Failure is not an option

  • As they say it, there is never a dull moment in Pakistan. Exciting news keep coming up with clockwork regularity. And the latest in the series is the former president Asif Ali Zardari’s speech which has become the main topic at almost all talk shows.

    Earlier on, while the operation seemed to be focused on MQM, most of the Peoples Party leaders were enjoying the show and in response to MQM’s serious complaints, came up with the statement that the operation was even handed and not direct against any political party.

    However, the minute the Sindh Rangers got on the trail leading to some Peoples Party leaders, hell broke loose and we had a blistering attack by Asif Ali Zardari against the army, and specifically the present army chief, as the reference to three-year tenure clearly shows. However, Zardari outburst did not attract enough support outside the party, which he had expected under the charter of democracy. Of course, some of the Peoples Party leaders supported him, as was to be expected. There now seems to be a feeling even among the PPP leaders that Zardari definitely over did it. And obviously, they have embarked on a damage-control mission, though without much success.

    I sincerely hope that the army-backed Sindh Rangers who have taken the matter this far, will not relent and will complete the process, perhaps for the first time in the history of Pakistan.

    And of course the politicians in other provinces are not just saints and angels. Sometime back, a figure of Rs 8 billion daily corruption on the national level was reported in the press which works out to more than twelve times of the Karachi’s yearly figure of Rs. 230 billion and obviously a substantial proportion of this would be ending up in safe havens and real estate abroad. Hopefully, the army will take up this issue as well in the not too distant future.

    I hope the army people also push for a National Population Census to be held sooner than the date announced by the government, request judiciary to work out simple, and easy to follow and apply interpretation of articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution, barring for life the candidates who need not have been allowed within miles of the Assemblies, hold free ad fair elections and hand over to the government that emerges as a result of the elections. It is definitely a tall order, but not an impossible task. Without a thorough exercise like this and clearing of the decks, the situation may revert to the same rotten state soon, with all the good work done having gone to waste.

    I hope the army does not abandon the exercise at this stage otherwise people will start believing in the rumours that are already doing rounds that the whole purpose of the exercise was to pressure Sindh government to allot the army thousands of acres of land in response to which request the Sindh government has already agreed to allot 9,000 acre of forest land for distribution among the heirs of martyrs and war wounded soldiers.

    So failing at this stage is definitely not an option. Moreover, if the exercise is stopped at this stage, it will convince the corrupt and the crooked that no one can really stop them. And then they will take the corruption to even greater heights, making our poor country poorer still, and making the masses ever-more miserable.