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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2038

Zardari’s Circus

By Adnan Gill

At the risk of being labeled as a “cyber-terrorist” (pun intended), I would like to share my utter disappoint over the manner in which the current government is running the business of the nation. It is more in-line with running a circus, infested with disgraced gypsies and pickpockets, than a country.

Deliberately or otherwise, President Zardari has demonstrated little to no control over his government. It’s like; he runs a dysfunctional circus, with no intentions of securing it from the murderers, thieves and pickpockets.

Beneficiaries of the infamous NRO, Mr. Zardari and his apologists never waste a moment to pin the blame of every problem facing Pakistan on the misgovernance of the Musharraf era; e.g. the ailing economy, hyper inflation, dangerously depleted forex reserves, terrorism and severe shortage of power. Ironically, baring few exceptions, almost every person who ran the Musharraf government is allowed to run around in the country with an absolute freedom.

If that wasn’t hypocritical enough, some of them have even been consumed in the current government. Musharraf, who is said to be the bud of all evils was given a guard of honor by the Zardari government and still afforded a maximum security detail. Either his government needs to bring the culprits to the task; else it needs grow up and take the bull by the horns.

In an auction, organized for the noble cause of buying loyalties and further inflating the bloated pockets of the filthy rich; the Zardari government (yes I meant Zardari and not Gillani government) doled out ministries; like sweets in a wedding. The haste in which the government carved out the new ministries, suggests, soon we may even see ministers for roosters and hens each. If the auction wasn’t an ominous sign of Zardari’s priorities, his choice of ministers hardly left any doubts of his skin-deep motives. Roster of his folie de grandeur cabinet included men who condoned burying women alive and who hold huge overseas bank accounts.

Couple of Zardari’s ministers deserving special note are: Senator Israrullah Zehri (Postal Services) and Mir Hazar Khan Bijaran (Education). Founder of Pakistaniat.com and a member of Noble-Prize winning team of Al-Gore, Dr. Adil Najam berated the dishonorable senators and Zardari government with the following words: “[Zehri’s] elevation to a cabinet position one can only say that this act has doubly shamed the government... but added to it now is the shame that the PPP government would so disregard human and women rights as to make such a man a Minister - even if it is of ‘Postal Services’!”

Dr. Najam further scolded Zardari’s choice for the education minister: “The shame is further compounded… he is not the only one with such public views who has been inducted into the cabinet. Even more disturbingly, it the new Minister of Education… Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani is someone who not only supports the practice of Vani but has actually facilitated it!” Those unfamiliar with ‘vani’, it is the practice of giving (minor as well as adult) females in marriage as compensation by the offending party to the males of the victim.

Mr. Zardari tried to adorn his cabinet with JUI and MQM too. One would be hard-pressed to find a Pakistani unaware of horrendous record of their leaders. JUI is famous for trampling on women’s rights, and their leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman (also known as Maulana Diesel) is known for selling his loyalties for ministries or any other form of bribe, like acres of agricultural land. On the other hand, the infamous MQM is internationally recognized for frequently indulging in terrorist activities. Their undisputed leader, hidden in the UK for the last 18 years, Altaf Hussain is known to be directly responsible for the assassinations of thousands of Pakistanis. What was on Zardari’s mind when he tried to take these criminals under his wings isn’t that difficult to figure out. Could rob the Pakistanis blind is on the top of their dream-list?

If widely circulated pictures of President’s House being used as a wedding hall weren’t disconcerting enough, now there are disgraceful pictures of a senior PPP senator and a PPP governor quenching their thirst with the imported whisky and chardonnay are making rounds on the internet.

Rule of thumb for begging: lower your profile by looking poor, and do not tag along a huge festive crowd. While heading to Saudi Arabia with a begging bowl, Zardari took along an army of loyalists for ‘Umrra’ (a non-obligatory religious ritual). When asked, how a government on the verge of bankruptcy could afford the luxury of putting up bills for about 200 ‘jialas’? His loyalist angrily presented incoherent excuses, ranging from Zardari paid for the entourage from his own pocket, to each jiala traveled on their own expense. Neutral observers, put the cost of the airplane use at $2.5 million, at minimum; which doesn’t include other expenses.

Naturally the nation wonders, where did Zardari get such a hefty sum of money to entertain his jialas? More importantly, why couldn’t he deposit such amounts of cash in the Pakistani bank accounts; to set an example and to bolster the confidence of whole world in the Pakistani economy? And if his courtiers bore their own expenses, then the question arises, why did all of them decided to perform ‘Umrra’ at once?

Nevertheless, despite Mr. Zardari’s nonchalant management of the circus, he deserves kudos for somehow milking few billion dollars from the Saudis. What remains to be seen is how long will it take for his magicians to vanish the loot into thin air.

It is high time for Zardari to demonstrate proficiency over his leadership skills; similar to the excellence he showed in grabbing power within the PPP and then how he blindsided Musharraf to thrust himself into the presidency was a stroke of genius. All we expect from him is a competent administration and no more promises. The nation is tired of his promises. Even Pakistani children know Zardari’s promises are worthless, as he breaks them with impunity, and as often as brazenly.

Someone needs to explain to Mr. Zardari and his circus, that by double-timing the goose that lay the golden eggs, they will exhaust and eventually kill the goose, sooner than later. Stop stuffing jialas by thousands in governmental and semi-governmental organizations, like PIA. Over employment only bloats organizations and reduces productivity. Try to rise above the freebee and ‘loot baby loot’ mentality. Don’t kill the goose that lays golden eggs.

- Asian Tribune -

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