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Opinion

January 26, 2015

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Eat politics

It was disturbing to see people suffering the petrol crisis. It was funny to see people cursing the rulers for the petroleum crisis. They voted for the ‘experience of governance’ – the one that has not been able to reform police, health and education during its half a dozen stints in power in Punjab.
So why curse them now? People should have known better but they love politics. This is a nation that can survive without electricity, gas, petroleum, water, sanitation, manhole covers, polio drops, law and order, atta, sugar, potatoes, tomatoes, even without self respect – but not without politics. Politics runs in people’s veins like boiling black tea. Every inhabitant of this country is him/herself a politician in their own unique disposition and fashion. From parliament to playgrounds, politics is the order of the day. Everybody does politics against everybody.
TV news anchorpersons bang open their grocery stores every evening and sell rotten politics that is then eagerly devoured by a politics-hungry audience. The journalist fraternity hums hymns in praise of democracy-loving politicians who weep glorious tears over the 21st Amendment but spare none for the children of the poor dying of hunger and disease in a provincial fiefdom still ‘ruled’ by their party. TV and newspaper intellectuals even utilise crises to eulogise their favourites in the lucrative business of politics like the petroleum crisis motivated them to declare the previous federal government better than the present one.
The same previous government under the corruption tainted shadow of which the cost of living doubled in five years with 100 to 200 percent hike in food items prices and the country tumbled headlong to the ignominy of rotting among the bottom five countries on income and well being in the world according to 2011 Legatum Prosperity Index by London based research organization Legatum Institute released on November 01, 2011 which placed Pakistan at 107th

position among 110 countries ahead of only Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and Central African Republic.
Our anchorpersons and columnists addicted incurably to the allure of politics adulate in awe and abundance the political genius of Asif Zardari, particularly for the feat of completing the seemingly never-ending five years in federal government. It was during the same five years of political ingenuity that the country fared among the lowest in terms of its reputation as was revealed by a study measuring public perceptions of 50 countries around the world released on September 27, 2011 by the Reputation Institute in which Pakistan came the lowest alongside Iran and Iraq.
During that same period of political excellence Pakistan stooped steep to rank as the 10th most failed state in the world as was disclosed by a survey released on June 21, 2010 by the prestigious Foreign Policy magazine and the Fund for Peace. At the end of that golden era of politics Pakistanis’ trust in civilian government nosedived from 54 percent in December 2008 to 23 percent in October 2012 as was found by a Gallup survey released on February 14, 2013.
Nevertheless Pakistanis’ love for tried and trite politics remained heady as they preferred ‘experience’ at the centre and in Punjab in 2013. In Sindh people once again – just like umpteen times before – proved their cureless obsession for feudal democracy’s revenge. People’s blind love for politics once again empowered the ‘experienced’ politicians to carry on with the politics of ‘reconciliation’; none among them does anything against corruption as usual.
The country, meanwhile, has steadily continued its descent into decadence under a system that appears to be driven solely by corruption and incompetence than anything else. As for the politics loving people 40 percent of them are plagued by poverty, and around 77 million of them are afflicted with food insecurity as was revealed by researchers and economists on January 21, 2014 at the second annual conference of the Pakistan Strategy Support Programme (PSSP).
Sindh continues its decline with Karachi having effectively been turned into Moen jo Karachi through pervasive corruption and ethnic politics. Regardless of the state of affairs the clichéd spectacles of political wriggling and writhing continue as the reconciliatory politicians stage criticism bouts against each other in the presence of TV anchors. These same ‘experienced’ politicians have also demonstrated unfaltering unity in keeping people deprived of their civic and political right of local government.
So then, people – run your wheels, burn your stoves, light your bulbs, earn your living, guard your lives, raise your children, cure your ills, pay your bills, attend your chores, tend your troubles...all with politics. Eat politics.
Email: [email protected]

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