Few days ago an old classmate of mine posted a taunt on facebook about President Zardari going on a trip to Europe and begging western governments for money. As expected, many ‘liked’ that and few posted comments in support. This was a little too predictable. We just love to criticize. I “like” Zardari as much as next person but here I am going to take a realist’s point of view.
It’s not Zardari alone. Every government since the very forming of Pakistan has been kissing asses here and there to touch some foreign coins. And I would say the fault is ours. We, the people of Pakistan are responsible for it. Two reasons: first, we don’t pay taxes; second, we want what we don’t deserve.
Every government in this world needs money to function. Ideally that money should come from taxes. The purpose of taxes is to pay a percentage of earnings and business transactions to government so we can have roads, cheap health care, street lights, law enforcement etc. But the truth is that from a street hawker to an industrial tycoon nobody pays taxes. There are very, very few people who do so, or pay in full and honestly. We the citizens of this country do not realize this huge responsibility on us. When government does not see money coming from within country, it turns to foreign aid and heavy-interest loans. A financial aid is probably bigger liability than a loan. You payback your loan, you are free. But you can’t payback an aid in money. You have to listen and work for the countries that help you financially. If you don’t it would be like biting the hand that feeds. We need to realize that we are the very people who are responsible for everything that is happening. Yes, we do have corruption problem but again who are the corrupt people? Your father? My brother? Somebody’s cousin? That would make another post.
Now towards the deserve part. We have to admit that aside from not paying taxes, we also don’t obey law, we use unfair means to achieve things, and we prefer relation over right. I laugh at people who go criticizing cricket team. We are a nation with all these problems and we expect our sports teams to be world class? We expect them to perform the same as developed countries’ teams do? Those poor cricketers are just like you and me. They don’t have to be the most perfect people in this country. They can break law or use unfair means just like everyone else.
The ongoing disaster caused by the flood is sad. You can’t really do much about natural disasters. It is nature’s way of standing in the way of man. I have been watching these events on TV. Although I feel sorry for the people who see the work of their lives flowing away in the current but I can’t digest their criticizing government for not doing enough. What we actually want is to remain imperfect ourselves while expecting our governments to be perfect. How is that possible? I know it’s not good to tell someone on his death bed that he is a swindler, but this is reality. Countries where governments do their best are the countries of people who pay their taxes, where justice rules, and who don’t eat someone else’s pie just because they can.
This should be a wakeup call for us. We have to realize that we are getting what we deserve. We cannot expect grapes from weeds. That would be insane. This is the time when we have to choose that whether we want to keep living like animals of a vast jungle or whether we want to change and live like civilized humans.