The People Of Pakistan And Its Democratic Government – OpEd


The victory of democracy in 2008 elections surprised the world. The eight-year dictatorship in Pakistan, backed by the US, technically came to an end after the Feb 18 elections. The credit for the rule of democracy goes to the people of Pakistan who changed the centre of gravity of the national polity by electing civilian leaders. The PPP formed the coalition government with many early ups and downs. The people of Pakistan were expecting that the win of democracy would bring a big change in the country. The early tenure showed that the civilian leadership will resolve all the issues facing Pakistan, but unfortunately the civilian leadership started playing dirty politics.

The masses voted the PPP into power for a change and prosperity, but now they are repenting their decision. The government has badly failed to give relief to the common man and provide them with even basic facilities. The PPP government has ruined the country both politically and economically and its policies are disavowing its own election manifesto and the slogan of “roti, kapra aur makan”. Poverty is increasing day by day while bad governance and corruption have put the country’s sovereignty and integrity at risk.

Energy shortage, galloping price hike, instability, rampant corruption, abnormal currency printing, growing unemployment, institutional breakdown and rising debt are the triumphs of the PPP government. Food inflation is constantly on the rise. Food and clean water are the baisc need of all human beings, but the government has completely failed to fulfill even these basic needs. Governance has become an alien concept to the ruling PPP government. Instability, target killings, scandals, corruption, and socio-economic mismanagement have been some of the major hallmarks of the past four years.

Poverty has frustrated the public, forcing them to sell their beloved children and commit suicides. These worst conditions are jeopardizing the sovereignty and solidarity of the country. Corruption, bad governance and nepotism rule the roost with the blessings of the government. In such devastating situation, I was shocked to listen sympathetic statements from educated and well-known personalities of Pakistan who protect the policies of the party whether right or wrong.

If we look back, it seems crises have become a congenital part of our daily life, but the government has not showed any kind of wisdom to solve the common man’s problems. Economy is teetering on the edge of precipice as the government has been borrowing from the IMF and WB. The latest report of the State Bank shows the government has so far borrowed Rs219.2 billion from the scheduled banks. The report shows that the value of our rupee has decreased by 4.4 % and inflation is likely to increase by 12 %.

In the ongoing crisis of electricity and gas shortage inflation rate is expected to cross about 25 % of its ratio. An increase of more than 5 % in petroleum goods in the month of April increased inflation more than was expected. The current increase of 6.39 rupee per unit in electricity price is impacting on the consumers. The tariffs of petroleum products have been abnormally high compared with the international market’s throughout the tenure of the PPP government. Poverty ratio has increased from 27 % to 40 %, and is steadily on the rise. The banks are granting loans to the government rather than the social and private sector.

The rising prices of daily needs like food products, petrol and CNG have been a thorn in the side of millions of Pakistanis; as a result consumer spending and confidence in the trade markets has taken a tumble. The situation has deteriorated; poverty has been increasing evry minute. The people are very much worried about the future of the country. Economists and opposition parties hold the PPP government responsible for all the crises. It is true that the performance of our leadership in energy and development sector is disappointing. The federal aw well as provincial governments of three provinces have done nothing to accommodate thousands of those who have been laid off; however, their corruption has touched the skies.

According to a study 36% of children in Pakistan are suffering from stunted growth. Chronic childhood undernourishment is widespread which diminishes the IQ of a child by an average of 20%. There are a large number of skin-and-bone children in our poor classes which are living in the rural as well as urban areas. The younger children are facing such problems which force them to experience enduring mental and physical damages.

Interestingly, the PPP leadership still claims that the people of Pakistan are very happy and prosperous and is unwilling to address their problems. The unmanageable rise in food prices is obviously the result of the financial policies of democratic government which has been structured to fit into the neo-liberal standards. It is amazing that even in such a scenario the PPP is still positive about its victory in the next election.

We should work ourselves for the betterment of our upcoming generations. It is not time to only depend on prayers and hopes alone. Have we ever asked ourselves why we repeatedly elect the same crooks and hypocrites to rule us and then wait for a change? God will not change our destiny unless we change ourselves! It is high time that the youth and educated people rose to the occasion to change the destiny of this nation.

Dr. Imran Ali Sandano

Dr. Imran Ali Sandano is an author of "Sufism and Peace: A Counter Strategy of Extremism" and "Separatist Movement of Balochistan: A Non Traditional Security Threat" books. Currently, he is working as Senior Research Fellow at Nontraditional Security and Peaceful Development Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China. His areas of interest are nontraditional security issues, terrorism, and conflict resolution, diplomacy, and Sufism. Dr. Sandano is a regular writer of different newspapers and weekly magazines. He holds PhD degree in Nontraditional Security Management, M.Phil degree in Peace and Conflict Studies, Masters in International Relations. He can be reached at [email protected]. Tweeter iiimran110.

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