Who cares about Pakistan's Anna Hazare?

Unlike India's Hazare, Akhtar's fast against corruption was largely ignored by the Pakistani press.

Zahid Gishkori February 13, 2012
The success of the Indian anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare and the defeat of his Pakistani counterpart Jehangir Akhtar in their almost similar missions perhaps reflect the nature of politics and how it is perceived in both countries.

The 75-year-old Indian shot to fame, thanks largely to the power of the Indian media, when he undertook a much hyped fast. That, more or less, brought the Indian government to its knees and made it agree to move a bill in parliament to establish the office of an ombudsman (Lokpal).

However, in Pakistan, the story was quite different with the fasting Akhtar largely ignored by the press and the media and his voice against corruption faded into the wilderness. Pakistanis obviously have no problem with corruption, it would seem.

From April to December 2011, around 45 television channels, including foreign ones, had been covering Anna’s demand to bring the Indian parliament, the country’s bureaucracy and the CBI’s anti-corruption wing under the scanner of the proposed Lokpal law. The publicity has converted this old social worker into a saint in just over eight months.

I happened to be in India around that time and visited Jantar Mantar, the place in Delhi where Anna was undertaking the fast. Hundreds of his supporters were selling ‘Anna caps’ and taking signatures of the participants who had come to what was a peaceful sit-in. Most of those who had come seemed to have no personal acquaintance with the man but were there because they thought that finally someone was willing to take a stand on corruption in government.

As members of Team Anna eventually ended their nine-month demonstration last month, the revolution met its natural end with the passing of the Lokpal Bill by the Lok Sabha only but before Rajya Sabha it was adjourned. Across the border in the pious Land of the Pure, the demands of Jehangir Akhtar, could not receive any attention, or any notice by any official of the government or member of parliament.

The Pakistani media virtually ignored his protest. However, its members took active part in a dinner that he arranged for the press. After digging deep into biryani and balti gosht they left. But hardly a word appeared about Akhtar and his demands in the press the next day.
Zahid Gishkori
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


khabarnaak | 12 years ago | Reply Totally agree with Anoop's suggestion... Nice information thanks for posting....
Anoop | 12 years ago | Reply @Sikander Ali: "The economic and financial benefits of the set up would automatically ensure that it continued even after the initial 10 years. " How naive must you be to believe that! A Nation doesn't proper in 10 years. Even after 24 years, Bangladeshis weren't happy with Pakistan. What would have stopped the 3 wings going their separate ways? "Jinnah was ready to live under unified India given proper assurances" I dont think you quite know what exactly he asked for. So, let me put it in the perspective of Pakistan, maybe you might understand the repercussions of his demands. Imagine the 3% Hindus, Christians and Sikhs are granted 25% of the seats in the national assembly of Pakistan. Imagine Ahmadis,Shias, Hindus and Christians are granted preferences in all Govt jobs. You have conceded it will go against the Democratic value, but what other thing it will do is permanently pit the Majority Community against the minority one. When there are such issues you dont remind people of the differences but aim to unite them. Jinnah did not understand that. Looks like he was incapable of understanding it. " Congress failed to do that. " Its also interesting the Jinnah in his one year in Pakistan never mentioned providing the same safeguards to the Hindus and Sikhs and Christians of Pakistan. Neither his lieutenants like Liaquat who succeeded him. Its hypocrisy to protest the non-implementation of one principle but yet deny the same privilege from your side. And, Congress of Nehru never let Muslims down. NEVER! That is why even today Muslims vote for Congress and Nehru's children and grandchildren. They looked up to Nehru and Nehru protected them single handedly. I can only laugh at the hypocrisy of calling for special privileges for Muslims in a United India from Pakistanis but failing to notice the same principle is not implemented in Pakistan. "I don’t have to answer that. Its like when you spit on the moon and it lands on your own face." Jinnah is the same guy who hung out and made alliances with people like Suhrawardy. You do know about him at least right? Thats the guy who made sure Direct Action day will be bloody and violent. That reminds me Jinnah and his Muslim League called for "Direct Action", meaning kill and loot if you dont get your way. Jinnah is the same guy who never opposed Feudalism, probably the greatest burden of the poor of India and Pakistan. Nehru not only spoke against it, but abolished it in 1951. Why would Jinnah speak against Feudalism, so many Feudals were with him! In Congress's manifesto it was declared before division that landlords,Rajwarey,States will be eliminated. Muslim land lords who were in Congress made contact with Jinnah,who promised to provide safety to them. As a result,Doltaney,Toaney,Mamdot and all landlords became Muslim Leaguers over night. You are of course free to cross check my facts, but there is little chance I am wrong. Have read far too much about all this. Till today Feudalism is alive and kicking and you can thank Jinnah for that. Pakistan's foreign minister, I hear, is from a Feudal Family! The socialist and a democrat in Nehru would have gasped!
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