Unconstitutional Aid

Recent weeks have seen the visit of the Chief Justice of Pakistan to a Hospital, and the visit of the Army Chief to his hometown. Neither would be remarkable, were it not for the undercurrent that accompanied both visits. While the Chief Justice vowed to see better healthcare provided to the masses, the Army Chief announced a new stadium for his home town, as well as the building of infrastructure.

While our elected governments, including the present one, have failures aplenty, it is also lamentably true that the authority and ability to govern must remain with them. Constitutionally, as well as in the interest of drawing clear lines of responsibility, it should not be necessary or advisable for a Chief Justice, or Army Chief to promise, or provide such relief measures to the ordinary public. While this may seem a cruel recommendation, it is not. It is the necessary requirement to avoid providing unelected persons the temptation to pitch to the public. Unelected persons at key and sensitive posts are unelected precisely because their decision making must be blind to public acclaim or censure. Theirs is a duty to the state, and not to any one region, or to any unserviced sector.

The burden of providing infrastructure, development, and answering for the lack of it, is that of the elected government. Unless we actually hold elected officials accountable for such failures, their election will simply continue to be on the basis of sect and tribe. And if that continues to be so, unelected officials will turn their gaze away from their responsibilities and towards those of the governments that it in its ineptitude is failing to fulfil.

The problems faced by Pakistanis are so vast that no one man or one institution can fix them. It will take a joint effort, to pull together, and turn one’s eyes away from criticising each other. Instead we must realise that Pakistan is the sum of many imperfect institutions and processes, all of which need correction with humility. For any of us to lay the blame for the failure to realise Quaid’s vision on any one institution, is to be short sighted in the extreme. Maturity demands that we all own up to our failures, and fix our own, rather than highlighting those of any other department. Such an attitude will breed positivity and respect, rather than criticism and resentment.


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