Proverbs are sayings which have an element of eternal truth and moral lessons about human behaviours and their outcomes. There is a proverb claiming “A man is known by the company he keeps” Man being a social animal tends to live among people who have a similar world view of things around them and the level of morality. No lasting companionship is possible unless the parties have similar tastes, likes and dislikes, character and common interests. It is like the magnetic affinity. A person who is bad is instinctively drawn to those who are similarly bad. As a corollary to that it can also be safely inferred that it is almost next to impossible when a group of ill-reputed and corrupt people claims to uproot corruption.

This incidentally is also the lesson drawn from our own political history. We have repeatedly heard it from the military dictators who tried to justify their unconstitutional moves by vowing to root-out corruption, as well as from politicians who in their manifestoes invariably kept it as their top priority. Both failed miserably because they and the people around them were absolutely corrupt whose vested interests were best served by perpetuating the system of graft and entitlement to the detriment of the real masters of the land i.e. the people. The end result is that the entire society has become corrupted to the tickle down effect and one cannot even find pure milk to drink.

Pakistan is poised for second transition of power through the ballot and the political parties are already in the election mode with PTI taking lead in announcing its agenda while the others are in the process of doing so in the near future. The portents are that in the backdrop of the recent developments elections campaigns by the parties are going to be a fierce game of mud-slinging, character assassination and false and impossible promises to change the fortunes of the country.

The agenda already announced by PTI seems almost utopian and divorced from the ground realities to any rational and right minded person who understands the issues and the stakes involved. Even the US budget would be insufficient to implement it. The party has given the plan but no strategies to achieve those objectives. It is silent on how the required funds would be raised and from where; what structural and systemic changes would be brought and how the party would tackle the real problem i. e fixing the civil-military imbalance?

The most bizarre claim made in the agenda is the eradication of corruption which the party claims will be its top priority. Imran Khan trying to tackle corruption surrounded by carpet-baggers like Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, Jahangir Tareen who have an unenviable record of changing loyalties and jumping on the band-wagons of the likely power wielders and the people flocking to the party by selling their souls in the worst ever horse trading in the history of the country, very much seems a day dream even by assuming that he really means it. Corrupt trying to eliminate corruption is like proving wrong the eternal truths that evil could be tackled only by virtue and honest people.

The fact that Imran Khan by keeping these people around him and accepting the others ( electable ) who are known soul-sellers and repeat the feat at the turn of events also reflects badly on him. Speaking of Imran Khan himself I am afraid he also does not have the credentials required to head a political party in an Islamic Republic and aspiring to become its chief executive, leave aside the fact whether the people vote for his party or not. He is a fit case for disqualification under article 62 and 63 if honestly applied.

His conduct during the last four years is an un-ending story of lies and unsubstantiated allegations against his political opponents and the state institutions and inexplicable somersaults on taken positions. His joining hands with Qadri to orchestrate the fall of the legitimately elected government which many believe was a well-woven conspiracy hatched by some internal and external elements portray him in very dismal colours. Take for example his campaign against rigging. His basic premise was that the ECP, military, former CJ and the caretaker government in Punjab headed by Najam Sethi had stolen the election from him and that the latter was responsible for 35 punctures, meaning that he had orchestrated PML (N) victory in thirty five constituencies. He kept hammering this claim until the Judicial Commission gave lie to his contention. Surprising in a TV interview he admitted that his stance of 35 punctures was a political talk based on hearsay. That was unbelievable considering the fact that he be-fooled the nation for almost a year on the basis of a false claim. How could a person who lied to the nation incessantly be sadiq and Ameen? Actually he is lucky to be still around due to the relief provided to him by the SC as also contended by the former CJ Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and a number of eminent lawyers and constitutional experts around the country.

People are surely the best judge. I think it was time for the people to resist the machinations of those who try to insult their mandate through different ploys and by catapulting wrong people to the throne. That can best be done by not voting for the people who change their loyalties for money or pushed to do so, in the coming elections. They are the people who are often used by the king makers to implement their anti-democracy agendas. That is how a change and revolution in the political culture of the country can be triggered by the masses themselves and ability of the conspirators to foment political engineering scuttled.


The writer is a freelance columnist.