WikiLeaks 245556 emanating from Islamabad dated 1/26/2010: Deputy National Assembly Speaker Faisal Kundi of the PPP declared that if he is subjected to enhanced security procedures when he travels to the US he “will turn back around from the airport”. He further declared that members of the national assembly are “not ordinary Pakistanis”.
Well, what are they? OK let’s agree on one definite point, yes, they are by no means ordinary Pakistanis once elected to represent the people of Pakistan. When out in the cold area divorced from politics, they are more or less ‘ordinary’, apart from the fact that they possess a huge amount of assets in whatever form which allow them to be elected, and once they manage the ballot boxes they are transformed into, yes, different beings to whom no known laws apply and who temporarily set themselves up, flinging democracy to the wild winds, as a different breed. All rather disgusting — but then if the people accept this gross distortion, bowing and scraping to a set of false gods, these political anomalies are given a free hand to firmly place their grubby feet on the massed faces of the people whom they are supposed to represent.
One fine example is set by the man who is only in the position he occupies because he has the qualities required of a member of the National Assembly. It should be made mandatory for the 180 million to trek to Karachi to see how their beloved president has transformed the area in which his own private house is situated. By blocking roads, placing countless barriers and containers, stationing police and Rangers’ vehicles, this one man, whether he is in the city or not, has inconvenienced hundreds (maybe thousands) of ‘ordinary’ Pakistanis going about their fraught daily business. They should all see how the fears of one man can permanently disrupt the environs of a house he rarely visits.
The same applies, in a slightly lesser manner, to all his minions who inhabit palaces all over the country. No, they are not ordinary, and if they were (which they will again be one fine day) they would take their chances as we ordinary lot do.
And who complains? And if they do, who is listening? Which, of these ‘out of the ordinary Pakistanis’ cares a damn?
Statistics in this maddening country are generally for the birds but nevertheless are trotted out regularly — as is mandatory. Some experts have it that of the 180 plus million ordinary Pakistanis there are 79.9 per cent registered voters (this seems on the high side) of which 34.6 per cent (of the 80-odd per cent) voted in the last election. Indicative indeed of how the ordinary views the non-ordinary. Other experts tell us that of the measly amount of votes cast to install a democratic government, some 30 per cent of those were bogus. If that be so, how many of these non-ordinary beings that sit atop us are actually valid?
Now we come to tax paying. A press report of December 2010 indicated that of the total 1,170 legislators in the honourable Senate and even more honourable assemblies, 61 per cent do not pay income tax. Of the remaining 39 per cent, a meagre nine per cent pay over Rs100,000. Reportedly, our wooden helpless prime minister and the majority of his cabinet members do not pay income tax. The chief ministers of Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa similarly pay no tax, while that of Sindh forked out Rs224 and that of Balochistan an even more generous Rs1,225. And these are figures that apparently have been provided by the Election Commission. For sure, they are not ordinary Pakistanis — far from it.
There is a message flashing round cyber space which tells us that “diapers and politicians should be changed often, both for the same reason”. Is there any hope that the electorate will awaken? Fat chance!
Published in The Express Tribune, June 25th, 2011.
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