An evening with the Oakville, Canada, PTI Chapter.

*An evening with the Oakville, Canada, PTI Chapter.

*Haider Mehdi*

Last evening I was invited by Dr. Samia the head of the local PTI Chapter in Oakville to share my thoughts on the current political situation, Imran and PTI.

Here’s the link to the talk with thanks to our wonderful hosts Mr and Mrs Burhan and Dr. Samia.

Apologies for the poor audio.

https://m.facebook.com/groups/1557236861158790?view=permalink&id=2065130390369432

Salaams and Prayers.
Haider Mehdi.

Some Pakistani TV Anchors: Monkeys with Machine guns!

Some Pakistani TV Anchors. Monkeys with a machine gun

By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi

I think many Pakistani TV anchors such as Arshad Sharif, Rauf Klasra, Abbassi etc and others who try to expose the ills of our society, are well meaning and keep people on their toes.

I think they’ve also done sterling work in exposing corruption and criminal activities.

But I also think they have gone grossly overboard and have no idea of the damage they inflict on their viewers by completely distorting issues and facts. Sometimes deliberately. Sometimes because they do not understand the art of anchoring.

There’s a huge difference in letting loose full-throated, highly subjective and very superficial opinions in a closed room social gathering vs sharing the same juvenile stuff on prime time, watched by hundreds of thousands.

They grossly lack training, understanding the role of the anchor and the actual art of anchoring, despite years in this business.

They are conceited, pompous, arrogant with inflated egos and even more inflated stupidity!

For them its all about “their opinions” their views” and they use the ownership of the mike to completely take over the discussion and out shout their guests.

For them it’s about generating as obnoxious a show as possible and deliberately berating and humiliating people to get higher ratings.

They don’t know how to question, nor do they know how to anchor.

The golden rule of anchoring is 20/80. Anchor speaks 20% and guest 80%.

In the case of Klasra and company its a show with just one perspective. Klasra’s. No one can question him. No one can challenge his rants. He just sits there mouthing everything that comes to his mind. Amir Mateen is much better.

Klasra is the classical sophisticated bhaand! Pugg uchaalo, muzza daykho!

Most of our anchors have very superficial insights of the subject and most times are usually ignorant and ill-informed. They do not research the subjective, do not offer tentative views and try to coax an answer and never attempt to also let audience hear the other side of the picture.

It’s their opinion or the onion!

On top of this they have very subjective opinions, a sharp tongue and a manner of questioning and offering their perspectives which makes a Lahori Badmash look like an angel!

They want to been as “tough guys” in the Tim Sebastian, Hard Talk mode, but embarrassingly expose their pettiness, immaturity and emotional imbalance and lack of upbringing and basic good manners.

While one can grill and, expose the guest’s double speak and ask the tough questions, but no one has any right under any professional journalistic training, rules, protocols to behave obnoxiously and become jury, judge and executioner and conduct a witch hunt they way Arshad or Klasra or their fellow Neanderthals appear to do.

It is embarrassing to see the quality of anchoring on display by these Idiots in the idiot box.

People like Arshad Sharif or Klasra have a highly inflated sense of their own brilliance and professionalism and clearly like the nouveau rich unable to handle their new-found wealth, these anchors and some others are unable to handle and deal with their public exposure and fame.

They begin to see themselves as the nation’s conscience guardians, which is extremely welcome but they do frequently fall flat on their faces, showing an uncouth, ill-mannered and highly questionable display of professional ethics and behaviours in the manner they go about their so-called business.

Their one-sided judgements, the manner of enquiry, the manner of questioning, whether against Nawaz or Imran or people they invite to their shows or others is deplorable, condemnable and shows a pettiness of mind, emotions and values.

They present half-baked rumours as facts. They present their own superficial opinions as deeply researched insights and most times as facts.

They present one-sided arguments as if it is the complete case and perspective.

They do not allow others to present their side of the picture and cut them off in mid sentence, using derisive language and derogatory tone and behaviour of a fish monger.

In a society with very strong libel laws, Arshad, Klasra and the like etc would either have been cooling their heels in jail or begging on the streets, having sold everything they owned to pay those they had public humiliated in their programs.

I look forward to seeing that day!

I don’t want to liken them to Monkeys with machine guns, totally out of control, but clearly they are making a pretty good effort to achieve that accolade and stature!

P.S.

Here’s how I interview. I have no formal anchoring training or experience but I do believe the art is in the questioning. And if I ever do join this “august” fraternity, I would like to develop my approach along these lines.

I wish we had a Charlie Rose (sans the groping scandal) 🙂

 

Why I still support Imran and think he’s our best hope despite his avoidable blunders

Syed Haider Raza Mehdi

As I have always said we love to focus on the juicy peripherals.

