Saturday, 29 July 2017

Pathway to real change

We cannot afford to bask in the glory of a court judgement for too long. Its not destiny. We may want to abort the victory lap and get on with the business end. There is some serious catching up to be done. Many political miles to go before we could cherish anything.
True that politics is not a highly regarded profession in a country like ours. The word 'politics' does not have a positive air about it. It generally refers to dubious situations like office politics, family politics, political point-scoring, political mileage etc. However, politics is an abstract thing in itself. It becomes what we make of it. Our attitude towards politics shapes its contours & sets the tone. What is the need for it? There is a big need. Politics & decisions taken by politicians determine how we live our lives. It affects every single one of us. It affects our generations. Being divorced to politics would mean being divorced to our own & the future of our generations.
Our current situation clearly shows that both people and politicians have misconstrued real spirit of politics. Both are deeply embroiled in pursuit of their short term goals. People are pre-occupied with bread-winning & politicians are in a great hurry to make hay while the sun shines. Hence, there is mistrust. Politics has become a shabby business. Politicians when elected become law-makers. This is when politics becomes the best way to serve humanity. It even betters philanthropy. Philanthropists fill welfare voids in a society, whereas, politicians, if they work honestly would not let those voids to take root in the first place. To be more precise, good politics would not leave any room for philanthropy in a society.
This write-up may appear as an academic exercise but as long as we don't grasp real spirit of politics, we may never see its fruits. PTI sympathizers would be expecting a pat in the back for toppling Nawaz Sharif but replacing him with Shahbaz Sharif hardly changes anything. Backstage, Nawaz Sharif will continue to run the puppet show.
Nontheless, appointment of Shahbaz Sharif is a smart move. Though, Nawaz Sharif would have done it with heavy heart as he wanted Mariam Nawaz to succeed him yet Shahbaz Sharif was the best choice for damage control in given situation due to his pressure group with likes of relatively credible Ch Nisar & highly 'incredible' Rana Sana Ullah. It would not only prevent party from fragmentation but would also help restore some political mileage unless PTI wins NA-120 by-elections.
How will PTI win? PTI has no party structure in place to carryout constituency politics. PTI has social media showing consisting of virtual tigers. They exist in cyber space only. There are no real workers on ground. PTI workers from 2013 elections have either left or are angry with its way of working. Select few opportunists with past affiliations of other political parties know how to work i.e. look busy do nothing. A very small minority of sincere change mongers are dishearted and considering other options.Nobody paid heed to their voice. If a senior party worker like Naz Baloch leaves, instead of addressing her concerns, IK declares her 'useless'. Since last election, party tickets have not been alloted on merit. Anyone who had access to PTI hijackers including Jehangir Tareen, Shah Mahmood Qureshi or Raja Sarwar were given tickets, hence, PTI lost political mileage. The political space created out of MQM's demise in Karachi was occupied by PPPP. Next elections, PPPP may return to legislative assemblies with stronger mandate because PTI has zero party structure in Sindh. Balochistan is also devoid of PTI presence. KPK is a politically volatile province.  No work is done in south, resultantly, Maulana has made good progress there. Holding on to its existing mandate in KPK will be a real challenge. Punjab will still remain a tough cookie for PTI. Those who voted for Nawaz Sharif last time already knew what he was made up of. Again PTI has no real showing in south of Punjab. Few PPPP dissident electables will not change fortunes of PTI in rest of Punjab. Remaining months in power, Noon league  will come up with her own political narrative. They are likely to work their guts off under Chhotay Mian. At best Punjab would be 50/50 split between PTI and Noon.
Under the circumstance, despite Nawaz Sharif's exodus from PM House, in next general elections, political landscape of the country is not going to change much. A hung parliament is in the offing where PPPP & Noon nexus seems most probable for making government in center.
The 'change' promised by IK seems a distant reality. May be his personal grudge against Nawaz Sharif has been satisfied but any significant 'change' remains a fallacy. People were longing for changing so bad that they didn't hesitate riding false wave of change IK promised them. PTI has no workers because it has no political ideology. It thrives on charisma of IK. Like other political parties, PTI revolves around its founding leader. There is no leadership in the pipeline. If he is disqualified (which is likely) or removed from center-stage, PTI will crumble faster than a house of cards. Who will lead, Qureshi sb? Then who all will follow him? PTI's political longevity depends upon IK's political relevance. We need better alternative to growingly stereotype politics of IK even if it involves cumbersome process of raising a political party. Because, once kindled, the hope for change should not die. Its time for greater silent majority of this nation to break the ice. This circus they all call politics must stop. It may take a different course. Pathway to change is not through Bani Gala photo-shoots. It will come through good quality politics. We need to raise the bar. We need to change our attitude towards politics. For us to restore our identity, politics needs to be played in its true spirit where it overtakes every virtue & every form of worship. No change is as wholesome as change affected through politics.
Leave your comments, please.
Only Allah knows the whole Truth.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Miss-adventurous - Maryam Nawaz

