The PDM fiasco — heading for where | By Zaheer Bhatti


The PDM fiasco — heading for where

TEARING apart a supposed Show Cause served upon the PPP Chairman by the PDM, was as crude an act as the serving of the notice as if requiring explanation from a subordinate.

It was at worst, a matched response; only to make laughing stock of the so-called movement aimed at restoration of democracy which appears to be ending up in getting at each other’s throat instead of ironing out differences in closed-doors so as not to give the rulers any point to score.

The movement looked to be a non-starter from the moment its leadership was tossed over to the JUI Maulana with visible street power absent in others, but actually sought to be remote controlled by PML(N), which unwittingly surfaced with the political novice daughter asking the PPP to have sought approval for the Senate Opposition slot from her father rather than the PDM, as if he was the boss.

Political opposition of any substance, would have refused to take oath at the very outset and gone to the Court to demand fresh elections, but what am I talking; whenever in our checkered history have politicians behaved discretely! After the only universally acclaimed fair elections in 1970, our much hyped leader Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto manipulated to ensure that power was not handed over to Sheikh Mujib-ur-Rehman’s majority Awami League, which caused separation of the country’s eastern wing as an independent Bangladesh.

Ironically, despite the election exercise as a result of the split having been rendered null and void, fresh polls ought to have been called in the truncated half of the country, but the Judiciary tragically overlooked ZAB’s illegitimate accession to power, which no one has ever been heard questioning.

This emotion-prone nation which includes me, cried momentarily over each other’s shoulders upon the tragic parting of ways; glossed over the gross error and eventually got sucked into the juggling charisma of ZAB who if not entirely, was significantly to blame for the catastrophic break-up, an objective achieved with gaiety by India; no wonder the Hamoodur Rehman Commission Report which would have spilled the beans, was hushed up as ZAB went on to enjoy the spoils of the separation.

I have always maintained that someone has to put some sense into this madness to give direction to the Quaid-i-Azam’s soured dream, but sadly with decades lost in selfish pursuits by its leadership, Pakistan having paid heavily as a Nation still refuses to learn.

It was a farce to see the immature inheritors of the main political party fiefdoms leading the campaign and threatening to send what it called ‘selected’ Government packing, pathetically ending up accusing each other and eventually seen reduced to banking upon the Government Party’s own Jehangir Tareen to bring it down.

With narrow personal agendas and no vision for a national programme, the opposition ganged up only to eventually split like a house of cards, and instead of sending a message of unity through Parliament for a national causes while continuing to pursue its political narrative, left the rulers to the mercy of international money lenders, lowering their guard to mortgage Pakistan’s economy and security.

In this musical chairs among the country’s political leadership, if any entity showed some sense of dignity and maturity, it was the Jamaat-e-Islami which stayed away from the unholy Opposition Alliance, and as usual, never lost its traditional civility in the manner of their speech, protest or demonstration.

No wonder Fareed Piracha, Naib Amir, Jamaat-e-Islami, has reacted to a rather sarcastic summary dismissal of the Islamist Party as any alternate to rule despite its honesty, piety and contempt for material gains; as if these were no small virtues in a supposedly Islamic Welfare State and restricting its capacity to lead only in voicing against nudity, promiscuousness, co-education, women’s freedom and interest-oriented economy only; portraying the Party as rather archaic.

Fareed Paracha has cited examples of delivery at the Local Government level by his Party underscoring the necessity of reactivating Local Bodies which have almost been abandoned, but even though Yasir Peerzada’s inference about Jamaat-e-Islami’s lack of a manifesto, a revolutionary vision, a clear ideology or any line of action is rather presumptuous, the Jamaat really has little to show at the provincial or national level whenever it has had a chance even at shared Governance like the MMA stint in the then NWFP and later in the same Province renamed, KP in coalition with Tehreek-e-Insaaf in which one had seen a glimmer of hope.

I for one have often wondered and posed this question to representative Jamaat leadership, as to why despite being the only Party in the country with a genuinely democratic system of choice of leadership within the Party and a well-organized rank and file, it was not able to draw support on the larger national canvas.

Thus far, having been given no plausible answer, there is also a misleading perception within the Party which its higher ranks must seriously probe.

While this is true that the Jamaat leadership at the top; as seen in their simple life style, has nothing whatsoever against it in terms of corrupt practices, there is increasing evidence of excesses among their lower ranks who under the cover of its good name and reputation, are carrying out personal exploits and bringing a bad name to the Party.

Coming back to Fareed Paracha’s reaction to Yasir’s presumptuous diatribe, whereas one would expect Mr Peerzada to dispassionately examine JI’s Manifesto, I would earnestly urge the Jamaat leadership to probe where it is going wrong because this nation which has time and again been taken for a ride, has each time genuinely looked to the heavens for a messiah.

It is time for all components of the State to put their act together and get out of the utopias they have built around themselves or else, History is evidence that Providence has acted to replace entire races leave alone nations refusing to mend.

—The writer is a media professional, member of Pioneering team of PTV and a veteran ex Director Programmes.