By Saeed Khan Wazir.
Is there any Nuclear Weapon State where a man with speech disorder can become the head of the state? Of course not! But Pakistan can be a valid option. Pakistan is bestowed with politicians, political parties and their workers of all colors. Interestingly, there are politicians who are unable to complete a meaningful single sentence in their mother tongues let alone English language which is the hallmark of state affairs. Small surprise, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain is a prototype of this category. Unable to express himself in a clear manner, he wrote a book based on his so-called long term political career.
Ironically he says:
“Whatever I have observed during my lifetime, I have tried to describe it in the best words possible without altering any truth to my advantage.” “There are a lot of secrets buried in me, which are a sacred trust of the people.” “I’ve written nothing but the truth in it.”
Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain’sbrief introduction
-Born in Gujrat, Pakistan, in 1946, Shujaat studied atk Forman Christian College Lahore. Meanwhile, his father Chaudhry Zahoor Elahi had by this time become a wealthy industrialist and politician.
-Political career 1981.(member of the National Assembly in 1985, 1988, 1997 and 2002, held portfolios during the Zia regime and during Nawaz Sharif’s 1990-93 government).
-He became a member of Ziaul Haq’s Majlis-i-Shura – a body of ‘advisers’ to the president handpicked by Zia himself.
-He was the main mover of the Islamic Democratic Alliance (Islami Jamhoori Ittehad) in the 1988 and 1990 elections.
– According to his statement of assets and liabilities for 2010-2011 submitted to the Election Commission of Pakistan, Shujaat does not own a car and his 50 per cent share in two residential houses is worth Rs 5.2 and Rs3.4 million respectively.
Revive of the book Sach Tu Yeh Hai
The 328-page book comprising 20 chapters gives an account of the life and times of Chaudhry Shujaat, his political journey and major events he was witness to, which shaped the political scene of the country.He wrote this book on Pakistani politics which is an account of his experiences in politics. The book details Hussain’s brief stint as the country’s prime minister and his interactions with political leaders throughout his career.
It is a treasure trove for students of politics and history since it casts a quick but revealing glance at so many rulers, from even before the Z.A. Bhutto era to Mian Nawaz Sharif’s and Benazir Bhutto’s rule. The Musharraf period saw Chaudhry Shujaat’s fortunes touch their zenith and this is why much of the focus of this memoir appears to be on this particular stretch in his life; especially on the pain its narrator experienced at having been let down by the general once so desperate for allies among the national politicians.
Major interesting accounts in the book
Women as Bargaining Chips in Pakistan
I went through the book for not because of it is going to be of Chomsky’s standard ,but because of understanding web of subtle, serpentine demagoguery and the intricacies of Pakistani politics. I enjoyed it a lot as majority of the events reflect on our social and political dynamics. But alas! The following account is the most disgusting story in the book. As an astute reader, this baffled me to debilitating extent. The botched military operation of the Red Masque(Lal Masjid) has triggered off unwelcoming changes in the realm of security, political and sectarian dimensions. I have nothing to write on the operation pros and cons but is deeply bruised by the writer’s proclivity towards parochial traditions and practices which are is mind-numbing and retrogressive.
The book describes the Lal Masjid operation, which its author Ch Shujaat had opposed. The PML-Q chief says that is why Abdur Rashid Ghazi had trusted him and before his death he decided to hand over his two adopted daughters to him and those girls are still under his guardianship. “Thinking about that day still worries me.”
Now I will raise some important questions: My question to the best orator is……. Had they been his real daughters (he intended to gifted out to a clergy, the Mullah of Lal Masjid) would he have been done the same or something or the opposite of it? Is it permissible to do what one wants with the adopted children? Is there any Islamic precedence of events like the one in question?
- Nawaz Sharif wanted Zardari to frame in narcotic case:Political Wheeling and Dealing
He has alleged that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif asked him to frame Asif Ali Zardari in a narcotics case.This shows politics of revenge and elimination of political rivals which has been the most shameful characteristic of post-colonial politics in the sub-continent. Regarding the allegation, Hussain says that he had refused to file the case, and in 2011, during an interaction Zardari credit him for his presidency.The notorious kingmaker!
2. Nawaz Sharif is a habitual cheater
Husain complains of Nawaz and says he cheated him eight times on critical junctures. “Before Nawaz was sworn in as the prime minister for a second time in 1997, Mian Sharif visited me and promised to make Pervez Ellahi the chief minister of Punjab.” After gaining power, Nawaz appointed his younger brother, Shehbaz Sharif, on the post.
- The instrument of violence by the state as a policy
The book carries many revealing details. There is a mention of a meeting held in November 1999 wherein then-chiefs of intelligence agencies sworn on the Holy Quran that they would not disclose to any quarters about the meeting in which decision about extrajudicial killings in Karachi and Punjab was taken.The recent coldblooded murder of Naqib Ullah Mehsud and other progressive and nationalists elements testify this stultifying mindset in the law apparatus.
