More Law, Less Justice

This is the only way the country can run. Otherwise, history will keep repeating itself.

It was a full house. The debate be­tween wishful thinking and reality was about to begin. The stage was graced by logic, needs, experience and history. Foreign observers could be seen among the large audience comprising 240 million heads. Poets, authors, philosophers, economists, politicians, parlia­mentarians, military personnel, judges, bureaucrats, LEAs, aca­demicians, lawyers, doctors, en­gineers, artists, laborers, students, farmers, traders, and businessmen – all segments of society were in attendance. Women and children could be seen in a sperate enclosure quietly enjoying mu­sic and refreshments. Massive and fool­proof security arrangements were made to address any untoward incidence. The common man was also present.

It was March 2024.

Moderator: Distinguished guests, once again we are faced with a similar awk­ward situation. Seventy-six years have passed, and we are still struggling to have a direction for this country. The most important question is: How long will it take for the country to embark upon the journey of welfare and pros­perity? The rules are very simple. A maximum of one minute for each inter­vention. One speaker at a time. A two-minute Q&A will follow. Watching the proceedings via satellite, the Jury will announce its verdict once the fifteen-minute debate comes to an end. Keep your cellphones on silent and raise your hands if there is any question. The ques­tions must be brief and to the point. May I now invite the first contestant.

Wishful thinking: The general elec­tions have produced a split mandate. However, political uncertainty has been addressed effectively. Democracy is flourishing in the country. Now the pro­cess of economic recovery begins. All ini­tiatives taken by the caretaker set up will be followed in letter and spirit including the inflow of $ 100 billion investment through SIFC, privatization of SOEs and FBR reforms. Let this coalition stay in power for five years and we will be on the path of making the country the next Asian Tiger. No IMF, no extra aid and grants, no terrorism, and no nonsense. All institutions will work for the better­ment of the people while strictly remain­ing within their prescribed bounds.

Reality: The economic crisis has deep­ened further. So has political uncertain­ty. The previous 16-month long coali­tion government succeeded in only three spheres. All cases against their lead­ers have either been reversed, quashed, or kept for future use. Secondly, all im­portant constitutional and official po­sitions have been secured to continual­ly address their own interests. Thirdly, the next generation of rulers have been nominated from within the family in the larger interest of the country. The com­mon man’s difficulties have increased many folds while others are counting their days. The one who promised to bring back the looted money is languish­ing in jail, requesting the IMF to join the country’s Audit Department.

Wishful thinking: Definite disappoint­ments must be addressed through in­definite hope. Leaders have learned their lessons. They will never repeat their past mistakes. This time around, the headmaster will not spare any teacher who forces his students to take private tuitions. All traffic rules will be followed strictly. Meritocracy will be ensured. Anyone found stealing or tak­ing bribes will meet exemplary punish­ment. An attendance register has been placed for all parliamentarians, execu­tives, judges, and media houses. No dil­ly dallying anymore. Enough is enough. Trust me. Our future is bright.

Reality: The mega projects? The circu­lar debt? The debt servicing? Fiscal defi­cit? Pensions? Electricity and gas? Infla­tion? Food security? Population growth? Education and health sectors? Industry? Agriculture? FDIs and trade? Climate Change? Polarization? Insecurities? Kashmir? Afghanistan? India? Terror­ism and TTP? Ukraine War? The Middle East? Relations with the West? China? Russia? This seems a lot of homework for a weak coalition that itself needs le­gitimacy to begin with…!!

Wishful thinking: Calm down. Take a deep breath. Don’t be in a hurry. It took the United States of America over three-hundred years to establish itself as a world power. We are only seventy-six years old. Have patience. Give us at least five successive tenures without in­terruption. Don’t interfere. We will bring the country out of all the problems it is facing at present. For progress, the peo­ple must pay a price as well. The rul­ers are not supposed to pay their utility bills. They have other important matters to deal with. In any case, bureaucracy is there to address all issues that have just been mentioned. The leaders are there to give direction and provide vision. Don’t forget that they also have families and several mouths to feed.

Reality: The issue is not that we don’t know the issues at hand. All of us are ful­ly aware of the situation. The problem is that no one wants to address these is­sues effectively. Individualism produc­es personal results. The absence of col­lectivism will never allow the country to grow. Imagine a country at the threshold of default but its citizenry boasts about having several billionaires, in dollars? Our future is not bleak. We don’t have a future. Have you heard of yet another PIA staff member who left a thank-you note for the national carrier before dis­appearing in Toronto? Let us see when the incarcerated leader writes a letter to the International Civil Aviation Organi­zation, requesting an immediate halt to all flights to and from Canada. Talk about the soft image of the country….!!

Moderator: I can see two hands raised. Kindly be precise in your comments or questions.

Student: We don’t need laptops. We need jobs. If the government cannot provide jobs to us, our visas may be ar­ranged to leave this country. We will go abroad and send remittances back home. This is the only way the country can run. Otherwise, history will keep re­peating itself.

Common man: What is this form-45 all about? And Forms-47, 48 and 49? In a country where the Election Commis­sion cannot perform the only duty it is entrusted with – why do they take sala­ries the whole year if they need to hold elections occasionally? Billions of ru­pees have been spent on holding the elections without producing a fair result. If the government can be formed with­out having a fair result – why hold elec­tions? Have mercy on us, please. My six children have lost considerable weight as I am no longer able to provide them more than one meal a day. I was forced to give my seventeen-year-old daugh­ter’s hand in marriage to a seventy-five-year-old man. My eight-year-old boy is compelled to work in a workshop. My wife has developed asthma. My mother has just passed away as I could not af­ford her medical bills. My father is on the roads begging for food. And what are you people doing? Discussing the bene­fits of democracy?

Moderator: I think that’s all for to­day. The jury is requested to kindly an­nounce its verdict.

Jury: Let us wait for the approved min­utes of the meeting first. Our verdict will be announced after consulting the rele­vant quarters. Good day.

Najm us Saqib
The writer is a former Ambassador of Pakistan and author of eight books in three languages. He can be reached at najmussaqib
1960@msn.com

The writer is a former Ambassador of Pakistan and author of eight books in three languages. He can be reached at najmussaqib1960@msn.com.

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