In 1729, Edmund Burke, an Irish Statesman, had written, ‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing.’
And because good men have done nothing and remained silent, we are seeing evil triumph in many developing countries, especially the African continent.
The abduction of over three hundred young female students, kidnapped in Nigeria by the radical, Boko Haram and then being threatened to be sold into slavery, is a sad example of how evil has triumphed, when the government, its judiciary and its citizens abdicate their responsibilities and allow a handful of men to sow the seeds of terror and corruption in the system of governance.
Abductions, rampant corruption bad governance, lack of enforcement of laws, etc. is common, not only in Nigeria, but all over the African continent. This is also true in the Indian Subcontinent and many South East Asian countries.
And this Tragedy of Horrors has also being played on our National Stage for the last decade, while we watch helplessly. We have been living on the edge and the dark clouds of doom and gloom have been hanging over us, waiting to unleash their deadly load, for five decades and yet we have remained in a state of denial and refuse to read the writing on the wall and go about our daily lives, as if everything is OK and we have nothing to worry about.
We celebrate Independence Days, National holidays and all the holidays under the sun with the usual ‘zeal and vigor’, with flag waving, patriotic songs and parades, forgetting that almost 80% of the people are living in abject poverty and are simply struggling to survive.
We have been betrayed and deceived by our ‘Self Above All’ leaders, both civilian and military, for the last 64 years and except for the first few years, the governments that have followed, did not have the wisdom nor the acumen to govern this divided, troubled and unstable country.
The Rule of Law has been replaced by the law of the jungle, where Might Is Right, crime is rampant, terrorists strike at will, fueling political, ethnic and sectarian tensions and violence, while arson, targeted killings and suicide bombings have become our way of life.
A turf war amongst various Dons has been going on in certain parts of our city and yet the government and its LEAs are unable to take appropriate action, making life in the city a nightmare. The victims of these terrible tragedies watch in horrified silence, while the police stand by and fail to perform their duty. In many crimes, are the perpetrators themselves.
This sorry tale was emphasized in the following poignant email I received from Ayesha Islam: ‘66 Years ago a nation was searching for a piece of land. Now a piece of land is searching for a lost nation. It did not happen because of the bad and corrupt ones, it happened due to the silence and shedding away the responsibility by the good ones. May Allah bestow upon us the true wisdom and guidance to correct ourselves first and then give us strength and courage to correct others. Amen.’
At the end of the day, we cannot help, but ask ourselves, what went wrong and what ails Quaid’s Pakistan? Who is responsible for this sorry mess, the corrupt leaders or the Silent Majority?
The Nawaz Sharif government claims that it won the elections ‘with a heavy mandate’, which is now being challenged by many opposition parties and had promised their loyal supporters that all their problems would be solved within three months, including an end to load shedding, but now they shamelessly say, five years, with a possibility of an extension.
The PM has also promised that the government would provide them with jobs and petrol and electricity at affordable prices and fulfill the unfulfilled Bhutto promise of providing 'Roti, Kapra aur Makan' to the masses. Instead, there has been a massive increase in the price of electricity, petrol and daily essential items.
The question on the mind of every liberal Pakistani is, where do we go from here? The writing has been on the wall for the last six decades, but now we have reached a ‘Do or Die’ situation.
For the first time in the history of this strife torn city, the PM and all the King’s Men, including former President, COAS, head of ISI and other spook agencies, declared that failure was not an option and pledged that the LEAs would be given a free hand to take action against all those responsible for the violence and crime in this bleeding city and there would be no political interference from any political leader or any party.
One can only hope that this time Operation Clean UP will succeed and cleanse this crime infested city and restore it to its past glory, when it was truly a City of Lights.
Agitation against the government has already started and as my old friend, Inam Khawaja, has pointed out, PTI staged a public meeting in Islamabad on May 11th, making demands for electoral reforms, re-examination of votes cast in four seats in which PTI lost and punishment of the returning officers, if found guilty. PTI also announced to continue agitations till their demands are met.
While Tahir ul Qadri of PAT, declared through a video-link, that it is incumbent upon the people of Pakistan to change the existing system through a revolution. To make matter worse, in the matter of issuance of NICOP and Passport, an MQM senator threatened to shut down Karachi for a year, followed by an ominous warning from its leader, through the usual telephone message from London.
In the good old days of Edmund Burke, these learned and distinguished gentlemen did not have the luxury or the facility to convey their messages through the internet or address the public through a telephone or video link.
They have to work hard and long to launch a revolution and bring about a change in government, the recent examples being Egypt and Thailand, where the citizens have come out in their thousands to demand CHANGE.
If our absentee leaders think that they can launch a revolution or bring a change in government while sitting thousands of miles away, then they are sadly mistaken and only fooling the public. Therefore, it is time for civil society to demand an end to this charade.
Until then, stay safe, as we are in for sizzling hot summer, without water and electricity.
Hamid Maker. (email: firstname.lastname@example.org).