Pakistan’s democracy. Jithay dee Khothee Uthaay Aan Khalothee !

By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi

There’s a saying in Punjabi. “Jithay dee Khothee uthay aan khalothee”.

Loosely translated.The she donkey (or whatever one calls a female donkey) always comes back to where she started from. In more sophisticated terms its “back to square one”. Basically. No change!

Pakistan’s version of democracy is no different to this Khothee, aimlessly going round and round finally arriving back from where it started.

To move forward, Pakistan needs change as many of us know and want.

Deep systemic change which uproots the old order and brings in the new. Not just a cosmetic one with one bunch of looters and plunderers replacing the other.

Some misguidedly call for military dispensation or a temporary government of technocrats.

But the answer lies in neither, but in institutional reform under the due process of law and that willing handmaiden, the constitution, ever so often used and abused and or locked up, as the case may be.

But because our institutions are so weak, having been systematically debased, degraded, destroyed and debilitated by successive governments, both civilian and military, this reform cannot happen without getting rid of those responsible for this wilful destruction, and making it easy for them to continue their loot and plunder

Our electoral process recycles and elects the same trash and garbage, over and over again. Bhutto, Benazir, Nawaz, Benazir, Nawaz, Zardari, Nawaz. And interspersed by long periods of men on horseback, equally destructive. Clear?

So what now?.
A military intervention?
A short term non elected technocratic administration?
A combination of the two?

Or leveraging some of our strong institutions like the Supreme Court and the NAB, to start to drain the swamp, getting rid of and punishing the most powerful and most corrupt and strengthening key institutions like ECP, FBR, FIA, SECP, Police, PEMRA, Railways etc to give us a fighting chance. All within the law and constitution.

And that is why I fully support the efforts of the Supreme Court in bringing some order, some accountability to our mess.

Many have crticised the “Good Governance and Anti corruption” jihad launched by the Chief Justice. This would have been justified if we were operating in an environment where our public sector institutions of governance, administration and especially of accountability were operating honestly and as per their mandate.

But they’ve failed. No institution could punish Benazir, Zardari, Nawaz Sharif for their institutional destruction and wholescale corruption, loot and plunder.

Nor could they haul up people under military government and many made fortunes. Take the example of the Akhter brothers, Humayun and Haroon, sons of Lt. Gen Akhter Abdur Rahman, or Ejaz ul Haque, Gen. Zia’s son, or Ch. Qamaruzaman the former NAB boss, one time ADC to Gen. Zia. Or those who got a free pass out of jail under Gen. Musharraf.

And the many generals, brigadiers and other officers who’ve been graciously helping themselves.

And then who can ever forget the terrible and infamous Gen. Musharraf, NRO .

So clearly the military is not the answer.

While I have great respect for our Armed forces being an ex Khaki myself and their tremendous efforts in winning the battle against terror and militancy, military interventions are not and will never be the solution, despite the organization’s professional brilliance, discipline and relatively corruption free environment, compared to other government institutions.

Any hopes from another Military government are, to say the least, seriously misplaced. This is because all military governments or administrations, overt or covert, eventually truck with the same kind of people they came to replace. Zia, Musharraf. No change. In fact they leave behind a system and institutions, even weaker.

This happens because of two reasons.

One the military mind while operationally outstanding, operates in a binary of “us” and “them” or “friend” vs “foe”. You’re either “with them” or “against them”.

That’s the nature of military training since time immemorial and rightly so, because they are not trained to operate in shades of grey or ambiguity or uncertainty or compromise. So any person, group, institution who offers a contrarian view, automatically gets pushed into the “other” “enemy” “foe” or “they” camp. Not their fault. In their world you’re either with them or against them.

And people who do not like authoritarianism, will disagree with them, irrespecive of their good intentions or good work.

And this to me explains why many intelligent, educated and aware people will support a known crook and criminal like Nawaz as he cunningly crafted his anti establishment rhetoric, muddying the waters and trying to move the focus away from his own criminal acts, and pretending to stand up to militarism. This despite the fact that he sent over six emissaries to the army desperately seeking a bail out!

Secondly and more critically because they are operationally successful in implementing programs within their own areas of expertise, and observing the abject misgovernance in the civilian sphere, they mistakenly believe that they will achieve similar success when implementing programs in the non military sphere, operating outside their organizational structures, policies, procedures and systems.

This is where they fumble and flounder and finally have to seek support from the “civilians” and the “politicians” to help implement any change agenda.

There they find the same leeches who have stuck to them. Not the bright intelligent ones, who will challenge them and who’ve been thrust away. Honourable exceptions apart. And many honourable exceptions did one find during Gen. Musharrafs regime, especially his first 3 or 4 years. Otherwise tragically once more its back to square one.

So how does one use the tremendous organizational capabilities of a disciplined and relatively corruption free institution like the Pakistan Army in helping Pakistan reform? The Army is a reality in Pakistan. Its latent power and influence in Pakistan is huge, especially coming out of its highly successful war against militancy and terrorism. While technically the Army Chief is a grade 22 officer, subservient to the Minister of Defence, his office is by far the most powerful in the country.

What can and should the Army do to get us out of this hell hole for which it shares equal responsibility with the corrupt politicians?

In my opinion, two things.

Stand behind the constitution and law and support any institution like the Supreme Court and NAB and others who are endeavouring to create space and opportunity for institutional reform, holding the corrupt accountable and ensuring that honest and competent people are appointed to positions of power and authority in key public sector institutions.

2. Ensure that they support the Election Commussion to ensure elections are free and fair, as much can be, given the total hijacking and destruction of our electoral process.

And they MUST NOT tinker with the political process and try and influence the outcome!

Nor should there be any ham handed and stupid attempts at muzzling the press, as one hears nowadays!

A free press even if it runs wild is the greatest shield against unbridled fascism and authoritarianism.

So back to democracy! Many people are of the opinion that in Pakistan, “Democracy” will eventually evolve into a better form than before. I have a very strong opinion to the contrary .

Technically we’ve had “Democracy” in its current form since Gen. Musharraf’s 2004 elections. Since 2008, Asif Zardari and Nawaz Sharif have enjoyed and enjoy nearly as much absolute power as did Gen. Musharraf. Not a twig moves in the Federal and Punjab governments without the Sharif nod or the Zardari nod in Sind.

Yes we have the trappings of federal and provincial legislatures. These have hosted the august bottoms of the same people and families and mindsets since 1940 pre partition days. The only exception being the urban MQM, a party sadly tainted with horrible fascist crimes.

Has anything changed in Pakistan as a consequence of this more than a decade long “Democratic” period?

Are our national leaders less corrupt than before?
Has our law enforcement become better?
Terrorism apart, is our life, property more safe today?
Are our courts, both lower and superior judiciary, delivering better and quicker justice?
Are our government departments less corrupt?
Are public sector appointments made on merit on two fundamental criterion of competence and honesty?
Do we have better and more job opportunities for our youth?
Has our public health care system become better?
Has our public education system become better?
Has our economy grown ?
Have our exports grown?
Have our foreign exchange reserves grown?
Do people pay more taxes?

