Who cares about Pakistan’s Anna Hazare?

Published: February 13, 2012

The Pakistani media virtually ignored Akhtar's protest.PHOTO: MUHAMMAD JAVAID

The success of the Indian anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare and the defeat of his Pakistani counterpart Jehangir Akhtar in their almost similar missions perhaps reflect the nature of politics and how it is perceived in both countries.

The 75-year-old Indian shot to fame, thanks largely to the power of the Indian media, when he undertook a much hyped fast. That, more or less, brought the Indian government to its knees and made it agree to move a bill in parliament to establish the office of an ombudsman (Lokpal).

However, in Pakistan, the story was quite different with the fasting Akhtar largely ignored by the press and the media and his voice against corruption faded into the wilderness. Pakistanis obviously have no problem with corruption, it would seem.

From April to December 2011, around 45 television channels, including foreign ones, had been covering Anna’s demand to bring the Indian parliament, the country’s bureaucracy and the CBI’s anti-corruption wing under the scanner of the proposed Lokpal law. The publicity has converted this old social worker into a saint in just over eight months.

I happened to be in India around that time and visited Jantar Mantar, the place in Delhi where Anna was undertaking the fast. Hundreds of his supporters were selling ‘Anna caps’ and taking signatures of the participants who had come to what was a peaceful sit-in. Most of those who had come seemed to have no personal acquaintance with the man but were there because they thought that finally someone was willing to take a stand on corruption in government.

As members of Team Anna eventually ended their nine-month demonstration last month, the revolution met its natural end with the passing of the Lokpal Bill by the Lok Sabha only but before Rajya Sabha it was adjourned. Across the border in the pious Land of the Pure, the demands of Jehangir Akhtar, could not receive any attention, or any notice by any official of the government or member of parliament.

The Pakistani media virtually ignored his protest. However, its members took active part in a dinner that he arranged for the press. After digging deep into biryani and balti gosht they left. But hardly a word appeared about Akhtar and his demands in the press the next day.

Zahid Gishkori

Zahid Gishkori

A reporter for the national desk of The Express Tribune in Islamabad who tweets @ZahidGishkori

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • IndiKid

    @Author: The Lokpal bill did not pass yet. It passed only in Lok Sabha and before Rajya Sabha could pass it, it was adjourned. It would come up for discussions when the Parliament is in session again.Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com/ Anoop

    Hazare just showed us that the Gandhian way is very much relevant in Democracy, more so during the British times, provided the call is just and not self-serving.

    You should also notice that you can mount an effective fight from within the system, like Subramanium Swamy is doing. He exposed the 2G scam and has sent serving Ministers to jail. He is in the process of sending to jail the current Home Minister!!!!

    India has a system which is working, finally. There are exceptions but nothing is impossible in India anymore, especially if it serves the good.

    As for Pakistan, India saw Gandhi in Hazare, whom will Pakistan see in Akhtar? What part of Pakistani HIstory does he represent? Certainly not Jinnah, who advocated Division as opposed to Gandhi who advocated Unity!

    The very first question that must pop into a Pakistani mind is: Jinnah opposed Gandhi, Gandhi is the inspiration of Hazare, why should I respect Hazare? Wouldn’t that go against the very concept of Pakistan?

    Jinnah and Gandhi are mutually exclusive. We see that clearly in how India and Pakistan have evolved.Recommend

  • http://liberalfacist.blogspot.com/ Nadir

    No one cares about him because he took a stand against military privledges, distribution of agricultural and urban property to officers and land grabs. Recommend

  • An Observer

    The only reason why Jehangir Akhtar could not turn the heads toward his fight against corruption was the timing and his popularity. Hardly anyone knew JA before he appeared to hold a fast like Anna Hazare’s. Also, during the days of his past, the media was completely engrossed in PTI, MQM and the other political blame game, therefore his protest passed on as something insignificant.

    If the same thing would’ve been done by someone who is a household name in Pakistan, then it would have received massive publicity. If Imran Khan announces today that he will start a hunger strike, the media may go berserk with the reporting that may follow.Recommend

  • Abdul Qayyum Bhatti

    It is very good piece of writing. Recommend

  • Mr. Righty rightist

    “The success of the Indian anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare and the defeat of his Pakistani counterpart Jehangir Akhtar in their almost similar missions perhaps reflect the nature of politics and how it is perceived in both countries.”

    If this is written by the author then there’s no point in reading the article further, as he has no knowledge of the world around him.

