Political history in Pakistan revolves around few dynasties ruling the scene for generations and switching to other political parties is never considered against morality or principles since winning elections or gaining power is what really matters.
However, just as Pakistan is about to have parliamentary election in couple of months. A veteran Pakistani politician, Sardar Zulfiqar Ali Khan Khosa, has become angry over his eldest son for switching to the rival party that he announced to contest elections against him, the man who would have otherwise been his political successor.
Brothers contesting elections against one another is nothing unusual in Pakistan’s political history since members of big political clans often join rival political parties so the clan could enjoy sitting in the government all the time, no matter which party rules the country. But this unusual situation of honoring loyalty in the corruption and immoral history of Pakistani politics set as a reminder of the centuries old Persian tale of Rustam and Sohrab.
Rustam, an ancient Persian hero and commander of the army of King Kaykaos, was a strong wrestler and an expert swordsman who fell in love and married a rival princess during an overseas mission but never knew he fathered a child, Sohrab.
The fate brought father and son against each other, both commanding warring armies, but their enemies of palace intrigues never let them knew about their relationship as both were asked to conceal their names. In the fateful challenge Rustam stabbed Sohrab who, in his last breath, revealed his identity.
Sardar Zulfiqar Ali Khan Khosa, a former governor, is a powerful feudal lord from Dera Ghazi Khan, a wheat and cotton rich district in the south of the fertile and biggest province of Punjab. Khosa clan has been affiliated with opposition’s Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz group) for over four decades, and Zulfiqar Khosa is a member of the Senate (upper House of Parliament).
But in a stunning move a couple of days back, his eldest son Sardar Saif uddin Khosa , a sitting member of Parliament of PML-N, defected the party to join rival Pakistan People's Party (PPP), the party headed by president Asif Zardari and leading the ruling coalition.
After failing to convince Saif uddin to reverse his decision, the angry Sardar Zulfiqar Khosa, who is also the chief of Khosa clan, announced politically disowning his crown prince and contesting against him from his home constituency. But Zulfiqar Khosa remained short of disowning Saif from his inheritance in the Khosa clan properties and wealth, saying such a move would be against Islamic principles.
Saif uddin had his differences with his father last year on nominating candidate for the provincial assembly seat that fell vacant when Zulfiqar Khosa was elected as a Senator. The relationship between Khosa clan and the ruling family of Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had remained strain for the last couple of years which led youngest Khosa, Sardar Dost Muhammad Khosa to resign from his ministry and Zulfiqar himself to quit his position as an advisor to the chief minister. Despite all the differences, Zulfiqar Khosa has never quit PML-N and refused attractive offers from president Asif Zardari and his sister, Faryal Talpur.
Zulfiqar Khosa dismissed all rumors of the likelihood that he will follow his son in joining the ruling party. “How can I join a party which separated a son from his father and a crown prince from his clan,” he blurted.
Some political quarters still believe Saifuddin’s move to join PPP was part of old practice of powerful political clans whose members join several political parties in order to insure their presence in the government no matter who the rulling party is.