↑ Grab this Headline Animator

Monday, December 29, 2008

A political abyss By Tariq Amin-Khan

At another level, infantilism is on display. For instance, President Zardari readily acknowledged the role of non-state actors without considering that by asking India in the very same breath for the evidence of the involvement of these very non-state actors he was contradicting himself. A contradiction which raises issues of culpability that can be extremely damaging for the country, and as is wont to happen in Pakistan, a penchant to duck under pressure instead of facing it head-on.

In the same vein, the defence minister played the hapless victim in the face of the UN resolution that placed the Lashkar-i-Taiba and Jamaatud Dawa on the list of terrorist organisations — declaring that had the government not acted against these groups “Pakistan itself would have been declared a terrorist state”. Such facile logic has more to do with being less than honest on what appears as the government’s complicity in the passage of the UN resolution.


I will identify steps needed to address key problems and issues facing the country:

• An urgent need to have an independent judiciary and to rescind Musharraf’s PCO.
• Compelling and meaningful steps to contain the militancy and sectarianism, but also persuading the international community to have India address the festering Kashmir issue.
• Drying up sources of foreign funds for religious groups.
• Addressing the unresolved national question and the issue of provincial autonomy.
• Universalising accessible free public education as a counterweight to the proliferating madressahs.
• Immediate steps to constructively address issues of poverty and accessible healthcare.
• Sixty years of clientelism to be replaced by a more principled position on the US-led long war or the ‘war on terror’.
• Creatively move towards an economic policy that includes the excluded majority so that there is a shift away from privatisation and other misguided neoliberal policies of the IMF.
• The ruling classes have to decide whether Pakistan will continue to straddle the two domains of feudalism and schizoid capitalist development or pursue more self-reliant economic and social development. Land reforms, however, will have to become part of policy.
• Overhauling the colonial legacies in the justice system, the bureaucracy and the military, and putting an end to the politics of patronage. If there is movement in this direction, then the problems of policing, corruption, speedy justice, democratic participation and governance will start to resolve themselves.

The foregoing is a tall order for sure, but if Pakistan is to remain a viable state these problems and issues will have to be addressed.


Post a Comment

<< Home