Articles of the year 2010

Incompetence Revisited
Published on June 05th, 2010

Every regime in Pakistan seems to have an aptitude for incompetence that eventually leads to its downfall. This is brought about by the incompetence of the officers of the regime, who rise to the top using their skills at flattery, which is rated highly as a 'must have' in the requirements of qualifications for upward mobility in government circles in Pakistan. In the regime of General Pervez Musharraf the 'slapper' and the 'liar'; one made famous by slapping officers at airports, and the other who lied blatantly on television, repeating the lie till everyone was convinced that only his version was to be believed.

At present, however, some of the incumbents are headed towards a fall mainly due to their incompetence. Starting with Dr Babar Awan, whose famous commitment of "over my dead body" and refrain to appear before the Supreme Court evaporated in a whimper, accompanied by an abject apology in an appropriately humble tone, whilst proceeding on medical leave, rather than face further humiliation, and a possible jail sentence. His Doctorate has been challenged, and found bogus, as has the PhD from Yale - no less - for the lead lawyer, Mr Basit, whose gaffe in naming Salman Farouqui as the officer giving instructions from the Prime Minister's office. This statement was denied by the office of the Prime Minister within seconds after it was filed. This led to the immediate sacking of Mr Basit as the counsel for the Federation. This indeed does indicate a serious deficiency in the scrutiny of the appointees amongst the defenders of the government. This apparent incompetence will surely lead to the downfall of the Gilani government, whose exercises in damage control and the proliferation of scams is already a regular feature in the media.

It appears that the government of the PPP is stumbling from one scam to the next, going from one crisis to another. Never in Pakistan's history have so many scams been unearthed in the short space of two and a half years, nor has the frequency of new attempts lessened. Surprisingly, nobody has been apprehended till now.

An interesting observation appeared in the media, stating that any false degree submitted in the courts is tantamount to perjury, for all documents filed in the court are filed under oath. Thus if the lawyer's degree is fake, he can be charged with misleading the court, if not perjury.

Many quacks have been sent to jail for defrauding the public, while the lawyers have remained at large, mainly due to the lack of prosecution. It is time the law associations took action against their members for misleading the public at large. Their members have used their bogus papers to enhance their standing in the courts. Mr Basit has been exposed by his disgraceful performance, and rightly sacked. The federal government's action is belated, but the danger is that the remnants of the Basit company are still lurking in the corridors of power, and are not done yet with their mischief making.

The Prime Minster does not seem to understand that he is directly responsible for all the actions of his Cabinet or his lawyers. As he is the most powerful officer in the land so, too, are his mistakes capable of causing the greatest damage.

Unfortunately, the 'friendly' opposition is continuing in its dangerous role of mouthing platitudes, while tacitly supporting the government in its errant ways. Needless to say that the opposition will also be held accountable for their support of a system that has been named by Transparency International as the most corrupt ever. Surely, the PML-N must respect the huge debt they owe to the people of Pakistan, as they have been voted into the Assembly by millions of voters. They must block with all means possible the rape of our national resources.

To allow the continuation of these murky policies will bring down the PML-N surely, and no amount of saying "we were not in government" will be held as a valid excuse. While they draw a salary as MNA, they are all collectively responsible. It is time that the PML-N face up to their being part of a system that is careening downhill and out of control. Apparently, it is on a collision course with the judiciary, which will only have disastrous consequences.

The only respected figure today is the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, and if the government continues in its attacks on him, the people may erupt in an outpouring of support. They have no electricity, no water, food that they cannot afford, (with mutton at Rs 450 per kilo and daal at Rs 100 per kilo), prices unheard of in Pakistan. Truly, the only hope is the Supreme Court that could curtail the blight of corruption.

Democracy does not mean that we should be led into a life of misery. Misgovernance is reducing all of Pakistan into a pitiful state, and the people hold all the political parties responsible.

Only the Supreme Court and the Pakistan army are held in respect by the people. The government and the opposition are subject to ridicule. So Nawaz Sharif should wake up before the anger of the people swamps him as well.