What is happening today - Roedad Khan - Saturday, January 08, 2011

Source : www.thenews.com.pk

At a time when the country is at war, President Zardari, the supreme commander, spends almost his entire existence in the confines of a bunker-- he seldom leaves it these days. If he is so fearful for his life, he has no right to be the supreme commander.

The non-sovereign rubberstamp parliament is fake like a Potemkin village, with quite a few members of this body holding fake degrees. Pakistan will be Pakistan again as soon as we have swept away this scum, and there will be no Pakistani who will not cry with joy when that happens. Instead of being allowed to masquerade as chosen representatives of the people, its members should all be tried and sent to prison.

We have a disjointed, lopsided, hybrid, artificial, corrupt and dysfunctional political system. We have a weak, ineffective and corrupt prime minister, the epitome of self-satisfied mediocrity who changes his public statements as often as he changes his designer suites. Pakistan is like a nightmare in which you foresee all the horrible things which are going to happen and can’t stretch out your hand to prevent them.

While Pakistan’s rulers are corrupt, despotic and accountable to none, the opposition languishes in torpid impotence, utterly failing to play the role it should be playing in a parliamentary form of government. “The two parties are like competing stage coaches which occasionally splash each other with mud, but travel by the same road to the same place.” It is as if Hazlitt was referring to the PPP and the PML-N.

Otto von Bismarck once said that political genius entailed hearing the hoof-beat of history then rising to catch the galloping horseman by the coattails. Nawaz Sharif has a decisive role to play in the critical days ahead. People expect him to provide leadership. The voice of history beckons him. Why doesn’t he respond? For some inexplicable reason, he is hesitant to “seize the moment.” Instead, he continues to prevaricate and stays on the fence.

Will he “seize the hour”? Will he respond to the challenge? On that would depend the coming course of events in Pakistan and Nawaz Sharif’s political future. “If the individual and the situation meet,” Willy Brandt told Oriana Fallaci, “then the machinery is set off by which history takes one direction instead of another.”

Imran Khan has caught the flavour of the moment. He has a shrewd sense of timing. Zardari’s government is wobbling. His administration is paralysed and is lying prostrate in the boulevards of Islamabad. He is losing political capital by the hour. As his fortunes wane, Imran’s star glows brighter and brighter.

“Everything seems to be following its normal course,” as Goethe once said, “because even in terrible moments in which everything is at stake, people go on living as if nothing were happening.” This is true of present-day Pakistan. But the straws in the wind are there. Time will show whether there are enough of them to make a bale of hay. Beneath Pakistan’s placid surface the tectonic plates are shifting. We can wake up today--or we can have a rude awakening, and sooner than we think.

This nation asks for change. And change now. The demand for change reminds me of the fateful “Norway Debate” in the House of Commons in May 1940. Britain was at war, facing the full might of Nazi Germany. In the backdrop of the dismal picture of failure and retreat which confronted the nation, L S Amery, MP, delivered the historic speech which led to the resignation of Prime Minister Chamberlain and elevation of Churchill as prime minister. “I cast prudence to the winds,” Amery wrote in his diary, “and ended full out with my Cromwellian injunction to the government… You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go.”

The total collapse of state machinery in present-day Pakistan reminds me of the Twilight of the Mughals. “The symptoms of social collapse are progressive declines in standards of conduct, public and private, and the superiority of centrifugal over centripetal forces. When the administrative machinery breaks down, law and order is the first casualty. And when respect for law and authority declines, the devil of force leaps into its place as the only possible substitute and in the struggle that ensues every standard of conduct and decency is progressively discarded. Men begin by being realists and end by being Satanists. Sometimes synthesis takes place from within; sometimes it is imposed from without. If the original breakdown of authority is caused by a ferment of ideas, a genuine revolution like the French may result. If it is simply due to the decrepitude of authority, the solution is the substitution of a fresh authority, but whether that substitute is external or internal depends upon local circumstances.” This is a correct description of what is happening in Pakistan today and it is scary.

The writer is a former federal secretary. Email: roedad@comsats.net.pk,www. roedadkhan.com

No comments:

Post a Comment