Someone tougher for the job

Published: May 6, 2012

The writer is a senior anchor and producer on Samaa TV and hosts “Newsbeat”.

Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has the knack of doing extraordinary things. Be it acquiring the top job in the country by emerging almost out of nowhere or daring to question the seemingly invincible forces in the country by asking: “Who gave a visa to Osama Bin Laden?”, it really does seem that Mr Gilani is an extraordinary person.

But what is the prime minister (PM) thinking right now? He is harping on about a biased judiciary and displaying his selective amnesia by lamenting that there are forces out to get the PPP government. “I am not corrupt,” argues Mr Gilani. “I’m just protecting the Constitution.”

But may one dare ask how is he safeguarding the Constitution and from whom? Is he implying that the judges who summoned, and later convicted him, are trying to sabotage the Constitution? If yes, that is not just an extraordinary thought but a scary one.

“Tell me how many decisions I have taken as the PM of Pakistan?” he asked me during a recent media briefing at the Prime Minister House and then hastened to answer the question himself. “At least two million decisions, out of which only four or five have been frowned upon. I am human, I can err, so please give me the benefit of the doubt,” he pleaded.

There is substance in this argument but is this really the best excuse that the chief executive of Pakistan can give? I wonder if I could give the same excuse to my boss. Oh I have hosted hundreds of programmes on live TV, so if I invited an incoherent guest for once, gave promotion to my team members without following due procedure or could not see through the corruption of a team member until he ended up in jail, please give me the benefit of the doubt. If I come up with such arguments, I will be looking for a new job very soon. But maybe that is the difference between working for a private organisation and a country called Pakistan.

The PM, when talking about Adnan Khawaja’s appointment as chairman of the Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL), argued: “I was wrongly advised in his case”. Now, this is a line that he takes quite regularly. He is candid about the mistakes he has made because of the guidelines provided by ‘others’. In his book, Gilani has related an incident where, as the Speaker of the National Assembly, after being misled by his adviser, he allowed Akbar Bugti to give a speech in Balochi, which was against the assembly regulations. Similarly, what could he do if the letter that appointed Khawaja as chairman of the OGDCL was signed by his principal secretary? After all, it was her job to properly investigate Khawaja. Mr Gilani presents this argument with a smile.

It is always good to listen to the prime minister. He is a good orator. The twitch in his eyes and the nod of his head and the movement of his hands makes us believe that he really is a nice guy. But the question remains, do we need nice guys as our leaders? Do we need people who take decisions at someone else’s behest and once they commit a mistake, still ask to be forgiven? I think not. When you have the future of 180 million people at stake, it requires someone tougher to do the job.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 7th, 2012.

Reader Comments (26)

  • Falcon
    May 7, 2012 - 12:05AM

    I doubt that PM is the very nice guy you are referring to. He appears more like a drama artist putting up an act of a nice guy.

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  • Ali
    May 7, 2012 - 12:17AM

    Yousuf Raza Gilani is not a nice guy and the real head of state is Asif Zardari. Yes, these are nice people.

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  • Parvez
    May 7, 2012 - 12:41AM

    Liked the line taken by you in this article. You are one of the very few TV anchors I watch when I do watch political talk shows, which is seldom.
    You have been very gracious by saying that …he makes us believe that he really is a nice guy. I for one don’t believe you.

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  • x
    May 7, 2012 - 1:14AM

    Title of the article should be changed to ‘Someone competent-and honest-for the job’.

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  • May 7, 2012 - 2:04AM

    oh he forgot his own sons dramas ???

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  • Organ of Big Profit
    May 7, 2012 - 3:38AM

    I work in Karachi, and I see this all the time, it is called “Topi” culture. When person A passes on the blame to person B, person B, to person C, and so on, till it gets back to person A. It’s too late, the issue is diluted, has lost its peak time, and nothing gets done, or resolved really. This unprofessionalism is not progressive and results in inefficient outcomes.

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  • jagjit sidhoo
    May 7, 2012 - 9:42AM

    Imran Khan seems to be the only hope

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  • anticorruption
    May 7, 2012 - 10:01AM

    He does not just make errors or mistakes out of being misled by his advisers. In reality, he has been taking these wrong decisions knowingly and deliberately. The court clearly ordered the govt to write a letter to Swiss authorities and repeatedly gave Gillani an opportunity to correct his mistake by writing the letter. If he was miseld, he had a chance to correct his mistake and write the letter.

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  • Saif M
    May 7, 2012 - 10:12AM

    Notwithstanding the faults and shortcomings of the PM, this opinion piece is similar to the TV program the writer hosts. Bad and waste of time.

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  • Aamir Malik
    May 7, 2012 - 11:42AM

    Fereeha just Now I read ur classic Article For Our Honest PM, Ur absolutely Right n judged Our Politcian, But our politician are completely Responsible those miss guide our Nation,Am so Happy Ur Really true pakistani who Really Think n. Believe Change , Keep it Up n pls share Ur view when ever U wrote Ur New Article , Hatts Off Fereeha , Ur Real Voice Of common People Of pakistan, U always Rise our Issues Thanks Again Mashallah,We All Love You (AMY)

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  • May 7, 2012 - 11:42AM

    Pakistan is a very unfortunate country where leaders are loyal to their parties than country and country law….

