If wishes were horses, beggars would ride. Nay, it should be otherwise: if elections were horses, Zardari would ride. It was at Khairpur the other day that our ever-vocal head of state, Asif Zardari, came up with the prophecy that the next government in Punjab would that be of PPP (no mention of allies). What a sweeping statement about sweeping results (anticipated or dreamt)!But this is not the first time our President is making such a wishful declaration. His ‘optimism’ is a case in point. Does it owe to his long incarceration that he often boasts about? Or is it mere self-deception that is keeping his psyche afloat? Some talisman is certainly in Zardari’s possession. Otherwise, a man who has seen so many odds and a thousand turns of tides (his myrmidons, however, think they are vicissitudes that have made him strong), ought not to be that much confident and hopeful! The Zardari-watchers, who happen to be many in this country, are of the opinion that the rigours of imprisonment have made him tough enough to ignore other problems, such as a bad name coming the government’s way in the wake of repeated contempts of court, excessive loadshedding and poor governance. Sorry to say, this is not empowerment or strength of character or psyche, but sheer stubbornness that forms the axis of our incumbent leadership. If they are relying on the old idiom of inner strength, “come what may”, they are a bit mistaken at least on one count. That when a leader with an iron will, or a national hero, takes up challenges and decides to continue his struggle without fearing for the consequences (“come what may”), it is always with a destiny in view. Here, however, we do not have a destiny: neither the leaders are moving towards that goal, nor are they steering the nation out of the rampant crises - and ills - towards their destiny. Once again, the fact remains that it is not a question of destiny. It is not our leaders’ concern. The concern is just how to perpetuate the reign of power and pelf (and pleasure). But this can’t prolong anymore! The next general elections will prove to be a litmus test for all claims - true, false or tall! As for Zardari’s claim that there would be no more rigging in the polls; it is now impossible even otherwise. The ‘public censure ability’ has sharpened to great heights, thanks to the media and the civil society’s awakening. And yet, more thanks to Justice (retd) Fakhruddin G. Ibrahim, for taking up the challenge with grace and vitality, unknown at this age. The fact is that the vitality of the new Chief Election Commissioner emanates from his inner transparency. It is the honest, upright man inside his casing that makes him energetic and exuberant. There is a recipe for health and happiness in his personality. Why can’t the followers of self-perpetuation seek light from the saaf shafaaf (transparent and upright) personality of Justice (retd) Fakhruddin? If they go for this option, they will be shedding the load of hundreds of burdens on their conscience, instead of shedding the load of electricity every now and then through different and failed strategies. The problem with our officialdom is that it doesn’t believe in introspection and self-accountability. If there is a problem due to their own faulty planning, they will never own it! Just a few days back, a reliable source told this scribe that four or five big transformer manufacturing companies are providing transformers to different Discos (Electricity Distribution companies), which carry a damaged rate of more than 14 or 15 percent. International and national quality standards don’t allow damage rate of more than 10 percent. But in our country, no one is bothered! Either the officials responsible for quality check in NTDC’s Material Inspection Department are ignorant of these huge losses (to the tune of millions) to national exchequer or they are doing it by design for some motives. In fact, this sad tale doesn’t apply to one department within the country. The whole lot is rotten and we are a clearcut case of casual governance, which is worse than bad governance and even worse than corruption. Casualness, it is now an established reality, is the killer of efficiency and productiveness. One can only hastily suggest the setting up of a ‘super vigilance body’ over and above our officialdom, which should be equipped with the necessary ‘devices’ (psychological and motivational, of course) to push the sleeping, casual functionaries like a shepherd. Yes, shepherd is the answer, but who is willing to play that shepherd? We have had enough of ‘shepherdry’ at the hands of Zardari. Will Mian Shahbaz Sharif or Imran Khan pick up the gauntlet?
nThe writer is a freelance columnist.Email: email@example.com