Finally, the President has something to boast of. He singlehandedly — or so his henchmen claim — delivered the most crucial constitutional reforms package to the nation ever. Kudos! It couldn’t come any sooner. The spate of virulent attacks against him in recent months — by journalists, self-anointed analysts and members of the general public — was appalling.
There were scathing censures of the man every day; he got the blame for all wrongs in the country: lack of action on judicial orders; the rampant dearth of essential commodities; sudden parturitions in unsuspecting rickshaws...you name it. But the man always deserved our utmost respect, even before delivered the Umpteenth Amendment to us. After all, it took him years to rise to his current position; he wouldn’t have made it without sheer hard work, extensive arm-twisting, sharp computational skills (it’s not always easy to calculate the 10 per cent of every colossal amount, you know), lengthy political chicanery while languishing in and out of all-expenses-paid luxury jails and, of course, the tragic demise of a celebrated spouse.
Give him a break! He is the President after all, the holder of the highest office in the land, an esteemed position that should naturally be immune from all laws of the land, which, in any case, are meant only for ordinary people and opposition figures, as we all know. True, some of the previous incumbents of the Presidential office aren’t much to write home about — Mushy, Tarar, one Fazal Ellahi of the slap-in-the-face fame, the turncoat Leghari, and of course the wise, geriatric and increasingly senile, hair-sprouting-from-his-ears Mr GIK — but that does not mean we deny Mr Zardari the deference that is due to him and his office.
So what if he dilly-dallied on his pledge to curtail draconian presidential powers? Has any other president ever even tried to dismantle his own authority? And so what if the price of living has skyrocketed and essential commodities gone missing and the economy tanked? It’s his predecessors who should be blamed; the man has only been in office for, what, barely two years? That’s hardly enough time to fix this country’s economy. Also, let’s face it, the only economy he’s had experience in improving is his own, and even that took years. And electricity? Who needs electricity when the people are effectively powerless anyway (pun may or may not be intended, go figure!); besides, being electrically challenged has helped us demonstrate our avid eco-friendliness to the world.
We’ve successfully celebrated more “Earth Hours” than any other nation, and we owe it to the government (read: Mr Zardari). The humanism of the man knows no bounds. He recently pledged the donation of all his organs (posthumously, unfortunately) with no charge to the potential recipients. This man deserves our adoration and gratitude. What do we give him instead? Wild and unproven charges of gross corruption and graft and large-scale siphoning of funds.
To begin with, there is no evidence to substantiate these claims (some say it’s either been destroyed or hush-hushed, but that’s beside the point) and then, as his spokesman repeatedly points out, he’s already done his time. He was in the slammer for nearly a decade, folks, cut him some slack. True, his jails afforded him the chance to read extensively, cultivate his personality and future plans, enjoy nice meals and even discharge his duty to the species (the result of which effort is the sweet young “ambassador” to the national polio campaign) but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t ever brutally and unjustly incarcerated.
This really does absolve him of all past wrongdoings, if any, and we shouldn’t grudge the fact. Let him be, people. This is his time, and he’s earned it. As he once privately told his son though the latter publicly altered the family axiom: Kleptocracy is the best revenge.