Seventy-years have gone by. Unprecedented travails have come into the way of this nation, not from any adversaries or nemesis but from its kith and kin. The betrayal has come from its blood. The stabbing in the back was an act of its people. Today the spectacle at the Grand Trunk Road, where Nawaz Sharif the former prime minister of Pakistan is trying to show his street power in the backdrop of loads of corruption charges against him is a moment of remorse and repentance. But who cares.

The 70 per cent population living in abject poverty, need what, a handful of rice and an equal amount of sauce to fill their tummy. A plain mattress is enough for them to spend one more night of their lives. A sack of wheat is what they need to endure the hardship that never seems to end for them. Education, health, and self-esteem are not for them to yearn for. If they do, let them bask in the dream, it is for the leaders, the likes of Nawaz, Zardari, Altaf, and Afsandyar to decide what these two-legged creatures deserve. Let them dream, whatever they may want; it is on the political parties to determine who would get what share of this country’s wealth. We the seventy per cent are bonded labours. Toiling to generate taxes for the 20 per cent of which the 18 per cent neither pay taxes nor bother to share their wealth with the rest. These tax evaders in the garb of businessmen and agriculturists nourish the 2 per cent sitting as the ruling elite—-the owner of the Mayfair flats, the owners of large airlines, the owners of sky rise buildings in Dubai. The fate of this 70 years old country is hitched to the plight of the 70 per cent, and both are living in misery, at the mercy of the bloodsuckers.

Nawaz Sharif is asking why he had been expelled from the Prime Minister Office. He is asking why he had been targeted for the third time, for no reason. He is making a case that he was removed because he had almost brought the country out of darkness. His reference is to load shedding, that still, persists with an abysmal record of 16 hours a day in urban areas. As far as the countryside is concerned, the two-legged creatures hardly get the chance to appreciate any light. Load shedding is a way of life for them. Seventy-years down the road and the country has no single institution, which can be claimed as organised, except the armed forces. Every institution is serving the personal interest of the political leaders in the power circle. The senior most judge of the highest court of justice down the junior clerk in the land revenue department, uses the wisdom passed over to them, by the established and not very established governments, to perform and justify their jobs. System specification is not the form followed.

It is one thing to be organised; it is another to be sincere with the country. It is one thing to be security conscious; it is another to secure the country from both indigenous and exogenous threats. It is one thing to be nationalist; it is another to understand that nationalism means being on guard to one’s conscience first. Pakistan’s army may have been the most organised institution of the country and may have protected the country from getting disintegrated any further after 1971, but the onus of letting the bloodsuckers in society make this nation anaemic falls on them as well. If the idea had actually been to take out the corrupt politicians and amend the system, it should not have been difficult. But if the idea had been to consolidate one’s forte by keeping other institutions weak, and using corruption as an instrument of arm twisting, then we cannot say that accountability has been rolled out. The least one could say is that accountability has been surrogated to have the baby of one’s liking.

The surprising thing is that this country has survived all these seventy-years, in spite, of having leaders like Altaf Husain, who wrecked havoc with Karachi. Who had the liberty to kill and maim anyone he liked, sitting in London? Who had the guts to partner General like Musharraf for ten years while he was the president of Pakistan. The country survived under the shadow of Zardari who had no interest in freeing the country of terrorism. His interest was to complete five years in office as the president of this country, and surely he did. Better than many prime ministers, in fact, all prime ministers who could only dream of staying in office their full term. Nawaz had total belief in his capacity this time, and after a handpicked Chief of Army Staff, and a somewhat toned down team of Corp Commanders (to his imagination), he had thought of sailing the usual choppy waters of Pakistan’s politics, safe this time around. It was not to be. Eventually the sword of accountability took him out. From what the Joint Investigation Team had gathered there is no doubt, though, that the Sharif’s have amassed excessive wealth. To their chagrin they could not prove the sources of this loads of capital, hence the ouster. The question is, with the exit of Nawaz Sharif, have we started the journey to a corruption free Pakistan.

Seventy-years and accountability have not even dressed up properly leave alone make any impression. The Election Reforms Committee of Parliament has presented its report on election reforms in the National Assembly for turning it into law. Elections do matter in Pakistan. Elections in the last seventy-years have been the source of every evil. The Election Commission has been tied down to the whims of the political parties, operating more as fiefdoms. Election rigging has become the bane of this country’s legal order. The winner celebrates while the losers cry hoarse. All these seventy-years we have not been able to have a clear leadership who could see to it that a rigged free elections are held. This country has produced only saviours of powers not regulators of it.

Seventy-years on we are struggling to find a clean leadership. Seventy-years on we are throwing one government after another in search of patriotic leadership. Seventy-years on we have not developed any system that would exterminate the harmful elements and retain the good one. Seventy-years on the ruling elite, call it establishment or the government or the judiciary, have hoodwinked the nation in the name of creating a better Pakistan. Seventy-years on, the country has been usurped, by its intelligentsia and thinking minds holding on to the ladders of power.

Let’s see what Raza Rabbani’s proposal to strengthen institutions through discussion among the army, judiciary and government brings out. Fingers are crossed!


The writer is a freelance journalist based in Lahore.