We live in a dream world of rose tinted glasses and a simplistic construct of “let Democracy continue and evolve.

Yes it must.

But then it must be democracy, a trust of the people, transparent, accountable and delivering good governance. Not a near total dictatorship disguised as a democracy as we see today. It must deliver growth and betterment to the questions asked above

Look at the election statistics. PPP got 13% of the registered vote to come into power in 2008 and PMLN 18% in 2012.

And they governed and govern as if Pakistan was and is their personal fiefdom.

Both parties have mastered the art of hijacking the electoral process through money, patronage and outright criminality called rigging. And then the audacity of foisting their children on this country as one does in a dynasty. Who is Bilawal? Who is Maryam? Who is Hamza? Little twits and nothings with absolute no right but their incident of birth.

Is this democracy?

Will we continue to pay homage to a twenty something twit Bilawal as our next “democratically” selected PM? or that trashy botoxed dumb blonde, Maryam in the same slot?

And their “courtiers” who’s only relevance is that they support such a dysfunctional order. This is no better than North Korea, or Saddam’s Iraq or our “brotherly” Muslim dynastic countries. But this is not democracy!

Gen. Musharraf was a military ruler and one in uniform, but compared to these two so called “democrats” he was far better, in both letter and spirit.

Did he ever try and push his children on us?

Did we not have one of the most effective local government systems under his watch?

Did we not have one of the least corrupt Government’s in his time?

I’m not here to sing his praises or defend him. He also has much to answer in areas of foreign policy, partnering with corrupt politicians, the whole post 9/11 scenario and perhaps the most unforgivable sin of not implementing deep institutional reform.

The last, more tragic, because he had the opportunity, the power and initially the whole hearted support of the Nation.

But in areas of governance, democratic practices, transparency, devolution of power to local bodies, and relatively less corruption, he comes out, smelling like a rose compared to Nawaz Sharif and Zardari!

So this is not “Democracy”.

Nawaz Sharif did not even pay token homage to the trappings of a parliamentary democracy. His record of attending the Parliament and the Senate is shameful. Shouldn’t he have gone to the National Assembly to make his position clear on the Panama Leaks and answer questions?

No. He did what a “dictator” does, hide behind a gentle camera and deliver a pathetic, embarrassing monologue of such juvenile logic that some senior members of his own party were reported to have thrown up! And now is out in the cold!

And trying to stir a near civil war!

So if we have elections again tomorrow and the silent majority does not vote, these criminals, looters and plunderers will come back in power. Not because they’re popular or they got the vote, but because they’ve captured the system.

Therefore cast your vote. Every vote counts and be very careful when you cast your vote. Each and everyone of us.

Look at your choices, Nawaz, Zardari and Imran. One would be daft not to see the obvious choice.

Yes we need an administration of honest and capable technocrats to get into positions of power and authority. Based on his track record, the only person who will appoint such people is Imran.

Get him in. The other’s we’ve tried and seen the outcome. Worst case scenario. Imran cannot be worse then the loot and plunder and the stench and vomit of the Sharifs and the Zardaris

Chief Justice Saqib Nisar is a God send! More power to him and his judicial activism. Either we let him drain the swamp, or wait for the men on horseback or slide further down into anarchy!

He has filled the vacuum created by the abject surrender of governance by the political order. Any vacuum will attract something to fill the emptiness. Thank our stars that he stepped ip to the plate and not the Military or anarchy and lawlessness!

And because of his activism, many others are showing spine.

Pakistan’s vector is heading north.

Please keep it this way.

Use your vote. And use it wisely!

The Hijacked Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement -PTM

By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi

Interesting to see this emergence of PTM before our elections & especially when Pakistan is under constant USA pressure vis-a-vis the Taleban etc, an old mantra which has lost its credibility.

Clearly it is very well-funded and getting a lot of social media support from the usual suspects, Husain Haqqani, Mazdaki (Mohammed Taqi), Raza Rumi, Marvi Sirmed, ostensibly under the facade of “free speech” and “Pashtun rights”. But in reality pushing their “cold war” agenda of anti militarism, another dead dog, forward.

While many of the PTM grievances may be valid such as the large number of security checkpoints, midnight knocks, being subjected to what are perceived as highly unnecessary restrictions. But unfortunately these are an ugly and harsh reality of a geography which has seen war and violence for nearly 40 years.

Lest we forget, post 9/11, even the world’s so-called most vibrant democracy, the USA, has behaved worse than a Nazi fascist state in treating its own citizens and still do. As have others when they felt their security threatened.

I fully sympathise and empathise with those who suffer from the high handedness of the State. And only someone who undergoes the pain and the indignities, can understand what it feels being the victim of extremely harsh security measures. As do the youth of FATA.

Pakistan has been through civil wars and extreme violence and militancy in FATA and Balochistan. Unfortunately and as a consequence the landscape is not just physically scarred but also emotionally and intellectually, scarred on all sides. Including the State. Every shadow is potential terrorist, a suicide bomber. And then of course power also results in its misuse as well.

Clearly no one wants to live in an environment of constant surveillance, security checks, sometimes even being treated as possible criminals or terrorists?

But this is the unfortunate, tragic and sad part of our reality, and while I fully support every effort to normalize the lives of every citizen in our country and for the removal of this very harsh security blanket, we must also understand the rationale.

Several years ago, I remember coming from Dubai to Lahore, and just because my driver had a very long beard and wasn’t carrying his original identity card, we were stopped for three hours, despite my ex military credentials, till his brother brought his genuine ID card!

While this is nothing compared to the many indignities people in FATA or Quetta or other parts suffer, it manifests the paranoia of the State and their own insecurities and experiences where seemingly innocent people wreaked havoc!

Only with time and peace will things become more normal, and the journey has started.

But what for me is seriously questionable and extremely dangerous for Pakistan, is how the PTM has clearly being hijacked by anti state and anti army elements, using the genuine grievances of the people.

And what is also not clear is what this movement wants to achieve other than abusing the Army, shouting platitudes about freedom and “our rights”. There’s clearly much more to this movement than meets the eye.

Running the risk of being dubbed a conspiracy theorist, it does appears that the PTM, in some of its highly inflammable rhetoric, advocates what the USA, Afghans and Indians have been saying about Pakistan and the Pakistan Army.

And to me also offers them the perfect opportunity, to create dissension in Fata and KPK, and bring pressure on Pakistan and the Army.

Also not far behind are possibilities that local politics may also be fueling this.

Nawaz Sharif, ANP and the likes of Mahmood Achakzai have a lot to gain by the PTM stance of constantly abusing and attacking the Army and the State.

