Keeping in mind the political culture of Pakistan, corruption is more of a house hold name. Though often termed as the termite which eats away the basic foundation of the society, in Pakistan its entirely the opposite. Blaming it on system, nearly every one on every level gets involved in this in one way or the other.
Having said this, the current regime has always come under red light for its dealings both internationally and domestically. Just a few months back a report emerged from a reputable international organization, which termed corruption in Pakistan 400% higher than the previous regime. The same report highlighted that ANP in KPK was leading this overall race.
This reputation became a serious hindrance during the ongoing floods faced by Pakistan. Two words which dominated the headlines in the previous two weeks are
– trust deficit
Of course the 1st attribute was directly related to the magnitude by which this flood struck Pakistan, but trust deficit has every thing to do with the way PPP lead coalition has ruled Pakistan in the last 3 years. Time and again, it was contested that somehow we have failed to mobilize each other as a nation in this time of need, the way we saw in 2005 earth quake. On the other hand it took donors a long while just to start the flow of cash into Pakistan, of course fearing its unfair usage and distribution. The meeting between PM Gillani and Mr Sharif was seen as a turning point. Their joint declaration of setting up a trust worthy and transparent tribunal to look after the flow of flood rehabilitation fund was a very positive move. Having said this, it was clear from day 1 that the government, both federal and the provincial, have no insight into handling a disaster like this and above all they have no desire to undo this technical barrier.
Anyhow, PM Gillani’s U-Turn from this earlier stance raised many eye brows from every segment of the society. Leader of the opposition Ch Nisar was heard saying “ after all it’s the turn of PM and his cabinet to follow the presidency’s footstep”. PM like always tried to portray his “gentlemen” image by shifting all the blame to the provinces, arguing that they were not willing to adopt this change/ mechanism. I remember when he was asked regarding the President visit to Europe while his own people were drowning. The PM answered instantly that as parliament is supreme here its actually him who is required rather than the President. Just a week later he failed to clarify that in addition to the said provinces (as PPP enjoys coalition setup with them) what compelled him to take a U- Turn on the issue of transparency and fair distribution.
On the other hand the government has placed an additional authority over the already controversial NDMA just to monitor its activities. That’s the same organization which the government was cursing after the famous trip of PM Gillani to the fake medical camp at Mianwali. Secondly, NDMA and the idea behind it has nothing wrong in it. In reality, the problem is with its legal status that makes it an illegitimate organization to handle such a critical issue. Thirdly, PM’s decision to bow down in front of provincial pressure is highly unjustified as it is crystal clear that ANP failed to reach the masses even after 2 weeks in KPK, Sindh coalition is highly controversial regarding the way most landlords under its protection intentionally made the locals drown along with their villages while in Balochisatn there wasn’t anyone to even asses the damage. Even the so called highly efficient administration of CM Shahbaz was criticized for its slow response in some parts of the province.
Recently, the government was seen taking pride in mentioning that the damage will only be assessed by the consultants and experts of World Bank and ADB as if this is the most prized jewel in their cap. Learning nothing from history, they forgot that 2005 earth quake funds were swallowed by consultants, experts and pundits of these sectors even before a single brick of reconstruction was laid, and I am afraid that they are going for the same mistake or rather the suicide again.
On the other hand I feel that if we as a nation have failed even the task of assessing the damages, its time to close down the prestigious institutions like NUST, UET, LUMS etc as until now they haven’t produced the brain which fulfills the merit criteria of our present regime.
Lastly, we must be thankful to the international community for raising up to the occasion. Saudi Kingdom has really gone an extra mile with its effort for the flood victims of Pakistan. On the other hand UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon visit was highly commendable as it projected the entire episode in front of the international community. In addition to this we must be thankful to every state which came to our help in this time of need but the way our political forces have behaved so far, they must be thinking twice before lending a hand to us again.
May Allah keep Pakistan away from all the perils.