Aitzaz Ahsan, I used to believe in you

Published: September 6, 2014

Sir, I would like you to read the writing on the wall. The people of Pakistan have woken up. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

Dear Sir,

I am writing this letter to request you to reconsider your role in the current political crisis and to be on the right side of history.

I, being a member of the educated middle class of Pakistan, see you as a man who has always stood up against injustice. I see you as a man whose political life spanning half a century gives testimony that my country still has educated, brave and faithful fighters who would do whatever it takes to defend Pakistan.

I know that you were a college student like me when you campaigned against the dictatorship of Ayub Khan. I know that you stood first in the Civil Service Examination and could have entered the ruling bureaucratic class but you rebelled against joining the martial law regime of General Yahya Khan. I know that you refused to join as a minister in the brutal dictatorship of General Ziaul Haq.

We all know, and have seen, how you struggled against General Pervez Musharraf. It would not be wrong to say that you drilled the last nail in his political coffin. Whenever your name struck my mind, it flashbacked to a resolute man who, while standing in front of the Parliament House addressed the men in black, giving them ray of hope, with this poem:

“Riyaasat hogi maa kay jaisi, har shehri se pyaar karey gi.”

(The republic will be like a mother, who’ll love all her citizens)

I know that you played the role of a virtual opposition, even in your own government, due to your stance in favour of an independent judiciary at a time when you could easily have been an ideal prime ministerial candidate.

Sir, even though I staunchly oppose the political party you are affiliated with as I believe that many of the ills Pakistan is facing today are due to the mismanagement done during Pakistan Peoples Party’s regimes, you, in your personal capacity, have been my role model. You inspired me because you instilled hope in people like me that one can not only enter, but also thrive in Pakistani politics based purely on one’s intellectual credentials, and not on the other more ‘popular ways’.

Having said that, I now come to my grievance.

You have disappointed me, and your educated support base, immensely by standing explicitly in favour of a government that has lost all moral ground to be in power. All your life you have struggled for a better democracy. But now, when my leader, and your Aitchisonian mate, Imran Khan, is leading a decisive movement for a free and fair electoral system in this country, you decided to be on the wrong side of history.

You have yourself investigated the constituency NA-124 (Lahore), from where your wife Bushra Aitzaz ran as a candidate of PPP. You revealed that all the bags you witnessed were full of bogus votes. Similarly, you know what comes out of the polling bags in NA-118 (Lahore) and NA-139 (Kasur) – trash. These are only three of more than 14 constituencies audited so far, which reveals no different result.

It was evident that there was something fishy going on when the government showed stiff resistance to Imran Khan when he requested that the government move the election commission to audit the four controversial constituencies.

And now when all has come out; the role of former chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry (keeping allegations of Imran on one side; even the president of your party, Makhdoom Amin Fahim, alleged that Iftikhar Chaudhry met the returning officers in his constituency, in private, for three hours), returning officers, Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday, Najam Sethi, Justice Riyaz Kiyani, and other key players, there is not much left to say. I am in no way imposing my perception on you; these are all the facts which you have yourself wholeheartedly accepted on the media and other avenues.

Thus, you are supporting a government which, according to you as well, has been formed illegally through rigging.

Sir, on one hand, you hint that if Imran fails, Mian Sahib and the six member kitchen cabinet would become even more arrogant, and on the other hand, you stand by them to resist the fall of this arrogant dynasty. You (and now the judicial commission report) say that the responsibility of the Model Town massacre falls on the Punjab Government (provincial government in its legal definition consists of the chief minister and his cabinet), yet you stand in the front row, trying your best to save the Sharif brothers.

You have admitted that you pay more tax than any other parliamentarian. You are acknowledging that the others, including the prime minister, are tax thieves, yet you are willing to risk your politics and reputation to save his government?

All I can say is,

Kia ye khula tazad nahin?

(Is this not an open contradiction?)

Sir, I would like you to pay attention to the grievances of the PPP workers of Punjab, if not mine. I know that it is in your knowledge – as you have already pointed out on the floor of the parliament – that jiyalas are extremely angry and annoyed at your decision to stand by this ‘elected’ government.

