Changing Political Loyalties for Selfish Gains

 By Sajjad Shaukatpakistani-politics

Although democracy has displayed its success in the west, yet, it has proved fruitless in Pakistan due to politicians who keep on changing their loyalties for their selfish gains.

Past experience proves that our political parties have worked on undemocratic principles like hostility for the sake of hostility, formation of alliances and counter-alliances to win the elections. Much time is wasted in retaliation against the previous government instead of fulfilling the promises, made with the voters during election campaign. So, they forget the real aim of public mandate by resolving the economic and social problems of the masses. In this regard, they also misguide the general masses by forming extreme opinion among them towards their opponents. In fact, concentration of wealth in few hands has created a privileged class of landowners and industrialists who contest elections winning the same against each other again and again.

During the election campaign, they employ all means, fair or foul to defeat their opponents and capture political power. In order to obtain their selfish interests, they mislead the general masses through false propaganda and exaggerated speeches.

Besides, various mal-practices such as horse-trading, nepotism, bribery, illegal obligations and other forms of corruption are very common among our political leaders.

In fact, politics is about collective cause, shared values and common ideologies, enabling people to pursue their goals and deal with their conflicts through direct method of negotiations or employing indirect strategies for the purpose. Politics becomes sacred and sanctified due to their altruistic nature, selfless deeds, visionary approach, ideological mooring, higher ethical values and respect for social norms. Politicians, driven by deeper sense of compassion, empathy and zeal to share collective pain and pleasure of public, tend to generate ideas, build ideologies, develop rationale and display leadership qualities to meet the demands of communities they represent.

In a democratic world, politics is played through political parties which are created on definite ideologies and philosophical concepts to work for the betterment of general public. Political parties constitute the platforms where people pin hopes to achieve their goals and look forward to realize their aspirations.

While, switching parties is considered a bad sign, and politicians in most democratic countries are labeled as disloyal and selfish, lacking commitment. Generally, their political careers end, while they are associated with untrustworthiness and elusive self-indulgence.

Unfortunately, in Pakistan, changing sides to gain advantage has become a standard practice of political norms. Political persons change political sides to gain power, popularity and prestige. Political ideology is dominated by patronage and kinship, resulting into public repression, victimization, selective application of rules and jaundiced polity coupled with social injustice and rampant corruption.
It is notable that so-called heavy weight politicians in Pakistan are either the product of military dictatorship with shady past or opportunist feudal lords who are filthy rich, highly influential and powerful. They consider politics as their business and tend to invest with political parties from where they can earn better profit. Hence, they quickly join the popular parties to maximize their chances of getting elected. In this context, the real face of Javed Hashmi and many others so-called exponents of democracy need to be exposed.

Javed Hashmi rightly named himself a rebel, as his politics revolve around shifting loyalties and changing sides. He is an initiate of Jamat-e-Islami (JI), but could not keep his commitment with his mentors, because JI lacked popular support and could not afford him the chance to realize his power motives. He also thought that in JI, he would never get a chance to take off to accomplish his political aspirations. Therefore, seeing popularity of Tehrik-e-Istaqlal (TI) of Asghar Khan, he decided to join TI. Later on, he joined Gen. Zia’s sponsored PML (N) and abandoned Muhammad Khan Junejo-the actual leader of PML and the former prime minister of Pakistan.  He was also a minister for Youth Affairs in Zia’s cabinet, and took money from Younis Habib, the manager of the Mehran Bank of Punjab to form IJI against PPP, while, indirectly, he claimed to have taken loan from one him (Front man of Younis Habib) and had returned the same. He went to jail for reading out anti-Army fake letter during Musharraf regime, and expected a worthwhile reward from the Prime Minister Nawaz Sahrif of PML (N), but was ignored. Subsequently, when offered the president-ship of emerging political force Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI), he betrayed Nawaz Sharif on lame excuses and joined Imran Khan (PTI) to advance his political motives. He felt alienated in PTI, as his regional rival Shah Mahmood Qureshi was encouraged by Imran Khan. So, he decided to stab Imran Khan in the back and leveled serious allegations against Imran Khan. He felt no shame, while insinuating against Pak Army and country’s superior intelligence agency, ISI. Real face of such power hungry politicians must be uncovered through media. Other leaders are watchful, because he will be looking for a place in some political party, but, will behave in similar manner in future also.

Marvi Memon who also changes her loyalties, is a direct product of General Musharraf’s regime, and was taken as an employee of Inter-Service Public Relations to learn politics and media handling, while her father Nisar Memon was Information Minister of Musharraf cabinet. She joined PML (Q) as a Minister. After Musharraf’s ouster and decline of PML (Q), she joined PML (N) to earn more fortunes. PML (N) is the same party which is trying her past boss and her father’s mentor General Musharraf on treason charges. As Member of the National Assembly (MNA) in PML (N), she raises her voice with loud shrill and harsh tones, showing all the guts to be a politician of high morals, dignity and poise. In this respect, media must project her real worth as a politician, reflecting her near past and her father’s level of commitment to those who were their heroes in the near past.

As regards Arbab Khizer Hayat Khan, since entering politics in 1996, he switched party allegiance for almost 14 times. Hayat’s huge mansion in Peshawar is adorned with his pictures with former president Ghulam Ishaq, former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. He is a landowner with a long history in politics. He has shifted loyalties from Bhutto’s PPP to Sharif’s PML (N), and then to PTI of Imran Khan.

While, Nabeel Gabol, a staunch PPP politician who switched to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM)—shortly before parliament which was dissolved in March, 2013. And, Lashkari Raisani, a Member of the Provincial Assembly from Balochistan province, who was also in PPP, but switched over to PML-N.

Similarly, Zahid Hamid (PML-N, Law Minister) was an important member of Musharraf cabinet, and an architect of 2007 emergency, imposed by Gen Musharraf. He changed sides from PML (Q) to PML (N). It would not be out of place to recall his elder brother’s betrayal to President Farooq Leghari when he joined Nawaz Sharif to become governor of Punjab.

In the same terms, Hussain Haqqani the famous Army basher and self-styled preacher of democracy and constitutionalism rose to prominence after betraying JI, and preferred to become media advisor to Nawaz Sharif where he ran an obnoxious and immoral campaign against Bhutto ladies. When discouraged by Nawaz Sharif, he joined PPP to avail more power. He also approached key members of Musharraf regime for getting the slot of secretary information, but was bluntly refused. Since then, he is maintaining an anti-Army stance. He remained in PPP, and went abroad to find more powerful foreign sponsorship on which he is still capitalizing the same. His intellect and wisdom is restricted only to Army bashing, and has least credibility as a writer, feeling no shame and no guilt in showing Pakistan and Pak Army in bad light. Perhaps his sponsors abroad pay him for such a shameless job.

However, due to the trends of rapidly changing sides, these people are called‘LOTAs’, as they look for green pastures for themselves, having least concern for public ordeal. While, the political leaders have always claimed that they nourish democratic ideals, but, we could not establish this system on a strong footing owing to politicians who change their political loyalties for sake of selfish gains.

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations




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