And the cherry on the cake is to divide the PTI Pashtun youth vote. Imran’s flagship!

One symathises with any beleaguered community, especially the residents of FATA for the hell they have been through and highlighting and complaining against high handedness by the state, which is every citizen’s right, more so if its outside the bounds of the prevailing law.

But Manzoor Pashteen must be careful that the genuine cause of the movement does not turn into an Army and state bashing exercise, hijacked by our enemies! He is either a willing co-conspirator or stupid enough to be used.

From what Ive seen, he’s far from stupid!

All the current signs tell me that its turning into something sinister. But I could be wrong!

For one, the language used against the Army gives them away!

Secondly I’m very wary when certain types of people begin to endorse any movement in Pakistan.

The final giveaway will be an International Conference!

-Haider Mehdi

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto -Part Devil, part Saint!

  1. By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi.

Bhutto was an enigma.

Brilliant and brutal. Part Saint, part Devil. Unfortunately the Devil won!

Inordinate ambition, a massive ego and the betrayal of his own political values got him the end he deserved!

Not for that crime of murder, but for the many unspeakable horrors he committed, especially on his own, like J A Rahim and Mairaj Mohammed Khan, and his political opponents like Mian Tufail, which cannot be repeated here!

He could have turned and moulded this nation into a great power but he couldn’t rise above his own terrible inconsistencies and his personal ambitions!

His politics were schizophrenic. His pendulum swinging from the man of the masses to a ruthless fascist dictator.

A flawed angel and a Devil incarnate, directly responsible for the breakup of Pakistan.

As Pakistan’s only Civilian Chief Martial Administrator, with one stroke of the pen on midnight, 1January 1972, he destroyed Pakistan’s economic engine, it’s educational system and it’s health care, by nationalizing all three.

And then the coup de grace in destroying the bureaucracy, which has since become the handmaiden of all administrations!

He set us back decades including, in my opinion, directly responsible for Zia’s takeover.

He was also cruel, sadistic, vindictive, unforgiving, petty and mean. Never forgot a slight. The last got him the gallows!

Brilliant he was, no doubt.

But not in the mould of great leaders, but that of a charismatic con man!

-Haider Mehdi

“Damned if he does. Damned if he doesn’t”

Election results 2013. Nawaz 17% of registered vote. 83% did not vote or voted against him.

This is how these evil looters and plunderers get into power through this version of a sham democracy!

What amazes me is the narrative being promoted by Nawaz about “honouring the vote”. Not amazed at his propagation but its resonance in the ears of the educated and the aware.

If this version of a prostituted democracy, hijacked by a coterie of looters and plunderers is acceptable to us then good luck to Pakistan.

If some of us can accept these criminals who’ve done nothing but lined their pockets, then good luck to them.

If some of us are happy with a Nawaz Sharif, his brother, his family, his coterie of criminals to loot and plunder the national exchequer, money laundered 300 billion rupees, trying to foist a bimbo on us as his heir, then good luck.

He shamelessly purveys her in front of drooling crowds to save his wealth and politics. One wonders if these crowds would have gathered had either one of his two sons been doing the rounds.

This shameless woman, Maryam has the temerity to equate this evil man, Nawaz and her trashy character with Nauzobillah the Prophet PBUH and his daughter Bibi Fatima. She’s treading on very dangerous grounds. There are many today, who can and may do something that cannot be spoken here.

The real story behind why he was picked up by Governor Jilani is another very dark stain on this family’s character. Sufficeth. This whole family is shameless, devoid of self respect with serious issues of morality!

And these are the wretched we want as our leaders?

Or a Zardari, having looted and plundered at will as well and now attempting to foist a twenty something twit on us. Then good luck!

If some of us are happy with a Nawaz or a Zardari, who have both systematically destroyed every institution in Pakistan so that they and their evil coterie can continue to loot and plunder at will, then good luck.

Those who support these evil men are as guilty of their acts of commission and commission, as if they committed them, themselves.

They do so perhaps, either out of ignorance, or self centered vested interests. I can see no other reason.

If the former, then they are forgiven. If the latter then understandable, because they’re riding and eating and benefiting from the same evil gravy train of the Nawaz’s and Zardari’s of Pakistan and fear the end of this terrible status quo.

They will hit out, cry out, fight anybody and everybody who are battling these evils. Whether it’s the Supreme Court, or Imran Khan or the so called establishment.

They will pick at the soft spots in these three, higlight inconsistencies and their errors of judgement to try and destroy them.

None who support Nawaz or Zardari talk of the genocide of values these two evil men have wrought on Pakistan.

None of these laud the Supreme Court in bringing Nawaz to justice.

Not even acknowledging that he was and is corrupt and evil! But they pick holes in minutiae, nit picking laws, muddying the waters.

None admit that this man siphoned the taxpayers money out of Pakistan and ensconced it in properties and businesses abroad.

None question the whole scale destruction of our institutions by him.

Democracy they cry! What democracy?

A democracy which has made this nation poorer?
A democracy which has destroyed every semblance of good governance?
A democracy which puts Pakistan on top of the list of infant deaths?
A democracy which couldn’t provide education to its poor and exploited, giving rise to the thousands of madrassahs and all the challenges associated with it?
A democracy whose health care system is in tatters and yet these evil demigods run to London and the USA at the slightest sniffle!

Fie on this terrible perverted democracy!

Democracy means a system which vests those governing with the public trust. A trust which expects good governance, progress, development, better education, healthcare, employment, justice, security!

It doesn’t mean multibillion dollar projects which allow these snakes to siphon off tens of billions of the top!

To me the battle lines are stark and clear.

The battle is for the future of Pakistan and it’s people against the terrible evil, misgovernance and loot and plunder of the Sharif’s and the Zardaris who use the shield of a prostituted democratic order to save their wealth, their power and influence and to continue to acquire power!

This is a prostituted, cancer ridden version of a democratic process.

Unless and until we don’t have a system which allows people of integrity and competence to get to positions of governance, power and authority, it will continue to be hijacked by those with wealth, for whom the only value system is further acquisition of wealth and power and not the good of the people of Pakistan!

Our Electoral process, as it currently stands, cannot stop evil and corrupt people like Nawaz and Zardari acquiring power. This must be stopped. And the only way is for institutions to be strong enough to stop this rape, loot and plunder.

While the Supreme Court may be displaying activism of a sort that may not appear to many as fair, at least laud them for bringing a crook to justice, because all others failed!

Imran is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t. His Senate play stopped a major and evil ploy by Nawaz. And he had to compromise with another evil to ward of the bigger evil!

When he doesn’t…he doesn’t understand politics…when he does…he’s sold his soul.

We pontificate from the soft recesses of our armchairs, especially mine and forget that he’s been in this game and in the trenches for 22 years. Has experienced and tried every trick in the trade, every tactic, every strategy to fight the status quo.

