Monday, July 1, 2013

Promises Made - Promises Broken

Naya Pakistan,(new) Roshan Pakistan,(enlightened) free and fair elections, rigging, terrorism, overseas Pakistani voters etcetera – all the fuss is over.  Elections have been held and power has been transferred from one civilian government to another, for the first time ever in the history of the land of the pure.
Things are as smooth as ever.
After all the allegations of rigging during the polls, almost everybody has accepted that a new setup will be in place.  Nawaz Sharif the new Prime Minister– Shahbaz once again Khadim-e-Aala and Imran Khan, new leader of the opposition. Our problems are going to be solved. So romantic, isn’t it?
But hang on a second, things are not as black and white as they seem – there are too many grey areas.
Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, created a lot of hue and cry against the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz and Muttahida Qaumi Movement over the rigging of elections and the killing of their leader, Shahid Zehra in Karachi, respectively.
But all this has gone out of the window now.
PTI has contacted the very same “killers” of Zehra Shahid both directly (via Shah Mehmood Qureshi) and indirectly (via Sheikh Rasheed) for the election of the opposition leader. PTI has embraced the same lion that once stole their mandate in Lahore and vowed to work with Nawaz Sharif after a conversation with General Kayani.
Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz, champion of nationalists and the right-wing, banged the drums of “no drone strikes” before the election campaign but after emerging victorious from the elections and getting a pat on the back from Barack Obama, their stance has softened on these remote-controlled attacks.
The issues that dictated the election campaign have subsided after the elections – as always.  The questions  of drones and load-shedding, though pretty much discussed on television, has been placed on  the back burner since political circles are busy deciding the portfolios of ministers.  One can argue that ministers are the ones who will solve the problems but my question here is over the priority of the politicians.
While PML-N plans to end the circular debt by printing more money or selling bonds, the issue of drones and the violation of sovereignty remains unheeded.  PTI – staunch opponents of drone strikes – have already reiterated their stance on the drone strikes and they know that PML-N will never be able to stop these attacks until the Obama administration decides to end them, obviously for its own interests.  And PTI will play that card for the duration of this government.
For me, the future is pretty much decided, that is, everything will go on as it has done for the last 65 years.  Nawaz is elated after getting a third term, Imran Khan is content with his government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Pakistan People’s Party has its own government in Sindh.  Everybody is in government and everybody is happy.  If there is anyone absent from government, it is the people and the people’s will.
We all thought that the votes cast by the general public meant that their mandate and their wishes would be carried out by THEIR representative but alas, we haven’t been able to see any substantial implementation of the will of the people.  At least, not so far.
Muhammad Saqib Tanveer is assistant producer with Capital TV Pakistan and a political commentator.