Saturday, April 17, 2010

Kyrgyzstan-like agitation feared

Friday, April 16, 2010
By By Mumtaz Alvi

ISLAMABAD: A veteran politician and former governor of Balochistan and the NWFP, Miangul Aurangzeb, takes pride in appointing Iftikhar Chaudhry as the Chief Justice of the Balochistan High Court, but is totally upset over what he bills the royal way of the PPP-led coalition governance.

Defying pressures, Aurangzeb had made Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry the Chief Justice of the Balochistan High Court this month 11 years back in 1999. He also recalls having requested then prime minister Nawaz Sharif not to ignore two senior generals to appoint Pervez Musharraf as the chief of the Army staff.

Miangul, at the start of an interview with The News at his two-storeyed old-styled residence, adjacent to the Afghan Embassy in G-6/3, warned of what recently happened in Kyrgyzstan, in case the ruling elite persisted with indifference to the compounding miseries of the common man.

Leader of opposition in Kyrgyzstan did what people desired in the face of corruption and nepotism. “The situation in Pakistan is also rapidly turning ugly. People are unhappy, upset and disappointed with the rulers. And, this can trigger countrywide agitation...rulers may find refuge in exile,” he cautioned.

He asked Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, to learn a lesson from Kyrgyzstan opposition leader Roza Otunbayeva and stop playing monkey tricks. The former governor strongly objected to the massive strength of the federal cabinet and advocated its immediate trimming in the face of poor national economy. The lifestyle of rulers is in total contrast to the alarming ground realities, he charged.

“The President’s House and the Prime Minister’s House may be suitable for receiving and holding meetings with foreign heads of states and dignitaries, but maintaining a royal way of living and needless paraphernalia at the expense of poor taxpayer’s money is regrettable. The president and prime minister may live in small accommodations within the two palace-like buildings,” he said.

He called on the ruling class to adopt a simple way of living and recalled how he used to eat the food prepared in the afternoon for dinner. “My cook would daily ask me for separate lunch and dinner menu, but I would eat simple food and also made guests do so,” he recalls when he was the governor of Balochistan and then the NWFP.

The veteran politician insists the lavish style of rulers was against the basic teachings and logic, as well over 40 per cent people lived below the poverty line. Miangul wondered for how long, the ruling coalition would follow stop-gap economic policies instead of thrashing out long-term strategy to provide relief to Pakistan’s majority that is poor and could hardly afford two-time bread. “It is a matter of shame that we have elected 442 parliamentarians yet again, but none of them is capable of handling our economic affairs.”

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