‘Change’ is a relative word


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The word ‘change’ means different things to different people. To Qaim Ali Shah it meant a huge cabinet which was soaked to the brim by a variety of freeloaders — coordinators, political secretaries and political assistants. I have never understood what the assistants were supposed to do, or the coordinators for that matter. What in the world were they supposed to coordinate when there was no government? To Murad Ali Shah ‘change’ meant cutting down the number of freeloaders to 37, which included special assistants and advisers. Who knows the number might increase with the passage of time as more hangers-on expect to be accommodated. For Mumtaz Bhutto it was possible to govern the province with seven ministers, most of whom were technocrats with unblemished records. I wish Murad Ali Shah well. Whether or not he has vacuumed up the correct people for the various assignments and pursues his goals with a strong commitment, or goes into remission, remains to be seen. The problem is that in the system under which we are governed, a chief minister is obliged to fill his cabal with people who haven’t done a stroke of work in their lives but have to be taken due to tribal or party loyalties.

With half the police force being corrupt, it is doubtful if he would be able to stop street crime with its stiletto malevolence. The threat is a formidable problem to defenceless citizens, mostly women carrying their grocery money. Frankly, I don’t think the menace of street crime will ever be done away with unless vigilantes are employed. (Spirited citizens can always work out the modalities on collecting funds for paying the hit men). Vigilantes are fearless like the Japanese foot soldier during the Second World War, and almost invisible like members of the French Resistance that would pop up from nowhere and take a pot-shot at the Wehrmacht and the SS occupying their country. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if some of those executed by the vigilantes are policemen moonlighting. Street crime in Karachi which at times deprives old people of a chunk of their life savings is a huge boiling story that resonates with few people outside this country. But it is very much there and if the new chief minister’s cabal doesn’t put a stop to these wanton hold-ups you’ll look back and you’ll wonder: what was all the fuss about? Was there really any point in changing the captain of the ship whose pilots might hit a hidden reef like his predecessor? It would be foolish to expect another prime minister like Mohammed Khan Junejo, just as New York will never again have a mayor like Fiorello la Guardia. Coming back to M A Shah Esq. there are still a number of unanswered questions that irk critics who live in Sindh. For instance: Why have the portfolios of home, food and finance not been handed over to anyone as yet? And why are there so many unelected members of the cabinet? The PPP lawyers blame anomalies in the 18th Amendment to the Constitution for the confusion. But what I find quite inexplicable is that after all the hype about giving maximum attention to drought-ridden Thar with its high child mortality the blighted division hasn’t got a single representative. And yet Umerkot has three ministers. By now it is blatantly obvious that whatever is happening in the chief minister’s think tank has a direct bearing on the forthcoming national elections which are being held in 2018 in which the PML-N and the PTI will go all out to grab seats in the South. Unless there are proper electoral reforms in this country and technocrats and other professional people are inducted into the decision-making process in the Sindh government, we will never have ‘change’ as the word is understood in civilised countries. 

Original news : http://tribune.com.pk/story/1161760/change-relative-word/