Choices, consequence, rhetoric and sham democracy


Whereas commenting on the home scene, it’s laborious to search out one thing that has not been commented upon, analysed threadbare and never identified. There aren’t any unknown knowns. Whereas maintaining the optimism on ventilator, one thing very disturbing lurks within the shadows on our nationwide scene with far-reaching social, psychological, political and financial implications. And that’s ‘apolitical apathy’ in all its ugly kinds. This apathy afflicts our physique and soul, and our state and society, and it manifests itself in bizarre methods.

At societal degree, individuals, for instance the bike mafia particularly, pay no heed to any guidelines, laws, legal guidelines and courtesies when on street, and the site visitors cops haplessly and hopelessly shrug in despair, frustration and apathy. Lecturers willfully keep away from educating in colleges to encourage college students to come back to their personal academies for exam-specific and marks-oriented tuition, and to not be educated per se. Docs over-prescribe exams for fee within the laboratory charges. Legal professionals don’t inform the entire fact to purchasers when taking in circumstances. Officers take pleasure in lengthy prayer breaks whereas enterprise of the state and fellow citizenry can wait in agony or come once more. Companies, sure respected companies, import overseas objects by casual channels to defy import ban and purchase {dollars} off the open market to pay for it in money…furthering rupee devaluation and greenback hike.

Staff on development websites simply do the job as worst as potential and are solely bothered about their remunerations. The implications of shoddy development be damned. Hawkers promote merchandise as deceitfully as potential. Transporters in employed transport deal with passengers with respectability, only a notch increased than that reserved for cattle. Everyone with alternative would cheat in taxes, steal electrical energy and divert to misuse arable water. And all, sure principally all would contemplate deceiving the Authorities good and completely okay. And it is a snapshot.

On the political degree, the economic system was in free fall whereas the corruption-laced cabal of PDM was doing politics and politics alone. And earlier than that, the good chief left no stone unturned in exposing…solely exposing corruption and the corrupt, with no tangible outcomes. Recommendation to focus on governance as an alternative was bothersome for his fragile sensibilities and simply offended ego.

Add to the above poisonous combine, the foundation reason behind our financial woes. And that pricey reader…has been the truth that ‘we’re hooked on spending extra as a nation than we earn.’ Pure and easy. Within the heydays of our ‘relevance’, our ‘associates not masters’ would come to our rescue by budgetary assist and different types of largesse. No extra. Therefore the disaster. And now, pitifully, escaping the noose of FATF, and securing mortgage from one and all are thought of achievements, worthy of congratulations.

And with a begging bowl round our neck, we might utter nonsense like ‘completely not’, accuse overseas governments of meddlesomely exacerbating our plight, go to Moscow when it assaults Ukraine and go for reasonable Pakistan-harming however politically enticing diatribes to cling to energy or regain it in order that these round proceed to reap hefty financial and monetary windfalls. Therefore, it’s okay to proceed to unleash the media brigade to foster, promote and propagate falsehoods, spin each reality, twist every fact and confuse every challenge.

On the state degree, for a while now, the official equipment has been in retreat, ready for messiahs…and that too in good numbers, to come back and put all that’s unsuitable with this nation whereas doing nothing itself. From shopkeepers to labourers to petty officers to lecturers to legal professionals to merchants… to women and men, younger and outdated in any respect social strata, we’re all consumed by politics, and common apathy elsewhere. With exceptions, a couple of and much between, no one needs to do his or her job, and has an opinion on every thing beneath the solar. And indulges in lofty, acrimonious and divisive political verbiage.

Whereas turning a blind eye to our personal failings and taking our respective obligations significantly and truthfully, we relish find fault proper, left and centre. We’ve grow to be social media warriors, breaking probably the most sensational information…any information…to family and friends, no matter its penalties and with out checking its authenticity and validity.

On this atmosphere of despair, confusion and lack of course, there aren’t any leaders bigger than life, who could possibly be position fashions, who might rally the nation in these making an attempt instances and gel the individuals. It’s crises like these that carry out the worst (and hopefully one of the best) in individuals.

In my final column, I opposed holding elections beneath this poisoned environment within the foreseeable future, as it will additional polarise an already divided state and society. And that stability and de-politicisation, maintaining our sham democracy on maintain, are callings of the hour. These on the helm can choose from the out there choices of nationwide authorities, or technocrats, or elections, and so on within the nation’s absolute best curiosity.

If we step again and zoom out to search out what ails Pakistan probably the most, apart from the curse of apathy, we are going to put our finger on management disaster and faltering economic system in any sequence, contributing to instability…financial, social, political and psychological. Hypothetically talking, we choose elections. Electioneering, holding elections and the run-up to the sham democracy ‘once more’ would additional agonise an already tormented widespread man. As no political social gathering has any financial plan or succesful staff. We’ve seen all of them. None has the nerve to impose the much-needed agriculture tax. None has the imaginative and prescient to undertake financial reforms (we nonetheless pay by the nostril from the lopsided IPP contracts of Benazir period). None can restructure our import-dependent economic system to jack up exports. None can reign within the rampant corruption that has now seeped into our physique politics by turning into a enterprise. As a result of the beneficiaries of corruption sit within the legislatures and rub shoulders within the corridors of energy, privilege and protocol. For them, elections are simply hole guarantees based mostly on hopes and aspirations with out stable foundations.

And any new authorities would cry foul in its early years for an empty treasury, as is the norm. Therefore instability and financial woes would persist. The acidic and abrasive personalities of our leaders additional compound an already sophisticated nationwide situation. Elections won’t heal us…interval.

Let this sham democracy perish, as its stakeholders are non-democratic at core! There could be no obituary!

Printed in The Categorical Tribune, September 7th, 2023.

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