Monday, 26 October 2009

Building More Buildings

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Resemblance of any character, alive or dead, with any character portrayed in this article is the fault of that character and not my own.


Something very odd happened yesterday because nothing that is not odd ever happens here. A certain man performed the ground-breaking ceremony of the new Sindh Assembly building in Karachi on Friday, 14 August 2009.

The ceremony was held within the precincts of the existing building of the provincial assembly. The estimated cost of the project is Rs 1.9 billion and the completion time is thirty months. The new building will have a seating capacity of 350 members of the provincial assembly.

Give a good man Rs 1.9 billion and thirty months to do good and see where he reaches. We do not need another building for the inefficient running of the affairs of the state. What we need is this. These men must sit in makeshift tents to solve our problems. Instead of spending money to solve the electricity shortage problems, they are out to have one more power-guzzling building out of which nothing of any use will ever come our way.

And to house 350 do-nothing members in there is preposterous. When that many people thump desks all day in unison, it will create immense noise pollution. Again, nothing will ever be achieved in a house where daily walkouts, protests, and petty bickering rules supreme, all paid for by the odd few taxpayers that we have in this country.

Many high-ranking officials—whose names I would much rather forget—attended the groundbreaking ceremony. Some members of the diplomatic corps provided the much-desired white colour to the ceremony, while the elite of the city stooped to the well-established standard of officialdom that one expects from them.

Then a certain man presented the welcome address. What he said, I was unable to guess because all what the television showed was a pair lips moving rapidly. Then the groundbreaker himself took to the stage and said the following:

‘Pakistan needs a new vision and a new relationship with the world. The country also needs a new relationship with its neighbours.’

What that vision and illicit relationship really is, he did not elaborate upon.

‘There should be regional ownership to the war in Afghanistan and the regional ownership to the trade of the world which starts from Pakistan and including India, China, Turkey or the neighbour of our region should be a common market. This process of thought was shared first by Benazir Bhutto in a summit where she had acknowledged SAARC as the future economical zone.’

What about the RCD (regional cooperation for development) of 1964 that envisaged closer ties with Iran and Turkey? Why not credit Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto instead of Benazir? And how do we share the cost of Afghan war when Mrika has got the entire region up in flames because she thinks that every other person on this planet is out to rob her of her free-dumb and demon-crazy?

‘This honour has been bestowed upon me through the vehicle of Bhuttoism which gives us the people's power and the people of Pakistan the sustaining power to fight and act against all dictators.’

The vehicle of Bhuttoism? I hope we are not talking about the same vehicle whose open sunroof caused the death of the last well-educated Bhutto who could converse speaking good English.

‘It was this parliament that passed a resolution that led to the exit of a dictator from the Presidency. The great leader Benazir Bhutto gave us the concept of reconciliation we can see it working.’

What we see today all around is what we have never witnessed before. If this is what Bhuttoism promises, beware, we are driving beyond the prescribed speed limit on the wrong side of the highway and going nowhere.

‘Today amongst us sit all the political forces of Pakistan including the MQM, the ANP, PML (F), the opposition, the independents, and that they are all here to serve the people of Pakistan. This is the Assembly where our founding father, the Quaid-e-Azam, gave us Pakistan with the help of the Sindh Assembly.’

These partying parties only serve themselves, not us. When they use the word ‘people’, what they mean by the rhetoric is ‘their own type of people’.

Speaking on the occasion, yet another man termed the new Sindh Assembly building project a very significant and historic one: ‘The PPP, the ANP and the MQM are together and this alliance is very strong and its positive impact ensures the stability in the province as well as in Pakistan.’

Let us all stand up, not to clap but to pick our noses clean. We have serious work to do.


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