- What did Mr Vawda mean?
Federal Water Resources Minister Faisal Vawda must have thought he was no end of a wag when he took a boot to a TV Talk show on the recent amendments to the Army, Navy and Air Force Acts, which regulated the respective chiefs’ tenure, but backfired when the PPP and PML(N) representatives walked. Obviously, the boot was on the other foot. Mr Vawda, instead of leaving his political opponents without a reply, left his own foot thrust firmly into his mouth. If his hope was to show that the PML(N) and the PPP had betrayed their stand in favour of civilian supremacy, he merely raised a very pertinent question about the role of his own party in the passage. Was he endorsing the claim of the opposition that the PM was selected and that the election was rigged? Was he saying that the PTI members were forced to vote in favour of the bills? The very act of raising these questions were questioning the frequent claims of Prime Minister Imran Khan that his government and the military were on the same page.
Mr Vawda’s choice of symbol was also unfortunate. A boot as symbol of the military? It is not going to go down well in military quarters, where Mr Vawda’s puerile wit is likely to be dealt with condignly. Any mockery is boorish, but mockery of a national institution is doubly reprehensible when one is part of a government claiming to be on the same page as that institution.
Mr Vawda is not doing anything new. He is the same person as claimed that hanging the corrupt would solve the problem. Other Cabinet colleagues are more practical, and his colleague at Science and Technology, Fawad Chaudhry, recently slapped a TV anchor at a wedding. Mr Khan should pay attention to such loose cannons, before their sins are visited on his head. Mr Vawda might claim the same sort of immunity as that enjoyed by Pir Noorul Haq Qadri, his colleaguet at Religious Affairs, whose forays into foreign policy contradict his government’s previous stands. However, Mr Khan might like to consider that, if not checked, Mr Wawda might go ahead with something really hair-raising, after going from a bloodthirsty statement to carrying around footwear.