Pakistan: Caught in a jam

Caught in a jam

Courtesy: daily Dawn Editorial, Saturday, 22 Aug, 2009

The bloody revolution that Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif often warns of may indeed come about if the powerful continue to flaunt their influence in an increasingly unseemly manner.

After former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family got stuck in a vehicular mess on a narrow bridge connecting Murree and Patriata, things moved extraordinarily fast. Mr Sharif called the chief secretary of Punjab who in turn sent his local minions rushing over to clear the traffic jam. Soon the vehicles were moving as smoothly as ever. A day later, 30 or so traffic officials were suspended for failing to ensure a smooth passage for Mr Sharif’s cavalcade.

The fact that the ex-premier heads the ruling party in Punjab where the incident took place and his younger brother is the chief minister of the province appears to be the reason behind such speedy administrative action. Such is our culture that even a somewhat lesser mortal with connections in government could have achieved the same result, though perhaps with less immediacy and fewer penalties for the traffic officials. In fact, it all depends on the kind of influence one exerts in the world of politics and officialdom. Without that influence, Mr Sharif’s car would have been stuck indefinitely in the traffic mess.

Ordinary citizens appear to be resigned to the situation. They may be seething inside but their anger has perhaps not reached boiling point yet. Nevertheless, the bloody revolution that Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif often warns of may indeed come about if the powerful continue to flaunt their influence in an increasingly unseemly manner.

Mr Shahbaz Sharif would be well advised to curb this trend and empower ordinary citizens so that their voice can be heard too.

Source – http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/14-caught-in-a-jam-zj-03

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