Monday, August 25, 2014
By Saeed Qureshi
Imran Khan the PTI chief has thrown a challenge to the rampant and repulsive status quo and it is a laudable mission. No doubt the incumbent government of PMNL came to power through the popular mandate but it has failed to address the most pressing problems of the masses and also of the society.
Mr. Khan has questioned the validity of an electoral system that throws up only the rich families and individuals imbued with vested interests. These dynastic MNAs and Senators mostly turn out to be self serving and incompetent.
Imran Khan has proven to be uncompromising and undaunted on his demands and can be the forerunner of a historic and monumental transformation if not revolution to dismantle the stinking status-quo. What is status quo? The status quo is that the poor and lowly would remain stuck up in misery, poverty and degradation while the rich and upper classes would continue enhancing their fortunes and wealth without inhibition.
There is a glaring and deplorable yawning chasm between elite and the downtrodden and it is widening as ever. The majority of the people in Pakistan are exposed to the existentialism challenge. It means to eke out wages for barest minimum living.
The status quo also manifests in proliferation of sectarian Islam, poor governance, widespread corruption, weak economy, fragile law and order, endemic violence and abysmal civic amenities. Pakistan is a country that has been ruled by incompetent rulers, cutthroat thieves, inside traders, traitors, loan takers and drunks.
The impunity and influence of the privileged classes is so rampant and overbearing that they take huge loans and have these written off. In contrast a common man suffers direly if he cannot repay the installments even of a modest loan taken for house or small business.
It is a country that is the breeding place for religious extremism along with terrorism, corruption. It is here that the police and judiciary are for sale and where justice is a sheer mockery and is hijacked and manipulated by the powerful and the rich.
In this land political and social emancipation, individual liberties, diversity of opinion, or economic empowerment for all are mere hollow slogans not to be materialized. It is here that inhuman institutions of fiefdoms (big landlords), brutal Tribalism, rigorous religious exploitation, fake saints and shamans remain in full bloom.
You may compare very few countries with Pakistan in an unremitting profusion of corruption, bribery, target and sectarian killings, religious oppression, smuggling, abductions, tax evasion, rape and gross misuse of public office.
It is in Pakistan that food stuff is willfully adulterated; the drugs and medicine are spurious both in the hospitals and drug stores. It is in Pakistan where hospitals and health centers steel the kidneys of their patients and where human life loses its significance and sanctity due to the carelessness at the hands of fake and phony doctors.
In Pakistan there has always been a breakdown of basic services leading to the degrading quality of life with perennial food shortage, inflated prices, electricity and water crises, lawlessness and unemployment and no social safety nets and rule of law.
It is in Pakistan that democracy is like window dressing. The democracy and elections are mere farcical as only the privileged, wealthy classes, the same families and clans and rough necks and Waderas win elections. Those elected members with stiff collars, expensive attire, slick limousines, fat bellies, stacks of money in their coffers, ensconced by bodyguards come to the assemblies and Senate as if an opera or a glamorous stage show is to be watched and enjoyed.
Most of these elected representatives are illiterate, without vision, uncouth and political pygmies. They are elected over and over again on the strength of their money, clan, tribe, religious turf or because of fear and their notoriety for revenge and brutality in the community. And yet they come to the parliament rarely. They have scant interest for participation in the debates and merely raise their hands in favor or against a motion.
It is here that after 67 years of its existence Pakistan lags behind other countries in properly managing such vital sectors of public welfare as education, health, housing, transportation, sanitation old age care, law enforcement, environmental protection in order to bring this country at par with the modern societies even marginally.
The people wallow in dirt, dung, filth, smoke and noise and pollution from rickshaws, horse driven carts, overcrowded ramshackle buses. It is here that electricity and water are rare commodities and all these 67 years were wasted without overcoming these indispensable needs.
The Constitution Avenue is not like Tehrir Square of Egypt that swept away a powerful tyrant Hosni Mubarak who ruled that country for almost 32 years. Yet it is mini Tehrir Square. Tehrir Square is in the middle of the Cairo where all facilities such as food, water and tenting were available.
The Constitution Avenue is a narrow strip where conditions for long sit-ins are extremely inhospitable. Yet despite all the hardships particularly the sizzling summer, the dedication, resilience and steadfastness of Imran Khan, his close aides and the demonstrators both men and women is exemplary and speaks for a deep commitment to their cause and conviction.
Truthfully Imran Khan’s emphasis on reforming the electoral system is pivotal to the flowering and inception of a genuine democratic tradition in Pakistan. If Imran Khan succeeds in bringing about a clean, accountable, transparent and tampering-free election system in Pakistan, he would make history and indeed put Pakistan on the road to a true representative system of government that Abraham Lincoln described as “of the people, by the people, for the people”.
Pakistan direly needs a new social contract as well as a new constitution that gives an ensured hope, a new promising destiny and a great future to Pakistan and its citizens on equal basis and in disregard of such narrow consideration as sect, race, the financial status, the rural and countryside, the privileged and downtrodden, the landlord and serf and so on.
All the nation building institutions need drastic and fundamental transformation for good and efficient governance and to make Pakistan a Progressive, egalitarian and tolerant country. The writ of law has to be enforced against all kinds of criminals from street vendor to a mill owner. The abominable colonial vestige called fiefdom has to be abolished.
More provinces are inevitable for devolution of powers and for rapid development of all the regions. The enforcement of judicial integrity and razor thin accountability would impel all departments from a municipal committee to the presidency to be honest and efficient.
Let us give a chance to Imran Khan to knock down a system that is outright inhuman and exploitative and contrary to the stability, integrity, prosperity and uplift of Pakistan.