Articles of the year 2007

The Chimpanzee's Tea Party
Published on January 26th, 2007

When I was at public school, we watched with great amusement the Chimpanzee's tea party at the London zoo. This was a regular feature every afternoon, at 4pm.The Chimps were dressed in suits and ties, and went through the motions drinking their tea with their pinkies pointed up aping their human descendants, soon degenerating into a free for all, with cream buns being thrown at each other.

We now have the APC in London where the latest issue is the Chairmanship of the APC, and threatens to scuttle the APC itself, maybe going the way of the chimpanzees. One is led to wonder how the leaders of the two major political parties of Pakistan can conduct the serious issues facing the country, when they can become bogged down on such mundane matters as the seating arrangements. It is very much like the scene Chaplin's 1940 classic The great Dictator, where Mussolini and Hitler are vying for he height of their chairs. Perhaps the two leaders would benefit from a viewing of that film. Or carry on the charade of the Chimpanzee tea party. For the level of discussion may be the same.Seriously, when the country is supposedly faced with such a constitutional crisis and the election of the President is a central question surely the political leadership should be more concerned with the many more important issues. It does seem that the President's team has succeeded in sidetracking the opposition leadership into mindless activities exposing their intellectual deprivation. Perhaps the absence of Abbaji, is being felt, without an adequate replacement. With Benazir, there is no one to blame but herself, and, it does seem that the two leaders are in a self-destruct mode again.

I marvel at our Pakistani Nation that has been let down repeatedly by a wretched leadership. As a Nation we have many achievements that would make any nation proud. It is the genius of the people that is responsible for these achievements, and of many more to come. To the people we should be grateful. And to the leaders, blame, for their irrational behaviour. Invariably it is the leadership that decides on a whim, to nationalize, Friday holiday, or the Hudood ordinance. These decisions were all taken on a whim, and repealed after a painful long drawn out battle at great cost—economic, and human suffering. All these decisions were taken solely by the leader of the day. Showing clearly that since 1958 the ruling has been by decree and whim rather than consensus, even if it was taken by a democratically elected leader Bhutto, or by Gen Zia, a self confessed dictator.

We have been the victims of rulers that once voted in, decide to dispense with he niceties of democracy , or rules, or even laws. They abuse the very laws that they are sworn to protect. The shame is that none has yet been prosecuted with any success. This is the single biggest mistake that has been made by the Musharraf government to date. He has somehow been stopped by his advisers from taking action, at least to its conclusion or conviction, leaving us saddled with yet another corrupt leader walking free to attend lavish weddings at the Dorchester hosted by yet another corrupt crony with the bill being picked up from monies gouged out of Pakistani pockets. I danced when Bhutto was elected, was sorry when he was removed. For all the others I joined in the celebrations when they were removed, for that was always the universal mood of the people, at every ouster so disgusted were we with their performance every time. This time the leaders are showing their inadequate intellectual skills. Their political machinery is formidable and through it their vote bank, but over the past seven years their actual contribution towards any political improvement has been negligible. They have neither given any major policy statements, nor profound political analysis on their tenure. It is a complete blank. From Benazir , we hear of her lecture tours, but that is more a parroted performance, repeating her lectures from one audience to another. The image of the wronged poor girl, has been put to rest, and has been replaced by the wronged, now rich bandit, trying to defend her Swiss millions. Not being able to convince the Swiss judge that she never wore the necklace lying in her Swiss vault! I am surprised the court did not dissolve into hysterical laughter. Our Supreme Court judges would do well if they were to take notice.

The President must now ensure that he makes up for his earlier mistakes and should see to it the cases should be finalized, and if convictions are warranted then they must be carried out. How long will we wait to see justice being done? Justice does not only mean protecting the innocent, but more importantly punishing the guilty. Here the Law Ministry or the President's will is found wanting.The ultimate losers will be the Pakistani people doomed to yet another round of governance by the corrupt and the inept. Musharraf has the chance to give us a clean slate. Give us a Bilawal, Fatima or a Hamza and for God's sake let us move on, and get the monkeys off our back.