Pakistan Observer - - EDITORIALS & COMMENTS -

for the coun­try? All our en­er­gies are spent on catch­ing thieves when we should be pos­i­tively en­gaged in the coun­try’s re­vival. The col­lec­tive ap­proach for na­tion build­ing is non-ex­is­tent and so is case with ev­i­dence col­lect­ing agen­cies. The in­ves­tiga­tive agen­cies are also poor ma­te­rial but best of us by world stan­dards are very poor stuff. So if the best is the best of the worst what will the worst of the worst be like. Your guess can­not be op­ti­mistic.

The speeches after ev­ery event by the op­po­si­tion force peo­ple to think that the gov­ern­ment has a prob­lem, for the in­ter­nal af­fairs are han­dled by all the Min­is­ters as if the port­fo­lio be­longed to all of them. The cul­ture of work and the cul­ture of work re­spect for oth­ers is to­tally miss­ing. Even for for­eign tours we are pro­vided by of­fi­cial hand­outs that later on are fal­si­fied by the host coun­try. Let us con­sider the ac­tions of the Min­is­ters that are al­ready in the fray. All of them speak a dif­fer­ent lan­guage. In a demo­cratic coun­try the word of mouth is sa­cred. It hap­pened with me in for­mer East Pak­istan where a state­ment by word of mouth has more cred­itabil­ity then the writ­ten word. Yes, they then said to me that if the spo­ken word is not kept then it would be im­pos­si­ble for me to come to that area ever. The word was more im­por­tant than any doc­u­ment.

The end re­sult here is that all ru­ral so­ci­eties have be­come ar­eas for the mafia to work on. The deaths and the un­re­ported crimes are in­creas­ing with the pas­sage of ev­ery day. The ur­ban ad­min­is­tra­tors have be­come traitors to the in­hab­i­tants of the ru­ral ar­eas. All the cos­metic state­ments about price support sys­tems are hog­wash and do not work. The world has moved on from agri­cul­ture support price sys­tem for the ru­ral ar­eas. The agri­cul­tur­ist no longer can have in­come from the support prices. The par­a­digm has to change con­sid­er­ably. Crime will in­crease when the poor are sub­jected to the kind of in­fla­tion that we have at the hands of in­com­pe­tent pol­icy of­fi­cials.

But the abuse that op­po­si­tion and the gov­ern­ment are heap­ing on each other has another sig­nif­i­cant im­pact. All of them lose their re­spect in the eyes of the pub­lic. That means that the lead­er­ship role is cur­tailed to what they have to say or not to say in the Na­tional assem­bly. Suf­fice it to say that the mem­bers of the Na­tional Assem­bly are not high­light­ing na­tional is­sues.

What can be done to rec­tify the sit­u­a­tion. Indira Gandhi sent all of them for a crash course at the Staff Col­lege Hy­der­abad Dec­can. I was there and so were other Pak­ista­nis un­der­go­ing a crash course in eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment. Ev­ery guest speaker stayed on for three days to meet with par­tic­i­pants and an­swer any queries that might be there with them. The Fi­nance Min­is­ter came and stayed on for three days to an­swer ques­tions. Other op­tions can also be taken. The Stand­ing Com­mit­tees can be made more pow­er­ful in which rea­son would be more ac­cept­able. A les­son could be drawn from the work done in other As­sem­blies. The ul­ti­mate is that good gov­er­nance re­quires ad­e­quate and en­er­getic Na­tional As­sem­blies. It is doable and work­able. But all this is based on an ac­count­able sys­tem - ac­count­able in more than one way. —The writer is a re­tired Fed­eral Sec­re­tary.

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