Sadiq Khan’s Address to Lahore City Councilors!

Posted: December 9, 2017 in Uncategorized

Ladies and gentlemen! First of all I thank you for the warm welcome. I am really humbled by the red carpet reception.

It was not just an ordinary reception of some foreign official, I had a chance to witness your brand of democracy where Chief Minister takes the responsibilities of Mayor, and the world knows it by the name of Hybrid Regime. Yes sirs! you heard it right. Democracy is much more than elections, forming governments, electoral colleges and building democratic institutions. I am told, ladies and Gentlemen, that your supreme court had to coerce your provincial and federal governments to conduct local body elections as federal and provincial governments were reluctant to give away their authorities, budget and power to local union councils. Where even preliminary canter towards democracy, that is, democracy at town and village level is far cry how can the world expect democracy flourishing to a point where is becomes a way of life, bringing about tolerance, equality before law without any prejudice towards religion, language or even majority, freedom of thought and respect for individual’s liberty to a point where it doesn’t harm the lives of other and where the judiciary is standing behind citizens to safeguard them from the misuse of power from state.

I asked Chief Minister of Punjab about the whereabouts of Mayor of Lahore, first I was given a strange look as if I asked him about some money trail of Hudaibia Paper Mills and later he passed the order to dismiss his secretary who did not brief him about the Lahore Mayor and also he confessed, sarcastically, that he had never paid attention to him because all of his job was being carried out by him. As a proof he asked me to visit any public toilet and I would see his photo on the gate.

It was not only CM, I got to know that few people knew about Lord Mayor of Lahore. I was later told that Mayor of Lahore’s job was very tough. This included arranging some cultural show , gathering manpower from constituencies, WASA, Revenue Department and children from schools to attend the jalsas of his leadership. He would also run election campaign for the party leadership day and night so that they can win. It was also his job to have cordial relationship with police so that their workers could feel safe when they commit agitation against political rivals. Sometimes he was invited as a chief guest in local high school on Iqbal day. When general elections would be near it was his duty to get the select streets cleaned and (just) listen to the grievances of the locals. It was also his job to arrange biryani on the day of elections for his partisans. He was content and always busy. I felt so strange that I was doing petty jobs like overseeing transport, strategic planning, regional development, police department, fire department, housing, waste collection, council tax collection, education, libraries, social services, local planning, consumer protection etc.

My dear councilors, I have understood here is that you are not elected because you are being prepared at grass root level to become future leaders or have some ideology to pursue while in politics. You are an accident which your political leadership had to endure. You are sullen acquiescence to the orders to Supreme Court to conduct local body elections. You are the bitter pill which CM, MPAs and MNAs had to swallow by relinquishing, even a whit, their powers to local bodies. It is sycophancy that drives you in the politics while you don’t have any prerogative.

Ladies and gentlemen, you feel lucky that you are the chosen ones by your leadership despite no other quality than being loyal to them. I speak about international issues, while you speak in defence of your leadership rather some of you can’t even speak. I represent my city, I control police of my city, I control city taxes, I know I can one day become PM of my country but you are kept begging the executive for budget. I aspire to be PM one day, you aspire to meet your CM, I aspire to make my city smart, you aspire to have police escort when you go to the market. I am a living example that a son of bus driver from Pakistani origin can reach the pinnacle of London Mayor ship while your culmination in politics is getting the ticket from any party and it all depends on your leadership to nominate you for any post. I understand that the members of legislative assembly need to focus on legislation only and no member of parliament interferes in the matters of city council while you cannot even demand your own budget.

Dear fellows, Chinese and Turkish companies are there to clean your streets, in police stations your police mistreats, your city is full of encroachments and municipality cheats, your traffic warden beats, no one cares when literacy rate is shameful and gradually curriculum your children study – obsoletes, dispensaries run out of medicine, hospitals run out of doctors and equipment but Beijing underpass completes, bureaucracy just fills in the spreadsheets and that tax payer who is deprived of basic civic facilities, despite paying taxes at European rates, has to arrange tax receipts, multitudes elects scoundrels and repeats then distributes sweets and again repeats, electable sell their loyalty for some provincial and national assembly seats and when CM puts his photo on everything from public washrooms till the gate of Dharam Pura Sunday bazar, it defeats – it defeats the purpose of local bodies and tenor of Article 140-A of your constitution.

I thank you all.

[The above is a work of fiction inspired by true events].

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