A dozen vehicles torched, several killed and injured and a metropolis like Karachi was brought to a standstill once again following the murder of a political party member by a party worker of the ruling party – this is only Tuesday’s news. There has been a spate of killings over the past week supposedly based on religious enmity, while gang war infected Lyari once again erupted. The news from the rest of the country is the same, Balochistan simmering, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa raging, Punjab engaged in the annual power and water outages, while the leaders play their version of politics from the comfort of their comfort zones (for lack of a better printable expression).
Karachi has seen a solace of about a month or so from target killings, and the ‘city of death’ has once again made it into headlines for target killings.
As for Lyari, it has lost its novelty for the news since its problem is ‘gang wars’ which keep replaying every other month. The administration conducts ‘operations’ now and then, without much coming out of it except more deaths. The crux is that there is absolutely no law and order in Karachi or much of the country, except in the capital Islamabad, the VVIP enclaves and cantonments (although these are known to be hit in ‘sensitive’ cities around the country as well). And more hilarious is that no one seems to care, at least no one who can make a difference. The authorities think that by deploying gun-toting security personnel all over the country helps, but this charade fools no one as they are repeatedly outwitted by the perpetrators of all kinds of crimes. I bet they laugh at us, our leaders and our men in uniforms – and I would too if I was in their place.
Although I hold no grudge against the men in uniform, on the contrary I hold them in high esteem and salute their bravery for I have met many brave uniformed personnel who have dedicated their lives to protect their country and will look at any enemy in the eye. And I can sleep comfortably knowing that there is a son/daughter of Pakistan sitting in the remote areas on the borders who is awake to protect me from the enemy outside. But we can’t expect them to tackle the enemy within. Shouldn’t that be the government’s job? Which is why when TV channels report that the police and security personnel including paramilitary forces are patrolling the city following so and so incident, the first question that pops into one’s mind is: what’s the use of this force scattered all over the city and country with their guns pointed at us if they can’t curb the unnecessary bloodshed, or catch those involved before a crime is committed? Is it possible that they are easily outwitted? The answer is the uniform doesn’t govern this country, the civvies do. Unfortunately, they are too busy jet setting to bother with the country.
In ‘real time’, Pakistan has a lot of serious domestic problems that should have been dealt years ago. These have only become bigger with time and which seem to be endangering the very existence of the country. We need to have leaders who can stay in the country long enough to formulate proper and workable strategy to resolve stuff. Sending in the interior minister to do the job hasn’t worked in the past, and it isn’t going to work in the future. His constitutional arm seems stunted, and his promises are worth naught. He can’t be the government’s solution to everything now, can he? If the government thinks he is capable, then he should be the head of the country, and let’s see how he fares. What have we got to lose, the rest seemed to have failed anyway.
One of the many problems that our country faces is an extremely bad governance with apologies to the optimist president, and this is because our leaders have not tapped into the problems of the ‘real time’ Pakistan which is why except for lip service, they are unable to curb the tsunami of problems that arise in quick succession in the country. Since the source is never plugged and temporary solutions are sought, the problems never go away, and only simmers to erupt with more force later.
We, primarily our leaders, need to stop procrastinating on the real problems facing the country and try to find a solution and not beat around the imaginary bush and chant all is well, when it is not. No long marches, long hollow speeches, festive rallies and calls for tsunamis are going to change the ground realities. Change will only come when all the concerned sit together and indulge in proper dialogue, touching all issues even the ‘no go’ ones.
National issues should not be dealt with proxy leaders sitting on talk shows engaging in a war of words, which only result in a lot of meaningless shouting and abusing. Governance is the job of those who have been elected for this job and for the opposition to help with constructive criticism – but for this the leaders need to be present in the country and be mature enough to talk to each other.
For a nation always tuned into the news most of their waking hours, I will not give a timeline of the issues afflicting our poor country but I will say that we have become a nation nervously standing on the periphery of “what happens next”. But that questions echoes around, ricocheting off the bullet-proof avenues of power; the deafening moan of death emanating from different parts of the nation falls on deaf ears because no one is interested to find a solution – at least a long term solution. We wait for some form of order to prevail in this chaos but our leaders can’t stay put in the country long enough to actually form a game plan to resolve or try to resolve the problems facing Pakistan. It seems no one wants to care, they have their own issues to look into…a burning, bleeding and rioting country does not make top priority. Are plans being made for a future, which does not include this country… God forbid, because this is the only country that we have that we can call our own; living the life of refugee should not be an option and therefore the people of Pakistan have to act now.