Noth­ing that a mir­a­cle can’t cure

The Pak Banker - - 4EDITORIAL -

any­way, re­gard­less of who was in charge. It’s dif­fi­cult to be­lieve that dirt roads would not have been as­phalted, and hos­pi­tals, schools and new in­dus­tries not emerged had the Bri­tish stayed on or Pak­istan not been cre­ated.

And if we sub­tract all the devel­op­ment projects that were plain mis­takes – or de­cided on en­tirely for po­lit­i­cal rea­sons rather than prac­ti­cal re­sults – and the money that was pock­eted by dis­hon­est con­trac­tors et al, don’t the re­sults seem out of pro­por­tion to the fuss we make of our progress since In­de­pen­dence? In fact, our flashy and am­a­teur­ish lead­ers have lit­tle to be proud of. If they suc­ceeded in any­thing, it was to de­ceive the peo­ple and feather their own nests dur­ing the course of which they lost half the coun­try.

When a state is un­able to pro­vide at least the prom­ise - for­get the achieve­ment - of such things as rule of law; su­pe­rior so­cial wel­fare through re­dis­tri­bu­tion of wealth via col­lect­ing a lot of taxes; em­ploy­ment and wages, etc, then peo­ple fall back for se­cu­rity and sur­vival on the kin­ship net­work – all rules bent for in­sid­ers.

Be­cause the kin­ship net­work is based on a dog-eat-dog sys­tem, the as­sump­tion is that the state, which is viewed as an ex­ten­sion of the kin­ship net­work, acts in the same way. Hence our sus­pi­cion of the mo­tives be­hind much of what the state does – re­gret­tably all too of­ten jus­ti­fied by the self-serv­ing be­hind the ac­tions. Try over­hear­ing con­ver­sa­tions in swanky restau­rants or in the draw­ing rooms of the wealthy. When the talk con­cerns politi­cians they blandly ac­cuse them of all sorts of crimes, nepo­tism, cow­ardice, trea­son, the plun­der­ing of pub­lic funds, etc. Why was a cer­tain man ap­pointed to a post? The last ex­pla­na­tion ac­cepted is that he may be com­pe­tent to fill the post. The first is that he is some­body’s brother- or son-in-law or a mem­ber of the same tribe, party, sect or what­ever. No­body is ever con­sid­ered vir­tu­ous, gen­er­ous, pure or spir­i­tual. Fakhru Bhai was the ex­cep­tion, but not for long.

Fol­low­ing the 2005 Kash­mir earth­quake, for in­stance, we tried hard to find a suit­able an­swer to why the Amer­i­cans were be­ing so gen­er­ous with their as­sis­tance con­sid­er­ing how much they are hated. When no plau­si­ble an­swer came to mind we con­cluded that Washington must have its rea­sons and what­ever they were they must have been serv­ing its in­ter­ests and hence there was no rea­son for us to feel grate­ful. This con­stant sus­pi­cion of the honourable, the chival­rous, the no­ble; this cer­tainty that all things are done for pri­vate rea­sons rather than pub­lic wel­fare and for the worst of all mo­tives and will some­how end up badly, has prob­a­bly been cul­ti­vated to get us through life with­out con­fronting nasty sur­prises. It’s a men­tal pre­cau­tion we have devel­oped in or­der to get through life un­scathed.

It was said about an­other peo­ple, but could as eas­ily ap­ply to our elite, that

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