Pakistan Politics: Raza’s rickety logic, Dar’s dire omens, Fehmida’s covert committee!

By Mohammad Malick

ISLAMABAD: It’s a tough call to decide whether to first lampoon Senator Nisar Memon for having the cheek to chastise the government for not acting tough enough with the Americans (of all the people) or to rip apart Raza Rabbani’s convoluted logic of burning Musharraf at the stake for even contemplating political activism, while otherwise all his sins — both real and imaginary — stand pardoned. Come to think of it, friends always have a priority, so let’s open up with our dear old Raza.

Responding to Nisar Memon’s opening speech in the Senate debate on President’s Sept 20th address to the joint parliamentary session, Raza spoke eloquently and from the heart and impressive as ever. He castigated Memon for a speech that was indeed full of contradictions and a painfully obvious crude twist on facts but then almost at the end of an otherwise wonderful discourse Raza somehow lost it. Irked by Memon’s tacit suggestion of PPP’s covert involvement in the ongoing leadership change tussle in PML-Q ranks and clearly ticked off by the talk of a possible future political role for General Musharraf, Senator Raza thundered, “If he is even thinking about entering in politics then he should be ready to face the consequences of his crimes against the Constitution, against the country, against the people and he shall also face the two-year ban.”

So what was Raza telling us here? That as long Musharraf does not create any political inconveniences for the government he has all the freedom to walk away from the long list of crimes, as put by Raza himself? That crimes are no crimes as long the perpetuator does not create any hassle for those in power? That Musharraf is kosher if he stays apolitical but would be evil reincarnated if he wants to do politics? What hogwash! In any civilized society, a man is either guilty or innocent but never conditionally guilty. It’s obvious that the government did not have the stomach to prosecute the former president (for whatever reasons), so now it should have the grace to refrain from such jocular threats. By doing so it only ends up mocking itself with such remarks ringing hollow. Just like the earlier adopted resolution condemning the ongoing US drone attacks inside Pakistan. Who are we trying to fool here?

However, I must admit that I enjoyed the latest sobriquet that Raza carved out for Mr Memon. It goes like this, “A foreign multinational MD-turned dictator spokesman-turned new-born revolutionary.” Now that must have hurt, right Senator Memon? But before moving on, I have to share the evening’s other gold-nugget of a logic, and no, this one is not from Raza. It actually came from Senator Memon. As we all know Senator Memon is a bit of an emotional type and prone to getting carried away by his own hyperbole at times and today was no different. During one of the high points of his outburst while shafting the government for cosying up too much with the Indians (first it was the Yank’s remember) came the pearl of wisdom when he warned that Indian agents can come into the country with goods. Of course, why didn’t we think of it? We could have RAW agents swarm the country disguised as fruit merchants, or walk straight in carrying tomatoes over their heads. Oh, for Pete’s sake or on a second thought for IBM’s sake Senator Memon please give us a break. You are a likeable jolly chap but this is a bit too much even by your own standards of logic.

But you can trust Senator Ishaq Dar for making sense most of the time and today was no different either. In his speech, he elaborated exhaustively upon fiscal statistics and financial realities, which I am not repeating here as they have been discussed threadbare many a times before, but what was the new alarming fact was his insistence that even if US $2 daily wage capacity was taken as the poverty line denominator and not the US $1 as was done in the past, even then now almost 70 per cent of Pakistan’s population had been pushed under the poverty line. It is almost a twofold increase over the previous accepted crazy figure of 40 per cent. The real thrust of his speech however was on two things: brewing up a home-made indigenous economic brew to cure our ills and to avoid IMF assistance like a plague. Recalling his own experiences as a former federal finance minister, he passionately argued that the IMF was working in cahoots with the CIA and others in a not-so-hidden agenda of making Pakistan another Yugoslavia. As he pointed out an economic crisis sired a breakdown of civilian structures leading to Yugoslavia’s ultimate breakup. And to think that Yugoslavia only had problems like economic crisis and a subsequent civil war while we also have the added destabilizing terrorism factor thrown in.

Then quoting a senior Japanese World Bank functionary, he said years ago when asked to point out Pakistan’s three biggest problems, she had replied, “Implementation, implementation, implementation.” Oh, how it rings so true and familiar even today. When it comes to making a wish list, nobody can create a grander vision. When it comes to making plans, no one can do it faster than or as elaborate as we can. But when it comes to the actual execution and implementation then few other nations make such a perfect hash as us. Thanks to the crippling combination of the presence of a capacity crisis and the absence of sincerity of purpose, which is needed the most at this critical juncture of our existence.

Senator Dar wasn’t wrong when he pointed out that parliament had achieved a historic milestone in adopting a consensus approach towards tackling the terrorism issue but once again we are wavering on the implementation bit here. We know the speaker is a busy woman but she simply has to find time to quickly invite all parliamentary party heads to immediately nominate members to the announced oversight committee so that it can get cracking with the objective of framing the policy and ensuring its proper implementation. The terrorism scourge is taking a deadly toll, both of life and limb of the citizens but is also choking our economic jugular. The government needs to quickly formulate a clear cut economic war plan and ensure its rigorous implementation. A similar implementation needs to be done on the fronts like energy and agriculture. Our strength lies in our agriculture all that’s needed is the due implementation of the right policies. In other words, we either implement now, or lament forever.

Source: The News, 28/10/2008

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