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The Benefit of Doubt-By Qaisar Sultan

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In a criminal case, the jury has to make the judgment of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. That is what the defendant’s attorneys do; create doubts in criminal cases. In civil cases, the preponderance of evidence may suffice a judgment against the defendant; based on credible and compelling evidence and its probable truth and accuracy.  Asif Zardari’s murder and kidnapping cases required “beyond reasonable doubt” evidence, almost impossible in Pakistan; to put him away for life- His corruption charges do not demand an air tight proof to show his prowess for embezzlement. The bafflement is due to the number game, how many billions; go and wrangle about few millions here or there.  It is not about this man, Zardari, who represents the illiterate majority that elected him; it is about the conscious of a nation. As Asif Zardari said it so eloquently, “It is not Jinnah’s Pakistan, it is Bhutto’s Pakistan”, meaning that the nation has a new state of mind. God bless our great country! Ibn Khaldun in Muqaddimah suggested that it is the people who are responsible for the bad leadership. It is sad and facetious interpretation through a tragic comedy; we call “Pakistani-brand-democracy”, presenting us a farce of Moliere’s style, a tragic scene followed by a senseless comedy. Moliere wrote: “I have the knack of easing scruples”. In this drama, the daughter of our great hero, Z.A. Bhutto, while looking for a suitable husband serendipitously found the nation our future president, a tragedy followed by a comical extravaganza. There are those who loved Bhutto, an elected autocrat, morally corrupt and an exploiter, to a point that they would support his party of feudal, corrupt and powerful rich men; does it make any sense?- only in Pakistan or la-la land. If they are not part of recent corruption or sharing power, what goodness they see in supporting Zardari. I can understand the corrupt sycophants who are in power positions or beneficiary of this corrupt environment; they love to sing songs of praise about Zardari’s greatness; or audaciously demand substantiation of his evilness and corruption- Lord, the nation had Epiphany (Song); as they are celebrating the festival of commemoration of the coming of Zardari in power.

One has to be extremely watchful of the objectivity that must be the guiding force to rely upon; but our subjective view is influenced by our emotions. The emotions overcome our reason when it comes to liking or disliking. Beyond the political affiliations and past relations, especially of our youth, most people cannot come in terms with the reality. We liked people because we perceived them as our ideal. It is funny that some of the simplest foods we used to eat as young still have great sensation on our taste buds.  I remember that I liked Bhutto. I saw him in UN when he made the emotional speech during the 1971 war with India. He was an excellent orator. He looked good; he was well dressed and was dynamic. Among old fashioned politicians, in mostly shabby clothing, he stood out as a hero. But his economical policies based on socialism via feudalism destroyed the long term economy. He nationalized banks, industries and education. He stopped all the progress of sixties. He did not have any depth of a Leninist, Marxist, communalist, communist, Maoist, or even of a capitalist; he simply believed in Bhuttoism. He engaged the state in the matter of faith by declaring Ahedmis as non-Muslims. The problem was that he did not believe in anything; whatever worked for him was the operating principal of the time (Bhuttoism). He had no respect for journalists or anybody in his government or outside of the government. He was more autocratic than the military men, such as his mentor and father like figure, General Ayub Khan. If it was not for Bhutto, we might still have our country intact. He was a power hungry man who had no scruples. Finally, he handed the power to the military man, General Zia, who was more Machiavellian and manipulative than him. Zia called Bhutto an evil genius; a genius is not supposed to promote a malevolent religious nut. Bhutto was kind of a hybrid brand democratic and autocratic beast, in the shape of a sphinx (human body with the lion face), generated by his own egotistical “Spiritus Mundi” not of the world, but his own.

One of the unrivaled gifts Bhutto left for the nation is his son-in-law, our democratically elected president, Asif Zardari. The nation should be thankful to Bhutto and his son-in-law who bestowed upon the nation highly desired liberal democracy which allowed them and other feudal types plundering; and to cause irreparable damage to the country. This great democrat, Zardari, has given the important functions of the government to the most incompetent and corrupt people. When you have problems, you call the best- The Prime Minister has called the twenty old boy, Bilawal “Bhutto” Zardari, who has not yet finished his education, for political consultation to solve country’s monumental problems. What proof anybody has to call these people corrupt, the proof Watson! The Supreme Court does not have the chutzpah (guts) to, what they call it, “derail” the democracy. Forget about NRO cases; pay no attention to qualifications; disregard the corruption, live with the shortages of basic commodities, be part of Sodom and Gomorrah, ignore the failing state- Thank God! We have democracy. They say correctly that “the worst democracy is better than the best autocracy”- They cannot forget the autocratic and tyrannical democratic rule of Bhutto.

Our liking should not be based on what feels good to us; but it should be morally sound. The thoughts and ideas have power. If those ideas offer some utility that could affect lives of ordinary people in positive manner then those ideas are virtuous. It is not about malice; it is not about settling scores. The ideal form of government is supposed to be democratic. I have written over and over again that the democracy requires certain pre-requisites, such as a per capita income of over three thousand dollars as a starting point (work study by prestigious universities), a harmonious society and literate people who create civil society. The feudal, vaderas and Sardar culture cannot carry on the democracy. Look at the list of legislators; you will find that same family members keep coming back into assemblies. If one family member is in one party, the other joins the opposition party. These democrats have entered from agriculture holdings into the military, bureaucracy, and big businesses, especially most lucrative business of sugar and flour mills- These democrats control the lives of poor people. The poor owe their lives to them- How dare they can vote against the usurper of their humanity, dignity and livelihood? The nation needs change and now.

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