    If he was knowledgeable, he would know that the reason for Pakistan’s Anna’s failure is the people of Pakistan, their culture and dare I say, their religion (at least the way it is taught).Recommend

  • Chodhary

    Poorly written article since author failed to analyze/bring-up the fact that unlike Indian Anna Hazare, our so-called “Anna Hazare” quickly ended up joining the most corrupt political party (PML-N) and consequently lost dignity and any chances he might have had to bring about any change.Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/vitalpakistan.tk کلیم راجہ

    As per my studies Ana Hazare belongs to hindu community but by nature and by will he follows Islam. And he is showing one man power symbol.Recommend

  • pakistani baloch

    WE ALREADY HAVE IMRAN KHAN….Recommend

  • ALI

    the titular reason behind the unnoticed movement of jahangir akhter is the busyness of local press in uncertain and unstable situation of the country ,but the attitude of peoples of pakistan is not serious to extirpate the deadly social evil of corruptionRecommend

  • Sikander Ali

    @Anoop:
    Gandhi and Jinnah are not mutually exclusive. Both fought for their community’s democratic rights and freedom. Jinnah and Nehro (and by large congress) are however, mutually exclusive. Nehro being a narrow minded power monger who refused the autonomous states solution (which Jinnah had accepted) in which Muslims as well as Hindus and other minorities would have had the right to self governance and a strong federation would have prevailed. Thus leaving Jinnah no option but to go for a separate country.Recommend

  • Sikander Ali

    @Mr. Righty rightist:
    Since when does religion advocate financial corruption? Ana was well known and respected even before the hunger strike. he did much good for his own community. I would say he was equivalent of Edhi (in his limited areas where he did social reforms with the help of community). Now, if Edhi goes on a hunger strike.. you will see MILLIONS lining up behind that guy.. I would be one. This Akhtar guy doesn’t come close. Recommend

  • Kabeer Khan

    @Mr. Righty rightist:
    would yu talk abt Egypt revolution the same way?>Recommend

  • Raj

    Hi Zahid,

    I think you are little harsh on your people. JA may not have got enough publicity in Pakistan, but then it may require something different to motivate Pakistanis. Thousands and lakhs of Pakistanis(including families and young people) came to the roads to show their support for Imran Khan. Now Imran Khan may not be a Anna Hazare but then Anna Hazare is not Imran Khan. Both have their own way as far as sociopolitical activism is concerned. Note both have their flaws but their intentions are noble i’e. to serve their country. Alternatively I must also say that there is no celebrity(cricketers, film stars) in India who has put any significant effort in comparison to what Imran has done for Pakistan be it services like health care or education or core issues like politics and governance. Howz dat?Recommend

  • http://eeeee Anil Singh

    Then who cares about Indian Annae Hazare?…Inida’s Anna stepped in…..when less strong bill was proposed…Recommend

  • http://truthexposed123.blogspot.com Truth Exposed

    @Raj:
    you are absolutely rightRecommend

  • Mr. Righty rightist

    @Sikandar Ali who asks “Since when does religion advocate financial corruption?”

    That’s not the point, Ali. The point is, the way religion (or Islam) is taught in Pakistan, Mullahs have a stranglehold on the masses. And you can sell anything only in a green package, in Pakistan.

    In other words, because religion was not used to sell anti-corruption crusade, it failed miserably. The root cause is, of course, how the religion is taught.

    If this man or anyone ever has to succeed in any kind of revolution, they will do well to sell it through religion!!!!!!!!!!!

    Tell me I’m wrong.Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com/ Anoop

    @Sikander Ali:

    Its a request to please publish this comment.

    Its a pity that people who have spent 11 years(Gandhi) and 9 years(Nehru) of their adult prime life in jail, fighting for their Country, are being compared to a man who has not spent a day in jail.

    Power mongers do not fight for a secular Constitution. Power Mongers do not introduce land reforms and remove feudalism. Power Mongers do not single handedly keep the Rightist forces at bay. Power Mongers do not fight for an Independent India and see it let it go into unchartered Territories like accepting such absurdities as the Cabinet Mission Plan spelled out, nor do they accept such absurdities as the 2 nation theory.

    Nehru was a God send. He was the political heir of Gandhi, handpicked by the great man himself. Nehru has never uttered anything which can be used by the Right in India, while Jinnah and Allama Iqbal are quoted by the RIght all the time in Pakistan.

