Pak Affairs

Open Letter to President Asif Ali Zardari

Mr. President, with the honour and prestige associated with the institution you currently occupy, it would be an obligation upon me to wish glad tidings upon you and inquire for your health. However, I choose not to do so.

Your actions on 25th February 2009 will go into the history of Pakistan as a ‘Black Day’ for the masses of Pakistan who believe in the Constitution of our country and between the separation of powers between the Judiciary, Presidency, and Legislative Assembly.

Mr. President, you sacrificed our national interest on the altar of power for petty party politics. Your deliberate engineering of the disqualification of the Sharif Brothers represents a transgression of the duties, limits, and obligations set within the rights delegated to the Presidency of Pakistan.

Mr. President, before I continue with this letter which is attempting to give a peaceful eloquence to the emotions and passions running across Pakistan, I would like to ask you a question and request you sit back in reflection and introspection afterwards. Our country today stands at perhaps its darkest hour. Foreign troops continue to flood Afghanistan raising security implications for Pakistani policy makers. The drone strikes in the North West of Pakistan continue to rise in frequency and intensity, resulting in unbearable human suffering. Consulates of a large South Asian country to our east continue to spring up across the Pakistan’s international border with Afghanistan. The repercussions of foreign involvement in the destabilization of Baluchistan are all too apparent for those who wish to see it. Mr. President, Pakistan’s water topography has being severely altered due to construction of dams by an upper-riparian state to our east in occupied Kashmir. The Chenab River’s water flow has significantly declined, which in due course is going to strain our water resources. The provisions of the Indus River Water Treaty are being increasingly violated by India. Right now only the rising trends of water scarcity have been given attention. What about the threat posed to the entire Northern Areas’ and parts of Punjab on the possibility of these illegal dams’ being constructed by India breaking? India’s record on poorly built dams’ is evidence. Massive flash floods would not look good on your party’s score card as the damage to life would be immense Mr. President. Or am I guilty of making the assumption that you care about the 160 million Pakistanis who inhabit this land.

Mr. President, there is talk across the world of Pakistan being on the verge of a failed state. There is talk that our nuclear weapons are unsafe due to the rise of the Taliban. American policy makers and influential writers have the audacity to suggest that Pakistan is an ‘international migraine’. Mr. President, the country is broke. The National Exchequer’s balance sheets don’t add up to a healthy number. Our balance of trade is not in our favour. Our exports are not increasing in proportion to our imports. Our industrial competiveness is increasingly declining. Joblessness and unemployment continue to rise, contributing to social tensions, deterioration of law and order, and a loss of faith in the leaders who lead this country. In addition to all of this, the world is in recession and the state of our Federation is increasingly volatile.

As President of The Islamic Republic of Pakistan, it is not your duty to egg on Salman Taseer to avenge his personal feuds with the Sharifs but it is your duty to do what is right for this country and to uphold the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. I, like millions of other Pakistanis , gave you a second chance and thought you might have changed. But the minute you revealed your intentions to be president, that is when all the omens of a dark future hatched in our minds. The chairman of the largest political party should not be the president of the federation. The president must be someone who is a symbol of the federation. In light of all of this, one cannot help but ask are you even a Pakistani? Do you feel the pain we all feel collectively for our country? Do you care? Or are you here on some sort of vendetta to punish the People of Pakistan and the State of Pakistan because no one came to the streets to rescue you while you languished in jail? The notion sounds absurd. But so do your actions. History will judge you on your actions and not your cheeky smile and your eloquent pre-written speeches. As the President of Pakistan, you should have known that disqualification of the Sharif Brothers would have led to the return of a previous decade where it would be PML-N versus the Centre dominated by PPP. That is exactly where we stand today. You, not they, are responsible for plunging Pakistan into an abyss of darkness. Unfortunately, all changes your party claims are ultimately cosmetic and synthetic. The only real change is that now the Peoples Party of Pakistan is not led by Benazir Bhutto but by you. You are not Benazir Bhutto, obviously. Her qualifications empowered her to understand the Constitution and her conscience led her to defend it. This is why she signed onto the Charter of Democracy. Can the same be said for you? Public opinion will decide that in the next election, assuming you manage to deliver free and fair elections. I can only pray to God that this assumption of mine is not false. By your actions, you have denied the People of Punjab, where over 60% of Pakistanis reside, their democratic preference and are shoving down our throats a rule by a Governor who could hardly represent an iota of Pakistan. Your actions are politically motivated. The Sharif Brothers may very well be ineligible, but then so are you. You are not a saint.

We will not forgive you. The cloak of divinity you have been donning as a result of the tragic loss of our great leader Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto does not give you carte blanche to do burn the national fabric. The masses have begun to realize the People’s Party founded by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Mohtama Benazir Bhutto is no longer intact as long as you are the chairperson. I will not wish glad tidings upon you, but I will describe the coming gale which rests in an intangible crucible that is the hearts and minds of the People of Pakistan. You cannot break this spirit nor can you hurt our ranks. This energy is purity and the Awam is its source. We do not want you lead us in any capacity because you an incapable of doing so. Your actions are proof. You went to China to see the massive development state they have become and all the glory they have achieved. You took a beggars bowl asking for their money to help us in our tough time due to your government’s incompetence. But instead of just taking their money, if you learnt from their ways and their process and their civilization’s ethos on the principles of social harmony inspired by the great philosopher Confucius, then maybe the events of 25th February 2009 may have been averted and you would not have reverted Pakistan to the start of a re-run of the Dark Ages. A 160 million Pakistanis are not your murids. We are citizens of Pakistan. This realm is a sovereign nation-state and we are its citizens. Pakistan is not your personal feudal fiefdom nor are our lives and our aspirations a stage for you to act out your theatrical dramas. But I again stand guilty of the false assumption that you can learn and hence, you are the same Asif Ali Zardari of the 1990’s that you are today.

With Not an Iota of Respect Towards Your Individual Person,

A Patriotic Pakistan

About the author

Ellahi Haroon

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