Articles of the year 2011

Tragic Waste
Published on January 12, 2011

The dastardly gunning down of Salman Taseer is a glimpse of the undercurrent prevailing in Pakistan today, and should serve as a wake up call to the Americans to show how badly their policies have failed in Pakistan. The Zardari Government has by its complete abdication of governance allowed a free rein to the fanatics to gun down the most senior member of the PPP. Worse, the comments by some lawyers in support of the killer, with no counter from the PPP shows that the PPP does not have the stomach to fight back. It seems that the 'Bunker' mentality of the President has emboldened the Rightists to raise the ante, and attacks on the Government will increase. The Americans, targeted already, will now find it more difficult to carry out their agenda, and any liaison with any American will be considered the kiss of death. By being chosen as someone reluctant to fight, Zardari has shown his mettle. He also avoided attending the funeral of Governor Taseer, and has stayed in Karachi since the assassination, bunkered down in his Karachi fortress. This clearly shows an abdication of Governance, and is the reason for all the ills facing Pakistan today. The Americans in their choice of Zardari could not have backed a worse candidate in their war against the Taliban, a foe that is well known for its bravery. It is also a bad example for an Army at war, which faces death every single day, to be led by an invisible President.

The visit by Vice President Biden may be an eye opener, for the work done by Ambassador Haqqani in Washington does not reflect in the reality on the ground. Our leadership here is not only in hiding, but is set on destroying any semblance of proper governance, or a road map out of this quagmire. The American choice, of Zardari, is quickly destroying all the opportunities for the people to legitimate honest governance. We are witnessing the grabbing of lucrative ministries not just by individuals, but by politicasl parties as well. These ministries are all part of the wheeling dealing with the Prime Minister in the retention of his position. All of these dealings result in a high cost to the people.

Governor Taseer was above all of these petty Machinations, and was certainly honest in his personal and political life. A quality very seldom found in Pakistani politicians. He was also a very brave man, with this bravery –bordering on bravado, leading to his being an easy target. He lived life to the full, enjoying his hard earned wealth, and was able to point out to Zardari the flaws in the governance, which were sometimes heeded, but most times ignored or shelved by the interests involved. The biggest loser is the PPP itself for their dearth of leadership could hardly afford the loss of such a valuable person. His absence will lead to the further decline of the PPP, more rapidly, hastening the fall of the government. No amount of soothsayer, or the sacrifice of black goats will prevent the inexorable slide brought about by their own inadequacies.

It is indeed such a pity that the PPP government has allowed the renewed emergence of a stronger pro-taliban faction which can now be counted upon to make life more difficult for the PPP and the American alliance. It is becoming increasingly more obvious that the Americans have been led into a more difficult position by their own choice of partner. While it shows the dexterity of Ambassador Haqqani's dealings with his American handlers, it shows clearly the misleading by the PPP of the American partner. The stakes are high for the Americans—but much higher for the Pakistanis, as the opportunity for rebuilding our shattered economy is slipping out of our grasp. The political parties are bickering amongst each other over the share of the pie, with none realizing that these shares ar to the cost of the Nation, but they continue squabbling. It will not be long before the redoubtable Maulana brings his flock back to the fold having successfully negotiated the colossal Haj scam, and being gifted the entire Ministry of Religious affairs as consolation for his efforts, and for keeping the coalition intact.

Salman will be sorely missed in the coming months, for the Government is not only lacking in the expertise, but lacking the will as well. This is the most difficult time for Pakistan, unfortunately it is the politicians who are showing themselves as the true enemy. These political goings on, will have an effect on the morale of the troops as well. Fighting the Taliban, for these corrupt politicians will also affect the quality of their fight. The politicians must realize, it may not be long before the Army gets invited to do away with the corrupt elements. The Taliban are already amongst us and welcomed, it seems, in the aftermath of the Taseer assassination.