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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Why work at all? - Masood Hasan

We are right now reaching the end of a very long and utterly self-serving holiday. More or less, Pakistan has been closed since Saturday, Dec 6. Because many businesses continue to follow their own rules, there is no national system in place that is actually working. It would not be an exaggeration to say that many might have started their long holiday a day earlier since offices and businesses are closed midday and open sporadically, if at all. Odd that this should happen in a country that is going nowhere, where no commercial activity can start before midday, even though public spending might be down and the financial crunch is hitting us hard. Sunday being off – again here and there, some still preferring to remain off on Fridays – there have been three "declared" holidays by the government, which has taken care of Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Add the optional Thursday that most have taken and you are back at the magic Friday, where, it being a half day, might as well be skipped altogether, which pole vaults you to Saturday and, hey presto, there's Sunday again.

This is why the recent government announcement that Pakistan will be closed on Dec 27 to pay a "befitting" tribute to the slain Ms Bhutto, fills me with despair. Another holiday and another day of sloth is upon us. On stages dozens of "intellectuals" will speak for hours on what we already know. Elsewhere, more words will be released in the air. For the people, it will be a leisurely day at home or chilling out with friends. Wouldn't it have been great if the President had said that this day should be spent to work hard wherever each one of us may be, so that we can start turning things around? Ms Bhutto had many faults, but like her father she put in long hours. It is a legacy that the President has not inherited.


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