Presidency is the symbol of the state. Why would any one want to respect Pakistan, when Pakistanis themselves don’t respect their democratically elected president!

President Zardari

After All Zardari is the President of Pakistan

By Saeed Qureshi

If the detractors of Asif Ali Zardari do not respect him as a person let them at least venerate the office he is holding. Simultaneously he is the chairman of the leading political party in Pakistan whose services to the country have not been excelled by any other party. The parties like individuals face phases of rise and fall and decline and fame. The PPP is passing through the same phase but hopefully, would come out of this dismal situation with a new vigor and commitment and fall back on its original track of devotion to the cause of the downtrodden.

The political brinkmanship and bickering takes odious forms in a country like Pakistan where the race for power assumes monstrous proportions through vilifying and character assassination of the rivals. Now in democracies, there should be a modicum of mutual tolerance and respect even if a dispensation stumbles in coming up to the expectations of the people.

PPP has been mauled for almost three decades by the overbearing establishment. As such it could not deliver and implement its revolutionary program for the benefit of the common people. It speaks for the resilience and inherent strength of this party that every time; it braved the vicious and ferocious storms with exceptional poise and resilience.

If there were other parties in the same horrendous situations and had been bludgeoned for a prolonged period of time, these would have vanished from the political scene of Pakistan or would have turned into fringe and insignificant political outfits. But after every malady and crisis, the PPP has resurged with added vigor, renewed spirit and vibrant determination.

Its two illustrious and lofty leaders, who still rule the hearts and minds of the majority in Pakistan, were assassinated. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had fallen victim to a malicious and partisan judicial process and Benazir Bhutto was murdered by the dark forces that would not want her to lead the country with a watershed agenda for change.

To allege that her spouse the incumbent head of state was somehow involved is her assassination is outright false and negates the commonsense. At a time when Benazir Bhutto was killed in Rawalpindi, even the best of sorcerer or pundit could not predict if the PPP would win the elections in case a democratic process was to be set in motion by the military establishment under general Musharraf.

At that time, the political situation was in a melting pot and was brewing up to be crystallized in due course. Benazir Bhutto was intelligent enough to foresee that she was vulnerable and could be removed by the vengeful opponents and therefore had to nominate a successor in her will. The full text of that document could be revealed on the order of the court if someone makes such a request. Benazir Bhutto did not want the PPP to fall apart in case she was removed from the political scene of Pakistan.

But the will and nomination of a successor is besides the issue that we are analyzing in this article. If the PPP rank and file has accepted Mr. Zardari as the president of the party then it is entirely the party’s internal matter. If the PPP can manage to elect the chairman through a proper voting procedure then the nomination lacuna would also be washed off.

In due course of time the allegations of corruption against Mr. Zardari would be taken up by the court which in fact has made considerable progress after the detailed verdict of the apex court on the NRO. Now if the government moves ahead by withdrawing the previous letter of closing the Swiss cases, there could be further revelation whether Mr. Zardari have done something wrong and he deposited money in the Swiss banks or not. It would be prudent for antagonists to wait for the outcome of the legal process.

As for cutting short the tenure of the government, it would be better to wait for the next elections and let the people decide through the ballot which party they would like to rule the country. That is the only legitimate recourse to determine the right or wrong performance of a government.

Thus far somehow despite heavy and countless odds, to keep intact the edifice of the democracy despite poor governance, alone is a laudable achievement of the present government. The political acumen of president Zardari in forging new political alignments must be appreciated and applauded as he has proven that he was always ahead in browbeating the other contenders in the political arena..

The political game in Pakistan has never been played on leveled grounds. It has remained subject to rough and tough conditions and personal and clannish animosities. As such the political process moves forward though with jerks and jolts. To keep the PPP in power by weaving and working out alignments and coalitions with such unpredictable and recalcitrant parties as ANP and MQM is not a mean achievement. At least with such arrangements the cart of democracy is moving forward.

The bad governance and corruption is endemic and seeped into the very body politic of Pakistan. If we claim it’s only the PPP whose ministers and leadership is corrupt then it would be a partisan and unrealistic denouement. All sections of society, all branches of governments, all institutions, and the top brass of the country sitting in influential and high profile slots have been corrupt all along. Are there not stories of corruption and misuse of power about parliamentarians, the senators, the bureaucrats the army generals and so on?

In Pakistan the politics has been mostly overwhelmed by jingoism. There are invariably hard sentiments and fixed stances between the people in power and those out of it. The tussle boils down to one baneful motive: to pull down a sitting government by hook or crook even it means undermining the democratic culture and imposing the military dictatorship.

No government has ever been popular and fully supported by the people in Pakistan. General Ziaul-Haq was despised for obvious reasons. Nawaz Sharif remained under the burden of disparagement for his dictatorial disposition and for falling out with judiciary and army. The PPP that came to power by the masses support was bitterly opposed by the political adversaries as well as the army and the bureaucracy.

So to single out PPP for all the misdeeds under the sun would be too biased an opinion for the vendetta-filled political counterparts who would want a military rule over the country but not a political dispensation that despite its drawbacks should still be preferable and far better for the country.

