Small men

By Nauman Asghar

We live in an age of great events and small men. The gigantic challenges our country faces today demand a visionary leadership that will be willing to give top priority to public interest. One-fifth of the country’s population has been affected by the floods while millions wracked by sorrows of poverty are waging a daily battle for survival. The dream of Pakistan’s founders, of a progressive and democratic welfare state, has been shattered to pieces by successive inept rulers. Under the current lot things have gone from bad to worse.
A recent PILDAT report made the shocking revelation that the assets of members of parliament have increased three-fold in five years.
In the 2010-11 budget, the Presidency has been allocated Rs447 million, against the previous year’s expenditure of Rs349 million, a hike of 14.615 per cent. The expenditure at the Prime Minister’s Secretariat has increased by 13.08 per cent, to a total of Rs484 million. On the other hand, the already insignificant education budget has been slashed.
The government has approved a plan to erect a statue in honour of Benazir Bhutto. The construction of the monument will cost Rs400 million, while the land provided by Islamabad’s Capital Development Authority (CDA) for the project is said to be worth above Rs500 million.
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani gave the permission for the purchase of a Mercedes Benz for Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer, costing more than Rs25 million. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi spent more than $20,000 during his recent stay in New York while British Prime Minister David Cameron, who had come to attend the same meeting, stayed at the British consulate general. Amid the luxurious and pompous lifestyle of our rulers, 6,000 to 8,000 people commit suicides every year in Pakistan to escape poverty and the runaway inflation.


Pakistani child spend their late afternoon at a poor neighborhood on outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan, Tuesday, June 1, 2010. AP / Vincent Thian

It is not surprising that the present rulers have lost the moral legitimacy to continue exercising power. Lack of transparency in government affairs has added much to the resentment of the powerless citizens. The president is the most controversial political figure in the country. The continuance of NRO beneficiaries in their offices gives an impression of a culture of legalised corruption.

Some months ago, a Bulgarian minister resigned after he was accused of choosing the more expensive of two offers for the delivery of a vaccine, which put extra burden on the budget. In Pakistan politics has become a dirty business in which only the unscrupulous and the corrupt can achieve the heights of power.
Our leaders have never learnt from history.
Emperor Kangxi (1654-1722) is remembered as the most benevolent and wise ruler in China’s history. He used to eat two meals a day and wear the most ordinary clothing. At one time during his reign, a part of the Great Wall collapsed. The ministry of public works discussed the reconstruction project.
The emperor told his officials: “When an emperor rules a nation, he relies on internal sources and does not solely depend on barricades. The Great Wall was built during the Qin Dynasty and constantly repaired during the Han, Tang, and Song Dynasties. Yet, this did not prevent foreign invasions. At the end of the Ming Dynasty, my ancestor led his army through it, destroying any obstruction. No one could stop them! Therefore, to defend a nation is to cultivate one’s virtues and treat the people respectfully. When people are happy, the nation is in harmony and the frontier is fortified.”

(The writer is a lawyer & free lance writer).

NOTE:This is a cross post from THE NEWS.

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  • Saeed Qureshi  On October 16, 2010 at 4:16 am

    Lucidly written article about the dismal state of affairs in Pakistan.

    Saeed Qureshi

  • Aamir  On October 16, 2010 at 4:42 am

    The BB Monument has been cancelled. Aamir

  • Admiral Iftikhar Ahmed Sirohey  On October 16, 2010 at 5:08 am

    Find and import alike Emperor Kanxi. All our problems will stand resolved in no time. It is I know not possible because we are incapable of original thinking. Our brain has frozen by long slavery. We continue to remain enslaved to those who enslaved us and cosidered us worst than dogs. The prevelant system of so called Democracy ensures that slavery hence we see all that is being done to us and do nothing.

    • NAUMAN ASGHAR  On October 16, 2010 at 6:26 am

      Dear Iftikhar Sahib….but should such a leader be imported or must he emerge from within us?

