Leadership CRISIS

A look into election compaign for by-election in NA 55 Rawalpindi gives an insight into the political mindset of our politicians and the deepening leadership crisis in the country. The ruling party in Punjab vacated the seat, setting high standards of morality that a person involved in fraud cannot deserve a seat to national assembly. Why is this that such high standards are only laid down for ordinary party workers and not for the hereditary top leadership of the same? Had Ch Nisar Ali khan been found in the same case, how would the party have reacted? And right now, what are they compaigning for? Votes once again votes from the same people whom they let down before Sheikh Rasheed more than once during past two years?

People's party didn't send their candidate even. The ambiguity is so much there that even party leadership doesn't know whether this has been done to support PMLN or to support Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad against them. The remnants of Musharraf are again poking their ugly heads in the form of AML PMLQ PPPP silent coalition.

Imran Khan has nominated Ijaz Khan, the man who got 136 votes as an independant candidate in previous elections. What a crisis. Leadership crisis. In addition to sugar, flour, electricity, gas, petrol and other countless crises, we have crisis of leadership at its peak now. I heard them compaigning, saying that members of larger parties are afraid of leaders, leaders are afraid of America, no one is afraid of Almighty Allah. And these words were said by none other than Sheikh Rashid Ahmad.

Imran Khan has been a ray of hope for the people. He has refused to the agencies-funded politics and claims a vision for the masses. While he is not currept and seems quite clean as a politician, even he has failed to fill the gap. He speaks of problems faced by common people but in 15 years of his existance as chairman of a political party, he hasn't been able to get out of "neutral empires" and "fighting till the last delievery" phrases. Masses need a leader and if he cannot become what they need by himself alone, he must let someone guide him. His stubborness often stops him from listening to even some sincere voices around him.

I wish good luck to all three candidates of NA 55 on 24 February 2010.


French nuclear offer: fact or fiction?

THIS is apropos of various news items that recently appeared regarding a nuclear deal with France. During his recent visit to Europe and various other countries, President Zardari met Nicolas Sarkozi, the president of France.
Mr Sarkozi announced some financial help for the internally displaced persons in the Pakistani territory. The issues of bilateral interest must have also been discussed. Pakistan has always had good relations with France in the areas of developing submarines and buying fighter jets. But we came across something quite ambiguous this time.
Speaking to a press confer ence right after the meeting, the foreign minister of Pakistan claimed that France has offered the transfer of civilian nuclear technology to Pakistan and that they are looking forward to complete the homework on this issue.
On the other hand, the press release from the French presidency claimed that they have offered Pakistan help in keeping their nuclear assets safeguarded from the terrorists’ reach.
The civilian technology offer was not taken into account. The minister’s claim grabbed much attention all over and even the leading French newspaper Le Monde quoted him saying the same thing. The Reuters observed that this claim was categorically denied in a following interaction of French government representatives with the media.
More recently, while on his visit to the UAE, a close source of the French president was quoted as saying that Mr Sarkozi may visit Pakistan later in the year to follow on the nuclear safety offer.
The Pakistani authorities again claimed that this visit would be to sign the civilian nuke deal. While we remember that India and America reached such a deal after good enough time of dialogue and endorsement from the Congress, no such formalities have been reported as yet in this case.
The issue of proliferation still remained unresolved. The world seems to have reservations on the already existing machines on our lands. In such an atmosphere, a similar offer from China might have had sounded realistic.
I don’t mean to say that it’s totally false. But if it is true, why are the French government representatives reluctant to acknowledge it?
In any case the idea of meeting the energy needs of Pakistan on such a scale looks very bright.

Published in DAWN on  11-06-2009.

Remembering the Bhopal gas victims

REMEMBERING the victims of the Bhopal toxic gas incident (Dec 3,1984), the world’s worst industrial accident so far, one cannot but remain stunned on the apathetic behaviour of the government of India.
While tens of thousands of poor people were killed in a flash, the government didn’t show a single gesture of sharing their pain.
The criminal industrialist who owns the infamous industry is still at large, living in America a peaceful life while the poor victims still await justice.
The government doesn’t prosecute him or other people related to him only because they don’t want the in ternational investor to be fearful of such prosecution. This behaviour has certain interesting implications.
First, it’s the poor of a country who make the country itself.
They bear all the bad effects of economic crises, law and order situations, health and education deprivation and even wars.
It is the poor who bear all the burden of taxes eventually as they are the end-consumer of many of the products. Industrialists merely transfer any increase in taxes to the prices and stay calm.
By securing the lives and improving the living status of the poor of a country, one can make the aliens (here non-resident Indian investors) realise that there is rule of law in the country.
Anyone who would be interested in making money out of the country will have to follow certain regulations and will be answerable before the court of law if he ever posed a problem to the people of the country.
Yet the message goes the other way. An investor is allowed to make money from the world’s largest democratic nation even if he has to sacrifice a few thousand poor of the country.
And what is the benefit of non-prosecution? The benefit is that although some of them (read the poor) died, yet the rich lot of Mumbai, sitting in the furnished lodges looking at their flat screen television sets and getting amused by the bollywood and hollywood productions, could spend their part of lives peacefully.
I mean if an investor is begged to come to a country for getting the capital and maintaining the growth rate high and he is given the licence to kill the people, who else is there to blame to?
The same goes for the future policies. They didn’t set an example of the culprit and that means everyone who promises to bring money for the rich is free to operate.
Who cares if he or she brings death to the poor?
A country where justice is not established as the supreme law goes into ruins and any level of industrialisation remains unable to save it.
Take the example of America and try to learn from it.
If the ordinary citizen of the country will feel good, it will bring much more stability than what brings the capital.
In the world’s largest democracy, there is one Arundhati Roy who speaks of justice for the poor.
Can the government prove to be the world’s largest democracy which cares for their poor?
Or at least for those who were unfortunate enough to survive the toxic gas, just to remain crippled, waiting for the justice to be delivered from the capitalist rich.

Published in DAWN on 08-12-2009.