Not the drone debate

Somebody asked me a questions a while ago about the increasing following of the Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf (PTI), as to ‘why a huge urban-educated Pakistani population is following an anti-west and pro-Taliban leader in a march against drones?’ Now, I am not a huge fan of the PTI or their stance on war on terror in Pakistan. But I think I am able to look into a fraction of why a huge urban population, who do not necessarily sympathise with Taliban, are following the PTI leader.

To majority of Pakistanis, terrorism doesn’t look like a problem bigger than lack of basic utilities, unemployment, inflation and a hundred others that they think are the outcome of ‘bad governance’.

According to an independent research site maintained by Dr.Zeeshan Usmani, a full bright scholar, total deaths from suicide bombings in Pakistan till last year were 5,067. Also, data obtained from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reveals that so far there have been 349  drone strikes in Pakistan that has reportedly killed around 2,593-3,365 people, out of which 474-884 were reported civilians and 176 were children.

Compared to that, 40% of the 1.8 billion Pakistanis are living below poverty line. According to 2009 census of Pakistan, 43% of Pakistanis do not have access to education. Pakistan’s rate of unemployment is 25%. 1.8 billion Pakistanis are also facing worst of its kind energy crisis in Natural gas, Power and Oil that will only get worst in the coming years. Pakistan has a total hydro potential of 40,000 MW against which it generates only 6500 MW. If the dams are not built, the power shortage will be up to 11,750 MV per year. 

But where would Pakistan get funds and resources to solve these problems? Our people may question robustly rental power and Hajj corruption cases but basic utilities’ wastage and stealing by common people, which is major cause of Pakistan’s energy crisis, are merely considered a reaction to government’s corruption. They may question the helipad at Prime Minister’s House, but would not like paying their taxes, as they have no doubt this will go in the ‘Swiss accounts of Mr. 10% and his friends.’

No matter how helpless the current government is for resolving economic and energy crisis and no matter how much they do for curbing Talibanisation in Pakistan, people would never forget the 1998 New York Times investigative report revealing a network of bank accounts of Zardari and a series of documents revealing corruption and commissions attributed to him, his parents and siblings who had modest assets at the time of his marriage with Bhutto. Though, never convicted during eight years of his imprisonment in a VIP hospital, the cases were withdrawn by the government after the Pakistan Peoples Party returned to power of in 2008.

This probably explains why even an educated and apparently moderate lot is blindly following a philanthropist with a transparent record of personal assets. When a political leader comes in power winning people’s trust, and not through buying votes through feudal lords in exchange of flour bags, he is most likely be able to convince people going against common wastages and stealing of resources. People are likely to thrust him with their tax money because they would trust the benefit would come down to them eventually.


21:57 hours
Monday 1 October 2012

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