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Fleeting moments

April 12, 2018

Tis the season to migrate


April 12, 2018

As the mercury soars, migratory birds have begun taking flight to new habitats. Birdwatchers have their own way of explaining why the birds habitually change their abodes. They believe that movement of birds to other environments is akin to the moves the politicians make by jumping parties before the election.

While the birds’ compulsion to change their environment is natural, the politicians’ overwhelming urge to change parties is motivated by power, pelf and greed. Bertrand Russell in his analysis ‘Do governments desire war?’ wrote, “It seems that politicians would rather lead the countries to destruction than not to be in government. A greater depth of wickedness than that is not easy to imagine.”

Nawaz Sharif has been disqualified for possessing an iqama, and his other family members are being administered a full dose of rules and regulations allowed under the law. But what about the other candidates, who deserve similar treatment, if not more, but remain untouched? A logical question then arises in the mind of the people. Even those who voted for the PTI – as did yours truly – may not like to vote for it again.

There are two reasons for this public change of heart. First, Nawaz Sharif stands victimised in public perception and deserves sympathy. Second, the PTI led by its chief Imran Khan developed or delivered precious little during its rule in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

Starting from the ‘35 punctures’ to corruption, Imran Khan has fumed untiringly since the last election. Despite ridiculing parliament and considering its sessions unworthy of his presence, he didn’t hesitate to pocket salaries and accrue other benefits as a parliamentarian.

However, those who are deserting the PML-N offer a principled stand for their decision. A frequent grievance is that the party chief didn’t spare any time for them. Some say they had offered Nawaz Sharif their wise counsel but he didn’t pay any heed to it. However, a recent dissenter, a minority MNA, who ditched his party for the PTI beats all in the flock. He boasted in a TV talk show that after joining the PTI he would transform Pakistan into Paris.

But the public would want to entreat him to let this country remain as it is. Does KP resemble Paris in any way since the PTI’s rule after the last election? A beaming Khan, who sat beside the zealous new entrant to his party, should have restrained him from making such frivolous claims for the future.

Moreover, the concept of carving a new province out of the province of Punjab, which the dissenting MNAs and MPAs from southern Punjab have made their rallying cry, is not new.

But the collective conscience of the dissenters suddenly coming to life about the deprivation of the poor people of southern Punjab is surprising. More so, when they have been part of the very government that now faces pressures from various quarters. The jumping ship cliche is usually employed for those who are much disliked, but it can also be used of those who jump their parties when the parties are in trouble.

But the concept of creating a new province is a pragmatic move. Districts Dera Ghazi Khan, Muzaffargarh and Rajanpur have remained backward to the core. This is reflected in the kind of news stories of extreme violence that usually emanate from these areas.

The writer is a freelance columnist based in Lahore.

Email: [email protected]

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