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Idealism versus Pragmatism

In matters of State objective idealism always gives way to rank pragmatism. Gen Pervez Musharraf articulated his seven-point agenda within days of taking power, the vision was that of an idealist. In preparing the nation for real democracy, his solution is that of a pragmatist. And by the way there is no duality of personality here, over the past 38 years one has seen it to be in consonance with his character. Between the idealism the President embodies and the pragmatism he has adopted, the fault-line is blurred by the doctrine of necessity. In the hard world of realities and given the adverse circumstances, pragmatism is perhaps the only course that any leader of a beleaguered nation, such as ours could have adopted, not only for the sake of the nation, but being inexorably linked with the reforms he has enacted, for his own continuity. The starkest example was his swift decision in Sep 11, 2001 to abandon decades plus of foreign policy alignment to seek security for the State in a region made suddenly untenable for countries like Pakistan to continue civilized existence. Musharraf’s decision was certainly not popular, it was hugely unpopular among the masses, but in the given environment it was correct, Our heart may have been with the Taliban but it was neither logical nor right, we stepped at just the right time away from an extremism to which our masses have never subscribed to.

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Crunch Time

That this military regime has been able to manage good governance as much as a basically corrupt system will allow without the formal declaration of martial law is no mean achievement. Yet in not being able to bring the Bhutto-Zardari combine and the Sharifs to justice as promised at the beginning of their tenure, the Musharraf government have managed to resurrect the fortunes of those who should have been politically dead and gone. The eloquent official waxing about our present rosy situation notwithstanding, what we have today is a political morass without great future for the country. Economically, we are far better off than on Oct 12, 1999, sound reforms and Sep 11 combining with really good monetary policies of the State Bank of Pakistan to provide a good base for economic resurgence.

Living in a glass house, the Choudhry Shujaats of this world do need the discretion of a front man, relatively clean (but nevertheless a nonentity outside of Lahore) Azhar is custom-built to take the heat, and if the electoral manipulation being blatantly done by the civil administration succeeds, odds – on favorite to be our next PM. Is this what Pakistan deserves? All the print and electronic media (barring PTV) have confirmed that the Choudhrys of Gujrat have Tariq Aziz as a friend, obviously he carries greater clout than Lt Gen Hamid Javed, the other Principal Staff Officer (PSO) to the Chief Executive. It is no secret that Tariq Aziz kept National Accountability Bureau (NAB) cynosure away from the Choudhrys. If Tariq Aziz was a corrupt, inefficient person, this would have been logical, but he is essentially a good man with misplaced loyalty to his friends superceding what should be responsibility and commitment to the people of Pakistan. That unfortunately happens to be Pakistan’s major problem in every level and strata of society, whether one is in politics, judiciary, the Armed Forces, civil administration, business, etc. nepotism and favouritism is always far more important than what one owes to the nation.

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