    “autonomous states solution”, was not a solution at all. Dividing India into 3 states, which each having the right to break away after 10 years was a recipe for disaster. Look at how Pakistan and Bangladesh became separate Countries. Same would have happened for India, if not for Nehru! Jinnah claimed that Nehru would not protect the Muslims. After Independence what happens? Nehru is the guy who becomes the protective layer over Muslims of India. Muslims in India still attempt to repay him by voting for his Children and Grand-Children. Such was the greatness of the man. Jinnah used the plan to further his own ambitions, that is all.

    When Jinnah died not a single important soul took notice. When Gandhi and Nehru died the World came to India and cried with her.

    Jinnah’s image forever will be tainted by the communal demand of Pakistan. With one go he split up the Muslims of India and sealed their fate.

    M.J.Akbar puts it beautifully when he says,”Jinnah used Religion to divide, while Gandhi used it to unite”.

    Gandhi and Jinnah ARE mutually exclusive. Nehru and Gandhi are a continuation of an ideology that will be a guiding light for the World forever!

    Please for God sakes, not ever compare Gandhi-Nehru with Jinnah. Its an insult to the great men!Recommend

  • Ishrat Salim

    The missing point here is…our media is also an accomplice in corruption,hence why support this cause…it will dry up their pipeline.The percieved uproar & criticism by media on ” Corruption ” issue is to keep making money thru sensalisation.Actually, they / we, are all party to this menace.One does not need to be a celebrity if we realise that this menace is eating up the very foundation of our society & hence, support anyone who stands up to this noble cause,if we are noble ourselve…this need soul-searching with Allah swt as a witness.Recommend

  • imran javed qazi

    india’s current position is much better than pakistan at least economically. They are focusing to improve them as a nation but here the case is different. we are striving for servival. facing lot og issues starting from so called terorism to un employement a.d load shedding.
    there are lot of ANNA HAZARA struggling for different causes but they are mostly hi jacked by mean politicians and our nation is divideded into different forumsRecommend

  • ayesha

    @An Observer: “The only reason why Jehangir Akhtar could not turn the heads toward his fight against corruption was the timing and his popularity. Hardly anyone knew JA before he appeared to hold a fast like Anna Hazare’s. ”

    Anna was also unknown to most Indians before the fast and his struggle against corruption. His social work was limited to a small district within Maharashtra. Even in Maharashtra he was not well known. But once he started his agitation, he became a national hero.

    @pakistani baloch “WE ALREADY HAVE IMRAN KHAN”
    The difference is Anna is proposing institutional reforms to address corruption. Imran is simply using it to gain political power. HE is saying, others are corrupt , so vote for me. Big difference between the 2 approaches.Recommend

  • furqan

    Corruption prevails deep rooted in our society and culture…next time JA near election time…may be you got some media and political attention…Recommend

  • Sikander Ali

    @Anoop:
    Spending years in jail is no standard of comparison. All the heroics of Nehro you mention are related to post partion era. What did he do when sub-continent was together? Opposed Muslim state in Bengal, Opposed cabinet mission plan (which was not an absurdity by the way, a unified sub-continent through independent states would have been a force to reckon with in the modern world beneficial for the whole population), Opposed more representation of Muslims in centre and the pre-partition years of Congress government in Muslim areas can never be forgotten. Why did the Muslims side with Jinnah anyway, they did after all vote for congress before that. Because they saw the undying discrimination against Muslims by then congress members. All that he did only to keep the Muslim population at bay so that congress could keep influence. And by the way, it was not Muhammad Ali Jinnah that divided Muslims, we all know of the historical injustice done by the ones drawing the lines due to influence of congress which resulted in division of Muslim population and the largest migration and bloodshed of hundreds of thousands of Muslims caused as a result of it. Correct me if I am wrong. Jinnah did not forward his own agenda, he forwarded the agenda of his nation looking for freedom from the British and the Congress. Recommend

  • ukindian

    @Anoop:
    even i also wonder how did jinnah manage to escape the imprisonment still he was a congress leader. never heard that he participated in any real movements. agree with you.Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com Anoop

    Please approve this comment. Its a request.

    @Sikander Ali:

    “All the heroics of Nehro you mention are related to post partion era.”

    They didn’t go to jail for killing or looting people! They went to jail for protesting and demanding their rights!

    People argue that Jinnah was constitutional, but whose constitution was he following? The Britisher’s.

    “All the heroics of Nehro you mention are related to post partion era.”

