The state of the country


    Comment by S.R.H. Hashmi:

    The writer concludes his article claiming "The 2018 elections is likely to bring martial law without martial law. Parts of the deep state see as ideal a weak coalition government with establishment-friendly Imran Khan as prime minister. However CPEC, Kashmir, US, and Afghan policy — and nuclear weapons of course — would firmly remain within the army’s domain. "

    However, it is a fact that the PML-N/PPP combine has brought the country to a state where a foreign minister was appointed reluctantly near-about the end of the term, despite country having problems with neighbours and elsewhere and the country remains without an active finance minister despite being in dire financial straits. Moreover, needlessly fiddling with the Khatm-e-Nabuwat concept, the government created a problem and then the Federal Interior Minister let a small group of under two thousand men travel all the way from Punjab and to keep the country's capital occupied for over three weeks, and let the small protest - which he claimed could be finished in two hours - develop into something of a countrywide protest which it could not control even with the help of Rangers.

    And while the armed forces have done a lot controlling the militancy and terrorism in Pakistan, the civilian government did absolutely nothing in respect of its duties under the National Action Plan. like controlling and regulating madrasas, fully developing NACTA and evolving an ideology to defeat the one propagated by the extremists and terrorists.

    And that is not all. Even the much-delayed national population census was conducted by the government at court's pressure and came up with dubious population figures especially in respect of Karachi, by excluding people in the newly developed localities from the census. And it was the same with the local governments for which elections were held only after court pressure. And both the Sindh and Punjab governments defanged the local governments by clawing back most of their powers and the financial resources. And in keeping with other sectors, conditions in respect of public health and education are most deplorable, and children are reported to be suffering from stunted physical and mental growth due to insufficient food intake, while large number of adults also get only half-fed, with an increasing number of them committing suicides.

    And while Shahbaz Sharif develops major cities in Punjab as show-pieces - with projects loaded with hefty commissions - the rest of Punjab remains neglected. And the situation in much worse in Sindh where even the provincial capital had been turned into a huge rubbish dump - from which it is recovering only at a painfully slow pace - and the situation in the rest of Sindh is much the same. And Balochistan fares no better. Only KP offers some promise.

    The only thing that the PML-N and PPP governments seem to excel in is corruption, more corruption and nothing but the corruption.

    In these circumstances, if the country is to survive, we have to get rid of deeply-entrenched Sharifs and Zardaris and find alternate leadership, or else the country is doomed. And such a change will prove a boon and not a bane for the country. Indeed, it is the only way out of the mess that we are in.