Jamshed Dasti: We get it, you are powerful.

Published: July 30, 2013

When you try to get out of a speeding ticket, by using your title and your armed guards, you make it okay, by default, for every man to get an illegal connection from KESC. PHOTO: INP/FILE

I wrote my first blog for The Express Tribune about two years ago. I wrote it with high expectations, wrote it with all my heart and wrote it with the hope that the readers would feel it resonate with their daily lives. The comments surprised me to no end.

How could the average man think that people in power deserve privileges that defy the norms of decency?

Maybe it is just the first instinct of every reader to say, “No, you’re wrong, here’s what I think and clearly my opinion is better and your blog deserves a place in the lowest rungs of hell!” or perhaps it is just us Pakistanis who tend to rationalise the behaviour of the people we idolise. Perhaps I have come a full circle, perhaps nothing really changes in the human condition because here I am writing about yet another powerful man, claiming yet again, that his privileges are above everyone else’s.

What interests me now in writing a blog like this again is to address a certain MNA and many others like him who think that the rest of us are children of a lesser God. The rule of law is paramount for a state to run smoothly and if it’s very lawmakers attempt to break those laws, the rest of us have little hope to save this country from epic failure.

Regardless of how high your position is in parliament, regardless of how much money you have in your bank, regardless of how many people Mr Dasti has helped, regardless of just how many people are working under your thumb, regardless of just how many votes you got at the end of an election, you are not above the law. No one is.

Jamshed Dasti is a man I like.

He’s someone I would vote for. He’s often known as “15” in his constituency because he hops on his bike and comes straight to help you, irrelevant of day, hour and moment. The son of a labourer and a part time wrestler, Jamshed Dasti is a wonderful rags-to-riches story Hollywood can make a summer blockbuster about.

But then of course, if we give it a touch of life, once he gets elected, the bike is replaced with a Hilux and all this power goes to our protagonist’s head and he ends up telling Motorway Police that he can get them transferred to Balochistan, which is also a fate worse than the lowest rungs of hell.

Mr Dasti was stopped by the Motorway Police on the Swabi Interchange for speeding. He threatened the police officers with transfers to the no-man’s-land for having the nerve to give him a fine of Rs700. He told them they didn’t know who he was and they ought not to have the audacity to stop speeding ministers.

Eventually, after giving threats and spats, and the regular exchange of pleasantries that is perhaps just as common in Pakistan after an argument with the traffic police (perhaps as common as the common man in Pakistan), the MNA finally gave the Rs700 fine and went off.

Whether or not he will speed again or get the poor officers transferred to Balochistan is another story.

This is exactly the kind of hope that we have when we elect someone we relate to. We expect them to understand that MNAs with protocol and shrieking sirens shouldn’t scare people. We expect them to stay within the law, set examples that when a common man is elected, he doesn’t repeat the mistakes of the elite, he continues being the common man.

Unless of course the dream you are selling to the common man is on the contrary to what we expect; “Get elected – so you can get out of speeding tickets!” instead of “Get elected – so you can end corruption!”.

The young men and women of Pakistan have a new dream now. All thanks to you and the many others who make power a get-out-of-jail-free card. We didn’t expect this from a man who defeated a powerful family like the Khars and we certainly didn’t expect it from a man who rose from nothing, not even a cent to his name.

When you try to get out of a speeding ticket, by using your title and your armed guards, you make it okay, by default, for every man to get an illegal connection from KESC; you make it okay for people for committing bank frauds; you make it okay for politicians to take money from faulty engineers and build flimsy bridges; you make it okay for every man to cheat, swindle and threat anyone that they possibly can.

So thank you for that, MNA Sahab. Life in Pakistan suddenly makes more sense now. The Pakistani dream has a new meaning:

Become an MNA, get out of speeding tickets.


