National Assembly: A platform for misleading the nation?

The National Assembly has become an absurd debating club where people come to hurl abuses and defend the misdeeds of their leaders instead of legislating for the common good of the people.

Misleading the nation

In the recent post-budget debate Khawaja Muhammad Asif, son of Khawaja Muhammad Safdar of Sialkot, stated that Pakistan had not played its role in blocking the permanent membership of India in the United Nations Security Council( UNSC ). It was a misleading statement by the former foreign minister and currently the acting leader of opposition, as the position is temporary for a period of two years. The response of the sitting foreign minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, was equally absurd as he thought it was not a big deal.

Both need to be reprimanded, Khawaja for misleading the nation and Qureshi for misdirecting it. The National Assembly has become an absurd debating club where people come to hurl abuses and defend the misdeeds of their leaders instead of legislating for the common good of the people. While the former foreign minister should tender an unconditional apology for his misleading statement and be debarred for speaking on the floor for at least one year, the sitting foreign minister should be issued a show-cause notice for misdirection and showing callousness in the performance of his duties.

Read more: Resolve Kashmir issue before it is too late

It is typical of the PML(N) and its media cell to mislead the nation. Instead of coming clean, they cause delays in legal proceedings. Rana Sanaullah in the narcotics case against him has sought three adjournments. Judge Arshad Malik is another misdemeanour. The case of corruption against Nawaz Sharif was being heard in the court of Accountability Court Judge Muhammad Bashir. His smart lawyers first worked on Judge Arshad and then moved an application to get the case transferred to his court.

They then tried to blackmail the Judge by highlighting his personal misadventures to get a favourable judgement. When the Judge did not oblige they went public after him. Bail-in common law is the right of the accused, it does not mean vindication. Even Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was given bail in the murder case against him, he was then detained under martial law throughout his trial followed by execution. Almost the entire PML(N) leadership is out on bail while the cases against them are being unnecessarily delayed by them. They have not been able to come clean in any of the corruption charges filed against them.

Pakistan should have resisted tooth and nail the membership of India the bully of the region that has border disputes with all of its neighbours that include: Pakistan, China, Nepal, Burma, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Tibet, Kashmir

Like the Sharifs of Lahore, the Khawajas of Sialkot are a product of the establishment. Khawaja Safdar, the father of Khawaja Asif, was first elected MA in 1962 under Ayub Khan’s manipulated system called Basic Democracy. When the dictatorial regime was packed up in March 1969 Khawaja Srs innings also came to an end. In the first free and fair elections in 1970 he lost to a PPP nominee. It seemed that the era of establishment politics had come to an end. But evil dies hard.

When Zia, the third usurper, took over he formed his nominated Majlis-e-Shoora whose Chairmanship was bestowed upon Khawaja Safdar. In this capacity he even officiated as the President sitting in for the villain of democracy and destroyer of civilian institutions. The baton was then handed over to Khawaja Asif in 1991. Today he is considered to be a stalwart of PML(N) and close ally of Nawaz Sharif.

In the 2013 elections, his was one of the four constituencies opened for scrutiny by the Election Commission of Pakistan on the complaint of his opponent. While the other three were unseated he was saved through a technicality of non-appearance by the complainant while he was out of the country on a business trip. In 2018 he had a narrow victory over PTI candidate Usman Dar.

Read more: When common good became uncommon 

The sitting foreign minister is no different. Like the Sharifs of Lahore, Khawajas of Sialkot, Dastagirs of Gujranwala, the Qureshis of Multan (not to be confused with Nawab Sadiq Qureshi of PPP ) are chip of the same block. From the PML(N) to the PPP and now the PTI it is a journey of unmatched political ambition instead of service to the people.

Politics of Sothern Punjab now dominates the area. There is a tussle for Chief Ministership ( CM ) that is where the focus lies for most politicians hailing from the South. The Punjab Assembly is the right forum for the division of the province into one or more units.

The state of Bahawalpur also seeks restoration. As this will be the first major division of a province in the country it needs an independent full time committee to work out the details, part timers holding additional responsibilities cannot do justice to this cause. The federal government has to work through the provincial legislature, not the other way around as is being currently pushed.

It is time to corner, not appease, the bully. While peaceful settlement is the way forward, at times flexing of muscles is also required

Pakistan should have resisted tooth and nail the membership of India the bully of the region that has border disputes with all of its neighbours that include: Pakistan, China, Nepal, Burma, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Tibet, Kashmir. It interferes in Afghanistan internal affairs even the Island of Maldives has not been spared. Entering the UNSC, the highest body of the United Nations, is like a bull in the China shop.

A country that does not honour any of its international commitments including UNSC resolutions should not be allowed this vantage position even for a day. Kashmir continues to bleed with worst human rights abuses. Major blame lies with Khawaja Asif himself as the membership process was started during the regime of PML(N). The sitting foreign minister should have highlighted this fact while fighting to block the entry of India. the chief tormentor of the area.

These so-called electables, who dominate all political parties, have hijacked the entire democratic order. Agencies have files on most of them. Their misdeeds are all recorded. There are only two real political outfits in the country, namely PPP and PTI, as they were conceived by leaders who had an ideological vision together with a solid record of struggle. Being a part of the establishment the role of the bureaucracy has been very dismal.

Read more: Pakistan’s democracy & model of development: A bubble burst

While the PM is fighting on several fronts he has very little support from the administrative machinery as change does not suit them. Parliament is the mother of democracy, every word and move is heard, recorded and counted there. Members who mislead and misdirect must be taken to task to make the institution relevant to the masses.

Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari has already shown her displeasure, the issue should be discussed in the house and those responsible reprimanded. It is time to corner, not appease, the bully. While peaceful settlement is the way forward, at times flexing of muscles is also required. We must side with our Iron Brothers in containing the hegemony of the upstart Brahmins who rule over a badly divided nation who have laid illegal and unjustifiable claims over all the surrounding countries. It is time to cut India to size for lasting peace in the region.

Dr. Farid A.Malik is the Ex-Chairman Pakistan Science Foundation. (Fr. General Manager PITAC, Process Engineering Manager Intel Corporation Engineering and Management Consultant). An expert on mining and energy, currently working on developing clean Coal Technologies for Thar Deposit. He was a Shadow Minister PTI and Co-Ordinator of the PTI Think Tank where the framework of the Welfare State was developed. The article was first published in Pakistan Today and has been republished here with the author’s permission. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.

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