      • Rashid Inam  On October 16, 2010 at 7:17 am

        Dear Nauman,
        He MUST emerge from WITHIN.
        We have seen the result of those imported, Shaukat Aziz,the NRO lot!

  • Z T  On October 16, 2010 at 6:12 am

    I don’t like repeating something that everyone knows, but the only leader worthy of respect was Jinnah Sahib. He had to deal with the Zardari’s, Gilani’s and Sharif’s of his day. Look what happened to him in the end. During his short stay all the people that wanted rule hated his guts and his ambulance was delayed going to the hospital thereby accelerating his demise. In short he was killed. Kanxi could get away with being Kanxi because he was emperor. Abu Bakr, and Umar had the same view on leadership. However Umar had to deal with the corruption that was rife in Iran. Look what happened to him. Usman and Ali had to deal with corruption in their midst. Unless you are willing to destroy everything around you to maintain honesty amongst your self do not even think about trying to reform a system as corrupt as Pakistan’s.

    • Iqbaluddin Ahmad  On October 17, 2010 at 9:39 am

      Oh, it is so nice to come across a person who have the courage to say that Mr. Jinnah was, in fact, killed(or the words to this effect). I alwasy felt the same after reading Dr. Ilahi Bakhsh’s booklet, but I did not have the courage to say so before my friends.
      However,I disagree if you think that Jinnah was the founder of Pakistan, in soul and spirit. He was founder of a “moth-eaten, mutilated and truncated” Pakistan. Out of 43 years of his political life he spent 36 years opposing the Muslim cause, 7 years opposing Pakistan Movement itself( started on the day of Eidul Fitr 1451, 28-1-1933). Lahore Resolution simply put ‘Pakistan’ on a ‘cut price’. Agreeing to Cabinet Mission Plan meant that even this was only for bargaining purposes. He adopted Pakistan Movement and did not start it. His Pakistan (whatever it was) finished in 1971. Students of Cambridge were much more farsighted than these politicians. As long as we are intellectually dishonest, dishonesty and corruption will have field day in this sacred ladn. My apologies if these comments heart you.

      • Z T  On October 17, 2010 at 10:54 am

        Your comments do not hurt, and I know that Jinnah Sahib was initially more Indian than Nehru himself. However he was with the help of Iqbal Sahib, exactly what Pakistan and the Muslim world needed. He saw where the wind was blowing as a result of the trickeries of Nehru and Gandhi. If Jinnah lived longer Pakistan would not have been the Pakistan that we see now. Pakistan would have been a multicultural/multiethnic/multinational country with Arabs, Persians, Indonesians, Africans and native born mixing freely and happily. However that is not what Allah willed. Allah willed that idiots, male kanjars and uncle tom’s would rule this land, and that is how it goes.

    • Iqbaluddin Ahmad  On October 17, 2010 at 9:41 am

      Oh, it is so nice to come across a person who have the courage to say that Mr. Jinnah was, in fact, killed(or the words to this effect). I alwasy felt the same after reading Dr. Ilahi Bakhsh’s booklet, but I did not have the courage to say so before my friends.
      However,I disagree if you think that Jinnah was the founder of Pakistan, in soul and spirit. He was founder of a “moth-eaten, mutilated and truncated” Pakistan. Out of 43 years of his political life he spent 36 years opposing the Muslim cause, 7 years opposing Pakistan Movement itself( started on the day of Eidul Fitr 1351, 28-1-1933). Lahore Resolution simply put ‘Pakistan’ on a ‘cut price’. Agreeing to Cabinet Mission Plan meant that even this was only for bargaining purposes. He adopted Pakistan Movement and did not start it. His Pakistan (whatever it was) finished in 1971. Students of Cambridge were much more farsighted than these politicians. As long as we are intellectually dishonest, dishonesty and corruption will have field day in this sacred ladn. My apologies if these comments heart you.

