Remarkable consistency

Published: August 10, 2012

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A reading and re-reading of Zahid Hussain’s July 24 column in Dawn on the subject of “Dynastic politics” is infinitely depressing in the context of the upcoming elections and the much discussed hope of ‘change.’

We have some 1,200 legislators scattered amongst the various assemblies and the most honourable upper house, the Senate. Zahid has it that 102 families hold more than 50 per cent of the seats in the assemblies and Senate, with some of these hogging families having up to 10 members distributed around our centres of legislation. And not all members of the 102 clans stick to one political party but play it safe and divide up membership between a couple or more parties, a foot in each camp so to speak, with an eye on potential future developments or tectonic shifts. They slither from one side to another with the greatest of ease, oiling their way from alliance to alliance.

Our legislators, by and large, as it is with the political parties themselves, are devoid of any traces of ideology, of the knowledge of the difference between right and wrong, of conscience, or of any adherence to the concept of truth-telling. But then, of course, politics has to be all about telling whoppers.

The worst in this league right now is the PML-Q — and what a gross insult it is to the founder of their country that it has the temerity to use the identification ‘Q’. It was a cosy, happy bunch when formed by General (retd) Pervez Musharraf in 2002 — all renegades from previous political niches. They went along merrily with Musharraf, who was under the false impression that he could use them willy-nilly to hang on to power. When he made a right royal mess of things, shooting himself in the foot multiple times, they had no compunction in ditching him. And then, led by the wily unintelligible Gujrat Chaudhry, lo and behold, they offered themselves at the right moment as partners to the party of President Asif Ali Zardari.

The frightening thing is that come election time, the PML-Q will have its vote bank secured through the various ways and means that are employed by our political wizards, with its members oblivious to or not caring less about their true worth and intent. That the PPP-Z accepted them with alacrity — of course, they were needed — speaks volumes about that party’s adherence to any political line other than to President Zardari himself.

On the dynastic issue, we have lost and gained. We have a switch of dynasties. The Bhuttos have been eliminated and the Zardari dynasty holds full sway.

Alliances on our political front are made with no other thought in mind than ambition and a chance to keep ‘in’ so that the perks and privileges of being on the right side and in the right seats do not disappear. The MQM is another party that needs to be ‘in’ and will do what has to be done to do so. In its case also, Musharraf was its guiding light whilst in power but he was put out of mind and President Zardari embraced and its members leapt to tie the knot. Again, this close knit party had its solid vote bank, with its leader wielding his authority and control with skill and aplomb. Altaf Hussain Bhai has now come up with a suggestion that can only make the Karachi situation more fraught than it already is. He has issued a call to arms — the business community and the traders of the city are to follow the ways of the ‘wild west’.

Well, they are all quite a bunch and they are not about to go anywhere as they will see to it that they jump in the right direction when the time comes. They will fiddle and faddle and ensure that they stay put to with their rakes as the ready.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 11th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (13)

  • Mirza
    Aug 11, 2012 - 12:08AM

    I was halfway through this Op Ed and was surprised there was no Zardari and PPP phobia. However, I was wrong and it came like missionary zeal. Once again a whole lot of bashing of democracy and no solution provided or advocating army rule in a subliminal message? The de-legitimization of next elected govt has already started by some who know the rural heartland is not going to go with urban elite candidates. This lack of trust and insulting attitude of English speaking elites toward voters and their will is the real reason the country is in the dumps.


  • Faraz
    Aug 11, 2012 - 1:14AM

    I fail to understand why every urbanized so called democratic and educated class criticize political families.if someone born in a political family and full fill all the democratic credentials then why and what is the reason that person has no right to participate in elections? Just coz that person born in an political family he or she has no right to represent his locality? Why this stupid principle always should apply on politicians? If we apply this principle according to natural justice then doctors,generals,engineers,bureaucrats,media people,lawyers children too have no right to join their parents profession,coz principles should be applied collectively and not selectively.


  • Ben
    Aug 11, 2012 - 2:01AM

    Pulao, as put in by Mumtaz Bhutto, or the bounty is their only ideology.


  • Naeem khan Manhattan,Ks
    Aug 11, 2012 - 4:13AM

    How true.


  • Logic Europe
    Aug 11, 2012 - 4:24AM



  • wonderer
    Aug 11, 2012 - 9:58AM

    Miley ga muqaddar. Why fret?


  • Toticalling
    Aug 11, 2012 - 11:24AM

    The bottom line according to this author is a strong hand and no non sense of democracy theater. Right? Democracy is not the best system, I agree, but there is no other better than this. But I still like to read Ms Jilani. She is not the only one. I know many who want a dictator. One does not see that in print that often, as most of the media cannot admit this, as this is not considered kosher. Good Karachi wallahs.


  • Aug 11, 2012 - 11:56AM

    With Bhutto family eliminated and Zardari family having barely any members in parliament, the writer does not miss an opportunity to take a jibe at PPP.

    The writer’s eternal anti democratic mind set makes her unable to appreciate that a forty percent non feudal membership despite years of martial laws pampering the feuds is very impressive.


  • Engr.Waqas
    Aug 11, 2012 - 12:38PM

    You are right few parties wants to be in front seat , no matter how bad driving they do.
    May the evils loose in upcoming Elections. Ameen


  • Ahsan
    Aug 11, 2012 - 5:23PM

    Has anybody from our writers been in the political field or working field? These are the two most difficult jobs. It is like spending/sacrificing one’s life or life-time for the others. A country where almost 100% civil-military bureaucracy is corrupt, and judiciary is its extension, people know who are responsible for their miseries. They also know that most of the state income is the result of hard work being done in factories and fields. They know further that most of this income goes into the pockets of civil-military-juducial officers and urban elites. They know far further, that only democracy will help them secure their wealth and rights. This is what our writers who write for the interests of the exploiters also know; but they must know more; someone may come through elections on its behalf, army by itself will never ever come to power; It is because it is the biggest commercial and corporate organization in Pakistan and would like to enjoy its power and prosperity living with peace. The army knows more and more and hence no more martial laws.


  • Lala Gee
    Aug 11, 2012 - 6:51PM


    Congratulations for writing another excellent op-ed presenting the correct analysis of our so called “democratic” political setup. You shouldn’t be discouraged by the comments of a few well known commentators as all know they are on a mission. When someone speaks to protect the corrupt and their corruption, on any pretext, their mission is obvious. Back on the subject, the present democracy in our country is a mockery of and a slap on the face of true democracy where oligarchs are masquerading as democratic forces. Their singular motivation to be in politics to serve their own interests and plunder the country’s resources. Nothing more or nothing less. Ask these defenders of democracy how democratic it is and where else in a democratic world the party leadership is inherited through the will of a deceased? Or where else an adolescent is appointed chairperson of a democratic political party a decade in advance to take charge decade later when mature enough. This is the kind of democracy these ridiculous defenders of democracy are advocating hoping everyone else is a dishonest simpleton.


  • elementary
    Aug 12, 2012 - 3:01PM

    @Lala Gee:
    Excellent Lala Gee!


  • elementary
    Aug 12, 2012 - 3:12PM

    @Mirza:You said:“rural heartland is not going to go with urban elite candidates. This lack of trust and insulting attitude of English speaking elites toward voters and their will is the real reason the country is in the dumps”.

    Country is in the dumps because these rural heartland voters have been kept illiterate ,starved and superstitious by these so called prodemocratic feudals to be able to use them as stepping stone to the Power.


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