The buffet continues

Pakistan has been in turmoil ever since its birth. Initially, Pakistan suffered from the unjust division of territories and accompanying resources by the parting colonial masters. It was predicted that a wobbling, stumbling, and limping Pakistan would soon go back crawling to India begging for reunification. However, luckily, that did not happen thanks to our initial political leadership. But after the untimely death of Quaid-e-Azam and the later sad assassination of Liaquat Ali Khan, everything took a turn for worse, and the opportunistic elite got a stranglehold over the national resources.
Now, seventy years after we fare no better: a minimal elite is exploiting the entire country, throwing morsels here and there for their cronies. Resultantly, there is continued political turmoil, an absence of any shade of governance, a breakdown of law and order and the economy is in tatters, which means there are no jobs for a bursting, young population. We hardly have foreign exchange to import necessary items such as medicines, food, and oil. In a recent speech, the Prime Minister announced that they will overcome the present hard times; thus indirectly implying that the incumbent government has no roadmap to take the country out of its existing morass, other than blaming the previous regime for all the ills.
However, despite all the aforementioned realities, free buffet by the elite of our national resources continues. No matter which party forms the government, the size of cabinets galore-both at the national and the provincial level, along with their perks and privileges. And while the parliamentarians fight like anything on electronic media, when it comes to increasing their salaries, perks, and privileges, the relevant bills fly through assemblies. But, when it comes to legislating on important national matters for which they have been elected and being paid for, the house has to be adjourned, often, due to lack of quorum.
While we do not have money to run the day-to-day affairs of the government and pay salaries and pensions, the government is busy inducting more and more ministers and buffing up their privileges. There was news that the government is considering increasing the emoluments of the federal bureaucracy. Following the suit, the Punjab government has also increased the emoluments of its bureaucracy. While PSDP funds have been cut, the funds of parliamentarians have been increased manifold. Now, millions and millions of rupees have been allocated for the beautification of parliament houses and parliamentarians’ lodges.
But it is not clear to the tax-paying public why these political and bureaucratic elite are bestowing each other: what are their accomplishments? It’s more like Titanic is going down but its elite is busy dining, music playing and bestowing each other with expensive gifts-tax payer sponsored. The most unfortunate part is that while the elite is having a free buffet of national resources, the ordinary public is working even longer hours, doing more than two jobs to support the feeding frenzy of gobbling up national resources by our elite. The mere protocol and motorcades of politicians and higher officials are a mockery of the hard life of ordinary Pakistani; to further add insult to injury is that ordinary Pakistani has to beg and bribe these elite to make a living.
So the big question is: what’s the way out of this elitist stranglehold? One solution proposed by the educated middle class is immigrating abroad for better jobs and life. Others are becoming tools in the hands of the elite and sharing some crumbs. However, a more dignified first step is that people should look beyond their political bias and petty interests and question the status quo and existing hereditary politics, and demand to be part of running the affairs of the country. Any other option which supports the present status quo is a road to Oblivion!

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt