DAWOOD AULEEAR

Unbelievable events are taking place around the world –  in the US, it is the government shutdown and the Mexico border wall tension; in Britain, democracy seems to be at a loss in a country that used to govern a quarter of humanity and is now unable to govern 60 million people; in France, the land of ‘liberté, égalité, fraternité’, police is using force against the gilets jaunes causing the loss of eyesight of one demonstrator, with Macron, paradoxically, lecturing President Sissi of Egypt about the damage caused by excessive violence against democratic forces.

In this hurly-burly, quo vadis, Mauritius? Our PM has returned home with a lot of inspiration from India. But if he cast his eyes a few miles further to where he was, he would have seen that rays of hope could come from unexpected quarters, like the failed state of Pakistan.

Pakistan, infamous for its violence, corruption and army rule, is set to write a different history altogether. In the land where one used to say “all countries have an army, in Pakistan, the army has a country”, the brother of the popular Chief of Army Staff is summoned by the court to answer charges of a 19 billion-rupee property scam, the sister of PM Imran Khan has been condemned to pay a fine of Rs29m for undeclared profits and a Minister speeding to attend cabinet meeting has been fined for exceeding the speed limit.

Karachi had a problem similar to that of our “marchands ambulants”: The traders were offered alternative location and a deadline to move. Those who did not saw army tractors moving in and clearing their stalls. Pakistani deserts are home to the largest solar power plants and farmers in Punjab are using solar power to irrigate their holdings. Modern roads are crisscrossing Pakistan and the highway in Karakorum is believed to be the eighth wonder of the world.

At present, there is a gloom and doom atmosphere in our country, whether real or manufactured. So, the question is: if a third world country like Pakistan, [because there is no fourth world], irredeemable by all accounts, can change and make things happen, can Mauritius do the same?