Mundane Miracles

Spearhead Analysis – 10.05.2017

By Farrukh Karamat
Senior Research Coordinator, Spearhead Research

Allah (SWT) helps those who help themselves. One day, Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, noticed a Bedouin leaving his camel without tying it. He asked the Bedouin, “Why don’t you tie down your camel?” The Bedouin answered, “I put my trust in Allah.” The Prophet then said, “Tie your camel first, then put your trust in Allah”.

It is said that, ‘a problem becomes a problem, when you choose to see it as a problem.’ Thus, rather than looking at the problem as a challenge to devise solutions, people tend to become overwhelmed by the problem and accept it, and in the process hope for a miracle to overcome that problem. For too long now, the people of Pakistan have come to expect that some “divine” intervention will one day resolve all their problems. This view of life appears to have its roots in the culture of the sub-continent, with centuries of having been ruled by marauding invaders, rather than having been able to govern themselves. It is also starkly evident in the faith expressed in shrines, amulets, and peers to seek miracles for resolution of mundane problems. In a word, rather than making an effort to overcome the problems, the populace prefers to wait for a miracle and outside intervention.

This view of life appears to have pervaded every facet of our lives in this country. Four years ago we were promised by an exuberant elected government that the persistent issue of electricity shortfall would be resolved within months. The months dragged on into years, with no end in sight, and here we are four years later, basically back to square one. Haunted by the unending unscheduled spectra of load-shedding. Such miraculous promises of deliverance from corruption, nepotism, and evil have been the hallmark of successive governments in the past, who all failed to deliver on the high ideals, while the nation waited and waited for the miracle of change to happen.

Having piled on truckloads of debt, and hearing of the multiple projects being commissioned to address the problem it seems that the mundane electricity generation miracle has failed to materialize. Yet the people continue to quietly and patiently wait for that same miracle to somehow miraculously unfold. In the process they have devised ways and means to bear the merciless heat, but they will not come out to put pressure on the government to make good on its promises of delivering the electricity miracle.

After months of waiting and wrangling the Panamagate verdict came out with a 3-2 split decision and the formation of a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to be manned by Grade 19 Officers. The nation once again waits with bated breath for a miracle to be delivered. Whatever the outcome the nation appears resigned to the fact that in the coming elections, the present government would still win. This could very well happen, because the nation has resigned to its fate and instead of creating a miracle continues to wait for that miracle to happen.

There is an incessant stream of writing on the burgeoning debt position of Pakistan, specially the ever present circular debt. Yet we continue to borrow more to meet expenses and shortfalls, not worrying about how this debt would be serviced in the years to come. Perhaps, there is a belief that by some miraculous wave of a magic wand things would get better and the debt would disappear.

Education is another unfolding issue. Low quality, sub-standard education being imparted at some of the well-known private institutions. Rampant cheating, exam papers for sale, a thriving business geared towards generating grades rather than imparting knowledge. In the process future generations are being destroyed by being taught that in the end money can buy anything. Would these people be able to deliver a miracle for this nation? I think Not. Rather than fixing the eroding educational system people have been sucked into the corruption and in the process have become part of it.

The underperforming State Owned Enterprises (SEOs) do not need miracles to revive their faltering fortunes. All that is required is an impartial management that is allowed to do its work to right the wrongs. The dwindling exports and faltering manufacturing sectors do not need miracles, they require policies and procedures to instill investor confidence and bring in Foreign Direct Investment. The low tax base is not going to expand through indirect taxes or miracles. It needs genuine reforms.

The list of expected miracles to right the mundane problems facing Pakistan go on and on. Everyone appears adept at identifying the problems. Yet, few if any are willing to set a corrective course. They either become part of the problem or wait patiently for the miracle to happen and resolve the problem.

People have adjusted to life within their own comfort zones. They continue to suffer in silence or prefer to buy their way of life, but they are not willing to bring about the miracle of change to improve the system and get rid of what ails that system. When a population disassociates itself form the governance of the State, and leaves it to others to decide their fate without any protestation, nations languish. When you throw your garbage outside your gate, and think that your house is now clean, you have a flawed mindset. Miracles do not grow on trees, and Pakistan needs sincerity, accountability, and true impartial governance to create the miracles. The myriad mundane problems facing Pakistan are not such that they cannot be resolved, neither do they need ‘divine’ miracles to be resolved. A will is needed more than anything else and the people need to realise the power they hold to bring about change. It can be done, it has been done, but it will never be done if we continue to wait for those mundane miracles. After all miracles have to be created, not waited for.