Articles of the year 2008

The Writ of Fear
Published on June 2008

The lessons of history have been lost on us, for while the leadership class is fighting for their political survival, the poor Pakistani is fighting for his bread –literally, and what is on offer is beyond his reach. In the past Marie Antoinette lost her head and the throne for the bread riots in France two hundred years ago. Her retort "Let them eat cake." Was a warning to all subsequent rulers in the world, that their foremost obligation was to provide affordable food to their citizens. This vital duty is not being fulfilled, and to see people standing in lines for three/four hours at a time at the Utility Store outlets is a pitiful reflection on the Government. The present Government cannot be blamed for they have themselves only just arrived. The President should take action into the previous officers, for it was their follies that have Pakistan to this sorry state. I have said this so many times before, that the crises cropping up seem to be never ending, and the President has to bear the brunt of the attacks.

If the mismanagement at the Islamabad level is so extreme, why do we have an Islamabad secretariat? We have a sugar problem. A Power problem, of course the Water in the pipes will never be enough, and most times will be polluted. The petrol prices are about to go through the roof! These points are about to be raised at the election platforms, but it would be safe to say all the past Governments have faced the same problems, never successfully.

I am only surprised that we have such patient public who have not yet taken to the streets. How long will they suffer, before they make their anger felt.

The President obviously has not been reading the newspapers, nor does he see the haunted look on the faces of people in the flour lines. Does he not realize he is President of 160 million people whose basic needs are his responsibility. If we the people are suffering we would like to see the responsible officers punished for causing us these problems. That would give us some solace. But to see them going about--- business as usual is doubly painful.

No wonder the CJ is missed. He took Suo Moto notice against every infraction. At least he cared, and took action on these issues. . While the Prime Ministers swanned about in bulletproof buggies at colossal state expense, without deigning to consider the peoples' problems. This being appreciated by the Public, has the cloistered Chief Justice way ahead in the popularity sweepstakes.

The point that is not understood by many is the luck of the President that has till now stood by him since January '07 when the dark forces started their action to destabilize him, starting with the Lal masjid. Then came the CJ affair with its long march, and the May 18 massacre. Culminating in the murder of Benazir. The conspirators have tried everything, to remove Musharraf but have failed so far. The public however, has suffered, and continues to do so. With the President focusing solely on the defense of his position, all else has been overlooked. It again seems that the ship of state is rudderless. Surely with the agencies including Scotland Yard hard at work, some clues must have been unearthed?

The body count in 2007 is staggering .Now with the latest Lahore High Court Bombing the figure has climbed. The Nation is shell shocked. It appears that there is a determined push to savage the country.

Will someone please take control? It is sad that when the Lal Masjid events were unfolding, many of the Ministers were sending crossed signals which emboldened the Mullahs into hardening their stance, till a bloody shootout ensued. And many of the dead were given misplaced martyrdom. A sad needless end to young misguided innocents.

The brutal murder of Benazir is far from being settled, and while the ripples of sorrow are echoing throughout the world, we have such inhuman acts, in the heart of Lahore. The public is confused. We are not at war with anyone, yet we are being pounded, bled, by these wanton acts. By an unknown enemy with an unknown agenda.

Making our streets unsafe, our leaders unsafe, our citizens mortally afraid to venture out.

Whoever the enemy is. He has certainly established the writ of fear upon the Nation.

I have repeatedly stated Pakistan is a soft target, and we have been brought into the cross hairs. Their attacks are carried out with impunity, and we do not have the strategy to deal with them. It has to be a mix of political will and military strength, one without the other is not working.