Fooling the people

When a person occupying the highest position in the state hierarchy says something which ostensibly smacks hypocrisy in view of his track record, it really stinks. President Arif Alvi in his write-up published in a number of newspapers on Wednesday emphasized the need for humility and wisdom to take precedence over Hubris and ego to resolve the permeating political crises, abandoning the culture of dubbing political parties and politicians as traitors and learning from the mistakes and follies of the past.
Referring to the recently worked out bonhomie between Saudi Arabia and Iran through the good offices of China which he terms a great achievement of their leaders he has posed a question “Can we find a similar greatness in our leadership? I personally know there are many on all sides of the spectrum, including in the establishment, but everyday events and hot exchanges between them fog their perception into dangerous arguments, even unrealistic questions are floated like, ‘Are you with Pakistan or against Pakistan?’”
Nobody in his right mind can differ from the contents of the discourse and the wish that he has expressed for the good of the country. It sounds like the voice of a conscientious man who honestly desires to see an end to political skullduggery. But the dilemma is that the President himself has been part of the efforts to foment political crises in the country by promoting and supporting the actions of his party chairman infested with narcissism and delusional hubris. If I may, I would like the President to answer the following questions.
1. Do you honestly feel that the general elections in 2018 were not rigged in favour of PTI now that everything has been laid bare by the chain of events after the exit of Imran Khan from power?
2. Why did you not advise Imran Khan to abandon his ego and build a working relationship with the opposition which was a basic requirement of a democratic system?
3. Why did you not ask him to refrain from instituting false cases against the opposition leaders which were never proven in the court of law?
4. Why did you not protest over implicating Rana Sanaullah in a fake drug case which as admitted by Fawad Chaudhry was not the right thing to do?
5. Why did you agree to send a reference against Justice Qazi Faiz Isa to the Supreme Judicial Council without determining its legitimacy and the intent behind the move in the backdrop of the confession by none other than Imran Khan himself that it was a mistake on the part of his government?
7. Why did you not object to ruling the country through the promulgation of ordinances rather than having the laws passed by the parliament?
8. Why did you ask the opinion of the SC on Article 63-A which is presently the main cause of the political crisis in the country when there was no ambiguity in regard to its application as rightly observed by the two dissenting judges?
9. Why did you become part of the unconstitutional move by Imran Khan to torpedo the no-confidence motion through an unconstitutional ruling by the deputy speaker and then act on his advice to dissolve the assembly and announce the date for elections?
10. Why did you not denounce the attacks on police at Zaman Park when it went there to arrest Imran Khan, a move which Islamabad High Court termed as an attack on the writ of the state?
11. Why as supreme commander of the armed forces of Pakistan did you not condemn the attacks on the military installations the way they should have been?
Mr. President, you have asked the question—can we find the same kind of greatness in our leadership while referring to the rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Iran? The answer is very simple, we do not have leaders but politicians vying to grab political power by hook and crook and then stick to it by all means. The welfare of the people is not their priority. Let me tell you the difference between a leader and a politician to elucidate the proposition I have put forth.
The politicians mostly campaign for election and their self-ambitions. The leaders subscribe to proven principles and values with a visionary focus on promoting the well-being of the people. The politicians think about themselves while the leaders think of posterity. Politicians divide people into classes while leaders look for partners in the task of nation-building. Politicians make unachievable promises and pledges which they cannot deliver. The leaders unite nations and deliver. Politicians do not have permanent friends and allies while leaders build friends based on shared vision and values. Politicians are demagogues while leaders are honest, believing in transparency.
Those who can be categorized as leaders and have universal recognition of their status include Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Nelson Mandela, Mao Zedong, Xi Jinping current Chinese President, Mahathir Muhammad and Winston Churchill to name a few. Mr. President, you have come up with your pearls of wisdom only when things have gone beyond control while you played the role of a facilitator when they were moving in that direction. You cannot hoodwink the people with sermons like this. People are not fools.

The writer is a freelance columnist. He can be reached at

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt