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The Fine Art of Government

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    The Fine Art of Government

    Don't get me wrong. I am as patriotic as the next person. Its just that there are somethings about the way Pakistan is governed which cause me to pause and ponder. I am sure the powers-to-be have good reasons for behaving the way they do, but I, for one, think there might be better ways to effect changes.

    Example 1: Day Light Savings Time

    On the face of it, its such a simple issue. There is nothing wrong with the concept. Except that for such a major change in the civic life of all citizens, it helps to prepare some ground work. What I have been told is, that one fine day, the government just up and announced the change.

    Result being, that many people refused to adjust their watches for many days and a large number of offices, shops and mosques still carry on dual time. One mosque so much as put two wall-clocks. One stating "sarkari time" and the other labled "islami time" (How the heck they discovered its "islami" time beats me).

    Another mosque, I am told, refused to change their clocks, until one week late, when they told the lawahiqeen of a marhoom that namaz-e-janaaza will be held after zuhar and kept them waiting one extra hour.

    For practical stand-point, all civic activities have now moved one hour forward, thus completely beating the very purpose of DST. The shops which used to open at 11 am, now open at 12 noon. Zuhr is now offered at 2:30 pm instead of 1:30 pm. For the life of me, I fail to see exactly what benefit has been gained by implementing DST in its present form in Pakistan.

    I believe that such "monumental" decisions should be made with atleast a few weeks of public debate. Not so much as to glean feed-back (most of our rulers are too egotistical for that) but simply because public debate informs the masses about the freaking change so they can make the switch at the right time, and have some rudimentary knoweldge on what the heck DST is supposed to accomplish.

    Example 2: New dictat about 2 term limitation

    I am sure you guys have discussed this appropriately with a load of pros and cons. I won't go into that. My point is simply, that such decisions should be taken with some form of public debate preceding the decision, and should not be force-fed or bulldozed onto the electorate of the country. I will like such issues discussed in newspapers, TV, radio and Gupshup BEFORE they are effected and not afterwards as an interesting past-time to diss politicians or the rulers.

    Example 3: New taxes

    In many developed countries, a government can not levy any new tax, unless it is explicitly voted in by the electorate in a referendum (as part of general election). The mature form of political governments have realized that the power to levy new taxes can not be entrusted to representatives of masses, rather masses should directly vote "Yes" or "No". In Pakistan, on the other hand, in worst case, an un-elected minister decides how much taxes we'd pay, and in the best case, a parliament approves such measures. In both cases, the actual payer has almost no say in how much tax will be withheld from his/her salary. But rather the receiver decides how much they will collect. Seems twisted thinking. Food for thought.

    Example 4: Government wastage

    Examples of government wastage come up in the media in almost all countries. There are few countries, however, where they are treating with such indifference. In US, if a public servant so much as use government vehicle for excessive personal use (these days, Calif newspapers are carrying a story about the Secy of Highways using CHP vehicles to travel around), its highly embarrasing and the guilty person bows out, sooner or later. In Pakistan, such cases are ignored as long as the person is in power, and are suddenly brought up from the dead as soon as the new ruler over-turns and comes into power.

    The issue is not legal lethargy, but rather public indifference. My main gripe is that the people of Pakistan, rather more correctly, the tax payers of Pakistan do not, or are not allowed to take ownership of taxation process, and are therefore, least concerned with the way the monies are misused.

    As an example, former President, Farooq Leghari spent millions of government funds on his trip to US to attend his son's convocation, and there was barely a whimper. As a nation, we accept such excesses as our fate. I believe we need to have a more forceful, and more credible system of keeping checks on the financial management of our government.

    Ah well, I guess I am just rambling. Just wanted to get these few nuggets of my chest. Thanks for your patience. :~)
    "Let your friends underestimate your virtues. Let your enemies overestimate your faults." - Godfather.

    The problems confronting Pakistan are common amongst many third-world nations...however this is no excuse to let it happen.... the rulers consider themselves to be monarchs and consider the nation their fiefdom... the beurocracy consider that the budget of Pakistan belongs to them and that they can spend it any way the like...thats on top of the amount they skim from the public in form of bribes.... the police (aka.... dakoits, crooks) are the biggest impediment to the future of Pakistan... but having said that...look at our politicians they are unfortunately the representaion of our society... The best amongst them is the one who has been to jail for atleast on murder... I remmeber even as back in the 80's if a person went to Jail and came back he wouldn't even venture outisde his/her house.... due to excessive embarassment.....