Qualities of a leader

Published: April 4, 2013

LAHORE: I fail to understand the relevance of knowledge about religion and a person’s eligibility to represent me and act as custodian of the taxpayers’ money, state assets, commitment to Pakistan and willingness to submit to the rule of law and supremacy of the Constitution. The ECP should focus on the financial credibility, criminal record, status of nationality or permanent residency in any other country, other than where he seeks to be elected, so that the candidate can serve the people of his constituency and be available for any accountability and redress of grievances of his voters, while deciding the eligibility for submission of nomination papers. If I have to choose between a man who is devout, but has no financial integrity or commitment to Pakistan, is involved in tax evasion, indulges in perjury and prefers to locate most of his assets in other countries, compared with a person who rarely offers his prayers but has an impeccable record of integrity, I would rather stake the fate of this country in the hands of the latter. We must remember that the man who gave us Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, was not at all a religious person, but was known for his credibility, financial integrity, honesty and ethical behaviours.

This country has benefited more from the services of honest men like Justice AR Cornelius, Cecil Chaudhry, etc. than from people like General Ziaul Haq, who have been instrumental in fanning sectarian and ethnic bias and are responsible for giving patronage to extremist forces, who have harmed Pakistan and its people. A person who offers his prayers does it to satisfy his own inner self and to please his Maker, but as far as holding representative public office is concerned, the way he practises his religion should not matter. What matters is his credibility and commitment to the laws and the Constitution of the country.

Malik Tariq Ali

Published in The Express Tribune, April 4th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (2)

  • yusrakhan
    Apr 4, 2013 - 4:30PM

    I completely disagree with the writer, and i think asking about religion is an excellent step because our Deen ISLAM is complete,Islam is just not a mazhab its a deen which means it has given instructions about every field of life. If a person is not even devoted to ALLAH, how do you expect him to be devoted to the country and the his people???
    “The constitution of Pakistan has yet to be framed by the Pakistan constituent Assembly, i do not know what the ultimate shape of this constitution is going to be, but i am sure that it will be of democratic type,embodying the essential principles of Islam.Today they are as applicable in actual life as they were 1300 years ago. Islam and its idealism have taught us democracy. It has taught equality of man,justice and taught us democracy. We are the inheritors of these glorious traditions and are fully alive to our responsibilities and obligations as framers of the future constitution of Pakistan”
    The ECP is also focusing on over all record of the candidate for eligibility as so many nomination papers have been rejected till yet and side by side they have asked the religious questions as well. Recommend

  • Mohammad
    Apr 4, 2013 - 6:36PM

    I completely agree with the author . If being religious is the criteria to be a leader , then people who believe this have disowned Jinnah.

    Pakistan was founded on the basis of freedom of practice of religion for everyone one and not for a certain sect of Muslims. One needs to look at the significant portion of white colour on the national flag to remind oneself of the significance given to minorities .


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