Bull in China Shop!

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By Wajid Shamsul Hasan

Once upon a time data made public by Transparency International about corruption in Pakistan provided the lethal ammunition to malign its opponents. Since TI was a vehicle put on wheels by the Jamaatis, its main targets were secular parties and others who opposed JI. And when PTI Chief Imran Khan made his political debut in national politics, IK and his ‘humnawas’ (bandwagoners) had it all in their hands to blast their adversaries on plethora of concoctions. IK and PTI never got tired of beating their hips to drown their opponents in pile of allegations of corruption. Their drum beating-as we have seen in the days of PTI dharnas-was so loud that saner voices making sense got drowned in their variety of hullabaloos.

As somebody very rightly wrote recently in response to PTI Minister Faisal Vawda’s repeated buffoonery describing it as political bootlegging especially when he brought in public display on TV screen a military boot as a sort of manifestation of IK and PTI’s source of all power as against Maoist philosophy that all power flows from the barrel of the gun.

In any civilised society or decent political party there would not have been any hesitation to kick Vawda out for committing such a horrendous anti-democratic political blasphemy. His Party Fuhrer who is known for ranting like a mad bull against his political opponents, instead of putting his truant Minister in a public pillory, reprimanded him with a velvet glove and allowed him to be back in the party with greater force.

Indeed, it is rightly attributed that when one has friends or party stalwarts such as Vawda, there is hardly any need for enemies. It must be a matter of great satisfaction for Indian Prime Minister Modi to give an approving nod to HMVs like Vawda who do more damage to Pakistan’s interest than his entire army of Raw operatives.

I entirely agree with the saner reaction regarding the vast extent of embarrassment and national harm caused by mad cows masquerading as politicians. Just when there was good news that Vawda struck. Notwithstanding his threat of mass massacre, his latest diatribe seemed well designed to sabotage the major boost given to Pakistan courtesy new British High Commissioner Dr Christian Turner- relaxing Travel advisory for British citizens to Pakistan opening for them areas that had remained shut to them denying them exposure to Nature’s most beautiful troves of enchanting tourist sites. These had become forbidden territories because of expansive Taliban ingress in the Northern areas where life had been made short and brutish by the bigoted terrorists enforcing the writ of their sword on tribal people struggling hard for their survival.

Indeed, when there is such a duplicitous leader at the helms of affair along with those who keep playing the same page mantra-dance u-turns and about-turns-and retreat on the beat- his followers justify wheat shortage as it was a curse that made Adam lose all he had, where minister’s advice reducing the size/weight of bread instead of making availability of wheat easily affordable, when Ministers with their own granaries decide when to import and export wheat as per their commercial interests. Remember– same lot played havoc and made their coffers full by creating artificial sugar shortage in the days of President General Pervez Musharraf by exporting it when the country needed it desperately. In a similar manner the same beneficiaries knew this time too when to have ata shortage, shortfall in sugar, tomato, onion etc – when to export and when to import besides buying low quality of stuff at high prices to double their profits. Can anyone forget Khan advising his followers from a container to burn electricity bills if they cross Rs 18 per unit when now the cost of per unit has trebled.

Encouraged by party’s culture of rowdy-ism and taking it for granted that any nonsense by him would provoke applause by the party’s cadre, Faisal Vawda broke all his previous record of political bootlegging when he put up a jack- boot on the table during a political talk show on one of the TV channels in an attempt to theatrically mock the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and its failure to put up a united show to deny legislation for approving three-year extension to the tenure of current army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa. Indeed, one could have ignored such childish antics but since the frequency is rapidly increasing it is getting out of reasonable comprehensions.

(The writer is the former High Commissioner of Pakistan to UK and a veteran journalist.)