THE government’s belated decision to call for a Round Table Conference (RTC) in order to solve crucial national, political and economic problems in the country is a step in the right direction. Such a step was long overdue, considering the morass that the country finds itself in and the quagmire of the myriad problems Pakistan finds itself sinking in. True that the government inherited the problems of terrorism, power shortage and economic meltdown from the previous dispensation but after three years in office, instead of solving any of the problems, it has become a part of the problem owing to its ineptitude, weak governance and allegations of acute corruption. The opposition too did not play its due role and never came down hard on the government to help resolve the problems. Taking loans from the IMF on stringent conditions, living up a lavish lifestyle, sporting a sixty odd army of Ministers, Advisors and camp followers has been a further strain on the economy, adding to the misery of the common man. To top it all, double digit inflation and unbridled price hikes of commodities, has broken the back of the people.It is surprising that the people have not come out in the streets to demand their rights. Perhaps because the opposition did not rally them or the masses remained leaderless. The infighting of various political parties did not help the matters and the advent of target killing and lawlessness has added to the woes of the people.If the idea has finally sunk in that the collective wisdom of all the political parties is to be utilized to tackle the various issues, then it must be welcomed. So far, the various political factions have been engaged in a blame game. The common man, struck by the rising cost of living, exorbitant utility bills and continual terror strikes, has been at a loss to barely survive. The common man’s misery has been compounded by the news items on the electronic and print media depicting the high standard of living being maintained by their rulers at their expense, their constant and incessant foreign tours with large entourages and lavish parties. The French Revolution, which ended up with the emperor being guillotined, should be stark reminder of the harsh realities.
According to sources, the President is contacting the leaders representing the various political parties in Parliament for extending them an invitation. The date for the roundtable conference will be decided upon after consultations with the political leaders. Presidential sources said that the motive of the roundtable conference will be to bring a consensus between the political parties on important national issues. Prior to this, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had once before called an All Parties Conference, however, no progress had taken place in that regard. The Daily Mail hopes and prays that the government is finally serious in hosting an RTC. The onus now lies with the political leaders, whether they can sink their differences to find solutions to the extremely serious issues. Some of them are still wary of the government’s real agenda. They have been led up the rosy path of coalition and amity and getting their hopes dashed through the PPP’s reneging on its promises and solemn vows far too many times. With about two weeks remaining in the PML (N)’s 45 days ultimatum and with the US breathing down its neck for letting the triple murderer Raymond Davis go, one tends to believe that it is a beleaguered government clutching for straws by calling an RTC and little or naught can be achieved on a one day’ RTC. However, collective wisdom should be given a chance – Dailytimes