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Mian Nawaz Sharif, the lion wakes up — by Naeem Tahir

The Sharifs are leading the second largest political party and the largest province. People take them seriously even if they do not take the people or the province or the federation seriously. Let there be no mistake; the people are watching and they are no fools

The fard-e-vahid has stalled a landmark of the democratic process from reaching completion. The constitutional amendments, the nation and the federating units all must wait for the nod of the ‘Amirul Momineen’, who also claims to be a champion of democracy.

Almost everyone has heard the proverb “Bare Mian so Bare Mian, Chhote Mian subhan Allah” [The elder one is clever, but the younger one is even better]. After the Chhote Mian’s turn of acknowledging a friendly understanding with the Taliban had hit the headlines, how could the Bare Mian stay behind and let himself be upstaged? Now he has proved his ‘steel’ mettle.

The lion woke up suddenly from his slumber of nine months, while deliberations were underway by perhaps the most well represented committee in the country, including the lion’s ace representatives. Then with one single roar in front of the press, the lion sent out shock waves to the whole populace. That is like the ‘lion’ and like the Bare Mian, and like his version of being the ‘champion of democracy and justice’ — I wonder which justice, though.

Later, his own members were seen in a meeting, almost stunned. Ishaq Dar was kept at a safe distance and Chaudhry Nisar wore a meaningful smile.

The timing of the ‘roar’ of the lion was perfect for the media and, of course, for the country. It was the day when all issues were said to have been settled. It was the day when a great document of consensus for the federation was about to be publicly reaffirmed. It was also the day when the general public felt, for the first time, that this democratic set-up had the ability to work together on serious matters. Dramatically, Bare Mian walks in and everything gets changed. The media goes gaga. All the media of mass communication, including newspapers, talk shows, news, satires and jokes zeroed in on the Bare Mian and he stood exposed.

Even the Chhote Mian was forgotten for the time being. He had already received his lion’s share of publicity. Good or bad, that does not matter. As they say, “Badnaam jo hon gay tou kiya naam na ho ga?” [If we are notorious, won’t we still have fame?]

What could be the story behind the scenes? Everyone, from high-flown politicians to prominent analysts to media anchorpersons, is pitching in to reach a conclusion. Several scenarios are being worked upon. For example, is the lion ensuring that in all decisions ‘justice’ prevails absolutely? If there is an understanding that Barey Mian wants ‘justice’ for the removal of the bar on his elections, his way out of earlier convictions, his way towards the prime ministership and the possibility of installation as the cherished Amirul Momineen, then only those judges should be appointed who meet the requirement of this desired justice.

Or is it because this time the credit of a major consensus was going to the PPP of Mr Zardari? The Barey Mian would have gotten the position of only an ‘also ran’, and how could a lion accept this? After all, the ego is more important than these minor national issues. This is how he understands the concept of Khudi of Iqbal.

Or is it that his extreme rightist credentials and dictatorial grooming leaves no room for progressive and democratic thought? The ambition to have utmost power must be followed ruthlessly. There is always room for amassing more wealth and more power, so why let anyone else have a chance?

Hopefully, all these conjectures are wrong. The Mian sahibs are simple people, fond of the good things in life like good food, flowers and other beautiful things. Suddenly, they realised that they must take out a bit of time to know and think about what had been going on in this constitutional committee. So they asked for a bit more time, not realising that the others involved thought the review time was over. If the whole thing is as innocent as this supposition, then I am sure the PML-N is soon going to take another U-turn, this time very meekly, and try to get away with some minor change of words to save face. The pair of lions should then turn around and say “Girtey haen shahsawar he…” [It is the king of riders that fall…] or, even better, sing a song together and tell everyone, “Akelay na jaana” [Don’t go alone]. This will help them stay in the public memory, until the next general elections and save them from being forgotten forever.

For some members of the party, the Mian sahiban may have created some serious dilemmas. Many serious-minded people must have been forced to evaluate the quality of leadership being offered to the party. Even the voters who had high hopes pinned on the party may want to know the reality behind the rhetoric of justice and democracy. They are leading the second largest political party and the largest province. People take them seriously even if they do not take the people or the province or the federation seriously. Let there be no mistake; the people are watching and they are no fools. They know that their vital interests need serious attention. They need water, they need electricity and they need food, education and, hopefully, some cultural renaissance and pride. The great attribute of democracy is that it can remove those who fail to deliver to the country and the people. If the people keep getting deeper into trouble, they will have second thoughts about their leadership. So, it is time to be done with academics and immediately go ahead with the solution to the real problems. So, may I suggest: take another u-turn Mian sahib, it may improve your image.

Naeem Tahir has been associated with performing arts for over 40 years. He was the Chief Executive/Director General of Pakistan’s apex cultural organisation, the Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA). He can be reached at naeemtahir37@gmail.com

Source: Daily Times