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The Alarming need for Sha’oor

The critical challenges faced by Pakistan in the past 15 years, ranging from internal security dynamics to a crippling economy come as no surprise. Yet, the drastic imbalance of power between the civil society and those at the helm of affairs continues to present itself as a pressing concern. The practice of narrowing down politics to satisfy groups with vested interests, often termed as ‘Clientele politics’, acts as the supreme roadblock which thwarts the presence of equality and transparency in the country. Having followed this path to varying degrees under different dispensations and given this unjust custom’s vast, infectious manipulation for unfair political benefit, national level consensus building and progressive interests often remain unfulfilled at the highest level.

A political candidate for instance is not to be voted for just because he or she belongs to a specific locality, but his or her electability should be assessed in the light of the difference that his or her tenure would make to the lives of the ordinary people. 

However, physical violence, subservience and subjugation would remain the lot of the weak, poverty-stricken majority, if they decide not to vote accordingly. As a result, nothing less than the distribution of material resources is always at stake in outcome of electoral politics. Such regions secure the majority of the defining vote-banks of Pakistan, and since security labels itself as the nation’s topmost concern, human security is arguably the father of any meaningful change.

Economic independence would spark a decrease in dependency of the weak majority on their employers or local leaders, providing them with the opportunity to follow the dictates of their conscious and leaving these powerful groups with very limited clout to impose their command and authority on them. Consequently, individualism is encouraged where most effective, aiding in bringing clarity in individual perspective and ranking national need over blind-loyalty for any leader or party.

The media, despite its painstaking efforts in garnering extensive coverage of various violent hotbeds (Karachi target-killing crisis, FATA), has rendered its role of recent within certain limits, such as the recent 2013 pre-election assessment. Barring a few exceptions, the social and visual media flavored on ground realities with fewer facts and much needed constructive analysis, and rather a spicy recipe of hype and over exaggeration. The glorification of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf’s image, centrally their charismatic chairman Imran Khan for example, took the social media circuit and television screens worldwide by storm, leaving the same people oblivious to certain defining facts and guidelines: Glamorous speeches and tall promises would not ensure a clear-cut change in a nation like Pakistan, so the criteria for determining the party-in-lead should be centered upon experience and the later expert use of mismanaging tactics, rather than the number of people attending a tehreek-e-insaaf dharna. Another assessment not emphasized enough upon was the lack of motivation and local-support for near-to-anonymous PTI candidates in contesting regions, when examined with the bigger, more familiar guns they were set up against. Had the media as a unit ‘glittered’ enough insight on these facts, perhaps the uneven proportion of substance to hope would have formulated a far more balanced, realistic equation other than mastering sarcasm and generalizing a teeth-gritting competition. In spite of such inaccuracy from the news and broadcasting medium, these elections proved to be a defeat for the literate, Imran-rooting minorities as the common public wisdom from the majority ended up sealing the larger truth of the outcome.

Unreasonable boundaries such as vast differences between Pakistan and supposedly the West for an instance also end up being comprehended as the ultimate barriers at all levels towards rise and innovation. Even when the American elections are generally considered the near opposite of Pakistan’s, a noticeable fact is the level of pressure applied by an American individual on a contesting Democrat or Republican. This tight relationship between the contesting political candidates and the voters is intense till the very last minute, whereby the nation demands these representatives to sweat their speeches on facts and constructive analysis before being refined on merit as a possible choice. This tactical pressure on a contesting candidate makes him earn every vote, incorporating more capability and less blame-game criticism throughout the contest. Elections may just be taken seriously for once.

A premier brand such as the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence should take a break from state evaluation and consider spreading most of its wings at the regional level. By deploying the agency’s national experience on provincial grounds, the initiative refocuses Pakistan’s definition of countering terrorism in the country, which is bound to start inside the borders and not around them. Through monitoring the existence of rival forces and mastering the accumulation of critical domestic security information, no further patience is needed in the wait for acting guidelines.

National debates can never catch effect unless individual conversations are not served with the right to encourage disagreements, which is why diversity presents itself as Pakistan’s single greatest liability and resource. The gift of freedom of speech seems to be drifting away, given the religious and personal insecurities held at heart on any issue demanding liberal or distinct perspectives. The mass consultation of narrow minded thinking, partially influenced by those in authority, also tends to generate prejudice and intolerant actions at the public level. The Sikandar Hyat security breach, on August the 15th is a classic case scenario, whereby a deranged armed individual accompanied by his two children and his wife disrupted life in the Capital City for several hours.  The promise of a high security-alert by the Inspector General of Police prior to the incident was perceived in the contrary by the civil-majority in the end and taken as a fine dose of motivation for a handful of violence lovers. Furthermore, the absence of will and enthusiasm adjoined with lacking individualism seems to be a contributing factor in suspending the fight for any genuine change.

Only if the local definition of mindset would equal legitimate action, ‘awaam ko sha’oor hasil hoga’.

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