New Age Islam Edit Desk
April 5, 2013
A certificate is a certificate, whether genuine or fake, former Sindh CM Md Ali Raisani jokingly said that a beggar had told him in Dubai. And the Pakistani leaders seemed to have followed this principle en masse. More than sixty members of assemblies and Parliament were reported to have submitted fake mark sheets while filing nominations in previous elections. The racket was so rampant that they did not even bother about what date they were putting on the certificates. For example, an MPA had passed Matriculation in 2007, did his B.A. in 2006 and passed his M.A. in 2001. Interestingly his M.A. was in Islamic studies. So much for his Islamic credentials. This brazenness in mark sheet corruption was indicative of the fact that there was no or little scrutiny of the papers as the officials were afraid of challenging the academic credentials of the political leaders.
However, this has changed for the better. Pakistan has demonstrated some fundamental changes though not very much. But positive changes should be welcomed even if they are small. It gives hope that at least the situation is not deteriorating, if not improving. In the last couple of years, there has been political awareness among the common people. Mass uprising, though not on the scale of Tahrir Square and Shahbag Square, has put the corrupt government on the back foot. The long march of Tahirul Qadri also had some positive effect as it gave the common man on the street the courage to assert his rights, to seek a change and to voice its protests against the rampant corruption of the politicians.
The mood of the public forced the government to take notice and gave the judiciary an upper hand in dealing with corruption of the politicians, though the judiciary in Pakistan is not as strong as in, say, India or the US. In February, its orders on the arrest of Prime Minister Pervez Ashraf were shamelessly defied by the executive. However, in fake mark sheet cases, the judiciary has been able to take action and has sent some powerful leaders of the ruling and opposition parties to jail.
Thursday, the 4th April was an important day in the history of Pakistan as courts in Lahore, Peshawar, Quettan and Bahawalpur pronounced their judgments on the fake mark sheets case. Jamshed Dasti, a former MP from the ruling People’s Party, was sentenced to three years’ jail and a penalty of Rs five thousand and was debarred from running for elections. The district court of Peshawar sentenced a former minister of ANP Aaquil Shah with one year imprisonment and a penalty of Rs three thousand. He was arrested soon after emerging out of the court and sent to jail. His mark sheet had been proved to be fake three years ago but he had been dragging on the case. Former MP Salman Muhsin did not present himself before the court and was declared absconding and his movable and immovable property has been ordered to be attached. His guarantor has also been issued a show cause notice. The court has reserved its judgment on the former MLA of Quetta Ali Madad Jatak. He is now seeking divine intervention of God. Former MLA of Punjab, Meer Badshah Qaisarani was absent and so a non-bailable warrant has been issued against him. His guarantor has been arrested. District court of Bahawalpur declared former MP from People’s Party absconding and his movable and immovable properties to be attached.
Though the petitions against some other former MLAs and MPs asking their disqualification from running the forthcoming elections were rejected, the decisions against the convicted leaders are welcome and can make a lot of difference in holding fair elections as other leaders will be discouraged to submit fake mark sheets to the election commission.
But the most interesting and intriguing part of all this episode is that Jamshed Dasti, whose fake mark sheet sent him to jail for three years broke down after hearing the judgment as if he was a victim or a martyr. Wiping his tears he said that in his absence his brother will fight the elections. Instead of being ashamed of his shameful deed of cheating and fooling the people and hoodwinking the country for five years, he demonstrated a sense of victimhood or wanted to gain sympathy of the people by doing so. It might also be the sense of loss that made him cry as politicians who become addicted to power do not want to part with it at any cost and go to any extent to protect it. Since he was barred from fighting the elections, he said he will ensure that his brother fights and wins the elections as the power should remain with the family. The same kind of victimhood was demonstrated a few years back and after the Gujarat riots when Narendra Modi had started crying while addressing a party conference, recalling the days when his party workers had been arrested and sent to jails making them face hardships and sleeping on floors. One would be surprised to see a man who is insensitive to massacres of people cry over the recollection of a past event of his own life. So criminals and delinquents also create a halo of victimhood presenting an aspect of their life where they were victims’ therefore deserving sympathy. We can also recall Kapil Dev breaking into tears on a TV talk show after the match fixing scandal.
It was not only Jamshed Dasti or Narendra Modi who cried in public. Last year, the President of the US, Barack Obama cried in public while thanking his party workers for ensuring his re-election. So, he was crying for something personal—his re-election and not for the thousands of innocent men, women and children killed in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Palestine. It also means politicians have no real emotions and real cause to shed tears. Their tears are politically correct.
However, these tears do not cut much ice with the masses who know that they are not being shed in their love but on their personal loss or gain. Given the shape situations are taking in Pakistan, more and more corrupt politicians will be arrested and sent behind bars with tears running down their cheeks while the people take a sigh of relief.