The slogan Aik Zardari Sab Pay Bhari (One Zardari enough to face them all) resounds in everyone’s mind today, specially after the day of September 8, 2013 lodged itself into the annals of Pakistan’s otherwise checkered history. The day marks the culmination of full five-year tenure for a democratically elected head of state – a debut event for the 66-year old country.
Asif Zardari came, ruled the roost and left with dignity and honor, paving the way for his successor, who in this case happens to be Pakistan Muslim League-N’s Mamnoon Hussain.
Today we see Nawaz Sharif as the Prime Minister of Pakistan for the third time. This fact itself owes its coming into reality to the 18th amendment of the Constitution effected in the last government led by Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), whose Co-Chairman is the man who repeatedly chanted ‘Pakistan Khappay’ (we want Pakistan).
The country and its nation is becoming witness to a number of events for the first time – luncheon hosted by the Prime Minister in President’s honour, farewell guard of honour by the armed forces for the outgoing (civilian) head of state, etc. Only a few months ago we witnessed the rarest event of the first ever successful and smooth transition of one civilian rule to the other.
Now the question is: are we as a nation heading in the right direction? Being a firm believer in democracy and democratic culture, I don’t see any doubt in our finally being on the right track.
No doubt, the overall performance of the past government remained highly dismal and left a lot to be desired on almost all fronts including law and order, war against terrorism, energy and fuel crisis, economy, unemployment, and so on.
This, understandably, shook some people’s confidence in democracy. But, these people must not forget that democracy is not a revolution rather it is a culture that requires time to gradually take roots and then develop into a fully grown tree before bearing its fruits.
In an interview, Mr Zardari who is now a former president said: “I remained behind bars for 11-and-a-half years. Jail taught me how to exercise patience.” The patience and tolerance did reflect in the way he managed the affairs during the tenure of the coveted office.
Although some political analysts have started calling him a political guru or a PhD in politics, it is yet to be seen how effectively Mr Zardari, as a Co-Chairman of PPP, reorganizes his party which had to suffer a crushing defeat in the last general elections.
Mazhar Bughio can be followed on Twitter @mazharbughio