The whopping and mind-boggling increase in fuel prices has virtually left all and sundry nonplused; baffled and confused. If the incumbent government were following the proverbial dictum “actions should speak louder than words”, then surely it is treading the right path. Already pushed to the wall by the price hike specter and bad governance, the poor wretched Awam (people) have no other option but to clench their jaws and fists whenever drones of price are let loose on them. This is of course an alarming situation particularly when all this is taking place during the tenure of a government that claims to be the custodian of democracy. Day in and day out, our political leadership would keep on trumpeting its so-called “successes” in terms of provision of basic necessities to rank and file yet situation on ground happens to be absolutely different. People are committing suicides because they do not have anything to eat; mothers are either selling their beloved ones off or just strangulating them to death for they cannot afford even a two-time meal for them. No day is passed when we do not hear about such heart-rending stories but look at the political elite – they continue to be cool as cucumber.
There is a problem on the part of masses as well. They would never react or resort to protests even if the hell is let loose on them. They would simply resort to unfair means to earn more money to cater to their daily needs. That is why corruption in our society – at all levels and in all departments – is making progress by leaps and bounds. By turning a deaf ear to such practices we are in fact carrying forward the agenda of those who want to turn us into a bankrupt and failed nation. All said and done, if the country and society are drifting towards precipice the major onus should rest with the government and opposition parties. It is the responsibility of the leadership to steer clear the ship of difficulties and turn the crowd into a nation but unfortunately the leadership has failed to live up expectations. The problem of the sitting coalition government is that they already know, they will not come to power again, at least within next 15 years, therefore they are least bothered about what the people think about them. So they want to make maximum during the last year of their rule. Ironically, this phenomenon of “lut0o tay phuto” (plunder and run away) as described by Mushahid Hussain, is not only PPP-specific, regrettably all governments, whether ‘democratic’ or military would tend to do the same.
It is a known fact now that the rich and influential people do not pay taxes in Pakistan. Even Pakistan’s allies such as the United States and Europe, have time and again voiced their concern over this anomaly and asked the government to address this issue but even these persuasions have not moved the government a fig. Resultantly, these taxes are recovered from ordinary people in the form of increase in fuel prices. With the recent increase in fuel prices the government is likely to earn Rs 25 billion in the month of April alone. Irony of the matter is that despite abnormal increase in fuel prices; people would still have to stand in long queues to get some drops of petrol or few KGs of gas. And same goes for electricity as well. People have been burdened with so many surcharges yet electricity remains a rare commodity!!
People had heaved a sigh of relief when they heard about Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline project with the hopes that at least their gas-related problems will be mitigated but since no progress has yet been made on this project, it seems the government is only using that project to put pressure on the Americans and once the US aid is restored for Pakistan this project may go on the back burner. So, it is all politics taking heavy toll on us. It appears as if the government and opposition (N) are very much on the same page when it comes to squeezing blood of the poor folks. In fact such are the circumstances when people are forced to think about a third force i.e the military.
Government has nothing to loose because it has already made maximum of its five year rule and what they are getting in the last leg of their rule is just a bonus. However, the opposition parties especially PML N need to react in a different manner if it really wants the ‘third force’ to stay away from politics. It has to win the heart and minds of people, which it can do by being on the side of electorates. And no moment can be more opportune than this for PML N and even Imran Khan to come on roads to share grief of people miseries.