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Honourable house

Dr Farid A Malik

On October 17, 2021, the leader of the opposition, Shehbaz Sharif (SS) while speaking in the joint session of the legislature remarked that not only the ‘Aiwan’ (House) but all its members were ‘Mauziz’ (Honourable). Coming from a person who is facing serious charges of corruption including money laundering, his words carried no impact or meaning. The opposition did not stop here, Shahid Khaqan Abbassi an Ex-Prime Minister from the same party said that the ruling party does not have ‘Moral Majority’. In other words, those who sided with the government had serious morality issues. Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman called it a black day for democracy. The fact of the matter is that as a nation we have been engulfed in the ‘Zia Dark Ages’ since July 5,1977. Every election since then has been disputed. Most of the individuals whose entry was forced into this once ‘Mauziz Aiwan’ were not honourable, as their conduct was dishonourable.

As a child once I heard a story of a very well-dressed mother whose children were dressed in rags. An elderly sane person walked up to her and said that, “Mai Tu Nangi Hain” (Lady you are exposed). She could not understand, then he pointed towards the ill-clad youngers who accompanied her. While the nation is half naked ill-fed and illiterate, the leaders claim to be ‘Mauziz’. It is the conduct that counts not the expensive attire that most members display in the house while delivering long meaningless speeches on both sides of the political divide.

Debate, discussion and consensus are a part and parcel of democracy but that is only possible if common and not vested interests are pursued which has not been the case since July 1977. The 1973 constitution has survived mainly because it is a consensual document. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (ZAB) understood the impediments and importance of constitution making in the land of the pure. He went out of the way to get the complete support of the parliament which at that time was certainly ‘Mauziz’; the ablest house ever. The leader of the house was ZAB while opposition was led by Khan Abdul Wali Khan—both upright, clean and able leaders. There were no charges of corruption against any member as they were all wiped out in the free and free contest in 1970. The ‘Sarkari League’ (PML-Con) led by establishment politicians like Chaudhry Zahoor Elahi bit the dust. A majority of the legislators were fresh faces, willing and ready to serve. Dr Mubashir Hasan polled the highest number of votes. Lahore emerged as the bastion of Pakistan People’s Party. Unfortunately, not much has been written about the achievements of this ‘Mauziz Aiwan’ to be a role model for our democratic journey.

Huseyn Shaheed Suharwardy, the fifth elected PM of Pakistan, was a stalwart of the freedom movement. Quaid-e-Azam relied on him to lead the Muslim League in the eastern wing. He was elected the PM of the combined province of an undivided Bengal. As a brilliant lawyer he challenged Ayub Khan’s EBDO (Elected Bodies Disqualification Ordinances). He successfully defended himself in the Military Tribunal headed by a Lt. Col. He addressed the Chairman of the tribunal as ‘My Learned Friend’ but in the end he said, certain statements do not carry weight, you are neither learned nor my friend. It should be very clear that only the ‘Mauziz Aiwan’ was the one elected in the year 1970 as it was composed of ‘Mauziz Members’ which did not include Pirs, Mirs, Sains and Tajirs. Since then, it has been a waste of nations resources with massive corruption, loot and plunder. Agencies have files overflowing with information about the unscrupulous activities of all these ‘Mauziz Members’. No wonder, they slip away at all crucial moments, leaving their leadership with a bloody nose and in utter frustration of failure. Not the words, it is one’s conduct that counts.

Dr Farid A Malik

The writer is Ex-Chairman Pakistan Science Foundation, email: