The loss or the imminent loss of a near and dear one is a trauma, the severity of which can only be judged by members of those immediately effected by the event. In a scenario, where all medical hope is gone, it is but natural for close family to be around the sickbed providing love and support as life gradually ebbs from stricken form. This is a trial of conviction and bond, wherein some individuals fail choosing to abandon their ‘loved’ wife, sibling, parent or offspring in favour of career, power and profitably or even political survival. In doing so they earn nothing, but everlasting regret.

The opening paragraph of this week’s piece was inspired by a reported conversation between Mr. Nawaz Sharif and Mr. Asif Zardari during their meeting at the ‘Qul’ of the late Begum Kulsoom Nawaz in Jati Umra, wherein the former PM told the former President that his greatest regret was not being with his wife during her final hours. Mr. Sharif unhappily falls into the category of those individuals, to whom power and its infinite retention appears to be everything in life. In complete knowledge of the former First Lady’s condition, he chose to return to Pakistan of his own volition disregarding the imperative need to be beside his wife as she breathed her last.

Live television coverage of Begum Sahiba’s funeral in Lahore showed a manifestation of PML N culture, where the massive crowd from all over Pakistan (and not Lahore and surrounding area as stated by some media anchors) appeared to be more interested in standing close or still better, next to the horde of VIPs. Therefore what we regretfully saw was more of pushing and jostling and less of performing the laid down rituals of the prayer. I marveled at the character of the crowd and wondered if their real reason for coming was to show themselves to their leaders (for future benefits) or paying their final respects to a great lady, who was now free from all the mess that her husband and offspring had managed to generate.

As far as the PTI is concerned, it has more often than not, managed to put its ‘foot in the mouth’ when not in power, but now that it is in government comprehensively, it has not been able to correct this habit. It is high time that Imran Khan’s team puts the euphoria of its emphatic victory behind it and begins more delivering and less talking. These team members must understand the psyche of the Pakistani nation. Their expectations have been raised to a pitch that will open flood gates of criticism. The rating driven media will be more than eager to fuel the outcry. There is therefore only one medicine to silence this criticism – delivery, delivery and more delivery.

Sometimes I think that our current PM is way ahead of his time. While I entirely agree with the notion that palatial colonial residences for Governors should be open to the public as has been done in the West. Regretfully our people do not possess those levels of civic responsibility that we encounter, when travelling abroad. I visited the Royal Palace in Madrid, which is now a museum. There were crowds of visitors there, but everyone was disciplined, there was neither vandalism nor littering. We all saw how the people of Lahore vandalized the lawns and gardens of the historic governor’s house on the day, its gates were opened to the public. The question is, ‘are we ready for such decisions?’

In spite of what they might say during talk shows and statements, all is not well within PPP and that makes me sad, for in Bilawal I see a reflection of his grandfather and mother. This young man has the razor sharp repertoire that typified Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and the temperate attitude of Benazir. Regretfully, he cannot keep himself aloof from any fall out from whatever happens to his father. My last glimpse of Mr. Asif Zardari shocked me as his appearance and body language is grossly altered and he appears to be suffering from within.

And as I am on the verge of mailing this piece, news has broken regarding the Islamabad High Court’s decision to release Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and Safdar. This is more than likely to infuse new life into PML N and heal its wounds. What happens in the next few days and how it impacts on Pakistani politics and the Sharif Family is something that may figure in my next piece.


The writer is a freelance columnist.