The leaning tower of Pakistani politics

If the White House represents the American political system, the leaning tower of Pisa would be the true representative of Pakistani political system; you are pretty certain that it would fall but for some reason, it remains in place. Some would argue against this by pointing out that the democratic political system in Pakistan has been demolished many times, and it’s true but the political system has never been demolished. The faces in the executive have changed but the underlying system has remained intact, with a solidifying amalgam of intentional corruption and misplaced nationalism keeping it together.

Any moment in Pakistan’s political history is a crucial moment. The government is always on the verge of collapse primarily because of the incompetence and greed of it’s representatives, the opposition is always calling out for heads and crying out “cheating!” and the public is always in the state of “to hell with this!” with a garnish of “oh well”. Since the same actors tend to play government and opposition at different times of their lives (and sometimes at the same time, which is very confusing), they tend to say conflicting things. When they are in government, they would declare anti-government protests as illegal. When they are in opposition, they would consider themselves as the saviors of democracy by leading anti-government rallies. There is no consistency but nobody really cares. A champion has to win only once to become a champion. Consistency is the illusion mediocre people live in.

Overall, the Pakistani politicians are quite an expert in fooling the public. You can’t be considered the most corrupt person in Pakistan’s history and stay as President for 5 years if you don’t know how to fool people. You can’t return to power, after twice failing, without mastering the art of trickery. And you can’t raise a call for the removal of government on the grounds of incompetence while showing no significant progress in your own constituency without the belief that the public will follow no matter what. It takes the magical flute of Pied Piper to get the rats to jump into the sea and our politicians have imported containers full of these flutes.

But they don’t know how to schedule. I have heard the promises of “massive improvement in 90 days” so many times that I started thinking that our politicians think that 90 is a hypothetical number. For the past couple of weeks, I have heard the opposition parties promising Inquilab (revolution) in 2 days and the government promising that the crisis will end in 2 days, only for the deadline to be extended the next day. I am not sure where the inquilab or political stability is coming from, but it feels more like the copy wizard from Windows.

I want a stable Pakistan. I want a Pakistan where the priorities are right. Where the government doesn’t spend only 2 percent of its GDP on education and declare the budget as a balanced budget. Where the talk shows discuss improvements rather than be bickering matches. Where race, religion, cast and sect are disregarded in the furious defense of an individual’s rights. If this Inquilab is going to move us towards this future, I am all up for it. But we can’t have that if our attitude towards politics remains the same. The will to move forward should be greater than the desire to humiliate and right now, I only see pitchforks.

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