Saturday, March 10, 2007
The Sacking Of The CJ & A Writer's Block
Over the past few weeks your Blogger has suffered from a writer’s block – a difficulty usually associated with an absence of inspiration. In my case it was compounded with a palpable feeling of disillusionment with the present circumstances.
Many people tell me that this infernal general is here to stay. Personally I don’t subscribe to this view - I'm convinced that he will be gone within a year - but the widespread apathy among the country's ruling elite can be, at times, disheartening. Odds are that Musharraf will be replaced by another Khaki-clad 'Savior of Pakistan', and that is also a depressing thought.
My view of current realities tells me that Pakistan has reached a critical juncture in its 60-year history and the future appears increasingly bleak.
We face the twin grave problems of a continuing population explosion and a looming water shortage. With the shrinking of the Himalayan glaciers the volume of water in our rivers is sharply decreasing. Unless we urgently begin addressing this problem, my apprehension is that by 2025 we will have grossly insufficient irrigation resources to feed an anticipated population of 275 million people.
I fear famine and water wars could be just around the corner for us. Conflict over water supplies will not just involve India and Pakistan, but also lead to inter-provincial bloodshed within Pakistan. Compared to this frightening scenario the present quarrel over the Kalabagh Dam looks like mere child’s play.
Associated with this dilemma of the ever burgeoning population is the complete and utter collapse our educational system. We are now producing and will continue to produce millions of citizens who will grow up espousing a bleak, simplistic black and white, good vs. evil outlook to most aspects of life.
If the philosophy of extremist ‘Jihadism’ is allowed to extend to even a mere 0.4 % of Pakistan’s future population, it will result in an enraged horde of a million people.
My fear is that the ‘oxygen’ and ‘breathing space’ traditionally provided to extremist religious views under military dictatorships (Zia’s and Musharraf’s) now not only threatens the future integrity of Pakistan but has the potential to wreak havoc on the West. One only has to recall that the world’s first computer virus (the 1986 ‘brain virus’) was created in Lahore – the future development of ‘dirty bombs’ and other deadly devices by sophisticated Pakistani fanatics is not such a farfetched idea after all.
And what have seven long years of Musharraf’s dictatorship achieved in addressing any of these problems?
In my book absolutely nothing – nada, zilch!
All we have seen is the economic, social and political aggrandizement by the military in every sphere of activity in Pakistan. This coupled with its mule headed and dogmatic approach to resolving differences by the use of overwhelming force – i.e. in East Pakistan and now in Balochistan – which helps create national catastrophes
While regime supporters will continue to insist that there has been economic growth in recent years, the reality is that most of these financial figures have been cleverly doctored. If one bothers to scrutinize the government’s economic data carefully these ‘growth’ figures soon turn out to be pure bunkum. Yes, huge fortunes have been made by those ‘investing’ in the property and share market scams and while national assets such as PTCL have been privatized and sold to overseas buyers let us not delude ourselves and call these purchases ‘overseas investments’. The glaring fact remains that there has been no overseas investment in our industry or export sector in past seven years, no many times our smooth talking Shaukat Aziz asserts to the contrary.
Simply put, as any honest economist will confirm, whatever economic growth Pakistan has experienced in the last five years is due solely to 9/11 and not to any genius on the part of Musharraf, Shaukat Aziz or for that matter any other Maula Jat.
So we now come to yesterday’s sacking of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry, by Musharraf.
This mockery of law and constitutionalism by the military dictator has had the effect of unclogging my writer’s block .
More about the CJ’s sacking tomorrow.