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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

When The Barbs Fly

Original Article: Daily Times
Date Published: August 09, 2012
Original link:\08\09\story_9-8-2012_pg3_3

As they say, politics is not meant for the faint at heart. It is a dirty business and the ones who want to play the game, must be fully aware of the rules. The rules are pretty simple: there are none. When the election season is about to start, the opponents try their level best to test their combat skills, much like the exercises of troops, prior to being dispatched for war. This phenomenon is fairly common in many other countries as well. The idea is to discredit the opponent completely in front of the potential voters and in the end, just get to the finish line. Any and everything is considered fair game. Again, much like the real battlefield, its victory at all costs or nothing.

So recently when the ‘Aging Lion’s’ close aides tried to take out the ‘Angry-Middle-Aged Hero’, some of the folks were disappointed. To them it was the lowest of the lows. This scribe does not have any political affiliations with any of the existing players, incumbent or otherwise. But one was amazed to see such a reaction, as if one is a sacred cow and the other was an ugly villain. It was almost sacrilegious to point a finger at one, though he had the absolute right to point all 10 of his fingers at everyone else.

The nature of accusations was discussed at great length. The cubs were criticised heavily for heading into an arena that was supposedly considered a ‘no-go area’. Again one was amazed at that reaction. Why is anything considered a no-go area, in any case? The public has the right to know about any and everything related to any person who is a public figure; after all, it is the public’s donations that fund the organisation in question. Therefore, scrutiny is their due and appropriate right.

His often ultra-passionate followers, and I believe the middle-aged hero himself, used the ‘pity card’ for his rescue. It was a bit interesting to hear the logic. The logic was, that if any donor believed those baseless accusations and stopped funding, it would adversely impact the ongoing care of the patients. The question was raised as to who would be responsible for the condition of patients. Let me make something very clear: my heart goes out to people who receive care at that institution. May God Almighty give every single person a speedy and complete recovery. However, the question that emerges from this bout is that is this organisation not supposed to be well funded? Are the donors so childish or naïve that they take the word of the cubs at face value? Assuming all the evidence that the cubs were peddling is frivolous, then one should not have anything to fear. But let us assume if it is the other way around, then even in that case, not all donors are going to pull out. Perhaps a little bit of a dip for a few months and one sure hopes that an organisation of this stature has a contingency plan in place to meet any such challenges.

Inept, corrupt, gambler, money launderer, tax evader were some of the ‘honorary titles’ that were exchanged. To me it was sheer political jockeying. It was rather interesting to notice the threats of lawsuits as well. It proves one thing for sure that Pakistan is following in the footsteps of its major benefactor by turning itself into an equally litigious society. With thousands of pending cases for decades, the apex court is burdened with additional volume from all quarters. All and sundry want to head to that area, almost instantly now, bypassing every other level, just heading straight to the ‘Ultimate Hall of Justice’.

This scribe does not condone any of the tactics used by any of the players. It is rather evident that this is not the first time that such attacks have occurred and it would certainly not be the last. Actually, in a sense it is good for the public. The idea of transparency is always good and key for good governance. In one of my previous write ups I had highlighted that we tend to get carried away based on our ideological leanings. We tend to put our heroes on some sort of high and holy pedestal and absolutely refuse to view them from a human lens. All of us are fairly feeble individuals, with some flaw in us. It is almost natural. Therefore, to expect someone to be perfect and angelic is our gross national idiocy.

It is about time to overcome this perfection syndrome. We are perfect, our leaders are perfect, our goals are perfect and how dare someone point a finger at us. This line of thinking is old school in this age of information. If we spend valuable time in pretending or defending our favourites as flawless, in essence we are fooling ourselves. Let the barbs fly, let the dust settle. The truth eventually comes out no matter what. At least this exercise exposes the true colours of some. That is the bottom line. For that, emotions, egos and rhetoric has to be completely set aside and rational thinking applied at the ballot box. Even if it is not my favourite person, who will it be? It will be the one who will actually be able to deliver.

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