By: Ghalib Sultan
If there is democracy and people are the most important factor in a democracy then there is something seriously wrong.
There is a news story in Pakistan Today (11.1.12) about the travails of an ex soldier. This unfortunate man made the mistake of helping the police in thwarting a bomb attack on a shrine. In retaliation his son was kidnapped and delivered dead in a gunny bag when no one helped him. Then his other son was kidnapped and given such strong drugs that he died of blood cancer. No one helped him. Now his teenage daughter has been kidnapped since May 2011 and once again no law enforcing or investigative agency is willing to help him. The kidnappers have demanded a huge ransom. The family has hit rock bottom and dead end.
A few days ago a stampede after a musical concert caused the death of three young girls. The concert venue was over crowded with complete disregard for safety. Who is responsible for this tragedy?
Power outages and gas shut downs are causing unimaginable suffering to the common man. No one has an answer. Long lines of cars wait patiently for CNG at gas stations. Businesses are shutting down. Industry is closed. Unemployment is rampant. Trains run erratically if at all and the service is abominable. The national airline is a laughing stock. Poverty stalks the land. No one has any pride left-not in their work, not in themselves and not in the country.
The masses watch helplessly as trivia like the ‘memo’ and NRO take up all the time of the institutions that should be giving them governance, security and justice. No one watches the useless debates on TV—everyone is hooked on the plays even if their themes are depressing. Anything to escape reality.
Drone attacks have restarted with this years first one on January 10th– as have bomb blasts. The horrifying details of 10 soldiers mutilated, beheaded and thrown callously in a ravine did not even make it to the headlines. Bomb blasts are back with 30 killed in Jamrud in just one attack and several injured in other attacks. Surely these events are more important than the shenanigans of those jockeying for power or those trying to survive.
Democracy without the rule of law is chaos. The people matter more than anything else. The reality on the street cannot be ignored any longer. Its time to focus on real democracy and that means addressing the grievances of the people-the sooner this happens the better. The Arab Spring came when the people were driven to the street and were fed up of being ignored.