May Issue 2008
Editor’s Note: May 2008
Ninety days after the elections, the issue of the restoration of the deposed judges continues to consume all the waking hours of the newly installed government.
Despite the bonhomie and the ‘bara bhai, chota bhai’ banter between Zardari and Sharif witnessed at all the post-election press conferences, the talks on the judiciary issue have been stymied by the two parties’ conflicting self-interests. And incidents like the one pertaining to the postponement of the bye-elections, allegedly at the PPP interior adviser’s request — which was seen by the PML-N as an attempt to delay the younger Sharif’s election and subsequent induction as Punjab chief minister- will only queer the pitch and create an atmosphere of distrust. The judges’ issue needs a cool, dispassionate look from the elected representatives, without any interference from external players with hidden agendas. So long as this contentious issue continues to hang fire, the new government will be unable to move effectively on other issues.
The present dispensation has a multitude of problems to contend with. The war on terror rages on and umpteen peace talks between the government and the militants have not yielded any positive results so far. Suicide bombers have resurfaced. Swat is still being held hostage by the extremists, who only recently burned down two girls’ schools.
However, the most pressing issue confronting the government is that of skyrocketing food prices and rising poverty levels, which, in certain instances, have led to suicides by desperate individuals.
The masses are expecting their elected representatives to deliver on their election promises. Good governance is the need of the hour. And the only way to ensure that is by appointing efficient and honest people, with the right credentials, to the relevant portfolios.
Incidentally, the recent appointments to certain important posts in the national and provincial cabinets and government institutions are based on loyalty rather than merit, giving rise to the uneasy feeling that the days of cronyism have returned.
Surely, the two leading coalition partners have learnt some invaluable lessons from their long years in exile.
Rehana Hakim is one of the core team of journalists that helped start Newsline. She has been the editor-in-chief since 1996.