Hum Awam

Hamid Maker

Some time back, I had been invited to a panel discussion to discuss the important issue of Governance and other citizen related problems, including consumer protection.

The group had decided to discuss the issue of Good Governance and the three main pillars that support it, the Executive, Legislature and the Judiciary. There was a consensus that from the very beginning, both the Executive and the Parliament have not fulfilled their constitutional obligations to the Awam and in fact they have betrayed the trust of the citizens.

Even the judiciary had come under criticism, as we felt that the Supreme Court had focused on high profile cases and failed to take any positive action to ensure that affordable and quick justice is available to the Awam, as justice delayed, is justice denied. It had also failed to reduce the corruption in the lower courts and improve their functioning.

The immunity to the President and PM was also discussed from a legal and moral point of view and once again, the consensus was that under the Islamic law, the concept of immunity did not exist and according to Article 5 of the constitution, the law is equal for everyone and does not discriminate between the elite and the poor.  All are accountable to the law of the country, so why should the Heads of State be exempted? We all agreed that it was also the moral obligation of the PM to set an example and present himself to the SC and prove his innocence.

As President John F. Kennedy had stated, “A government that is afraid to let its people judge the truth, is a government that is afraid of its people. If we, as elected officials, do not take action to establish transparent, accountable and ethical standards and continue to let the house of government crumble on shaky pillars, then we are not living up to our oath of office”.

Unfortunately, in Pakistan, the ‘one law for you and one law for me’ mindset of the rich and the powerful has destroyed the very essence of Good Governance and the Rule of Law.

The 5% of the privileged, which includes the feudal, the armed forces, the VIPs and the rich and the famous, consider themselves to be The Untouchables and have no respect for the laws of the country. While the balance 95% of the over 200 million Pakistanis are the ones who are held accountable at every stage and yet have no say in the destiny of this nation nor enjoy any privileges of being a citizen.

The emergence of Imran Khan in our political arena, as the new challenger and his promise for accountability and change, has given the Awam some hope, as the Awam is disappointed and disillusioned with PPP’s false promises and its old mantra of Roti-Kapra-Makan has now become a joke. PML-N and the other political parties have also lost their credibility. As such, they want change and IK seems to be their best bet.

But even The Great Khan is creating doubts among the Awam, with his confusing statements on the rights of women and mixed signals about his stand on the Taliban issue. His promise of the coming tsunami and of establishing an Islamic Welfare State is very appealing to the Awam, but then, even our past leaders, both civil and military, have been promising us a bright and rosy picture, but have never been able to deliver.  Many a Pakistani leader has fallen victim at the hands of the elusive, dangerous and ruthless Hidden Hands and their Puppet Masters, who use the Awam’s money to make and break leaders, unleash hired assassins and killers to spread terror in the land and manipulate the destiny of this nation and its 180 million citizens.

So, is our Knight in Shining Armor ready for the greatest match and challenge of his life? Is he and his ‘Shadow Government’ ready to come out of the shadows and travel down the treacherous and bumpy road of governance, which is full of mine fields, snipers and deadly hand grenades?

We all know that one has to be thick-skinned in Pakistan’s politics, so the question that the Awam is asking is, will our former cricket star be able to handle the Palace Intrigues and the ‘Muk-Muka and Dirty Politics’ that is played in the corridors of power? Will he be able to handle the horse-trading, the betrayal and the disappointments that are part of politics in this country?

Can IK and his Clean Team break the stranglehold of the established and seasoned politicians and establish the rule of law, across the board and zero tolerance accountability?

Can he and his government kill the octopus of corruption that spread its tentacles throughout government and society and change the destiny of this nation and genuinely establish the clarion call of ‘Pakistanis First’ against such odds?

And will he be able to change the ugly face of our ‘Beloved Awam’, as shown in the Oscar winning documentary ‘Saving Face’ by the young, talented and charming Sharmeen Chinoy, who has made the nation proud by winning the prestigious award?

This, dear Awam is what we are up against and unless there is a complete change in the mindset of the nation, change cannot come.

Therefore we, The Awam, must change ourselves first and break our silence of the lambs and demand change, for without this, there can be no light at the end of the tunnel.



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