December Issue 2009

By | Editorial | Opinion | Published 15 years ago

Will this government be allowed to play out its term or will it be booted out? Will the Sharif brothers succeed in dislodging the present dispensation while pretending to support it or will the khakis beat them to it?

These are the sort of disturbing questions that do the rounds as the Zardari government completes two years in office in January 2010.

An eventful two years apropos of virtually nothing to write home about in terms of performance, except desperate attempts to save the crown.

While it is true that consistent attempts are being made to discredit and dislodge this government, Zardari and co are not exactly helping their own cause. They present the picture of a disparate, clueless lot. Every day throws up a new crisis, a new challenge which the Zardari dispensation seems unable to handle, leaving people questioning the competence and credibility of this government. Its tendency to backtrack on major issues has tarnished its image and given its opponents an opportunity to carry out a consistent campaign against it.

Its now-on, now-off relations with the PML-N aside, its disconnect with the judiciary, the army, and worse, its coalition partners and party members, are public knowledge and often one is witness to an ugly war of words in the print and the electronic media.

More recently, its decision to get the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) ratified by parliament is one more black mark against the PPP-led government. Whatever the compulsions, the ordinance itself was a bad idea and to legalise corruption (alleged or real) in the name of reconciliation would’ve opened the floodgates of corruption and closed the doors on the prosecution of politicians forever, as a precedent would have been set.

Demands for the resignations of NRO beneficiaries would’ve been in order — but only if those demanding it were clean men. Interestingly, their own hands are tainted with corruption. The cooperatives scam, land scams, sugar and wheat scams, yellow cab scams — you name it, and they were in the loop. Moreover, when have those in power had the decency to resign for their sins of omission and commission?

So, frankly speaking, one is not expecting any resignations. However, what one would expect is that this government be mindful of the rising criticism coming its way, stop dithering on important issues, get its act together and go about the task of governance with honesty and commitment.

As for the opposition, to use the NRO or anything else as a pretext to dislodge an elected government prematurely, as has been the practice in the past, is not the way of the democrat.

Elected governments should, as a matter of principle, be voted out, not booted out.

Unless, of course, some people want the jackboots to return…

The December issue of Newsline is on newsstands now. Get your copy today.

Rehana Hakim is one of the core team of journalists that helped start Newsline. She has been the editor-in-chief since 1996.