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March 22, 2015

After 75 years, time to think is now or never


March 22, 2015

WASHINGTON: As Pakistan celebrates the 75th, or the Diamond, anniversary of the Pakistan Resolution with a long-awaited full-dress military parade in the heart of Islamabad, the rest of the country does not appear to be in good health, or probably good hands. A bird’s eye view would show a massive military operation going on against terrorists throughout the country; political turmoil and a serious war against criminals and militants in the financial capital Karachi; the economy deeply dependent on borrowed money with mismanagement written all over; the populace facing electricity, gas, CNG shortages and blackouts and even threats of a water crisis looming; parliament in a state of dysfunction and impotency; the army taking over power in what is now considered to be a creeping, soft coup with pygmy politicians taking the dictation and unable to face the truth; there is no remorse for corruption in the past or course correction in the future; all institutions looking toothless, hollow and directionless; regulators of all kinds appear to be under the thumb of political influence or paying back their masters; the virus of politics and cronyism has eaten into every format; even cricket has lost grit and face despite the best available talent.
Some activism is visible but largely for wrong reasons and perverted targets like shameless hurry in political circles to award mega contracts to countries and companies pre-selected via backdoor negotiations in official and private visits, some even involving family members of the rulers.
The civil society is active in some cases but largely sleeping, agitating only when favourite political forces are under threat.
The Establishment, read the Army, is fighting numerous battles on all fronts and has even crossed into the political domain when lethargy and inaction by the political governments went beyond tolerance. The politicians remain scared but do not stop from their chicanery, hoping that since the army is so

entangled it may not be able to topple the political system and they could thus keep surviving and keep doing for themselves what they are good at until the train stops.
The Establishment is formulating most of major policy narratives on security, foreign affairs, regional alliances and interference by foreign friends and foes with little or no inputs by the politicians. Where politicians try to intervene for own reasons, they are simply ignored or even given a shut up call.
So after 75 years, with the state of the nation in such disarray, the 23rd March parade on Democracy Avenue of the capital will highlight who continues to remain optimistic and lead the way, subtly and quietly on the face but forcefully and persistently in the background.
What this Diamond Jubilee celebration could have done was for politicians to put their heads together and make a fresh start, forget their deceptive and deceitful ways to rob the country, get on the high moral ground and give democracy some dignity and respect before they are finally swept off their feet and thrown in the dustbin of disgrace.
What looks like is that the process has begun somewhere, may be Karachi as a starter, where after a long time the Establishment has taken on a political force that was known to be have all kinds of good and bad habits. When others come into this net, there will be no going back to the old ways. That may be a silver lining. But for the country as a whole there is very little time to get its act together before the world finally writes us off in the list of failed nations.

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