Below the belt comments like Pinky peerni, lambasting him for his recent travel on a charter plane for Umrah etc are symptoms of this terrible malaise we all suffer from.

Sophisticated bhaands maquerading as anchors with overblown egos are having a field day, having a go at him.

One in particular, who I do like because he keeps everybody on their toes, has gone completely overboard by twisting facts and in his typical style has taken on the role of Judge, Jury and Executioner.

But these are all non issues in my opinion. Embarrassing, yes. But still non issues.

Having said that, I must admit that Imran also doesn’t help himself.

He has this uncanny knack and impeccable timing and an amazing ability to do the perfectly wrong thing at the right time such as this Umrah flight.

Just the optics of travelling in a luxurious chartered plane are an eye sore.

Kumbukht PIA YA Saudia say chulla jaatha, even if he had justifiable reasons to travel with ZB on his plane.

Having said this also, I dont think he’s compromised in any way and is still our best hope.

Just wish sometimes he could just pay a bit more attention to the political fall out of such ill considered actions

Having said that also, here are the hard core facts.

1. He’s struggled for 22 years to reach this stage, with zero political capital, background or legacy. And yes he has compromised on the purity of his party realising that there was no other way. One hopes that the compromise is manageable. This only time will tell!

2. He has literally and singlehandedly by sheer force of undying effort given us three cancer hospitals and a world class university and was and still is able to convince people of his incredible financial integrity as they pour money into these institutions.

3. But for him, Nawaz would have gone away scot-free. Had he not done his November 2016 Dharna, the Supreme Court would never have taken up the case!

4. He refused close to 200 million pounds sterling as part of his settlement during Jemima’s divorce proceedings. If he was greedy for wealth, well there it was lying at his feet. Even the adjudicating British judge was taken aback at the refusal and had to ask him twice.

5. His financial integrity is impeccable. Accusations of ATM JKT and Aleem Khan are very targeted to attack his integrity, his greatest asset. JKT has been paid every single cent from party funds for the use of his plane. Every party has donors. Some huge. So does PTI. Does anyone seriously think a political party runs on air and a prayer? The question is will he allow these donors to take undue advantage when in power?

My considered opinion is that its about a snowball’s chance in hell.

6. He has a clear plan in making public sector institutions independant and free of political control and influence lead by competent and honest leaders.

7. He has vowed not to give a single paisa of development funds to any MNA or MPA. Everything through Local bodies and associated public sector enterprises.

8. He plans to give constitutional protection to bureaucrats so they cannot be changed like chess board pieces and work without fear or favor.

9. He plans to limit cabinet to policy making and legislatures to only legislate. Some aspiring legislators are in for a huge surprise.

10. He plans to make the police totally apolitical and all accountability institutions, strong, free of political control, so they can do their jobs without fear or favour, including haul PTI MEMBERS who deviate from the straight and narrow.

11. He is incredibly patriotic and won’t sell the country.

12. And unbelievably determined!

This is what gives me hope!

And if anybody can do the above, its him.

And if he cannot, well then its our tragedy. Because it will certainly be not for lack of effort or intent, but because the mafia like status quo forces were able to stop him, supported by many of us who have accepted the narrative of the likes of Nawaz Sharif.

And yes he is a maverick, occasionally puts his foot in his mouth, is arrogant and preachy and also makes some really dumb mistakes.

But I dont see any of these as being existential.

He is still our best fighting chance to get us out of the quagmire.

A personal view on award of Election tickets by PTI

By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi

Imran knows that these elections are perhaps his last and best chance as a political leader to come into power.

And therefore he has to win at all costs and deliver on his promises.

I’ve always maintained that Imran’s bigger challenge is not winning the elections, but the subsequent governing of what Dr. Ishrat Hussain calls “Governing the Ungovernable” the title of his must read book.

Therefore PTI and Imran are awarding tickets to those candidates who they think have the best chance to win them a seat and get him and the party past the finish line.

In this list, while one finds some surprising choices, some dubious characters, ultimately, its about the assessment by Imran and his ticket awarding committee about which candidate has the best winning chances.

And in this assessment, clearly some compromises have been made. Some big, some small. Some really questionable people got through. A few I know personally.

But I also understand that in every case the person or group which got the ticket were more effective than the other group to convince the ticket awarding committee and Imran that their horse or mare had better chances of winning the seat.

It’s that simple!

And if Imran and their committee made wrong assessments, choices and decisions, then they have no one to blame but themselves. And consequently they will suffer the consequences of a wrong assessment and a decision, as we all do in our own lives.

Constituency politics is a mean, mean, mean and cutthroat business.

It pits children against parents. Siblings against each other. Families and friends against each other. The stakes, especially in rural constituencies are very high. Hence the battle to get a party ticket is vicious and severe.

