Running on Empty

The recent furore over the brutal Zainab murder case, and the administration’s mishandling of the entire situation has left many wondering where we are headed as a nation. The fact that the tragedy of Zainab is not the first of such incidents in the area of Kasur, has left many questioning why the administration did not act on the earlier cases. It was the severe public reaction and the incessant bombardment of public outcry in the social media, that spurred the government into action. It is truly a sad state of affairs that those who are tasked to perform their duties do so only under public duress and as a great favour to the people. It seems the Servants have become the Masters.

The uncouth manner in which the administration conducted itself during the Press briefing, after arresting the culprit, can at best be described as loathsome. The insensitivity on display in front of a grieving father who had lost his young daughter was frightening. The clapping, the smiling faces and the showering of praise and accolades on the administrative minions was so blatantly staged that it was sickening. Is this what we have become as a Nation? Devoid of emotions, lacking concern for others, and blatantly apathetic. It seems like it is not just the governance structures, economy, or strategic direction in the country where we seem to be lacking, we are basically running on empty.

There is no structure to the madness we experience every day in our daily lives. Be it the traffic on the roads, the interactions for work or business, or the dreaded encounters with some governmental department – it seems the rot has set in deep. There is hardly any semblance of order, let alone any pride, in performing the work they are paid and required to do. A steep decline in work ethics, moral standards and empathy has destroyed the very fabric of society. We have reached a stage where mediocrity is the new standard of excellence; and, where if we manage to meander through our daily chores it is considered a big achievement. Those servants tasked with serving the public display an arrogance as if they are the masters; and, if by some chance happening they are able to resolve a problem it is a gracious favour for the effectees.

Knowledge is superficial, and reading is fast becoming an extinct endeavour. The pseudo-intellectuals are swarming the public talk shows and moulding the already convoluted public opinion. The glaring vacuums in the governance structures are being intermittently filled by people more interested in self-projection than nation building. The politicians have all but disappointed due to their own hubris and lack of wisdom. The right wing religious parties are gaining momentum by capitalizing on the inefficiencies of the system. Ill-thought policies and plans are announced and then rescinded. Amidst all this the country continues to falter and sputter along, with no clear and focused direction.

It seems that the country is fast losing the will to excel and institute accountability, and has accepted a culture of corruption, incompetence, and ineptitude. Those entrusted with performing the miraculous task of steering Pakistan on a path of progress and prosperity are themselves inept and lacking, devoid of a strategic vision to be able to resolve the myriad issues facing the country. After all, how long can you run, when you are running on empty.