    Nehru went to jail not just for the Hindus of India, but for Muslims as well. Quote me one line from Nehru which you can say is communal, I dare you!

    To know the communally-tinged speeches of Jinnah contact your nearest Mullah.

    Nehru-Gandhi are loathed by the Hindu-Right in India, precisely because they were over eager to protect the Minorities. Gandhi chose Nehru as his political heir not after Independence but before! Gandhi wouldn’t have done the same if your accusations were true.

    Gandhi went on a fast to stop the killings called by Muslim League in the form of Direct Action Day. Nehru went to every street of Bengal and begged for peace. This is clearly documented and you can also see that in the movie “Gandhi”.

    Besides, that was the charge isn’t it from Jinnah. Jinnah said Muslims will not be given their rights under a united India under the leadership of a Hindu Nehru. How wrong was he!

    “Opposed Muslim state in Bengal”

    Look at what you are saying. This goes against every secular man’s principles. A “Muslim State”. What on Earth is a Muslim State? Nehru wanted a united India, not a Hindu state or a Muslim state. Thanks to him, unlike Pakistan, India is called just a Republic, not a Hindu Republic.

    “unified sub-continent through independent states “

    Haha, do read your own comment. UNITED and INDEPENDENT used in the same sentence and you still cant get it?

    Basically, it was about dividing India on Religious lines and giving them the option of asking for Independence after 10 years. Nehru was again proved right when Bangladesh was formed. It would have been the fate of India too and India would have been much, much smaller and forget about being a Super Power that it is inching its way towards.

    “Opposed more representation of Muslims in centre “

    Basically, Jinnah wanted diving the populace in terms of Religion and give extra preference for some over others. Correct?

    Do you understand the meaning of adult franchise and equal opportunity, which are the bedrock of modern Democracy? One man, one vote.

    What Jinnah was asking was thoroughly undemocratic in nature. The Democrat in Nehru could never,
    a) Look at people in terms of Religion.
    b) Violate the basic principles of Democracy.

    “Why did the Muslims side with Jinnah anyway”

    Hitler was supported by the people of Germany too before WW2.

    Because they were shown impossible dreams. Just like Imran Khan is showing to the present day Pakistanis. When the foundations are not correct all hell brakes lose.

    How can you say people who were living together for centuries are actually very different? Jinnah was proved wrong when Bangladesh was formed.

    “Because they saw the undying discrimination against Muslims by then congress members. “

    I’ll ask you a trivia question: Who was the president of the Congress from 1940 to 1945? I’ll give you a clue, he had served once as president in 1923.

    I’ll give you the answer: Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, the only man who can match up to the greatness of Gandhis and Nehrus.

    Why would he discriminate against his own people!!! I fail to understand this.

    You want to know something interesting? He had predicted the breakup of Pakistan and its domination by the Army long before Pakistan was even born!

    http://twocircles.net/2009dec01/april1946interviewmaulanaabulkalamazadmanwhoknewfuture.html

    Dangerously funny isn’t it! Do read the whole thing and come back to me.

    “historical injustice done by the ones drawing the lines due to influence of congress “

    As far as understanding of History goes Congress didn’t come to full power until AFTER indpendence. What injustice was it in a position to commit! British were the ones who were the bosses, not the Congress.

    You have been fed with so much fables that you cant distinguish right from wrong, the truth from a lie.

    Congress was ruled by saints such as Gandhi and Nehru. They were thorough humanists and India owes everything to them and a few others. There was not discrimination from Congress nor by Nehru nor Gandhi. Like Hitler, Jinnah rose to power by peddling lies and showing impossible dreams. Pakistanis have to suffer for those lies.Recommend

  • Ishrat Salim

    Request to ET…pls STOP causing fighting of words between a Pakistani & an Indian.We respect Anna Hazare, but that does not give any right to anybody to ridicule any of our leaders of pre-partition & post partition days.The leaders of modern times of Pakistan may not deserve that respect compared to them but then they are our leaders too & it is we who only can crticise these present political leaders but we will not criticise our leaders like Mr Jinnah & Mr Liaqat Ali Khan etc; & that goes for Indian leaders too – we cannot criticise them.

