Articles of the year 2010

The Mounting Troubles
Published on August 25th, 2010

The troubles are piling up on Pakistan, and if that was not enough, our politicians are making sure that the sufferings will be multiplied by dint of their own incompetence almost deliberately aimed at causing greater hardships, for the poor people. The President has successfully avoided meeting the flood affectees restricting his sojourns to accompanying Senator Kerry, and Sec Gen of the UN Ban Ki Moon. Both were on a mercy mission realizing the enormity of the tragedy that had struck Pakistan, and were devoting their efforts to helping Pakistan in our hour of need. Senator Kerry and Mr Moon have returned to their homes and have initiated the process to start the awareness in others of the extent of our need. Pakistan has a serious credibility deficit and word from these two will go a long way to correcting this misconception. In the meanwhile it would be proper if the President can come out of his bulletproof sheltered existence to show a little concern towards his subjects. Most of whom have faced an ordeal at the hands of an angry violent river sweeping everything in its path, leaving destruction in its wake. Crops and cattle carried away, with many young children missing .The meager stored grains were saved to tide them over till the next harvest. These farmers were subsistence level only, and could not survive without help. They, being at the bottom of the pecking order are of no consequence to the powers, who are too busy in protecting what they have amassed. Even Jehangir Badr has issued a statement accusing the PPP higher-ups of corruption. This is the first time such a senior member of the CEC has made such an accusation without naming names—of course.

However the bombshell of the week has been the call by the leader-in-exile Altaf Husain given directly to the Army to step in and take over the Government. The MQM statement also hinted at the purchase of the extravagant penthouse in London by the President. Rumour has it that this transaction was the real reason that the tour of London was not cancelled, the suffering of the peasants was not considered of sufficient import to postpone the trip. However the political leadership of the other parties were forced by their own members to register their protests, and did. The MQM statement can be seen as part of this reaction. This move will trigger further isolation of the PPP leadership, who are already cloistered and blinkered beyond reach of any communication. With the powerful media links that the MQM is known to have, and now with a split in the open, the PPP leadership will be hard pressed to retain control of their own legislators.

While Karachi slides towards anarchy, targeted killings are at an average of 5 a day, the law enforcement agencies are silent bystanders. This downward spiral, with the power shortages, and food shortages coupled with rising prices of essential items has led to food riots in Pakistan—before the flood. It is now a matter of course. The President is seen only on Television, and does not venture out to any public function, not even a visit to the flood affectees, unless under heavy security, which makes it all the more incongruous, raising a question of the reason for his being President. It appears that the only purpose of remaining President is to avail his immunity, which gains nothing for the country in return.

The Supreme Court is strangely silent, and is seemingly not concerned at the many violations by both the Prime Minister's office and the Presidency. It does seem that the Election Commissioner has decided to start hearing the fake degree cases. Probably the single biggest achievement of the Supreme Court. This in itself is well below the high hopes we had held from a Supreme Court that was restored by the combined will of the people. It seems to have been bogged down by too many small battles while allowing the massive abuse of power and of the Constitution by the Government and by the Presidency. The 17th and 18th amendments may be important for the Constitution of Pakistan, but when this same document is being constantly flouted on a daily basis. And Presidential immunity is being used to cover matters that are overtly illegal then My Lords the threat to the Constitution is already present , and in use. The lynching in Sialkot by a mob is the manifestation of this disregard for the law, and the Constituion. It is a pity that this blatant disregard of the law should come under the strongest and cleanest Supreme Court in our history. Dictators should quake in its presence, instead of using their ability to pardon their favoured few.