Must Everything Be a Crisis?

The judiciary crisis appears to be passing as the government is accepting the judiciary’s recommendations and everyone is moving on. As it turns out, people in the Executive and the Judiciary can have some disagreements, and they can talk to each other and work out solutions that are acceptable to all involved. This should not be a surprise, really, since it is what happens every day in other democracies. Why, then, must every disagreement in Pakistan be treated as an existential crisis in the popular media and public dialogue?

Today’s editorial in Daily Times sums up the recent situation perfectly.

Clearly, a storm in a teacup has been conflated to hurricane proportions in a section of the media and political opinion. The issue of the appointment of judges has been blown out of recognition by the PML-N in chorus with some TV anchorpersons singing funeral dirges for the incumbent government. By all indications, this storm will pass without even so much as chipping the cup, let alone blowing away any institution or democracy, as some are predicting.

This is not the first ‘storm in a teacup’ in recent memory. In fact, it seems there is a new existential crisis each week. Consider that during the past few months we have lived through the Kerry-Lugar bill, NRO, and now disagreement about some judiciary appointments. Each week we watch the TV or read the newspaper and hear people telling us that the government is about to collapse! And the next week we watch the same TV programmes and read the same newspapers and learn that everything has worked out, but now there is a new crisis! Though the crisis changes – the threat always remains the same: government will collapse!

And so I ask you, dear readers, why must everything be a crisis?

Actually, all nations struggle with difficult questions of national security, international relations, economics, and rule of law. Right now, Greece is trying to deal with an economy that has all but collapsed. But there are no calls for coups against the government. The TV commentators are not saying that it is a “failure of democracy.” There are no doom and gloom prophets predicting the end of the nation.

Government officials in Greece are working together to solve the problems. Diplomats from the EU and other nations are talking with government officials in Greece about the best way to solve the problems and move forward. It is all done professionally, calmly, and with the intention of seeing the best outcome for the country. The opposition can protest and make some comment, but they do not try to simply topple the government because they know that, even if they succeed, their own time in power will be just as threatened, just as short.

Why must it be different in Pakistan? Why must we always lose our heads every time there is the slightest difficulty?

TheĀ  men and women in government are intelligent and capable. Yes, we may like some better than others. Some we may not like at all. But they were elected in a fair and democratic process, and they are working to solve the problems that come up. We should not be distracting them and making their tasks more difficult. It is time for us to stop generating so many storms in our teacups so that we may spend our time better finding the best way to make tea.

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