Talk about intellectual mediocrity, it runs deep within our political leaders and often the ones who they mostly face, the public at large. Sweeping emotional claims are made to appeal to the masses, but rarely explained or clarified. The cheers and jeers are the main reason and rationale for such foolery. But life is truly about the stark realities. Do these emotional hyperboles ever pass the test of sanity?
You must have heard our former president and the co-chairperson of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) repeatedly impressing upon his timely slogan of “Pakistan Khappay” (We need Pakistan), right after his wife’s assassination. The people of Sindh were enraged and there were reports of violence and destruction of property, following the news of Benazir Bhutto’s murder. No one dares to question the former president, was this not expected of you as a leader of the then largest political party of Pakistan.
What were you going to suggest? Let’s move anything north of Hyderabad to the East or was it to the West. Or, let’s just give that area a name of our liking and call it Sindhland? The point here is, that any reasonable leader, would have done the exact same thing and given hope to his or her distraught followers.
The so-called lions of the most populous province of the union have something special to boast about. The respected prime minister and his yes men have very proudly claimed the nuclear testing of 1998, as the grand decision of their PM, against all odds. He was asked to refrain but it was a matter of national pride.
Emotions are whipped up and he is made the superhero. Well and good, after all he was in charge. Minor fact check: work on that project began several years back under the vision and watch of his then political rival’s father. Our so-called anchors on the tube, shy away from bringing this up. Nor do they ever bring up the sanctions and the economic fallout that followed, right after the testing.
The following year, Kargil happened and somehow the prime minister was kept uninformed. Though Musharraf has vehemently denied this on various occasions and claimed that the prime minister was briefed regularly. It is unlikely for a PM to be ignorant of such a sensitive matter, one involving national and regional security. What transpired after words is common knowledge? One cannot just give him credit for achieving the security milestone, and ignore the misadventure, both were done under his watch.
Imran Khan claims that his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) made history by staging a successful sit-in, in Islamabad for almost four long months. The youth of this country, the common men and women, came in droves, on the call of their beloved leader, so on and so forth. The rhetoric about this event is repeated ad nauseam on the idiot box by its leaders and in political rallies. The thrust of the PTI argument has been a conspiracy where multiple people and entities colluded and rigged the 2013 elections with malicious intent.
On a rational level, this allegation has not been proven. So much so, that a judicial commission rendered its findings, which negated this claim. Yet one of its leaders, very recently, repeated the same claim and stretched it further by involving foreign governments in this sinister plot.
The talking heads overlook a basic question. If a political party’s spokesperson is so reading challenged, we must be in serious trouble. The 126-day sit-in was a total failure. It was peddled as an “Azadi” (Independence) march. But the main objective was to achieve eternal riddance from the “hereditary” politicians.
Chances are no one will dare to ask these questions from these leaders. The slogans chanted by each one of them is catchier than these pointed and vexing questions.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 20th, 2017.