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Why Imran and others should join the National Rescue Campaign
 
 
Air Marshal (R) Shahid Lateef
Saturday, January 05, 2013
From Print Edition
 
 

 

The obfuscated environment in the country has led to sheer despondency amongst people. The responsibility for this pathetic and precarious situation rests squarely with the so-called democratic dispensation, which has remained overly busy in plundering every asset of this country and turned a deaf ear to public grousing throughout its five years of independent, uninterrupted and unprecedented rule.

 

As the government itself is a major beneficiary of the looting bonanza, its apathy and indifference to this dreadful endemic can be gauged from the failure to pass an accountability bill, which has been tossed over in the parliament for three years.

 

Massive corruption, brazen destruction of financial organisations and indiscriminate borrowing by the present government has pushed it into a horrifying debt trap. A major portion of the state revenues that should have been used for development has actually gone into debt servicing.

 

This “economic mismanagement” has triggered hyperinflation and precipitated the country into extreme poverty. It is a known phenomenon that destitution resulting from economic deprivation leads to fissiparous tendencies, as was witnessed in the case of Soviet Union and later in the break-up of Yugoslavia. Pakistan faces the same conditions today and unless they are corrected expeditiously, an emergency situation will soon prevail.

 

The second most dangerous phenomenon threatening security and solidarity of the state is ‘terrorism’, which has held the entire nation hostage over the last decade and remains out of control till date. The terrorists have shown a remarkable capability to attack targets at will, including those that are heavily defended, spreading fear and panic in all parts of the country.

 

While the magnitude of this threat is alarming, the government stays smug and is criminally casual in its response. There has never been a serious debate on the prevailing multi-dimensional terrorism, which has now assumed menacing proportions and is seriously challenging the writ of the state. We woefully lack an effective counter strategy and, similar to the attitude shown towards corruption, the special anti-terrorism laws have been awaiting their passage for two years with the parliament that has not found time to sign the bill. Resultantly, the terrorists continue striking targets with impunity and killing people indiscriminately.

 

Today, besides a host of intractable and life-threatening issues, gas, petrol and electricity have gone missing in the middle of harsh winters, snatching away the basic necessities of life and pushing people into the dark/stone ages, in which bare survival for the impoverished majority in this country has become a nightmare. The CNG stations present ugly spectacles, where private/public transport holders are seen standing in long queues for hours, waiting for their turn and cursing those who rose to power through a fraudulent system of voting and took them for a ride in the name of fake democracy.

 

The rulers, however, have the audacity to call their despotic tenure as a golden period, which is really shameful. The people of Pakistan now understand the true meaning of their slogan, “Democracy is the Best Revenge”.

 

While the 99 percent frenzied population of Pakistan watches helplessly the daily dreadful events that strike mortal blows on regular basis, the 1% ruling elite has remained unmoved to the miserable plight of the teeming millions who voted them into power. The people have, therefore developed hatred against this corrupt and cruel system that has brought no relief in their lives, has compounded difficulties and cheated them in the name of democracy.

 

They have realized that the present system of elections is flawed that throws up dynastic, exploitative, manipulative, dishonest, incompetent and corrupt leadership, which has repeatedly failed to deliver and hence it must be corrected.

 

It is under such dire straits that the appearance of Dr. Qadri on the Pakistani political scene should be viewed. I have been consistently highlighting since July, 2011, the need for selection of selfless men with proven character, loyalty, sincerity and integrity as specialists to form an interim government, which should stem the rot and focus on correcting the basic flaws in our electoral system so that it can produce true results.

 

In this passionate effort, a few others have been joining me from time to time, using large column space in the print media to present similar ideas but, being in absolute minority, our voices were cleverly suppressed by the preponderant supporters of status quo forces.

 

In retrospect, had this action been taken at the start of our struggle, the country and its hapless people may have been spared the incalculable damage inflicted upon them by the ruthless leadership.

 

The justification for Dr. Qadri’s historic initiative is provided by a simple and straightforward logic that present system of elections in Pakistan is unconstitutional and it must be brought in conformity with the constitution. Hence, those who have been bluffing the nation on this account, stand badly exposed after the Tehrik-e Minhaj-ul-Quran (TMQ) leader, in his marathon address to the mammoth Dec 23 rally at Lahore, made a short work of the relevant constitutional clauses in ‘easy to understand’ language, to support his magnificent agenda for change.

 

For those of us who like to understand the existing fraudulent, impotent and non-representative electoral process, which is incapable of throwing up an honest and patriotic leadership, here is an easy calculus.

 

At present, there are 85 million voters registered with the ECP. Keeping the past turnout of 40-45% in mind, only 35 million are likely to vote. Out of these, nearly 25 million (70%) reside in rural areas and being the majority electorate, they determine the fate of our country in every election. We know, how these captive voters are exploited by the feudals and landlords to secure votes in their own favour. Additionally, the constitution is grossly violated when the candidates for elections are never subjected to a qualification process as stipulated therein.

 

These are defining moments in our history. A long awaited ‘National Rescue Campaign’ is being launched with clearly and correctly defined aims. It will gain strength if other visionary leaders join in too, particularly Imran Khan, who could share the lead as his PTI has struggled for the same purpose. However, those who choose to sit on the fence as spectators, will thoroughly expose themselves, proving that they favour a sick system that has caused severe damage and sickness to the whole society.

 

The writer was Vice Chief of Air Staff of Pakistan Air Force.