they fail us again

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  • 8/9/2019 They Fail Us Again


    They fail us, again!By Hussain Mohi-ud-Din Qadri

    As more than 20 million Pakistanis battle for survival amid the raging

    floods, the countrys politicians across political divide have left no stoneunturned to prove that they have not learnt any lesson from their pastmistakes and remain adamant on repeating and reinforcing the samemistakes. Since Pakistan lurches from one crisis to the other, the politicalelite ends up betraying manifest signs of incompetence, intellectualbankruptcy and accumulation of maximum benefits to the total neglect oftheir electorates. There is an increasing level of public disappointment withthe conduct of its elected leaders. The recent floods afforded politicalbrigade an opportunity to make mid-course correction and take charge inthe rescue and relief operations by rising above their political differences.

    As the floods continued to engulf more and more areas, the leadershipvacuum developed gradually. Once again our politicians failed to rise to thechallenge and allowed the initiative to slip in the hands of other players.

    A classic case of political considerations getting the better of effectivemanagement of the flood operations pertains to the shelving of otherwisesound proposal of setting up an independent Flood Relief Commissioncomposed of people having above board credibility. The situation becomesmore exacerbated after the proposal was agreed to in principle by thecountrys chief executive. One explanation of why behind the door pressurewas brought to bear on the prime minister to do away with the idea is thatperhaps the step might have held the government guilty of incompetenceand financial impropriety. Instead of looking into the causes of why thepeople at home and international community abroad remain skepticalabout the credentials of the government, the PPPs top leaderships resortto killing the idea smacks of bad politics and bad judgment.

    Yet another example of politicians kowtowing to the Khakis anddemonstration of subservient role in the power calculus relates to the grantof extension to the Army Chief for another three years. After taking initialsteps in the right direction, the political leaders allowed the initiative of

    spearheading the countrys fight against terrorism and homegrownextremism to go into the hands of the security establishment, which has been the sole in-charge of anti-terrorism operations. Following thegovernments taking over in 2008, the military waited for leadership by thepolitical government on how to execute the war on terror. That leadershipvacuum was then gradually filled in by the military itself because of thegovernments and by extension politicians lack of vision and absence of

  • 8/9/2019 They Fail Us Again


    effective counterterrorism strategy. By and by, the security establishmentbecame the custodian and navigator of Pakistans policy vis--vis India,Afghanistan and the US. This explains why the top American and NATOleaders have made it a point to pay a visit to the General Headquarters forserious business, for they know as to who has the final say on the strategic

    matters. The 3-year extension to the Army Chief by the democraticgovernment reaffirms the militarys preeminence in the power equation.

    One more example of politicians stark failure to go by the book and runthe business of the state smoothly was their inability to resolve the judicialcrisis in accordance with their promises with the nation. The Army Chiefsno so covert role in impressing upon the PPP-led government the need ofrestoring the Chief Justice and other sacked judges of the Supreme Courtthereby stalling the menacing Long March in 2009 speaks volumes abouthis distinguished position as the adjudicator in the national affairs. In

    other words this means that politicians are unable to settle rules of thegame and need the guidance and leadership of others manage the stateaffairs.

    In the wake of ongoing target killing in Karachi, which has taken a heavytoll on the people, the government is not serious in the stemming the cruelwave of assassinations out of political considerations. The preference ofpolitical interests over national ones by the ruling elite is condemnable.Had government not condoned these actions out of politicalconsiderations, it could have deployed rangers and army and ordered it toshoot at sight. Such timely act would have saved numerous lives andvaluable property from being destroyed. The message sent across is thatpeoples lives do not matter as long as the politicians interests are not atstake and they better be on their guard.

    If democracy is to survive and be a sustainable process, the politicians needto mend their ways. As long as people remain disempowered and out of thepower loop, the system would remain fragile. The political class needs toprove through action, not words that democracy is a better system, whichis capable of bringing about real change in the lives of the people. Enoughof rhetorical allegiance to democracy! It is about time that politicians

    seized the initiative and set about their task of ensuring good governanceso that people at large develop ownership of the system.


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