Sir, I would like you to read the writing on the wall. The people of Pakistan have woken up. There is a clear divide between those who want this dwindling Pakistan and those who dare to stand up. Did anyone ever believe that the young and energetic men and women of this country would sustain a movement for such a long period, leaving all their chores and coming to peaceful sit ins all over Pakistan, to celebrate the dawn of revolution? Yet here we are.

I would like you to see that dawn and leave the side of those ‘parliamentarians’ who are labelling these dreamers mere lashkars (processions), dehshatgarhs (terrorists) and dandabardaars (hooligans).

Sir, you are a symbol of an educated and resourceful middle class of Pakistan, the very class which has now decided to rebel against this kleptocracy. The Sharif dynasty has not learnt from its mistakes and their fall is eminent. On the pretext of saving democracy, you are saving a dynasty; a dynasty that fails to resemble even a weak democracy.

After knowing all this, if you have decided to side with the corrupt and selfish, it is indeed sad.

Signing off,

Osama Sajid


Osama Sajid

An undergraduate student at LUMS who is pursuing Economics, he is interested in reading and researching Pakistan's cultural and political issues.

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

  • Ahmed Wahaj

    Hence proved even a man who has had a principled stance all his life can be tamed and moulded by the Golden tongue of zardari :D but yes indeed if anything the joint sessions have added more sense to Imrans stance. Only the liberal extremist stands with this pathetic excuse of democracy now. They say IKs politics is dead when Its the beginning of the end of status quoRecommend

  • Queen

    What happened during the joint session has thrown into disarray the much harped unity of the Parliament. It will be foolish to demand miracles which have never happened even after 67 years.Recommend

  • Parvez

    That was a well thought out appeal…….but keep in mind that people change and then justify the change by blaming the world but not themselves.
    Our political class have been schooled to leave their self respect and their morals outside before entering parliament and that their survival depends on ‘ come what may we all stick together or else we’ll all sink together ‘……..that is what we are seeing unfold in the assembly and to expect Ch Nisar or Atizaz to behave otherwise is wishful thinking……..I seriously hope I’m wrong.Recommend

  • jan

    Great words, a truth which needs its destiny.Recommend

  • Saqib Choudhary

    One one side Mr Aitizaz Ahsan read Pablo Neruda’s poem in Parliament on other side He and his Party support rigging and injustice Recommend

  • naeem khan

    sour grapes PTI trolls parliament is still unitedRecommend

  • Hassan

    Unfortunately. The Pakistan Imran talks about is not good for any of our current politicians. Imran talks about a Pakistan whose institutes are strong and independent. In Imran’s Pakistan 99% of them will end up in jail or in one way or other they won’t be able to exploit weakness in the system for their own personal gains. Therefore we will never see any of them standing beside Imran Khan ever.Recommend

  • Saad Ahmed Bhatti

    Instead of jumping to a conslition about such a person wouldn’t it be wise to let this article reach him and wait for him to reply so a better conclusion can be drawn after his reply? Politics in our country and very dirty business and fingers are pointed very easily and characters and loyalties are very easy to question. The moment someone does or says something against our perception of right or doesn’t side with our political views we start questioning their core and bases. Recommend

  • IbnZiyad

    Among all the biased articles I have read regarding the current political situation in Pakistan, this piece is like fresh air. Exellent.