There will always be winners and losers. And there will always be extremely powerful arguments for and against those who got the ticket and those who didn’t

And because I’m not a very insightful observer or participant of constituent politics, I will dwell no more on this and hold my peace.

Finally as we get to the last stretch.

Imran and PTI made some costly and embarrassing blunders in the recently concluded caretaker CM appointments.

It showed, thankfully, the weaknesses in the party’s consulting, feedback and decisioning processes.

I say thankfully, because hopefully he and his party have learned a painful but necessary lesson from these avoidable blunders and will take corrective action to set their house in order.

More importantly, going forward, Imran must give the people of Pakistan the confidence that he and his party are capable of good governance and good decisions as he moves from being a highly effective opposition leader to one with an effective and winning electoral engine and finally to governance and delivering on his promises, despite having questionable people as his party candidates.

He must clearly show that he is capable of dealing with the questionable electables, when he’s elected!

Having said that, personally and despite some reservations, their recent blunders and some questionable candidate choices, I will certainly and unquestionably still vote for any PTI candidate, irrespective of who he or she is, just to give Imran a fighting chance for Pakistan.

Otherwise folks as I’ve always said its back to the stench, stink and vomit of the Sharifs and the Zardaris, their unbridled loot and plunder and gross misgovernance and wholescale destruction of all our institutions.

And perhaps an existential threat. Foisting their completely incompetent children on us.

But If there’s any hope in rebuilding and strengthening our public sector institutions, it lies with Imran.

We’ve already seen what the Sharifs and Zardaris have done.

If there’s any hope of rebalancing the power balance between the military and the civil, it lies with Imran.

Not because he’s going to take the military head on as did Nawaz or try and “buy” them as did Zardari, but because he holds the best hope of strengthening civilian institutions and bringing them to their rightful levels of discipline, effectiveness and good governance, so that we are not constantly dependant on this one institution, the Army, to come and fix everything and in the process acquiring more and more power and influence.

The current imbalance of power in favour of the Army is extremely unhealthy and existential not just for the country but for the Army itself.

Nawaz has used this anger against military dominance in politics very effectively.

And the answer to correcting this balance lies in strengthening civilian institutions and not in weakening the Army.

If our police is effective we will see dramatic improvements in law and order and economic activity.

If we have effective accountability institutions which hold public office holders accountable, irrespective of party affiliations we will see many PTI legislators being hauled up and punished under Imran’s watch.

If we have public sector institutions headed by people of competence and integrity we will see dramatic improvements in revenue collection, health care, education, investments, job opportunities and all areas of public service.

If our public funds are not misused we will see visible symbols of growth and prosperity based on correct priorities.

If we have cohesive and aligned Economic, Political, Foreign and Military strategies and policies we will have internal and external cohesion and strength.

In a well-governed society with equitable access and opportunities to all, charlatans, bigoted mullahs, 5th columnists and Quislings cannot hijack the emotions of a society to serve their vested interests.

The likes of Khadim Rizvi, Fazal Diesel, Achakzai, Asfyandar Wali, Manzoor Pashteen, Altaf Hussain will never thrive in a well-governed society. They thrive on stoking the emotions and fears of people who have been misruled and misgoverned and denied their rights.

And if we are governed well, we have a fighting chance!

In my personal experience in change management across 44 organizations, including one major public sector entity, I’ve seen that a competent leader appointed to a position of authority gets like people, changes processes and achieves great outcomes.

In Pakistan institutions like KP police, Motorway police, Traffic Wardens, NICVD in Karachi, Urology clinic, 1122, IBA, and many others are some examples of amazingly well run public sector institutions.

Islands of excellence in our rotten public sector!

People change behaviour based on the context and environment they are put in.

Take for example the dramatic change in people’s behaviour from the fish market of Lahore airport to the quiet disciplined lines our own fall in at Dubai airport in a span of less then 2 or 3 hours. A miraculous transformation!

Or take the incessant honking and weaving and mad driving and full throated curses on GT road and compare it to the seat belted, speed limit serene disciplined drive, on the Islamabad Lahore Motorway. As the barrier lifts to enter the motorway, angelic transformation takes place. Seatbelts on. 125 kms max speed. Indicators to change lanes. No honking. And the devil overcomes us as soon as we leave the motorway at the other end. Miraculous transformation in 4 hours and back to chaos!

Imran plans to change the context and environment to change our behaviour and especially of the MNA’s and MPA’s.

For example;

He plans to make all Public sector institutions fully autonomous and independant with empowered boards, through executive fiat and by changing their rules of business, or through acts of parliament or presidential ordinances, freeing them from government or political control or interference.

This includes the police and all key institutions like NAB, FBR, Utlities, PSO, PIA, PTV, FIA, SECP, SUIGAS etc

He plans to bring back security of tenure for public servants so they are not changed like chess board pieces and hence can administer free of political influences and pressures.

