Articles of the year 2008

A New Beginning
Published on September 2008

In a talkshow the other evening, one of the participants was a director of the factory that was torched in Korangi, after Benazir's tragic death. When I asked him how long after her death did the incident occur, I was shocked when he told us that the mob arrived after one hour. This shows a preparedness, which is highly suspicious. As I have been maintaining that the tempers have been too high to have elections in this charged atmosphere.

All the seven Parties are making highly inflammatory speeches against each other(and the Government) and one can safely assume that the tempo will rise, as the election date nears. The CEC is toothless, and not trusted by the Political Parties, either. All the Parties are heavily armed and these factors are a sure recipe for disaster. This does not include the Suicide bombers, who need just such an atmosphere to create their own mischief.

Can Pakistan afford such a loss in lives, or the spread of fear which then drives away the business and the funds that fuel our economy?.

I suggest that the seven Major parties be called in and told to decide a leader from amongst themselves, and the four Chief Ministers,. And this team should run the country in concert, for at least a year or till matters have cooled down. For the last thing that Pakistan needs, is a meltdown in our Governance as is the case in Kenya, where the killing has not stopped. The primary cause being the non-acceptance of the results by the losers. A similar track to our own politicians.

Political maturity can only come from the leadership setting an example, but this has been missing for some time now, and may be difficult to infuse at this late stage. That is why a postponement may be appropriate. With a new CEC, jointly chosen.

Apart from losing the irreplaceable Benazir the shock wave in the Industrial sector may take longer to recover from, but the lesson to the civic authorities should be clear, and that is a strong message to the politicians that they should rein in their rhetoric, and that huge assemblies may be restricted or be banned altogether for the sake of the safety of the citizens and of the politicians. A numerical display of strength is of little service to the Parties, but sets up a massive target for the bomber and ensures a clean getaway for the accomplices of the bomber.

The US think tanks are already admitting to a shift in the AlQaeda thought processes towards Pakistan as being an easier target, and the spate of bombings has shown exactly how easy, with our agencies not any closer to the truth. Even if the bombers are caught, they are expendable, The colossal damage is the spread of fear. Which, if this pattern continues will bring the people to living in a constant state of fear. Money is the most nervous of all commodities, as two Billion Dollars has already flown, and more money is packing its bags.

I have already suggested to the Government that there is a vast pool of young talent available in Pakistan, of bright, highly educated, presentable youngsters who should be sent out immediately to the top cities of the US and Europe and sell the newly discovered , but fast eroding Pakistan, with the constant bickering of its politicians. We have high achievers such as the young Saquib Shirazi, who made head boy at Eton, went on to Harvard, and now he is President of the Harvard Alumnii. (As a product of a British Public school myself, I marvel at his fantastic achievement. ) Saquib and Youngsters like him should take a sabbatical from their family businesses and be taken to tell Islamabad what is wrong with the country and then on to the People of the West, to show the West that these boys will bring these new ideas into the mainstream of Pakistan. This will repair some of the damage inflicted on our Country's image by the likes of Wasi Zafar, and Ahmed Raza Kasuri. We have many such talented people who should now carry the flag for us.

Incidentally the Indians are worried enough about our position to have calmly reassured us that " We will not let you collapse" For now they see us not as a threat to their stability, but as a strategic depth from the Taliban--- hence a reversal of roles for us! In the reported meeting with the Israeli Defense Minister the same sentiment may have been echoed. The message is clearly the same, we are in danger, and now from within. The way forward will be spearheaded by these talented youngsters.