Saturday, November 28, 2009
By Ansar Abbasi
ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari does not need adversaries as he is his own worst enemy. He shouldn’t be worried about the conspiracies, if any, of his political foes, the establishment or his perceived opponent — Geo and a few journalists associated with the Jang Group — because he himself is in a self-destructive mode.
Perhaps not many would be bothered as to what he does to himself but the big worry is about his style of governance which is marred by inaction and indifference at a time when there is a need to do a lot and seriously.
His strange and incomprehensible attitude is damaging Pakistan and threatening the whole system. To be precise and candid, if I am allowed to express my personal view, there is no greater threat to democracy and the system than the president himself. Others have the right to differ.
Getting to the Presidency or the chief executive’s office through democratic means, does not mean anything if the promises made are disregarded, election manifesto is overlooked, institutions are ruined, constitutional distortions are subtly protected to thrust and sustain a one man rule that could be described as civilian dictatorship, and parliament is ignored and cabinet is turned into a non-entity. All of this is happening under Zardariís rule.
Although the president has pointed his finger at Geo and Jang Group as his sole enemy, he conveniently ignored what the whole world says about his style of government, his growing unpopularity, mounting corruption of his regime and his men.
Read the foreign newspapers and magazines, look what is coming from Paris about the submarine deal, go through the international surveys about the record-breaking corruption to adjudge the reputation of Zardari-led political dispensation. You will find that Pakistan is hurting.
Ask the political parties, get the pulse of the military establishment, talk to the members of the civil bureaucracy and even have a heart to heart discussion with the PPP leaders including those holding public office, there is a consensus that the president is doing just contrary to what the situation demands. Pakistan is confronted with Himalaya like challenges but its president appears non-serious to face them and get them resolved. No matter what he said in his last public speech made from the Presidency, now generally termed his bunker, he knows how he is seen by all the stakeholders and how much he is trusted.
Media has always served as an easy prey for every government. What President Zardari also did on last Wednesday was no different from the past? We know the Jang Group has committed ìsinî by unearthing corruption scandals, one after the other, and by consistently highlighting tales of murder of merit, favouritism, bad governance. We are also ìresponsibleî for reminding the president and his government of promises, commitments and pledges that remained unfulfilled. President Zardari may not like it but we would continue doing so because it is our fundamental responsibility and this is what the media has been doing in the past.
We have nothing personal against anyone. We donít seek any personal favour, plots, foreign trips and lucrative positions. We neither conspire nor claim to be the kingmakers. We are just messengers and opinion makers. We may be accused of running campaigns or getting biased but all such campaigns or biases, if any, would be directed for institution building, rule of law, justice and fair play. The deserted ousted dictator General (retd) Musharraf also thought that we were biased against him. To an extent he was right that we were biased. But our bias was not against him but to achieve the goal of independence of judiciary in Pakistan. We achieved the goal for which the whole nation takes pride today.
Our criticism against the president and his regime is based on similar biases, which should not be misinterpreted in any other manner. Needless to say that we are biased against corruption, we are biased against nepotism and violation of merit, we are biased against misrule, we are biased against undemocratic postures of the democrats, we are biased against weakening of the institutions, we are biased against military rule as well as civilian dictatorship and certainly we are biased against anything that in any manner harms our homeland.
Mediaís criticism is nowhere seen as a ìconspiracyî to make or break governments. Instead, it is taken by the matured minds and civilised societies as a chance to improve governance, better service delivery, address injustices and serve the public interest.
President Zardari may not like it but he needs to change himself if he wants to secure his presidency. It may also not sound music to his ears but he also needs to change his company by getting rid of the tainted sycophants, dirtied courtiers, corrupt to the core souls and some ìknownî agents of MI6 and CIA, surrounding him. He has to act without any further delay to undo the 17th Amendment, implement the Charter of Democracy and check corruption. Otherwise, he would continue getting weaker and weaker with every passing day. But for his own follies and failings, there is no reason to blame others, particularly the media, which is the mirror, whom the politician always support and admire when out of power intoxication.