In spite of having written on politics for over two decades, the Machiavellian art continues to spring surprises at every turn of events. But something that has really caught everyone’s imagination is this all-pervasive penchant for ‘securing’ doctorates by our practitioners of the dubious trade. The latest recipient of the honour is none other than Rehman Malik – the interior minister who is reviled by his former colleague and the Sindh home minister Zulfiqar Mirza.
The citation of the award by the University of Karachi recognises Rehman Malik’s “matchless services to the country in the war on terror and particularly in restoring peace to the city of Karachi”. The award of the honorary degree has been vociferously condemned by the university’s teachers and students as also a broad spectrum of communities across the country.
The president of the Karachi University Teachers’ Association (KUTS), while expressing his resentment, said that this was the first time ever that the administration had bypassed the syndicate in deciding an honorary degree. The general secretary of KUTS described the event as an ‘ambush’ on the authority of the statutory bodies of the university. He went on to say that “the decision cannot be a one-man decision. The chancellor and the vice-chancellor do not have the authority to confer the honorary degree on their own”. It is also understood that the decision negates the overwhelming will of the faculty members. It is widely believed that the Vice-Chancellor of Karachi University, Dr Pirzada Qasim, succumbed to unremitting pressure from the Chancellor and the sitting Governor of Sindh Dr Ishrat ul Ebad in agreeing to award the degree, thus losing his good face and reputation that he had built over a lifetime dedicated to the profession of education.
Awarding an honorary degree to someone with such controversial credentials reflects a state of depravity of the people associated with the decision. Rehman Malik, besides other grave failures, has been accused by one of his former colleagues in the government of associating with criminal elements in decimating the peace of Karachi. He is directly responsible for the mayhem that the city has witnessed over the last few months resulting in the brutal death of hundreds of innocent citizens as he kept dancing to the tune of the killers, extortionists and criminal mafias whose support the federal government needed to stay in power.
Through this conferment, Rehman Malik joins the illustrious band of the doctorate recipients under dubious circumstances. The other consummate wheeler dealer of the government, Mr Babar Awan, also ‘bought’ a doctorate degree from a university whose credentials, even existence remain controversial. What an invaluable duo Mr Zardari has at his beck and call to use to untold advantage! Under the command of these inveterate warriors, the nation can truly hope to go far on the road to attaining unbelievable levels of depravity. To say the least, it is a moment of utter shame for the entire community associated with the vastly recognised noble profession of education in the country. To atone for his sins, the least that the Vice-Chancellor of Karachi University can do is to quit his position for which he has rendered himself ineligible.
There are other manifestations of shame which the political stalwarts are trying desperately to bury incognito. The deaths due to dengue in Punjab have crossed the double hundred mark as the chief minister of the province continues to enact one drama after the other. Having failed abominably to control the virus by taking adequate preventive measures, he is seen trying to make amends by delivering disdainfully insensitive speeches and crudely publicising interactions with people. His party has also upped the ante on the political front by first engineering the street protests against power outages and subsequently joining them by announcing a movement to topple the corrupt regime installed in Islamabad.
Well, that is only half the truth. The other half squarely belongs to those who are leading the protests. In fact, it is a grand coalition of the corrupt that has ruled the country for the last four years. Nearing the elections of the senate, PML(N) was primed to raising the political temperature as they fear that the capturing of the senate by the PPP and its associates would effectively dent their objective of becoming the undisputed masters of the country.
The ailment the province of Punjab suffers from can be traced to the manner in which the chief minister selects his team members and the lack of merit that distinguishes them from the rest. Take his information team for example. It is headed by a person who is allegedly a bank defaulter. The post of the secretary of the department rests with a person who, in writing, tried to sabotage the process of justice in the case of a fraud of Rs 220 million perpetrated at the DGPR, Punjab and the person responsible for all the sentimental jargon that the chief minister dishes out with such monotonous frequency is a former DGPR, a former secretary information who is currently placed as media advisor to the chief executive of the province. It is alleged that the involvement of the last mentioned person is the reason why the enquiry into the embezzlement has been allegedly stopped by the chief minister’s office.
The likes of the president’s duo and the chief minister’s trio constitute the reasons why the country is on a downhill slide. Like I said, it is a grand coalition of the corrupt that is busy defrauding the country endlessly of its resources and wealth. They came together, have indulged together and are destined to exit together. Because, in the event any of them stays under one garb or the other, it is the state that would continue to take the badgering.
The writer is a political analyst and a member of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf. He can be reached at [email protected]