Tuesday, October 19, 2010

People of Pakistan: Anyway to Satisfy?

Recently a friend asked me:

"waka, bhai mere tell me ONE way Pakistan can run and people wud be satisfied. I don't say happy or delighted just satisfied"

The question put me in a difficult position. Most of the literate and educated youth are, sadly, ignorant of ground realities of Pakistan. They might be well versed with Democratic definitions, latest fashion trends, technology changes, industrial development, government corruption and situation of corporate market. Most of these youth probably spent 500 to 5000 rupees a week and their awareness radar operates as far as limits of their urban centers allow.

Beyond that, these youth are dependent on whatever news is brought to them through internet and media. It is good to see youth getting vocal on national issues which is the macro vision of Pakistan, however majority of the youth fail to understand the micro level when asked about tribes, villages, towns, peasants, farmers, landlords and countryside bureaucracy. The latter constitute above 60% of Pakistan geographically, a huge reality that cannot be ignored yet the cage of their cities don't allow them to properly explore what majority of their country offers to them.

Therefor, with a heavy heart, I gave him the following answer.

People will NEVER be satisfied. Rural side wants traditional PPP and PML governments, they want to have government jobs, they want development work and agricultural friendly policies. Last but not the least, they want Education even though it's their least priority.

Cities want diverse groups in government, they want more opportunities, private sector seeks growth, industrial expansion, business safety, urban center development, investment friendly policies, fair market practices, law and order safety and more privatisation of government assets.

Human rights groups want more emphasis on basic rights, provision of water and electricity to furthest corners of Pakistan, reduction in human rights abuses including household "zulm" on wives and daughters in our male dominant society, improve police attitude and cooperation, abolition of laws violating or hurting humans in anyway and public awareness campaigns from the government.

The Expats want our currency to remain devalued enough so that they can send sufficient money to their families in Pakistan. The exporters also want the same so that they can export more to foreign countries.

The importers want increased value of money so that they can import more.

The west, quite frankly, wants us to remain beggars with their constant support of military dictators which hurts Pakistan in the long run.

The Indians wants us to forget Kashmir and be happy buddies forever.

The Chinese wants us to stay supportive all time and help us with everything from small needle to Nuclear reactors. US, Japan and India do not like China and that's a fact hard to miss.

The average urbanite in Pakistan wants beer, booz and every 'Haram' thing to enjoy the adult life.

The Mullahs want Shariah and complete Nakaab culture.

The Taliban wants beheading of every person they deem un-Islamic.

The non-Muslims want a greater share in governance, possibility of having a non-Muslim President, safety of life, freedom to practice their religion and equality on all fronts.

Shia Muslims want their fair share in religious practices.

Sunni sect itself has various sub-sects as contenders to dominant Sunni faction.

Punjabi wants greater availability of water for better agriculture.

Sindhi wants more water in River Indus for the crops of Sindh.

and the list goes on and on and on ...

Tell me, can ANYONE even possibly satisfy half of them?

It is a sad reality, one that we cannot ignore. No matter what we do, there is no way to satisfy everyone. However, we can compromise for national interest and compromise comes through consensus. Dictators do not compromise. They either bow or crush, there is no middle ground to track on and this is the result of their life long military training.

Our political parties, even if corrupt, at least represent the far flung areas of Pakistan where few, if any, urbanites have ventured. Unless people and youth of urban centers venture out of their concrete cages, spend some time with nature, speak with people in regional languages of Pakistan (Punjabi, Sindhi, Pushto, Hindko, Balochi, Saraiki etc), understand them and their plight and work accordingly to educate them and their children, Pakistan cannot progress and will remain in suspended animation of a wounded falcon that can neither fly, hop or crawl and wait for a slow death.

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