Abraham Lincoln said: “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.
The question in Pakistan however may also be where is the seat of power? The answer is complicated as is obvious from recent political events. Let’s make an attempt to study power in this country; where does real power lie? The obvious answer is, that it lies with the civil Democratic Government, comprising of the Elected Prime Minister, his cabinet, the Parliament, the Civil bureaucracy, the judiciary, the armed forces, the media and very clearly, powerful lobbies within and outside the country.
Power tends to corrupt,” said Lord Acton, the 19th-century British historian “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Research however has shown that the value systems of people in power are important, and good character & integrity if present before coming into power will be enhanced.
75 years since birth and Pakistan continues to struggle
The problem, therefore, lies with the custodians of power as much as it is inherent in the mindset that goes with power in Pakistan. A petty mindset, ego gratification and greed for personal wealth have increasingly dominated the power structure for the last seventy-five years.
Living in Pakistan, it is obvious the law and state deal in a completely different manner with powerful people versus the common man. The constitution may give equal rights to all citizens of the state, however, the meting out of this equality is totally unequal.
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The kind of power we see in Pakistan has typical characteristics
Hubris is; defined as excessive pride or defiance. The other one is the God complex defined as an unshakable belief in personal ability, privilege, or infallibility.
A person with a God complex may refuse to admit the possibility of their error or failure, even in the face of irrefutable evidence, intractable problems or difficulties.
The first person to use the term god-complex was Ernest Jones (1913–51) in the Essays in Applied Psycho-Analysis.
Both hubris & the God complex are clearly seen in the custodians of power in Pakistan. In fact this attitude is responsible for the abject failure of all military governments to bring about any real progress in Pakistan, while civil governments are brought in with clearly defined weak structures & a blind eye tocorruption.
The power in Pakistan is characterized by the use of soliciting, a technique that assumes everyone has a price including themselves. So they “wheel & deal” bringing in members into parliament who are either obliged, corrupt or criminal. In playing this game the players have no moral compass or direction. It’s just a game where 220 million people are at.
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Over 75 years the system is now well in place. Selection for top positions in all institutions is focused on individuals who agree to be part of a group, to promote collective interests. This style of selection rules out uprightness, honesty and professionalism. This is corroborated by the percentage of criminal elements in the corridors of power at any point in time. Conflict of interest, nepotism and sycophancy is everywhere, be it the Parliament, civil bureaucracy, judiciary, or other government institutions. Some may argue that the nature of politics attracts criminals.
However, when it comes to picking and choosing powerful slots, the choice is clearly done on the manageability and malleability of these assets. This system of picking individuals who will serve their masters in complete contradiction to their oaths is what has torn the moral fabric of this nation. On the surface, it is clear the system does not promote honest people of strong moral character or those who exhibit integrity. In fact, these qualities are considered negative and discouraged.
In a country of 68% young people, this state of affairs can lead only to depression, chaos, drug use and suicides. No wonder drug dependence is everywhere because the leader of this nation havecheated& robbed people of hope for the future.
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Recent political events however show the sleeping giant is awake and aware of its usurper. The nation is no longer apathetic, but angry, evidenced clearly by the huge leaderless turnouts we have seen after the ouster of Prime Minister Imran Khan. After 75 years of exploitation, the people of Pakistan have shown their rejection of this sick system of governance. It seems the will of the people is to change the rules of the game.
Time only will tell…
The author is a senator and can be reached at Zarqataimur@gmail.com. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.