We forget that he has literally and singlehandedly broken the two party system. That it was his doggedness in the valleys of despair that kept the party going.

That it was his unrelenting and unforgiving approach which got the Supreme Court to take notice of Panama, otherwise It would have been buried in the dustbins of history.

We forget that despite his errors of judgement, by sheer force of his character and charisma he’s set up a university in a place where no one would set up even a goatshed! Where kids come from 54 districts and 95% are on free scholarships.

He’s set up 3 Cancer hospitals. He’s broken the back of the political mafia and made key institutions wake up from slumber.

We forget that this person, with all his faults, his inconsistencies, his errors of judgement, stands taller than Nawaz and Zardari!
And yet we petty things in our ultimate pettiness quibble over issues that are for want of a better word….petty!

I pity the good people of this nation who do not and cannot differentiate the good from what is truly evil.

Even a flawed Imran, and minor are his flaws, is a thousand times better then these evil people!

Choose your side’s carefully!

For all of us and our future generations will have to live with the choices we make today!
-Haider Mehdi

The Battle for Pakistan’s Soul!

By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi.

This story perhaps describes best what’s happening in Pakistan today….

……A grandfather tells his grandson there are two wolves inside us, always at war with each other. One is a good wolf which represents things like kindness, bravery, love, honesty and good. The other is a bad wolf, which represents things like dishonesty, evil, greed, hatred and fear. The grandson thinks for a second and then asks his grandfather, “Grandfather, which one wins?”

“The one we feed!” says the grandfather, gently!

One couldn’t help but think of this story, as the reaction, both for and against The Supreme Court decision, disqualifying Nawaz from holding party office, set social media ablaze.

Many who represent the so-called thinking intelligentsia poured scorn on the Judgement. Some calling it a Judicial coup. Others sarcastically and highy inflammably, questioning if Nawaz’s appointment of the Army Chief was also null and void. Many said this would further strengthen Nawaz. Some went as far as to say that this handed Nawaz the 2018 election on a platter.

But none of these good people of Pakistan for a second reflected and said that it was the absolutely right legal decision and it was the only morally correct decision.

None of these good people said. Bravo! Thank God, for once our courts had the spine and the guts and the chutzpah and the courage to stand up to the highest and the mightiest in our land, and say enough is enough and no more!

They did not say that thank God, even the most powerful in the land are finally getting their comeuppance.

They did not say that being elected to public office is not a license to loot and plunder at will, for over 35 years.

They did not say that a person who wilfully, consciously and deliberately, destroyed every institution in this country, except the Army and the Supreme Court, was finally being held accountable!

They did not say, thank God this man is being put away and we will be spared the possibility of his daughter being foisted on us.

They did not say that we are happy that the evil committed by our spineless, prostituted parliament to save a crook and a criminal, has been overturned.

They did not say that our high and mighty cannot get away scot-free, as they have done in the past. They did not say that finally Nawaz will be held accountable even if he was legally elected.

But what they did say embarrasses, humiliates and insults not just them or their so-called intellect and their families and the names they carry and the legacies they will leave, they also tarnish the name of other people of good sense.

But more importantly they blacken the Soul of Pakistani by feeding their wolf of evil, dishonesty and greed.

In their mindless, irrational insanity and anger for the Army, who they think is behind Nawaz’s ouster, they will support a criminal and a looter and a plunderer. And they will tarnish the Army, the Supreme Court and attempt to destroy Imran. His third marriage becomes a nuclear option. His Lodhran loss the devil’s dance around a sacrifice.

How low have they fallen?

What has happened to this society? What has happened to our sense of right and wrong? What has happened to our ability to differentiate good from evil?

By what value system can the good thinking people of this country support the loot and plunder of Nawaz and his rampant and wholescale destruction of all our institutions?

By what logic can people question the decision of the Supreme Court in disqualifying a person to hold party office if he or she is disqualified to hold public office?

While I admired Salman Akram Raja’s masterful defence beautifully articulating Nawaz’s fundamental rights, it was appalling to see how the whole moral edifice was being destroyed by this man! How Western concepts of fundamental rights were being offered to upend the highest moral code of all times. Truth and Honesty!

Pakistan’s battle for its Soul is as much a Moral one as it is a Legal one. If the law subverts morality, integrity, ethics, then throw that law into the garbage heap. Burn the building and the people who enact laws which honours crooks and imprisons morality.

Burn them who will legislate to defend a thief and make it easier for other criminals to be elected to public office, but are deaf and blind to the tens of millions of our poor and exploited and hungry, bereft of health care, education, employment opportunities and even Hope!

Burn those who exploit the helplessness of these poor wretched people, held ransom to a system of patronage, to get elected again and again.

But one doesn’t blame the poor and the helpless. For to them all that matters is sheer survival. But those who stand with Nawaz and against the Supreme Court, with full stomachs and education and awareness, they are the real evil that has prostituted the Soul of Pakistan.

Whatever perverted logic they may espouse to support this evil man, their inability to stand for good against evil, for truth against dishonesty is inexcusable!!

We must reflect deeply before this evil wolf devouring others, devours Pakistan!

