A question of loyalty

Published: April 19, 2012
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Did any leaders who switched sides bother to take into confidence those whose votes helped them achieve the political stardom?

Are flexible loyalties all that one needs to resurrect a political career? Are there ideological reasons behind such decisions or are they just a matter of profit and loss?  Did any leaders who switched sides bother to take into confidence those whose votes helped them achieve the political stardom? Did they feel that they were on the wrong paths earlier in their careers? Or, perhaps, they are not answerable to anyone?

The season, with elections inching closer, is ripe for more such announcements but there already exists a long list of these ‘awakened’ politicians. Hina Rabbani Khar, Jehangir Tareen, Javed Hashmi, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Engineer Amir Muqam, Marvi Memon, Jamal Laghari, Awais Leghari, Sikandar Bosan, Haneef Abbasi, Dr Israr Shah, and Senator Enver Baig are some of the politicians who are no longer loyal to the parties which made them what they are today.

All changed politicians were rewarded with key positions in their new parties. But what about the old folks who have been loyal to their parties throughout their lives and have been ignored? This trend might breed a new group of disgruntled elements.

Hina Rabbani Khar, who held the portfolio of minister of state (finance) during the Musharraf regime, switched to the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party. After a successful landing in a ruling camp, she became the first lady to present a budget. While making history, she censured previous polices of Musharraf’s regime which she once supported and received a huge round of applause. Khar was then prized with the title of foreign minister.

But what will happen on the day she is removed from office? I would refer to the names of three former foreign ministers: Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Sardar Aseff Ahmad Ali and Mian Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri to calculate the fear factor. All three figures were sidelined by their parties and a timely ‘invention’ of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) helped them remain in the limelight. The party, after a decade-long struggle, perhaps thought these old faces were a must for change in today’s Pakistan.

However, the PTI is not alone in this business. The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has now joined the race and has developed soft spots for former N-Leaguers.

The race has just started so plenty of action awaits to be observed.

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Qamar Zaman

Qamar Zaman

The author is a reporter for the National pages for Express Tribune.

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