Only policy making will vest with cabinets.

He plans to devolve administrative and financial powers to highly empowered local governments to ensure money is spent on local projects. No national or provincial legislator will be given developmental funds.

He knows that only by taking financial temptations away from elected legislators will he succeed.

His model is very similar to the governance model and legislators of the west.

1. Independent, autonomous governance bodies headed by competent people, to deliver public services

2. Legislatures only to legislate.

3. Cabinets to only make policy

These western democracies realised that politics and governance if mixed leads to corruption.

Remember nothing and no person is perfect.

No one is! Not Imran! Not anybody!

But we have to work with what we have and for me, despite everything, Imran still holds out the best fighting chance to unleash our potential as a great nation and do the things listed above!

Only time will tell.

But we have to give him the chance and the opportunity for the sake of Pakistan, ourselves, our children and our future.

Dont Trust Zardari

By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi

Zardari’s recent statement about supporting Pakistan is laughable.

Amongst other things like his corruption, loot and plunder, this guy, Zardari, has to answer for his attempts, as President of Pakistan, to undermine our National Security and promise our denuclearization through Memogate and the evil he let loose through Husain Haqqani.

Let us not forget the sanctuary he gave this rat in the Presidency, the manner in which the late Asma Jehangir, knowingly and deliberately lied to the Supreme Court to help this snake escape the country and what was and is due to him.

To those who think Haqqani is their anti militarism gladiator and Zardari a trustworthy leader, let me briefly say this.

Haqqani uses his brilliant intellect, his powerful pen, his persuasive ability and his absolute lack of anything remotely moral, honest or ethical to weave his web of deception laced with half truths, outright lies and highly selective use of historical facts.

He is the poster child of Goebbelian evil and Rasputin cunning.

People with limited insights or the “blame everything on the Army Brigade” of course love him.

*And Zardari is the man behind everything Haqqani did*

For a very accurate account of Haqqani and the evil Zardari unleashed on Pakistan, here’s something I wrote a while ago when Haqqani penned his usual diatribe against Pakistan in The Hindu Newspaper of India, after Nawaz was disqualified!

I must start with an apology because this is a very harsh indictment of Husain Haqqani.

It is harsh because he has caused and continues to cause immense harm and damage to Pakistan through his narratives.

In some macabre way, which only makes sense to really evil but brilliant minds or to serial murderers, he probably relishes this notorious reputation as he has gleefully expressed in the past.

He continues to attack Pakistan, as an Indian lobbyist would or an extreme right wing BJP or RSS satrap would. And he does it through his powerful pen.

And that is why he’s so dangerous because he lures the reader into his web through his brilliant intellect and powerful pen and once in, people believe what he says.

This they do as he weaves an evil tapestry of incredible poison, interspersed with half truths and some facts to make them appear believable.

I would  read what he writes with as open a heart and mind, as I do others who I also disagree with, if only his agenda and objectives were transparent.

But his primary objective is to hurt Pakistan.

He’s a terribly flawed man, both personally and professionally and like a woman scorned is out to destroy Pakistan and that one institution, the Pakistan Army, who he believes snatched away the Holy Grail which was almost in his grasp. A possible Prime Ministership

Here are my reasons:

1. Despite his holier than thou protestations and rejecting the charges of being an Indian mole as a “figment of the ISI”  with people like me being it’s willing instrument, I can say with a fair amount of certainty that he is an Indian official mole (if one can call a deep undercover mole “official”). He was likely turned by the Indians, during his Hong Kong days in the 80’s.

2. He believes the creation of Pakistan was a mistake and Quaid e Azam an ignorant misguided person. While others may subscribe to this thought and they’re welcome to it, for me it’s as close to treason as one can get if people living in Pakistan or holding a Pakistani passport still actively work to weaken it, as does Haqqani.  However as point of historical discussion, It’s a personal opinion and one can live with that.

But to actively undermine Pakistan is treason.

And Haqqani has proved it for the world to see. He deflects this charge by saying that because he writes against the Army, he’s targeted as a traitor.

But every person of substance who has worked with him in whether in Government or Media states that Haqqani is a terrible man devoid of any form of integrity. People call him a mercenary, without principles or conscience and the universal label is of a dishonest, cunning,  conniving person with absolutely no integrity.

They say he has no qualms of working with anybody or anything as long as it serves his personal objectives and his inordinate ambition.

He uses his intellect, his pen and his smooth tongue to maximum effect and impact and sells himself very well.

A very senior former diplomat said “After he left the room, the evil energy was so strong that I had to go out for some fresh air. The man is pure evil, almost Satanic”

And that is why he has no qualms of conscience in trying to weaken Pakistan and destroy it’s image.

