Sunday 25 October 2009

Falling morale and absent leadership

The feeling of gloom and insecurity is now national in coverage. It is not just a problem for Karachi or Swat or Peshawar. No citizen in Pakistan (besides those whose security is guaranteed by US and who live behind bunkers in Islamabad) feels safe any more. Those leaving their homes in the morning to go out to earn their livelihood leave with fears that this might be the last time they are seeing their loved ones.

Educational institutions have been closed in order to give them time to put "security" in place. Unlike the Presidency or Prime Minister House in Islamabad universities do not have physical walls to prevent terrorists from walking in. Nation is feeling insecure and morale is at its lowest.

Cyril Almeida recently wrote on the absence of our political leadership from the scene (discounting their mugshots on the television media) and its reluctance to reach out to the masses to raise their morale:

But have you seen Zardari visiting the injured, condoling with the families of the dead, drumming up the morale of ordinary government officials, supporting the troops out in the field? Sure, he’s a target and his security phobias are already the stuff of legend. But even by the wretched standards of recent times, these are extraordinary days and the public needs reassurance more urgently than ever.
Have you seen the prime minister with his arm around an elderly woman who has lost her home and is living the humiliating life of an IDP? Have you seen the prime minister kneeling at the side of a father whose child has been riddled with pellets from a suicide bomber’s vest? Have you seen the prime minister striding into a crowd of grieving families and listening to their woes? Have you seen the prime minister sitting down with army jawans and sharing a meal?
Our current political leadership, whether in government or opposition, believe that (1) they are ruling the country anointed by the US and not because of the votes given by the common people of Pakistan, (2) they have a birth right to rule because they were born in one clan or another, (3) ordinary people who vote them into power are morons and will do so any way - so why bother. How would you expect such leadership to put their lives on the line and be with the people to raise their morale!

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