BY JAVED ZAHEER


            TORONTO : One of the most difficult jobs in this world is to speak and defend the truth. Those who succeed are indeed brave, always remembered and respected. This is what history and the holy books have taught us. This is the path which shows us the light and ensures progress, prosperity and stability.

            True leadership is judged by the character and contribution. Leaders may say and do anything to please you, win your trust and confidence, but we must not trust them blindly. Through accountability, which is very simple, we can judge their intentions. We must keep track of their promises and commitments and make sure they deliver the goods. Make sure they take don’t take us granted and consider us as tools and fools.  

            Unfortunately, this is what is happening. People with great hopes and expectations are playing in their hands. They don’t forget but ignore the past and elect them again and again. For their personal and individual gains, the voters don’t take their votes seriously and ultimately harm the community and the country.  This selfishness, wrong approach and attitude must change now, if they desire a real change in their lives.

            During election time, you hear all sorts of tunes from the politicians and their band of followers.  This is the time they smile the most, recognize you and treat you as the near and dear one. This is the time to judge their deception and see the traps. It is the most crucial time for the country----to choose the leadership.

            On June 15, 2004 , I attended a dinner held by Shahid Hashmi, Chairman of Canpak Chamber of Commerce, and his wife, Seema Hashmi, in honour of Jim Karygiannis, MP, Scarborough-Agincourt, at the Chauhan’s in Markham , renowned for delicious foods and services. The gathering was selective but very large and comprised mostly the renowned local personalities   Seated on the dais were Dr Syed Taghi Abedi, a famous scholar of North America, Dr Jamil Dar, Karamatullah Ghori and Syed Aftab Rizvi, renowned social and intellectual figures. Syed Aftab Rizvi acted as the MC. 

            This was not the first time I met Jim Karygiannis. On many occasions, I observed him keenly and quietly and judged his popularity graph. I found him very popular in the South Asian community. I found him mixing with the people, even after being elected, listening to their problems and suggestions. Most of the Pakistanis, particularly, like and love him. They call him `GEM’ not Jim, because of his good qualities and practical contributions. This is one of the reasons for his being elected consecutively four times in a row and now the fifth in sight and ensured. No wonder the community and his people consider him `The Wonder Boy of Canada’. 

            Jim Karygiannis, in his address, thanked the people for their love, trust and confidence. He said: “I want to be voice of the people right from Canada to the South Asian region. We will do anything anywhere in the world which promotes and respects human rights. This is the central policy of Canada, which is the best country in respect of fundamental rights.”

            Regarding India-Pakistan relations, he said: “I am delighted to see them coming closer. My vision is to see people living together and prosperous. We must work collectively, sincerely and very hard to bring the two countries closer and remove all the hurdles. A lot of good work has been done in this connection. Canada is ready to play the leading role whenever invited to do so.”

            He highlighted the Liberal policies and assured the audience that the party will keep serving the people according to their wishes. No doubt it will face some hard decision-makings but would keep the promises and fulfill the commitments. He praised Paul Martin’s vision and leadership and said his policies would bring prosperity. Our vision is to help and serve the people all over Canada.

Jim said: “The Conservatives destroyed the health system, created teachers’ crisis. That period was of crises. Stephen Harper, leader of the Conservatives, during the Iraq war went to the USA, appeared on the TV and openly supported the US policies and sending of Canadian troops to Iraq. Thanks God we refused. It would have been a grave mistake. Time has proved this. Regarding Afghanistan, we followed the United Nations.”

He said: “Stephen Harper wants to build aircraft carriers and we want to spend the money on the public. What does he need the aircraft carriers for? Conservatives policies are destructive for the people and the country.”

Dr Jamil Dar praised Jim and said: “Jim has good things and no bad things. I have always seen goodness, particularly for the people. He takes special interest in the community. He is a man of the people and spends time with them.”

Dr Dar said: “The Liberals have put Canada on the top. Paul Martin is for peace and now is the time for us to decide what type of government we want. Conservatives have called the immigrants as garbage. We cannot forget this.’

He said: “We must support Jim Karygiannis because of his good qualities and positive contributions. He deserves the support.”

Karamatullah Ghori, a former ambassador, said: “My experience as a bureaucrat shows that Jim is an exceptional politician. He has both the qualities to make and deliver.

Jim is the right man for leadership. People repose trust in him as they know he understands them and practically solves their problems.”

            He said: “Jim is one of those who remembers. He remembers tomorrow and knows very well that he will have to face the people for vote, which is not only a trust but a weapon of strength. It can become an effective remedy for many problems. Make your choice intelligently so that your vote does not go against you. Liberal is an immigrant friendly party and considers them an asset for the country.”

            Surinder Singh Gill, a bureaucrat and a known social personality, said:  “We must respect leaders and work with them. Good leaders are those who practically help and serve the people.  People must judge and follow the leaders carefully. He too praised Jim.”

            Dr Syed Taghi Abedi said: “I have lived in eight countries and my experience says that Jim is for the people and community. Support him in the interest of the community.” 

            Dr Shehnaz Dar, wife of Dr Jamil Dar, said: “Jim will surely succeed because he is favourite among the people.”

            Shahid Hashmi and Seema Hashmi thanked the audience and media for making the occasion successful by attending in such large numbers. He said Jim needs no introduction and lives in the heart and mind of the people.  He has won the hearts, confidence and trust of  the people and always helped them when needed. He praised Syed Aftab Rizvi for good conduct of the proceedings and the Chauhan’s for their excellent service.”

            A very lively question answer session was held. The questions were mostly about Liberal’s popularity, policies and priorities. Jim explained in detail the Liberal policies and said that the popularity graph is still high because Liberal understands the priorities and problems of the people and tries to work sincerely in this connection.