VIEW : Tahirul Qadri, we need you in the US — Syed Kamran Hashmi

Like the US, the two major political parties of nuclear-armed Pakistan have also hijacked the system

Indeed, it is the beginning of the end for the US, a country that is not only running out of time, its options are depleting rapidly. Today, the world’s greatest economic power faces deep crises, namely, a badly damaged economy, a complicated political gridlock, a staggering national debt, a deeply divided society, escalating gun violence, and of course, a failing foreign policy with two lost wars in less than a decade.

Its two major political parties — the Republican and the Democratic — that claim to represent the collective will of the people, have created an irreparably broken system of government in Washington D.C. At the cost of being completely disconnected from the problems of ordinary Americans, both have selfishly and exclusively pursued one objective: occupy the White House. In due course, they have encouraged a culture to prefer short-term party benefits over long-term national interests, played with the religious sentiments of the people for political gains, and outsourced the law-making job to the lobbyists in exchange for personal favours. It can, therefore, easily be concluded that these parties have not only connived to hijack the democratic process, but have also failed the system entirely, which yielded a perfect balance of powers to all institutions.

Just after the Presidential elections last year, although symbolically, only 33 states have applied for secession from the federation (I am serious!). The Congress has a job approval rating of 14 percent according to the latest Gallup polls. The gap between the rich and the poor has widened disquietingly, resulting in 95 percent of the nation’s wealth being in the hands of the affluent one percent, or to put it another way, only 400 families control 50 percent of the wealth of the country. In just the last four years, since Barack Obama took office, the national debt has shot up more than 30 percent from $ 11.9 trillion in 2009 to $ 16.5 trillion in 2012, and is still rising every moment, to be $ 17.5 trillion by the end of this year. The credit rating agency Standard and Poor’s dropped the AAA credit rating of the US for the first time in 70 years when the political stalemate almost reached the deadline for a government shutdown in August 2011. Not unexpectedly, in these circumstances, the message of hope and change has turned out to be another election sensation, which died down within a few months after the inauguration of the current president. Now, Americans are desperately again looking for help to solve their problems. Would they find a Messiah? Very unlikely.

Thousands of miles away, there is another country — Pakistan — in sort of a ‘similar’ situation. Like the US, the two major political parties of nuclear-armed Pakistan, have also hijacked the system. In the name of democracy, they are busy defending their oligarchic rule without the real representation of the people. In the last five years, while inflation has been hovering in the double digits, the dollar rate soaring, violence escalating, the power crisis deepening, Pakistan Muslim League-N is content to lead the opposition in the Centre and rule Punjab. Pakistan People’s Party, on the other hand, is happy to relinquish power in Punjab and run the federal government along with the rest of the other provinces.

After their five years of joyride, when the elections are at the doorstep, there is no surprise; we already know the results: the same 400 ruling families will resume their positions in parliament once more, with some minor changes. In the years to come, therefore, the rule of law would be further jeopardised in Pakistan; corruption would shoot up even higher; violence would go through the roof and anarchy would rule Pakistan. Our future would be even darker than today.

But in these despondent times, with the grace of the Almighty, unlike our counterparts in the US (who are still looking), we are fortunate to have a ray (in fact a whole beam) of hope that can take us out of our predicament and give us a new beginning. We are blessed to have interested ‘stakeholders’ who are willing to take the lead (in the best-case scenario), or at least follow the lead (in the worst case) of a ‘neutral’, ‘honest’ and ‘reliable’ caretaker government to resolve our deep-rooted political, economic and social problems. As opposed to Pakistan, the ‘disinterested’ stakeholders in the US are only good for following the constitution; they do not rush to save the country ‘first’. While they continuously ‘disappoint’ their people, they also do not realise that there will be no constitution left to follow without a country.

Additionally, the judicial system in the US is an obstacle to real progress. It lacks ‘brave’ judges who can assume the powers of parliament on their own, pass it on to a dictator and allow him to make amendments in the constitution singlehandedly (obviously, according to the spirit of the constitution). In the presence of these courageous people, the success of any nation is guaranteed and we have proved it many times.

Above all, the reason that the US will never overcome its difficulties, unlike us, is because of its inability to produce great people with great names like Allama, Professor, Doctor, Mujaddid-e-Zamana, Sheikh-ul-Islam, Muhammad Tahirul Qadri. In the US, as people achieve greatness, their names become shorter and abbreviated. Thus, John F Kennedy becomes JFK and the Franklin D Roosevelt is FDR. This is why they lag far behind us.

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