off record
Shaukat Ali Jawaid

The crisis of Leadership


Democracy is considered as the best form of Government if it is practiced in its letter and spirit following professional ethics and meeting some pre-requisites. These include that those who are supposed to vote are educated, know the value and importance of their vote, are competent enough to make correct decisions and cannot be influenced through unethical means. With a low literacy rate, we in Pakistan continue to face crisis after crisis. We have seen the military dictators, the democratic rulers and the technocrats as well but without much success. However, we have made some progress over the years and if the democratic process is not derailed, the process of monitoring and accountability is kept in place and it takes roots we have a bright future ahead are capable of making phenomenal progress.

In a democratic process, the number of people is counted and they are not weighed. That is why we often see that an honest competent professional gets defeated but those known for their unethical behaviour and having criminal record often get elected because they try to influence the would be voters through various means.  You will see this pattern in the National, Provincial Governments, Trade Associations, professional specialty organizations etc.  There are a few people who have their own vested interests and some hidden agenda. Once they get elected to any such post or get appointed to a coveted post, their first preference is to continue to occupy that position as long as possible. If they have to vacate that post, they try to fill that up with their own mediocre cronies, friends who can be used as puppets and can be easily managed through remote control.  The prime objective is not to get their own friends elected but to keep the others who are more competent away at a safe distance. In fact this virus has infected the Pakistanis living overseas as well and a careful look at the professional bodies they have will reveal that the situation is the same there as well.  Some call it the Pakistani mentality. This is one of the reasons that despite the fact that we have many competent individuals but we cannot work as a team, of course there are some exceptions which are always there.

Under these circumstances what should the competent individuals who are sidelined in this process do? Should they give it up and get depressed and frustrated? The answer will be simply No. They must keep on working and for those who wish to work; one does not need any office or position. If they are honest, sincere, devoted and dedicated to the cause, it is their work which will eventually get them the recognition which is their due.  A time will come when those very people who ignored them, neglected them, maneuvered to keep them in the sidelines at a safe distance will be forced to recognize their contributions.

Often those who are outstanding, competent never participate in elections. They have to be persuaded and requested to come and lead the organizations, institutions. Furthermore in an ideal situation, if one’s opponent in the elections is more competent and intelligent then one should withdraw in his/her favour but this can only happen in an ideal world.Prof. Younis who through his microfinance scheme Grameen Bank has changed the lives of millions of poor in Bangladesh and also earned the Nobel Prize, once decided to provide an honest and clean political leadership to the people of Bangladesh but the response he received, forced him to abandon this idea. This conveys a lot about the way politics is practiced in the sub-continent.

We have many examples when we as a country and Nation failed to recognize some of our talented professionals; they got international recognition and enjoy great respect. Even in Pakistan, if we look at the medical profession, there are many eminent medical personalities who enjoy tremendous respect in the society and among the healthcare professionals because of their work and contributions to promote the specialty and discipline in which they worked. They are least bothered for any recognition or awards because it is the professional satisfaction which keeps them alive and moving.  Hence,  the message for all those who might have suffered at the hands of their professional colleagues or institutions, organizations, government agencies is not to lose heart and get depressed but cheer up, keep on working and  the days are not far off when your work, contributions will be  recognized by your colleagues and the society at large. God Almighty always helps those who are honest, dedicated and sincere in their mission.

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