Ready to roll with them
Pakistan’s resilience to roll with the incessant flurry of punches, long after it has been written off multiple times, is nothing short of an eighth wonder. Even when seemingly punch drunk and teetering on the precipice, our country has surprised its detractors and bounced back. Perhaps not to full health but enough to keep hobbling.
This, in itself, enforces the claim that “God watches over us”. The current flurry comprises everything possible in the repertoire of life. The now erstwhile friends of the West, spearheaded by the one superpower are digging deep into their resources to vilify us while keeping the plastic smiles and forked tongues simultaneously going. Whether it’s terming us “pathological liars”, withholding aid or even funds long overdue from the terror fund, everything is being used to bring us to our knees.
Not to be left far behind our own internal enemies, consisting of those Pakistan gave refuge to when the Russian armada ran through their country, their foreign masters and the misguided, brainless zealots who fell prey to their money and indoctrination. The declaration of war on us by Al-Qaeda, the bombs, unrest and insecurity has deprived us of the economic benefits that all of Asia has benefited from in the last decade.
At this time when stability and consolidation of resources, human, financial and mental, is of essence, our politicians have let loose their own flurry. The combinations of punches, including “low blows”, from all directions are intended to replace the government by hook or by crook. That nasty quest for power is preying, anticipating landing the powerful right hook.
The western media can be excused, to an extent, for playing to the tunes of their masters but the sensationalism created by our very own makes one wonder where priorities lie. A current survey revealed that a vast majority, +75%, believes that the media is over sensationalising. Twenty minutes of watching television in Pakistan makes even Fox News seem sane. It does no good censoring BBC and CNN. We do our own damage far better. In fact, they provide a semblance of order.
So much energy goes into these activities that it is scary. Imagine harnessing it all into an accumulator and unleashing it for productive use, for the development of the natural endowments that this country brims over with.
All around us political gatherings, one larger than the other, are overwhelming. Other than the enormous costs being met from largely unknown financial resources, are they not drawing crowds that would otherwise be occupied in fruitful labour or trade? And who or what are we expressing solidarity with? We are told, “Pakistan is being protected”. How by depleting its limited infrastructure, cutting its production?
Consider this energy being spent on monitoring development activities, using prime time television to educate viewers of conduct becoming of our rich traditional heritage. Joining hands across the board to aid and assist, both intellectually and financially, to achieve strategic goals that would put the country on the beginnings of prosperity. Nurture and prepare it for the challenges ahead. Rather than just punch it into oblivion.
Without holding any brief for government, this one suffers from the same anomalies and mismanagement as every one preceding it, in varying scales, it is imperative that we settle down into a routine and direct energy towards nation building. It’s no good Nawaz Sharif complaining that every ten years the military takes over. Because during those ten years politicians run the country into total shambles. Not that the military can provide creative government. We are where we are despite their ruling for more than half the life of the country. People just believe it can provide discipline. That is why they celebrate each time there is a takeover much to the chagrin of the politicians whose departure is taken with a pinch of salt.
There is another missing piece in the puzzle. The people want good governance but they want to be exempted from any structural reform. They do not want to follow rules, pay taxes or fulfil social obligations. Attempts at bringing structure are resisted by force and civil disobedience. Tragically politicians, who are meant to be custodians of the nation instead of educating people, use the unrest to bring pressure on government.
Admirably, Pakistan has withstood all that is thrown at it. But there must be a limit to the blows it can take. A perfect example was Mohamed Ali. He took it all. Eventually it got to him. Parkinson’s disease deprived him of dignity.
Holding back, taking a deep breath and then delving into specifics that can provide a virtually permanent cure may perhaps be the answer. A coalition of all stakeholders, not in government, but in nation building is the answer. This can happen only when a government can ‘govern’ and is not buried only in deflecting blows. Does anyone out there, even the ‘would-be’ rulers believe that they will not be subjected to the same flurry if and when in office? Think Pakistan; pull the punches, conserve energy and help drive the country to Jinnah’s envisioned goal.
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