Slum Politics - Akbar S Babar


Chief Minister (5k+ posts)
Most locals inhabiting the capital city always had difficulty properly pronouncing the capital city. Public transport conductors invariably shout ‘SlumBad’ to lure waiting commuters for an inexpensive ride to the capital.

Driving through the Constitution Avenue the other day with camped protestors taking public baths and garbage strewn all over with unbearable stench, it reminded me of scenes from a movie where aliens had taken control of the capital. Scenes of containers choking entrances and construction of mass grave sites thanks the metro mania of the Sharif brothers has transformed a town with fresh air into ‘Slumbad’ with debris and stench all around. All that was needed was to build vertical and horizontal parking lots for twin city commuters to park their vehicles close to Faizabad and travel on luxury buses leaving bus lays every few minutes. A legislation to force all private school owners to use buses for transportation of students would have further cleared the roads of the traffic mess that most ‘Slumbadians’ endure on a daily basis. The cost effective solution to the traffic mess would have significantly reduced the traffic load on roads, resulting in cleaner environment with less smoke emitting vehicles on the streets, all at a fraction of the metro bus system cost. But who cares about making life easier for toiling citizens when larger greed ridden agendas are at stake.

While PAT is literally pleading with the PTI and its leader, on a daily basis, to end the dharna before Eid-ul-Azha for reasons ranging from poor health of TUQ to flood devastation to homes of PAT protestors back home, the PTI Chairman remains adamant. After leading the charge to topple the present government in the hope of becoming the interim Prime Minister, the lethal Sufi Saint from Multan, has become the next victim of falling from IK’s grace for playing games on the resignation issue. Such is the level of trust between the leadership and the PTI Parliamentarians that they cannot be trusted to individually appear before the Speaker to verify their resignations. After shabbily treating most PTI Parliamentarians throughout the parliamentary year, the final disgrace was meted out to them when they were told that they could only go before the Speaker to verify their resignations as ‘sheep and cattle’ go, in a flock lest they go astray.

Any nation’s rise and fall is a mere reflection of their societal character. Leaders are role models who either build or destroy the moral fabric of any society. Our present decayed societal character is almost a mirror image of our role models. As soon as the PTI was able to catch the attention of a nation particularly of an entire young generation, the prime responsibility had shifted to its leadership to groom and educate them on basic values such as honesty and hard work. That opportunity seems to have been all but wasted.

When Imran Khan repeatedly boasts of his capacity to fight until the ‘last ball’ and that he has ‘everything in life,’ he forgets that he is not the only one with the capacity and endurance to fight to the end. Lesser known individuals continue to fight and endure a lot more on a daily basis. Fighting to the last ball is one thing, fighting long after the last ball has already been bowled makes a sour loser. Similarly, contentment in life has little to do with material gains accumulated over a life time. The lucky ones are those with precious little in life but endowed with humility to be more content than several Imran Khan’s put together.

By giving the example of a prospering China, Imran Khan conveniently ignores that the change from an opium ridden society to the second largest economy of the world did not happen overnight hoisted on mere slogans atop containers surrounded by crooks and drug addicts. If China had allowed its version of the dharna on Tiananmen Square to continue, the ensuing chaos may have returned China to a society run by warlords. When the PTI land mafia is encouraged to invest in a new city project with significant chunks of land bought at a penance by a failed PTI leader from an adjacent district and resold to the KPK government at exorbitant rates, exactly the conflict of interest driven mega corruption that Imran Khan is so fond of admonishing on the ‘Container Top,’ something fundamental has gone haywire. Unlike today’s PTI, the Communist Party of China, the locomotive of change, does not knowingly tolerate crooks within its hierarchy. Lines have to be drawn and those crossing the dreaded lines must be held accountable for any system, democratic or otherwise, to deliver. With dinosaur skeletons from the PTI KPK shelf creeping out, that task is becoming easier by the day thanks to PTI’s self-destructive policies driven by small men with huge crooked ambitions.

So before the PTI turns into another ‘Slum Party’ headquartered in ‘Slumbad,’ the PTI tree is expected to be shaken to its roots. How is it going to happen is a matter of strategy to unravel in the next few weeks?

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