I was amongst many other friends of my age group who attended the launching of PPP on a vacant plot behind residence of Dr Mubashar Hassan, and have painfully seen it decline from being a party whose leader ZAB had captured the hearts and minds of young men and women to its present abysmal decline. The choice of venue for its inauguration in 1966 compared to the fort like venue of a controversial housing society belonging to biggest Land Mafia Don of this country to celebrate its 50-year existence says it all. 

ZAB was politically ambitious and had many weaknesses but even his worse critics cannot accuse him of institutionalised corruption, involvement with land and sugar mafia, pilfering state coffers or of compromising state sovereignty and national interest for petty commercial benefits. He chose to live in hearts and minds of people instead of building and buying castles like Normandy chateau “Manoir de la Reine Blanche” in France, luxury houses in London, Dubai, USA, France etc. 

Just compare the calibre and choice of ZAB’s cabinet members and the controversies of those appointed by Zardari. It was ZAB’s choice of men of integrity and commitment like Rafique Saigol and Nur Khan that PIA was resurrected from ruins in comparison to the choice of semi-literate men with histories of financial impropriety who were appointed by AZ and under whom national airline has deteriorated to a state of perpetual bankruptcy. 

ZAB wanted a place in history and was pioneer of our Nuclear Defence Strategy, which today offers an effective deterrence against enemy attacks. The PPP survives solely on the legacy of ZAB and his daughter. Unless political leadership decides to follow legacy of its founder, it cannot prosper. Bilawal, an educated young man, has to make a choice regarding following the legacy of either ZAB or his father, both of whom had nothing in common insofar as values, politics, ideology and goals are concerned. 

MALIK TARIQ ALI,  

Lahore, December 4.