Political homosexuality – by Dr Ayesha Siddiqa

Can I suggest that politics is also highly gendered. Just like things fall in the category of masculine and feminine, political ideology also has its types. Considering my own bias for the feminine, I would argue that there are forces, which support the democratic process, and hence can be rated as feminine. Those that favor authoritarian-military rule fall in the category of masculine. In Pakistan’s case there is yet another category of political heterosexuals. These are individuals or forces that might pretend to be feminine but are actually the other, or they tend to swing both ways. Therefore, politics has increasingly become the game played by political hijras (eunuchs) or heterosexuals.

To give an example a few weeks ago Farahnaz Isphani’s company organized a show at the Pakistan National Council of Arts, Islamabad where the chief guest were the PM, Yusuf Raza Gillani and the now ‘extended’ army chief Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani. For those, who are not familiar with the lady, she is a PPPP parliamentarian and wife of Pakistan’s ambassador in Washington, Hussain Haqqani. She was formerly a booker for CNN before getting a job with VoA which she had to leave because of the company’s internal politics and her poor management. Anyway, the news is that this event happened exactly after her husband shook hands with the army chief.

This country and its politics seems to be a great example of political heterosexuality – everyone ready to bugger the other and offering their own service to the more powerful. Farahnaz’s case is not new. The government’s foreign minister falls in the same category. He seems pretty keen to become ‘His Master’s Voice’. Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s recent letter to the UN in which he objected to the fingers raised by the international organization on the military and its intelligence agencies during investigation of Benazir Bhutto’s murder is one of the many examples. Why should it surprise anyone at all? Its nothing new that the great sajjada nasheen has done. I remember a dinner party at the US ambassador Wendy Chamberlain’s house in Islamabad. She had invited a few people for dinner including JI’s Liaquat Baluch, the NRB fame Lt. General (retd) Tanveer Naqvi, Shah Mehmood Qureshi and a few others. I can’t forget how pir sahib was singing praises of the devolution of democracy plan carved out by the general and making all efforts to make the general happy. “Oh it is a great program and we are making tremendous progress in strengthening of democracy” was the pir’s refrain. He was then commanding the local government in Multan. It didn’t matter that his party chief BB, who was then alive, did not agree with the devolution formula. In any case, the pir from Multan has this toothpaste or a traitor smile.

The other examples being Zia-ul-Haq and the present head of the state. You don’t know what are they hiding inside. But who cares? Shah Mehmood Qureshi wanted to save his little fiefdom in Multan. This puts him in the category of political eunuchs which means that they are not what we think they look like.

The pir sahib’s political heterosexuality is, unfortunately, a manufacturing defect. He was born with it. He seems to have taken after his father Makhdoom Sajjad Qureshi. While Sajjad Qureshi was the governor of Punjab General Zia, who was both the President and army chief then, happened to visit Lahore data darbar. As the dictator got out of the mausoleum Makhdoom Sajjad Qureshi, who was also then the sajjada nasheen of a great shrine in Multan, put Zia’s shoes in front of him with his own hands. This is called saving ones backside or knowing which side the bread is buttered, and then really applying lots of it on the toast . But its this over-obsession with saving the backside which turns a lot of politicians towards political heterosexuality. While they pretend to be for the democratic forces, there heart lies elsewhere.

Moreover, this is not limited to the PPPP. Look at PML-N where the younger brother has been in bed with the military for a long time assisted by other political heterosexual like one particular chaudhry who actually looks like one in reality as well. Not to forget the PML-Q which is defined by its political heterosexuality. Deep-center, look at the great pir sahib of Pagara sharif who has played second fiddle to the GHQ. Interestingly, the pir sahib was quite powerful during Zia’s regime and is held responsible for thwarting the procurement of newer Type-23 British frigates and supported the case for the old Type-21s. The pir sahib is related with pir Yusuf Raza Gillani, Makhdoom Ahmed Mehmood (PML-Q), Tasneem Nawaz Gardezi and other political stalwarts. Marriage was a great tool to connect European courts during the days of monarchical and feudal Europe. Dig a bit deeper and you will find familiar names – people involved in getting the Bhutto government of the 1970s in trouble by leaking secrets of dalai camp to the press, or the legal community working closely with the military. Some would like to say “is hamam mein sab nangey hein” (all in this bath are naked). This is not about nudity but about political sexual preference.

Nothing odd in this behavior except that the elites tend to service their interests first. Shah Mehmood Qureshi or other pirs like him represent a certain vested interest. Given Pakistan’s patronage based political system, an individual politician’s capability is gauged on his power to extract resources (all kinds) from the state. This formula does not produce democrats but hijras. 64 years after independence the patronage based political system has turned the tide in a way that civil-military relations must be carefully re-evaluated. There is now an abundance of political hijras and military hijras (these are military personnel pretending to be pro-democracy while they just use the concept to further their own political objectives. Most just want to remain in circulation through the media and the conference circuit and not die away like frogs).(continued)

Source: Dr. Ayesha Siddiqa blog



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