-Haider Mehdi

*A Postscript -The Army isn’t wearing Trousers

By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi*
As anticipated, the earlier article referred above “The Army isnt wearing Trousers” has stirred up quite a storm showering me both with bouqets and brickbats.
Surprisingly, the vast majority, especially fellow military officers, serving and retired, supported the perspective. Most sent direct messages, perhaps afraid of offending the institution. But some brave souls did boldly defend the perspective publicly on social media forums.
 Others questioned, not the content, but the timing and were curious to know why now. One close friend, a retired 3 star called and anxiously enquired if I’d lost my mind! You’ve gone wonky, he said!
A few, in classic whataboutism listed the Army’s achievements in response. As if good work absolves corruption! To all these groups I offer this postscript as an explanation.
However a small minority of mindless ignorant sheep, also let loose an invective of criticism, some questioning my patriotism, my motivations, looking for hidden agendas, and that last refuge of the proverbial scoundrel, implying sectarian overtones. None presented any arguments, except abuse.
To them I offer nothing but my contemptuous silence and my pity! They deserve nothing more!
To those who I owe an explanation let me state unequivocally that if anything, I should have written on this issue much earlier, because it is now at the center of Pakistani politics and Nawaz Sharif’s evil designs and game plan.
Over the years, I found a large number of educated good, decent and well meaning Pakistanis supporting Zardari and Nawaz, despite their unbridled loot and plunder and their wholescale destruction of Pakistani public sector institutions. This support, at least to me, was an enigma.
But what was even more surprising was their single minded opposition to Imran Khan, despite his relatively clean record and relentless jihad against corruption and institutional decay and fight for a better Pakistan.
Upon closer scrutiny and digging deeper, one was surprised to discover that flowing underneath this support for Nawaz and opposition to Imran, was a simmering anger and discontent against the Pakistan Army, despite the sacrifices of its officers and jawans in the past decade and a half!
It then became clear that through some perverted logic, the support for Zardari and Nawaz and Asma Jehangir was more of a Bughze Fauj rather than a Hubbe Nawaz or Hubbe Asma. And it was in this context that one can also now understood the anti Imran sentiment, because of a perception that the Army had been behind his rise.
But what has potentially very serious and grave consequences for Pakistan is the manner in which Nawaz has cunningly converted this anti establishment wave into his political narrative. A tactic that has further widened the schism!
So cleverly has this looter played his cards, that many people while convinced of Nawaz’s corruption, view his ouster not based on his corruption but because of differences with the army. Completely untrue of course, but such is the power of this narrative that he has put the Army in the dock as well.
Notwithstanding any and all reasons, the fact is that there is a significant anti army sentiment, which must first be recognised, then addressed. And only the Army can do it. No one else. Otherwise these vultures will get away with their corruption and loot and plunder. Perhaps not Nawaz or his daughter or son in law, but the system that he and Zardari represent.
And that is why I wrote my piece before it’s too late.
I am convinced as are many others, whether we like it or not, that the Army today is the bedrock on which Pakistan rests and survives. It is the only institution that stands between order and total anarchy. And therefore it must survive. Both from attacks from outside but also from decay from inside.
So its critical to acknowledge, call out and most importantly address this growing perception of the Army being the “Big Brother” untouchable, unquestionable and above criticism.
If this perception remains unchecked than it will create a dangerous divide between the Army and population at large, which is exactly what our enemies desire.
The Army cannot pontificate from a higher moral ground, running down civilians, holding political leaders responsible for all our ills, if it does not hold itself to even higher standards of accountability and open to criticism and accountability. And thereby not giving an opportunity to crooks and plunderers like Nawaz Sharif to regain political strength.
It is not Nawaz who is strong it’s the Army which has not successfully addressed the anti establishment sentiment. And hence my few examples which created this perception of untouchablility and high handedness.
The answer lies, not in shooting the messenger, but paying attention to the message. An Ostrich like approach will not work. To be consciously blind to one’s faults and mistakes is perhaps a bigger curse than ignorance. Combine the two and you have a catastrophe!
If one doesn’t know, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. If one turns a blind eye, doesn’t mean the problem will go away.
If we don’t fix our own errors, we are doomed to suffer the consequences and that Pakistan and the Army can ill afford.
A good friend is one who tells you that you have bad breath. Especially if you happen to be a spouse or a girl friend or boy friend who you love dearly!
-Haider Mehdi

The Army isn’t wearing Trousers!

By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi.

Many have questioned why I haven’t taken the Army to task as I oft do with the other civilian public sector institutions in Pakistan.

Two reasons.

The Pakistan Army, thank God, has not succumbed to the rot of say the Punjab Police. Yet. And this yet is why I’ve penned the perspective which follows. And secondly it’s done a pretty good job this last decade and a half. In fact saved the country! Literally!

But the ISPR announcement of troops to Saudi Arabia and Asma Jehangir’s death have resulted in this commentary. Both promoted several questions.

Why are we sending these troops and what are their terms of reference?

Was this discussed and debated in the National Assembly?

Did the cabinet discuss and approve it?

What are the regional geopolitical implications of such a deal?

And very puzzling!

Why did the ISPR make the announcement? Why didn’t the Minister of Defence or the Minister of Foreign affairs announce it in the Parliament or even through a press conference?

The issue here is not whether we should or should not send troops, which is a subject for another article, but of process, of the power of the army and the whole lot of questions listed above and many more.

While my views on the PMLN government are fairly well-known, even I was taken aback at this seemingly brazen hijacking of due process by the Army via ISPR. This wasn’t a Zarb e Azb, where time was of the essence and the civilian government was dithering and playing footsie with the TTP.

So why did ISPR announce this major defence and foreign policy initiative?

While wrestling with this I was reminded of the overwhelming emotion for Asma Jehangir on her sudden demise, both quite surprising.

While she was a controversial figure and to many even unpatriotic, but what stood out most about her, was her unrelenting, uncompromising and highly bitter vitriolic against the Army, especially its high command and senior officers.

She was willing to truck with anybody and everybody who was against the Army, despite many with highly dubious credentials such as Husain Haqqani, Asif Zardari and Nawaz Sharif, to name a few. Their acts and corruption notwithstanding, she still allied with them.

It was then that I realized that part of the outpouring of emotion on her death by many also represented people’s feelings towards the Army.

Why? I asked. Why should people hold such emotions for an institution which has paid in blood and sacrificed so much to save us from anarchy and near ruin?

Why is it that people fail to see how it’s young and old toil day and night for Pakistan? War on Terror. Earthquakes. Floods. Census. Elections. You name it and the Army’s there.

Why is it that despite supporting democracy, the institution is still plagued by its history of military dictators and military rule and Asma who symbolized the “anti army narrative” received such a heroine’s funeral?

While this may not be the only reason but several things stand out.

First and foremost, in my opinion, is the Army’s inability to hold its senior corrupt officers accountable.

While one does hear the oft-repeated refrain that “the Army has a very rigorous process of accountability”, I have not seen a single three star or two star or even a one star being stripped of their rank and titles and sent to jail. Yes we’ve had some minor raps on the knuckles and one Maj. Gen taken to task, but nothing about those who’ve looted and plundered tens if not hundreds of millions or a billion or two, in military procurement deals, in shady housing schemes and the many other ways that they do. Today ask any officer of reasonable mid to senior rank and above, serving or retired, to name at least a score or more of two and three star generals who in the last decades have looted and plundered while in service and taken the bank to the cleaners. And they will!

Yet no Army Chief including the current Chief, Gen. Bajwa has taken any action against these officers. The sad icing on the cake is that several were “honoured” with lucrative post retirement plum jobs.

This is a huge stain on the Army’s character and honour. Those senior officers who loot, steal and plunder are no different from the crooks and robbers who infest and plague our bureaucracy, our politics and other public sector institutions.

So, why aren’t they brought to book, I asked a senior retired officer? It’ll impact the Army’s morale, Sir, he said. I was aghast! Morale affected by not punishing corrupt officers? The logic was mind numbing!

If anything, as one would imagine, morale would be adversely affected when the rank and file see these corrupt looters getting away with murder. Imagine serving under a Div Commander or a Corps Commander or any other senior appointments, knowing that the boss has his hands in the till and yet continues to go unpunished.

Morality, ethics, integrity are the hallmarks on which we were trained to become officers right from our Military Academy days. Moral integrity and Moral courage, were and hopefully still are, values that mean something in this institution. But not to see a single senior corrupt looter sent to jail is a testimony to this institution’s failure to hold its senior leaders accountable.

The second factor, I think, is the manner in which the Army brazenly exercises it’s power and influence. By doing do it further alienates itself and opens itself to severe criticism.

