If Zardari Was American….

18 Jun

Pakistani? American? Arey na na ...fifty-fifty!

There’s a rumor going around that President Zardari holds US citizenship. This has been denied by the PPP in a formal press release and they have clarified that he does not hold any foreign citizenship and is only a citizen of Pakistan.


I was kind of hoping we could just put him on a boat or plane dressed in red, white and blue off to the United States of America and focus on the more serious business of governing our country. On this boat of foreign citizens, I would gladly put other famed politicians and bureaucrats who hold foreign nationalities. And with a wave and a nudge into the Arabian sea, I and one hundred and seventy million other Pakistanis would heave a collective sigh of relief!

But why pick on those with foreign passports. Pakistan allows its citizens to hold dual nationalities. Why deny people this legal right? Because in Pakistan where the popular slogan Pakistan Zindabad (long live Pakistan) has changed to Pakistan se Zinda Bhaag (run away alive from Pakistan) holding only Pakistani citizenship by choice is a pretty significant commitment to the people and the country. And we should demand this committment at the very least from those that we entrust with public office or with senior bureaucratic duties.

I grew up in Islamabad, where over the years I observed the long lines outside of foreign embassies grow longer and longer with time screaming in silent testimony that escaping from Pakistan was priority number one for many citizens. Sometimes the protest were not as silent as on occassion I saw people being escorted out of embassy buildings kicking and screaming as they had been denied a visa. I dont blame them for feeling this way. In a country where people die of poverty and hunger each day while our leaders house rare Siberian tigers in airconditioned cages – its not odd that people want to escape. In a country where there is persecution of minorities and there is hardly any safety of property or life, choosing to stay in Pakistan is a significant commitment to the future of the country. And those who aspire to leadership positions in the country should be required to give this commitment. Steering Pakistan’s future is afterall a pretty big responsibility and it should not be granted to those who arent ready to make the sacrifice of even citizenship for it.

Leaders with foreign passports are like foreign capital – they flee when the going gets tough! Those who know they are unable to flee are more likely to act in the long term interest of the nation and less like fickle foreign investments in local markets. So before you ask for my vote, or you ask to captain the ship of a national institution – you must assure me first that when the going gets tough you wont run and if this ship sinks you are prepared to sink with it.

Because only capitains willing to sink with their ship will do everything in their power to keep it afloat.  Pakistan needs to be led by only Pakistanis not hyphenated ones.  Hyphenated Pakistanis can help and contribute in a million other ways and must continue to d so They are an important part of the social fabric but our political and bureucratic fabricmust be woven of those Pakistanis who are nothing BUT Pakistani and have kept only their Pakistani citizenship as proof of their commitment.


3 Responses to “If Zardari Was American….”

  1. JK June 19, 2010 at 5:49 am #

    You can extend that requirement to not being allowed to own any property by politicians/bereucrats and their immediate relatives. Plus a restriction on international travel for a limited period of time after leaving office. Just to make sure that if they govern badly and turn the country into a mess, they remain confined to it and can be relatively easily prosecuted for their errors.

    • Atif August 9, 2012 at 4:53 pm #

      well said, JK

  2. anon June 19, 2010 at 6:47 pm #

    this is a really stupid post that makes no sense

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