The last known case of cannibalism (eating of human flesh by a human being) was reported about two centuries ago in Fiji. Since then this trait is considered to be one of the strongest and most disgusting crime a person can possibly commit. Political cannibalism is a new form of man eating in our times. Not much has been written about it. Recently the issue was raised within PTI. Ideologues believe that the vultures that surround the Kaptaan, live off his flesh. For him and his party’s longevity an in depth analysis is required.

Political vultures have played havoc in the country. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto the first Awami leader of Pakistan initially fought against them but then got trapped and was devoured by them. He was hanged to death on April 04, 1979 and then quietly buried in his ancestral graveyard in Ghari Khuda Buksh. Years later his daughter Benazir Bhutto cleansed the party of the vultures whom she termed as “Uncles” and built a monument to his memory. It was his political legacy that his party came into power thrice and still rules in his home province of Sindh.

Vultures by design prey on the dead or semi-dead. They lack the capacity to attack the living, that role is for the parasites. In other words the living and the growing are a threat to the vultures. Political Pundits believe that PTI reached its zenith in October 2011 as an untainted party of change. The public support at Minar-e-Pakistan was over whelming. The trend continued till December 2011 at Mazar-e-Quaid but the public was confused to see the old political vultures and parasites on the stage with the Kaptaan. It became evident that cannibalism had hit the party and its leader. The trend has continued unabated. Kaptaan has to fight on many fronts, while he battles the criticism of ideologues within the party.

Vultures can only cannibalize they cannot hunt as they suffer from a serious design flaws. Wild vultures are endangered species both in India and Pakistan. A veterinary drug called Diclofenac has been deadly for them. Now they are being raised in captivity and then released in the open. Political vultures on the other hand continue to grow fat. Military regimes were their sanctuary and breeding grounds. Now that the Khakis have decided to keep away from politics their pet vultures have taken refuge in political parties.

Allama Iqbal idealized the ‘Shaheen” for its energy and flight and even compared it with “Girgis” (vulture). According to him they both fly in the same open space but the “Shaheen” rises and creates his own “Jahan”(world). He then talks about “Jahan-e-Taaza” (new world) for which “Afkar-e-Taaza” (new thoughts) is needed.

Change is dynamic; it propels a new world leaving the old and status-quo behind. It achieves heights through struggle. Kaptaan is right in asking Mian Sahib what he can achieve in his third stint in power as he was unable to do so in his two earlier governments. It is indeed a serious lack of capacity and absence of vision.

The same evaluation criteria should be used to evaluate the political innings of the vultures that surround the Kaptaan. Most of them have been in powerful positions in both civil and military governments. While they have grown personally the nation has continued to suffer and that is how a vulture operates. It shreds and devours its prey and then uses its internal acid to digest it before flying away to its next victim.

Perhaps cannibalism became extinct when humans were able to devise better options to feed themselves. Better tools to hunt the wild animals were developed together with farming and agriculture. Eating the dead was no longer required. The corpses were buried with dignity and not devoured like vultures do. Human journey to the hereafter became much more serene and peaceful.

How can the Kaptaan deal with the “Political cannibalism” that threatens his politics? With the vultures around it is not an easy task. Kaptaan’s flight is for “Naya Pakistan” while, the vultures operate on the ground. Iqbal’s Shaheen does not even believe in an “Ashiana” (nest) and we to talk about plots and plazas. Strict observance of merit is the only way forward living organizations rely heavily on this trait for their growth.

Merit and cannibalism cannot co-existent. In order to fight political cannibalism Kaptaan should first define and then implement merit within the party. It is the best way to get rid of the vultures as they stand no chance against the Shaheen. Kaptaan talks about “Junoon” in his party. Naturally this trait is not found amongst the cannibals and vultures. The youth that have faith in the Kaptaan bring this spark to the party.

In real politics people have to deliver or they perish. Even Sir Winston Churchill the hero of the World War-II was defeated in the elections that followed. While the voters thanked him for his role during the war but voted for a peace time leader to rebuild and heal the wounds of the nation, such are the challenges of leadership.

Kaptaan’s party is getting ready for another Inter Party Elections (IPE), hopefully which will be fairer than the last one. An honest ballot is a self correcting mechanism and is a basic requirement for democracy. In the last IPE the political cannibals played all their dirty tricks both in IPE and the award of tickets in the general elections (GE). Some of them were exposed and then expelled from the party but quite a few still remain. The choices are clear, it will either be life sustaining merit or flesh devouring cannibalism that will not only inflect harm on the Kaptaan but may even hijack his dream of a “Naya Pakistan”. In the end it will be a contest between “Shaheen” and “Girgis”, while one can fly high the other cannot as it preys on the weak and dead on the ground. Iqbal terms “Junoon” as “Auqabi Rooh” (Falcon’s Spirit) which propels youth to the stars. Kaptaan has awakened this spirit, now he has to decide whether to fly with them or hang around with the vultures that surround him for their pound of flesh.