Amina Jilani March 16, 2012

Well, here we are — or at least we seem to be — settling in for a long spell of renewed non-governance by a government which takes no pains to hide its contempt for the awam (claimed to be ‘beloved’) or for the institutions of state.

All things being equal as of right now, the strange form of democracy put in place by the co-chairman of the ruling party seems destined to continue on and on. Asif Ali Zardari’s twist of fate in 2007 fell upon him like a bolt from the heavens and he has certainly utilised it splendidly and to the full, for his own particular purposes. Streetwise and street-smart, he has outwitted most of his opponents, or at best, kept them at bay as in the case of the mighty military.

By keeping somewhat mum he has kept himself in favour with the US, which is hard-pressed to even contemplate (at least momentarily), let alone find a suitable replacement. The Imran Khan surge, sporadic and selective, was far from the boasted of tsunami. Where is it now and more importantly, where will it be when Zardari decides and announces the most propitious dates for the next round of general elections?

The Zardari government, its amendments to the constitution notwithstanding — though they were all based on boosting the party and those sitting in the powerhouse seats rather than having any effect upon the tenuous lives of the ‘beloved awam’ — will be in full control. The voters, the minority of the millions, have not changed. Their mindset, habits and ability to be bought are as settled as is the PPP and its co-chairman. So, realistically, what are the odds on a ‘change’ — that most used word these days — or a ‘revolution’ as predicted by the hopeful? Rather dismal would one not say?

So, barring some unforeseen act of God (many may opt for the word miracle) this state of non-governance will be with us for an unforeseeable future — a dim prospect for many. The Taliban will continue to have the run of the wild woolly north western areas where no writ of government prevails. They happily blow up people at funerals, as they did on March 11, outside Peshawar, killing 16 — an incident that largely passed unremarked upon by our non-governing government because it was too busy consolidating itself in the Senate and elsewhere.

The Taliban bomb schools and indulge in target killings on almost a daily basis — accepted seemingly by provincial and federal governments as an established way of life. The American withdrawal from Afghanistan, which has to happen one day will but strengthen their hand. And Balochistan, to all intents and purposes can it be called a unit of the federation today?

But who cares? Very few, the public sector is obsessed with raking in as much as it can individually and collectively and those of the private sector are either desperately attempting to eke out a living or, in the minority, indulging in the worst form of consumerism.

The two main sects will continue in their destructive path, killing and maiming each other and doing the same to those classified as the minorities. The blasphemy laws will be used by anyone seeking revenge (as this democracy wreaks its vengeance upon the state), they will remain untouchable by a frightened cowardly bunch of legislators, and the laws against women will remain in place conflicting with whatever mitigating legislation is passed. And acid — bang next to a photograph of Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy arriving back in Karachi was a news item headed “Angry man throws acid on wife”, dateline: Vehari, March 10.

Oh yes, and an agency report has it that president cum co-chairman remarked upon hearing about Obaid-Chinoy’s Oscar that her film had sent a strong message to the world about Pakistan’s softer image.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 17th, 2012.

COMMENTS (6)

Faiza | 9 years ago | Reply

Democracy is not something Holy; I don,t understand that why we praise democracy so sacredly. Its not necessary for the development of any country to have a democratic goverment and if i see it in the context of my own country than its really not.In fact dictatorship has proved to be more beneficial to this country rather than this so called democratic goverment.Pakistan has developed a lot in the era,s of dictators.and that,s an undenieable truth.We dont want such self-seeking democratic goverment.

Parvez | 9 years ago | Reply

Madam, its vital to understand that this country exists for the 2% and not for the 98%, this is how it has shamelessly been structured and the private sector falls smack within the 2%.

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