Conscious choice of succession is always a critical point in the game of thrones.
This term, besides NS' desire to marginalise 'every' institution, he had another issue at hand, selection of his successor in politics. Although, he would have liked to continue active politics for as long as he could, yet eventually or in any eventuality, someone had to take reins of the party. Along came Panama Case which took birth out of thin air and significantly reduced his propects of continuing active politics. His political survival hinges totally on Supreme Court's decision on Panama Case.  Proceedings at JIT took them by surprise and shook the lazy arrogance of the Royal Family.  Not a pleasant surprise though.
Regardless of the outcome of the case, the 'succession' had to be planned. It had to be planned well before time. Since, party is 'owned' by Sharif Family, none of the ministers or kitchen cabinet members could be trusted with this privilege. In order to create a lasting family legacy, heir to 'Jati Umra's throne was to be selected. But the choices were limited. Both Hassan & Hussain were aptly managing the affairs of Empire outside. Inland interests were being well served through 'growing' business and their financial mastermind & uncle, the Finance Minister. Son-in-law had already become a liability. Looking outside his immediate family, NS would have had found his brother and nephew. A brother who stood by him in hope to finally become PM of the country. Advertantly, baton could not be passed to Shahbaz Sharif as it may make NS & his off-spring irrelevant to power matrix. Among given choices, with NS' acumen and self serving style of politics, his obvious choice was Maryam Nawaz.
Once earmarked for the job, the training & exposure began at the start of current term. She identified active media use (or abuse) as her main weapon. She flooded social media with her own photo-shoots. Though, her youth was far behind her but her apperance grew in much greater proportions for a relatively young grand-mother. If posing for camera could get any political mileage then beauty peagents would have produced all the successful political role models. In which case, political institutions could have taken a leave of absence. Instead of following Mian Sahb's time tested method of buying out journalists through 'lafafa' or giving advisory roles to journalists or offering them positions in PCB hierarchy, she opted to form her own 'media cell'. She continued to make her presence felt through some antagonizing tweets. Maryam Nawaz also chose to play her version of Mera Sultan. Her ambition to make an impression resulted in mis-adventure of Dawn Leaks. Albeit, she was 'bailed out' but she developed a habit of over-stepping her role thus making more enemies than friends. Her adventurism at electronic and social media turned in to misadventures. She gave an impulsive, unprepared interview to Sana Buchha which followed her brothers' 'Alhamdolliah' interviews on off-shore companies followed by NS' caliberated yet technically flawed address to Parliament on Panama Issue, has brought them in to face the law. Their unease with JIT was reflected in frustrating press talks outside Judicial Academy. Post JIT talk of  Maryam Nawaz was being dubbed as a dabbang entry in to politics. Her crammed up talk abruptly finished without taking questioned. Even an old maid at their estate could have read a piece of paper like that. Optical politics is out of fashion now.
Not that 'suuccession' decision was wrong, it just came at the wrong time. At the same time, Maryam Nawaz except her bloodline had nothing to show for. Instead of becoming a force multiplier to her 'father's vision', she had already become a drag on Noon League's politics. A decision which was a necessity but may never see fruition because her direction was all messed up. Another dilemma with such egoistic brats is that no advisor is good enough for them nor would they pay any heed to council.
Lately, lady luck is not singing to the tunes of Nawaz Sharif. Since party is called PML Nawaz League, its survival is conditional to political relevance of Nawaz Sharif himself. Noon League, like a house of cards, may also collapse soon after an unfavourable verdict. It is highly unlikely that Noon League may resort to some introspection. Instead, they seem firm on propagating 'conspiracy' as a counter political narrative which may help retain diehard noon voter. But, on legal grounds, writing is in on the wall, it is just a matter of time.
Only Allah knows the whole Truth.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Secret behind people empowerment

