The utter futility of struggling to rearrange the deckchairs on the Titanic as it took a nosedive to the bottom of the sea, closely mirrors the bureaucratic reshuffle in Sindh. Ministers, against whom there is a raft of complaints regarding their inefficiency, invisibility and their apparent inability to tie their own shoelaces without assistance — are also rearranged. Unfortunately, ‘stupid’ does not anagram out to ‘sharp as a pin’ and cracked pots never get successfully repaired. The Pakistan People’s Party is a shadow of its former self, and its attempt at dynastic continuation has produced a three-legged hybrid that is neither fish nor fowl and palpably incapable of doing the repair work so necessary after the drubbing of the last elections.
For some of the bureaucrats who have been moved, it was their third such move in as little as a month. Even allowing for the possibility of their baseline quality and capacity being less than the best, this is no way to get the best from people who will not have had a chance to warm the office chair before finding themselves on the move again. For most senior positions in the bureaucracy, at least three months are usually required to ‘come up to speed’.
As for politicians, many of whom are poorly educated, playing musical chairs with them does nobody any good either. The trouble starts at the top and trickles down. Whoever thought that a ‘co-chairmanship’ was a good working model of governance for a large political party clearly was not coming to the office in the morning with their head on the right way up.
When the model has a father-and-son as proof-of-concept and both often appear to be at odds, then the chances of ever making a decent job of running anything as big and complicated as the province of Sindh are vanishingly small. The meeting that produced the new arrangements was run at arm’s length from Dubai, itself emblematic of the disconnect between effective political governance and the shambles that is on the ground. The patient remains in a critical condition.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 24th, 2015.
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