- Safeguarding the garden
Why was I grown and nourished? Mian Muhammed Nawaz Sharif, the three-time prime minister, should be asking this question. Pakistan Today on November 8, 2017 printed a cartoon with this query. Over the years Nawaz Sharif has proved to be a political weed (Booti) not a plant. After the invention of the wheel that gave movement to human beings, agriculture is hailed as a major achievement of mankind as it produced crops to sustain life. The quest continued. Horticulture (garden cultivation), floriculture (flower cultivation), sericulture (rearing of silk worms), aquaculture (rearing of aquatic animals, cultivation of plants) followed. In Latin ager means field and cultura stands for cultivation, “agercultura” evolved into agriculture, the practice of cultivation of soil to produce crops.
A few years back I was presiding over a seminar on weeds in which it was reported that annually they cause a loss of around Rs40-60 billion. In shock I asked the experts why there was no programme for their eradication as they were our biggest enemy, which had inflicted more damage than our hostile neighbour India. The reply was standard, ‘lack of funds’. As chairman, Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF), I offered the resources required to eliminate this menace but no one showed up. Pakistan does not have an effective weed eradication or control programme till today despite and being an agriculture/horticulture/floriculture based country, the losses continue unabated.
Unfortunately in Pakistan a new ‘culture’ has been practiced called ‘Siasi culture’ which has produced ‘political weeds’ which over the years have destroyed the ‘Garden of Democracy’ and are now threatening the gardener. Bagh (garden) kay bad baghban (gardener) ki bari hay (now it is the turn of the gardener) that is why he is worried. This kind of ‘Baghbani’ (gardening) must end for the garden to grow and flourish.
- Unfortunately in Pakistan a new ‘culture’ has been practiced called ‘Siasi culture’ which has produced ‘political weeds’ which over the years have destroyed the ‘Garden of Democracy’ and are now threatening the gardener
It is not only Mian sahib, the list of ‘political weeds’ is long and it has infested all major political parties including Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, the party of change. Most weeds grow naturally, as it is not my area of expertise I do not know why but I know for sure that they are not produced in a nursery, nourished and then implanted anywhere else in the world except in the land of the pure.
‘Patjhar’ (shedding of leaves) of Mian Sahib should be a lesson for all current and future ‘political weeds’ as their growth is both unnatural and unwanted. ‘Mujhe kuyn ugaya’ calls for an answer with remorse and future restraint. Once these weeds are cleared off the political arena after a due process ‘siasi culture’ and its clandestine nurseries should be shut down for all times to come. The political system must be allowed to function with its laid down procedures and SOPs, there is no need to invoke the law of necessity which has proven to be disastrous for the country.
Historically speaking the question arises why was all this done, where these detours required? The answer is no. Our journey to freedom (Azadi) has to continue for which the constitution has an important role to play. There was no justification for the abrogation of the 1956 constitution and the unilateral one sided amendments in the 1973 version of this scared document which is supposed to be an agreement between the people and the institutions that run the state.
It was the abrogation of the 1956 constitution that triggered the breakup of Quaid’s Pakistan. Despite onslaughts the 1973 unanimously agreed document has survived and has been restored to a great extent but the hounds and vultures are still out there. Zia-ul-Haq wanted to neutralise the gains of democracy under the first truly elected government of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (ZAB) for which he needed ‘political weeds’. ‘Majlis-e-Shaura’ was the starting point followed by the party-less elections of 1985. These deadly weeds were planted all over the garden allowing them a free hand to devour it. As long as the gardener was not preyed upon everything else was kosher.
Musharraf then planted his own weeds in the garden while the old ones were allowed to pack up and leave the country unscathed. In the end he allowed the old weeds to return under an NRO. Now we have both old and new weeds encroaching and consuming the plants but due to scarcity of vegetation in the garden they have now started to attack the gardener who planted them in the first place.
Fruit and shade only comes from the ‘Boota’, ‘Booti’ produces death and destruction and must be, weeded out for the garden to grow. Duty of the gardener is to water and nourish the plants not to implant weeds. It is for the people decide the variety and quality of plants to be planted.