Feb 14, 2009

What the nation lacks

Was ever there a nation so afflicted as ours with rulers whose rodential propensities constitute their existential definition? Our sins as a nation must surely reek to the heavens to call down upon us the condign retribution of having rulers who witness this state imploding under its internal burdens, the possible comminution of our territory and the egregious violation of our sovereignty. Yet, our rulers and our government are singularly incapable of slowing or halting our precipitous declivity. Any concerned citizen, with two grey cells, must fear the fast approaching time, when the ingravescence of inimical developments reaches such a state from which we will be unable to save ourselves as a nation. And let us not shelter under undue optimism or illusion: remember East Pakistan? Several months ago, in these columns, this writer challenged the reader to identify any party leader, decision-maker or ruler who was even vaguely endowed with the wherewithal to avert the irrecusably alarming conclusion towards which we were hurtling. There was no answer.To the benighted and cerebrally impaired, the February 18, elections was their democratic epiphany. For the two-and-a-half people in this ravaged state, who still retain a modicum of ratiocinative ability, the elections were no more than a process, largely, for recycling garbage. No party and its leadership, no provincial government or the federal dispensation has conceptually or practically gainsaid that damning conclusion five months after the election.It is simply unacceptable to continue to attribute the current sorry state of affairs to the previous government or to Pervez Musharraf. When Messers Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari led their parties into the February elections, their rallying cry was their promise to salvage the economic and political morass the previous rulers had left this country in. Their performance has been an abysmal and nation-destroying failure. Which is not to imply that the previous government was not culpable. But the extent to which the nation was in trouble was evident. If Sharif and Zardari lacked the ability to deliver, then their election stance was a violation of the people’s aspirations and this nation’s chance for a viable and progressive future. They have proved themselves, thus, to be no better, and possibly worse, than the dispensation they displaced.Even if one was to be unconscionably charitable, and make reference to a timeframe, one could argue that the present government has not had sufficient time. But, that would only apply to implementation. The cogent cause for concern is that the rulers are clueless. Hitherto, no reformative plan has emerged. The PM’s hundred-day package and the budget are an enantiomorph of the ineptitude of the current rulers. Be it the federal or provincial governments or the parties and their leadership, all display a lack of will, commitment to the national weal, altruism and cerebral capacity that would mark them out as destined to lead this nation into a viable and prosperous future.Lets just focus on one aspect, that is sovereignty which constitutes the haecceity of nationhood. In that context, Pakistan’s claim to the latter is dim, indeed. Today’s rulers, with their pettifogging politics, egocentric agendas and pursuit of superficial aims to fool the masses, are letting Pakistan’s sovereignty slip further through their fingers. True, they inherited an untenable situation. President Pervez Musharraf dealt a grievous blow to Pakistan’s sovereignty by gnaithonic submission to the US, much of it motivated by ineptitude and self-interest. However, psittacine squawking ad nauseam over Mushrraf’s malfeasance is hardly enough to exonerate the present rulers from their ineptitude, obtuseness and following exactly in Musharraf’s footsteps. Pakistan has 120,000 soldiers fighting on the Durand Line, killing Muslims and killing their own people. Perpetuating the myth that we are engaged against terrorism is only believed by Washington’s serfs. It is contrary to Pakistan’s sovereignty to have terrorism defined exclusively in accordance with American interests, and then for us to willy-nilly engage in hostilities detrimental to our national interest to forward America’s agenda. Had our rulers been men, Pakistan’ fate would have been otherwise. Had they been men, they could have said “No”. But they are not. Our rulers cringe like mice beneath the American boot. The great leaders of our great democracy can only dredge up rodential squeaks in response to US predations against our national interests. But then, what can one expect from heads who aestivate in the congenial climes of London and Dubai, while the nation burns. And what can this country expect in terms of a prosperous future when its rulers can neither defend nor secure its sovereignty. By Dr Niloufer Mahdi

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