Hamid Maker -

For the last two decades, we have been aware that Pakistan has been travelling down the river of “no return” without a paddle, heading for the Niagara Falls and the rocks below.

At the same time, senior and respected local and foreign political pundits have been predicting that in the due course, the country will end up as failed state.

Leading televisions, newspapers, politicians, retired bureaucrats and citizens concerned have been ringing alarm bells about the increasing corruption, lack of accountability, mismanagement, deteriorating law and order, failure of the enforcement of the rule of law, social injustices etc on a regular basis.

They have all realised that the country is heading towards a disaster and if an appropriate action is not taken soon, there is a grave risk that the Taliban will be on the prowl again, instigating a revolution with the help of the frustrated and angry Awam, who have been betrayed by both, the military and civilian governments time and time again.

In September 2008, Peter Preston of The Guardian had written an article, “A Doomed Presidency”. He states, “This president isn’t a politician. He is a businessman, who’s been haplessly entangled in too much monkey business over the years. He vows to fight against the Taliban and defend US interests, even when they include US special forces staging bloody raids inside Pakistan’s borders.”

“He promises to put right a broken, increasingly beleaguered economy, and to spend another $15 billion of American aid wisely and well. But what comes next will be failure, unpopularity and a new tide of sleaze allegations.”

“A year or two down the line, the men in braid will sense an opportunity and mount another coup. Washington, glad to have the military back at the top, will find another $ 15 billion. The army will buy more guns and feed more of its private bank accounts. The looting of Pakistan’s hope and Pakistan’s future will proceed on schedule.”

At the same time, according to MK Bhadrakumar, a former Indian diplomat, who served in Islamabad, Kabul, Tashkent and Moscow, stated that “the CIA is instigating a mutiny in the Pakistani army”.

Fact or fiction, only time will tell, but four years down the line, the above prediction has proven wrong, as the President, Prime Minister and all the kings men and women seem to be firmly in the saddle, confident of completing their term and even coming back to govern the country for another five years.

And in contrast, Seth Kaplan, who had chaired a working group on State Building in Pakistan during the 2011 Global Economic Symposium, has written in his article, ‘Pakistan, a more optimistic view’: “In my recent visit to Pakistan, I saw an emerging vibrant, rekindling and promising Pakistan on individual and collective scale. It has a number of important assets that contributed to its former success in attracting investment, including an able pool of professionals, an enterprising business community, a significant industrial base and a modern banking system”.

“It is a very investor-friendly country in terms of regulations and its low wages, strategic location, and large domestic market, offer an abundance of opportunities for investment and trade. There are only two entities that are desperately attempting to undo Pakistan: ‘mullahs’ in the name of Islam and greedy leaders in the name of democracy. Pakistan can be a leading Asian country without both of them. The rural economy is experiencing a boom from high commodity prices.”

While according to a recent survey, Pakistanis are rated the 4th most intelligent citizens in the world and is included on Goldman Sachs’ list of the next eleven most important emerging markets. Therefore, it is not all doom and gloom. We have two very conflicting views and have the potential to pull ourselves out of the quicksand, which is pulling us down to its dark depths. The question is who the leader that can achieve this miracle?

Will Imran Khan, with his growing popularity, be able to harness the great potential that the country has, and make Jinnah’s dream a reality? Will his team of ‘Mr Cleans’, who have now been joined by the young and dynamic Asad Omer, former head of Engro, achieve this transformation, if they win the next election?

However, the reality at home has been exposed by our electronic media, which has done a commendable job in bringing real time suffering and horror stories to our homes. But the government seems to be living in a world of its own, refusing to take heed and read the writing on the wall. Instead, it seems to be hell bent on defying and challenging the Supreme Court orders and deliberately creating a crisis, which will force the apex court to take extreme action. Unfortunately, the three important pillars of the State, the executive, legislature and judiciary have been working at cross-purposes with each other, resulting in confusion and uncertainty.

Both the executive and legislature have been challenging the authority of the Supreme Court, claiming that parliament is supreme, while the judiciary insinuates that it is the law of the country that is supreme and no one is above the law.

And this tug of war between the three pillars has reflected badly on the credibility of the judiciary and is beginning to erode the confidence of the people in the justice system.

The citizens are perplexed by the reluctance of the Supreme Court to take decisive action against the contempt of the court by the premier and the blatant flouting of its orders.

The failure of the SC to enforce the rule of law against the government has triggered wild speculation and there are rumours and stories galore of the role of hidden hands and puppet masters of the country in manipulating all this confusion and uncertainty.

Meanwhile, Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, the legal eagle representing the PM has done a commendable job in defending his client and drawing a smokescreen in the court with his mumbo-jumbo and quoting international laws in his arguments.

How long will these delaying tactics last is not clear, but sooner or later, the honourable judges are bound to lose their patience and take decisive action according to law and prove that no one is above the law.

As for whom the bell tolls? I leave that for you to decide, but remember, as Shakespeare had written: “The fault is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings”.

(Email: trust@helplinetrust.org).