- Elections of 2008 were igged
He holds that the 2008 general elections were rigged because ‘America wanted Benazir Bhutto to come to power’. Is it true or the kingmaker was well-aware of his defeat as he was the proxy of the Musharraf-led military set-up? From the very beginning, the dream of free, fair and transparent elections has never been materialized. Who is to blame for this mess, the civilian govts or the military junta?Have Husain and his PML-Q ever stood by democracy and have never sides the military?
- Jamali was lazy PM
Further, Hussain claimed that Pervez Musharraf used to say that former prime minister of Pakistan Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali was ‘extremely lazy’.“Musharraf used to complain that PM sb [Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali] wakes up at noon so I advised Jamali to resign,” Hussain mentions in his book.Again an interesting twist in the story!Khursheed Shah takes nap while sitting in the sessions of NA and Senate(he suffers from Narcolepsy-brain’s inability to control sleep cycles).
- Clash of the Titans or Lack of Functional Specialization
The book mentions the cause of rift between Pervez Musharraf and former chief justice Chaudhry Iftikhar and how Ch Shujaat had almost resolved the differences. But Musharraf was surrounded by those who didn’t allow this reconciliation to happen.Fact!Have Nawaz not paid dearly for including people of dictatorial mindsets and remnants of military regimes?
7. Hamid Mir on Democracy and political milieu
Veteran journalist and anchor Hamid Mir, while giving his comments on the book, said Chaudhry Shujaat has penned his history of Punjab and Balochistan in this wonderful autobiography. He mentioned that Chaudhry Zahoor Elahi, by challenging the Elected Bodies Disqualification Order (EBDO) of 1959 in the court, established it once and for all that no politician can be expelled from politics by disqualifying him or her.He said that a politician could be ousted from the government by being disqualified in the name of accountability but he cannot be completely ruled out of politics.
Mir pointed out that recently popularised slogan of “Sanctity of Vote” had started in the times of Ch Zahoor Elahi, and had that been upheld and the vote had been respected, the country would not have reached this stage politically and economically.
Hussain said the Sharif family tried to give him money, but Chaudhry Zahoor Elahi refused to take it and contested elections which he refused to take, saying that the Chaudhry Family believes in giving money for elections and people’s welfare, not taking it.
Hamid Mir recommended that Nawaz Sharif should read the book by Ch Shujaat before going ahead with such an arrangement. Mir said that he derived this lesson from Chaudhry Shujaat’s autobiography in which he narrated an incident from his father’s political life when Chaudhry Zahoor Elahi was disqualified under the Elected Bodies Disqualification Order (EBDO) introduced by military dictator Ayub Khan, adding that history shows that Zahoor Elahi remained alive in the political arena despite the fact that he was disqualified by the military dictator.He also termed Ch Shujaat’s description of truth behind the killing of Akbar Bugti a daring action.
- The incident of the notorious plane hijacking
He says the then-government of Mian Nawaz Sharif could have been saved if Nawaz had not ordered diversion of the plane of the then Chief of Army Staff General Pervez Musharraf. Ch Shujaat says according to his information, the army was not willing to topple the Nawaz government. The PML-Q chief mentions that Hamza Shahbaz was in contact with the PML-Q leadership when Nawaz had left for Saudi Arabia and the PML-Q leadership used to resolve his issues.Have the Nawaz-led govt tried to establish a judicial inquiry to ascertain the major causes of his removal?
- The premeditated, extra-constitutional murder of Nawab Akbar khan Bugti
About a meeting called by Musharraf at Murree in the wake of the murder of Akbar Bugti, Shujaat states that this meeting was attended by the then Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, the Director General ISI, the DG Military Intelligence, and the DG Intelligence Bureau and the participants were told that people were happy over the killing of Bugti and were distributing sweets.
The PML-Q chief says at that time he intervened reciting a couplet of sufi poet Mian Muhammad Bux “Dushman Mary Tay Khushi Na Karye, Sajna Vi Mar Jana,” and asked DG Intelligence Bureau Ijaz Shah to translate the couplet. At that time, Shujaat quotes Musharraf as saying there was no need of translation as the meanings of the couplet were clear.
The book, in my humble opinion, is a beautiful mixture of truths and half-truths. Being the protégé of ZIA and MUSHARAF, he and the ilk of him need to redefine their political and democratic credentials in a bid to salvage the sinking ship of the fragile democratic project. It is time the political lot realized the grim political scenario.
Tailpiece: At occasion of launching ceremony of the book, veteran journalist, HAMID MIR, came up with logical responses which deserve immense applause. He said he will stand by democracy and fair play which is self-evident from his immaculate track record in the realm of press and as a champion of the voiceless across the borders. May this nation and country stand victorious! Fingers crossed.