Today is different. As an ordinary Pakistani, for the first time, I feel empowered. But this journey of empowerment took its toll. It saw decades of institutional corruption, white lies, innocent blood spills, political deceit and leadership void. JIT Report is submitted in the apex court. PTI is happy and Government is dejected. However, a big day in the history of Pakistan. Real power of people is taking effect. This marks a paradigm shift in balance of power in this country. It was impossible to imagine such happenings before the turn of the last century. Those who grew up in PTV days would remember one sided ‘hakoomat nama’. Even on a day like this, Prime Minister would have been shown inaugurating a bridge and spitting fire against his rivals. Behind closed doors, government gazetted officers would have been compelled to bow under heinous pressure tactics. So what happened that changed the course of destiny of this country? PTI and her ardent support would love to take credit for it. And there will be some resentment from PTI quarters for ‘taking the zing away’ from their great achievement but a dispassionate analysis may unravel a different perspective.
Firstly, why the entire credit should not go to PTI? Reasons for that are simple but painful. Today, after declaration of JIT Report, during speech at Bani Gala, Imran Khan didn’t remember how many died during pressure build up on Supreme Court to take up the Panama Case. This is how cruel politicians are. It was young Inam Ullah from Swabi who died at Burhan Interchage under 'able' leadership of Pervez Khattak. Why able? Go to Nowshera and ask for 'Mama Gan' and you will get the answer. Unfortunate as it was, Inam Ullah was someone’s son. Had Qasim or Suleman suffered little scratches, it would have been carved on Mr IK’s heart. For IK, Inam Ullah's blood was a step closer to power corridors. That day, IK and few unfit stooges had been seen doing push-ups on stage at Bani Gala for media optics. They waited to cash in on the spill of blood of brave and passionate pakhtoon boy. Unfortunately, PTI is not an ideological political entity. It is a gathering of opportunists headed by a charismatic leader. If we take cricketing charisma out of IK's life, there is nothing to show for except Shaukat Khanum Hospital which too was made possible due to fame and momentum gained from cricket.
In past few years, media has emerged as the strongest source of people power. Power which people of this country always craved for. Every institution failed people of this country. May it be executive, judiciary or legislature and every institution that falls under their jurisdiction failed the people of this country. They all lived and breathed the ‘theorem of necessity’. Although, there were few glimpses of individual brilliance yet our overall progression as nation was withheld by dysfunctional institutions. Today, if six gazetted officers have been able to compile a fair report against the sitting Prime Minister then it can be attributed to media's unrelenting eye where nothing goes unobserved. Today if Supreme Court is coming up to expectations, it is due to transparent media reporting. Today if Maheen Fatima submits her affidavit that she was strong armed by Zafar Hijjazi then it is her confidence that even if she is killed, at least people will know she died in the right cause. It is vibrancy and freedom of media that we see Pharoes like Nawaz Sharif and his off spring moving to and fro the courts. We hope others like them also pay the price of their wrongdoings.
Story of media is not all that simple. Newspapers go way back before partition. In recent past, electronic media overtook print media. Private media channels have become a household item. How electronic media became such a phenomenon? It did not happen out of thin air, to say the least. Whether you like or hate Pervez Musharraf, it was his decision, his alone, to allow media the freedom it enjoys today. Pervez Musharraf’s legitimacy to power was also challenged by media and made his ousting inevitable. Media became his Frankenstein. After which good things continued to happen to politics of Pakistan. It became a compulsion for politicians to adopt cleaner means to politics and money making. Probably, second best thing was closure of Altaf Hussain chapter.
The best of media was yet to come. As long as media houses remained united, media seths made loads of money during first decade of 21st Century. There used to be one ticker on every news channel. There was complete uniformity in outlook. Special thanks to politicians that media houses got polarized. Politicians started distributing ‘lifafas’ among journalists and gave gracious business to media houses in terms of government  adverts. Some got enough and others felt left out. Polarization grew among media houses and they started taking sides. Geo News aligned with PML (N). Lately, Dawn News, which used be the most credible newspaper, as media house, chose sides and fell in to the lap of PML (N). ARY and 24 became anti-government.
Pervez Musharraf may have given due freedom to media, but it is not him, not masses, not institutions, not gazetted officers, not Supreme Court, not Imran Khan or his PTI,  nor media houses but it is due to the polarization among media houses that broke the shackles of  fear and made this historic day happen. Credit also goes to unsung heroes and simpletons like Inam Ullah whose blood paved the way this day.
This is just a perspective. You may disagree, in which case, please do share your rationale. 

Only Allah knows the whole Truth.