Articles of the year 2009

Pakistan : The Land of Opportunists
Published on November 07th, 2009

Hillary Clinton in three short days recognised the people in the presidency as blatant opportunists, a blend of robber barons and Mafiosi combined. Within hours of boarding her flight home, the signal was given, and Zardari was cut loose from US support.

Hillary noted immediately the bunkered mentality of the presidency, with the occupants more concerned with their personal safety, and less for the running of the country. The carpetbaggers were lined up for their last bargains, and sure enough the purchase of 307 acres of prime land worth PKR 2 billion as per newspaper reports, equal to 30 million USD. This deal was finalised on March 9, 2009 well into Zardari's presidency, violating the constitution by conducting business for profit while president. His son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has also been named as a director in the company.

Hillary was told by some Pakistanis that these deals showed the lack of prudence on behalf of Zardari, for, with the American cover he was confident that it gave him carte blanche to carry on making deals with no questions asked. This prompted Hillary to pull the plug, and negotiations for a safe exit are underway. The call for Zardari's resignation by the MQM leader from London is a clear indication of the tilt away from the president.

The media is crying hoarse against him, and in his isolated bunker he is incapable of receiving or acting on sensible advice. Meanwhile the argument in focus for the time being is the NRO, to table or not to table. The realisation has not yet struck home, that the NRO is not relevant any more. The bill has been rejected by the people, and to try and ram it through would be 'suicide' for any political party. The people, to a man stand against the NRO. Moreover, the people are screaming for accountability - and punishment. In their present mood the people will not allow the present corrupt lot to leave and enjoy their ill gotten gains. They want the crooks to be punished, and this time there will be no amnesty. That time has gone, and to the Godfathers of the NRO, people like Boucher, Negroponte, Marc Lyall, the message is loud and clear. The Pakistani people will not be conned into an amnesty for thieves, for the people are certainly smarter than they are thought to be. On every TV channel they speak with contempt of the politicians, and of their misused votes. While the backroom deals were being negotiated and were then emplaced using foreign powers, a fact that was known to everyone, but quietly converted by a Presidential Ordinance into a law of the land, without public debate, even though there was a Parliament in place. This subterfuge was midwifed by the British and US governments, and has led to the present sorry state. The British and Americans knew fully well about the import of this strategy, but continued nevertheless, in imposing their will.

Pakistani leadership has already been proven to be opportunist - except for Imran Khan they have all taken any opportunity whatever the cost, to the person or the nation. Honesty of purpose, and financial propriety are very rare commodities in Pakistan, both are compromised at the first available chance. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the founder of the Peoples Party, chose to break from East Pakistan, and take power for himself, of a smaller truncated country. We have heard from many Bangladeshi politicians including the late Mujbur Rahman saying, before he died, that he would have continued as Prime Minister of Pakistan, as the majority leader, if Bhutto had agreed. The future historians would have a better perception of the situation to judge whether Bhutto also acted as an opportunist.

It has been a grab for opportunity at every turn, by the politicians, and the foreign powers have used this bait to lure and exploit the leadership of the country. The coterie of opportunists surrounds every new Pakistani leader and in the present time they saw a heaven-sent vulnerable president, full of insecurities. These were magnified and have resulted in Zardari being cloistered turning the presidency into a no-go area. In fact he has not put a foot on Pakistani soil after taking the oath of office. It is this paranoia that prompted Hillary to pull the plug. The US wants a partner that has an outreach to the people, and not one who is invisible, and only to be viewed on television. Afsandyar is another not so brave Pathan who after a foiled assassination attempt was helicoptered to the presidency and flown to England for almost a year to get over a serious case of jitters. The Pathan, and Baloch blood line is not saying much for their bravery.

The men, women and children of Pakistan are subject to horrific bombings, daily, being killed and maimed. The least they deserve is comfort and solace from their leaders. It is this picture that Hillary takes back with her.