Hot in winter

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The country is heating up and it is rather early in the expected regime of things. The reason is the excessive emphasis on the holier-than-thou perception propagated by well-entrenched entitled sectors that have no other point to prove their ascendancy. It must have been known to them that proposition of sleaze evokes strong emotions but it unfortunately lacks the tools to solve things. Despite being aware of the often negative consequences of preaching random morality these segments consider it as the best policy to follow.

They do not hesitate to adhere to their tried-and-tested route because arousing sentiment of accountability had always produced desired results in Pakistan that they have consistently exploited. This ploy invariably pushes the contending forces to the defence and their position is further weakened when deliberate information is aired about the ‘guilty’ elements asking for a way-out, known in local parlance as NRO. The process has been fine tuned by popularising the notion that politicos use popular mandates for following each other in power, again known as taking ‘baarian’.

Currently what has been added is that it is only sleaze that has destroyed the country and that recovery of ‘looted’ money is the only solution to rectify the state of affairs. Targets are selected and even amounts to be recovered are circulated through different means. It is a well-sought out strategy that the politicos find difficult to defend against as they have no access to the kind of resources possessed by entitled segments and their usage.

The political elements coming to fore since the last three decades somehow owe their pre-eminence to the entrenched forces as there was no other option available. But it is increasingly getting clear that the besieged political factors have decided to call the bluff. In a drastic change they all returned to the country amidst fear of persecution as they realised that there is no short cut like exile to resist the dominance of entrenched elements. They appear to be facing the consequences steadfastly and have been able to convince and maintain their popular support base.

Two new factors have emerged that were not taken into account by the entrenched class. A resurgent judiciary is bent upon proving its credibility and its impact could be gauged by the fact that a one-liner from the Chief Justice put to rest all clamour for governor rule in Sindh. It is now believed that Islamabad High Court and Supreme Court may become the future battleground for political battles. Politicos have learnt their lesson as is proven clearly by appointment of Shahbaz Sharif as Chairman of Public Accounts Committee. On the institutional front politicos are seriously working to cut down NAB to size and the defensive stance taken by its Chairman is enough an indication.

The media has already blunted the sharpness of the tricks followed by the entitled class though it has been badly mauled in the process. Persecution is certainly not new to the media and it appears well-equipped to handle it. Aggressive investigative reporting is on the rise and is dismantling myths by the hour. Analysing dispassionately, it is a difficult to silence media as it has gained strength globally as was shown by Jamal Khashoggi’s murder. This incident perhaps has irretrievably imperiled the future course of action of the ambitious Saudi crown prince.

It is a well-known fact that entrenched elements go to the extreme to defend their turf. It is quite natural because they are raised according to the exclusivity principle. The best thing about them is that they are equally capable of taking a massive about-turn. It is expected that they will do earlier with intense public acclaim.

The most worrying factor, however, is the glaring incompetence within the ranks of political elements. They appear disastrously inward-looking and hardly emphasise national issues. Their lack of competence has provided other institutions the leeway to indulge in administrative issues such as construction of dams. The impression their cumulative conduct conveys is that they are in perpetual opposition to national issues and insist internalising many of them. They never come out persuasive and effective in innumerable chances provided to them by a large number of TV channels.

Pakistan is definitely moving ahead but in a different trajectory than planned by some segments of national existence. It should be realised that national goals are achieved in harmony and harmony does not come from parroting that all state institutions are on the same page. Healthy and secure nations thrive on confronting internal dissent headlong and eventually settling their differences. Simply by repeating that we are the best of the best is self-defeating as it inculcates a false sense of pride that is damaging in the long term.

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