Jun 022008

The two political leaders running things today in spite of what charitably might be called a chequered past have also gone through considerable personal suffering. Therefore it is possible that they might also be looking for redemption

It would be easy to write a thousand words decrying the state of affairs in Pakistan; bemoaning, begrudging and kvetching about the ineffectuality of the political leadership thrown up by the elections a few months ago. I could choose one particular leader or his party and make it the object of my unmitigated ire. Fortunately for me, I find it extremely hard to stay in a state of unmitigated ire for too long. And even when I try to do so, after a while I start feeling a little foolish.

The one thing that does sadden me tremendously is the fact that from our present political pantheon is missing the one woman that might have lent some real class to what is going on. That said, I have always felt that politicians, leaders or followers are human like the rest of us. To expect of them what we do not expect from ourselves is being unreasonable in the extreme.

Before I go any further I also must admit that my knowledge of what really goes on in this country is entirely limited to what I read in the press or on the internet. I am not even remotely related to any politician of consequence, past or present and include not a single member of our brave armed forces as a close relative or friend. Therefore I have never been able to quote any ‘reliable’ sources for any remarks I might have made in these columns.

I must however admit that I do know a politician or two and I use that word advisedly. After discussing politics with them I am always impressed by their total lack of insight into what is going on in the country and so far every prediction made by them about what might happen has come to the proverbial naught. Now when I wish to know for sure what is not going to happen I do go and talk to them to find out what they think will happen.

This brings me to the burning question, what gives me the right to comment about politics or for that matter much of anything else? The answer is, of course, a resounding nothing! However I have lived a reasonably long life and have had a chance to observe the human condition. Another admission is in order about now: by Pakistani standards the life I have led is probably fruitless, mangoes notwithstanding.

But — and yes there is always a but in there somewhere — I believe that most people under the right circumstances will do their best to do the right thing. And, I also believe in redemption. The reason why I bring this up is because the two political leaders running things today in spite of what charitably might be called a chequered past have also gone through considerable personal suffering. Therefore it is possible that they might also be looking for redemption.

If indeed the two leaders of the two biggest parties are looking for redemption and wish to do the right thing for the country then perhaps, just perhaps, Pakistan might see better days ahead. The problem here is of course that neither one of them is a Mother Teresa or a Nelson Mandela in the making. As I said earlier, they are ordinary human beings like the rest of us and are wrestling with their own demons as they try and figure things out.

More importantly, what they wish to do for the country might not be quite the same thing that the pundits of the media, second stringers in their political parties and assorted self-styled leaders of public opinion might think is the right thing for them to do. In my ever so humble opinion these two men are probably doing the best under rather difficult circumstances and as I have said before, the ordinary people of Pakistan are evidently quite willing to cut them some slack and give them time to figure things out.

There is one political observation that I would like to make. It is entirely inconceivable to me that when Mr Nawaz Sharif and Mr Asif Ali Zardari decided to align their two parties at the centre and in the Punjab, they did not first arrive at a firm agreement on something as important as the judges issue. Based upon this assumption, I can postulate that the judges issue will in time be resolved and that also by the mutual support of both these gentlemen.

Another point that I wish to make is that both Zardari and Nawaz are showing remarkable restraint and have not yet said anything against one another. This again suggests that I am not entirely incorrect in my assumption stated above. However it is indeed sad to see that at a lower level, it is not reconciliation and restraint but rather revenge that seems to be the driving force behind most decisions.

I do not know much about other departments but at least in the little part of the world that I am involved in, things have changed abruptly and perhaps necessarily not all for the better. King Edward Medical University lost its Vice Chancellor and former principal, who had run the institution for almost a decade. It major affiliate, Mayo Hospital, lost its Medical Superintendent who had run the hospital for five years. I realise that no one person is indispensable but I do believe that policies must have some continuity.

In Mayo Hospital, a policy of free treatment to all general patients was in place. Now this policy is in limbo, and the new administrators do not have the political will to make a decision about it. Perhaps the Government of Punjab should make a quick decision about whether patients in Mayo Hospital will still be offered free treatment or not. Otherwise in a matter of weeks this hospital will end up in total chaos.

Syed Mansoor Hussain has practised and taught medicine in the US. He can be reached at smhmbbs70@yahoo.com

Courtesy: Daily Times, 2/6/2008

 Posted by at 9:42 am

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