Will Pakistan always be ruled by crooks? The present government has been responsible for the escalating prices of all foodstuffs including sugar. Our ministers are suspected to have resorted to hoarding of sugar and wheat, and we know how Pakistan Steel’s privatization was so much against the national interest that the Supreme Court was compelled to reverse it. So why should we be surprised that this cabinet has decided to withdraw corruption cases against Benazir Bhutto and all others who have looted the national exchequer? In fact, I know they will applaud if Benazir Bhutto wears the famous one hundred and fifty thousand dollar necklace when she returns to power, and her husband gets to keep his palace in Surrey as well as all the loot in offshore bank accounts.
Why do we have such corrupt politicians? And why don’t we have the will to confront them? Is it because they have the power to eliminate anyone who dares to challenge them? Someone asked me why, if this government is so bad, people don’t come out on the streets to protest, as they did in the dying days of Ayub Khan’s regime and when Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto had become unpopular. The answer is that this government has allied itself with those who have street power, those parties which can mobilize their activists to disrupt normal life. These same parties have been in power for the last five years and have collected enough loot to spend on buying votes and rigging elections. If this is what democracy means, we’re better off without it.