Politicians at bay

The nation has seen with interest the television talk of Mr. Kamal Azfar on PTV News night programme on 18th April 2002. He has also talked about the sanctity of the 1973 constitution and the consent of the people behind it, which is the essence of democracy.

Alas! this facet of democracy is not visible in the working of the constitution in Pakistan by the champions of democracy. Right immediately after the promulgation of the 1973 constitution, the fundamental rights provided in the constitution were suspended and continued to be suspended many many years after the father of the constitution had met his death at the gallows. Where is democracy? The constitution was amended to reduce the President to the position of a rubber stamp because the Prime Minister was not satisfied with his number two position in the hierarchy of Pakistan. This is surely not what the people desired or desire even now.

It is this character of our politicians that people have no faith in democracy, more so because neither do they have any ideological approach, the intelligentsia nor any planning for the common man. They just want to sit on the seat of power to consolidate their personal and party position for the next five years. Our politicians have been tried and failed, here is a new man out of the blue, so, let him show his work and worth, no man on earth is either immortal or indispensable.

No constitution of any country in the world bears any clause about revolution but it does take place and history applauds it and the world recognizes it. Can anyone hold the view that the revolutionary government in Iran was illegal, which came into power after toppling the Shah of Iran in 1979. No because the will of the people is supreme. Pakistan has seen referenda in NWFP and Sylhet, the will of the people is supreme irrespective of any constitution whatsoever and this is how the revolutions take place, when the people over throw the monarchs and rulers. This is what happened on October 12, 1999 and if referendum was held right then no political party would have any ground or grudge against the man staging the referendum

The desire of the people is only one and that is good governance, which can only be attained through honesty and sincerity and not by winning a so-called heavy mandate through commercial votes. Mr. Kamal Azfar has been a part and parcel of this system. Does Mr. Kamal Azfar forget the days when he use to dish out charges against Benazir Bhutto’s government while he was a member of the team of care taker Prime Minister Mr. Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi. Did he act with consent of the people on such a vital issue.

To say the least, it is writ large in the political history of Pakistan that lota and politicians are two sides of the same coin, one can not go without the other. Had President Pervez Musharraf staged this referendum right in the beginning, no voice would have been raised against the referendum, people were fedup with the so-called consent of the people behind the 1973 constitution. Mr. Kamal Azfar was the wise kid of Air Marshal Nur Khan, the then Governor of West Pakistan in 1969-70, when Dr. Vakur Verson, Dean of the Faculty of Law, Istanbul University, Turkey and Mr. A. R. Cornelius were drafting a constitution under General Yahya Khans regime, I first heard of Mr. Kamal Azfar when two claimed to be revolutionary reform documents, one on Educational reforms and the other on Labour reforms were released by them. Thirty years later the standard of education and the standard of living of labour in Pakistan has deteriorated. Good governance lies in the rulers and not in the consent of the people, an example of good governance is General Franco of Spain, who ruled Spain for 36 years, only as head of the state and before dying, handed over the country to the surviving scion of the monarch, whom he had toppled.

It is a fact of history that Spain was ruled by the Musalmans for more then 700 years , so much so, that when Columbus reached America, Musalmans were already there. Spain was Andalusia, Cordoba was Qartaba, Grenada was Gharnata and Spain was handed over by Abu Abdullah the last Muslim ruler in a platter to Ferdinand and Isabella. When Abu Abdullah was leaving the Palace, he took a last glimpse of the Palace with tears running down his cheek, his mother admonished him that it was too late now to shed tears on the dead body of Andalusia. I fear the day when the same set of Musalman would rule Pakistan.

We wrote in these columns in October 1999 that this is the last chance for Pakistan. Let President Pervez Musharraf prove himself as a General Tariq for Pakistan, referendum or no referendum, he must get a chance to transform the vision of Quaid-e-Azam into a reality. It is a waste of time to see such TV programmes and the PTV authorities would be better advised to cater to the requirement of national interest rather than playing for the political galleries.