Human rights being upheld for all, protection for the discriminated, provinces being treated equally, rule of law, military-civil divide being clear, development for all, Constitution being upheld, empowerment for the youth…….these are some of the values I struggled for during my four years in politics. During my time in Parliament, I was part of a political party, which gave me little support on ground on these issues; and so, I functioned as a political lone ranger with only that much efficacy for changing mindsets.

When I joined the PML-N on March 4, 2012, there was a deliberate character assassination campaign launched to try and discredit all that I had stood for. The jilted perpetrators tried to make my choice of party seem opportunistic. The accusation was that I had joined a status quo party and taken a U-turn from my core political beliefs, had gone for power and was a turncoat. The campaign was craftily executed with a combination of attacks mostly on TV, social media and a bit of print media. Some of these attacks can be categorised, as being part of yellow journalism and most of the language used can be called vulgar. The campaign was sustained aggressively with much financing over the last two weeks and created certain misperceptions unnecessarily.

I only wish to respond to this campaign so as to fix the wrong perceptions this character assassination has created on some impressionable minds. The not so impressionable minds have not fallen for it and I am grateful for their recognition and understanding in my choice of a new party. I can’t even fathom changing the minds of those perpetrators, who purposefully tried to create these misperceptions since they are on a different agenda, which goes beyond political and media ethics.

I was the first and only sitting member of Parliament, who had shown moral courage to resign based on the principles of not wanting to join a corrupt government. I did not jump from one party to another for power or popularity. I believe in correct versus populist politics. I sat out of a political party for eight long months before taking a decision. During this period, I examined from close another fake change political party, who had impressed me earlier, but whom I saw through in the nick of time. I also tried to launch my own political party and was saved from that decision too, since that would have created no real impact on ground to save the millions of my marooara other than satisfying my personal ego. I sacrificed my self ego for my people in the tradition of Bhittai’s Marvi.

I changed political party only once and that too to ensure the practical execution of my core political beliefs and not a drift from them. Wise are those who better their political beliefs for the betterment of their people with experience. Stupid are those who continue doing something wrong, even when the realisation hits them for the sake of their personal power. When my x party, the PML-Q, had shifted and drifted from doing opposition and joined the PPP government for the sake of power, I rejected that power because it was at the expense of the causes I had struggled for. I didn’t change my political value structure. After eight months of carefully evaluating on ground options, I came to a considered opinion that it was time to contribute to reforms in a party that was moving towards the betterment for my very people. It was for a party which had grassroot linkages with real people on ground and with real understanding of the issues. A party which had a leadership and workers with big enough hearts to welcome, even those who had previously been in diametrically opposite camps and had opposed them.

For the party I left and for those huge powers, who had created that party, I only have one message. I thank you for the opportunity to serve my people in the form of the parliamentary seat you gave me. I entered politics through you and I am grateful for that opportunity. However, during the course of my four short years in politics, only due to my non-drawing room approach and my contacts with people on ground, I realised the amount of damage your brand of establishment sponsored politics had done to the social and political fabric.

I decided to take a break from that versus enjoy its fruits. I gave up your gift of an MNA seat and decided to pursue a better politics for my people. During the period I was indebted to you, I served you well. I defended you aggressively. Most of the defence was due to me actually genuinely believing in your leadership. That belief started withering when I saw all of you doing politics for maintaining your positions of power. I saw light in three years versus the decades that it takes other politicians. I am grateful to my marooara for that realisation.

People have expectations from me of better politics. And today, this is what I commit to all those people. I will continue to work only for my people. I have joined the PML-N for my people’s miseries to be reduced and not for personal power. Clearly, they are not in power. I have taken no perks from them. I have no protocol as is being widely spread against me by the perpetrators. The only 'protocol' I enjoy for which I am grateful to the PML-N is the respect they have all accorded me. Wherever I go to execute the causes I so passionately believe in, I have my PML-N workers, who work with me shoulder to shoulder. They are my strength. I am proud of them. They have sacrificed for these causes much before my time in politics. I learn from them and the senior leadership, who knows which pitfalls to avoid. I learn from their experience every day. Finally, I am part of a real political party.

I joined the PML-N unconditionally because I genuinely believe that they are now, in 2012, doing a politics that is for Pakistan’s betterment. Having met their top leadership, having spent three years in Parliament with their senior leadership, and having seen the warmth of their workers, I am convinced of their will to reform their own party and Pakistan steadily. I know that their leadership has the experience to wade through power politics, but at the same time give Pakistan new politics. It’s a tough balancing act. But I know it’s possible. This is our only salvation. I remain committed to my causes and I am excited that now I, along with a much larger team and a real political party, will be able to offer my people real reforms.

For the jilted perpetrators, I would like you to turn your attention towards the real turncoats who have chosen power over principles, who are corrupt, who are thieves, who have hurt my marooara. You will find them closer in your ranks than where you are attacking. I am busy working on real causes with my dream team. Your attack on me has only strengthened my resolve to serve Pakistan better and has increased my confidence in my decision to join the PML-N - the only conservative yet modern, progressive reformist national party in Pakistan today. The only party in 2012, who will contribute to a developed, just Pakistan and at least try to come up to the expectations of Quaid-i-Azam.

The writer is a former Member of the National Assembly of Pakistan.