off record
Shaukat Ali Jawaid

“When people get fed up
with Democracy, They
suffer from Zia-betes”

The above title is a quotation from some of the golden words which were the hall mark of the world renowned Humorous writer in Urdu literature and an eminent Banker, late Mr. Mushtaq Ahmad Yousufi. One of his books “Shame Shaireeran“ contains excerpts from his speeches which he delivered at various functions in Pakistan and overseas and it contains numerous such “Pearls of Wisdom” and convey a lot for those who are capable to understand what he has tried to say. Unlike poets who at times are known for conveying the message directly; Mr. Mushtaq Ahmad Yousufi always tried to do it indirectly, in between the lines in Urdu which late Justice M.R.Kiani used to say in English language during his speeches. One thing was common in both these eminent personalities that whenever they were invited to speak, those present listened to them with full attention and they amused the audience and received tremendous applause. Mr. Mushtaq Ahmad Yousufi enjoys a unique positon in humorous literature and it was said during his life time that we are now living in “Ahad-e-Yousufi” and after his death, it was said that the era of humorous writings in Urdu literature i.e. “Ahad-e-Yousufi” has come to an end.

I had the pleasure of listening to Mr. Yousufi quite a few times at some functions which were organized by some professional specialty organizations in the medical profession where he was invited as a chief guest and particularly at the residence of Prof. Shabih H. Zaidi twice where he entertained a select gathering of literary figures and members of the medical profession.

Our major problem remains that even after over seventy years of independence, we have so far failed to become a Social Welfare State as envisaged by the Founder of Paksitan Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah and his companions. We have been experimenting different systems, forms of Government but we can never progress and prosper unless we get treated with undiluted democracy in appropriate dose and that too at regular intervals. During this process we lost half the country but still refuse to learn any lesson from our past mistakes but keep on repeating the same mistakes again and again. Politicians should be defeated politically as any un-natural process has always proved to be counterproductive. We as a Nation continue to pay a heavy price for the alleged “Judicial Murder” of Mr. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. When Benazir Bhutto returned to Pakistan from self excile to lead a historic procession in Lahore, the then Prime Minister Mr. Muhammad Khan Junejo was asked to stop it but he refused to listen to these foolish friends. Instead he said, let her come, we will deal it politically. His government managed the situation so well that nothing happened to his government we need to adopt a similar political strategy these days.

The time has come that we should stop making more experiment, making and breaking of political parties, engineered elections should all come to an end. Let us have free and fair elections, respect the People’s mandate and let those elected by the people Govern. If they fail to deliver, the people will throw them out that is what has happened and keep on happening all over the world. If a democratic order is allowed to flourish, it will strengthen democracy; strengthen our institutions which will result in political stability which is extremely important for economic development.

Democracy might have many disadvantages but still it is the best form of Government and lot better than dictatorship whether it is military or civilian. Free Press and independent Judiciary are the two important pillars which guarantee social justice and equal opportunities for progress and development to everyone in the long run. Hence, let us not malign the politicians and democracy but try to reform the society, promote social justice. By making the same experiments which we have been doing all these years and expecting some different outcome is not possible.

Since Mr. Mushtaq Ahmad Yousufi was suffering from a chronic ulcer disease and also had Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery (CABG), he used to consult the doctors quite frequently for treatment. He himself says that a chronic patient eventually knows much about his disease, hence in his writings he has often tried to use the different diseases, medical terminologies to convey his message. In the above mentioned saying, Mr. Mushtaq Ahmad Yousufi has also tried to convey that pure democracy is the best treatment for our maladies. When people get fed up with democracy, they will suffer from “Zia-betes” which as we all know is a very dangerous disease with very high morbidity and mortality. This affects all organs of the body i.e. brain, heart, lung, kidney, vision and so on and eventually the patient dies of serious complications. Hence, the best approach remains prevention; hence we must concentrate to prevent “Zia-betes” afflicting the society. This will also save us from its dreaded complications as a Nation.


1. Shame Shaireeran by Mr. Mushtaq Ahmad Yousufi.

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