Great Editorial in Dawn

Level of Pakistani Politics

IT is the same chicken-or-egg argument, and you can choose your bet: do we have bad politicians because the army keeps interfering in matters political, or does the army interfere because the level of politics is shockingly low? Worldwide, politics is essentially a low occupation. Power makes its own demand on those who pursue it and achieve it. You don’t mind having strange bedfellows and sacrificing principles to make happy those whose support gives you a hold on parliament. But even while politicking in an unabashed pursuit of power a politician must draw a line, for you cannot stoop to a level where even the rudimentary concepts of law, justice and truth are reduced to a farce. For instance, the noble concept of accountability has been used by our generals and politicians as an instrument of persecution. Criminal cases stand withdrawn if you change your political loyalty; or else you could rot in prison or go to the gallows.

On Wednesday, APDM leaders, including such veterans of our politics as a perpetually angry Qazi Hussain Ahmed and Mahmood Khan Achakzai, threatened to expose Asif Ali Zardari’s corruption if he did not restore the pre-Nov 3 judiciary and accepted other demands, including President Pervez Musharraf’s impeachment. It is a measure of our politicians’ way of doing things that the threatened exposure of the PPP co-chairman is conditional, for they would ‘expose’ him only if he did not accept their demands. The implications are that the alleged corruption would be condoned if Mr Zardari played along. Meanwhile, agitations, street demonstrations and ‘long marches’ seem to have become an end in themselves — at least for Qazi Hussain Ahmed. A review of the JI’s politics since the end of the Zia era would make this point clear.

We also have before us an MQM statement that claims to support Musharraf’s impeachment, but the caveats it attaches to its support seem ludicrous. There are also demands that Shaukat Aziz be brought back home and tried for wrong policies. If politicians are to be tried for wrong policies — which is a matter of opinion — courts throughout the world will have time for nothing else. In the dock will not only be a glittering galaxy of foreign leaders ranging from Hosni Mubarak and Ehud Olmert to Bush and Blair but also the MMA leaders who ruled the NWFP and prohibited male doctors from treating women patients.

Comments are closed.

Log in