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Crafting economic and social transformation

The manifestoes of the political parties – all political parties have listed most of the transformations that they will bring about if they came to power. Most of the political parties have come to power in one region or another. The PML-N, PPP, PTI, National Party (NP) are centrally or regionally in government though they may not be in governance. The difference between governance and government is not very subtle. One can be in government and still lose out on governance. The instruments for and of governance are totally different from the power structure that implements them. Ignorance here is a virtue for any one going against the norms of loyalty will not be tolerated. No matter where one is educated. The tall claims on education should never be tolerated. The parties are unable to handle the quantity relationship or the quality aspects of education. These require knowledge and resources for implementation. The last election brought in hope for the teeming millions who wanted out of poverty.

Political parties emerge on hate propaganda and when in power they are unable to get out of this loyalty-hate situation. The leaders of these parties have long ears and they allow these hate mongers to play leading role in the party. The euphemism that used to be given to me was that one must work on the palace intrigues also. The result of all this is a waste of energy on trying to intrigue against their own party members or any one that is seen as a potential threat. There are subtle ways to intrigue and the art is fully developed in power structures. There are very few leaders [mindful of loss of power] that can not fall to such social intrigues. In Thailand another landmark decision has come through. The PM a friend of some of the politicians in Pakistan has been removed from the PM’s position for not corruption but damaging the country. The policies invoked were such that they created an image of the country that was not in keeping with decency and fair play. In the instant case the farmers were given a support price that was doubled, an eye obviously to the elections. The lady PM visited Pakistan amidst as we usually do with mush fanfare and going overboard with all kinds of epithets.

Before and after elections there is a sea change in the behaviour of and the statements of the politicians. Before elections all kinds of allegations are made to curry favour with the electorate in terms of reputation of the opposition leaders. After the elections they are unable to get those allegations transformed into convictions in a court of law. Imagine the breast beating statements and the wagging tongues that have fallen silent after some give and take-or a lot of give and take on all issues pertaining to losses caused by the powers that be. Hate is visible in all actions no matter how these are denied. The opposition and the party in power do not know how to share power. That comes with a considerable amount of self confidence.

The other issue that comes up is that once the end game is near they are continuously defining their own image and transforming themselves from rabble rousers to persons of intellect or the wise man of the country. We will also see a considerable amount of functional indeterminacy. Short on their own understanding of the imperatives facing the country they will look for success stories elsewhere. The case of Turkey and the case of Thailand and now China is obviously in that realm of unknowingly transplanting a success story from elsewhere and hoping this will deliver. How will the metro bus remove poverty? How will the infrastructural destruction of the existing infrastructure be taken for the creation of a metro bus system that is expensive and goes from no where to nowhere. There are other transportation systems that could have been adapted by the country. But that was not to be. No democracy will help unless the imperatives of democracy are understood. No debate but the orders from a centralised authority are no way to handle the decision making in a democracy. Democracy is slow in decision making but it is less aggravating and the decisions are more acceptable. So is the priority on social welfare or otherwise. We have had new definitions from goons in the system. There is for instance the new definition on poverty that is based on anyone using more than 200 units of electricity. These are people who are above the poverty line. Great news, because as a result we have just rubbished all those that have based it on income and calorific value of food?

In this power game the winners and the losers are different groups. The imperatives seek a different solution but the power base seeks a different implementation schedule. The bureaucracy then plays into the hands of the power structure. The political conscience is not visible anywhere. The poor are further pushed into the pits of the world till there is no way out but to create a law and order situation and possibly fracture the country – like in East Pakistan. When leaders do not listen to the genuine problems of the country this sort of problems will arise. The fall of East Pakistan will never be understood by the West Pakistanis and especially Punjabis for they are arrogant to an extent that there is no way that they can be convinced by facts that led to the break up of the country. When a powerful social system takes place then the use of power is meaningless. Karachi will never be the same till the structural issues are settled. The PM may go there any amount of time the use of police and the rangers have had little effect. In fact they may have worsened the situation. Balochistan is drifting further apart, Sindh is starting on the same collision course. Are we a nation of deaf and dumb power brokers?

Where is the solution? The solution lies in understanding the root causes and making them work to the benefit of the needy. Balochistan requires massive intellectual inputs and not silly Balochistan packages. These packages are an example of policies that do not work. The packages were used for fixing relatives of the politicians in jobs. Merit was not a consideration and neither was the impact that this will have on organisational efficiency. So the problems were compounded. Grow up Pakistan but that is not possible given the present state of elitism. Those in power must understand the politics of negation from their close associates. Why listen to abuse when the other person is not present? Palace intrigues are alright when they are about other persons. How will PTI react, how will PML-N, PPP and all other parties react when they are subjected to the same. This shoe has a habit to fit any and everyone.

Pakistan has to mature on many fronts. If not the disruptive elements will keep on gaining ground? There are many ways to skin a cat. That in management term means that the discretion and flexibility is in-built and all rules and regulations are meaningless. This to the invidiously honest would be unacceptable.

Dr Zafar Altaf, "Crafting economic and social transformation," Business recorder. 2014-05-17.
Keywords: Political science , Political issues , Political parties , Political leaders , National issues , Balochistan issues , Elections , Manifestos , Pakistan