What could be more embarrassing than having important foreign diplomats wait for two weeks to present their credentials to President, not because he was unwell, but because allegedly his pir (soothsayer) had warned him to stay away from hills of Islamabad? The Muslims of subcontinent living for centuries with Hindus have acquired many of their habits, which are alien to Islam. One of these Hindu religious beliefs that we have adopted is our over reliance on astrology, mysticism and the belief that nobility is acquired by accident of birth, which is part of Hindu faith.

In Islam all men are equal; there are no discriminatory lower or higher caste systems. Mere accident of birth does not give you the right to become a religious saint automatically, yet we see people supplicate to such men, who have never performed their obligatory religious duties, or worked hard to earn an honest living. It is surprising that our elected political elite believe that their hold on power can be prolonged by relying upon advice of astrologers, soothsayers, mystics or even alims who practice black magic, instead of devoting their energies to serving the people and acting as custodians and guardians of tax payer’s money.

They believe that electoral mandate gives them a right to allow their cronies to plunder state assets, make appointments in violation of merit and indulge in massive abuse of power, at cost of tax payers, denying citizens their constitutional right of equal opportunities and in the process destroying our economy. These men who have sworn to protect and honor the constitution, forget that according to Sahih Bokhari a Hadith related to Abu Huraira quotes the Prophet PBUH to have stated “There are three traits in a hypocrite; when he speaks, he lies, when he promises, he fails, when he is trusted, he betrays”. A cursory review of the election manifesto and promises of leading political parties is an embarrassing indictment of hypocrisy by them. Have we forgotten the public stated promises of holding elections within 90 days by Zia ul Haq, or holding an across the board accountability by Musharraf, only to see them leaving a legacy of institutionalized corruption, ethnic and sectarian violence, religious fanaticism and bargaining our sovereignty for personal benefits. Important public offices are being doled out to grant favors to individuals, or on advice of pirs, in violation of merit.

MALIK TARIQ ALI,