Those that are engaged in still debating this issue may bear in mind that no one complained when this “graduation” clause became law some years ago. Now that is has been removed or struck down two elections later the statistics that are being bandied about point to the millions that were deprived of sitting in the National Assemblies as “law makers”
It was the boast of Caesar Augustus, Emperor of Rome, that on his deathbed he was to state, “I found Rome of brick and left it of marble.”
Centuries later, historian Henry Brougham was to add his comment: “…but how much nobler will be the sovereign’s boast when he shall have it to say he found law…a sealed book and left it a living letter; found it the patrimony of the rich and left it the inheritance of the poor, found it a two-edged sword of craft and oppression and left it the staff of honesty and the shield of innocence.”
At some future date perhaps a student of history, having distanced himself from the partisan politics of today and similar claims of achievements, will be able to chronicle the history of such boasts clinically and objectively.
There is a debate going on in the country which centres round the pre- qualification clause that President Musharraf had had incorporated in the Constitution, barring those without a college degree from running in the elections.
This somewhat onerous clause — despite some merits — has now been removed, drawing much kudos from political pundits, columnists and politicians and especially from those with political ambitions but no college degree.
The removal or its reversal is seen as a victory by some over such a statute of limitation and by others as a statement by the Courts against President Musharraf’s tinkering with the Constitution.
Those that are engaged in still debating this issue may bear in mind that no one complained when this “graduation” clause became law some years ago.
Now that is has been removed or struck down two elections later the statistics that are being bandied about point to the millions that were deprived of sitting in the National Assemblies as “law makers”.
President Musharraf may take heart from the fact that his well-intentioned but flawed “elitist” rationale to improve the intellectual equipment of legislators may have suffered a setback with this reversal of fortune for the teeming unwashed impoverished millions but it still doesn’t preclude the handful of those armed with a degree from contesting an election. That was probably what was wrong with such a law — it was discriminatory. It opted for the kernel and forgot all about the husk.
Much is also being written about this splendid edifice that was built at some astronomical cost to house the Punjab CM’s complex. I haven’t seen it so I really shouldn’t be commenting on it but I can comment on the controversy surrounding it.
Let us forget for one moment who built it. I am going to assume that it is aesthetically and architecturally pleasing and its interior has the “wow” factor. It is purpose-built, is complete and is ready to be occupied. Never mind, that it is grand and opulent and over the top. Its there! Why not just use it for the purpose it was originally meant for? Let it be “the seat of government” of the most populous province in the country. Let the world come to marvel at its grandeur, its extravagance and even its folly.
Let it join the select group of imposing buildings: the High Court, the Assembly, the Governor’s House, the former Masonic Lodge, the Jinnah Library and that beautiful building that houses the Museum. At the time they were built (by the British) maybe they were considered grand and over the top as well but today they stand as proud symbols of our heritage.
Over a hundred years ago, the British felt strongly enough about the importance of this great provincial capital to give it all of the above mentioned buildings and the boulevards that Lahore still identifies with. If after sixty years the city of Lahore finally has a structure that represents if not the “aspirations” but the blood, sweat and tears of the people, why not let it be.
Consider for a moment that it was not built by someone as a pyramid to himself but as a monument to the chosen few who will come to govern this vast and verdant province in the years to come.
The country is faced with many other more serious issues that need to be addressed, why linger on an inanimate edifice that now has fait accompli written all over it? Why not learn to live with it? It is better to sometimes live with other people’s mistakes than to live with one’s own!
As for those that are determined to make political capital out of it, they can always wear “Black Bands” as a mark of protest for attending office and working out of a building that is clean, comfortable and with state-of-the-art facilities, no load shedding and plenty of clean drinking water.
Meanwhile, here in Dubai, I believe the fate of the Bhurban Accord is about to get its “first amendment”; the “30 day” period stipulated for the “restoration of the Judges” in the Accord is to be extended.
I watched portions of the excellent interview Mr Zardari gave to Geo TV wherein he stated unequivocally that the time table ostensibly set is not “a hadith” and as such not set in stone. “There are other more important and serious issues facing the country i.e. food shortages, energy outages etc…these are my priorities and not the restoration of the judges…”
Now why have I started liking Asif Zardari — maybe because he is the only Pakistani I can think of who can but doesn’t want to be prime minister.
Mahmud Sipra is a best selling author and an independent columnist. He can be reached at email@example.com
Source: Daily Times, 1/5/2008