Eid & our Political Leadership

By M. Tahir Khan.

First of all I would like to share my greetings to all the Muslims in Pakistan and across the world on this blessed occasion of Eid ul Fitr, which is believed to be one of the blessed religious occasions of happiness and celebrations for Muslim world that marks the end of the holy month of Ramzan.

It’s unfortunate that political leadership of Pakistan love to celebrate the occasion of happiness “Eid-ul-Fitr” outside of Pakistan. It appears that they have less or minimal affiliation with Pakistan particularly when it comes to patriotism. Our political leadership’s families are settled in foreign countries, their business interests are outside and there are many other links that force them to celebrate occasions of Eid outside of Pakistan.

It has been our observation since our childhood that whenever the month of Ramzan enters into its third phase, the last ten days of fasting, people start to finalize their plans to celebrate Eid with their loved ones and other family members. Similarly, if we look into the historical perspective of Pakistan that is spanning over 65 years, the people of Pakistan moved from their native places for better future, some of them moved to the major cities of Pakistan like Karachi, Lahore or Islamabad, sometimes they moved abroad in different parts of the world, but they always gave priority to celebrate Eid at their native places from where they originate.

The same pattern can be witnessed every year when Eid ul Fitr makes Islamabad quiet. Every year Railway department plans special Eid routes from and to different parts of the country for the convenience of general public. It even gets difficult to catch a flight in the last ten days of Ramzan especially if you have to book a flight back to Pakistan from Middle East, Europe or even USA, the only reason appears that all flights to Pakistan are already booked in advance, is the fact that people want to celebrate Eid with their families. However, this is an interesting element to point out here that our political leaders love to celebrate Eid outside of Pakistan. They feel that their families are insecure in Pakistan and actually create a further distance between political class of Pakistan and general public.

In Pakistan’s currently political scenarios, if we look into major political parties of Pakistan in respect of their representations in National Assembly of Pakistan, it can be justified that what kind of interests they have in Pakistan and outside of Pakistan.

First of all, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif along with his family members has celebrated Eid-ul-Fitr in London, England. His both sons have their business interests outside of Pakistan in Saudi Arabia and England. Chances are minimal that they will bring back their investments back to the Pakistan. Infact we can say that they won’t even think to go for it in their lifetimes. Our Finance Minister Ishaq Dar also went to Dubai to celebrate Eid outside of his hometown.

Secondly, Ex President Asif Ali Zardari and his son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari have celebrated Eid-ul-Fitr in London, United Kingdom along with their family members. It’s not the first time that senior most leadership of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) celebrated outside of Pakistan. Most of the other leaders also move to abroad for Eid where they have business interests in millions.

Then we have Altaf Hussain, the leader of Pakistan’s fourth largest political party MQM, who has been living in England for 24 years and is permanently settled over there from where he controls the party affairs as non-resident of Pakistan.

Political leaders Nawaz Shareef, Asif Ali Zardari and Altaf Hussain are on one end then its Imran Khan Chairman Pakistan Tehreek e Insaaf (PTI) on the other end, who preferred to celebrate Eid in Pakistan along with party officials, workers and family members. But, an interesting element, Imran Khan has also strong relations in England, as his both sons live there and Imran Khan use to visit them frequently to meet them, which can be termed as an obvious and justified routine as well. It is also expected that in next few days he will visit them again.

On general scale, as per the situation of Pakistan’s political leaders, their direct contact with the public of Pakistan looks minimal, and it creates further difference between nation and its leadership. However, one exceptional case on this Eid is General Raheel Shareef, Chief of the Army Staff who celebrated the Eid on the front lines at borders of North and South Waziristan along with the troops and other senior officers, which is no doubt a brilliant step to enhance the morale of force. This spirit clearly lacks in our political leadership of Pakistan.

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