We have ceased to understand the difference between facts and fiction. We just believe in what we want to believe. It is amazing to see how negativity bordering at times around absurdity and fiction can be easily sold to our people. We are also very receptive towards all kinds of hammering on popularly elected leaders, even if one of them is the head of the state, the symbol of the federation.
Indeed, cock and bull stories sell like hot cakes in this country, even if it is at the expense of our state. I have never met an American ridiculing his system or belittling their president. For them, he is the president and they stand behind him as long as he holds the office.
It is an objective reality that during the last six months PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari has emerged as the most prudent leader in the country. Though the general elections provided the PPP a nominal victory as far as seats in the National Assembly were concerned, yet it was his astuteness on the political chessboard that allowed the PPP nominee for the premiership to sail through without any obstruction in a highly politically diverse house. For the first time in the parliamentary history of Pakistan, the prime minister with just 125 members in a house of 342 got elected unanimously.
Then came the formidable task of removing the General from the presidency. His presence and power was an inherent contradiction in the new democratic dispensation. Reconciling his presence under any law was becoming increasingly impossible. When Mr Zardari announced that “the Aiwan-e-Sadar will reverberate with slogans of Jeeye Bhutto very soon,‚ؤù nobody took him seriously.
The PPP co-chairman with a smile on his face heard them out. With the entire political leadership at his side, he out-manoeuvred all the “president’s men.‚”
Within a span of two weeks, the General was forced to resign without any bloodshed.
When his candidature for the president’s office was announced, it was assumed by the intelligentsia that the state coffers will be opened up to buy votes, and hundreds of millions would be spent, but facts later refuted these assumptions. Till the last moment, we saw the walk-outs and boycotts of various groups in the assembly, and columns after columns on this matter but Mr Asif Ali Zardari remained firm. He scored the highest number of votes — 482 in an electoral college of 702.
Can all this be called lack of wisdom, as it is propagated by certain quarters of the intelligentsia?
On the Taliban front, the government for the first time succeeded in isolating the Taliban from the local population, the actual backbone of their strength in their guerrilla war against the state. The formation of Lashkars consisting of thousands of local volunteers against the Taliban in the Mohmand Agency, Kurram Agency and Jamrud speaks volume of the changing trends among the general public of the NWFP. The counter terrorism policy of the government is finally paying dividends.
Similarly, his visit to the United Nations was a success in every respect, but the creeping negative mindset is seeking to wash away the president’s success, and all what was highlighted was Sarah Palin’s unofficial meeting with the president. Why is Sarah Palin so important? Has she any political credentials? Before she was ushered on to the centre stage by the Republican candidate John McCain, she was an unknown entity. There was deafening silence by the media and the intelligentsia on the launching of a permanent forum by the name of Friends of Pakistan, which is by all means an achievement by the new government.
At this point of time when Pakistan is bearing the brunt of terrorism, the formation of this forum highlights two important elements of international politics. First, Pakistan is not alone in this war. Second, 12 important members of the comity of nations have expressed their commitment and resolve to help out Pakistan politically and economically.
The approval of a $ 2 billion package of financial assistance to Pakistan by the Congress over a period of five years will provide the Pakistan economy the much needed breathing space. It was achieved by the wisdom of our popular president.
In his address to the United Nations, the president introduced the Bhutto Doctrine, emphasizing that only “an economically viable Pakistan can establish the victory of pluralism over terrorism. It can be a roadmap to avoid the clash of civilizations and the clash of religions.”
But, unfortunately, all these efforts have been marred by personal prejudices and petty politics. Why can’t we be positive? Do the prophets of dooms day know what kind of negative implications their writings can have on the common man?
Do they know that their point scoring can be detrimental for the innocent mindset of our people and can be hurtful to our national pride. Indeed it helps the negative forces to become stronger. Right now the need of the time is to foster harmony and understanding between and among all the segments of our society.
The writer is a member of the National Assembly.
Source: The News, 19/10/2008