3. He has no ideological moorings except that of a person who wants to remain in the corridors of power to do what all moles or rats do. Husain Haqqani has been to every port. From a hard core Taliban type Zia ul Haque Jamaathia ideologue to a right wing Nawaz Sharif supporter where he wllingly forged Peter Galbraith’s signatures in a classic case of falsehood to besmirch Benazir’s name and reputation.

And then this amazing man shifts gears and becomes a left wing secular jumping ship (the parallels with rats and moles are amazing) to Benazir Bhutto as Secretary Information and then Chairman House Building Finance Corporation. He ingratiates himself to Benazir by marrying the sister of Benazir’s closest confidant, Naheed Khan.

Out in the woods during Nawaz’s second term, having unsuccessfully tried to worm his way back into the PMLN again, found a golden opportunity when Nawaz was overthrown by Musharraf.

In the words of three people who he approached, one of them being General Musharraf himself. “Hussain Haqqani offered his service to Musharraf / me in any capacity possible and wanted to become Musharraf’s /my  media advisor”. So smooth and convincing was his pitch that Musharraf nearly took him on, till advised by his close advisors about this persons highly doubtful credentials.

But, he claims, as is his want, that he was exiled for criticising Gen. Musharraf’s government. Far from it. He cunningly turned the Musharraf rule to his advantage and convinced gullible US intelligence handlers of his value as a strong anti Musharraf source. The latter at this time still not the darling he would become after 2001.

I’ve wondered how beautifully Haqqani managed to create such an alternate reality to the actual facts on ground.

Under Asif Zardari, arguably Pakistan’s most corrupt politician, (I say arguably because ex PM NAWAZ SHARIF seems to have edged him off the ladder to second place in recent days), Haqqani, this “great supporter of democracy and anti military rule”, after being shunned by Musharraf, wormed his way into becoming Pakistan’s Ambassador to the USA when the PPP came into power in 2008.

While this was his finest hour, it was a period of infamy for Pakistan. He did everything possible to ingratiate himself with the US power centers, including feeding them classified information he was privy to, at the cost of the integrity of the country.

He claims that as Ambassador it was his job to establish close ties with US power centers.

Absolutely correct!

But not at the expense of your Country and its sovereignty.

Not when you hold an office of Public Trust.

Not when you’re privy to highly classified and confidential information.

And certainly not when you Sir, are the Pakistani Ambassador to the US and sell out your country!

His objective was and still is simple. Undermine Pakistan. Weaken Pakistan. Denuclearize Pakistan and in the process, personally acquire more political power and influence. National Security Advisor.  Foreign Minister.  Heck maybe even Prime Minister.

The Memogate scandal is in the same realm as the OJ Simpson murder and Panamagate. Everybody knows who did it.  Husain Haqqani did Memogate but lots of technical confusion surround the truth. Enough for him to create periodic smokescreens to hide his guilt.

For all those in the know, and I am privy to much of the evidence, Memogate was a flagrant attempt by a serving Pakistani Ambassador to deliberately harm the interests of Pakistan and colluding with the US with the primary aim of denuclearizing Pakistan.

It was planned, spearheaded and executed by this man who today writes his bile and poison and invective against Pakistan and his favorite whipping boy, The Pakistan Army. And he had the support of Asif Zardari, then President. Asif Zardari will eventually have to answer for his role in this as well.

Haqqani issued thousands of visas to “CIA contractors” and has the gall to say that he got them cleared by the “Defence Atrache”. A classic Haqqani deflection tactic. The DA in DC had no process to check the antecedents of people being issued visas without clearance from intelligence agencies in Pakistan. And all the gentleman could do was alert the authorities in Pakistan what “Our Ambassador” was upto, which he did.

Haqqani says he was metely following the orders of the PM. Hogwash and bunkum. This unrestricted visa policy was planned and executed by Haqqani, convincing Asif Zardari that it was in Pakistan’s interests. The PM, a cluless man, just a mere rubber stamp and no match to this man’s evil genuis.
Subsequent events confirm how harmful this Haqqani Visa Policy was to our national interests.

Please understand I’m no apologist for the Pakistan Army leadership and it’s many indiscretions in the past.

But I’m a nationalist and will not poison the well to kill the entire village, simply because I’ve a beef with the local strongman.

Our military leaders have made monumental blunders both military and political. They have been the cause of much that has harmed this country.  But the institution of the Army has also been the bulwark against our enemies.

It has shed much of its colonial credentials and in treating people like colonials as it once did. Especially in Sindh and Balochistan.

And It has also paid it’s price in fighting terrorism with blood, sweat and tears. And it has successfully countered the deliberate evil designs of people like Haqqani.

And above all it has managed to stay stable and strong and resolute, despite the harmful acts of commission and omission of its own senior leadership in the past.

