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Shift the focus, please!

January 13, 2012

-Photo Illustration by Nadir Siddiqui

The current political situation is like one of those soap operas that go on for decades. The characters remain the same and keep appearing after intervals in different guises and roles. The twists start becoming predictable and the plot gets drab and stretches on and on. Yet, we tend to follow it, focus on it and guiltily, want more of it.

In the midst of this, we tend to forget what really matters – or at least should matter.

Every single day the front and back pages of our daily newspapers are filled with details of our key political players, their controversies, their statements, their empty promises and their unrealistic plans. Sure, national security is important, sovereignty is crucial, foreign relations are essential and democracy is vital – but what about the bullet-riddled body found in Surjani Town? What about the four-year old girl who was raped and killed? What about the flood victims who are STILL awaiting aid? Are their stories not as important, if not more? Don’t they deserve the front-page and prime air time? Apparently not.

It seems that the memo scandal, judiciary proceedings and the government’s perpetual tiffs are what matters most – and because this point of view is further perpetuated by the print and electronic media, we hardly object.

Instead of tangling itself in constant controversies and feuds, the government should be taking the lead in paying attention to these issues. It should put a lid on its hourly statements on democracy, put aside its foreign-element paranoia and instead deliver what it promised to the common man – relief.

Instead of constantly setting up benches to hear proceedings on various cases against the government and former politicians, the judiciary should instead open the dusty files which have been waiting in line for decades and deliver what it promised to the masses – justice.

Instead of allowing one dubious character to create such a fuss over national security, the military should instead focus on the airspace violations, border protection and the discovery of OBL in Abbottabad. Instead of being caught up constantly in the midst of a political confrontation, the military should to do its core duty – protect (the good guys, that is).

Why do these leaders spend more time talking than doing? Because unfortunately we are providing them with the platform to do so, with a silent nod to go on. Be it our criticism or praise, we allow them to assume that this is their show – when clearly it is not. The show belongs to the party worker who was gunned down outside his home. It belongs to the mother collecting money to pay ransom for her kidnapped child and it belongs to the families who have no gas to cook their meals with.

The government has succeeded in continuing their term until now; however, it has been a rocky journey. So paranoid has this government been thus far, that instead of focusing on all of the issues of the common man, it has instead spent all its time nervously clutching its chair in fear of losing it. It has failed to provide any kind of relief and instead brought some (literally) dark times to the masses. The masses who they proudly claim, support them. The common, downtrodden man doesn’t support them or their beloved fight for democracy. The common man only supports the element that will give him food and shelter.

This blog and others of its kind unfortunately will fall on deaf ears but to those to whom it matters, achievement for this government will not be in completing its term, instead achievement will be in the form of solutions for the energy crisis, minority rights protection, educational reforms and provision of healthcare.

Accomplishment will not be in pushing forward a deceased leader’s agenda but in providing welfare to a state which is called a failure and the term can hardly be disputed. Triumph will not be in having a free judiciary but in having a functioning judiciary that is independent and prioritises what is important to the nation – not the leadership. Victory will not be in repeatedly declaring Pakistan’s sovereignty but instead proving that it is a nation that can stand on its own.

Until the leadership and the common man are not on the same page about what achievement and triumph means, Pakistan will continue to go around in circles of self-destruction to which the outside world will be nothing more than mere spectators to.

The writer is the Deputy Editor at