The sub-continent’s longest surviving political dynasty started by Motilal Nehru and his son, Jawaharlal Nehru ultimately faded into obscurity, following massive corruption scams that dominated controversial rule of Rajeev Gandhi and his spouse Sonia Gandhi. Even Jawaharlal’s leading role in Congress Party’s struggle for independence, led by Mahatma Gandhi, failed to prevent this dynasty’s disgraceful failure in polls. Electoral promises raise hope of masses, which unfulfilled results in angry lash back.

In Pakistan the judicial murder of elected PM ZAB by a controversial military dictator created a wave of sympathy, because his staunchest opponents including military junta could not file any credible case of corruption. ZAB lives in the hearts and minds of people. He laid foundations for our nuclear deterrence and used to hold Islamic Conference attended by every Muslim state irrespective of sectarian composition. The perception prevailed amongst masses that he gave a voice to poor and restored morale of a nation that faced humiliation of surrender in 1971. Eleven years of military rule could not wipe out his legacy and ultimately his daughter, who was forced into political exile, returned triumphantly to win elections in 1988.

Punjab, KPK and Sindh were power base of ZAB’s vote bank and Benazir benefitted from it. Following BB’s marriage with AZ, rumours surfaced of kickbacks and corruption, but she managed to contain damage and again won polls. Unfortunately, after her assassination and takeover of party by her husband, this perception of corruption assumed force of a reality, which was further cemented by his front men owning large industrial empires in Sindh and properties spread in Gulf, UK, USA, France etc and as if this was not enough, the rampant corruption indulged by his cronies lead to destruction of every major state owned corporation. During 2008 to 2013, billions of rupees allocated for development in Larkana and interior Sindh vanished while existing infrastructure of schools, health, roads, housing etc collapsed. Karachi was made hostage to criminals because of political exigencies and reduced to garbage dump. Corrupt ministers and bureaucrats gained prominence during his rule which ultimately resulted in PPP being wiped out from Punjab, KPK and is likely to face setbacks in rural Sindh, unless there was a visible change in f priorities. The other emerging political dynasty lead by NS is facing a similar dilemma.


Lahore, March 28.