The Saudi troops announcement by ISPR being one. In this case Gen. Bajwa should have sat in a press conference chaired by the Minister of Defence. The Minister should have announced the despatch of troops to Saudi Arabia, explaining the rationale and everything with any questions on their tactical role being answered by the Chief. This I say despite my genetic aversion to anything associated with Nawaz Sharif!

Others are examples of how State land has been continuously misappropriated on one pretext or the other for uses other than what it was given to the Army for. For instance land for military units converted to residential colonies!

The power, privileges and perks acquired by senior officers. General’s should not be travelling in BMW’s but in Toyota Jeeps. Their offices should not put the offices of Corporate CEO’s to shame! They should live in austere environments befitting their profession. The corrupt within the Army must be punished. The brazen display of brute force curbed.

Let’s not forget our Armed Forces are paid for by the poor people of Pakistan. The hundreds of millions who are indirectly taxed every time they load their phones or buy bread or switch on a fan or a lightbulb. It is incumbent upon the Army to spend this tax money from the blood, sweat and tears of its people, with care!

I know many of my fellow brothers in khaki will take great offence to this perspective. But while it is also painful for me, I must say so, because the Pakistan Army is one of the only two institutions in this country, the other being the Supreme Court, on which the very future of Pakistan depends.

The Army cannot go the route of other public sector institutions. They cannot allow their corrupt to go free or continue to misuse its strength and misappropriate authority which is not theirs. The institution must self correct, otherwise it will eventually succumb to the rot within!

And the sooner someone tells the General that the Army isnt wearing trousers, the better it is for Pakistan and the Army!

-Haider Mehdi

Nawaz Sharif’s “Shubkhoon” to destroy the Supreme Court and the Army through Constitutional Amendments!

By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi

The air is rife with speculation and wild rumours. Mainstream and Social Media is abuzz with countless conspiracy theories.

Chiefly.

1. Zardari has cut a deal with the Army.

My take. Nothing of the sort. It’s a very deliberate and calculated act of extremely clever disinformation being spread by the AZ man himself.

In closed door meetings he drops hints and names, impishly winks, gives knowing half smiles, leaves sentences hanging, loud conspirational whispers during telephone calls implying that a “certain person” or somebody from “The Institution” is on the other side.

He deliberately and consciously creates a sense of high confidentiality in small and large groups, swearing all to secrecy about what they overheard or what he told them, knowing fully well that it’ll travel far and wide, quicker than a hot knife through butter.

So, sadly for the Jayalas, no deals have been made, or under consideration or will be, with Mr. AZ dealmaker, despite Malik Riaz’s best efforts! Kaira saheb to especially take note!

2. The Army is not supporting the Supreme Court.

My take. True. The Army has no business “supporting” the Supreme Court other than what’s it’s constitutionally mandated to do so.

The Supreme Court is strong enough and capable enough to do what it seems right under the law and the Constitution. And that is to mete out justice to all and sundry, especially the high and mighty.

If it ever needs support from any State institution, Army or any other, it will ask for it and will receive it under Article 190.

So chapter closed on this one. This despite the desperate shrieking “Rok Sako tho Rok Lo” siren, hilariously mimicked by Naeem Bokhari! And that other shrieker, her father, desperately trying to save himself, his ill gotten wealth and his politics.

But one rumour currently doing the rounds, now more fact than rumour as substantiated from several sources, both inside and outside the government, is the drafting of two key constitutional amendments impacting the Army and the Superior Judiciary!

These are planned to be presented and passed by the PMLN government, after getting a majority in the forthcoming Senate elections and prior to dissolution of the assemblies before the next general elections.

The first is about the appointment of Judges and their retirement age and amendments to Constitution Articles 175A and 179.

Article 175A currently reads.

*Appointment  of  Judges  to  the  Supreme  Court,  High  Courts  and the  Federal  Shariat  Court.−*

*(1) There  shall  be  a  Judicial  Commission  of Pakistan,  hereinafter  in  this  Article  referred  to  as  the  Commission,  for appointment  of  Judges  of  the  Supreme  Court,  High  Courts  and  the  Federal Shariat  Court,  as  hereinafter  provided*

*(2) For   appointment   of   Judges   of   the   Supreme   Court,   the Commission  shall  consist  of—*

*Chief  Justice  of  Pakistan; Chairman Four most  senior  Judges  of  the  Supreme  Court;*

*Members.*
*A former Chief  Justice  or a former Judge or Member the Supreme  Court of Pakistan to be  nominated by the Chief Justice of Pakistan, in  consultation with the  four member Judges,  for a term of two years;*

*Federal  Minister  for  Law  and  Justice; Attorney-General  for  Pakistan;* 

*And a  Senior  Advocate  of  the  Supreme  Court nominated  by  the  Pakistan  Bar  Council for  a  term  of  two  years.*

*3) Notwithstanding  anything  contained  in  clause  (1)  or  clause  (2), the  President  shall  appoint  the  most  senior  Judge  of  the  Supreme  Court  as the  Chief  Justice  of  Pakistan.*

The amendment proposes to reconstitute the Judicial commission and take away its power to appoint judges in the manner they do so now.

The new Judicial Commission will comprise the Chief Justice, Minister of Law, other law officers of the government plus parliamentarians, comprising government and opposition members, proportionally based on their assembly strength.

Under the planned amendment, the incumbent Chief Justice will only have authority to recommend a roster of names and the Judicial Commission, by majority vote, will approve names before forwarding to the President for appointment.

The proposed amendment will also do away with the seniority rule, whereby currently the senior most judge is automatically elevated to become Chief Justice. In future the Judicial Commission, again by majority vote, will chose any person from amongst the Judges, they deem fit to become the Chief Justice.

In summary, the ruling party, in this case rhe PMLN, will have total power to  appoint judges.

But the second change is what will completely change the current makeup of the Supreme Court during the incumbency of the current government!

This amendment to article 179 aims to reduce the retirement ages of the Judges and the Chief Justice from 65 to 60.

*Constitutional Article 179  reads* 

*Retiring age.* 
*A Judge of the Supreme Court shall hold office until he attains the age of sixty five years, unless he sooner resigns or is removed from office in accordance with the Constitution*

While one cannot fault these amendments in principle in a democratic order where the ruling party, if it has the numbers, choses to make such changes.

But what is seriously questionable, are the very evil and nefarious designs, behind such moves and attempts to amend these clauses, and even more importantly, why now!

Hypothetically were this amendment to pass, by say early March, the Supreme Court would be immediately wiped clean of the following Judges who will automatically retire being over 60 years of age.

1. Chief Justice Saqib Nisar.
2. Justice Asif Saeed Khosa.
3. Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan.
4. Justice Gulzar Ahmed.
5. Justice Sh. Azmat Saeed.

And perhaps a few more!

