If I am a Politician

If I am a politician, thank God, which I am not, I will first inculcate in myself the qualities of a dog. The prime quality in a dog is faithfulness and love, which is not available in the present day politicians of Pakistan. Recently newspapers published a statement wherein a politician has very boastfully announced that as soon as he comes into power he will solve all the problems of the nation and the country. I would like to put a very simple question to him. Has he got the foggiest idea of what are the problems of the country? And what are there solutions. Number one problem of the country is lack of unity today; it was only through following the principle of unity, faith and discipline that Pakistan was achieved. Would Mr. Samiul Haq please tell the nation, has he got these principles imbibed in his own party? It is a matter of common knowledge that his party is also divided into two factions. That being so, where is he going to lead the nation, this needs an answer from the man who claims to be the leader of a political party in Pakistan.

The track record of the opposition party who so ever they have been is that they have only one point agenda and that is remove the ruler, after the ruler is gone, who next, the opposition have no idea, this is what happened when a movement was started against Ayub Khan, this is what happened when Field Marshal Ayub Khan was in power, the opposition had no programme, no policy for national cohesion, they wanted only their own piece of bread. It’s a pity that every movement in Pakistan against the ruling junta is started on the directions from abroad. The cat of Tashkent mewed and the movement started, Ayub Khan got panicky and he trampled on his own constitution and handed over power to the ambitious General Yahya Khan instead of the Speaker of the National assembly Fazlul Qadir Choudhry as required under the law. The movement subsided and started the struggle between the two cats East Pakistan and West Pakistan and General Yahya acting as the fabulous monkey. This led to the rise of Bangladesh and cutting Pakistan to size. Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, some time President of Indian National Congress had prophesied that Pakistan will last only for 27 years but the job was done by our own politicians in 25 years – 1947 to 1971.

In comes Mr. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto another ambitious ruler of Pakistan, with pomp and glory. His ambition was to have all for himself and therefore he nationalized heavy industry and the Pakistani Banks. Pakistan was his fiefdom and when he showed his teeth on the matter of nuclear energy. Henry Kissinger is on record to say, we will make a horrible example of you and Mr. Bhutto went to the gallows and into history unwept, unsung. The powers beyond our frontiers wanted it this way. It is sad that all our politicians are reactionaries, they do not have any positive programme and policy of their own to lead the nation and the country.

The same is the present situation where the political parties sitting in opposition with no programme of their own are harping on the tune of democracy and democracy alone. The taste of democracy during the days of the heavy mandated democratic regime of Mian Nawaz Sharif has been worst than dictatorship, the President of Pakistan was hooted out, the Supreme Court was stormed by his party hooligans, the Chief of Army Staff was made to resign and the 15th amendment was made to make the Prime Minister and the leader of the ruling party as Ameerul Momineen, responsible only to God and not to the nation and the parliament. This is democracy Pakistani style. Pakistan was mounting to the brain of one man, this disturbed the balance of providence and the events of 12th October 1999 took place. The nation hailed General Musharraf’s action of taking over and sending the Prime Minister to jail, and now the same people are clamouring for same old democracy, where was democracy on 12th October, where was the opposition on 12th October. And prior to that when the President was hooted out, when the COAS was shoed out, when the members of the Supreme Court were abused by the ruling party hooligans and the Chief Justice along with their Lordships had to flee the courts to their chambers. This is the respect shown to the Judiciary by a democratic government, is it not on record that the then ISI Chief had first gone to inform the then Army Chief that he has information that the Chief Minister of Punjab, the brother of the Prime Minister is sending hooligans from Lahore whose boarding and lodging was arranged at Punjab House Islamabad under the control of Punjab Government to storm the Supreme Court, the ISI chief was told to pass this information to the Prime Minister, what a pity, was not the entire opposition also united on one point agenda – remove Nawaz Sharif. This never happens in democracy before and this is the track record of democracy in Pakistan and they want to repeat this performance again, what a change of hearts, will the nation allow it?

Whenever and wherever I have been elected to a representative position, be it a textile exporters association, a cooperative society of a known alumanai or Apex trade body of commerce and industry or even when nominated to a board of management of an educational institution or the Federal Anti Corruption Committee. I have faced the same problem everywhere that of non-cooperation from the members that were on vital issues facing the nation. It seems that the mandate for those elected to these bodies are only to make hey while the sun shines, in order to succeed the golden thumb rule is you scratch my back I scratch your back, which I hate to do. I have noticed corruption to be the root cause of all the ills and curses that afflict Pakistan. This dis-ease is rampant from top to bottom and even imported from the neighbouring country and under a special gift package from abroad. This is what I found in the political structure of the country and in my opinion the national apathy to address these issues with grit and determination is the main reason for spread of this terminal disease in the entire body politic of our country.

As a matter of fact as usual the politicians are in total disarray, no leader whatsoever, no party whatsoever seems to have any policy plan to address to the socio-economic problems facing the country or any direction set forth, they have only one item agenda as usual – ” Musharraf go go.” Who next and what next, no body knows. As soon a ruling junta comes in there is a mushroom growth of political parties as is today, with no programme, no policy. They cry of democracy of which they have made a mess. They keep their mouth shut no sooner when a job is offered to them or their children.

In every civilized country there is a government and then there is an opposition. While the government have a cabinet, and ministers therein, the opposition has a shadow cabinet with portfolios allotted to them, in our democracy there is a government, and there are ministers but no cabinet. The cabinet, which really works is the kitchen cabinet of the Prime Minister, the members of which are more often then not, the wife of the Prime Minister and some time even the chauffeur of the Prime Minister, the Prime Minister with the powers vested in him under the constitution played wild riot with each and every ministry without consulting even the minister Incharge, wife of Prime Minister some time is elected to be the president of the party in power. The party thus becomes the dynasty of the Prime Minister – This happens mostly in Pakistan and Middle East.

My experience as member of the Federal Anti Corruption Committee during Ms. Benazir Bhutto’s second sojourn as Prime Minister, I could dish out many many cases of corruption on the part of the former rulers and the present ones also. I duly submitted my reports and that went into the political cold storage, although Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was later dismissed on very many charges including the complete destruction of economy and industry of Pakistan by the then opposition leader Mian Nawaz Sharif who claimed to revamp the economy and industry as soon as he came into power again. He returned to power for sure. Next day of his taking oath of office, he convened a national businessmen convention in Islamabad and on the spot announced formation of various revamping committees, one of which being export revamping committee, where I was also nominated as member. This committee and I am sure the other committees worked and I was appalled to note later that the government was not interested in the recommendations of these committees for revival of the stagnant economy mainly due to vested interest from their masters abroad.

In a nutshell the position seems to be “Her Shaakh Pey Ulluo Baitha Hai, Anjaam-e-Gulistan Kiya Hoga.” In view of the dis-ease mentioned above I shudder to think of the shape of things to come in Pakistan. This country has been displayed in a cartoon as a dead body around which the vultures are sitting around and nabbing the flesh out of it.

If I had been a politician of Pakistan, I would not repeat the performance.

Mr. Ali Ashraf Khan is a Pakistani Businessman and Ex-Politician who bid good bye to politics in order to concentrate on more useful service benefit of the political intrigues prevalent in the National Political life of Pakistan. He frequently writes for English and Urdu newspapers in Pakistan.