October 19, 2010

Oh my government, where art thou?

Prime Minister Gilani is always in a conundrum.
(Photo: Tribune.com.pk)
Time and again I have stated with zealous conviction that a confrontational approach vis-à-vis the United States in Afghanistan is going to be counterproductive to the interests of Pakistan in the long run. But today, let me talk about the general population’s concerns and try to figure out where the US, its war on terror, India, Taliban and Afghanistan lie in their priorities list.

Let me be blunt: the masses in Pakistan don’t give a rat’s ass as to how the Afghan war campaign goes for either the American or the Pakistani military. The people are more concerned with their lives which are becoming unbearable by the day, hence the alarming increase in familial suicide rate. The constant corruption of the system over the last two and a half years has resulted in an inexorable strain on the Pakistani population and right now, US, Afghanistan, war on terror mean nothing more than some fancy words.

Just today for instance, the media reported that the government has spent 19 billion PKR on rental power plants which only contribute 62 MW to the national grid. The shortfall in totality is nearer the 5000 MW mark. What sanity, if any, prevails in the houses where these abhorrent and totally useless decisions are made? If nothing else then at least the plight of the Pakistani population should have been taken into consideration; and if, even that is too much to handle, then the powers that be should have thought that they are milking an entire country dry.

If the blossoming pot-bellies of our leaders are anything to go by, then I think even they are not concerned with the situation next door. Now that is highly strange because they are always making chicken noises whenever CIA drones violate our airspace; or maybe even that is a farce because last time I checked, the Jacobabad Air force base was under the US military’s command. But does that concern the masses? No.

When Musharraf left the Presidency, sugar was sold at Rs 25/kg. Today it has crossed Rs 80/kg. When the ‘virulently-corrupt’ government of the Chaudries was in power in the Punjab, the literacy rate had climbed into the late 70s. When the MQM was in power in Sindh, Mustafa Kamal was hailed as a national hero. Life in Karachi felt the same as if one was in Mulholland, Los Angeles. But guess what? It took only two and a half years for us, the concerned Pakistani nation, from being averagely happy, to averagely extremely angry.

The electricity tariffs have gone sky rocketing and yet there is no light. Taxes increase almost daily but only on the 1.4% of the Pakistani population which has to cough up for the entire country. Food prices are abnormally high and before you start on with the international economic system affecting us, I suggest you acquaint yourself with the local environment first. The wheat price is obnoxiously high because of the ridiculous support price set by this PPP government. Why? Maybe because it is full of agriculture billionaires who would like to keep minting profits. The sugar price should be between Rs 50 – 55/kg if international free market trends are to be followed but instead hovers around Rs 80/kg. The minimum wage is Rs 7000 and well, does one need say more?

We are pissed because instead of trying to sort out our problems, the government appears to a) not give a rat’s farting ass, b) appears incapable to sort out the mess it has gotten us into (and hence should abdicate in favor of a more competent group of loafers) and c) is more interested in talking about India and America and their devious designs against the Motherland. But here it is, straight from the minds of the Pakistanis: We do not give a damn.

The population reverts to Musharraf because he is not in the government right now. The people run to the army because the government fails to make their misery go away. Just help us sort out our daily problems, and we will help you bash India, Afghanistan, America, Russia, malaria, TB, AIDS whatever you want. But until the government can come down to earth and do what it is supposed to do, we don’t care if it takes a pounding everywhere.