Governance in Pakistan has always been a project of breached commitments. We come across numerous such instances, more often than not, when we realise that the government is lacking the devotion and dedication to its already-made pledges. What we fail to contemplate is that Pakistan is a ‘Janus-faced’ country, as Anatol Leiven would call it in his book Pakistan- A Hard Country, which is also considered as his magnum opus about Pakistan’s structural issues. Pakistan’s leadership has attainable profits from ‘every’ decision made, which a common citizen can only acknowledge if, and only if, he or she has a deep insight about the work ethic of Pakistan’s politics.
One of the many kinds of such seemingly-inept, but actually benefitting the government in power towards its very-own commitments, came into notice just recently when Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif announced the restoration of the National holiday on 9th November to celebrate ‘Iqbal Day’. It is quite staggering that the Iqbal Day ceased to be celebrated as a National holiday back in 2015, and it was the government of the very same party that is in power today i.e PML-N.
Declaration of this National holiday to observe Iqbal Day has provoked netizens, though a very few, when they recalled the initial days of Shahbaz’s term as the Prime Minister. When came into power, Shehbaz Sharif showed interest to work 6 days a week, if not 7, citing that Pakistan needs to put in more effort vis-a-vis the world and rightly so, it really does. No surprises in the policy as all of his brother’s, Nawaz Sharif’s, administration had a motto of turning Pakistan into ‘Asian Tigers’. Less than one year down the lane, he himself proclaims to enforce, rather restore, a holiday in the face of ‘Iqbal Day’, adding to more than ten National Holidays already intact.
For a section of the population, this proclamation might mean failed governance or lack of character as the premier could not stick to his words of increasing work hours to keep up to the world competition. Well, the case is the otherwise.
This declaration might have far reaching implications in the face of supreme political diplomacy. Politics in Pakistan and the voter bank strength is more dependent on the emotional sentiments towards a certain leader or party than the political agenda and motives that he or she carries. Cashing this cultural snag and restoring November 9 as a National holiday, a soft corner would have developed in the citizens, as netizens are already applauding the step. Amid all the unenviable events which recently took place across the country that victimised the government to add insult to their injury, the declaration of this holiday might have turn the tables, though to a certain minimum extent, to the otherwise. Shehbaz Sharif as a premier is not the only the one who is being a party to the cashier of the innocence of people of Pakistan, the ousted Prime Minister has his own bars set high to this game play.
PTI chairman and ex Prime Minister Imran Khan is supremely keen, and second to none, in his ability to address the domestic and national issues, though while orating only, in such a way that it inflates the egos of the Pakistani citizens, albeit it is oftentimes only a lip-servicing. He even profited from the instance when Shehbaz Sharif while his one of the parliamentary speech once denoted Pakistan as a beggar state, which is although disrespectful but history proven and logical, the clips of which still circulate on the social media to reflect the villain side of the current premier in office, and to demonstrate how well Imran Khan gauges the self-respect of his countrymen. When questioned from such cult supporters of any of the political party about the manifesto and objectives of his or her political party, most of the times silence ensues or the answer is emotion-backed, unsatisfactory evidence.
Lack of reasoning and rationale in the majority of our statesmen is the last an already drowning state can wish for. This not only makes us prone to be manipulated effortlessly, but also dirty politics becomes a bound-to-happen event in our everyday life. No silver lining is easily accessible, or even imaginable, until we as a society evolve towards a much logic-driven and rationale promoting culture rather than the prevailing dead sea of minds, which are being manipulated by the ‘very few’. Our society should refrain from the orthodox way of emotion-driven decision making only if they want to up the ante and see Pakistan as a better place.
The author holds interests in National and International politics. He can be reached at the email email@example.com.