For over four years, the PPP had a chance to rule with full support of the establishment, but except for failures, scams, brinkmanship and street smart intrigues, they have nothing else to show. By nominating as prime minister a man who is identified with crippling electrical shortages, the PPP has sent a very wrong message to the masses whose patience has already run out with no electricity. The man at the helm thought it was all about power politics and for deliverance other than slogans it was a never-ending tale of miseries and corruption for the people, driving them to desperation. Their hopes for relief after eight long years of dictatorship were dashed.
This was a party founded by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, whose biggest critics could not accuse him of corruption, or being a man without any credibility. How unfortunate that an opportunity offered by a bold decision of Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry to defy a military dictator set into motion a chain of events that facilitated both Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif to return, the former after her self-imposed exile, the latter after his forced exile. On her first day of arrival in Pakistan, her procession was attacked in Karachi, killing over 180 citizens in October 2007. She miraculously escaped only to fall victim to another attack in Rawalpindi. This created a void and a wave of sympathy swept a beleaguered PPP to win seats, but short of a majority. This coalition setup focused their energies on the brinkmanship of power politics and an utter disregard of the welfare of the masses, or security of life for those who had elected them.
Today, the wheels of industry have ground to a halt because of crippling power shortages, rendering millions of daily wagers unemployed. Prices of all essential agricultural produce were hiked to an international level for the benefit of a few feudal landlords, with no similar rise in wages or subsidy for the poor. Thousands of residents of Karachi have been killed in target killings, while trade and business activity in the financial hub of Pakistan have been marginalised by lawlessness, extortion and kidnappings. The nation’s public sector corporations have been destroyed with losses and liabilities in most cases exceeding assets only because of massive corruption and mismanagement by incompetent political cronies. In four years, this government has piled the national debt to almost double of what it was in the previous 60 years with nothing to show as far as infrastructure or development are concerned, but instead massive deterioration in all sectors.
MALIK TARIQ ALI Lahore