Articles of the year 2005

The Feudal Misnomer
Published on February 17th, 2005

It has become fashionable to blame the ills of the country on the Feudals that rule the Country. This is patently untrue. It is not the Feudals that rule but the Bureaucrats who are colonialists by training. This Colonial system was established by the British and after Independence Islamabad has assumed the mantel of Whitehall, and the contempt for the natives that was built therein. This contempt manifests itself throughout society, evidenced by all letters to the Govt functionaries that are signed 'your obedient servant'.'I humbly remain'etc. It is the poor citizen who has not woken up to his independence , but makes himself subservient thinking that this is his station in life and the Sarkar would not have it any other way. He is not about to challenge, or change it.

Pakistan still operates as a Colonial Empire, and the logic of the creation of Islamabad was not to build a new Capital, but to move the Government away from the people and make it inaccessible to the public at large. The awesome power of the Secretariat is difficult to imagine, but for example, it is not generally known, that ALL the Banks in Pakistan report to an Additional Secretary in the Min. of Finance. – Not the Secretary, but an additional Secy. This position could be and was used very effectively to channel funds wherever the ruler so chose. The late Rifat Askari very proudly told anyone that came his way, that in the Financial world he was the most powerful single person, and Presidents of Banks trembled before him or were soon humbled! Mind you he came to a sticky end, died in jail,---- mourned by none. This method of governance was typical of how the bureaucracy can be twisted to serve the ends of the rulers and accountability is exercised ultimately by God for the Accountability department is always compromised before the ink has dried on the notification.

We the natives have not come to terms with our independence, and are still in thrall of the Sahib, and have not yet realized that he is a brown like us, and from amongst us, the airs are merely a put on to make the ruler seem more majestic. The motorcades, the sirens were never a security requirement, but were the trappings of power and to keep the natives cowed down before them. Our neighbours –the Indians have fared better than us, and have kept their pomp and splendour in check, even though they lost three of their leaders to assassins. We insist on importing bullet proof cars thinking that that this will deter the killers. Unfortunately we have just managed to distance our rulers further away from the ruled.

The more important lesson the Indians learnt was to challenge the authority when they felt unfairly threatened. A classic example is that the agricultural yield in West Punjab(Pakistan) is 40% of that in East Punjab( India). The Soil is identical, the farmers on both sides are equally hardworking. The only difference is that in West Punjab inferior pesticide and spurious fertilizers are sold by the Business/ Govt combination to the hapless farmer thus dropping the yields, whereas in East Punjab the Sardarji would never allow the supplier to get away with anything sub-standard. In Pakistan Doh Number Ka product is an accepted part of life.

The outpouring of the concerned citizens in the ongoing US Embassy relocation is a step in the right direction, for when we learn to fight for that which is our right will we be truly free. Till then we shall remain a nation of slaves, and with each leader whom we elect to follow, we find that he has chosen the path of the Colonial Master and left us to wallow in our pathetic lot --- that of the native slave.