Saturday, April 10, 2010

Laughing (Live)Stocks - Updated

Why oh why, you may think, are we incapable of moving beyond mediocrity as a nation? Or why are we so oblivious and uncaring of people laughing at us? You may have thought that if you had chanced upon the news this evening that Jamshed Dasti - the PPP MNA from Muzaffargarh recently forced to resign his parliamentary seat by the Supreme Court for faking his academic credentials and all-round buffoon - had been appointed an adviser to the Prime Minister.

But then, you probably did not read the following story in this morning's Dawn, which would have put the whole thing into perspective for you:

Gilani’s brother in run for NA-178
By Our Correspondent
Friday, 09 Apr, 2010
"MUZAFFRGARH, April 8: The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has decided to award by-election ticket for NA-178 to Syed Ahmed Mujtaba Gilani, the brother of Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani.
The seat fell vacant when MNA Jamshed Dasti resigned for possessing a fake BA degree.
Local PPP MPA Irshad Sial and district PPP acting president Ashiq Baloch also confirmed the decision, while Jamshed Dasti said he was in Islamabad to meet the prime minister and the president to get the ticket for himself. He admitted that he was facing a problem in getting the PPP ticket.
After this news spread in Muzaffargarh city, supporters of Dasti staged a rally in his favour while local PPP workers and leaders hoped that Mujtaba Gilani’s election might be a blessing for the constituency in the shape of major projects.
A PPP leader said the reason for not giving ticket to Dasti was his anti-party policies. He was very vocal against party MNA and minister Hina Rabbani Khar, and once he held a press conference against Governor Salmaan Taseer.
Mujtaba Gilani will face ex-governor Mustafa Khar, Nawabzada Iftikhar Ahmed Khan and Nawab Mansoor Ahmed Khan in the election.
Sources close to Dasti said he would not leave the field and might contest as an independent candidate."

See? It all makes sense now doesn't it? Whoever said politics was not about sordid give and take? An adviser-ship on Dairy and Livestock in return for leaving the field clear for the PM's brother.

On the positive side, Jamshed Dasti is probably more at home among livestock than on the National Assembly's standing committee on sports or in any other capacity in parliament. As the Online report adds dryly, "It has been told that Dasti has vast knowledge on Dairy and Livestock matters."

: : : UPDATE : : :

I know I didn't imagine the news item since Mohammad Malick, The News' Islamabad-Rawalpindi editor has also written a scathing piece against Gilani in today's paper. But now the news of the adviser-ship is being denied by Jamshed Dasti himself. But believe it or not, the denial comes coupled with clear confirmation that he has, in fact, today been awarded a PPP ticket to contest the elections again from the same seat.

Now, technically, of course Dasti can contest the seat since the condition of parliamentary candidates being graduates has been done away with (and quite rightly!). But what message is the PPP really sending out by re-nominating a man known to have committed fraud? (Incidentally, the PPP has also given a ticket to Nazir Ahmad Jat, another MNA - formerly of the PML(Q) - who also resigned around the same time when his fake degree was challenged in court. Vehari's Nazir Jat, had earlier announced his decision to resign was because he wanted to leave the PML(Q) for the PML(N). I wonder what happened to move him into the PPP camp!)

Will this brazen move not invite calls for the cases against Dasti and Jat to be reopened and taken to their logical conclusion, i.e. conviction for fraud? As it is, I think the Supreme Court's political decision to allow Dasti a facesaving by resigning in lieu of making a legal ruling on the matter, was a bizarre exercise of judicial prerogative, which could easily be challenged in court.

And it would be interesting to find out what really went down this morning in the parliamentary party board meeting chaired by Asif Zardari. Was Gilani put on the back foot because of the sordidness of his wheeling and dealing regarding his brother's candidature? Now that his powers have been stripped as president, was Zardari sending out a message to Gilani asserting his control over the party? Does Dasti really enjoy as much grassroots worker support as is being made out? Whatever did go on at the meeting, what is clear is that this way or that, the PPP has really put its foot in it.

1 comment:

TLW said...

Why are we incapable of moving beyond mediocrity as a nation

Because if you're above mediocre in something in Pakistan, you find that you can make more money in some other country, with your skills.

Or why are we so oblivious and uncaring of people laughing at us?

Please see previous comment on mediocrity.

Speculation on the PPP's actions is interesting, but we're also interested in what Cafe Pyala's media crtitical take would be on the 18th Amendment.

Also, if you would go back to plain ol' news media critique, that would be cool too.