    So Reply to Anoop…see abv comment & request you to refrain from criticising our leaders.All leaders deserve respect…respect them.Recommend

  • manish rohera

    @Anoop:
    anoop you hav summed it well bt these people wont understand it see the post on tribune “A pakistani is a muslim first then a pakistani ” if i was a pakistani i would be ashamed one should be proud of both his religion and nation bt personally speaking nation comes first our lifestyle we owe it our religion but our life we owe it our nation i hope tht ppl understand one should learn from history and shouldn’t repeat mistakes(for india and pak both) Recommend

  • Sikander Ali

    @Anoop:
    “unified sub-continent through independent states “
    The states would be independent in their function with a central government in place. The economic and financial benefits of the set up would automatically ensure that it continued even after the initial 10 years. We are now talking about MFN status after 70 odd years and 4 wars realizing the benefits of cooperation and coexistence. Not accepting it before 1947 was a mistake.

    Muslims were insecure about their future under congress and not wrongly. Just Check the development stats of now Pakistan and India back in the day. It was the same insecurity that caused division on east and west Pakistan (unjust treatment) and is now brewing a separatist movement in Baluchistan.

    My point is simple. Jinnah was ready to live under unified India given proper assurances (special quota or representation, although are not the most democratic, but served this purpose well). Congress failed to do that. Thus Pakistan.

    As for calling Muhammad Ali Jinnah a liar, I don’t have to answer that. Its like when you spit on the moon and it lands on your own face. Recommend

  • Sikander Ali

    @manish rohera:
    I am actually proud to say I am Muslim before Pakistani. Its the same as saying I am Human before Muslim, or that I am Pakistani before I am a Punjabi.Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com/ Anoop

    @Sikander Ali:

    “The economic and financial benefits of the set up would automatically ensure that it continued even after the initial 10 years. ”

    How naive must you be to believe that! A Nation doesn’t proper in 10 years. Even after 24 years, Bangladeshis weren’t happy with Pakistan. What would have stopped the 3 wings going their separate ways?

    “Jinnah was ready to live under unified India given proper assurances”

    I dont think you quite know what exactly he asked for. So, let me put it in the perspective of Pakistan, maybe you might understand the repercussions of his demands. Imagine the 3% Hindus, Christians and Sikhs are granted 25% of the seats in the national assembly of Pakistan. Imagine Ahmadis,Shias, Hindus and Christians are granted preferences in all Govt jobs. You have conceded it will go against the Democratic value, but what other thing it will do is permanently pit the Majority Community against the minority one. When there are such issues you dont remind people of the differences but aim to unite them. Jinnah did not understand that. Looks like he was incapable of understanding it.

    ” Congress failed to do that. ”

    Its also interesting the Jinnah in his one year in Pakistan never mentioned providing the same safeguards to the Hindus and Sikhs and Christians of Pakistan. Neither his lieutenants like Liaquat who succeeded him. Its hypocrisy to protest the non-implementation of one principle but yet deny the same privilege from your side.

    And, Congress of Nehru never let Muslims down. NEVER! That is why even today Muslims vote for Congress and Nehru’s children and grandchildren. They looked up to Nehru and Nehru protected them single handedly.

    I can only laugh at the hypocrisy of calling for special privileges for Muslims in a United India from Pakistanis but failing to notice the same principle is not implemented in Pakistan.

    “I don’t have to answer that. Its like when you spit on the moon and it lands on your own face.”

    Jinnah is the same guy who hung out and made alliances with people like Suhrawardy. You do know about him at least right? Thats the guy who made sure Direct Action day will be bloody and violent. That reminds me Jinnah and his Muslim League called for “Direct Action”, meaning kill and loot if you dont get your way.

    Jinnah is the same guy who never opposed Feudalism, probably the greatest burden of the poor of India and Pakistan. Nehru not only spoke against it, but abolished it in 1951.

    Why would Jinnah speak against Feudalism, so many Feudals were with him! In Congress’s manifesto it was declared before division that landlords,Rajwarey,States will be eliminated. Muslim land lords who were in Congress made contact with Jinnah,who promised to provide safety to them. As a result,Doltaney,Toaney,Mamdot and all landlords became Muslim Leaguers over night.

    You are of course free to cross check my facts, but there is little chance I am wrong. Have read far too much about all this.

    Till today Feudalism is alive and kicking and you can thank Jinnah for that. Pakistan’s foreign minister, I hear, is from a Feudal Family! The socialist and a democrat in Nehru would have gasped!Recommend

  • http://pakistanshows.com/PakistanTVShows/geo-news/khabarnaak khabarnaak

    Totally agree with Anoop’s suggestion… Nice information thanks for posting….Recommend