It really is a different Army evolving into a Nationalist force vs what it was earlier. An elitist colonial one.

The Army of 2003 vs 2017 are two different worlds. We have to support this transformation and not destroy the institution as Haqqani attempts to do continously.

Why is it that every forum in the USA which has an anti Pakistan diatribe is also attended by Haqqani? Why is he so welcomed in the Indian Media?  Why does he consort with anti Pakistan and pro Indian lobbyists and groups in the USA?

Of course we’re not a perfect country with stable institutions. Far from it. Lets not forget we’re an incredibly young country. Fledglings really. Totally agrarian at Partition and Feudal with virtually no institutions in 1947 except a highly disciplined “gora colonial army”.

And unfortunately what they did in 1958 was written on the cards and subsequently as well. Totally wrong. Totally unacceptable. Not justifiable but unfortunately inevitable!

But today things have changed. The Military, very powerful, is unlikely to embark on a foolhardy adventure of taking over.

And yes, admittedly, it has huge influence on the country’s politics. No different to power centers in the world, including the US.

America is in a permanent state of war since 1941 till date. Its Defence Industry and Establishment ensures that this continues to fuel this massive economy. Afghanistan, Iraq., Syria are recent examples of how the “US Establishment” orchestrates events.

This is the same US establishment which elects a Trump and signs a 300 billion dollar arms deal with Saudi Arabia!

For us, in Pakistan, the solution lies in strengthening civilian institutions not running down existing good ones , especially the Army.

In an imperfect society like ours, catching a corrupt head of government is a miracle. Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification is a miracle to be celebrated and not to shed subversive crocodile tears like this man, Haqqani does.

His writings and analysis better ignored because they are filled with an agenda whose primary objective is to undermine Pakistan by weakening it’s only strong institution today. The Pakistan Army.

Also a petty footnote and with apologies.

In my personal experience, people who are not comfortable with their physical appearances, especially beyond age 60 and are still desperate to hide their bald palate with a very poorly styled imitation are likely very cunning, conniving and dangerous!

What you see is not what you get!

So for those lured by the Sirens of Ulysses and rendered incapable of rational thought.

Be Warned.

Husain Haqqani is no friend of Pakistan, however beautiful his song!

Straight from Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kayani’s mouth!

By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi.

A few hours ago I received a call from Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, former Army Chief with reference to my earlier piece about him being perhaps the only person who knew the mystery of the Osama Bin Ladin US operation.

Gen. Kayani wanted to set the record straight since *”you had said that only Gen. Kayani knows the truth….”*

_”……the truth is that we didn’t know about Osama Bin Ladin’s presence and there is absolutely no question of any collusion or cooperation with the US. And I’m telling you this as the absolute truth….”_

_”…..in fact all they had to do was tell us, and we would have mopped it up in a couple of hours without all these helicopters etc…_

_”……I have taken full responsibility for our lapse. However, and I’ve never stated this earlier, because it was for me to take the blame, but Air Defence is not under the Army. Nevertheless I told the Air Chief to keep quiet, not say anything and let me take the full blame…..”_

_”……My visit to the US Aircraft Carrier took place in 2008, three years before the Osama affair. Its very surprising how people completely misrepresent and distort obvious facts to prove their points…..”_

I thanked Gen. Kayani for reaching out and sharing these insights and promised to publish them, verbatim.

I did suggest to him to come out and speak in public and on the media to clear his position.

He seems to be taking a lot of bullets on his chest and keeping quiet.

My personal view is that Gen. Kayani owes it to himself and his legacy and name, his family, the Institution and the Country to publicly set the record straight on the many issues bedevelling his person.

Things like his role in Gen. Musharraf’s ouster; His own extension; The Osama episode; His brothers business affairs; Involvement in the 2013 elections etc.

For the record, I must state, despite my reservations on other issues, that as an Army Chief, Gen. Kayani did more for the Army as an institution and for troops welfare than any other Chief to date.

He is also to be credited for clearing 6 of the 7 FATA agencies against the TTP.

The period from 2009 to 2014, under his watch, saw the most vicious and brutal fighting with nearly 3500 military casualties which broke the back of the TTP.

Why he didn’t continue and launch the North Waziristan ops which was subsequenty launched by Gen. Raheel as Zarb e Azb, which suffered about 500 military casualties is also something only he and some others can answer.

I think it’s time for Gen. Kayani to come out from the cold!

P.S.
*On the Osama mystery.*

There’s much more as well. Especially the article written by Asif Zardari and published on May 2nd in the Washington Post, few hours after the operation in Abbotabad which took place at 1am on May 2, 2011.

*The question is. How was our “brilliant” Asif Zardari able to pen an article in a few hours, immediately following the operation and get it published in a mainstream US newspaper, The Washington Post, on the same day?*

The answer perhaps lies with him, Rahman Malik and Husain Haqqani.

