Sunday, January 7, 2018

Balochistan crisis


Who benefits?

How quickly the focus of the latest Balochistan crisis outgrew issues like development funds, etc – pro-people arguments – and now reverberates across KP and Sind assemblies and all the way to the upper house itself. Once again our champions of democracy are neck deep in a slugfest that will test the constitution to the core, yet the government ‘of the people, for the people…’ will only revolve around the interests, and survival, of a small political elite. It turns out that, should push really come to shove in Baloshistan, there’s a chance of PTI and PPP folding their provincial governments as well. The March Senate elections, in such a scenario, will not be anybody’s number-one concern, to say the least.

Chief Minister Zehri, despite his lament to former PM Nawaz Sharif yesterday, is no champion of democracy. He maneuvered, so blatantly, his way into the province’s chief executive’s chair – not that the previous dispensation left the people any better off. And then he – just as blatantly – bloated the tribal political aristocracy with tax-payer development funds. There is more than a grain of truth in the charges behind the no-confidence motion. Much of what defines his time as CM is, regretfully, quite contrary to the spirit of representative government. But will throwing him out of office so close to the election, and risking a multi-province contagion that could well uproot the central government, a better way of getting those development funds to the people?

Sure, it would help if the so-called establishment openly distances itself from this circus – as sections of the more respected national press have demanded – yet it is far more important to focus on the more public players. Whose interests are the politicians really serving? Every time they make a show of defending democracy, etc, why is it always about their own survival, and their development funds? Whether there’s a smooth ride to the general election, or a rough one, people in Pakistan are getting smarter with every cycle, and will ask some of these difficult questions before casting their vote

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