Loss of dignity
There are things you do and there are things you don’t. But, if you end up doing what you shouldn’t, it puts the blame on yourself and your ability to understand and assimilate the demands of the occasion as well as the implications of your indulgences.
The rowdy and belligerent behavior of the opposition on the occasion of the President’s speech before the joint session of Parliament is a classic example of where and how we go wrong. The way in which the session was constantly disrupted by obscene language, abusive slogans and the transformation of Parliament into a battle zone is not associated with civilized societies.
Even protest, if that was the goal, has an order of its own which defines the limits that must not be transgressed. There was neither democracy in this rowdy behavior nor decency. It was rude and unparliamentary conduct that culminated in a noisy walkout by the opposition, marking a palpable loss of dignity.
It wasn’t the first time and maybe not the last to see such a level of hooliganism. I say this because the main cause of this policy of turmoil will not be corrected, which is barter to escape the accountability process. This is the only reason to constantly berate the government and use disruptive and violent tactics, both inside and outside Parliament, to pressure the Prime Minister to grant immunity. against prosecution. In trying to do so, the opposition movement has only fractured. Today, he presents a picture of total disunity. With the PDM having collapsed, its constituent units are now busy making serious accusations against each other.
In Pakistan, the ruling elite and members of privileged communities have been accustomed to a life beyond the law. They believe that they rule over themselves and that no one dares to touch them. Having taken root over time, the tradition was aggressively patronized during the Bhutto and Sharif dynasties which enacted laws and manipulated institutions to escape the clutches of accountability. In the process, they injected a high level of dysfunction into the functioning of the state which was made dependent on the whims of the rulers instead of the diktat of the constitution and injunctions of the legal process.
Everything became a hostage in the hands of the beneficiary elite as one group of looters took over. If they could, they would have continued to take turns in the annals of power, inventing ever more Machiavellian methods and raising ever more malicious techniques to continue the frenzy of stripping the state of its assets.
One need only take a quick glance at their conduct during their years of power to measure the too poor stock of which they are made. They were never interested in building schools or learning centers. They were not interested in improving health facilities or providing electricity and affordable housing. They never invested in building and empowering the institutions that would bring fame to the state. Instead, they corrupted them so that they could be easily subverted to further their personalized interests. They were only attracted to cosmetics. Laying a solid foundation was not their concern, with most of their projects ending in wobbly and crumbling structures. Number, size and volume were important benchmarks for success. The quality was not.
The disdain they displayed for institutions was never a secret. Some have been made dysfunctional by reducing them to the accusation of corrupt and incompetent people, and others have been subdued by physical assault. Judges were bought to get desirable verdicts and journalists to broadcast them. Nothing has been spared the ravages of corruption. It was as if the whole edifice collapsed at the slightest nudge. They have hidden their wealth abroad. They have properties overseas. They have successful businesses overseas. They have families abroad. They have no stake in their own country where they come only to walk in the alleys of power to empty it further of its promise.
Now that real-time investments are being made in building institutions to ensure the well-being of the people, they feel that their political end may be near. With good reason, they are using the most base of tricks to eclipse the government. In the courts, they employ delaying tactics. They are ambivalent when answering questions about their corruption but ransacking the office desk. In parliament, they use abusive language to deflect debates and hurl abuse at government officials. Appearing in public or on television, they lie incessantly and unashamedly to project a fabricated image of their accomplishments and intentions. They haven’t done anything right themselves and won’t let others do it. They have frozen spirits that are rooted in evil. They cannot break the vicious deadlock.
But compromise is not an option at this point. After much effort, the government is on track to make the system functional. The bureaucracy is not yet under control, but there is no room to give in to their intimidation or their provocation. The battle will be won by showing courage and perseverance. No escapade should be left open to these charlatans perched on the limit. They need a last push to be thrown into oblivion.
The desperation they showed in the joint session reflects that they have given up hope and are determined to start the fire. The government must not be drawn into the trap and must continue unhindered by the work it is doing. This must continue until it brings relief to the marginalized and the poor who survive on the fringes of life. The state is indebted for their sacrifices. If they prosper, the state will prosper. Conversely, the state is doomed.
An epic battle is fought between the conglomerate of looters and looters on one side and those who attempt to save the faltering edifice by institutionalizing the system; between those who have usurped the rights of the people and those who sensitize them; between those who are consumed by their desire for personal advancement and those who are committed to the public welfare; between those who are infatuated with relentless greed and those who struggle to eliminate the scourge; between the perpetuators of yesteryear and those who show the way to tomorrow. The choice has never been clearer than today and the future never brighter than today. The challenge is for everyone to come together to get the ship out of harm’s way.
The writer is the special assistant to the Prime Minister in charge of information, a political and security strategist and the founder of the Regional Institute for Peace.