Then the new Judicial Commission will appoint a Chief Justice of its choice and fill the vacancies with Nawaz toadies.

What a really neat Constitutional Coup!

Imagine the horrors and the terrible consequences of such a nightmarish scenario, for Pakistan, for the rule of Law and for our Superior Judiciary!

It took the Supreme Court nearly 60 odd years to free itself from being the Executives handmaiden and mistress. Over the last 10 years it has become an independent institution, diligently working to wipe the scars on its honour and mete out evenhanded justice. Granted they’re not perfect, but a far cry from the “Doctrine of Necessity” types. Pakistan cannot allow this wholescale destruction of our Superior Judiciary into becoming Patwaris once again, simply to save Nawaz and his family and cronies from getting their just desserts.

The second “Shubkhoon” ia planned on the office of the Army Chief and other two Chiefs of the Air Force and the Navy by taking away their authority to promote officers to two and three star ranks, make key command and staff appointments and limit their authority of command over their respective institutions.

Here’s the plan being cooked in The Devil’s Workshop”

1. The three Armed forces Chiefs will no longer be members of the National Security Committe. They will be represented by the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee. Currently Gen. Zubair Hayat.

2. Promotions to all two star and three star ranks, Maj. Gen, Lt. Gen, Air Vice Marshal, Air Marshal, Rear Admiral, Vice Admiral, will be vested in the National Security Committee of which CJSC will be but one member! And by majority vote.

3. All Principal Staff Officer and Corps Commander and similar Air Force and Naval appointments will be made by the National Security Committee.

4. DG ISI will be appointed by the National Security Committee.

5. ISI and ISPR will report directly to CJSC.

6. The Corps Commander Conferences and similar conferences in the Air Force and Navy, will be presided over by the CJSC and Minister of Defence.

So there you have it folks.

A complete destruction of the only two institutions that have survived the savagery of the Sharifs and Zardari. And the only two that stand between there loot, plunder, pillage and anarchy and a great Pakistan!

As I had written sometimes ago, Nawaz is willing to destroy any institution in Pakistan, perhaps even the country, and go to any lengths to save himself, his wealth, his family, his politics and his party. And in that order of priority!

Pakistan is the least of his concerns!

In his attempt to destroy the Judiciary and the Army, , he has the support of our estranged ally, as was Zardari in his misfired Memogate attempt via that vile oil merchant, “Mir” Hussain Haqqani! Maybe Haqqani is writing another memo!

Lest we forget our estranged ally has major “assets” within our government and also our Armed Forces!

Many a Quisling will make themselves available!

Honourable Justice Saqib Nisar and Gen. Bajwa! Gentlemen, you both have been duly forewarned! As has the Nation!

– Haider Mehdi

Comparing Imran Khan and Nawaz Sharif!

-Syed Haider Raza Mehdi

Those who spend their time spouting invective against Imran, a person who wants to change a terrible system and equating his occasional inconsistencies or an intemperate comment or a questionable political position and action to someone like this master mafia crook, looter and plunderer Nawaz, is to say the least, grossly unfair!

The recent calumny is about PTI nominating Sammy Sandwich for a Senatorial slot. This is untrue. The Sandwich has not been nominated. But such is the venom against Imran, even reasonable people fall into the trap of beating the drums without ascertaining the facts.

The spineles slavish sheep, I don’t blame, but those who know better, do themselves great injustice and disservice and to their credibility by forwarding other people’s Shahid Masood type dhabardhoos claims, conveniently absolving themselves of all responsibility of such acts.

And many amongst this terrible tribe of so called liberatti twits are at the forefront of comparing Imran and Nawaz and attempting to tarnish Imran!

Don’t they understand that in their pettiness they’re putting obstacles in our attempts to change our rotten system and darkening their own futures and of our future generations!

I think we’re all missing a huge point and the big picture completely, while wallowing in the superficiality of snowflake analysis and narratives.

There’s absolute no comparison between the massive loot and plunder of the Sharifs and the Zardaris and Imran Khan’s challenges of trucking with questionable people or some ill thought through political actions.

Imran has singlehandedly changed the politics of Pakistan.

In his 22 years he has created a third force in an entrenched and corrupt two party system.

He has donated his entire wealth towards his hospitals and university.

He has worked with whatever is available to try and bring change in Pakistan.

And yes he has had to compromise. He has had to work with what’s available. And yes he has fallen prey to expediency and yes he has made errors of judgement.

But if he hadn’t done some of this, he would still be in the political wilderness, such is the terrible corruption of this landscape. And tragically Nawaz would have been even more deeply entrenched.

Let’s not forget, that it was his 2nd November 2016 Dharna call on his Panamagate petition, which forced the Supreme Court to take up the petition. Had this not happened, Nawaz would still be PM and Ishaq Dar still Finance Minister. But by this one act, he and his supporters changed Pakistan’s history.

But to us? it’s his marriage which dominates! Or the helicopter hours. Or Aleem Khan. Or Sammy Sandwich! Or Taliban Khan! Etc.

I’m uncomfortable with his cosying to the rightists. His dependence on a few advisers, some seriously questionable. Aleem Khan clearly one. His inability to politically disengage from Jehangir Tareen, despite the guilty Supreme Court verdict. The award of the Lodhran ticket to Jehangir’s son, Ali Tareen left a very bad taste. The apparent lack of party organization at the grass roots. And the fact that he’s lost many good people and disillusioned thousands. And if he would only listen more!

His biggest assets were and hopefully still are his own personal credibility and corruption free good governance. Anything that impacts these two such as the several Achilles heels mentioned above will significantly impact his chances to succeed!

 

But I still think he stands between us and anarchy! I still think he holds hope for a better, brighter Pakistan offering education, health care, opportunities for our youth. A Pakistan where our national interests will dominate and not the personal interests of a crooked merchant selling our interests to foreign governments.

And above all, I think he’s an institution and nation builder, which will lead to sustainable progress!

He is a patriot. He is honest. He is committed. He is relentless in his pursuit of a better Pakistan! He has done what he could in the KPK, despite the challenges of working with wily traditional politicians and novice newcomers and not having direct oversight!

But what shames me is that good people, thinking people, educated people, will continue to hammer away at him, in ways that are so petty and demeaning that they don’t even warrant a response.

While we should be shouting at the top of our voices and praising this guy for singlehandedly bringing that looter and plunderer, Nawaz, to justice, we want to trip him up. We want to cut him down. We want to destroy him simply because we are members of the gravy train, eating and benefiting from the massacre and savagery the Sharifs and Zardaris have wreaked on Pakistan. We join the other looters and plunderers who want to destroy his credibility because they want to save this terribly corrupt and dysfunctional system!

Or we are prejudiced and petty, devoid of a good sense and above all ignorant, wallowing in “What aboutism”!

We’ve lost our sense of right and wrong. Our sense of proportion and judgement. Our inability to differentiate from what is totally evil to what are not existential errors.

