IMRAN RIAZ

Sycophancy has always been a time-tested tool for people to rise to and remain in high places. There is an even more effective tool, which is to prove oneself more loyal than the king. In doing so, all one needs is to pretend to be an enemy of the king’s opponents, and vilify them as much as possible. To see this phenomenon unravel publicly on the media is always a spectacle to behold. The latest such episode has been Mr Sadrudding Hashwani’s interview with a TV channel.

In an otherwise non-political setting, Mr Hashwani suddenly burst into a tirade against the former president, Asif Ali Zardari. To a casual viewer, it might have come across as a simple matter of personal or political expression. However, those with any interest in the political milieu and an eye for detail could easily see what Mr Hashwani was trying to achieve. Being against Mr Zardari earns you the easiest brownie points with the establishment and the present rulers. Being an ambitious business tycoon and being anti-Zardari at the same time can earn you the most lucrative business deals in town.

M. Zardari was not the only one Mr Hashwani pretended to have always been up and against. He blamed every ruler in Pakistan to have victimized him at one time or another, except the present rulers, of course. Apparently, the reality is much different. Had Mr Hashwani not been on good terms with the highs and mighties of every age, his business empire simply would not have survived or flourished enormously, continuously, and so fast. To praise and pamper the rulers is a way of doing business.

Without the obvious motive of pleasing the present rulers, there is no other reason why Mr Hashwani would need to come up with concocted stories with political implications; stories he himself claims to be many years old. He spoke ill of Asif Ali Zardari. It was tirade in bad taste, full of contradictions.

For example, at one point Mr Hashwani claims that Mr Zardari had once gotten a person released from the jail to get Mr Hashwani killed. In the same breath, he informs us that Mr Zardari during his exile years used to seek favors from Mr Hashwani.

Claiming the moral high ground for himself, Mr Hashwani also informs that be had declined to fulfill those favors. Imagine, a person trying to get you killed, forces you to leave the country, and then the same person starts seeking your favor, and on his return to Pakistan, offers you several major projects.

In short, Mr Hashwani might be getting a little too desperate to please his new masters; yet there are other and more honorable ways to do so, than casting aspersions on a former President.