Wiki-shame

The Pak Banker - - 4editorial - Ameer Bhutto

Wik­ileaks has ex­posed the com­plete ca­pit­u­la­tion of Pak­istani po­lit­i­cal lead­ers be­fore western pow­ers, par­tic­u­larly Amer­ica. It would be an in­sult to the fifty states that com­prise the United States of Amer­ica to as­sert that Pak­istan had be­come the fifty­first state of the union, be­cause even the state gov­ern­ments of those fifty states don't buckle un­der pres­sure from Washington DC as read­ily and un­ques­tion­ingly as our gov­ern­ments have in the re­cent past.

The de­tails re­vealed in the doc­u­ments re­leased by Wik­ileaks are in­deed shock­ing, but the gist of their con­tents is hardly news to most of us. We al­ready know about the com­pre­hen­sive lack of back­bone in Is­lam­abad.

One had heard of the low es­teem world lead­ers held our elected govern­ment in. Af­ter all, hav­ing sold your soul to the devil, you can­not ex­pect re­spect from him, or oth­ers.

We also knew how this govern­ment came into power and how and why it has man­aged to sur­vive two and a half years of mind-numb­ing in­com­pe­tence, record-break­ing cor­rup­tion and a de­lib­er­ate, sys­tem­atic dis­man­tling of our vi­tal state in­sti­tu­tions for per­sonal ben­e­fits. Let not the sig­nif­i­cance of Zar­dari's re­ported re­mark to his Amer­i­can bene­fac­tors that, "We are here be­cause of you," be lost.

From this it is ap­par­ent that he feels that the as­sas­si­na­tion of Be­nazir Bhutto and the en­su­ing groundswell of voter sym­pa­thy had lit­tle to do with launch­ing his party into power. In­stead, he feels he owes his ac­qui­si­tion of power to the Amer­i­cans.

There is much to be grasped here for those who can read be­tween the lines. Then there is our il­lus­tri­ous prime min­is­ter, who re­port­edly does not care if drone attacks on Pak­istani soil con­tinue as long as his party's power joyride goes on un­in­ter­rupted, and even rep­ri­mands Rehman Ma­lik, of all peo­ple, for mak­ing waves about the is­sue.

The ex­tent of our lead­ers' ca­pit­u­la­tion is mind-bog­gling. What was the need to show the Amer­i­can Am­bas­sador Anne Pat­ter­son Be­nazir's ' will'? Why was Mushar­raf al­lowed safe pas­sage with im­mu­nity and full pro­to­col be­fore he could be ques­tioned in con­nec­tion with Be­nazir Bhutto's murder and why raise the is­sue now af­ter he is safe on for­eign shores?

Ed­mund Burke wrote that "All that is nec­es­sary for the tri­umph of evil is for good men to do noth­ing." The ' good men' among us seem to have al­ready de­cided to ac­cept the hideous sta­tus quo as a fait ac­com­pli and swal­low in si­lence all the filth and sleaze kicked up by this ad­min­is­tra­tion and al­low it free rein to do as it wills at the ex­pense of the com­mon good and na­tional in­ter­ests, even to the ex­tent of mak­ing us all slaves to for­eign vested in­ter­ests. So then what is all this fuss about? We are be­com­ing a nation of criers and whin­ers.

Go to any tea-shop in the bazaar, or even a plush draw­ing room of the well-to-do, and you will find no short­age of those who go on lament­ing about what has be­come of this land of ours and re­gale each other with one horror story af­ter an­other, but no one is pre­pared to do any­thing about it.

Not only that, but if some­one points out the ob­vi­ous, glar­ing ur­gent need for change, his voice is drowned out and in­stead a glacial strat­egy of 'pa­tience' and 'rid­ing out the storm' is ad­vo­cated.

What ex­actly is so wrong with mak­ing a change in the course to steer the boat out of the storm to safe shores? What if there is no boat left at the end of the storm? Be­sides, with all our so-called lead­ers trip­ping over them­selves to pan­der to for­eign masters for the sake of power, who is look­ing out for the in­ter­ests of Pak­istan and its peo­ple?

Un­der such cir­cum­stances, why do we act sur­prised when we see the ship of the state sink­ing be­fore our eyes? In the same breath, the pro­po­nents of 'the sys­tem' con­demn those who are sink­ing the boat but also por­tray them as 'for­mi­da­ble' po­lit­i­cal ge­niuses who ' should not be taken lightly'. What bet­ter in­di­ca­tion can there be than this of how low not only the cal­i­bre of pol­i­tics and state­craft in gen­eral in Pak­istan, but also our ex­pec­ta­tions of our lead­ers, have plum­meted? Do these so-called self-pro­claimed po­lit­i­cal ex­perts and pun­dits re­ally see no dif­fer­ence at all be­tween a po­lit­i­cal ge­nius and a crook? What could be eas­ier than to achieve po­lit­i­cal ob­jec­tives through de­ceit, lies and dis­hon­est prac­tices? But the art of pol­i­tics and its ge­nius lies not in dis­hon­esty but in out­ma­noeu­vring op­po­nents to achieve de­sired ends un­der the um­brella of sound prin­ci­ples and ac­cept­able norms of moral po­lit­i­cal con­duct.

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