I MAY have said this before, but if I have, it will bear repeating that we as a people, and particularly our politicians and government spokesmen, talk too much. Excess necessarily makes for extravagance, and leads to loss of precision, coherence, and relevance.
General Musharraf told a group of officers in Lahore (November 26, 2006) that “temporary upheavals in the country’s security environment should not arouse public concern, because the turmoil had been caused by the government’s own steps taken to rein in anti-state elements.” He went on to say that whichever way the government settled major issues, some disturbance was bound to occur. In any case, his government intended to “take the bull by the horns.”
The general would have made good sense if he had said only that certain anti-state groups were making trouble, and that his government meant to deal firmly with them. But he wouldn’t be content with brevity and discretion. He admitted that “upheavals” had indeed erupted, and that they threatened national security. Strangely enough, he added that they were not anything for the people to worry about. Common sense will tell us that upheavals can be extremely unsettling. How, then, can anyone in his right mind say that the people, whose lives and fortunes are bound to be affected, should not be concerned about them?
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