The republic has had it, said the voice down the line, it is too far gone to come back. The voice, a long time commentator on the downward path is, rather sadly, more than probably right. How can anything get back up the slippery pole when it has crawled so far down?
It has a government, which seems to be desperately trying to outstrip in its incompetence and bewilderment, any government that has gone before — and that is truly saying something. The winner of the second-time ‘heavy mandate’ when and if espied seems to be dazed, lost in some nightmare land in which he neither knows what to do nor could he do it even if he knew. His right-hand man (or is it left hand?) who stands in for him, and who presumably speaks for him, is totally at sea when it comes to dealing with the prime menace — amongst the many — that plagues the land, how to rein in the militants and the other murderers who operate at will. The MinInt needs to shuffle his headgear and find himself a new thinking cap. The matter of ‘talks’ is becoming more and more ridiculous by the day as the terrorist factor, so we are told, don’t want to powwow, they want and they have action.
As the body count mounts up, the government and the rest of the politicos are bereft of ideas, other than to ‘condemn’ or ‘condole’. Unlike the militants, they find action hard to come by. Don’t they find it rather demeaning to beg the murdering militants to come and talk when they well know that there are no points of discussion? Does their shamefulness have no bounds as they warble on about some form of ‘strategy’ they have come up with, whilst men, women and children fall like nine-pins around them? The answers are ‘no’. They have their priorities.
For donkey’s years, politics have been handed over to the rich of all breeds and hues — from landlords, in or out of uniform, to industrialists, to tradesmen, to blacksmiths, to branded robbers — and now functions solely to produce a state that hands over on a silver platter to the ultra-rich and the transient power wielders, its assets and benefits, giving the two-fingered sign to massive inequalities in wealth and rights, and to a nation at war with itself.
In a landscape of violence, fraud, corruption, mendacity and fanatical intolerance, citizens are viewed by the various leaderships as disposable objects. Politics in the republic revels in deception and incompetence, sub-standard mediocrity, and is empty of any substantive meaning. So frankly, apart from the cosmetic veneer of democracy created by the ballot box and the miraculous triumph of producing successive civilian governments, there is a yawning void. There is no one, or no group, to whom or to which one can, right now, look for salvation to come.
There are, of course, pockets of well-heeled citizens, content in their respective comfort zones, who get on with their lives, ignoring the larger spectrum until and unless it directly affects them. Then, there are even fewer pockets of concerned citizens, who actually get up and out and voice their protests against injustices, the shredding of all laws in the interests of expediency or selfishness, ranging from the iniquity of the Zia era laws, to the wiping out of the Houbara Bustard by our Arab friends, and the matter of the presidential Hajj.
The head of state, at the moment, is superfluous to anything remotely connected with governance, put where he is, poor chap, to sign what he is told to sign. Even he, largely unknown, does things, such as taking 15 relatives, six friends and nine officials on the obligatory official Hajj. Then reportedly, his relatives have been housed in Karachi’s State Guest House. Questioned as to the veracity of such reports, he has come up with no answers. In the larger scheme of things, such matters are petty, but still… !
Published in The Express Tribune, January 18th, 2014.
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