The last with all his contacts and connections in Washington. And my considered view and opinion is that the article was also penned by Haqqani.

*Deduction. If anybody knew. Zardari, Rahman Malik and Haqqani certainly knew!*

*Haider Mehdi*

Gen. Durrani, Gen. Kayani and Osama. A very short note!

By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi.

What’s the real story on Osama?

Only Gen. Kayani knows and perhaps this cigar smoking, scotch drinking ex army dude, called Col. Iqbal (Bailey)

But from what Gen. Durrani said and past whispers it appears that.

1. We knew.
2. We cooperated.
3. Someone made a lot of money.

If the above are correct. Then Gen. Kayani is clearly the major player in 1 and 2 Ă bove.

Perhaps 3 as well perhaps not.

Only he has the answers. And his silence will not help him.

As for Lt. Gen. Durrani. Apparently a bright officer, who allied himself to a political party PPP and its leader, Benazir, for reasons better known to him and got some benefits and perks.

Given the way our ex military leaders and generals are ready to sell themselves to foreign governments (Raheel), political leaders (Durrani, Hamid, Baloch, Tirmizi etc) he and the aforementioned plus others are marginally better than the bunch of retired Generals at the beck and call of Malik Riaz!

But then some would say that the Malik Riaz Generals are better.

At least they didn’t sell their Souls or the State!

Nawaz Sharif -Traitor or Trader?

By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi

There’s a famous dialogue attributed to Abu Sufyan in the movie “The Message” when he refuses to re-attack the Muslim forces who had defeated the Meccan hordes at Oudh. One person asks him…”What about your honour Abu Sufyan….?”

Abu Sufyan responds, pointing to the loads of merchandise on the camels

” …..My honour lies on the backs of these camels….”.

While the movie perhaps fictionalizes the account but what it shows, even from our own Islamic history how wealth and its singleminded pursuit can overwhelm the entire being of a trader or a business person.

Abu Sufyan and the merchants of Mecca, whose leader he was, were not as much concerned about the new Message brought by our beloved Prophet PBUH, but were more concerned about the loss of business and income due to homage people paid to the many deities and the associated power and influence, if people bought into the Prophet’s Message of Islam!

And such is the power of wealth that these Meccan merchants, were very soon able to regain and grab power immediately after the four Rightly Guided Caliphs.

They then transformed this great Spiritual, Social and Economic revolution into an authoritarian, autocratic, imperial, monarchist version of Islam, vestiges of which we still see in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain etc.

Kindly do not read any hidden sectarian agenda in this. The objective is to illustrate how quickly the forces of wealth were able to overturn the pristine Prophetic Message, destroy the State of Medina, which was subsequently attacked and significant portions burnt and razed to the ground, as was done to the Kaabah, by Abu Sufyan’s grandson, Yazid ibne Muawiyyah.

This historical battle between the forces and interests of big business, traders, merchants and rights of the weak, the exploited and the disenfranchised has continued since a merchant made their first profit, exploiting the weak!

Even though the line between the two frequently overlaps and gets murky, but their main narratives support these agendas.

Big business has its political parties.

For example, Republicans in the USA, Conservatives in UK and Canada and closer to home the PMLN.

Nawaz Sharif represents nothing but the singleminded interests of a selfish dukaandar, an evil merchant and a corrupt businessperson, whose only god is wealth. To him anything in the way of his wealth is an enemy. All business people of course are not evil.

And, thanks to the “illustrious upbringing” by his “pious father”, he learned that there were two ways to business success. Buy them. Bribe them, and if all else fails, fight them.

Nawaz is now in stage 3 of his battle to survive. Fight those who stand in the way of his wealth!

Here it’s also important to understand the man and his upbringing.

Nawaz was brought up in a house of traders and businesspeople. All he saw and participated in, growing up, was the wheeling dealing of his dad, Mian Sharif and his uncles. Daily, he and his brothers witnessed their father bribing and buying his way to business success. He and Shahbaz were both instruments of this wheeling and dealing, delivering bribes and hush money on behalf of their father.

And one can see how Nawaz has inculcated these terrible values in his own children, Maryam, Hussain and Hassan.

People close to the family describe how Nawaz was never trusted to do these acts alone, because his father didn’t think he was competent or trustworthy enough, so somebody always accompanied Nawaz in these unholy acts. Frequently it was Shahbaz. No wonder that Shahbaz used this learning to build his own huge empire

Nawaz was the family’s “failure”.

Considered a good for nothing, except chauffeur his father’s friends and business associates or senior bureaucrats around in their Mercedes. He wanted to become an actor and was given under the tutelage of Rangeela the actor/comedian. Rangeela had to embarrassingly admit failure. Nawaz loved uniforms so was made an honorary warden, uniform and all.

