A failed Pakistani political system is headed for chaos

A failed Pakistani political system is headed for chaos
By Anjum Niaz
Saturday, April 10, 2010
The News International
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—Wake up before a mob attack. Nawaz Sharif and the faujis [military] may not be the catalysts of change that we seek; it’ll be the people of Pakistan. Shoaib and Sania’s nuptials are a welcome distraction, but in the end the starry-eyed couple will fly off to Dubai throwing back the nation into the pit of darkness and snoozing ministers.
Wake up, Naveed Qamar! If you don’t stop catnapping in public you’ll soon become our Rip Van Winkle, the simple easygoing chap who loved to sleep and not work. Where’s your homework? Remember your headmaster Gilani asked for a report on loadshedding you and your two colleagues Pervez Ashraf and Hafeez Sheikh were to deliver today? The headmaster had constituted a three-member ministerial committee to “examine and prepare a comprehensive report on electricity load management within a week” on April 2.
Let the report be read out aloud.
Loadshedding is hell. Do the rulers realise that Pakistanis can go the way of Kyrgyzstan? The people there have driven out President Bakiyev’s corrupt government. He’s fled while his interior minister has been shot dead. “No police guarded the government headquarters, and hundreds of jubilant but calm residents stood outside, others were walking freely through the building known as the White House,” reported AP.
Why did the Kyrgyz overthrow their government? Simple. The president was accused of enriching himself, his friends and family. “He gave his relatives, including his son, top government and economic posts and faced the same accusations of corruption and cronyism that led to the ouster of his predecessor, Askar Akayev five years ago.”
Our raja from Gujar Khan’s bread and butter was real estate. Zardari promoted the realtor to the dizzying heights of a federal minister and gifted him the ministry of water and power (how magnanimous!). Was this move on the part of the president a wishful thinking? Did he hope Pervaz Ashraf could control the horrible energy crisis left behind by Musharraf? Surely Ashraf must have known the Himalayan task ahead of. Two years up the slippery slopes and still climbing, the minister can suffer a freefall plunging him into a crevice of no return.
But the bright-eyed and bushy tailed raja – poles apart from his sleeping frontbencher Shahji Naveed Qamar — has had his Eureka moment (I’ve found it!) the way Archimedes shouted. According to press reports he told the National Assembly last week “that the country is facing an electricity shortfall, however, hydel power will be increased after improvement of the water situation in dams due to rains.”
The nation now needs to pull out its prayer mats and begin praying for rain! If the army and America can’t solve the power crisis, we can only turn to Allah.
The greatest disappointment has come from America. Hillary Clinton rubbed heads with our foreign minister Eskimo-style, but dodged Shahji Mehmood Qureshi when it came to rescuing us from power cuts. During the strategic dialogue, the lady promised us light when she spoke of the US being fully aware of the energy crisis in Pakistan. Taking the cue, Army Chief Kayani set aside his laundry list of military hardware and requested the US for First Aid to his country starving for electricity. This was a golden opportunity for America to win its war of hearts and minds. It’s still not too late. Prime Minister Gilani goes to Washington next week to meet President Obama. Let hope spring eternal. Except that yesterday’s stolid statement by Gerald Feierstein, deputy chief of mission at the US embassy in Islamabad, mentions ‘three phases’ before Pakistanis shall see light. Time and tide wait for no man, Mr Feierstein. Kyrgyz have revolted against your air bases. Out! They say.
While our minister for water and power cannot single-handedly move mountains to bring us power, just keep us posted, please. As for US, you have to do more.
This column originally appeared in The News International under the title, Catnapping. The writer is a freelance journalist with over twenty years of experience in national and international reporting.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Disqus for Faizan Chaki's Blog