PAKISTAN is not a nation although it has been a state since 1947. Missing is a strong common identity, mental makeup, shared sense of history and common goals. The failure to effectively integrate flows from inequalities of wealth and opportunity, absence of effective democracy and a dysfunctional legal system.
Once again comes the heart-wrenching story about the plight of Tharis whose struggle for dignity and simple essentials of life continues unabated. This time, it is a video documentary produced by a Pakistani reporter named Kamran Shahid for a Television program. The video focuses on the daily struggle for for water, education, and jobs for this small Sindhi village and assails the uncaring attitude of politicians, particularly those of PPP. Many of Sindhis if they watch this video are likely to be impacted emotionally and strengthen their resolve to vigorously participate in the alleviation of their plight.
The video shows the daily struggle of village men, women, and children to find drinkable water. It depicts animals and human beings drinking water from the same pond and the effort it takes to pull water from a deep well with the help of donkeys that must pull ropes for almost 100 yards. The broken Urdu that these broken people will convey the sense of helplessness that these people feel to communicate in broken Urdu that they hardly understand. They wish people who knew their own language would come to listen to their sorrows and have heart-to-heart chat about the misery that they suffer.
The reporter is taken to a a site where bare walls of a school that was supposed to start long time ago stand on an empty lot. The video shows disappointed and loitering kids roaming in streets without any where to go without a village school. The kids and their parents demand schools, education, and other opportunities to improve their livelihoods.
The reporter points to the border between India and Pakistan one mile away and asks the villagers if they knew how people lived in villages across the border. They reply immediately that the villagers on the other side have much better lives – they have piped dirking water, many tube-wells, and access to schools. The reporter comments that what is the fault of these people on this side of the border (Pakistan) that they should suffer so much and what makes the people living on other side of the border (India) to live better lives.
The reporter asks if the village has a dispensary or a medical clinic. The villagers reply that such they are not fortunate enough to have such a facility. They must carry their very sick relatives on carts to a hospital 30-40 miles away in the town of Umerkot. Many die sooner as the medical help cannot reach them on a timely basis.
I hope we will double our efforts to put pressure on Pakistani and international governments and institutions to come to rescue of poor Tharis and other Sindhis.
Being in power, directly or indirectly, for the last 30 years, the establishment has been endorsing legal and illegal methods of accumulating wealth. Whether in India or the US, military men do not retire as millionaires!
It appears that Pakistan’s ruling class knows something that we do not about the judiciary’s promise to treat every citizen equally and punish everyone violating the laws of the country. Along with the Taliban’s murderous suicide attacks, Pakistanis are bombed everyday by price hikes, hoarding, load-shedding, cheating by every influential person — political or otherwise — and the list goes on. It is evident that either the ruling classes believe that the judiciary and other state agencies working for accountability are mere show casings, or that they have been reined in.
Last week, Lahore witnessed the worst kind of suicide attacks and multiple bomb blasts. However, while the bodies of the innocent people were being buried in Lahore, Karachi, and many other places, we learnt that two high officials of an intelligence agency made two dacoits disappear from police custody. The DSP who had nabbed them despite the discouraging attitude of the higher ups, had refused to release them. The DSP was rewarded with an undesirable suspension for catching the dacoit and his mafia head. The incident was so brazenly unlawful that the people of that area staged demonstrations in support of the DSP — a rare show in favour of a policewala.
This week we learnt that officials were involved in the theft of natural gas, costing the nation billions of rupees. We also learnt that the prime minister has ordered the reorganisation of eight national institutions like PIA, the railways, WAPDA, etc, which are sustaining losses of billions of dollars. Who is going to reorganise the biggest money losers? Is it going to be the political leadership, which does not pay taxes on their own real income, costing the national exchequer an unknown huge amount, or the same officials who have been plundering every national institution? Probably, the same old set of officials sitting in the eight money losers will be rotated.
The prime minister and chief ministers keenly rush to the places of tragic happenings to announce monetary compensation for the victims. Records show that the prime minister has paid zero tax while the chief ministers — all four being billionaires — have paid nominal or no taxes. These powerful heads of the state and provinces do not pause to think for a moment whose money they are distributing. It is clear that this is not their money!
The prime minister and chief ministers belong to different parties but, as a class, their behaviour is identical. Therefore, it is clear that replacing one individual/party with the other will not change anything.
… expecting the US and Europe to get up on their own and solve this problem (or any other problem they helped to create) you are being foolish.
On the other hand, it is equally foolish to assume that one can ignore the existence of US, Europe, public opinion, etc and decide “we” (meaning the exalted Ummah) will solve it on our own, thank you.
The facts on the ground are that Israel is the more developed power (with a huge advantage over its Arab neighbors, though not as much as it used to enjoy in the past when the camel jockeys were still stuck in the 18th century). The Palestinians are the weaker party. The weaker party has to use more of its brain than the stronger party (and in the best case, they use Judo: they turn the enemy’s strength against them).
The Palestinians have to work long and hard to get public opinion in Europe and the US to turn adjacent to Israel (and they have done a lot of that work and managed to get Europe especially to move further apart from Israeli hardliner positions, with patient hard work they will get the American public to move the same way, it can be done), they have to resist them on the ground, they have to organize enough to be able to sustain the struggle and they have to eventually offer the Israeli public an “out”…a way to settle this without being annihilated.
The last is important because it is important to remember that the Israeli public also consists of human beings, in this case organized in a rather sophisticated and capable culture. If their only option is annihilation or victory, they will fight tooth and nail. If they have a reasonable option short of annihilation, they too can be split between moderates and hardliners.
..read the voluminous literature about Mahatma Gandhi….
Dear Friends — For the first time in our nation’s history, Congress has passed comprehensive health care reform. America waited a hundred years and fought for decades to reach this moment. Tonight, thanks to you, we are finally here.
Consider the staggering scope of what you have just accomplished: Because of you, every American will finally be guaranteed high quality, affordable health care coverage.
Every American will be covered under the toughest patient protections in history. Arbitrary premium hikes, insurance cancellations, and discrimination against pre-existing conditions will now be gone forever.
And we’ll finally start reducing the cost of care — creating millions of jobs, preventing families and businesses from plunging into bankruptcy, and removing over a trillion dollars of debt from the backs of our children.
But the victory that matters most tonight goes beyond the laws and far past the numbers.