May 272008

I could not, at any age, be content to take my place by the fireside and simply look on. Life was meant to be lived. Curiosity must be kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life. (Eleanor Roosevelt)
That is perhaps the sole reason that the intellectual, the layman, the ousted judicial system, and the voters are not taking a back seat like always, and letting this government or any other, if and when it comes, take them for a ride that suffocates their better judgement. Accountability is a word marred with suspicion. In a country where the powerful can have their cases swept under a carpet in hours, where does a person who has nothing in his hands except blisters go for justice.
Imran Khan, leader of the Threek-e-Insaf is a thoroughly disliked political figure in the leagues of politicians. There are several reasons for that. One leading one is that he is not a politician. He is a dreamer. Therefore, his existence is a threat to the status quo, the establishment which is used to playing ping pong games in the name of politics. In an interview given to a private channel he blasted the imaginary heads of people whom I feel I need not mention; for the names change, the faces too, but the game remains the same. The question he put across and I restate is this, how much longer can the people of this country survive on false and intolerable speeches of the powerful. If they are that powerful, then why can’t they give us our basic needs? If this is a democratically elected government then why is it so gutless to condemn, for instance, the attack at Bajaur. Tell the United States to back off! This is now a democratically elected government whose leader must have, within him, the strength to stand up to external pressure.
The budget is around the slippery corner once again. It is sheer coincidence that I tuned into another channel this evening and I saw an exclusive interview of Mr Shaukat Aziz, taken when he was here in this country. Looking suave and so convincing, I was perplexed at how God has made man a complex creature, capable of confusing and then convincing everyone that all is well in the state. Mr Aziz is now comfortable in his abode and in far, far away land where our bad vibes will never reach him. I heard he never tunes into anything paki. Good for him. Bad episodes or worse memories are best forgotten. Time heals all wounds and he must have healed by now from the trauma of misleading a nation that was and still is so easy to mislead.
One thief leaves and another takes his/ her place. What a profit making, lucrative place Pakistan must appear to all who endeavour to “rule” it one day. What a bunch of apes we must appear to them, the kind that needs not much to survive and when and if it does realise that it is being fooled and being taken for apes, the rulers can throw this bunch of human lookalikes some nuts to crack their heads against. Interesting, though a little stretched out theory. It is, nonetheless, supported by science and philosophy alike, that you can fool a lot of people at the same time.
Take a look at the results of the extensive investigations of the former prime minister and her family alias Mr Zardari and just assume if they would spend some of that money or our tax money on us!
Budget making is a serious affair, so say the serious minded. For the government and the day the budget is announced all the government needs is the file to read from. The verdict, the package by which many families will contemplate whether to laugh, cry or look away at how this brave government has brought price “X” from rupees 100 to rupees 99.50. Reduction in poverty is also like the post paid packages that I can never understand. The small print hacks you while your head is already whizzing past the details. The government’s claim about reduction in poverty to the extent of 10 points, i.e. from 34 percent of the population to 24 percent, is similarly hardly clear. In fact this would mean almost 33 percent of the people living under the poverty line to cross the poverty line upwards. This means that every year 2-3 percent of the population has moved above poverty line. In aggregate terms this would mean that out of 52 million people living under the poverty line some 13 million have improved their status and got out of the grip of poverty. Did you get that or do you want me to copy and paste that again?
Lastly, for this week, I want to leave you with a new definition of being bamboozled. If you go to YouTube, and write in Pakistan, the video that smiles back at you is of the Chairman Federal Board of Revenue Pakistan, Abdullah Yusuf who is dancing to a song being sung on stage. The evening was held at the Army House, Islamabad which is funded by your taxes. Sir Shaukat Aziz is clapping and eggs on Musharraf to join the insisting Yusuf. And he does…”How can we know the dancer from the dance” (William Butler Yeats).
You cannot because they become one. Ironically the same dancer is now playing his tunes and the parliament is dancing to it. Some Pied Piper, I must say. Whatever the tune, dance you will, and dance you must, for you must pay the price for being alive.

Courtesy: The Nation, 27/5/2008

 Posted by at 7:01 am

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