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Random thoughts

April 15, 2019

Pray for salvation

Opinion

April 15, 2019

Long ago, late Khalid Hasan, former press secretary to Z A Bhutto, sent me a New Year’s greeting with the following verse (literally translated): “See what blessings and love are received from the idols; a Brahman had said that the New Year would be lucky.” I had replied: “People, please pray for the safety of the New Year; indicators point to a bad period.”

For the last few weeks many well-known journalists, anchorpersons and the public have been openly criticizing the present government for bad governance and other issues. Many respected analysts have been quite vocal in pointing out the maladministration and incompetence of some of the ministers and the conflicting statements made by the prime minister. For example, he is on record to have said: “I will commit suicide instead of going to the IMF.” “It would be treason to work with the MQM.” “The amnesty scheme is a kind of treason, I will never do it.” Now we see that he has done all these ‘prohibited’ things.

That is not all. People have been crushed by inflation, unemployment, devaluation of the rupee against the dollar and, above all, lack of good governance. There is no relief for the poor and underprivileged, despite promises that there would be good news for the public soon. Thousands of shops, marriage halls, etc. have been razed to the ground without any alternate arrangement being made while the villas and palatial buildings of the high and mighty have not been touched.

I once chatted with one of Imran Khan’s cricket colleagues. He told me that he knew Imran very well. According to the man, Imran had spent almost 20 years of his life with little educated boys from the streets who had made it into cricket, and had treated them like pet dogs, often calling them names. Nobody dared to respond in kind. The result was that this trend had become a habit. The man said that, God forbid, if Imran ever became the prime minister, we would forget about Gen Zia and Gen Musharraf. Imran would not listen to any sane advice and instead surround himself with sycophants. Unfortunately, the last eight months have proved this to be true.

The public in general and journalists and intellectuals in particular are fed up with the insane rhetoric being propagated daily for hours on TV. For good governance one needs to look at our beloved Prophet (pbuh), Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra), Hazrat Omar (ra) and Hazrat Omar Bin Abdul Aziz (ra) for guidance. One has to study the way in which those God-fearing people treated the public, the poor and the rich and how they dispensed justice, how they lived their daily lives, etc.

The PM is advised to read ‘Al-Farooq’ by Shibli Naumani and Omar Bin Abdul Aziz’s biography published by Maktaba Almadina, Karachi. Hollow publicity slogans will not take us to any destinations. The need of the hour is good governance, law and order, food and homes for the poor, jobs for the unemployed, food for the starving, dowry for poor girls, etc and then talk of building a Madina state.

Quite a few members of the prime minister’s original team have departed, dissatisfied and angry. It looks like we are going to continue in these dark days. Musharraf, Zardari and Nawaz Sharif’s teams all contributed to the downfall of the country and it looks like Imran Khan’s team is on the same path. It is unfortunate that our rulers never appoint staff strictly on merit and past performance. They are led to believe whatever reports they read regarding their own aggrandizement and eulogy. They often become icons/heroes on false reports and the poor misinformed public knows no better than to swallow it all.

Compare education, science and technology and the financial achievements during Musharraf’s tenure and the present one – nothing has changed, nothing has improved. But the experts who failed to deliver are sitting in the front row. Where do our universities stand in world rankings? Where do we stand financially? When these so-called experts appear on TV shows, they project themselves as rare commodities. What happened to the Good Governance Programme? Can you see any good governance? Not so, but the same governors are still around.

Look at the price hike during the last eight months. Petrol: from Rs65 to Rs99. Gas: Rs100 to Rs170 per kilo. Fertilizer: Rs2,400 to Rs3,500 per 50 kg. Flour: Rs600 to Rs1,450 per 20 kg. Dollar: Rs100 to Rs143. Gold: Rs45,000 to Rs72,000 per tola. The stock exchange fell from 54,000 to 36,000. Inflation went up from 3.5 percent to 9.5 percent. All edibles, gas and electricity are two to three times more expensive. Exports have dropped by 11.3 percent, despite a devaluation of the rupee by more than 40 percent. When things get out of hand, people are forced to come out on the street in protest and garland their rescuers and distribute sweets.

From the eras of Ziaul Haq and Musharraf, we know that promoting beyond tenure or superseding seniors does not work. Sheikh Sadi once said that he never had to feel ashamed or embarrassed while keeping quiet. However, he had been put to embarrassment and shame when he had spoken unnecessarily. The PM and his colleagues should take a hint from this. Where would the Saudi crown prince and the Malaysian prime minister have stayed if PM House had been turned into a university as had been loudly proclaimed by the PM? If the economy does not improve soon and inflation is not brought under control, the PTI may soon become past history.

Email: [email protected]m

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