Just take the case of Pakistan. The corrupt ruling mafia is still busy in power, but the terrorists have been killing the people. It looks as if there is no government in Pakistan. President Pervez Musharraf can still play a role in elimination of terrorism. If he orders that there will be no corruption in the country, remain assured that there will be no terrorism in Pakistan or in the world.
According to a Dawn editorial comment, there is little satisfaction to be derived from the fact that Pakistan People’s Party leader Asif Ali Zardari and Pakistan Muslim League leader Nawaz Sharif will keep talking to each other despite their lingering differences on a host of issues.
On Friday, however, Mr Zardari was able to get Mr Sharif to back the financial bill for fiscal 2008-09 that includes raising the number of Supreme Court judges to 29. This means that the judges who took oath under the Nov 3 PCO and whom Mr Sharif says he does not recognise as legitimate holders of office will stay after all. The two rounds of talks the leaders held last week failed to reach a common ground on the reinstatement of the ousted judges, impeachment of the president and, now we are told, also on how to govern Punjab where the PML-N heads the coalition government.
While Mr Zardari can be said to have raised the antics of settling any and all matters at the time of his own choosing, Mr Sharif too has been consistent in taking the bait every time it is sent his way. The time has not come for the latter to opt out of the coalition and walk his moral high ground as it were. If there is to be any erosion of the PPP's popular support because of Mr Zardari's foot-dragging on the judges issue, Mr Sharif too will not escape the public's censure when all's said and done. The game of nerves between the two leaders suggests they have only agreed to disagree thus far.
Beyond that lies the slippery ground that neither is willing to tread just yet. What this time-biding has done for the people who voted for change on Feb 18 is anyone's guess. Nearly three months in office and the promise of some relief coming to the poor and the middle class in the first 100 days has remained just that. The federal budget under the pressing economic circumstances is no great achievement either, save perhaps the Benazir Card which will subsidise kitchen essentials to the tune of Rs1,000 per month for the poorest of the poor. Those who do not qualify for this state charity will have to fend for themselves.
Given high inflation, the 20% raise in government servants' basic pay will be of little consolation to employees when they take home their net salary at the end of July. A public fatigue is beginning to set in on various other aspects of effective governance; there has been little effective action.
The energy crisis, issues of provincial autonomy and the fate of the district governments have yet to be addressed. The situation in Fata, the threat posed by extremists and the shifting focus of the global 'war on terror' are also calling for attention. The country needs effective governance and it needs it now.