The thing about Pakistan is that it manages to make us look absolutely fabulous in comparison. Power sharing agreements? While Benazir tries to get cases against her withdrawn under the guise of trying to bring democracy in Pakistan, we are a little less refined, but somehow, more honest. Even in our dishonesty. Take for example, Karnataka. The BJP and the JD(S) had a power sharing agreement whereby they would share the chief ministership half-half. So the JD(S) has completed its term, and now it is time for a BJP man to be in that seat. But Deve Gowda and his CM son say no, we won’t. The BJP calls it’s a betrayal (which of course it is) and now everyone is going to take stock of their seats in the state (especially the Congress) and decide if going in for elections is the right idea or carrying on this government, in whatever form. But I digress.
See, the thing is that even the champions of democracy in Pakistan go about it in such a dubious, shady manner that it’s really tough to believe that any of them are actually fighting for a larger cause. Except the lawyers, that is, but I’ll stick to the main political players.
Benazir, Musharraf and Nawaz exhibit the kind of arrogance that is hard to swallow. Not only do they consider this strange ménage e trios the only viable leadership in Pakistan, but I love how they are absolutely convinced that the people look to them as the second coming~! (Maybe not Musharraf so much, but he still does have support on the ground). In contrast, no matter how big the leader in India, and that includes Sonia Gandhi, be it Vajpayee, Advani, Lalu, anyone… they all know that in the end everyone is replaceable. Hell, that they’ve been thrown in and out of office so many times is probably their saving grace. That’s why the current crusade of the Congress to rename every road, airport, building of the country after Rajiv Gandhi is starting to bug me. While I respect his contribution to the country and that he died serving the country, I don’t think he is the single greatest leader to ever be born in India. The Congress needs some perspective or they are going to lose my vote. Economic reforms notwithstanding. [See how emotional the average voter is? But at least I have a say]
Anyway it’s Pakistan I was talking about. When Nawaz made this big thing about returning to Pakistan and was detained at the airport and shipped right out, there were rumours in the Indian Urdu press that he knew what his fate was. He did it to stay in the news because Benazir clearly had the upper hand. Well, then his political gamble was not coming to Pakistan but prior knowledge that he would be shipped off, no contest, but that he went through the drama anyway. Of course, I have no idea if this is true, I asked my boss who said it probably wasn’t cause it’s just too big a gamble to take, but going through the motions of democracy doesn’t actually make you democratic right. And by that I mean, I don’t know if Nawaz or Benazir stand for anyone except themselves.
Now take Benazir’s talks with Mushrraf. The point is that they knew Musharraf is not giving up his post as president. I’ll admit, there was a week in the middle where I wasn’t sure what was going to happen, especially with the whole Iftikar Chaudhary stuff going on, but that Benazir seemed almost ready to accept him as president in uniform is just disgusting. Especially when you consider that this decision would have come in the context of the General forgiving corruption cases against her.
Ok I might be rambling a little now. It’s just that when I contrast all this political posturing from Pakistan’s two alternatives to Musharraf, mostly from their comfortable homes in London’s Park Lane, I can’t understand how that poor country has ended up with this set of losers as their leaders. At least our losers are more open to what they want and don’t want. Even the Congress sycophancy is mighty transparent.
So, who is going to be the next Pakistani PM? Now that Nawaz is definitely stuck in Saudi (right?) he is out of the game, is it Benazir? But Mushrraf would be mad to let her in, because all said and done, she is definitely a shrewd woman who persist in finding a way of overthrowing him. But the question is; what then? Will she call for free and fair elections, putting even herself at the mercy of the electorate at large? The fact that our government might well be making that decision is extraordinary. We should count ourselves lucky.
Look around. I think we have the best house in the neighbourhood.