Swati, Kazmi sacked: Three cheers for PM Gilani

Published: December 14, 2010
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Former Minister for Religious Affairs was removed from the cabinet

For the first time in my life, I am actually applauding the Prime Minister for finally doing his job, the job being in this case, taking executive decisions and putting his house in order. For once, the PM said something and then actually followed up on that immediately. Now I am hoping and wishing that happens every time he says something, but I guess that’s just asking a bit too much – but this is a great start. To understand the significance of today, we need to understand its background.

So as most of you are aware of the recent Hajj debacle overseen by the pious Ministry of Religious Affairs, whereby thousands of Pakistanis were subjected to below standard living conditions during Hajj while the Ministry was being constantly accused of corruption.

Now any self respecting person, let alone a minister, who oversees a disaster like this that too during Hajj would promptly offer his resignation and offer his apology to the people of Pakistan. But apparently the (ex) Minister Hamid Saeed Kazmi decided that all this was not enough to warrant his resignation or even an apology. To top it off, he chose to come up with a theory that people were plotting to take over his ministry.

So when all of this came to the parliament, our overzealous (ex) Minister for Science and Technology Mr Swati let it rip. He not only accused Mr Kazmi of corruption but went ahead and called him a few names and made wild accusations.

Sticks, stones and accusations of corruption

Hence starting a media circus where the actual debate on who was at fault of screwing up the Hajj experience of hundred and thousands of devout Pakistani Muslims, was just simply put on the back burner while two minister slugged it out in public.

Now I realize and understand that both of them according to their own words are very Islamic and pious. Seeing the situation getting out of hand, the PM intervened and called for a truce while instructing his ministers not to criticize each other in public. But well, Mr Swati who belongs to JUI -F, a coalition partner, chose to kind of ignore what the PM said because well the PM is not the boss of him (just in case if you were wondering Maulana Fazlur Rehman is his boss). Mr Swati went on to make public statements using the rhetoric as earlier. Mr Kazmi obviously responded saying a few things about Mr Swati.

JUI-F holds a grudge

But then the PM finally found something he had lost about two years ago, right after being made PM, and fired both of them. I am glad he did. And immediately after he fired both of them, JUI-F angry at the fact that their guy got the chop, broke away from the government. All I can say is good for them.

Now there are a number of things we have to take away from this whole episode:

  1. When you have only one job and you screw it up really badly, and you happen to be a public servant, have the decency to resign rather than sticking to your chair like white on rice. Now I know dignity might be a new concept for Mr Kazmi and that he would continue to believe in his theory that people are after him, but he should try out dignity, works well for the rest of us.
  2. When you serve in the cabinet of Pakistan, you serve at the pleasure of the PM. He is the boss and you are part of his team. Common sense says, respect his decision and follow his orders as he is the leader. And if he kicks you out because you chose not to follow orders, don’t go running back crying to your party heads instead man up and accept your mistake. And also, just because your party has the word “Islam” in its name doesn’t make you an expert on religious affairs especially given the fact that you haven’t even done your job properly.
  3. Blackmailing your coalition partners is not democracy, it’s just blackmailing. I realize that JUI -F tries to qualify this by saying this is democracy, but well, they should look up the terms in a dictionary. Holding the government hostage because you did not get your way is not how politics works, that is actually how a spoilt brat behaves. So grow up already and be mature. JUI -F please realize that you are the same party who according to the cables now made public courtesy WikiLeaks, offered to sell your support for ministries. So don’t even try bringing in that whole moral high ground thing into the play.
  4. The Prime Minister has the right to make a decision under the constitution. He finally did that and he should stick to it. It was the PPP that kept highlighting how awesome the 18th amendment was while driving the figurative sword of inflation into the public. Now that you have actually used it, kindly stop being a love struck teenager trying to reach out to his obnoxious ex.
  5. As for the cabinet, you just saw what happened, so stop making statements in the media, and actually do some work. Stop messing up the things you were supposed to do and then defending yourself. Just do those things correctly please.

I am glad that both these ministers were laid off. I am ecstatic the PM had the guts to do this. But what I really want is that a full inquiry is launched in to how Mr Kazmi ruined Hajj for so many Pakistanis. But most of all, I am just glad that the system worked… for once.

Adnan.rasool

Adnan Khalid Rasool

Currently the Deputy Executive Director Center for Enterprise, Trade and Development, Adnan is also a political analyst working mainly on electoral politics and political campaign management. He tweets at @adnanrasool

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