Saturday, October 2

Justifications they give!

Jahan main ahle-e-Iman soorat-e-Khursheed jeetay hain
Idhar doobey udhar nikley, udhar doobey idhar nikley

Allama Iqbal

Degeneration of the society has to do something with ever-deteriorating political set-up where corruption and opportunism are not vices any more.

By Aamer Waqas Ghaus Chaudhary

“It is in the national interest”–all turncoats, whenever they pounce upon another chance to make hay, employ the phrase. Since 1947, the expression ‘national interest’ has become the most used (read abused) assertion and is becoming more dubious with every government change and every loyalty thrown to dustbin. Political ideology has nothing to do with any of the political figures either in the government or idling their powerless period outside the power corridors. Nothing matters here except power, no matter how they get it!
If one looks at the present lot of the ruling coterie, he can certainly differentiate between the real democrats, if any, and opportunists, who are always available to powers-that-be for consolidating their position. They were with Nawaz Sharif, Benazir Bhutto and Gen. Zia before joining hands with Musharraf. Their parents were stooges of either Zulfiqar Bhutto or Gen. Ayub. Go back a bit! How many members of the first parliament of Pakistan were actually part of the independence movement! A big chunk of them was bandwagon-riders, who started clamouring for the inception of Pakistan when they saw it happening. Interestingly, they became rulers at that time and now their children are holding the same position.
Recently, Tahir Bashir Cheema got elected in a recent by-election on a seat vacated after the demise of Abdul Sattar Laleka is a glaring example of how interests take precedence over one’s personal aggrandisement agenda. He was given preference over Laleka’s wife Begum Shahida Sattar by the PML-Q leadership due to ‘service’ rendered by the Cheema family to the Quislings by giving them a position of strength in Bahawalpur and their past relationship with the Chaudharys of Gujrat. Tahir Cheema was MPA twice on PPP’s ticket from Tehsil Chistian. Before becoming MNA, he was Tehsil Nazim. His father Bashir Cheema was PPP president of Bahawalpur and had won election from PPP’s platform. Tahir’s elder brother Tariq Bashir Cheema–allegedly took part in the famous al-Murtaza hijacking case–was elected MNA on PPP’s ticket. Now he is Nazim Bahawalpur and has joined PML-Q. Both brothers, Tahir and Tariq, have been PPP’s heads in respective district and tehsil.
The above mentioned family ostensibly did this on the pretext of having ‘differences with the top leadership.’ Isn’t a repetition of an old reasoning? Difference of opinion is part of any democracy, but how many examples one see across the globe where even some sort of democracy is functional. On the other hand, ‘for the sake of democracy’ (read interest) is considered to be another valid reason for switching over parties. Can our leaders justify the floor-crossing? They do, but the truth is never spelled out.
Gone are days when ideology used to play a substantial role in one’s association with a party. It is hard to find such instances when dissidents were not opportunists, like the present lot. But few individuals were of the kind. Due to genuine differences with ZAB, Dr Mobashir Hassan quit PPP at the twilight of Bhutto's tenure, but didn’t go against him when ZAB was toppled rather he condemned the army take-over. J.A. Rahim, Meraj Muhmammad Khan and Khurshid Hassan Mir did the same, but did not join any other party despite having serious ideological differences with ZAB.
There was another category like that of Baba-e-Socialism Shaikh Muhammand Rashid, who despite being vice-chairman of the PPP, was cornered by Benazir Bhutto, chose to keep mum and never quit his party.
But the army generals are not the only ones to be blamed though their role has never been secondary to the political leaders. Popular leadership heading respective parties contributed a lot to propagate this malaise. ZAB, BB and MNS never bothered about any moral principles regarding turncoats who aspired to be part of their parties again after desertions. Rather, they were given key party and cabinet portfolios apart from allocating them lucrative posts. All the three never showed any tolerance to dissenting opinions from their party men. Member of Zia’s Majlis-e-Shoora Khawaja Tariq Rahim became PPP’s minister in 1988.
They even went to the extent punishing them–‘make an example out of him’–used to be the ‘commandment’ issued by them so that no one should dare to disagree. Meraj Muhmammad Khan resigned just after a few months into the ZAB’s tenure after developing differences with the latter. Cases were registered against him and remained in jail for five years. After his release by Zia, he condemned the military take-over and demanded restoration of democracy. BB and MNS became life-time party heads and still control their parties despite opting for nice lives in exile. Remedy to this situation: None at least in the foreseeable future as long as the army controls the reins of democracy, and the verdict of masses is respected in totality. None, either from the military or dictatorial political leadership, should be allowed to humiliate the chosen representatives and voters

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