Politics in Pakistan has become a metaphor of corruption, cronyism, malfeasance, nepotism and wrongdoing. The more crooked you are, the more you have chances to shine on the political horizon. And, unfortunately, all this has been done in the name of democracy. Moreover, if someone is caught and being investigated or punished, the punishment is attributed as the ‘conspiracy against democracy’ by military establishment or international establishment as these powers do not want to see Pakistan flourish as a democratic society.
The sympathisers, especially the opinion makers in electronic and print media, of this decaying system are burning their mid night oil to make people believe that the ‘Messiah of Democracy’ has been crucified in the disguise of impeachment. His demise would be the start of a new ‘Dark Age’, which may span on centuries and God may never forgive us for this heresy. On the contrary, the so-called martyr of democracy had embezzled billions of dollars and had always used his office for the benefit of his own family and friends. All the top slots were filled with, either, by the family members or utmost loyal courtiers. Punjab is just once example which is being ruled by Mr. Shahbaz Sharif since 2008 and the ordinary people are fooled by the hoax of ‘good governance’.
Punjab is the largest province of the country in terms of population i.e. more than 100 million people. The hapless people of this province are being ruled through civil bureaucracy rather than the elected representatives. These educated heirs of the colonial legacy are more interested in getting lucrative postings than serving the people. To secure a better slot, they do not hesitate to descend to any level of indecency. Punjab government, under the orders of the Supreme Court, has half-heartedly held local bodies’ elections, but the elected representatives are still waiting for funds and necessary authority to start working.
Local bodies are considered as the nurseries of the democracy and a learning place for the future leadership. In all the developed countries, these institutions are considered vital and are given limited legislative and financial autonomy. Local councils make their own rules and execute them without any hindrance from state or federal governments. London is the best example; it has its own mayor, who is solely elected by the people of London. He has power as well as money available to keep the city running. But, in Pakistan, things are being run in opposite direction. The powers of the Mayor are exercised by an 18th or 19th grade ‘Deputy Commissioner’, who is all powerful in a district and, mostly, the elected mayor looks towards the DC for favours. This is the level of the seriousness of the ruling political party to run the matters in the province.
Don’t they know that Punjab’s population has crossed one hundred million and it has become increasingly difficult to govern such a large province? There is not a single country in Europe which has the population equivalent to that of Punjab and they have multi layered administrative structures. One does not need to have Einstein’s brain to understand the gravity of the situation and the possible solution. Solution is simple, divide Punjab into at least three or four provinces. New Provinces will have their own share in National Finance Commission Award and their own Provincial Public Service Commission. This will, to some extent, redress the grievances of the people of Southern Punjab and the smaller provinces.
Moreover, crime rate is rampant and the major contributing factor is unemployment. It has become harder and harder for the people to make ends meet due to unchecked price hike. People are committing suicide because they have nothing to feed their family. Educated, but unemployed, youth is a time bomb and are readily available for being exploited by the people with sinister designs. This exploitation could be ideological or financial, depends on the need of exploiter. But who cares; those who are responsible to provide us employment, education and health facilities are satisfied as their own children are enjoying good life in Europe. Their off-shore companies, Alhamdolillah (Allah ke fazal o karam se, Thanks to GOD), making huge profits day and night and they are so successful in their lives that they are hiring their own parents and gift them millions of dollars as ‘income support’, even if the father is the Prime Minister of Pakistan. Thanks to the leaked ‘Panama Papers’, which informed us that how intelligent, capable and hardworking are the children of our poor Prime Minister.
Ruling party had left no stone unturned to prove that the information in Panama Papers was false and that it was an international conspiracy against the pious Nawaz Sharif. However, the Supreme Court of Pakistan decided to take the matters in its own hands and a five member’s bench started hearing the case. During the case hearing, people of Pakistan learnt so many shocking stories of corruption, nepotism and money laundering which were beyond understanding. Even an honourable judge awarded the tile of ‘God Father’ to the Prime Minister of our beloved country. Subsequently, the Supreme Court of Pakistan disqualified the Prime Minister from his office and ordered NAB (National Accountability Bureau) to investigate further in this matter. The ousted Prime Minister, his family, followers and supporters are mourning on the streets and have become a laughing stock for the spectators. They are propagating that the Supreme Court did not allow Nawaz Sharif to complete his tenure and this act has further weakened the fragile democracy in Pakistan.
Nawaz Sharif has not accepted this decision in letter and spirit and has decided to go to public to get their sympathies. To achieve this goal, he has initiated a long march from Rawalpindi to Lahore via GT Road and will address every town on his way. He has declined to take the verdict against him as a wakeup call. This call is not only for Nawaz Sharif but is for everyone who believes that he is very smart and intelligent and can play with country and its people. It seems that our political elite is still living in the era of Nineties and has failed to understand the paradigms of the Twenty First century. Electronic and, especially, the social media has educated people a lot. People know what is going on and who is working, in fact, and who is just tweeting the slogans of progress and, so called, good governance. This is the revenge of nature that the claimant of ‘Heavy Mandate’ is begging sympathy on the streets. People, falsely, start believing that they are all powerful and imminent for the country. The country, God forbade, would collapse if they are removed from the scene. But the fact is that nothing or no one is inevitable in this mortal world. Supreme Court of Pakistan has given a historical judgement and the need of the hour is to prolong this process of purification to the last corrupt politician and official. Only then we will be able to start our journey towards a vibrant and functional democracy and a prosperous Pakistan.
Syed Ali Mohsin is a Pakistan based Activist and Blogger