ARTS, CULTURE & BOOKS Will years of unfulfilled hopes and mistrust turn around?
Is it only the government of the day which is responsible for our woes? Aren’t the people at large share responsibility for conditions that continue to persist ever since our independence?Rubab Syed & Mohammad Yasin
Good governance is the only key to put a country on the path of development, sustainability and prosperity.
Responsiveness to public needs, rule of law, transparency, accountability, justice and right decisions at a right time are a few important ingredients of good governance.
In Pakistan, every government, whether civil or military, right after assuming power promises to improve the people’s lot through good governance, but opting for best practices in our years’ old governance system is a still a far cry. Increasingly, what has been witnessed so far is the claims to change the destiny of the country, but at the end rulers change their own destiny leaving the country in political and economic crises. Indifference towards the plight of the people, self-interest and opportunism remain their priorities till some new faces are appeared on the stage with the same mantra of good governance. Is Pakistani nation ready to take yet another chance?
As this prompt readiness of Pakistani nation is witnessed after every half decade, there arise a number of questions. Is it only the government of the day which is responsible for our woes? Aren’t the people at large share responsibility for conditions that continue to persist ever since our independence? What has been done by our homes, schools, mosques, madrassas and various other institutions to build a responsible and disciplined society? “Rights” are demanded but responsibilities are not accepted.
Various institutions, most of the government functionaries, political parties, the police and the subordinate courts are not trusted. Even people do not trust each other. Wait a few more months, and people would either feel the signs of change as promised by the present government of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf or maintain the long broken trust with the nation?
Countries where people trust each other are happy countries. In 2009, Gallup carried out a survey titled Trust & Happiness of Nations. At that time, the happiest nation on earth was Denmark where 60 percent people trusted each other.
As Stephen MR Covey has said, “When trust is sufficient, laws are unnecessary. When trust is insufficient, laws are unenforceable.”
Confucius once said, “Executives tempted to take shortcuts should remember that a good government needs weapons, food and trust. If the ruler cannot hold on to all three, he should give up weapons first and food next. Trust should be guarded to the end, because without trust, we cannot stand.”
A person in the street asks if the politicians, the bureaucrats, the media or the religious leaders are responsible for our failure? All four have felicitated 71 years of degeneration. We almost top the list of most corrupt nations where terrorism, religious extremism, disobedience to law prevails. We are not even good Muslims. According to a survey by a United States’ academic, Pakistan doesn’t come near any of the top 50 countries best promoting the fundamental Islamic values which must be at the foundation of any Islamic society as defined by Shariah. Moreover, during Friday prayers, a prayer leader, in his address to the Jumma congregation, said, “If you commit 100 murders and ask for forgiveness from God, He will pardon you. Sins committed between two Fridays are forgiven.”
For heaven sake, what message these people convey to the public at large and these people are considered the true representatives of an Islamic society. No wonder, the faithful are killing the other faithful. Each category believes that they are waging jihad. When institutions deteriorate, the vacuum is filled by corruption and lawlessness.
Where do we go from here? What hopes do we have for a dignified life? A straight answer to this question is that as an undisciplined and indifferent nation, we must not keep the hope to have a dignified life. The rulers may enjoy their life, but the people at large will continue to suffer, because their chosen representatives are incapable. It would not be wrong to say that our leaders represent the attributes of our nation as a whole.
Each government claims that people elect them to run the country. But they ought to understand whether the mandate was for the love of new rulers or for the hatred of previous ones. The rulers must know that the common man needs to live in peace and wants clean surroundings. The common man wants to understand why there are thousands of employees in the Water & Power Development Authority (WAPDA), the Water & Sanitation Agency (WASA), cantonment boards, other institutions, but the public service is seen nowhere.
The government must come down to ground level, face realities and see what can be done to improve the life of a common citizen. Here are a few suggestions for the rulers:
Empower local bodies without wasting more time to facilitate a participatory government system.
Visit institutions incognito that provide public services, like WAPDA, WASA, cantonment boards, etc to find out how efficient and effective they are and how they deal with the residents.
Visit lower courts incognito to find out the “dignity of a common citizen”.
Find out the condition of cleanliness, hygiene and sanitation. We are among the dirty nations in the world. Although in Islam, “cleanliness is next to Godliness”, but we choose to live in filthy environment.
Visit banks and the national saving centers to see the miserable conditions of those who are made to waste nation’s time to pay utility bills. Why can’t the consumers get consolidate bills for electricity, telephone, gas, etc? Why it is so difficult to pay government dues.
Visit government hospitals to see the plight of patients.
Feel the plight of senior citizens.
Make the police force autonomous. The police should be provided constitutional cover and should be freed from political influence. We should follow United Kingdom’s model where the police is not servant of a government at any level. The police do not act at the behest of a minister or any political party. It acts on behalf of the people as a whole.
Sit-ins at places where they would interfere with working of the government, private organizations, business community schools, colleges, etc must be banned.
Make your emails public and read your emails so that people can get in touch with you for the redressal of their woes.
Try to know about the complaints lodged with public service institutions and see the outcome.
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The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint or stance of SDPI.