We are not the only Muslims to suffer from electricity shortages. I’m told that there are outages and ‘brownouts’ in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait as well. Though they could drown in oil, I’m told that they haven’t planned and managed energy production properly. It seems that lack of common sense – or surfeit of stupidity – is not just a Pakistani preserve. Other Muslims far richer than us suffer from it too.

By Humayun Gauhar

I love it. It seems that our rulers have lost common sense entirely. The country is suffering hours of electricity outages in unbearable heat and that too in Ramadan, and what is the government saying without a blush? Our opponents are exploiting the issue for political gain, saying that load shedding – as we call outages – is being done unequally, while in fact it is being done equally. What government is really saying is that we’re depriving people of electricity equally without consideration for rich or poor. How bizarre. Is this their unique interpretation of Islamic distributive justice – distributing pain equally and fairly? So roti, kapra aur makan means bread, clothing and shelter for me, hunger, coffins and graves for the people? How novel.  It is the fundamental right of people to expect the state to provide them all their basic needs at all times, but the government stands it upon its head, claiming to distribute deprivation equally. What should we do? Applaud?

What can you expect from a government whose chief executive is called ‘Raja Rental’ because of the infamous rental power plants he needlessly imported to enable him and his cronies to allegedly make millions in kickbacks and on which an investigation ongoing?

A TV anchor asked her reporter about the condition of people one hot afternoon in Lahore. “How goes it without electricity?” she asked. Obviously they said that life was terrible. Three statements stuck in the mind. One said that it seemed we are living in a non-Muslim country. That we certainly are, young man, for an Islamic state is supposed to provide every citizen’s basic needs, not just during Ramadan but all year round. Another said that it seemed we were living in Israel. What? Why would the Israelis want to shed our load when we are doing it ourselves? An old man worried that if there is no electricity the Eid festival shopping would suffer. That was a beaut. But his worry is justified. How would it be if Oxford Street were without electricity during the Christmas season? There would be a rebellion. Not here. All we get are moans and groans but little action except for sporadic local protests with burning of private and state property, including some electric substations, which only makes matters worse.

  American Duplicity and New Realities

We are not the only Muslims to suffer from electricity shortages. I’m told that there are outages and ‘brownouts’ in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait as well. Though they could drown in oil, I’m told that they haven’t planned and managed energy production properly. It seems that lack of common sense – or surfeit of stupidity – is not just a Pakistani preserve. Other Muslims far richer than us suffer from it too.

Our lack of common sense and surfeit of stupidity is underlined by the fact that Pakistan has a surfeit of electric generation capacity and Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have a surfeit of oil. But it is the surfeit of stupidity that causes all our myriad problems. We are being told that a demon called ‘circular debt’ is the problem. Why couldn’t we have paid it off instead of wasting money on importing rental power plants? Then where o’ where would the kickbacks come from, stupid? Is it a case of deficit of patriotism rather than a deficit of common sense? Is it we who lack common sense for not ‘skimming’ the cream off the top while we can? The people continue to suffer as always as too the economy, with industrialists shifting their factories to other countries and agriculturists unable to run their water pumps. We really need to get our heads checked, the rulers as well as the people who support them.

Most amusing too was to read that we would not allow supply routes to NATO beyond end 2014, nor will we allow it to transport weapons to Afghanistan from our soil in the new terms of agreement in the Memorandum of Understanding we will soon sign with the US. Sign with the US, not NATO? Reality strikes us in the face: NATO is the US. The other countries in it are for appearances sake only, to create the impression that all the developed countries fast under-developing are in on the occupation of Afghanistan and the genocide in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

  Political Tyranny of the Few

By the way, a MoU is not an agreement or a treaty and not binding. It is a document of intent towards an agreement to jointly undertake a common enterprise. However, it begs the question: “Did we reopen the NATO supply routes without even a pathetic MoU?” Had we become that desperate or is it a sign of our age-old spinelessness that came to the fore after much empty bombast and bluster? When are we going to come out of the hands-folded bent-over position?

We are in the habit of leaping first and looking later, of doing something first and deciding why we did it later. If we could make Pakistan first and decide two years later why we did it in the Objectives Resolution why cannot we reopen the NATO supply routes first and decide the terms later?

And what the hell are they talking about, after 2014? We don’t even know whether the world will exist by then or not though we should certainly know that our world would not be the same. The red herring behind this bombast and bluster is to create the impression that we are still talking tough to assuage our embarrassment over reopening the NATO supply routes while America’s NATOcide continues unabated killing many innocents and few terrorists. Obviously, otherwise terrorism would have declined, not grown.

Today the world is a far more dangerous place than it was before 9/11. There may not have been terrorist attacks on the US since, but that is due to good luck and internal security. I worry for the London Olympics where their largest security firm in the world has had a nervous breakdown and the ‘experts’ guarding the city are hardly trained. They should have contracted the Pakistan Army to protect the Olympics. At least they’re trained and have much experience against terrorism too. So poor is their security that while they drive passengers nuts an 11-year-old boy could travel from Manchester to Rome without either a boarding card or a passport? And they accuse us of being incompetent? Were the boy a Muslim he would have been branded a terrorist with his parents having their toenails being pulled out in the Guantanamo Gulag by now.

  THE LAST ENCOUNTER

Geographies may have changed by end 2014. America’s bankruptcy may have descended into global recession. There may no longer be a Euro, nor indeed a European Union, not even an out of date NATO. The United Nations could be a bigger joke. Russia may have flexed its muscles and China may either have made more economic headway or become a victim of socio-political instability caused by a dropping economic growth rate. India’s economic miracle may have evaporated with rising inflation, especially of food.

Come end 2014 either Obama Mark II would be halfway through his second term or Mitt Romney through his first. Without concerns about reelection, we don’t know whether Obama will be true to his first campaign’s rhetoric or remain hostage to the terrible twins Patreus and Panetta representing Defence, the CIA and Israel, with the State Department sidelined. Mitt Romney’s Republican worldview might be pervasive, the Neocons, AIPAC, the Evangelists, Wall Street and Big Business back in business with a bang – literally.

Pakistan will have another government even if has the same president and the same party leading the new coalition in a new parliament. Or there might even not be a parliament and the only sounds to be heard may not be of debates in parliament but of jackboots hiding behind a government of undertakers playing caretaker. All the pieces on the chessboard would have changed though Pakistan’s leaders will still be the pawns and America’s leaders the king, queen, castle, bishop and knight. Such has the world become that we don’t even know what’s going to happen tomorrow and here we are talking big about end 2014 which may never come if the Mayan calendar is to be believed. But one thing is certain: the world would have changed. If I’m wrong and the world hasn’t changed but remains the same, take it from me that we will give America what it wants. Our governments’ bombast and bluster is meant only for us, not for outsiders. If you take it seriously you too lack common sense. 

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