By Chaudhry Naveed Dheerath twitter.com/NAVEEDDEERATH
Late into a frosty December night, we sat in chairs around a bonfire on the lawn of the Political Assistant’s official residence atop Fort Monroe, chatting conspicuously. The issue of our country is that politics has always been a part of our debate. A friend, holding a cup of tea in his hands, suddenly settled that the politicians of our country are not fair. A bureaucrat friend sitting next to him silently sipped his tea, jerking his head back and forth so long as to give a yes as if issuing a vindictive verdict before him, his legs curled up on the chair and the fire. While shaking his hands, another bureaucrat approvingly shook his head; I don’t know where, unexpectedly, a different train of thought appeared in my mind from some prior experiences and situations I had with people. Then, I suddenly countered that politicians are not wicked; they are only the ray of light in the night. They work day and night in their constituencies to make sure that their voters remain happy. Accordingly, all my friends looked at me in surprise, as if I had committed some sin despite being in their company. They stared at me and enquired; tell us how the politicians are better than bureaucrats? So I asked them a few questions.
“Have you ever heard that a politician’s camp is closed in the morning, evening, Sunday, Eid or any day?”
They all spoke! Yes, it is; their camps are always open. Then I asked if they had ever seen a questioner from a politician’s camp being disrespected or handcuffed. Ever seen a person returning from a politician’s camp without tea, water or food?
The four bureaucrat friends listened to me attentively with frowns on their faces but nodded in agreement as if their consciences were unconsciously forcing them to admit the truth. After that, I said I would tell you about an incident I witnessed.
Once, a former MNA of Kasur district was sitting in a room with many dignitaries at his camp. A man came from outside and told an employee at his tent to tell Chaudhry Sahib to come out, as I had a piece of work with him. Chaudhry Sahib came out of his room and asked the person, Yusuf Sahib, why did you come?
Chaudhry Sahib did Yusuf’s work despite all his busyness, for which the person left the place by thanking Chaudhry Sahib. Does it not suggest that the politician favoured the needy and treated him humanely? How are these great people who smile, tolerate harsh words, and don’t let anyone return from their homes empty and disappointed? After that, I said that you had also known many politician camps; now, let’s look at the bureaucracy and offices of government officials. At my first question, they were startled as if a bonfire had been removed from in front of them and placed under their chairs. I questioned whether a poor and helpless aspirant would dare to go to the office of a bureaucrat or a government officer without a recommendation or a slip. How many people go to government offices and return with dignity? How many officers have their offices open to the public? After meeting them, who are the officers whom an ordinary man would say that he gave me respect and honour?
They were all listening to me like statues, and I had no idea where the thought was coming from and where words were coming out of my mouth like order and embers. I still remember that night when they all gave up and said that politicians are better than us. In our society, it has become a fashion to call politicians wicked; otherwise, an ordinary man cannot meet a prominent businessman, a person in business, a big officer or even a significant scholar. Then, all and sundry meet politicians and get better treatment and responses.
But it is the intrepidity of a politician that he meets all persons with love and care belonging to every walk of life, be it a rickshaw driver, shopkeeper, small civil servant, or seminary student. An employee of a factory or a farmer of a zamindar can meet his politician at his office (dera) throughout the week, morning, afternoon and evening, even on Eid days. You will also get respect and be served tea having regard, and above all, they will serve you even if you are a staunch opponent of them.
If someone is always available to serve the public with a smile, he is a true saviour, and in today’s age, all these qualities are found only among politicians. It can quickly be established without a doubt politicians are the messiahs who stand with their people in all hardships and sufferings.
Today, after a long time, on the terrace of the government house in Lahore, seeing the stars shining in the sky in the cool of the night, a phrase of Umira Ahmed echoed in my mind “In the intense darkness, a person needs only so much light that He can know his existence.”
In this society, the world does not listen to anyone, and there is darkness; if we can get some light to see our existence and identity, it is only possible with the presence of these politicians, and our politicians are the real messiahs. Then, it is their constitutional prerogative to lead the nation. They are the chosen representatives of the people. They represent the people and have all the delegated powers as per the constitution of Pakistan reflected in the objectives resolution. We need to understand that politicians are the future of Pakistan. There is already massive propaganda against them by undemocratic forces. The last question is from the people I often ask. Who elects the politicians? People claim that elections are rigged; however, I’m afraid I have to disagree with it. We, the people, chose them, and how can we declare them cruel when they are our choice? It means they are not malicious; it is we who are wicked. When the people elect the politicians, there is no question of bringing so much lethal criticism against them. Hence, politicians are the only saviors, and we must respect and choose them on merit and transparency.
The writer is a civil servant.