Honourable Crime Minister?

Position does not make the dishonourable honourable

Crime Minister Shehbaz Sharif was the Chief Guest at the passing out parade of the Pakistan Naval Academy on June 25. The Commandant addressed him as Honourable Prime Minister ( PM ). Respect and honour have to be earned, not forced, as has been the case in the land of the pure. In the words of the ‘ Poet of Resistance’ Habib Jalib; ‘Latay hay  nam gin kay thane main wo shaamil hain hukumranon main ” ( Those whose names were in the crime register of Police Stations are now amongst the rulers ).

It is mind boggling why such individuals are being called honourable just because they happen to hold a position against the wishes of the people while serious cases are pending against them. Perhaps it is the first time in human history that more than half of the current cabinet ministers are on bail while the legal proceedings continue against them. He should have been addressed as the PM without the forced honours. While the position remains respectful most individuals who have occupied it have not been up to the mark. Only the few democratically elected true representatives of the people stand qualified which include Liaquat Ali Khan, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Imran Khan the first, ninth and 22nd PMs respectively. while the 23rd does not meet the required standards.

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The first major organized attack on democratic leadership took place in October 1958 with Ayub Khan’s EBDO (Elected Bodies Disqualification Ordinance). Military Tribunals were set up to try the elected leaders. While most decided to go home without a fight, Hussain Shaheed Suharwardy, the former PM and the mostable lawyer of his times appeared before the tribunal in his own defence. He put up a valiant fight and was exonerated of all charges of corruption. During the proceedings he addressed the bench headed by a serving lieutenant-colonel  as my learned friend, but later corrected himself by saying you are neither learned nor my friend. His arguments were so strong that even this learned friend in uniform could not convict him.

Fearing for his life Suharwardy Sb went into self-exile in Beirut where he was found dead under mysterious circumstances in his hotel room. Yes indeed he was an honourable man, honest, able and upright. His party the Awami League, is in power in Bangladesh today and the country is credited for leaving behind both India and Pakistan in economic growth.

Not much has been written about the ablest assembly ever that came into being after the 1970 free and fair elections in the land of the pure. While the House was led by the dynamic leader ZAB, the Leader of the Opposition Wali Khan was equally matched. The level of debates and legislation were outstanding. Two consititutions were formulated by this house (1972 interim and 1973 permanent).

Under the ‘Crime Masters’ the country has no future. This dark era must come to an end. A really NEUTRAL Caretaker set-up should be in place to hold free and fair elections before the water goes over the bridge. Without political stability there can be no economic progress, the slide will continue. There has to be a wake-up call, It calls for ‘Dishonourable Discharge’ of the ‘Crime Brigade’ that rules today in the land of the pure. In the military terms it is time to ‘drum them out’ for a fresh start with new and untainted players who are willing and able to serve, not exploit, the suffering masses.  

They were certainly honourable men trying their best to serve the nation. In the words of Wali Khan, “We have been against the political views of Qayyum Khan but we have never accused him of corruption “. Despite minor detours of dictators by and large politics remained clean and honourable till the 1985 partyless elections when small businessmen with unlimited greed and ambition entered the political arena with the support of the ‘ Junta ‘ of that time.

Ayub introduced the Chaudhrys of Gujrat while Zia discovered the Sharifs of Lahore and Musharraf promoted the Khans of Lahore and the Tarins of Multan who also happen to be first cousins. Today politics in the land of the pure has turned into big business, totally out of reach of the common and the honourable folks who have earned an honest living.

When the government of Imran Khan announced direct elections for the position of ‘Mayor of Lahore’ I decided to contest to turn around my city that has produced six Nobel laureates. I made the first call to my friend Comrade Pervez Saleh, seeking his advise, He inquired about my budget. I told him Rs 0.5 Crores  he said no, it has to be around  Rs 5.0 crores. Then I decided to touch base with Aitzaz Ahsan. another great Comrade. He came up with a figure of Rs 50 crores as it was to be the largest electorate in the country with 75 lakh voters. Though my heart beats for Lahore and the Town Hall around which I was raised, such election expenses are beyond my limits of an honourable existence.

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With easy, unearned money comes crime. As the famous saying goes, “Behind every empire there is a crime”. ‘Crime Masters’ dominate the political arena and then they manage to become ‘Crime Ministers’ riding on the back of the establishment. I feel sorry for the passing out cadets of the Naval Academy who had to endure the presence and speech of the ‘Crime Minister’ and were then required to present him with a guard of honour before they could wear their ranks.

Such indignities are uncalled for, especially for the young defenders of our seas who may have to lay down their lives in defence of the motherland. Political dirt should not be spilt around to contaminate institutions that are better off without it. Currently Imran Khan is leading the ‘Azadi March’ to bring back honour into the political arena. With the loss of sovereignty there has been an overall decline but the ‘Mecca of Democracy’ has been the hardest hit which has been handed over to the ‘Crime Masters’ of our times. Every day there are press conferences to malign Imran Khan whose honour remains above board as he seeks no personal gains in his political struggle. The ‘Vote ki Izzat ‘ gang is now busy in ensuring ‘ Note ki Izzat ‘. Cases are being withdrawn , accountability laws are being changed to escape conviction. Such self-protecting legislation stinks of dishonour which honourable individuals avoid at all costs.

Under the ‘Crime Masters’ the country has no future. This dark era must come to an end. A really NEUTRAL Caretaker set-up should be in place to hold free and fair elections before the water goes over the bridge. Without political stability there can be no economic progress, the slide will continue. There has to be a wake-up call, It calls for ‘Dishonourable Discharge’ of the ‘Crime Brigade’ that rules today in the land of the pure. In the military terms it is time to ‘drum them out’ for a fresh start with new and untainted players who are willing and able to serve, not exploit, the suffering masses.

Dr Farid A Malikhttps://www.pakistantoday.com.pk
The writer is ex-Chairman, Pakistan Science Foundation. He can be contacted at: [email protected]

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