  • Ayaz  On October 16, 2010 at 6:45 am

    Very true, every word, as usual.
    You may also remind them that Jinnah, had fixed his pay as Re1/ permonth.And most of our politicians are richer than he was. Not that that is important, its the spirit!
    Writing, while it should conrtinue, willm never effect this government or rulers. its only the street power that can have any effect. we, and more importantly people of your age group, should direct all energies towards that end.
    Good luck.

  • Z T  On October 16, 2010 at 6:55 am

    Dear Pak Post
    October 14th, 2010

    Chilean Miners

    Not many in Pakistan knew that 33 miners were trapped for more than two months deep beneath a Chilean gold and copper mine and were rescued on Wednesday 13 October 2010. A marvel of engineering and precision, first in drilling down a 2,041-foot shaft through the rock to reach the miners and then raise them up one by one in a rescue capsule called Phoenix.

    In the flawless operation Chileans gave a message of nationalism and leadership at each level to the entire world. At the lowest level was the undaunted shift foreman named Luis Urzua, a man who held the group together when they were feared lost, who enforced tight rations of their limited food and supplies before help could arrive. He was also the last man to come out after ensuring complete safety of his men. Bravo Luis Urzua !!

    At the highest was the President Sebastian Pinera himself, who remained at the rescue operation site for the entire 22 hours and 37 minutes at a stretch without a wink or rest, till the last man was out to safety. He personally greeted each coming out miner and hugged them affectionately and smilingly. Bravo Pinera !!

    The entire nation beamed with pride and rose as one. The crowds in the streets set off confetti, released balloons waving flags and chanting victory slogans in the miners\’ honour.

    “We have done what the entire world was waiting for,” the miners said. “We had strength, we had spirit, we wanted to fight, we wanted to fight for our families, and that was the greatest thing.”

    President Sebastian Pinera told them, “You are not the same, and the country is not the same after this. You were an inspiration. And you would transform the nation in performing still braver feats. The crowd was joyous singing the national anthem.

    Catastrophes change the nation. So – they say, I wonder!!

    I learned few things:

    1. our government are terrible and would not spend the time or money to save any one of us

    2. our president would never degrade themselves to be there when our people are being saved

    3. the life of a Muslim is so cheap than no one would care one way or another

    4. where there is a well there is a way. We Muslims have no well and therefore we will never find the way

    5. While people are reaching the stars, we Muslims are digging deeper holes for ourselves.

    and finally, let us quit philosophizing each issue and let get to work. we love speeches and lecture but hate to do any thing.

    Best Regards;

    ‘Allah would never bring disgrace upon you for you maintain ties of kinship, bear people’s burdens, help the destitute, give hospitality to your guests, and help those who have been afflicted by calamities.’ KhadijaRAA


    • Rashid Inam  On October 16, 2010 at 7:16 am

      Dear Z T
      The Chilean Miners story was well covered by the electronic media. Indeed it is a stark contrast to the world our leaders live in,like Lawson said,the pictures of the over did room in Presidency & the dwellings of those living in THE OUTSKIRTS OF ISLAMABAD for God’s sakes, says it all!

  • Murad  On October 16, 2010 at 7:12 am

    ‘When small men cast long shadows, the sun is going down’!

  • Anthony Lawson  On October 16, 2010 at 7:13 am

    Hello Yasmeen,

    The grossness of that overdecorated monstrosity of a room, compared to the humble dwellings of the poverty stricken says it all.

    Take care,


  • Summaya  On October 16, 2010 at 7:27 am

    A majority of the NRO beneficiaries have been bureaucrats and government officials as a list, released by the government , contained names of only 34 politicians out of a total of 8,000.

    According to the list, almost 97 per cent of the beneficiaries are from Sindh. The ordinance will lapse on Nov 28 in the light of the Supreme Court’s July 31 verdict in the PCO judges case.

    The list shows that a total of 8,041 people — 7,793 from Sindh — have benefited from the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), promulgated by former president Pervez Musharraf on Oct 5, 2007.

