Tic-tac-toe

If ever there was a worldwide competition for political gimmickry, Pakistan would win hands down. The amount of political buffoonery in this country has reached a point where you never know which decision/act/incident qualifies as the biggest folly of all. The decision of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) to restore the local government system of 2001 in Karachi and Hyderabad in order to appease its on-again/off-again coalition partner, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), is one such example of how our political parties have no qualms about making a laughingstock of this country. The MQM’s blackmailing tactics know no bounds but it is not the MQM’s perambulations that concern us today, it is the PPP’s ineplicable decision making that is worrisome for it is the PPP that is the leading party in the ruling coalition.

When the MQM gave a cold shoulder to the PPP, the latter tried to ‘tease’ it in its own way by imposing the colonial commissionerate system. This further aggravated the situation in Karachi, which was reminiscent of the Karachi of the 1990s. Now that the PPP and the MQM have decided to kiss and make up, it is hoped that peace would eventually return to the metropolis. When the commissionerate system was imposed, we criticised the PPP’s decision in this space. It is beyond comprehension who advises the PPP leadership on taking steps that would only cause embarrassment and from which the government would have to eventually retreat. In the three years that the PPP has been in power, we have seen many such decisions being taken by the government that fell flat on their face. From President Zardari’s reluctance in restoring the deposed judiciary to the imposition of Governor Raj in Punjab, this government has made many blunders. In the executive versus judiciary clash, too, we saw the government flip-flopping on issues that should not have been created in the first place. In the case of the MQM, the PPP goes one step forward and two steps back. It is like a minuet where both parties keep going round and round in circles instead of moving forward. The people of Pakistan need a break from all such political perambulations. On the one hand we have a military that calls the shots when it comes to our foreign and security policies and on the other we have a civilian government that is just creating trouble for itself, and the democratic system in the process.

The PPP government needs to take stock of its blunders and start taking rational and well thought through decisions. Democracy may well be nascent in Pakistan but that does not mean that our politicians are permitted to make fools of themselves. We already have enough problems on our hands as it is without dealing with political naïveté. The public is fast losing patience with this government’s shenanigans. They need relief, not an overdose of added problems in their day to day lives. Most importantly, the people of Karachi want an end to this circle of violence that comes to haunt their city every now and then. What would it take for our leaders to care about the lives of Pakistan’s citizenry? We have seen enough bloodshed to last us a lifetime. All political parties should stop playing a game of tic-tac-toe in order to undermine their rivals. The government needs to wake up and smell the coffee instead of playing politics in the name of ‘reconciliation’.

(my editorial in Daily Times)

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