If It’s Zardari’s End, It Should Be Nawaz’s Too

If It’s Zardari’s End, It Should Be Nawaz’s Too

“No one party can fool all of the people all of the time, that’s why we have two parties,” says Bob Hope. Zardari may be nearing his end, but what is there to rejoice for if Sharif is his replacement? Both are incompetent, and both belong to parties that are non democratic. Both have been given chances, both are products of dynasty politics, and neither of them deserves any share in the running of anything … be it the party, or the country. The only thing they can do for the country is to leave it alone, but that is too much to ask.

By Laila Sohail
Sunday, 1 March 2009.

WWW.AHMEDQURAISHI.COM

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—How many times does it take to fool someone? Once? Twice? Over and over again?

No, Mr Sharif is not the one I am referring to, no need to keep count for natural fools. I am referring to the people of this country. Fooled once, fooled too many times.

The ugliest face of Pakistani politics unmasks itself once again.

Burning buildings, blocked roads and angry jiyalas. Welcome to Pakistani democracy. First we had an incompetent government, and now we have an opposition to match.

The current government is a failed one with only individual self-interest on its agenda, and the future one is sure to bring times that are as dark.

There is no plan for the economic crises. There may be an inflated cabinet in place and countless committees formed, but there is no policy for any issue we are facing on ground. With the newly begun wrestling match, things will only go from bad to worse.

During the current global economic recession, private companies are announcing budget cuts and cost cutting measures, and while the government budget deficit is alarmingly high, the extravagance is no less. Dinner parties, huge entourages and foreign trips, our elites know how to maintain their lifestyles, while the common man struggles to earn a decent meal with the rising inflation.

PEPCO, the power company, may run all the advertisements it wants on television, but how can you ask a man to minimize the use of the one light bulb he can afford in his house when he sees those in the Capital residing comfortably in dazzling, full lit buildings?

Tourism Minister Maulana Attaur Rehman has been sent for a visit to the beaches in South France and Switzerland, so that the romantic peaceful environment may help him think of more innovative ideas to attract tourists. Maulana Sahib here is an idea: start by cleaning the beaches, more tourists may be attracted if they are assured there is no danger of getting throat and eye infections at the Clifton beach in Karachi.

AND I did not have to go to France to think of it.

Corruption, favoritism and nepotism characterize power struggles. There is overstaffing in the government and semi government departments, even the PPP workers who had lost their jobs ten years ago are being reinstated. Cars with number plates that say NAZIM [translation: do not mess with me, I am king] rule the roads, as for the jeeps with dark windows; it is impossible to see what their number plates say as they go zipping past. Accountability is a word only found in the dictionary.

The PIA building in Rawalpindi looks like an inartistically designed PPP poster. Coins and stamps with political leaders’ faces on them, Bhutto family pictures replacing the pictures of Quaid-e-Azam and a Prime Minister who says that he is a member of a party and will follow the party decision, even if he disagrees with it…this is Bhutto land. So all that is important is that we keep remembering the great legacy of our rulers, the rest of the trivialities we are already used to.

A hand written undisclosed will determines the future of the biggest political party in Pakistan. A piece of paper called the NRO turned a man facing charges [including criminal ones] into the President of the country. The lust for power brought the two archrival parties together, until they realized there was only one prize, and the same lust tore them apart.

Mr. Nawaz Sharif placed his bet on one Mr. Iftikhar Chaudhry and the great lawyers’ movement, while Mr. Zardari relied on the charm of his wide grin, and the PCO judges. Mr Nawaz Sharif will play his lawyers’ movement card now, and he wants the people to join him. In this battle of the courts, the final decision
is yet to be made.

The lawyers’ movement has managed to get quite a bit of the attention of the educated class and the media, because of its high claims of standing by principles and reinstating an independent judiciary. All that Mr. Iftikhar Chaudhry will do for Nawaz Sharif is what Justice Dogar is doing for Zardari. The precedence set by the NRO will continue to be followed. The Nov. 3 actions may be unconstitutional, but even if the right principles are used for wrong reasons, they still remain wrong reasons. Replacing one pawn with another is not going to achieve the end of an independent judiciary.

So what does it matter if the courts gave a decision against the Sharif brothers? It is just another move in the game we call Pakistani politics. It’s now all up to the power of the streets, and a match between the PPP jiyalas and the PML N workers. Mr. Sharif is openly calling for policemen and other civil servants to revolt. Students are missing school and taking their energy out by causing violence and destruction on the roads.

The two parties are at each others’ throats again. And it won’t really make a difference to any one of them. No matter who wins this round, there is always another one to follow. The only sufferers in this catfight are the people of Pakistan.

“No one party can fool all of the people all of the time, that’s why we have two parties,” says Bob Hope.

How literally true for us.

Zardari may be nearing his end, but what is there to rejoice for if Sharif is his replacement?

Whether it is Zardari or Sharif, both are incompetent, and both belong to parties that are non democratic. Both have been given chances, Sharif twice before and Zardari currently [not counting his wife’s tenures] and at the end they have taken more than they have given and the country was better off before them. Both are products of dynasty politics, and neither of them deserves any share in the running of anything…be it the party, or the country. The only thing they can do for the country is to leave it alone, but that is too much to ask.

Unfortunately there will be more to follow. In a disgusting display of defamation and dirty politics, the economy is already being hit, and the security conditions can only worsen. Instead of tightening the belt, it’s all you can eat…and everyone wants a piece of the cake. So those who think that Mr. Sharif is a ray of hope … think again. He offers nothing different. He is a part of the same dirty system that brought us here in the first place. The lawyers’ movement is just another power tactic, and the only way to hope for some real change is to say no to both these leaders. Whether it is from the public, the polity or the military, a third force needs to come up and fight for the interests of the people of Pakistan.

Laila Sohail is a young Pakistani commentator. She can be reached at blabbersboo AT gmail.com

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