    Hope to read more from you.Recommend

  • Nzaar

    In Pakistan, the middle class owns motorbikes or travels in buses and is the audience in Amir liaquat shows. Their children go third tier private and/or govt schools and don’t have exposure to good written English.Recommend

  • koshur_batta

    lol, why do we constantly have these blogs by pakistani’s saying “I used to believe in you”. Are the people of pakistan so gullible?Recommend

  • Ali Khan

    this about Cases in court against Ziradri and other PPP members, he is just playng a good soldier. What other choice does he have? Recommend

  • munib

    Another emotional stunt . . . . nothing concrete, just venting out anger and frustration , doing too much generalization . . . self cooked assumptions, reliance on media propaganda instead of any concrete PROOF.

    he first does some buttering and then starts the attack :

    [ . . by standing explicitly in favour of a government . . ]
    sostarts with a blatant lie to begin with.
    Aitzaz and PPP had mentioned it clearly they are with the DEMOCRACY not PMLN . . and have even given a good stick on Model town and other things so how come it became “explicit” ?Recommend

  • Afia

    Most of this blogpost is ripped off stuff Aitzaz Ahsan said or Imran Khan has said. I was seriously hoping for more original thoughts and arguments. Osama, I am glad that you are listening to the speeches of all these leaders, but the next step before you publish open letters to these people is to actually think about what they’ve said, to form your own opinions, and to articulate them in an original manner. Please take this feedback in good faith. Standing up publicly against oppression is only the first step. It is original thinking that will enable you to convince people to come to your side; original thinking that will empower you to find creative ways to resist the oppressive regime; original thinking that will assist this generation in actually carving out a path to the future it dreams of. I may be wrong, but Aitzaz Ahsan may just require you to up your game a little bit in order to be won over. All good wishes.Recommend

  • Sami ullah Baig

    A typical PTI youthiya. Well you certainly would want Mr. Aitzaz Ahsan in PTI. But given the fact that now PTI is playing as a proxy for the military establishment, Mr. Aitzaz Ahsan would never enter an establishment party. As a matter of fact IK never believed in democratic credentials. He just wants to be the PM of Pakistan as soon as possible and at any cost.Recommend

  • Pakistan

    Wow! Spot on. One of the most articulate pieces on the ongoing crisis.Recommend

  • Rashid

    united my foot.
    it was on the verge of being dissolved, Recommend

  • raj

    Don’t agree with any point in the article. Saving democracy does not mean if its not working then kick the leader out and then search for another. He is totally right in saving NS govt as the way IK is trying to uproot the govt could make it a trend setter and who knows when IK gets a chance as PM, NS and supporters would come out demanding his resignation. So he is not supporting NS but democracy.Recommend

  • Zainab Ali

    Well written and so right!Recommend

  • BaiG

    i have read somewhere If you want to know”How to become ZERO from HERO” go ask Aitzaz Ahsan. Recommend

  • mian

    I strongly believe in what is said about the rigging in these elections, and the role of PMLN in the politics of Pakistan since its creation. my advise is as follows:

    A) PPP followers are much more mature and have more understanding of politics then any other party followers,and my advise to the PTI walas and Imran Khan is to grow up and learn politics through our history,
    B) Tell Imran Khan to stop abusing all politicians as it seems that he is the only clean guy in this country where his stage is also full of known crooks, one has just proved my point to be followed by another one soon.
    C) What has happened in this election with the PTI votes is exactly how PPP has been deprived of their votes in Punjab since 1977,(so be patient as this the first time with PTI)
    D) As for the bad governance of PPP, is what you will learn when you will form the federal govt, without punjab and the establishment would be supporting the party in Punjab. Recommend

  • Ahmad Aslam

    Being a parliamentry opp. Leader aitzaz was right PPP will never support any unconstitutional act whether in the parliament or out of parliament. There are many other constitutional ways toget ur political right except demanding resignation from p.m all the time. Recommend

  • Hena Khan

    Well even you are right, it doesn’t make Nawaz Sharif any better or worth giving him the post of PM of Pakistan. Recommend

  • Guest

    Gullible or not, Aitzaz Ahsan, through his conduct spanning many decades, has earned our faith, hope and trust.Recommend

  • Guest

    If you cant kick a leader out if he is not working… than that is a dictatorship not democracy.Recommend

  • marik

    He won the election. PTI lost. Let the system run.Recommend

  • marik

    Wait for the next election. Stop being immatureRecommend

  • Sidra Lodhi

    Hi Osama, I work for Sitary Ki Subha on Hum Sitary and would like to talk to you. My email address is [email protected].Recommend