• Sat. May 18th, 2024

The curious case of politics, politicians and the public

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  • The curious case of politics, politicians and the public

Public attitude towards politics and politicians extends from extreme involvement on the one hand to total detachment from politics category  Well, at least that is what residents of the latter camp claim. Ironically, those who claim to have no interest in politics are the ones who talk most about politicians though always in critical and derogative tones.

Amongst leaders, the spectrum is as broad as the wildest swing of any pendulum. From those who believe in democracy, human rights, freedom of speech etc to those whose eyes lit up when prospects of military dictatorship emerge. They have earned the honour of the “lota” tag. An insult they seem to care little about.

Then we have the religious parties too. Baring a couple who are committed to democracy and elections, the rest place their services at the disposal of either the highest bidder or directives from their sponsors with an under armpit “stick” as their symbol of ultimate power. This latter group of so-called religious parties is gifted with the talent to cause riots in graveyards, when instructed to do so!

Abraham Lincoln once responding to an accusation that he was two-faced retorted; “If I had two faces, would I be wearing this one?”, a reference to his public perception of ordinary looks. Our political milieu is wonderfully rich in “two-faced” siyastdaans. The bad news is neither of their “two faces” is attractive in the least in public perception. But who cares, when the taste of authority and financial riches blinds them to public opinion. Even more when they know that their career in politics depends on a selection rather than election process. In private they would be entitled to giggle at the thought that they are blessed with followers who believe in their publicly stated positions, which they themselves do not actually believe in. The past 5 years are Exhibit-A for this unfortunate reality.

Pakistan has one of the best national constitutions in our region in the form of the 1973 constitution, despite its “engineered” distortions at the hands of military dictators and the traditional largely “hand in glove” anti-democracy superior judiciary. Our judicial history and events in courts in recent times reflect the long list of absurdity ridden situations that seemed to have caused little embarrassment to the authors of such judgements. What can be more absurd than ex-CJP Iftikhar Chaudhry not only legalising Musharaf’s martial law, but benevolently authorising him to even amend the constitution as he pleased! How embarrassing is this? The allegedly corrupt political parties are demanding that the SC adjudicate strictly according to the constitution. Supreme Court’s “like minded” judges, trigger happy to rewrite constitutional provisions to avoid abiding by the constitution!

Most of this has happened at the hands of “God-fearing” individuals posturing as holy men working for noble causing. Fall back on frequent references to “holy versus” and God’s will have been their virtual logo. Isn’t it somewhat comic then that despite their holy pretences and high moral contentions, in the end they get caught at the hands those with not so “God fearing” public perception or high morality claims.

By: Zahir Kaleem