BY SAEED MINHAS
ISLAMABAD: At last Premier Gilani has chosen to speak on the issue that currently dogs political discussions around the country, namely that fielding and supporting a convicted cheat like Jamshed Dasti in a by-election in Muzaffargarh is bringing a bad name not only to the prime minister, but his party as well. The PM broke his silence by telling the House on Thursday that there was nothing wrong in him supporting Dasti, since two wrongs can make a right in our polity.
Well, thank you Mr Gilani for enlightening us on the fact that qualification has nothing to do with one’s political acumen, but sir you seem to have missed the whole point of the criticism, its not only about pitching an under-grad or eighth grader in the election foray, but its rather about picking up a person who has just been proven to be a con. It’s more about morality than obeying or disregarding the orders of the Supreme Court. Let us hope that next time His Excellency explains whether morality has anything to do with holding a public office or if it too is just another making of the establishment to give a bad name to our pious politicians.
Wise-babus and Bajis, ranging from 17 to 21 grades, surrounding the premier all the time were of the opinion that it is the responsibility of the Election Commission to look after the qualification clauses and since Mr Dasti had been cleared by the EC, then why blame the innocent premier who had not even been the one to decide on handing a party ticket to J Dasti. Rather, one should be appreciative of the magnanimity of the premier, who went to address Dasti’s campaign rally despite getting a no from the party’s core committee for his own brother on the same seat. It proves how respectful he is towards the decisions taken by the party’s co-chairperson and his party cabinet.
However, another thing that the clarification of these babus implies is that the premier is bound by the core committee of the party, which is working as a parallel cabinet these days. Issues ranging from sorting out the mess on Value Added Tax (VAT) implementation of General Sales Tax (GST) collection, strategic responses to the enraged judiciary, bubbling Obama-Clinton duo or contemplative khakis, decision of retreating against MQM’s solidarity on the Hyderabad issue or nomination of candidates for by-elections now fall under the preview of the core committee of the party, where the premier is just another participant, revealed the officials privy to these developments.
It shows the democratic principles adhered to the fullest by the largest political party of the country where even a premier is not above party discipline. Certainly there is nothing wrong with that because it is better than those days when a five-member kitchen cabinet used to guide, groom and sometime even broom the two-time premier throughout the 1980s and 1990s, or even better than sole-wolf-shows of Zia and Musharraf.
Since the premier believes in this whole set up and plans to live happily ever after the 18th Amendment, then the perplexity is on why he rides on the explanatory voyage every now and then. We all know how supreme and wise our current parliament is, because with its collective wisdom it directed the government to follow a path on the Swat situation, then took a firm stand on Drone attacks and the list goes on and on. It remains an anomaly why none of those recommendations matched the ground realities.
The reason might be too much work that all these wise men have to carry out by attending the sessions of parliament. Even on this pretext, facts bely all logic and one cannot lend them any support because throughout this session, and even the ones held in the past two years, there has hardly been a day when more than 30 members were seen at the start of the session, while an equal number were seen present towards the closing bell.
Returning to the core committee issue, neither the premier nor the babus mentioned that all the burning issues are decided by the party’s core committee or the central executive committee because for all those grumpy characters out there, even this minute thing is an issue. Since we don’t want to get into this debate on how those boastful 6-As of the small screen gang up, saddle their horses and announce the opening of the flood gates of sensationalism, despotism and of course, criticism, therefore just leave it for our babus/bajis and instead look towards the EC matter.
Again the paucity of space has left us with only a few lines to tell you about the grade 66 officer who is still enjoying a high profile office in the federal secretariat. Like many others he has been the blue-eyed guy of Zia and then of course Sharifs, but like some others he is still a linchpin in the ongoing war on terror and a vital source for all internal and external players for that matter. Hopefully, one day Bilawal or Bakhtawar might know how to play and stay in the house of cards or maybe the core committee is aware of this already and working on it, whispered some concerned party sources.