In simple terms. We have completely lost our ability to differentiate good from evil.

Consequently, forgetting his tremendous achievements and sacrifices, we equate Imran’s inconsistencies, which in my opinion, are not existential in the larger scheme of things, with the criminality, corruption, loot and plunder of Nawaz and Zardari and the system they represent!

Nawaz the criminal, now goes up and down the land shrieking himself hoarse attempting to plead his case and foist that piece of absurdity, his daughter, on us.

But perhaps the most serious charge against Nawaz is his suspect loyalty to Pakistan.

What say you of a person who has till date not uttered a single word on the Kulbashan Yadav case or taken his name in public and taken India to task? A criminal silence!

What say you of a person who allegedly, personally handed over a letter to Jindal in Murree, allegedly written by Kulbashan, requesting the Indian government to fight his case in the Hague? A necessary legal requirement for the Indian government to fight Kulbashan’s case!

What say you of a person who will use the services of a known traitor, Husain Haqqani, as determined by the Supreme Court of Pakistan, to get a USA lobbying firm for himself?

What say you of a person who lied in Parliament, in public, in court, committed forgery, betrayed the people’s trust?

What say you of a person who has allegedly money launderer and siphoned away $3 Billion dollars of public money?

What say you of a person who has not improved the workings of a single state institution on his three tenures as PM? Not one!

What say you of a person who has recently been named by Transparency International in the UK to have bought his Avenfield apartments with ill gotten funds?

And yet we compare this man to Imran.

This to me is our biggest tragedy. And all we have in response is “But what about…..?

It is time to reflect and ask yourself. Who and what is really good for Pakistan, our childen and our future?

– Haider Mehdi

“Alea iacta est” Your Lordships, The Die is Cast!

By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi

With these famous words Julius Caesar on January 10, 49 B.C, crossed the Rubicon river in Northern Italy in defiance of the Senate and began his long civil war.

Today both phrases, “the die is cast” and “crossing the Rubicon” symbolically represent “a point of no return”.

Has the Supreme Court cast the die and crossed the Rubicon in convicting Nehal Hashmi? To many they have. To others, more skeptical, this may be just a more serious and threatening warning shot across Nawaz’s bows to desist him and his daughter and other courtiers like Talal etc from further criticism and just stop short of awarding a similar judgement as Nehal’s!

Just for context.

Our Superior Judiciary doesn’t boast a very glorious and honourable past of courageous acts or stands against tyrants and crooks. Time and again it has bowed, bended, swayed, sometimes willingly, sometimes unwillingly, at times being bought, at times threatened and cowed into submission. And always given the OK to our Men on Horseback!

It has the dishonorable honour of turning against its own in the infamous case of the Supreme Court coup lead by a Nawaz minion Saeed uz Zaman Siddiqui, who turned against his own sitting Chief Justice, that most honourable and dignified personage Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah. History records their legacies very differently.

Then we have had the PCO and non PCO judges, the Iftikhar Chaudhry episode, the Dogar Supreme Court etc etc.

Sufficeth to say that this institution has had its days of running with the hares and hunting with the hounds, meekly acquiesing to the powerful and the mighty.

Justice Khosa quoted from The Godfather in his earlier minority judgement in the Panama case. But we must also remember that there existed and still exists a very tight close and evil mafia like nexus between the bench and the bar in Pakistan. It’s like a club where both scratch each other’s backs, suck the money and blood from the poor and the hapless, unfortunate enough to fall prey to the judicial system. Judges who were partners with lawyers from the same chambers stage a macabre hypocrtical drama in the courtrooms everyday. For a drama it is, while the hapless public looks on trying to make a sense of the never ending stay orders, the endless dates, the 15 minute rushed hearings, the hearings that never take place, and the lawyers and the court staff milking the litigants. Ask me. I know. Having run from pillar to post, as have many others reading this, completely helpless, held hostage by the Judicial Mafia!

But in recent times the Supreme Court has redeemed it’s honour in ways that one couldn’t even contemplate, let alone expect. CJ Iftikhar Chaudhry, to his everlasting credit, and perhaps his only real credit, was able to snatch away the administrative power of the EXECUTIVE to appoint judges to the Superior Judiciary, and in that one act he has changed the destiny of this Institution. And for this the legal fraternity owes him an everlasting debt for conjuring this miracle!

Thank God for this miracle, that we have witnessed, perhaps for the first time in our history, the crooked and the corrupt occupying our highest office being caught by the scruff of their necks, while in office, and meted justice for their crimes.

The Supreme Court judges clearly have a spine that I for one didnt think existed. But the events of the past year or so has changed all that. This dramatic change has shocked everbody. Some with joy others devastated! Especially their fraternity in the bar and many others used to the spineless lot of the past.

In a strange way the Supreme Court has rebelled against their own community in asserting their independence and the bar is incensed at what they consider a “betrayal”.

The shocked silence and failure of all the bar councils across the length and breadth of Pakistan in standing up for the bench against the daily slander by Nawaz and co is testimony to this deduction.

This silence of the Bar councils who should be celebrating this “born again Supreme Court” speaks volumes of their professional integrity and values and where their loyalties lie.

And the one council that spoke up, the Karachi Bar Council, is actually planning to go on strike to protest Nehal Hashmi’s conviction and sentencing. Subhan Allah!

And this is where the Supreme Court must display its spine again, without fear or favour, without being blackmailed or being threatened. We cannot afford to give in now and compromise or be again browbeaten into submission.

Your Lordships! Now that the die has been cast and the Rubicon crossed with Nehal’s conviction and sentencing, the Nation and Justice expects you to complete the job you started with him.

Not convicting Nawaz, Maryam, Talal and Saad Rafiq and others guilty of the same crime of defaming the Court, would be a travesty of justice. There are already voices, not mine, saying that Nehal got this harsh punishment because he is a Muhajir and Urdu speaking! And the others being Punjabis will be spared and let off with a gentle wrap on the knuckles “in the interest of the State and public order” etc etc.

Well, Your Lordships, in all humility, since I have no intentions to join Nehal, either the Honourable Court shouldn’t have convicted him, which I and the vast majority think you should have, and thereby set the precedent which then leaves the Honourable Court very little room to forgive the others.

Howrver, if for some unearthly reason and in your wisdom your Honourable Lordships were to let Nawaz and company off the hook, it’ll be a resounding slap on your own faces, on the Court, on Pakistan and on Justice.

Nawaz, Maryam, Talal, Danyal, Saad Rafiq and others must also be punished as has Nehal.

If you do not, Pakistan will face the serious consequences of this abject surrender by the Honourable Court, however beautifully or artfully your Lordships may pen your poetic travesty.

The Nation is watching, Your Lordships!

You have done much to redeem the honour of this your institution and of this nation. Much more remains to be done!

-Haider Mehdi