Lack of governance all round

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To the great chagrin of the people

The 2008-13 era was characterized by exceptionally bad governance at the federal as well as provincial levels. While the people made immense sacrifices for the restoration of democracy they received a raw deal from the rulers. This has taken some of the sheen off democracy.

The misgovernance was only partly an outcome of the type of unprincipled alliances that were made under President Asif Zardari’s opportunistic policy of reconciliation with all who could help him sustain in power. Among the grievous outcomes was the unending bloodshed in Karachi. Here the coalition partners were given a free hand to play with the lives and property of the common man. This led to the killing of over 1,100 people in Sindh last year alone. In Balochistan the agencies were given a free hand to kidnap, torture and kill the Baloch under a similar policy of reconciliation – in this case with the agencies. The government cared little about the families who thus lost their near and dear ones as long as Balochistan remained under its control.

The PPP leadership has a feudal-cum-tribal mindset that cares little for rules and regulations. A feudal lord wants all his orders to be carried out irrespective of their legality. It does not matter to him how it might affect the common man’s life. Pakistan was run by the PPP led government at the center and by the PML-N in the Punjab as a fief rather than a democratic state ruled by elected government working in accordance with the laws.

The feudal mindset does not consider the misuse of the national kitty or indulgence in corruption as a crime. The numerous financial scams that came to light during the last five years included the Haj scandal, Ephedrine case, NICL and the RPP scams which involved important government and allied leaders. To continue to indulge in them it was imperative to appoint blue eyed boys as chiefs of lucrative departments even if they lacked competence. Honest officers probing the cases were transferred. PM Gilani claimed he had the right to appoint Tauqir Sadiq as the OGRA chief even if he lacked the necessary qualifications.

The style of governance brought the government into conflict with the SC on several occasions. There were many standoffs like the one during the investigation of the charge that Moonis Elahi, scion of the Choudharys of Gujrat, had bagged Rs 220million of the NICL money.

This style of governance also led to grievous acts of omission. Totally neglected was the welfare of the common man. Lax regulations regarding industrial enterprises and absence of an efficient machinery to enforce even these led to two tragedies in Karachi and Lahore in 2012. A fire erupting inside Ali Garments Factory in Karachi turned the place into an inferno and nearly 300 people were burnt alive at the spot as there were no fire exits on the premises. The owners were charged with murder but the case was subsequently withdrawn by Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf. In a Lahore shoe factory where no emergency exits were provided another 22 workers were burnt alive.

Both the federation and Sindh province are ruled by a party which frequently uses the Sindh card. But the common Sindhis remain among the most neglected. Vast areas of Sindh still continue to suffer from the after effects of the floods of 2011 and the rains of 2012. Thousands upon thousands have yet to be paid compensation for the damages caused. The province has suffered from the bad quality of water available for human consumption. This has caused a large number of deaths from diarrhea in the last few years. Sheer negligence on the part of the government in timely vaccination led to the eruption of measles that has taken a heavy toll of the lives of children with estimates ranging from 200-500. The eruption could have been avoided by timely inoculation. It was a manmade disaster caused by the indifference to the lot of the common man. Nothing is conceded to the people of Sindh as a right. If they ever get anything it is doled out as a favour from the overlord.

The overall policy of neglect has made Sindh ungovernable. Things have gone to such an extreme that the provincial government has become non functional. According to the Karachi administrator the city has developed several ‘tribal areas’ as despite its best efforts, the KMC has failed to get the land vacated from the encroachers and when officials went over to get it done they were fired upon’.

Indifference to the lot of the common man also characterizes the ANP-led administration in KP where pneumonia has already claimed at least 20 young lives in Upper Dir. In view of the past performance of the government there is likelihood of the ailment assuming epidemic proportions.

The Punjab may not be a province of feudal agricultural holdings but the PML-N CM is driven by a desire to keep absolute monopoly of power. He insists on keeping several ministries with himself, regardless of its consequences for the common man. This has led to several disasters.

Due to the negligence of the Health Ministry, under Shahbaz’s exclusive control, dengue fever has visited Punjab twice, killing 247 people in 2011 alone. The government’s inability to introduce proper drug regulations and to enforce them through an efficient monitoring system led to deaths from spurious drugs again and again. In 2010-11 over 100 heart patients died in Lahore after taking a contaminated heart medicine. In 2012 over 40 people died after taking a cough syrup which was injurious to health. In between thousands of patients had to face the consequences of a number of strikes by the young doctors.

The policy of total neglect of the common man has caused widespread dismay about the mainstream ruling parties. The resentment made people run after political quacks like Tahirul Qadri. While Qaadri’s long march fizzled out, the expanding reservoir of discontent can be used by forces opposed to democracy to dislodge the system anytime in the days to come.

The writer is a former academic and a political analyst.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Well….writer looks with aggressive approach from the very start. i agree that governance is not up to the expectation but given the circumstances Pakistan is not as bad as it is viewed most of the time……the writer's views suggest Pakistan as a failed state….while making analysis, we compare Pakistan to that of governance in France and Canada and ignore the circumstantial facts…, there is no magic stick to change the destiny of people in a fort night.
    Further, writer has counted deaths due to dengue fever in 2011 but not improvements made in the following year. In 2012, the danger dengue posed in the previous year was controlled. we as a democratic state have not got matured enough to meet all ingredients of good governance…however, a healthy criticism is also a part of democracy and good governance. Things are not getting from bad to worse. To ensure governance, all segments have to play their due role. Hence, in this regard, enhanced maturity of our politician, independence of judiciary and a vibrant role of media give a positive look of the country.

    • I couldn't make out what Mr. Gondal wanted to say. I suggest him going thru the article again. One sentence – Asif Zardari’s opportunistic policy of reconciliation – explains it all for the bad governance and uncontrolled corruption and nepotism.

  2. For sure the motive and the mission of the PPP government was to snatch unlimited money for themselves and to kill the country economy and respect in the world.. Not to forget their main shoulder was PML-N
    These two miserable parties have done nothing good for the country.
    All they care is about the money and how can they find more and more ways to snatch the money.
    These are heart-less maniacs who care nothing for the people.
    i wish they dont get to run away from pakistan.
    If you can browse internet and see the intervies of Asif zardari, gilani, Raja rental and nawaz party… just try to focus on their body language and hear what they say.. You will for sure understand how immature and corrupt these people are.
    they deserve life imprisonment in a cage (not even in a cell)

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