Frustration of a directionless opposition


Zaheer Bhatti
IN the end analysis of the current blame game in the country, the only institution that stands out in safeguarding national integrity and sovereignty besides a stellar peacetime role in the eventuality of man-made and natural calamities, is its defence forces which evidences it with the priceless blood it spills on the frontiers and against enemy agents and intruders within the national polity; something which hurts Pakistan’s enemies no end. Having been witness to virtually all political and military eras of rule during over half a century of my media association, I can only express my indignation over anyone attempting to denigrate the custodians of my life, honour and safety amid a society bereft with loot, plunder and self-aggrandizement at the cost of the common man and the state.
As a one- time fooled follower of Nawaz Sharif’s slogan of ‘Qarz Utaro Mulk Sanwaro,’ while I still question the crude and targeted accountability of a few opposing politicians by the present Government, my question to the Sharif and Zardari clans which happen to consider family rule in Pakistan as their birth right, is why if their hands were clean, have they not taken the Government or the NAB to Court for their character assassination, and claimed damages instead of fending under the phrase ‘catch me if you can’, and trying to entice their simpleton voters to yet again play ball to their staged martyrdom. Notwithstanding what they think of each other besides the fact that having exposed their lust for more and fled the Country like Altaf Hussain instead of fighting it out staying home, Nawaz Sharif belies his claim to authority over Party affairs in a vain attempt to remain current by declaring not to remain subservient to the diktats of the powers that be, and takes it out on some PML (N) parliamentarians by sacking them for meeting their Chief Minister. The measure boomeranging this time, one of them rightly retorted that if Nawaz Sharif was unwilling to be dictated by the Army what locus standi then did he enjoy in dictating his parliamentarians who had won their seats on their own.
In any case be it Bilawal launched as the PPP Chairperson or Maryam billed as the heir to the PML(N) throne, what are their credentials in Pakistan’s politics might one ask! Arguably, even if the PPP was Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s hand maiden and a family affair, then the heir to this title was certainly not Bilawal who has been installed by his Zardari clan father after seeing off Murtaza Bhutto and Benazir; ZAB’s son and daughter who were the potential heirs to the PPP citadel. As for the PML(N) which by its very title was at best a personalized self-assumed splinter nomenclature of the Pakistan Muslim League which various ambitious politicians have named after themselves, rather than rally under the Quaid-i-Azam’s Muslim League banner as the real legacy of our founding fathers; PML (N) apparently going through its last rites after Nawaz Sharif’s treatment of his Associates starting with his one-time pillars of strength; the Choudhries and Sheikh Rashid. With Bhutto treating his colleagues no differently, one feels sorry for some very able, promising and illustrious figures in almost all Parties who must have a role to play in a strategically placed but battered Pakistan which direly needs their political prowess for its Herculean task of reconstruction. It was time these political entities asserted themselves within their Parties to start with as did Kausar Niazi who revolted against the decision when ZAB chose to nominate his totally apolitical wife as the Party Chief when he was jailed by Ziaul Haq. In order to give democracy a real chance in a genuine setup, you need to be allowed to speak out your mind short of treason by paid mercenaries, as is done in the United States of America; the only functional democracy around the world but only within its geographical bounds where crossing fences on various national issues is no crime. Unfortunately it has quite the opposite recipe for democracy when seeking to fashion it in other countries where it even seeks to subvert their social order to achieve its clandestine often unworthy goals.
For years and decades, the Pakistani nation has yearned to have a leadership which was selfless and sincere at heart to steer the country, like the Chinese Mao Tse Tung, Chou en Lai, or its current game changing President Xi Jin ping, Saudi Shah Faisal, South African Nelson Mandela, Iran’s Imam Khomeini and Ahmadinejad, Turkey’s Tayyab Erdogan, Malaysian Mahatir Mohammad, Venezuelan Hugo Chavez, Argentinean Chi Guerra, North Korean Kim Il Sung and his illustrious son or a Cuban Fidel Castro. Imran Khan may not match any of those yet, but stands out as a person who exudes promise, barring some personal shortcomings in which he seems to dissipate his energies in a wild goose chase. He is again wrong in unleashing his politically immature deputies to react offensively as in the past when they became NAB mouthpieces and clearly sounding partisan. He must instead ignore and let the incoherent Sharif expose himself the more he speaks.
It is a shame that instead of introspecting over their own inaction on the core issue of Kashmir, the opposition had the audacity to accuse Imran Khan of bartering it away which is contrary to the UN podium record, where except Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto who had kept it alive, virtually all past leaders had shelved the issue which was a matter of life and death for Pakistan. Imran Khan not only brought it alive with his thought-provoking address at the UN General Assembly last year but replicated it this year with an equally astute discourse against Islamophobia, lambasting Indian intransigence generally against Muslims in India but specifically exposing persecution of Kashmiri Muslims in its occupied territory, and putting India on the defensive with Modi not daring to respond except his representative walking out during Khan’s speech.
—The writer is a media professional, member of Pioneering team of PTV and a veteran ex Director Programmes.