Dr Farrukh Saleem
President Zardari, PM Gilani, Mian Nawaz Sharif, our media, Pak Army and the judiciary have all contributed to the instability, insecurity and uncertainty we call Pakistan. There’s recession, depression and despair everywhere.
No more politics, please. Time out. Stop the clock. We were loosing ourselves and our country in the ‘vast abysses of space and time’ even before the Great Flood; the abode of evil spirits is now just around the corner. Our budget was redder than blood even before the Great Flood — and now we are trying to wash blood with more blood.
Please take stock of the situation. Over the 2003 to 2010 period, the total Pakistani fatalities in terrorist violence now stand at 31,243. Over the same period there have been 2,571 bomb blasts. Over the same period there have been 247 suicide attacks. All this and we still don’t have a consensus on how to counter terror.
No more politics, please. Take stock of the situation. The Great Flood has destroyed homes, crops, bridges, telecom, roads and grid stations worth some $20 billion. One out of every eight Pakistanis is on the verge of contracting hepatitis, meningitis, dysentery, insomnia, liver enlargement, diarrhoea or skin diseases. Dragons of winter nights are here and we are still in denial.
The fact is that dirt stinks more when stirred. We are more dependent on the US, Saudi Arabia and the UK than ever before (our three largest donors in that order). Foreign aid comes with foreign strings and beggars breed while rich nations feed. The US, Saudi Arabia and the UK want two things: transparent governance and non-political relief and reconstruction.
We are more dependent on the ADB and the World Bank than ever before (our two largest loan disbursers in that order). They also want two things: power sector reforms and additional taxes. A hungry dog, as we all know, would have to eat dirty pudding.
We would have to save ourselves. We must cure our own cancer. We must reform and he who reforms, God assists. There’s no way out but to live within our own means. If our Ministry of Finance announces a Rs700 billion-deficit budget then our prime minister has no right to spend Rs3.3 million a day on his foreign junkets. If HEC’s budget is on the butcher block then our president has no right to spend Rs400 million a year on the maintenance of his presidency.
The world is telling us that our politics stinks. And, they won’t feed a stinking fish no more. The fish, we all know, stinks from the head downwards. The butcher is here in his killing clothes. Is our government deaf? Are we blind? We all know that a deaf husband and a blind wife are always a happy couple.
P.S. Ever wondered why there are so few women in politics? Well, it is awfully hard to ‘put makeup on two faces’.
The writer is a columnist based in Islamabad. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org