Thoughts by Bahadar Ali

March 20, 2008

Disposable Prime Minster

Filed under: Political — bkhan @ 8:45 am

Rumour afloat is that Yousuf Raza Gilani of PPP would be the next prime minister of Pakistan. Okay, what’s next? Here is the fun part!, next..sigh…He would be dethroned in three months time. In the meantime Asif Ali Zardari whose name has certain postfixes glued with it permanently now, will contest a by-election and eventually become the leader of the house in National Assembly a.k.a Prime Minister of Pakistan.

The history of disposable prime ministers in Pakistan stretches back the turbulent 50’s era. When Chaudhray Muhammad Ali, Muhammad Ali Bogra, Sir Firoz Khan Noon and Ibrahim Ismael Chandrigar played the prime ministerial musical chairs in a succession of less that 18 months. Everybody played to the tunes of the then dictators namely Ghulam Muhammad and Iskandar Mirza, who happened to be the Governor Generals. In the later part, post 1958, the dictators removed the word Governor from the Governor General and since then Generals remained the life line of dictatorships in Pakistan.

Not long ago, this act was repeated during the era of our moderate general, the one and only of its kind, General Syed Parvez Musharraf. He appointed a simpleton Zafrullah Jamali as prime minister which Jamali thought as a divine gift and attributed it to some of the famous mystic shrines in Sindh which he held in great reverence. He also started calling Musharraf as his boss. But as with the royal minds, somehow this former president of Pakistan Hockey Federation, fell from the grace of the generals eye and he was packed back to his small town in Baluchistan. Then the anchor person of the PML(Q) Chaudhry Shujaat Husssain was invited to form his cabinet for a period of 45 days. This act coined a new term in Pakistani parliamentary history and he became famous as ‘Halala’ prime minister. And later, Citi Bank executive Shaukat Aziz was installed as PM. Shuakat Aziz to the Pakistani public was as the IMF to the Third World countries. Also his raison d’etre was that he didn’t have any political background and thus was less potent.

Now when the initial euphoria of the February 18th elections is subsiding. The ugly realities of power play are becoming more apparent. For reasons, unknown so far, Makhdoom Amin Fahim has been sidelined. And Zardari has apparently picked his disposable prime minister which would be replaced by none other than Asif Ali Zardari himself.

I think it would be more pertinent if we look at the corruption allegation over Mr Zardari in the right perspective and in this regard I believe that our establishment is in habit of systematically inducing a venom to the general public against the politicians. And this has worked well. The result is that if we look at the existing lot of politicians from any party, the general public has become cynical about them over some of the facts and more of the fiction around the corruption tales. They simply call every politician as corrupt without getting into the very basics of legal understanding.

Having said so, I never thought of politicians as pious people. To become politician you need to be shrewd, deceitful, aggressive, power player, ambitious and above all hypocrite. These are the fundamentals of power play. However, this also makes you the almost complete human being of any society. A person who can grab votes from Haji, Nimazi, Jawari, Sharabi, gentleman and goon at the same time, must be a smart person. But their is one thing, if the politician loves his/her country and his intentions about the overall well being of the public are good, I think he/she deserves power.

Lets get to Mr Zardari. First of all, apparently he seems a very average person. But is defamation campaign was so intense that even the PPP’s own people believe in his corruption. And that was the reason Benazir Bhutto kept him out of scene and also because he is a heart patient. Now circumstances have focused the spot light on this person. Lets give devil his due. If you wipe out this person from the current political scene, what do you see? A party in tatters. Every PPP person from the second cadre of leadership believes himself just as right a candidate as any other of his peers, for the country’s top office. Due to kinship ( or whatever factor you may name it ) this person is at least consensus candidate for the winning party. Fortunately or unfortunately, over the 40 years history of PPP, spending time in prison has become an unmatched qualification to be recognised as a true jiyala and Makhdoom Amin Fahim lacks it. I don’t count the politically motivated corruption cases against any individual as his/her disqualification.

Lastly, what we should do? What other options we have ? If we don’t have any Nelson Mandela or Winston Churchill among our leadership then we have to work with the available lot. As long as the Nawaz-Zardari duo don’t turn their back on the core issues which Pakistan is facing today, we should be supporting their intentions. And as for as corruption is concerned, almost every political leadership in any country of the world stinks. And also I wouldn’t worry about his past as a 10 or 30 percent guy because even if he was doing any corruption it was from a very small segment of Pakistani annual revenue pie. Pakistani budget goes like this: 50% Debt Management, 30% defence and 20% for the rest of the entire country. And thus, there are other sacred cows as well, which are still grazing but you cannot talk about it.


March 10, 2008

Constitution, A Tribute to Habib Jalib

Filed under: Political — bkhan @ 12:33 am

It seems a little excessive dose to bring up two writings on one day. But please bear with me, as this one is something I really couldn’t resists sharing with you. Habib Jalib, the only thing I can say about this great revolutionary and poet is, courage thy name is Jalib. Here is an extract from Habib Jalib’s sizzling poem against the promulgation of General Ayub’s 1962 constitution. Please compare yourself whether this still holds true or not. Enjoy the poetry. Title of this legendary poem is: Dastoor ( constitution)


Deep jis ka mehlaat hee mein jaley
Chund logon kee khushion ko lay kar chaley
Voh jo saya mein har muslihat kay paley
Aisey dastoor ko subha-e-beynoor ko
Main nahin manta, main nahin jaanta

Mujhe bhee khauf naheen takhtaa-e-dar say
Main bhee Mansoor hoon keh do Aghyaar say
Zulum kee baat ko, jail kee raat ko
Main nahin manta, main nahin jaanta

English Translation of this sometime later 🙂

March 9, In a Different Year

Filed under: Political — bkhan @ 12:10 am

On March 9, 2007, the instability Pakistan witnessed after General Musharraf’s decision to sack the top judge of Pakistan, has been unprecedented. Pakistan bled a lot. Ordinary man, lawyers, media and above all Benazir Bhutto, everybody sacrificed. This whole gory episode didn’t go in vain. Pakistan witnessed a change. A change that is not only about balloting against the dictator but a change that touched the psyche of every Pakistani. For the first time they could see how powers of status quo always play their nasty game and engage people in one issue or another but the core of the rusty system wouldn’t change.

By saying so, I don’t essentially want to inculcate any perception that everything has been revised. But admittingly it ushered a change in the overall society. We would always hear that Pakistan is on the crossroads. But for the first time, every person felt that the Pakistan, that they knew, was slipping out of their hands and was on the verge of extinction. Now this was real. Everybody felt it. They started an effort to get the grip back on the shrinking rope of unity. And results so far appear to be positive.

The Western media’s hysteria about Pakistan, right on the eve of general elections, was interesting. They thought that Pakistan is on the edge of a melt down and the preamble quoted was in the backdrop of Kenya’s blood soaked presidential elections. But bravo to Pakistani public. Who despite all the hypes supported the moderate and secular forces and rejected the fascist and dictatorial daemons.

Today in Murree, PPP, PML(N) have agreed to restore the deposed judges. This is a welcome move. However, a caution need to be practiced. Our priorities shouldn’t revolve around personalities rather  it must be of strengthening of the institutions. At the same time, if taken as symbolic move, then this is the right move. We should be glad that we have moved into the different times now and March 9 of 2007 has been erased with inking of new accord on March 9 of 2008.

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