Saturday, 14 June 2014

On the hundreds of columns yelling "please state kill terrorists!"


I for one feel that these columns lamenting terrorism and asking for state to wake up and fight are overdone and repetitious. Allow me to raise some questions that all of us need to face. 

1.  Are we only getting views of elite columnists? Do the ordinary people agree?

2. Is the state that has been used by elite for predation, capable of the task? 

3. Are these columnists concerned only with the unreformed state doing battle or would they agree that without wholesale reform to rebuild state and social contract this war cannot be won?

4. Where were these thinkers when the rent seeking, predatory state preyed upon the poor and the disadvantaged? Eg. Land acquisition of poor farmers to build housing colonies and industrial estates. When their schools/universities stripped. 

5. Was the state not used mainly for elite rent seeking for decades? Did that not leave the poor searching for solutions through informal markets which we love to call "undocumented"? Did that not provide space for religious zealots?  

The larger question is:

Can this war be won without deep seated and extensive reform?  

If the answer to that is yes, why is there no focus on the issue of reform issues such as rent seeking, elite privilege, predatory state, state capacity, regulation and other such issues? 

It seems to me most columnists want this predatory-state lifestyle to continue. Or it that people are merely expressing surprise that the state that facilitated such a bonanza of rent seeking is now unable to perform for the elite? 

(Aside: Probably worth noting most such thinking mostly comes out of Islamabad followed by from Lahore Karachi).