The PPP government even surrendered to the religious extremists. The conduct of the government after the assassination of Governor Salman Taseer was simply shameless
Pakistan remained a victim of crises since its inception. All various forms of crises i.e. social, economic, political and security related have been the hallmark of the Islamic Republic since 1947 and treading on this path this country lost 65 precious years of its life. Every populist government was discredited and the people of Pakistan never had the opportunity to have a stable political government. A constant tussle for achieving civilian superiority between the military and the political elite continued and as a consequence the rule of law, accountability, public service delivery, progress and development remained nothing but hollow slogans.
Presently the institution of democracy in this country revolves around; getting maximum votes by hook and crook, raising colorful slogans, underhand deals with the deep state, manipulation, employment of power and money, exploitation of creed and sect and everything which relates to power politics. And thereafter enjoying royal protocol and enhancing assets. This pattern was followed indiscriminately by all those who came into power both from the left and right.
Presently the trade mark of PPP is bad governance. However, despite widespread hue and cry there has been no improvement at all. The PPP leadership has been as insensitive as ever and it appeared that the country was being run on its own. There has been no manager, no driver, no passion and no vision but the luxuries of power and a constant tug of war between PPP and all its opponents. It also amply demonstrated its capacity to survive under adverse circumstances. However, no improvement whatsoever is visible in any sector.
Some of the major crises this government faced further worsened since it came into power. Religious extremism and terrorism have increased manifold. The Balochistan situation has further deteriorated. Karachi remains the hub of target killings, kidnapping for ransom, sectarianism and extortion.
Today, hyperinflation, deficit financing, low rate of tax collection, low GDP growth rate and extreme borrowing from internal sources are the defining features of Pakistan’s economy. The State Bank of Pakistan perhaps does nothing but to print money.
All the major corporations i.e. PIA, Railways and Steel Mills are in a shambles. A major chunk of public money has already been wasted in keeping these organizations running.
Energy crises are another major area where no improvement has been made. It has wreaked havoc with the economy while it has caused psychological complications among the general populace.
The prices of fuel and gas have increased astronomically while the prices are fixed on weekly basis. The social sector has been completely neglected and budgetary outlays for health, education and social welfare were decreased in real terms, whereas non-developmental expenditures were enhanced many times.
No solid steps were taken to institute a system of accountability. On the other hand major cases of corruption were provided with a cover-up. The stories of corruption reverberate everywhere in the holy land; jobs and contracts were sold while nepotism touched new heights during the last few years.
No action was ever taken to curtail the power of the military rather at every step the government bowed down before the army. So much so that Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani had to cut a sorry figure before the generals.
The PPP government even surrendered to the religious extremists. The conduct of the government after the assassination of Governor Salman Taseer was simply shameless.
In the name of politics of reconciliation, the PPP government completely rid itself of principled politics. Whatever you are, whatever have you been doing in the past, whether you are a history sheeter or a convicted criminal makes no difference to the leadership. Character of a person, his qualification and past conduct are no considerations; you can join the PPP and can even be part of its core committee. However, at any given moment you can be thrown out of PPP for every relationship is based on vested interest at a given time.
The sacred obligation of the poor and the unlettered is to vote for the PPP while it is not the job of the PPP to bring about a change in their lives. Now PPP is the party of martyrs where the dead remain alive and take care of the vote bank.
To cut it short, one Zardari overweighs everybody else. And under his weight where do Benazir and her father stand; perhaps nowhere.
|Arshad Mahmood is a columnist,freelance writer and a social activist.