One has mostly seen political leaders falling in the eyes of public, especially in this time and age where media puts the spotlight on too many undesirable aspects. Scandals of all sorts get attributed to them; clarifications, rebuttals, reactions, counter fights stud the blogs and Youtube sites. It is rare to see a leader continuously gaining status, respect and trust of people. A leader who gradually rises above his party identity and is accepted as a national leader.
Interestingly enough this leader is of a kind who doesn’t even want to be a leader. He wants to be a worker of people, a worker of a party and a worker of his nation. He has worked hard on developing policy, drafting legislation, making constitutional reforms, and has worked relentlessly on various concrete aspects of institutional building. After completing the implementation process of the 18th Amendment, Senator Mian Raza Rabbani has been accepted as a national hero all over the country.
While other politicians are concerned about their privileges and positions, this person keeps resigning from posts and letting go of privileges that are given to him.
Very few people in their lives come at a cross roads where they get a chance of making history and when this opportunity came to Mian Raza Rabbani, he sure proved to his masses his abilities, commitment and sincerity, not only to the people but to a sound democratic system he so staunchly believes in.
Concluding the two-year process of formulating and getting the 18th Amendment, also referred to as Rabbani amendment, approved by all parties in the parliament was no less than a miracle. Leading the commission for implementing and handling all kinds of resistance and anti-devolution forces was certainly a Herculean task, which has clearly made him a national hero in the eyes of people. He has graduated beyond any one party identity, and is seen as a spokesperson of the institution of the parliament. He is one of those people whose biography and photographs should be added in the text books of our schools. His own party members should feel as proud to have leaders of this stature among them as should the other political parties who own him as a proponent of democratic institutions.
Mian Raza Rabbani was born in Lahore on July 23, 1953 but has been a resident of Karachi and thus is considered more of a Sindhi, with Sindh as his political constituency. After his early education at the Habib Public School, Karachi, he joined the University of Karachi, where he got his BA degree in 1976. Later, he pursued his LLB in Law and Jurisprudence from the same university in 1981.
Students these days are seldom interested in politics and at times consider it a stigma. People like Mian Raza Rabbani used the educational institutions as a healthy platform for politics and grooming for future leadership. Institutions like Karachi University certainly would feel proud of students like him who shine today so brightly in the world full of leaders who are unfortunately corrupt and dishonest.
It is not only the grooming of educational institutions but also the family upbringing that shows the way an adult operates in his career. Senator Raza Rabbani, born in a middle class family, was brought up with solid values where good education, honesty, commitment to the country and standing up for the truth were a way of life. His mother Kishwar Rabbani, a homemaker and father Ata Rabbani, who served as the ADC of Quaid-e-Azam, had strong ethical bases themselves. Bringing up a family with good values was a high priority for them. His father was not only a staunch supporter of Pakistan and a retired Air Force officer, has also proved his interest in intellectual pursuits by writing several books. One of them, which was a gripping account of spending time with Quaid-e-Azam as his ADC is “I was the Quaid’s Aide-de-Camp” (1998). The second one was more of an analytical account of the vision of the Quaid, the Sun Shall rise (2008). A more recent one, Jinnah Through My eyes (2010) is also worth reading.
When Mian Raza Rabbani was a student, he pioneered the National Organisation of Progressive Students and was its founder chairman from 1971 to 1974. Later, he joined the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and took on various offices within the party. He became the information secretary of PPP District East Karachi, deputy general secretary of the PPP Karachi division, member Sindh Executive Committee PPP and the Peoples Lawyers Forum president Sindh. Later, he became the deputy secretary of the executive committee of the party. He has always been a well-respected and credible member of the party.
He has been a senator since 1994 and has played an important role in building this democratic institution. He has chaired several important parliamentary committees and held offices as a minister. He held the portfolio of the Ministry of Law and Justice as a minister of State in the Federal Cabinet (1994-1996). He was the leader of the opposition and later the leader of the House in the senate of Pakistan. He was also the minister of State with the portfolio of Inter-provincial coordination. The most important aspect of his work seems to be that senators of all parties respect him equally and take pride in him. In most of the motions that he makes and resolutions he proposes, one can see him representing the institution of the senate rather than one party.
The people of the provinces who have been struggling to get the rights for autonomy will remember the service Senator Raza Rabbani provided to the nation to restore its true federal spirit. He was also the co-author to the Charter of Democracy jointly signed by Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif. This was a historic document, which paved the path for reconciliatory politics and opened opportunity for the kind of cooperation that was never witnessed before. His book LFO, the fraud on the Constitution, is a well-written account of the injustices and historical evidence of how the institution of democracy was attacked. His consolidated views on devolution, which he has been so true to, are awaited in published form.
Mian Raza Rabbani was awarded Nishan-e-imtiaz for his services in the parliamentary commission. The role of other members of the Constitutional Reform Committee and the Implementation Commission is fully recognised, however, it was the leadership of these institutional arrangements which provided Mian Raza Rabbani to contribute to this nation in a way that will forever become a part of its democratic history.