The Good politician

Published in Pakistan Today on the 10th of November, 2011.

Putting to rest any internal unrest or guilt, criticizing another gives us a weird satisfaction. I did not stop at the traffic signal this morning, was not honest in my tax return this year, I did not give way to the honking ambulance, I did not protest and readily bribed that government servant so that I wouldn’t have to wait in line, but wait I did criticize the politicians, judges etc. and behold: I have a clear conscience now. And when it comes to criticism; politicians are the easiest and most common target.

First off, we have not imported our politicians from another country. They too are Pakistanis and just like all Pakistanis there are corrupt politicians and then there are good and clean politicians and, to many of the readers’ surprise, there are more patriotic and honest politicians than there are corrupt ones.

Where are they? Well there are one thousand, one hundred and seventy parliamentarians/legislators in Pakistan (Senators, MNAs and MPAs). How many do we see and know? Party Leaders (prominent politicians) Cabinet members, spokespersons and those who frequently appear on talk shows and this number falls between two to three hundred maximum, which leaves more than seven hundred ‘unknown’ parliamentarians. Among them are highly educated, honest and capable ones who we haven’t heard of because they are not involved in any scandals, are not ministers and choose not to appear on talk shows for reasons.

When it comes to the fake degree drama, the number of parliamentarians accused of having fake degrees was less than 200; those whose degrees were proven fake were even fewer. Similarly, it was recently reported that only about 200 Parliamentarians did not declare their assets, as required by law. Which means there are more than 800 parliamentarians who did declare their assets and do it every year in accordance with law.

The problem is not that “all” or even a majority of parliamentarians are corrupt; the problem is that the system only allows a corrupt minority to be in control. Hypothetically, if a PM or CM is corrupt, he cannot work with an honest cabinet member. If a Party Leader is corrupt, he will not be happy with a clean member of his party and owing to extreme dictatorial trends within almost all our political parties, the voice of reason is suppressed if it is not in line. We need not be disappointed by our politicians, we need only to identify the dirty ones and get rid of them.


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