- Says Nawaz was never a democrat, should thank Musharraf for making him ‘champion of democracy’
Though eminent columnist-turned-politician Ayaz Amir is down and out after being rejected a PML-N ticket for NA-60 Chakwal, the former MNA has announced to support the candidates of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in his hometown to take revenge from his former party leader – Nawaz Sharif.
Ayaz, who accused Nawaz of being power hungry, commands respect and support not only in the journalist and political community, but among his electorate as well.
“I have withdrawn and my entire panel would now support PTI candidates in across Chakwal unconditionally,” Ayaz told Pakistan Today.
Elected on a PML-N ticket from Chakwal from NA-60 in 2008 elections with a record over 100,000 votes, Ayaz toed his party line and even remained steadfast in struggle against former dictator Gen (r) Pervez Musharraf for the return of the Sharif family from exile.
During the days since October 1999 to 2008, Amir took part in rallies to mobilise voters and supporters. He also remained actively involved in writing columns against the dictatorial rule of Musharraf.
“When they were in exile, my columns based on principled and bold stance against Musharraf were the most favourite gifts for Nawaz and Shahbaz Sharif,” said Amir, adding that both brothers often used to recognise his services in this regard.
“But soon after their return to power, my bold and principled stance became unbearable for Sharifs which I used to reflect in my columns and TV shows. Since I did not believe in the tricks of flattering, I became the most undesirable person,” he added.
Referring to the spoiler’s role played by Nisar Ai Khan, Amir said he was disliked by the former leader of opposition as he did not have a habit of buttering him up like other MNAs. “I did not go to his chamber even once in past five years. This was perhaps disturbing for him,” he added.
“So Nisar decided to pick Major (r) Tahir Iqbal, son-in-law of Lt Gen (r) Abdul Majid Malik, who was a kitchen cabinet member of Nawaz Sharif in 1990s but left him soon after the coup by Musharraf.”
Unlike Amir, Malik joined forces with Musharraf and enjoyed a merry ride until 2008, as his son-in-law was made the state minister in Shaukat Aziz’s cabinet. The same Tahir Iqbal has now replaced Ayaz Amir.
“Let me admit that I and Sharifs were never birds of the same feather. I could not go along with the PML-N anymore. Though I never agreed with their policies, but I remained with them on insistence of my electorate who wanted me to remain with the PML-N. I resigned in 1998 as well, but later rejoined when Sharifs were overthrown by Musharraf,” Ayaz said.
To a question, Ayaz said Nawaz was never a democrat and he never believed in democratic norms. He said Nawaz was nurtured by a dictator and was in habit of remaining in power at all costs.
“He knows that this is the last chance for him to grab power. So he is desperate for power. He feels if he loses this chance, he would never be able to win again. He is not a democrat. He should be thankful to General Musharraf whose coup made him champion of democracy,” he concluded.
Ayaz Amir was elected a member of National Assembly representing Chakwal in 2008 as a candidate of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.
He resigned from the party on April 19, 2013. He became famous as a columnist for the newspaper Dawn. But in 2008, after he was elected to the National Assembly, Ayaz began to write for The News.
His columns have been critical of the Pakistan Army’s role in politics throughout the history of the country. He is considered a liberal, arguing passionately the case for rule of law, democracy, and an end to failed military rule along with extremist versions of Islam.