In my books, the definition of a failed state is not how experts on the subject usually describe it. A state is what its leaders and nation make it. Regretfully, Pakistan’s dynastic political leadership has not only been corrupt to the core, but can be held culpable of high treason because of acts that have served (and continue to serve) personal and not national interest.

The other half of the equation that makes a country great is its people. Here too we have been wanting, for the ‘Land of the Pure’ is overpopulated with those who are blind, deaf and dishonourable. If not, then why was a young woman attempting to take out a huge stash of dollars and consequently arrested at an airport, allowed to leave our shores after months of court appearances? Why was the ‘good doctor’ accused of gross corruption and ‘financial terrorism’ granted bail, in spite of a confessional statement and (in a familiar setting) repeated court hearings? Why is a minister of religious affairs now on the loose, in the face of evidence that challenges his innocence? Why on earth should a provincial minister accused of gross criminal corruption, return home to move around triumphantly? Why is a controversial political genius, who openly threatened the army and then fled the country, being discreetly coddled in a show of gross political vulgarity? Why aren’t the real culprits (no matter what their status) and not scapegoats, being booked and tried for committing a serious ‘breach of security’?

It is disappointing to see the people’s gullibility, naiveté and foolish persistence in singing songs (and in some cases even dancing) in praise of corrupt (and inept) rulers and the feeling does not subside, when I am told that the crowd one sees on television has been ‘hired’, because this is not so. The proof of this lies in a recent encounter, where a perfectly groomed and educated middle aged lady steered me into a political discussion concerning a certain ruling bigwig and at the end of it all stomped away in a ‘huff’, with words that whatever the evidence, she and her family would continue voting for him. Psychologists would perhaps term this grand exit as a form of ‘capitulation’, but I look upon it as symptomatic of a sick society, whose members refuse to ‘look the truth in the eye’.

The other day an ex-member of the ‘singing quartet’ (now sitting as the symbol of the Federation in our Southern Province) spoke to the Press and most loyally maintained his image as a ‘song bird’. His comments on the former Army Chief were reflective of the inferiority complex that plagues him and his political colleagues. A friend summed up the press conference in an enviable and succinct manner thus, “The person addressing the press projected himself as a small man with delusions of greatness. He exposed himself even more by commenting on a giant that towered high above the rest, through sterling and unmatched qualities of leadership”.

It appears that a large part of our nation has either lost the ability to think for itself or is suffering from a cognisance problem of delusionary proportions, requiring immediate and aggressive treatment. Ironically enough, this treatment is now within our grasp as we wait for the historic verdict of the Panama Papers case, which holds the destiny of future generations in its hands.

There is nonetheless a great silence or more aptly a ‘pregnant silence’ that hangs over the Federal Capital these days. The ‘singing quartet’ has gone into hibernation and so have the VVIPs in a relative manner of speaking. Is this a portent of things to come, is a notion that would fall in the realm of sensational speculation, but if it is the ‘calm before the storm’, then this is one storm that may turn out to be monumental in nature. A storm that will set the ‘Ship of the State’ in the right direction or push it towards a destination, where there is nothing, but a dark and deadly maelstrom.