Friday, 26 April 2013

The Change we need

It’s the election fever again after 5 years and many of us are concerned that what guarantee is there that the new government formed will perform as promised. I have had no training is governance and all I probably know about it comes from Ceasar or Age of Empires but have had this feeling for a while now which seems to be getting stronger that we as a nation have no role models to look upto, there are no reformers in our society, not in our homes, our neighbourhoods, schools, workplaces, communities and thus on a national scale.

When was the last time you saw or admired someone in your acquaintances for their unshivering courage, determination, going an extra mile to help a complete stranger, someone with no double standards, someone who always abides by the law, someone who would not abuse his powers & authority, not misusing the smallest window of opportunity for personal gains? I bet you cannot find such a person anymore. There is no uncle x left in your neighbourhood who would have a green number plate car but only uses it for official work, theres no Police officer left who does not utilise police mobile escort for personal parties and picnics, you will find it extremely difficult to identify people in your workplace who would have been hired (or promoted) on merit, people who declare their real income for tax returns, civil servants whose standard of living matches their pay grade, even your everyday mechanics, repair guys, shop keepers are ready to mug you on the first opportunity.
Basic values that should be practiced in any good community are no longer being witnessed; values of sincerity, honesty, tolerance, humility and adherence to principles are nowhere to be seen. This mind you has nothing really to do with religion, these values are universal across all religions and communities but getting increasingly alien to us.

In the past few months I have seen people around me involved in misappropriation and plain fraud through getting kickbacks in procurement orders, I have seen people misusing company resources for partying, making false excuses to get leaves from work, being dishonest about their commitment towards the job and in the process depriving the organisation of priceless opportunities. On the other hand I see employers misusing their authority too who practice discrimination, favouritism, unlawful and complete disregard to company policy & their supreme responsibility to safeguard the interests of the organisation. So what I am trying to say is that our wrongs are collective, which are accumulating and transforming themselves into a beast we cannot control.

Recently a senior PTCL official came to our office and when he found out that our PTCL Broadband Internet had been having some problems he called literally the entire regional office staff to rectify the problem. I am sure those 10 PTCL officers had other complaints/ work to handle but they were all lined up for a parade to show off power. I am absolutely certain that the guy had no issues with his conscience that how easily he misused his authority, deprived other equally paying customers of timely service and then later how proud he felt about it. There are several instances that you can identify resembling it and unfortunately it is reflective of our general value system.

The acceptance of this massive social wrong is having diabolical manifestations; we see masses re-accept people like Amir Liaquat who in any other society would have had a very different future. Our generals are proudly taking tax money bags to politicians, our governments confidently declare secret funds, political parties are openly acknowledging equipping college kids with assault rifles, USAID is funding media groups who admit they are therefore no longer unbiased, our cities are dwelled by namaloom afrad, our citizens are bombed by drones which fly from our own airbases, our generals who solemnly swear to refrain from politics run political campaigns in uniform. Our lawful and unlawful actions have gone through the cognitive dissonance filter so many times that the only psychological argument is between less unlawful and more unlawful. “So what if I used company money for partying, it’s not as if I bankrupted it”   

Does anyone honestly feel that the solution lies in accepting justice on the day of judgement? There has to be something more to it than relying on faith to judge us on how we used our power when we could. As a community and as a nation to rise we need an accountability system that works both top down and bottom up. It is not only about the leader we are looking for today it is also about this social behavioural change that needs to be brought amongst ourselves, visible & practiced by the common Pakistani.