Indians and Pakistanis are discussing the leadership crisis in their respective countries, but for different reasons and with different implications. India’s inability to wield influence on the world stage is being blamed on the lack of good leadership. In Pakistan, people feel that the political leaders have failed to instill confidence and provide direction when the country is consumed by the threat of terrorism. Are these leadership demands signs of widening and maturing democracy in the two countries? Or are the Indians and Pakistanis wanting to re-live the hope and optimism characterizing the era of Nehru and Jinnah? Whatever may be the rationale, the demand for better leadership is showing different traits of the public in India and Pakistan.
Dawn Columnist, Cyril Almedia wrote a timely article, “Where are you, our leaders”, on the October 23, 2009. The opening lines of his column are illustrative of what many Pakistanis are thinking:
As the country burns, parents agonize over whether to send their children to school or not, offices of businesses local and foreign ramp up their security measures, the average citizen thinks twice before venturing into crowded locales or government buildings, a simple question for our leaders: where are you? Where are you, President Zardari? Where are you, Prime Minister Gilani? Where are you, Nawaz Sharif?