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  • usmani
    May 7, 2012 - 11:45AM

    Yousuf Raza Gilani a nice guy.He is nice guy to appoint the OGDC chairmen one of his friend.He was nice guy– to appoint and upgrade the 20 or 24 government officer into next grades.
    He was nice guy because he did’t take any action when steel mill, railway and PIA were became bankrupt before his eyes. He was a nice guy–when Karachi, Baluchistan and Gilgit were burning with sectarian violence.

    The PM such a nice guy that he doen’t know this nation has given what constitutional power top him. These power he so ruthlessly wasted.

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  • Prof.Imtiaz Shaikh
    May 7, 2012 - 11:54AM

    Gentleness and PPP person is a totally different thing especially a top position leader of PPP can’t be a nice person.

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  • Imran sadaf
    May 7, 2012 - 12:04PM

    Fareeha, it seems like you have been complacent with watever words PM uttered. He is a politican and he knows how to be nice after being dressed up of mud. But you as an journalist should be more realistic and critical. It seems like PM is most innocent person of world, jumps down to pond of mud just because he is advised.

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  • Shamy
    May 7, 2012 - 1:22PM

    nice guy ?

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  • Yasir Hameed
    May 7, 2012 - 6:30PM

    can hardly agree with Gillani being a nice guy. he is completely devoid of vision. i have never heard him speaking with reason. whenever he speaks, sparks some controversy.

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  • zeeshan
    May 7, 2012 - 6:41PM

    we need a good leader not a orator, if he appointed wrong to Mr. Adnan then he should be punish for this act. Shame for whole nation for poor performance and breach of law from the primer.

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  • Mirza
    May 7, 2012 - 7:00PM

    How many past rulers have ever apologized? From the surrender of East Pakistan to hosting OBL and selling out to foreign Powers? PM Gilani must be ashamed of apologizing to the nation. He must be a weak leader and not a tough dictator like previous generals or even Nawaz Sharif who never apologized for invading the SC.

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  • Silent Spectator
    May 7, 2012 - 7:01PM

    I’ll call Gilani a manager and not a leader. He hasn’t exhibited any leadership so far and has yet to do so. As a manager, which he is not an effective or responsible one; his management skills are mediocre at best. He needs to understand or read up on Management101 to hone up his management skills. One of the key rules of management is to listen to all your subordinates and their options, make the right decision, and live with all the consequences both good and bad. Therefore, he needs to take the blame for his poor decisions such as selecting Adnan Khawaja as the OGDC chairman and not writing the letter to the Swiss courts. He just cannot say, “Oh I was giving wrong advice” and yeah I chose to follow it. This is the most basic rule/test of management; choose the right option and live with it. If he can be so easily ‘misguided’ to make the wrong decisions, then do we need such a vulnerable guy running the country? How will he stand up to pressure when he himself has to make the decisions without the aid of his advisors and aides?
    It’s not about being a nice guy or wearing expensive suits, it’s all about his poor performance and multitude of wrong decisions. Gilani needs to reassess his skills, strengths, and weaknesses and answer the question – am I ready to lead? If he thinks he cannot lead or manage effectively, he should quit and let someone else run the country. I agree with you Fereeha, we need someone tougher and more qualified to do this job. You can have a nice guy who can be a good and effective leader since these traits are not mutually exclusive. Gilani however, is neither nice nor effective. Does Pakistan need a new leader (which Gilani is not) or a follower like Gilani?

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  • masuma
    May 7, 2012 - 9:01PM

    @silentvoices:
    In every country the leaders are loyal to their parties & parties are loyal
    to country & country law.
    CJ & other judges were & are loyal to country laws ( constitution ).
    SHAME.

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  • Raja Islam
    May 8, 2012 - 3:05AM

    Its all about competency and honesty. True that you have to be tough to take action, but it not because of lack of toughness but is due to a lack of purpose that we see this complacency.

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  • anonymus
    May 8, 2012 - 5:58AM

    what is happening to ET?
    Talat now Fareeha, please don’t lower your standard. you are the first paper who has broken the readership of dawn.
    I thought people like ayaz amir will join ET not people who have jaundiced vision.
    ask people like Dr mubark also to write some times.

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  • jagjit sidhoo
    May 8, 2012 - 6:57AM

    @Raja Islam:He is tough when it comes defending the party, nation ……

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  • Uza Syed
    May 8, 2012 - 1:47PM

    This articles is, when one wishes to be very generous —– Useless at its best!

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  • Mawali
    May 9, 2012 - 5:40AM

    Can you please share with us the recipe for making pound of cake or is it…well, thanks in advance!

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  • jagjit sidhoo
    May 9, 2012 - 2:47PM

    @Mawali: L O L

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