The saplings we nurture, the stock we bear | Raoof Hasan


The stock one ends up reaping depends directly on the seeds that one sows.

This is not more evidenced than by going over the list of people given the senate tickets by the political parties, none more so than the PMLN.

The list comprises fugitives of the criminal and intellectual kind — the latter kind being far more lethal than the former type — personal attendants, lackeys and sycophants, extra-judicial killing experts, religious zealots and habitual turncoats. What do you expect of these people once they have taken their seats in the upper house exploiting the brute numbers that their sponsoring political parties will garner at the time of elections?

At the end of the day, the measure of progress a country can potentially make is gauged by the stock of people it is able to throw up. If this is the lot that we have around to steer our ship, then a sip of the hemlock may be a better option than drowning at their hands with utter disgrace writ all over.

Ishaq Dar is an absconding criminal. He is perceived eligible to sit in the Senate by his mentors. His importance emanates from the key role that he played in helping the Sharifs launder billions of the illicitly earned monies — a crime he confessed to having committed in his hand-written 40-page confessional statement to secure his release from confinement.

The one who made his move from PMLQ has licked the feet of all and sundry to satiate his lust for staying relevant and would not mind carrying the trait to matters concerning the state. This virtue has been amply demonstrated in his past conduct. As I said earlier, this breed is far more dangerous than the stock of ordinary criminals represented by the likes of Ishaq Dars of the society. Their intellectual pretensions come as masterful camouflage for the baser instincts that propel their political manoeuvrings and actions.

Let me put it more bluntly. We are caught in the tightening grip of a maleficent conglomerate comprising intellectual imposters, criminal gangsters and oligarchic mafias. They rule us. They control us. Each passing day with them at the helm is a burden bringing in more deprivations, more shame and more ignominy

The list of the decrepit foot soldiers of the godfather comprises those who have served his whims and fancies well, be it here in Pakistan or during his lavish visits abroad. They are always at his beck and call, willing to degenerate to the lowest ebb of existence if need be — which, for record’s sake, occurs often!

But, then, their need to be part of the houses of parliament cannot be underestimated. They sit there to assist the ruling mafias enact laws and incorporate amendments to help them tide over their temporary difficulties, like the Sharifs are confronting in the current times. There could be nothing more criminal than legitimising a disqualified person as a political party head, but this has been done by the incumbent parliament, and more such enactments may be on the cards to lend further longevity to the rule of the mafias.

There is virtually nothing to distinguish between the political operatives of varying hues and shades by way of deceitful contraptions they use for purposes of securing power, and then perpetuating it for sticking it out there. The grave commonalities binding them together transcend all divides, encompassing the mala fide objectives as well as the sinister tactics employed to secure them.

It is also ordained that we must continue with the system — a system characterised by a bunch of criminals inducting more criminals in various echelons of power including the parliament. They, in turn, do the bidding of the masters to distort and debase the system itself. It is here that the so-called intellectual pretenders come in handy. So, the one who says that we may be on way to instituting a house of criminals may not be wide off the mark. This may actually become a humiliating reality in due course of time.

It is a harrowing prospect which sends chills through one’s spine, but it is actually happening every moment we breathe and live. Should this slide be allowed to continue bringing along further shame and ignominy?

There is a choice, and it is a simple one: do we want a system rooted in the criminal indulgence of those who manipulate it to continue calling the shots, thus reducing it to becoming a degenerative tool in their hands to advance their despotic objectives at the cost of incremental improvement in the lives of the impoverished and the downtrodden people, or do we feel there is a need to inject urgent corrective measures to make it transparent and accountable to implement the social contract binding the state to the welfare of its people?

The most gruesome factor that is lacking in Pakistan’s democracy is the mindset that would make it democratic. Our political parties are family oligarchies which are run according to the proclivities of those who control and command them as their personal fiefdoms. This has to change.

The initiation of this corrective process hinges on bringing in a democratic mindset within the political parties. The Election Commission must ensure that, aided and supported by other institutions including the Supreme Court, only those political parties are allowed to take part in the forthcoming elections which have conducted genuine intra-party elections within their ranks. Laws already exist to make that happen. What is required is their indiscriminate implementation.

But, where are we going to get these rare implements to make it happen? The saplings that we have continued to sow over decades have sprouted and it is their crass produce that we are dealing with today. Their numbers, as also their incursions into all annals of governance and institutions that matter, is an aggravating phenomenon which, under the given circumstances, is not likely to subside. So, it is time for the nation to make the cardinal choice: do they want to live with this grave malady and continue suffering its attenuating effects, or should they resist it and make a push for change?

Let me put it more bluntly. We are caught in the tightening grip of a maleficent conglomerate comprising intellectual imposters, criminal gangsters and oligarchic mafias. They rule us. They control us. Each passing day with them at the helm is a burden bringing in more deprivations, more shame and more ignominy.

In the event it all continues, someday, soon, we’ll be chasing shadows, guiding us on the path to eventual damnation. But, then, may be, that’s what we desire, that’s what we seek. Interesting times, aren’t these?

The writer is a political and security strategist, and heads the Regional Peace Institute — an Islamabad-based think tank. Email: Twitter: @RaoofHasan

Published in Daily Times, February 13th 2018.