Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Don Quixote of Pakistan

March 9, 2011
By Saeed Qureshi

Don Quixote is the hero of a 17th Spanish novel with the same title written by Miguel de Cervantes. Don Quixote is a queer megalomaniac figure who sets out to fight against the wrong doers. He perceives phantom and imaginary enemies and is ready to put up a fight in which he invariably comes out humiliated, beaten up and injured. He performs several foolish acts of chivalry and adventures one of which is attacking the windmills with his lance. The term tilting at the windmills imagining them to be giants was coined from this mirthful act of Don Quixote.

The windmills knock him and his horse Rocinante with terrible injuries and broken body. He has been portrayed as a buffoon who has an impulsive tendency to enter violently into matters that do not concern him. His propensity for avoidable fracas generate great humor and some time pity for this idiotic hero who loses in all encounters but seldom loses hope and self-magnifying feelings of chivalry.

We have a Don Quixote in Pakistan too. He is incidentally the interior minister of Sindh province and also the senior vice president of the largest party, the Pakistan People’s Party now in power at the center and province of Sindh. Our Don Quixote has claimed many a time that no mother has produced a bigger goon than him and that he was along with others ( the word ‘we’ used) were committing the acts of wanton terrorism now plaguing Karachi the Largest city of Pakistan.

Goon he is but a goofy goon. By his deafening harangue full of sound and fury, signifying threats and gauntlets, he has qualified himself to be the Frankenstein of his party that still has roots in the masses. With his public abusive sermons, he has inflamed the political climate in Karachi which needs prudence and discretion to win the hearts of the opponents for a much sought after peace and social tranquility in Karachi.

He speaks with uncontrollable gusto and force, gushes out volleys of slander and abuses in his speeches. He forgets that the audiences were not impressed by his exhuberance and thunderbolt rhetoric but incensed by his ludicrous claims. His fire-spitting bombastic oration with stress on each word that he pronounces make one believe as if a declamation contest was taking place on a theatrical stage. His twirled moustache also strikes awe in the minds of the listeners.

Several times, in his convoluted wisdom he has heaped invectives, on MQM for unleashing terrorism on Karachi and killing the innocent citizens for insidious motives. Then he lashed out at Punjab government and the ruling party there PMLN. He warned that if the PPP coalition in Punjab was wound up and the PPP ministers were sent home, he would retaliate in a most diabolic manner. That diabolic reprisal was to shut and ransack all the PMLN offices from Karachi to Kashmore.

The PMLN government of Shahbaz Sharif did forsake the PPP ministers and bade them unceremonious farewell. The area mentioned by the volatile interior minister is calm and the kind of civil war that he predicted is still invisible.

And of late, he once again lambasted at the MQM and reviled them for being a terrorist band of killers. Furthermore, forcefully rejecting the accusations of target killings against the PPP peace committees, he boastfully showered accolades on these peace committees. Challenging the MQM, he declared that from now onward he would openly sponsor and own these PPP peace committees as their god-father even if these were involved in criminal activities.

With his insane and unguarded diatribe, hard hitting vitriolic and unwarranted crazy challenges to his political foes and allies, he has put the PPP in the most difficult situation. President Zardari, every time tries to repair the damage done to his policy of conciliation and tolerance, but this gentleman takes it back to the square one, making more mess than before.

Ostensibly he is delving in unbridled absurdities because of his close links with the chairman of the party, and also as being the self- touted senior vice president of the PPP. His illustrious and highly dignified wife Fehmida Mirza is the speaker of the National Assembly.

But he should be bridled and leashed so that the PPP already in deep waters should have the necessary breathing space to recuperate its lost prestige and sagging popularity. Because of such unscrupulous individuals as Dr. Zulfikar Mirza is, and their overly threatening postures and professed banditry, PPP would sink further and more rapidly into the abyss of public distrust and despising. Besides it would lose the much needed support of its allies as MQM which is now fed up with Dr. Mirza’s off repeated smearing outburst and is in the wake of leaving its coalition with the PPP.

It is vitally imperative for the chairman of the PPP and also the president of Pakistan Jinab Asif Ali Zardari to counsel this overactive and hyper member of the PPP and firmly tell him to restrain his rage and rancor against a very intimate ally MQM and also the second largest party PMNL.

This remedial measure would keep in place the president’s policy of building up national consensus, solidarity and unity to address and redress the gubernatorial issues that Pakistan is faced with. If PPP loses power and MQM parts company, Dr. Mirza would be solely responsible for such a grave debacle. That would be a death knell for the political future and integrity of PPP for quite some time.

The writer is a senior journalist and a former diplomat
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