Now that, hopefully, general elections are upon us, all parties are vehemently making claims about their supposedly spotless conduct in politics. Even the blatantly corrupt PPP is white washing all its very public scandals. They talk about the largest begging bowl handed to the poor in Pakistan, the Benazir Income Program, with pride. They talk of their honesty and the completion of five years of democracy as their strength and their popularity. With a country where 70 percent people are illiterate, what kind of democracy is being practiced? However, the problem with illiterate societies is that their herd-instinct, fanaticism, and fatalism are highly developed and it is easy to exploit those as weaknesses by bombarding them with constant propaganda of false claims.

We will continue to suffer dire circumstances unless the constitution is changed to include a binding clause making education compulsory for children between the ages of 6 to 16 years. But the truth of the matter is that a government of the establishment is never obligated to the people and will always stick to the status quo and would like to keep the people ignorant, while the elected government whatever its faults will sooner or later be forced to adopt this essential measure. In the meantime, without the common man possessing the power of critical thinking, it can only be safely assumed that the coming elections will be a contest of candidates’ skills of trickery rather than any actual plans of progress for the people. In the Punjab, the incumbent government seems to have already succeeded in painting its administration as the cleanest since independence. But the ground reality negates the claims.

DEEN MOHAMMAD,

Muzaffargarh, January 9.