Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi is not satisfied with the performance evaluation of his ministry. He has formally lodged a protest with Shehzad Arbab the Advisor to the Prime Minister who was assigned the task of developing the scoring methodology. The Foreign Office (FO) is considered to be one of the most important ministries of any government. Coming at the 11th position is indeed embarrassing for the minister who claims to be the second most important person in Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). If he claims of being treated unfairly, he should step down. His performance should be evaluated through an independent performance audit. Everyone, including a Makhdoom, deserves a second chance.
By definition ‘Makhdoom’ is a holy man who has to be served, a saintly person or a ‘Pir’. Serving others is not required of them. Their follower’s lineup to heap bounties on them, which they collect and take home. PTI remained ‘Makhdoomless’ till the mammoth jalsa at Lahore in October 2011. By the time the Caravan of Change moved to Karachi in December, there were two of them on the stage. Makhdoom Javed Hashmi was greeted with chants of “Baghi” while Makhdoom Shah Mahmood proudly placed himself next to the Chairman on the main stage, the old guard was relegated to the lower level.
Understanding the matter better
After the massive public gathering at Mazar-e-Quaid on December 25, 2011, dinner had been arranged by Comrade Ahsan Rashid (Late) for the old and new guard to break bread. It proved to be the proverbial ‘Last Supper’. ‘Makhdoomization’ of PTI took place. While one managed to become the Vice-Chairman the other became the President. Under the Kaptaan the party was divided between the two Makhdooms of Multan. Comrade Ahsan Rashid despite his standing in the party was sidetracked mainly because of poor health. While Makhdoom Shah Mahmood has income from the shrine, Makhdoom Javed Hashmi was accused of selling party tickets in Multan.
During the heat of the Dharna in 2014, Hashmi Sahib parted ways with the party which ended his political career. His old party PML-N did not take him back. Shah Sahib has been around all major parties, perhaps the only opening left for him is to struggle for the creation of a new South Punjab province and then become its Chief Minister. I am sure PTI will be better off without the ‘ Makhdooms ‘. Earlier Comrade Taj Muhammad Langah had dedicated his life to a similar cause. Shah Sahib picks up the thread from there and build on it.
During Benazir’s second term in office, a massive bureaucratic reshuffle was planned. Two powerful and notorious bureaucrats who had influence over the PM were being considered for important lucrative slots. One of them was going to the United Nations as the permanent representative while the other was coming to Lahore as Chief Secretary. I wrote an article titled; ” Another aimless bureaucratic reshuffle “. The newspaper forwards a well-written, laser-printed letter from one of them accusing me of being unfair. He highlighted his performance in bringing the IPPs (Independent Power Producers) and building road infrastructure in the country.
What can be done to better the situation?
I suggested a ‘Performance Audit’ to establish his claims, to which he readily agreed but insisted on tasking the ‘Government Auditors’ for the job while I insisted on ‘ Independent Auditors ‘ to which he was adverse. Perhaps in his entire career, he had up the ranks without a real performance evaluation The Audit System is the land of the pure is seriously flawed, it needs a major revamp. Having personally gone through the ‘Lead Auditor’ course followed by an exam, I knew the limitations of our flawed and seriously compromised evaluation criteria.
I don’t think any Makhdoom has ever faced a real performance audit in the land of the mortals as their credentials are superior and spiritual beyond the scope of humans. Due to lack of experience and exposure of a ‘System’s Performance Audit’, Makhdoom does deserve one more final chance to establish his worldly credentials or gracefully return to his inherited shrine in Multan the land of the Sufis. Lately, there has been a debate about operating within institutional boundaries. While the Judiciary and Armed Forces are being urged to operate in their own domains, I seriously think the same principle should apply to their holiness as well. In the world of spirituality, it is widely believed that No Faqir has ever given up Faqiri for Royalty but several Royals have become Faqirs. Faqiri and Royalty cannot coexist, there has to be a reality check to break the shackles of the past and move forward.
After his great election victory in the 1970 electoral contest, Bhutto proudly exclaimed that the politics of ‘Mirs and Pirs’ is over. In his original team were real comrades like Dr. Mubashir Hasan, Sheikh Rashid (Sr), Hanif Ramay, Mairaj Khalid, Khurshid Hasan Mir, Mairaj Muhammad Khan, Dr Ghulam Hussain to name a few. By the next election in 1977, they were all back with a bang. When the crunch time came the Quaid-e-Awam was left alone to struggle for his life. The only support came from his own family members. Holiness prevailed over the Himalayas and they did not cry, even the waters of Indus did not turn red when the most popular leader of his times was hanged in Rawalpindi and then quickly buried in his village near Larkana.
There are lessons to be learned. Like cricket, team selection does matter in politics. Yes over the years PTI has battle-hardened comrades as claimed by the PM, but where are they? I am sure they are not standing behind the ‘Makhdooms of Multan’.
The writer is Ex-Chairman Pakistan Science Foundation. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.