‘A thief to catch a thief’ should perhaps now be changed to ‘A Dasti to catch a thief’. Yes, I am referring to Jamshed Dasti, the loudmouthed and rambunctious ex-member of the parliament from Muzaffargarh district, who got yorked by Justice Khalilur Rahman Ramday last month. What else is one to make of the fact that he has now been rewarded by the prime minister and given the post of adviser to the prime minister on livestock? Claiming to have a master’s degree in Islamiat, Mr Dasti failed to respond to queries by Justice Ramday relating to the subject he had claimed to know.
Mr Dasti had risen to fame (some would say notoriety) after starting a crusade against corruption, nepotism and incompetence in the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). The dismal defeats of the cricket team on foreign shores were unacceptable to the MNA from south Punjab, who with his oiled hair and an unforgiving tongue, unleashed himself on matters relating to national sports.
With unrelenting zeal and resolve, he castigated the PCB chairman (who also happens to be related by marriage to the minister for defence), lambasted the players for their extravagance and indulgence in everything else that was ‘not cricket’ and urged strict scrutiny of their earnings and tax returns.
Apart from setting off on the path to rid the cricket players from the evils of match-fixing, Mr Dasti also wanted to ensure that our hockey players abide by to strict standards of morality. He termed their defeat in a recent tournament in Argentina a consequence of the fact – according to him – that some of our players were getting too close to a female official. Apparently all that had happened was that some of the players had had a photograph taken with the said official – but what was the MNA’s response to this? A promise of stern action for this alleged moral waywardness.
Ironically, this public custodian and self-professed torchbearer of morality and righteousness himself turned out to be the one who himself was flouting these ideals blatantly and shamelessly. With a fake degree – and that too in Islamiat – one wonders how Mr Dasti made peace with his own conscience when he was fuming and frothing at others. He seemed to be a man of passion who was consumed by a fire of self-righteousness. But the raging flames of this fire burnt Dasti instead, blackening his own face with indignation.
He is not alone.
Another member of the parliament, Nazir Jutt from Burewala district also had a fake degree and had to resign. A Punjab MPA was also forced to give up his seat. I had met Mr Asif in the middle of 2008. At that time, violent protests had broken out in Faisalabad; angry factory workers were demanding his arrest for opening fire on workers demanding better wages. In an interview at his house, Mr Asif (a factory owner himself) denied that he ordered his guards to shoot workers. The whole event was a conspiracy hatched by his political opponents, he had said in a rather predictable line of defence. He further claimed that he could never imagine exploiting the poor since he, like his family, was religious and God-fearing. Wonder how he can explain getting a fake degree, and that too in Islamiat?
The irony is that people like Jamshed Dasti end up without even a slap on the wrist and are in fact rewarded. He, along with Nazir Jutt, has been awarded a ticket by the PPP to contest upcoming by-elections to the National Assembly.