Descent into anarchy – or love for dictatorship? – by Ahmad Nadeem Gehla

A group of ’self-proclaimed’ intellectuals has waged a crusade against present government sine it took power in Islamabad after showing an exit to dictator. The group has announced several dates in past when government was supposed to be overthrown by a ‘judicial’ or ‘military coup’. Nothing of sort happened despite the lengthy sermons by anchorpersons of private TV channels and repeated well worded articles in certain group of news papers.

The same group of intellectuals is notorious for defending Taliban terrorists and chasing out of country the imaginary ’Blackwater’ operatives. Inflation and power shortage have badly disturbed the average household budget and a common person finds it difficult to make both ends meet. This has resulted in to several protests and damage to government property over power breaks.

Quite understandably, a hungry man is a angry man. Government is fighting a full fledged war against Taliban insurgents and unable to pump money in to economy and generate economic activity as same funds are being directed to finance the war against terrorism. Can this termed as a ‘failure of the system’ – any sane person would disagree.

The economy crashed during the times of Pervez Musharaf due to economic scam of Shaukat Aziz, when present government took over, there were not enough foreign exchange reserves to meet three weeks imports bill. The only option was to borrow from IMF as international donors could not meet the expectation due to international economic recession.

Financial difficulties are a reality as economy collapsed due to Terrorism. No investor would pump in his money in a state where security situation is not satisfactory. This has resulted in to a halt in FDI. Everyday bomb blasts and attack in towns and cities is causing massive outflow of capital. Power shortage is resulting in to shut down of businesses and unemployment. These factors are causing discontent in masses.

Economic difficulties and inflation are a natural phenomenon in any state which is fighting a full fledged war and has deployed over 200,000 troops on front. To keep the troops moving is an expensive exercise, especially when enemy has collapsed the economic activity. But the Taliban supporters in media are ‘labelling’ these economic difficulties as ‘collapse of system’ , ‘political failure’ and ‘anarchy’.

They are urging for a ‘drastic change’ which necessarily has to be unconstitutional change either through judiciary or military as the government still enjoys the majority in parliament and support of masses. In past same mindset has invited dictators to ’save’ the country and their ‘jihad enterprise’ is today threatening very existence of this country. The sane elements of sociaty should discourage this mind set as we do not afford another dictatorship if we still wish to exist as a nation state.

First appeared in to daily ‘The News’ in response to a quick fix advocate.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

This is with reference to Saleha Javaid’s article “Descent into anarchy” (March 25). Her views that the rise in the crime rate, mob justice, agitations, strikes, shutter-down calls, threats, blockades and aggression against state property is a reflection of people’s discontent are valid. But to call it a failure of the system or political confusion is extremely unjust.

The system is not ideal anywhere in the world. Corruption, nepotism, inefficiency and anarchy exist at one level or another in every state. What is making the situation worse is the economic collapse because of the Taliban insurgency. The power shortage has added to the chaos. Both of these factors are the ‘gifts’ of the messiahs who, in the words of the writer, overthrow elected governments, claiming that the system has failed, and promise ‘drastic change’. After the dictator-in-the-guise-of-a-messiah leaves we have new problems to fix.

The Taliban insurgency has hit our economy badly. Going to the IMF was not a choice, but a compulsion. International financial institutions always demand the tightening of the belt and withdrawal of subsidies. The power shortage has resulted in unemployment and the high cost of power is disturbing household budgets. High inflation followed by the subsidies’ withdrawal has changed the people’s behaviour.

It is not difficult to understand that the reasons behind unrest are economic, rather than political.

In such a situation governments expedite development projects to pump money into economy. But unfortunately, we have to divert development funds to finance the war against Taliban terrorists. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and an increase in exports have become distant dreams. No government would be able to concentrate on economy without fixing the Taliban problem first.

A quick-fix approach and the urge for a messiah will only lead to another disaster. History also tells us that disorders are ’staged’ by fortune-seekers and people’s emotions are exploited when democratic governments face economic or political crises. Let’s control our urge for a messiah and drastic change.

Ahmad Nadeem Gehla



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