    These people have got withdrawn 3,478 cases (3,320 in Sindh) registered against them on charges of corruption, financial bungling, misuse of authority and criminal charges.
    I share with you a link:

  • Saleem Chauhan  On October 16, 2010 at 7:32 am

    The Government of Pakistan, whether a military dictatorship or an “elected” civilian government, is about as useful as tits on a bull. From the selfish agitation for Pakistan to this shameless spectacle of a million people, on their own, trying to survive a flood, it is obvious that those in power

    have always been criminally inept.

    Going all out for a “Muslim” homeland, these British puppets, Sandhurst toy soldiers, and mad mullahs of murder have done their best to make conditions the worst for the very Muslims who trusted them almost totally, foolishly, and blindly. It is difficult to imagine that a Congress government of a united India would have performed as pitifully as successions of ineffective governments in Pakistan have miserably demonstrated.

    In 1947, without any preparation or foresight, Jinnah and his minions launched the most populous “Muslim” country, where the deaths, resulting from the partition of India, of a million or more human beings were so insignificant that a true toll has never been established. The Muslim League government could not obtain a respectable territory for the “moth-eaten” nation that it had foolishly accepted – to the detriment of millions of Hindus, Sikhs, and Muslims. It could not ensure safety for the Hindu and Sikh minorities it inherited and it could not stop the wholesale massacre of Muslims in East Punjab. It lost Hyderabad and Junagadh because they had Hindu majorities under Muslim rulers and it lost Jammu & Kashmir because it had a Hindu ruler over a Muslim majority.

    One government after another played the ethnic card and pitted provinces against each other, until the disaffected East Pakistanis rebelled, seceded, and formed Bangladesh – with the help of neighboring enemy, India. That mournful bifurcation of Pakistan was also preceded by a miserable show of callous selfishness by the Yahya government in its response to the devastating cyclone of 1970. The helicopters, which could have saved East Pakistani lives, were all in West Pakistan ferrying ruling VIPs around their realm.

    The level of leadership in Pakistan has so continuously degraded, that dictatorial demagogues and Machiavellian charlatans like Ayub Khan and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, can be reminisced as “patriotic” leaders. At least these two accomplished something lasting, like the industrialization of Pakistan and charting the successful course to becoming a nuclear power. One can almost overlook their roles in the destruction of one of the most capable militaries in Asia and the permanent loss of East Pakistan.

    The “champion of Islam,” the architect of Nizam-e-Mustapha, and the inventor of “Allah Hafiz,” General Zia Ul Haque, was the most pernicious of all rulers who ever disgraced the office of President of Pakistan. Without any concern for his country or its people, this military dictator hurled Pakistan into the inferno of religious extremism, ethnic strife, a Kalashnikov culture, and the introduction of an alien and pernicious brand of Islam known as Wahabism.

    What little remained of Pakistan’s self-respect, sovereignty, and national spirit was squandered by the ridiculous “my turn, your turn” times two affairs with democracy practiced by the otherwise brilliant Benazir Bhutto and the stupidly nefarious Nawaz Sharif. Of the two, the failures of Benazir Bhutto are the most unfortunate. She had the intelligence, charisma, and mandate to launch a complete and successful revolution for the people of Pakistan. She could have emancipated our unfortunate women, uplifted the miserably impoverished masses, and restored the stature of Pakistan universally. Instead, this “Razia Sultana” was dragged down by her own “Yaqub” into the morass of “ten percent” kickbacks, Swiss bank accounts, and English palaces.

    By the time, General Pervez “Napoleon” Musharraf seized power, Pakistan was on the verge of bankruptcy and nearing a “failed state” status. The disgraced female Prime Minister, the inept and bald male Prime Minister, and the hysterical “in-between” MQM leader, all chose to lead Pakistan’s opposition from the safety and opulence of exile in London, Riyadh, or Dubai.