Presently, the Press and judiciary enjoy absolute freedom in Pakistan. The civil society is active and on the move. The elections are drawing near and the political forces are gearing up for that. The people enjoy the freedom to vent their enraged feelings and outrage in rallies and demonstrations without any hostile or stern retaliation from the government. These are the fruits of democracy and shining aspects that we all enjoy because of an elected government that despite many shortcomings allows civil liberties, dissent and debate.

We should not be impatient to invite undemocratic forces to push this government down the hill. In another year or two, through fresh elections a new government, with the will and vote of the people, will step in. That would be for the first time that a civilian democratic government would complete the constitutional tenure of five years.


Would that not be the brightest and most spectacular achievement that the present government would be entitled to? The demand for snap elections may satisfy the urge and expediency of the opposition to snatch power but would deprive the duly elected government of its constitutional right to rule for the stipulated period.

The writer is a senior journalist and a former diplomat and a regular contributor to


One thought on “Presidency is the symbol of the state. Why would any one want to respect Pakistan, when Pakistanis themselves don’t respect their democratically elected president!”

  1. Personality based politics by the way of own agenda through individually managed and self loyal persons as an alternative of party manifesto politics, results non-systemized and un-organized party structure, un-skilled and un-experienced leadership, non-political aptitude workers.

    Whereas, establishment is well skilled and organized, experienced and systemized in bureaucratic and administrative duties at national, provincial and local level.

    Therefore, manifesto less politics, fragile party structure and pseudo-political coworkers, force the political leaders either to subordinate or confront the establishment for politics or governance instead of reciprocal, honorable, reliable and fruitful institutional working relationship to perform their charter of duties according to the constitution, laws and rules of business.

    In matter of fact, political parties are supposed to:

    1. Work as a bureaucrat to prepare proper plans and programs through well skilled persons of related subject.

    2. Act as an administrator to perform party affairs and redress public grievances through well experienced people of related field.

    3. Behave as a social worker to interact with party supporters and general public through well respected personalities of related locality.

    For this reason, political parties are required to be organized and systemized appropriately by considering the necessity of cadres at union council, tehsil, district, province and national level.

    a. Cadre of leaders or initiators: comprised on persons, those possess intellectual wisdom to prepare proper plans and programs.

    b. Cadre of workers or motivators: comprised on persons, those have organizational skill to organize and systematize the party.

    c. Cadre of supporters or actors: comprised on persons, those are socially well respected among the masses and competent to collaborate and cooperate with public.

    However, in Pakistan, political parties were/are never organized and systemized by the party owners according to the political ethics and manners along with party manifesto. Therefore, most of political parties work like Private Limited Companies and have their own sole agents, distributors and salesmen. Because of that most of the politicians have their own paid workers and working partners. They behave with the political workers like customers and they treat the general public like slaves.

    CONSEQUENCE: Public feels disappointment, remains dissatisfied, become disillusioned from politicians and political parties. Therefore, opportunists, hypocrites and power as well as money hunger persons get the opportunity to arrange, manage or attain the domination and control of governance or politics. It results administrative victimization, judicial injustice, economical disaster and social polarization.

    CONCLUSION: Grooming of local, provincial and national leadership is not possible without well organized and systemized political parties as per party manifesto and according to the political ethics and manners. Otherwise, un-groomed politicians, un-organized and non-systemized political parties have to subordinate or confront the establishment for politics or governance instead of reciprocal, honorable, reliable and fruitful institutional working relationship to perform their charter of duties according to the constitution, laws and rules of business.

    DRAWBACK: Although, establishment is well skilled and organized, experienced and systemized in bureaucratic and administrative duties but without political wisdom; whereas political aptitude is necessary for the political and democratic atmosphere. Therefore, direct governance or proxy politics in shape of sponsorship, facilitation or by the way of producing pseudo-political leaders, workers and supporters breed the aggressive, arrogant and authoritarian perception of establishment in individuals, masses and democratic institutions.

    It generates the emotions and impression of dictatorial rule of establishment by suppressing the personal, public and political privileges.

    It facilitates the opportunists, hypocrites and power as well as money hunger persons to arrange, manage or attain the domination and control in governance or politics.

    It leads towards cultivation of race, region and religion related differences, disputes and distrust along with conflicts, confrontations and clashes.

    It promotes the personality based politics by the way of own agenda through individually managed and self loyal persons as an alternative of party manifesto politics, which results non-systemized and un-organized party structure; un-skilled and un-experienced leadership and non-political aptitude workers.

    It destabilizes the social environment, economical stability and governance system.

    It results social polarization, economical disaster and administrative victimization.

    SUGGESTIONS: Systemized and organized party structure with skilled and experienced leadership and political mindset workers is the prerequisite of political potentiality and stability as well as reciprocal honorable, reliable and fruitful institutional working relationship according to the constitution, laws and rules of business.

    Therefore, political parties are required to launch the “Political Brain Hunt” program to search the political aptitude leaders and workers from every district by the central rank leadership; from every tehsil by the provincial rank leadership and from every union council by the district rank leadership to organize and systemize their parties along with plan of grooming political ethics and skills in party leadership and workers by holding meetings, seminars and workshops.

    NOTE: Skill as a prerequisite for establishment is sufficient, but for holder of power wisdom is the initial prerequisite.

    QUOTE: Mankind will never see an end of the trouble until and unless; lovers of the wisdom come to hold political power or holder of power become lover of wisdom. (Plato)

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