Sincerity of politicians

September 14, 2008


THERE are a number of funny poems in Urdu but written in Roman English that are circulating on the Internet nowadays. These point out the problems of prolonged electricity outages, scarcity of wheat flour, ever increasing prices of fuel and gas being faced by the people and the lawyers' movement, etc.

Even a new national anthem has been created highlighting all these issues which are turning out to be gruesome for public. At the same time senior citizens are now talking about the sincerity of politicians during the 1950s. Although people at that time were also critical of individuals who had assumed the position of prime minister in quick succession and their respective governments but they had never doubted their sincerity, integrity and loyalty towards the country and welfare of the nation.

Those were the politicians who had either participated in the Pakistan movement or had watched it closely. People like Chaudhry Mohamad Ali, Abdul Qayyum Khan, Sardar Abdul Rab Nishter, Malik Feroz Khan Noon and Hussain Shaheed Suhrawardy wanted progress and prosperity of the country.

I once happened to listen to the speech by Suhrawardy, who was the prime minister in 1957, outside the Mochi Gate in Lahore. He spoke in eloquent Urdu although his mother tongue was Bengali. The audience was spellbound by his oratory skills and believed every word which he uttered. This healthy era of political governance came to a sudden and unfortunate end with the imposition of martial law by Ayub Khan in October 1958.

I am of the firm belief that those happy days of accountability by the politicians and sincerity amongst them can come back provided the democratic setup is allowed to stabilise and flourish without facing the unforeseen army interventions, which have engulfed the country over the last 50 years.