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Veracity in emerging political system

What if is a question that everyone is asking? What if the elections do not deliver, what if the next elections leave a lot to be expected? What if and what if many times over? William Morley Punshon puts it this way ‘On some positions cowardice asks the question, “Is it safe? Expediency asks, is it polite? Vanity asks is it popular? But conscience asks, is it right?” And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor polite, nor popular, but it must be done because Conscience tells him it is right. Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

The gap between the politicians and what is going on and the bureaucracy frontline performers know what is going on? The politicians are a transient and have to be there every five years and the more the uncertainty the greater the gap. Is there anyone in this country that has really analysed what the vote market requires? Or are we all groping in the dark hoping against hope that they may be the one’s picked for the next government? The battle is on and the stakes are high-rather too high. Ego forces them to make statements they know are not only wrong but stupidly idiotic. The anchors are having a field day. What does the electorate want? What then is the sales pitch of the political parties and the election seekers?

The answers may be very varied and the electorate may not be able to know for sure whether their representative will deliver after the elections. Does the public know of the competence of the candidates and can it be based on the candidates own utterances? What is unsettling is what we do not know and what we do not know we find it very unsettling. Is this information about candidate known to anyone? The fear of the unknown then grips us. Because if the choice is incorrect then the candidate will be there for five years and that may be unsettling. Fear of the future is everyone’s concern in Pakistan. Can anything be done? If you ask the donors they will give you some outlandish views and that may be overcome with veracity? Veracity then closes the gap that is created by the egos of candidates.

It is not semantics to argue that truth and veracity is not the same thing. Veracity is the Latin for truth but it differs from veracity in significant way(s). Truth refers to fact and reality it implies honesty and accuracy. Truth is destination. Veracity on the other hand does not differ on the ultimate destination but it differs in action. Veracity implies the habitual pursuit of and adherence to, truth. Both pursuit and adherence matter immensely in arriving at truth, and adherence in making a change once truth is discovered.

We in Pakistan have never considered that veracity is the pursuit of reality-the difference between we think what is happening and what is actually going on. That this pursuit has to be relentless and continuous is now understood elsewhere but not in Pakistan. Consider the conditions in Karachi and Balochistan and again consider the emerging bomb blasts in Mirpurkhas and now in Nawab Shah. The anchors of the TV channels keep on going dependent on whose side they are prejudiced for or against. Veracity is never there in such blind situations and it may be well for all concerned to think how matters will stand if Sindh is also destabilised. It will be hell to play. Who is going to adhere to make a change and play with fire and make his own life uncertain? The intrigues and the idiotic situation are such that the cure seems almost impossible. I asked one of my democratic friends (he epitomises democracy) what has the national assembly achieved in its five years of existence?

Probably Peter Drucker (Innovation and Entrepreneurship) stated it correctly when he said that what we see has to be a rigorous logical analysis. But not all are that logical and not all of them are rigorous in their pleadings before analysing the truth. Has there been any identification of brutal facts that have been put forward? The pursuit of truth and veracity are critical for the political parties must be hungry to get to the root cause(s) even if these facts brutalise the party that they represent. The political parties of this country as well as the bureaucracy are unable to handle the situation. They are far away from truth and veracity. Can the gap be removed? The steps are easy when truth is established. It is the establishment of truth that is becoming ever difficult.

The advertisements from political parties also indicate the growing number of lies that are to be stated; that Lahore development is part of a Pakistani development project. This is at best what the Bengali friends of ours used to say that Punjab is not Pakistan, there are other areas that are in Pakistan. Lahore is not Punjab and the sooner we realise our mistake the better are we. It is always difficult to look at matters in a detached way as the world is because all of us are locked in. There are very few that can call a spade a spade.

How do we see veracity in legal terms? Are we not subjecting the judicial system to much more stress by addressing every intrigue to be settled there? It is a funny way to manage a country. We go on. We are unable to sift the facts from fallacies. Has the society improved in tangible terms? Has it improved in intangible terms? You guess? Have we reduced the number of underprivileged? Have we taken care of the special persons? We have not done much except fill our pockets.

What will be the trend once the elections are over? Will we ever have any peace and elimination of hate and prejudice? Will hate and peace be eliminated? Will politicians ever feel safe after losing elections? Will the opponents having won show a lot of compassion and make sure that the loser’s dignity is not lost? It was in Costa Rica, a small Latin American country, that I learnt the lessons of decency. I asked the interpreter how many of their past presidents are living outside the jail and how many are inside? The interpreter sized me up and said that all eight of them are alive and well and all are living outside jails. Lessons for us!! It is a country without an army and it has had no social disharmony despite the conflicts that elections can create.

The interpreter also stated that every Costa Rican has free education till fourteen years (our BA) and must learn any four languages that he wants to as the tourists get to that country from every corner of the world.

Do we cheat in every day life because if we do we will also cheat on bigger things? False in little things are false in big things so states Salmon in ‘Jurisprudence’. But we never address the issues from the world perspective except when it comes to accepting some money for favours to be provided in the destruction of society of another country. Why do we not use our own brain right or wrong? Is it not better to die of one’s own decisions rather than the decisions taken on your behalf? I am after all my father’s son and I cannot deny his name and my name despite the fact that the two names are jointly under stress.

If we do not distinguish between truth and veracity we are still lost. I recall that the motto of Harvard is ‘Veritas’ and yet I can show you graduates from there that have shamed their alma mater. They are in high places. But why suffer fools? Must you? I gave up doing so much earlier. There have been diplomats that intrigued against Shaheed BB and today they are in the lap of her political party. Want me to name characters that intrigued against BB? There will be a lot of embarrassed faces in high houses and in high places. Let’s leave it at that.

Dr. Zafar Altaf, "Veracity in emerging political system," Business recorder. 2013-03-02.