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Tuesday Jun 05 2018

Where are we headed?

Chal chal Bulleya chal uthay chaliye jithay saare aney” (Let’s go to a place where everyone is blind) — Sufi poet and philosopher Bulleh Shah

It started with a feeling, a wish. Muslims living in the subcontinent wanted a separate homeland. That feeling then became a movement. The movement got a leader, Quaid-e-Azam. He burned mid-night oil and worked strenuously to make Pakistan a reality.

Pakistan was born with few resources and a wobbly footing. But luckily, an honest leadership put it on the right track. Those were the times when the country’s state institutions were boasted about world over, such as the Pakistan International Airlines — when the corrupt were looked down upon.

In the 1980s, the dark ages set in. General Zia-ul-Haq, a military dictator who usurped power, looked the other way as corruption, malpractices, and nepotism seeped in. A little something on the side was no longer a big deal. Soon, it colored the public perception. Nowadays, it is difficult to believe that a politician or a bureaucrat can be honest, even if they are.

Those in power are routinely seen living in palatial houses and riding with a fleet of vehicles. As they zoom past, the chatter begins. “That was not his lifestyle a few years ago.” So the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), tasked to track down corruption, steps in to have a look. But before the files open, the blame-game begins. Cries of political victimisation can be heard from every rally and every office.

These words by Bulleh Shah, an 18th-century poet, seem to foretell Pakistan’s future: “Chal chal Bulleya chal uthay chaliye jithay saare aney.”

The news making it to headlines these days is regarding former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who has an underway corruption probe against him in the accountability court. He maintains that he does not know the source of the money his sons used to purchase properties in London. Even though, as has been repeatedly pointed out, his sons at the time had just entered adulthood. 

Then there is Asif Ali Zardari’s Surrey Mansion or the Bilawal House in Lahore, which some claim is a gift, while others claim was a purchase.

Where are we today? Our state institutions like Pakistan Steel Mills are struggling to survive, while our political elite are moving in and out of accountability hearings. 

Thousands of cases are pending in the courts, and even more people are waiting on justice to arrive. Meanwhile, the Parliament, which should be making laws, is instead a fertile ground to trade vile and below-the-belt accusations.

Have we all closed our eyes to tomorrow?

- Ansari is Geo News' Lahore Bureau Chief

Note: The views expressed in the article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Geo News or the Jang Group.


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