A change of system and faces alike

My fellow countrymen and family members, whenever they visit us in Dubai, cannot help but express remorse over the state of affairs back home. Many of them view Pakistanis settled overseas as the lucky ones — to at least escape the trauma of uncertainty and lawlessness. Inevitably we feel depressed. We go on and on to discuss the concerns of our dear and near ones, who continue to live in the country plagued by corruption and endless nepotism. I may be dubbed as a pessimist and one of the many who sit safe and idle in the greener pastures and do nothing but debate about the homeland. The 170 million people of Pakistan are today in an endangered state helpless at the hands of a conniving oligarchy, which has throttled and doomed an enterprising nation to serve its vested interests.

The most disturbing aspect is that the ruling elite, and the opposition per se, doesn’t have a vision at all. The nation is being taken for a ride. Its riches are being robbed, and opportunities for growth and development hampered. So shameless has the situation turned that the elected public representatives are seen advocating for the fraudsters and bogus degree holders in the name of public representation! Others believe it is their moral duty to fall in line to support the thugs and cheaters as they enjoy party’s official endorsement. The interior minister never stops reminding the nation that no one will be allowed to question the writ of the government, and ends up with more terrorism in response. Punjab’s chief minister hours after the gruesome attack on a shrine in Lahore has the audacity to be seen in the media being garlanded and walk with an umbrella, comfortably held atop by one of his sycophants, as he came visiting the devastated site! And then there is this never-ending mudslinging of our elected representatives for whom nothing is more important than power and privilege.

Pakistan’s problems are plenty. But that is not an issue because there is hardly any country that doesn’t have challenges to face. The point is waywardness and impunity with which we are being governed, befooled and made to suffer for no fault of our own. Almost half of our revenue goes in debt servicing (for a liability that was incurred in our name but wasn’t spent on us), and the rest eaten up by the bureaucracy. Billions of rupees are swindled yearly in public corporations and many more billions in feeding and pampering a few hundred parliamentarians, many of whom relish a shady past and to be concise do not know their job and responsibilities. This is happening in a country where dispossessed and unemployed parents are committing homicide along with their children. Similar are the incredible state of other government institutions, where access to services is considered to be a privilege. Weak institutions, faulty executive mechanisms and with enough space for hobnobbing and maneuvering, good governance has come to naught. Last but not the least, the menace of homegrown terrorism in the guise of sectarian and linguistic considerations has denied even the breathing space.

Fortunately enough, Pakistanis are wising up. They long for Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s Pakistan. They miss the selflessness of Raja Sahib Mahmudabad, who sacrificed his fabulous wealth for the cause of Pakistan and refused to partake of its fruits when they came his way. Moreover, they despise people who stressed on the importance of land over people; they scorn all those who led the country to dismemberment for the sake of personal political glory. They hate hypocrites who misused the religion of peace for vested interests, and all those pseudo democrats alike who were, and are, despot by any definition. Until and unless the real sovereigns of Pakistan stand up to say enough is enough, this decay cannot be done away with. Pakistan is on the verge of a revolution, whose premise should be change of system and faces. If sovereignty has to be exercised, subservience has to go.