    Instead of being Pakistan’s deliverance, instead of being the Messiah, instead of the healing Hakeem, Musharraf turned out to be a comical Dr. Kevorkian, the doctor of death. In almost a decade long rule, this fourth military dictator in the history of Pakistan, took the country to yet new depths of hopelessness, violence, death, and destruction. Supporting the Taliban, cracking down on the Taliban, facilitating Al Qaida, snitching on Al Qaida, encouraging extremist madrassas, destroying extremist madrassas, promoting judges, removing judges, and other dichotomous and perplexing policies made Musharraf’s government an oxymoron. The last straw was the political deal of absolving Zardari of all charges, for which he had served several years in prison, and not providing adequate security for Benazir Bhutto. This was in addition to the juvenile attempt to sideline the Chief Justice of Pakistan’s Supreme Court. The totally discredited Musharraf, aped his predecessors in finding peace and safety in the land of Pakistan’s former masters.

    Jubilant at being ruled by a democratic government once again, Pakistanis quickly realized that democracy is just another phase of their nightmare. Thousands have died in terrorist suicide attacks, terrorist drone attacks, terrorist separatist attacks, and terrorist bombings by their own military. Interspersed between these terrorist attacks, Pakistanis now find themselves besieged and drowned by a terrorist Mother Nature, which had earlier devastated its northern parts with a murderous earthquake. Of course, the response, compassion, and support provided by the Musharraf dictatorship in the earthquake calamity are sad omens for the behavior of the Zardari/Gilani government in response to this great flood.

    If these inept leaders of Pakistan cannot serve their people, they should do the honorable thing by resigning immediately – or better yet following the example of failed Japanese Samurai warriors of the more respectable past.
    It is my sincere belief and hope that the people of Pakistan will one day stop following selfish leaders who have never cared for them in the first place.

  • viqar  On October 16, 2010 at 11:50 am

    It is our fate to suffer, specially when we are ready to justify. We do not need imported people what we need is honest indigenous people who love the country and are not in love of their own self.

  • Dr Shahid Zia  On October 16, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    Thanks for keeping us posted. Its a pitty that we have to chose from the same rotten lot. But it is also because of the very weak civil society that fails to highlight and protest…and then courts fail to take note of it.
    Everybody knows that most of the farm houses in Islamabad are illegal and Musharaf cannot demonstrate his income sources to afford the farm house he built in Islamabad. But nobody challenged that i the court. And CDA failed to enforce the law there.
    Dr. Shahid Zia

  • Minhaj Qidwai  On October 16, 2010 at 8:14 pm

    There were three pillars by Jinnah for Pakistan-Unity, Faith and Discipline. All three are no more, therefore the existence of Pakistan is in threat. Leadership has to develop within. Depending on imported leaders or foreign dictates is not the solution.

  • Javed Chaudhry  On October 17, 2010 at 6:12 am

    The people of Pakistan are in a bind, they are stuck between the rock and a hard place. This catch 22 situation is created because a wrong bunch of people have been given all the power, the power they do not know how to handle and the burden of the national responsibilities is too great for their competence level. It’s NRO, that has paved the way for this bunch to get into the parliament. Now that NRO has been declared null and void and that was 10 months ago; it is surprising that all those people who are directly or indirectly affected by NRO, are still around and entrenched into the public offices as if it is their family inheritance. A legal, constitutional and peaceful way must be found in order to correct the political accident that took place couple of years ago.

    Between the country and the parliament, the country is more important. The parliament exists for the country, not the other way around. What has this government delivered since early 2008 and what are its plans for the next two years? They have delivered nothing and its unlikely that they will ever be in a position to deliver any thing in the future. This government is basically serving American interests in the region. Is this government in any position to recall Pakistan army from Wazeristan and tell the CIA to get lost and stop the drone attacks? Can this government openly admit that the war on terror is not a war of Pakistan? No, it is not in a position to do that because it is America that has put them in power by forcing Gen. Musharraf to open the flood gates by promulgating NRO. This is where NRO comes in and this is the reason that this government must fall to make way for those who are not committed to serve America but Pakistan instead.

    This parliament is not a holy cow, certainly not holier than the country. The country deserves a government that will serve its people instead of the geopolitical interests of the American imperialism.


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