Col Ikram Ullah Khan

Game of politics 

Col (r) Ikram Ullah Khan 

The world finds it hard to present a single instance of a game that could conceivably be played without adhering to laid down rules. Even in free-style polo played in the northern part of Pakistan there are certain rules specified for the game that make them binding on the players to follow.

But when it comes to the political game, we tend to lay the rules aside and prefer to play it without rules. This is the only game in our country wherein foul play is not objected to; rather it’s accepted without even a mild disapproval as it suits all the contestants equally.

Politics is a craft practiced by people with skewed priorities. It demands price which is too high for an orthodox soul to pay. You have to sell your soul to the devil in order to survive in political arena. You have to banish certain key principles from your life in order to get yourself afloat in politics. We all are conscious of the harsh reality that doing a fair and square business in politics today would be suicidal. We also know that a politician willy-nilly and with a heavy heart has to adopt the Machiavellian principle, i.e. ” the end justifies the means” for political survival. 

Interestingly, our political world abounds with people who posture themselves to be more loyal to the king than the king himself and take refuge in misguiding their party heads inciting them to make their power felt and constantly poison their mind to pick up a gratuitous row with those forces who present no threat to them and who have nothing to do with politics; instead, they act as a fulcrum for them if wisely handled and honourably treated. This breed of politicians can be termed as fair-weather friends who, seeing their leaders drowning take no time to make a safe exit leaving them in the lurch. 

Having said that, our society is not devoid of genuine political players who believe in principles and deserve to be put on a high pedestal, but their number is relatively less. Their fate always remains hanging in the balance. Such politicians are denied their rightful place and are made to stay in the background. 

In such a messy political environment, the criteria of good and bad, competence and incompetence change overnight. Those whom you discard today dubbing them as ” good for nothing” all of a sudden become your darling and are found fit for key political portfolios as has been witnessed in the past few years. This kind of acrobatic feats we have been witnessing for the last so many years which has picked up momentum during the past few months and is happening almost on daily basis. 

In our political powerhouses, one can see politicians who proudly claim that they do politics with a sole intent to serve the people as according to them, they take it as a worship. This controversial claim, however, remains a subject of intense debate because their manifested conduct fails to support their claim. Among such claimers, quite amusingly, we find politicians who are known for changing political parties quite frequently. Such faces are seen standing on right and left of different political parties’ heads flaunting victory signs. In such a murky political environment, one finds oneself in a baffled state of mind making it exceedingly difficult to preserve one’s mental balance. 

Amidst such a sturdy political bouncing, it’s quite intriguing to see Imran Khan unconsciously acting as a unifying force for disparate political groups who have united together against him thus making the famous English saying come true which goes “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”. In this connection, the ever ailing Zardari suddenly finds himself physically and mentally fit and is hyperactive these days (presently he is in Dubai observing quarantine after tested positive for COVID-19) spearheading the battle against Imran Khan with necessary reinforcement provided by PDM leadership. 

Unfortunately, the top political leaders of the main rival parties find themselves entangled in a showdown to knock out each other and get the swing of the pendulum tilted in their favour in a bid to secure their seats in the next general elections, and in the process, are shutting their eyes to the profundity of biting problems – economic problem topping the list, besetting the country. Are we not repeating the ancient proverbial incident attributed to the Roman king Nero who was busy in fiddling his lyre while Rome burnt?  

Horrific economic issues that figure in the shape of stagflation are hitting the country hard and are snowballing with every passing day leaving us fearful of a terrifying prospect that may land us in a Srilankan like situation. In such a depressing political and financial scenario, the hapless masses find themselves in a dizzy state of mind while riding a mastless and rudderless boat tossing in the stormy sea and moving on to an unknown destination. 

Lastly, what all has been said above, it makes a clarion call for all the political forces to shed their differences, come out of the fighting mode, get united for the betterment of the country and make joint efforts to save it and try to understand that the security and Interests of the country always come first and foremost, interest and well-being of the public come next, politicking and own comfort/interest come last”.

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