The fault in our politicians


Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri are no messiahs, but they play the role well


Pakistan’s political scene is never dull. You can find a tehreek here, an inqilab there, a dharna by this party or a jalsa by that party. The current situation finds Imran Khan, who heads country’s third largest party in the Parliament, the PTI, and Tahirul Qadri whose party has zero presence in the Parliament, in the Capital asking the incumbent government to resign or face their marches (Azadi and Inqilab, no less) till their demands are met. Whatever their demands are now, the issue started with noting more than an administrative problem but it has transformed into a political one. Allowing the marchers to enter Islamabad was a bitter pill for the Punjab and federal governments. Putting the country under virtual siege, with losses to the tune of billions to businesses, industry and stock exchanges, what Imran and Qadri don’t seem to realise is their inherent selfishness. Their actions don’t lead towards some greater good; instead they are misleading thousands who are with them and millions who subscribe to their ideologies.

What if I told you that in politics being selfish, being shrewd is okay? But that’s not what these two are. They are self-serving, obsessive power grabbers at their very core. Of course, that can be said of many a politician in Pakistan, it stands to reason more against them as they would rather like to sink the ship if it doesn’t steer in the direction they want.

But then there is another type of politics that you need to understand, one that is distinct from the one practised by the Qadri and the Khan.

What if I told you, dear reader, that politics is a self-serving game, that it is not some trade that can be peddled around with ease and kicked to the curb when your objectives are achieved? See, I knew you would say that that should not be the case, yet the dark(er) realities of our country’s political horizon show it to be exactly that. The idea of a politician who understands not only how to dabble in politics but also knows full well the endgame of politics, is somewhat alien to our neck of the woods. You can find our regular, run of the mill, politicians here – from dynastic political pedigree to those with a claim of being divinely appointed political messiahs, from former playboy-turned-cricketer-turned-philanthropist-turned-holier-than-thou-politican to fugitives-of-justice politicians, from ethnically discriminated to those who can’t even spell their names – but what you won’t find is a politician who is in this business for the sake of it, or for the love of it, so to say. Politics is not just how to win elections (rigging, anybody), or coming up with slogans that sound good (roti, kapra aur makan, ab ni tu kab), or fulfilling some populist demand (building Kalabagh dam, changing NWFP into KP), it is way more than that.

Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari might have failed in their bid to become better leaders, but forcing them to abdicate power through unconstitutional demands won’t make Imran Khan or Tahirul Qadri a better leader. It would only make them appear self-obsessed, and greedy.

While one can make a case that these tactics, slogan, shenanigans, political machinations are also a part of politics, that’s not the whole story. There is this tangible, visible part of politics i.e., the aforementioned, and then there is this intangible part which is the crucial one, a part not understanding which makes even the shrewdest politician only a self-serving tool. This part deals more with serving the people and not ruling them, this part deals more with standing with the people in times of tragedy and disaster instead of going on royal trips abroad, this part deals with understanding the logic behind why we need laws and why we need to implement them instead of repealing, replacing or amending them to suit our needs, this part deals with capacity building of LEAs and not using them as personal bodyguards at the cost of state and people, this part deals with standing up to terrorists of whatever hue and colour they are instead of capitulating authority to them and considering them equals, this part deals more with allowing political dissent, accepting social changes, freedom of religious practices and embracing ethnic/linguistic differences with open arms than suppressing them using state machinery.

This is a part which unfortunately is missing from almost every single political entity in the country.

How is it different from that other part? Let’s take an example. Universally, improvement in infrastructure is a function of progress; it is not a proof of how good of a politician you are. Consequently, a public project like Lahore Metro Bus Service is not an indication of how good of politicians Brothers Sharif are, it should simply be taken as a result of the city’s ever-growing demand in providing a better urban transport solution, although failing to fulfill this demand would have been a fault they could be held responsible for. Other than that, that is exactly what every politician is voted to do.

Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari might have failed in their bid to become better leaders, but forcing them to abdicate power through unconstitutional demands won’t make Imran Khan or Tahirul Qadri a better leader. It would only make them appear self-obsessed, and greedy.

The real test of how good a politician is not in how selfless he is, for that is nigh impossible, it is in fact in knowing how well he understands the intangible part of politics. Will Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri ever learn that?


  1. All Politician are self serving people, because they support an idea due to a bias. No one served the law to as such a degree of as Prophet Muhammad PBUH served his Law Maker of Universe. As Humans, we are looking to make a Just Society, but present Pakistani Politician are not working toward that goal. Brother Sharif and Zadari/ Bhutto family and company are working toward amassing wealth. Fazl ur Rehman is called Diesel Mullah, “go figure”. Balochi Sardar are collecting the royalty from government without spending a dime on their people, the rightful owner of land and resources. In Sindh, Feudal are enslaving low class Pakistani to work their field and animals. Abuse is rampant by these feudal and a human life is a property easy to dispense with.
    If Imran khan is a self serving Politician, at least he stands up for the rights of poor, weak and disadvantage people of Pakistan. Every Society has a lower income class, but the law should provide Justice to these people and all above them. When law is applied in a bias manner which disrupts life, Imran Khan and PTI are against it. The March is in regards to inJustice of Poll rigging and manipulation. Let support it and not drag it down due your difference of opinion.

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