Mahwash Badar

The author is a clinical psychologist, a mum to two boys and permanently in a state of flux. She tweets @mahwashajaz_ (twitter.com/mahwashajaz_)

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

  • Heady wine

    Not everyone can handle a sudden infusion of power/wealth … sometimes it goes to their head and makes formerly humble people change and become arrogant …Recommend

  • Jamshed Dasti

    Yes Miss Mahwash Badar, I am much powerful than you think. Recommend

  • Jamshed Dasti

    How dare you? Do you realize who I am? Recommend

  • azher zahour

    There is a thing called cross-checking and providing other party a chance to defend itself, has anybody asked dasti’s point of view before writing blogs and editorials( ET i m talking to u) ?
    another point , how can Police share the details of a traffic voilation with media , whereas they are not allowed according to the rules of service ? this genuinely seems to be a smear campaign against a man of people , who has taken some of the biggest fuedals , who sucked people’s blood to cleaners….. Has Dasti ever done anything near to what our KHARS used to do with their serfs as explained by Tehmina Durrani in my fuedal lord ! i m nt saying what he did he right bt nobody is giving him a chance to defend himself…Recommend

  • Raza Mujtaba

    Can I now please say, the hope is all but lost….Recommend

  • Raza Shah

    Before writing such an article would it not have been better to have got Dasti’s side of the story.

    Having visited Pakistan on a few occasions I was privileged to have received the corrupt treatment by traffic police who stopped us for no reason and would not let us go until we gave him money.

    Don’t be police, judge, jury and executioner.

    If it is true lets hope that Dasti learns that he is not above the law.Recommend

  • Hassan

    “Power Corrupts ” as the old adage goes. I’m sure Mr Dasti is neither the first or the last who will take or try to take advantage of his ” vested power ” But I don’t believe this a problem just for Pakistan Politicians, I think the west has a fair amount of similar sorts, However westerners will bargain at a higher price, Pakistanis will abuse the power over a minor 700 rupee ticket. Sad but true state of affairs.Recommend

  • Muhammad Ishfaq

    People don’t change…only they are EXPOSED.Recommend

  • Mj

    @Heady wine:

    Perhaps the real personality of a person comes out after tasting power, knowing that they don’t have to practice restraint anymore. Many notable people throughout history have gone from preaching peace when weak to becoming genocidal warlords and conquerors after having had a taste of power.

    “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” – Abraham LincolnRecommend

  • A

    a good piece though a little bitter and condescending
    keep writingRecommend

  • saeed narejo

    excellent way of writing….perfectly written Recommend

  • http://nazarbaaz.blogspot.com Kashif Ajmal Malik

    By getting wealth, power and fame, people do not change but actually recognized. Sweet dreams.Recommend

  • Heady wine


    Well said.
    Good quote.Recommend

  • Rumormonger

    Dasti has now become “Raan”. Recommend

  • AP

    This is a symtom of a chronic disease our society suffers from. You can watch the same every day and night at Islamabad airport where some people like to express their power by skipping lines, getting their luggage cleared handled by the very people who are supposed to check it, and all booking staff, airport security, and imiigration staff sucking upto them as if they are the gods for them. Thank God that motorway police has got a boss who protects their staff from such abuse and they in turn deliver. Now the big question is what we do about it. Just write a blog and few comments and be happy or a bit more. How about starting a signature campaign to be sent to the speaker of national assembly to put some pressure on these people. A “previllaged motion” by the people.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Nice but Mr. Dasti is still on the better side of a bunch of very wrong people. When one talks about power then if your name is Jatoi you can kill and not be punished. If your name is Gilani you can kill a child for dropping a jug of milk and let alone not be punished but even the media keeps quiet………….so as of now Mr. Dasti comes across pretty well.

  • A Abid S

    I am here for two years and trust me I am counting my day…My only message to all those living abroad and having poetic and patriotic vibes for Pakistan…”its alot more than a big restaurant and a darzi ki dukan (all we remember Pakistan is for its food and cheap clothes)” life in pakistan is not easy..they way these fortunate people drive and act you cant even imagine…stay here for more than 3 weeks and you will know…. Recommend

  • Chunky Lafanga

    @Raza Shah:
    @azher zahour:

    Dasti’s side of the story would matter in a news article, but since this is a BLOG, his side of the story is quite irrelevant. Blogs usually contain personal accounts and opinions.

    However, I would be interested to know his side of the story, i.e. his reasons for threatening policemen for upholding the law (NOTE: no reason is good enough to do that).

    That’s what you get from someone who faked his own degree.Recommend

  • Asadullah Qazi

    I myself never expected a man like him to be so arrogant. Police department should be strong enough to handle any MNA or MPA like him ….Recommend