Mian Sharif kept him close to his person, lest he cause problems in the business and hence didn’t give Nawaz any independant role in the family business. So much so that he had instructed everyone in the business to not carry out any instructions issued by Nawaz, unless he, Mian Sharif, cleared them.

But everything changed when Gen. Jilani arrived on the scene and the rest is history.

Nawaz’s selection and appointment as Punjab Finance Minister by Gen. Jilani is still a great mystery. The version from someone who had worked very closely with Gen. Jilani is unspeakable.

But clearly one must question, what was it about this family that Gen. Jilani chose to ignore the many other brilliant business people and families in Lahore and Punjab and pick this village idiot?

Clearly it wasn’t Nawaz’s “brilliance”. Nor was it Mian Sharif’s wealth. So why?

Clearly someone very close to Nawaz had an inordinate amount of influence on Gen. Jilani to make him agree to this choice. And this I will leave at that!

And moving on.

Till Mian Sharif was alive, everything that Nawaz did was under his instructions. As Finance Minister. As Chief Minister and as Prime Minister. Everything. Government appointments, postings, transfers. Loans. Money was made with abundance and used in abundance to get and buy political loyalty.

By the time Mian Sharif died, he had created a mafia like organization around Nawaz with the likes of Ishaq Dar etc to ensure continuity of this bribe and buy model.

Fast forward to 2018. Nawaz is disqualified for life. His entire empire and political future in potential ruin. A long jail term likely, alongwith Maryam. A Supreme Court that cannot now be bribed or bought as he did, by buying Saeed uzzaman Siddiqi and an Army that he really has never been able to bribe or buy.

So what are his options?

Fight and attack both these institutions. First the Supreme Court and then the Army.

He has attempted to fully exploit the military’s Achilles heels, their Martial Laws and some of the catastrophic outcomes of their rule. And he has gained traction and many willing ears from three segments.

1. Those whose business interests and politics are directly or indirectly inextricably intertwined with his, and fear their death if he goes.

2. A die-hard core of supporters, mostly from central punjab, who finally see a rare punjabi as a political leader.

3. Those who have an almost pathological aversion and dislike for the Army because of its history of Martial Laws, militarism and authoritarianism. This is a strange group in many ways. They willingly, despite being aware of Nawaz’s criminality, support him because in their opinion, he has stood up to the Army. They are the same people supporting the Pashtun Movement, not because of their grievances, but because the PTM roundly abuses the Army. More on them in another article.

But in his desperation to save his wealth and survive, I think Nawaz went a bridge too far with the Mumbai attack statement.

So clearly he did what he learnt growing up. Buy. Bribe. Fight. A true Trader!

But is he a Traitor? Depends on what definition we apply.

If it means someone who clandestinely and in secret, joins hands with an enemy and works against the interests and well-being of their own country, then I will hazard a qualified yes.

I say this because of stories of handing over a document to Jindal which supported India’s Kulbushan case in the ICJ. Not condemning India on Kulbashan. Private meetings with Modi and Doval.

If it means someone who openly through his actions and words works against the interests and well-being of their own country, then its an unqualified yes.

Nawaz has looted and plundered this country with abandon! He has destroyed all its institutions, except two. He has brought us to the brink of bankruptcy!

And in his final act of treachery and desperation to save himself and his wealth, blamed the State of Pakistan and its institutions, of supporting terrorism!

If this alone is not treachery, then what is?

We must not pretend to be hypocritically nice and socially or politically correct to say the obvious!

Nawaz Sharif is a traitor to Pakistan! He is no valiant gladiator standing up to the Army! The sooner he’s gone, the better for Pakistan!

It is people like him who destroyed the State of Medina!

-Haider Mehdi

Insanity is expecting different results from the same behaviours (Alcoholics Anonymous)

By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi

Our core issue, now nearly a cliche, is good governance.

Good governance comes through people with competence and integrity and policies and processes which deliver it, especially processes and institutions which deliver public services, as well as hold public administrators, both political and administrative, accountable and answerable.

The most potent are our legislatures.

Our dilemma is that the pool from which our legislators are elected and chosen comprises corrupt and incompetent people.

Our electoral process recycles the same garbage over and over again.

Occasionally an urban voter makes a wise choice. Not the rural voter, victim and hostage to a baradari, feudal, tribal system of patronage.

Our only option is for a change in our electoral system and our form of government which allows competent people to occupy positions of policy making and governance at the highest levels.

Alcoholics anonymous, famously describes insanity as “expecting different results from the same behaviours (read same politicians and administrators)

Imran Khan will also have a tough time delivering good governance as he has to chose from the same gutter, when elected.

He may achieve some success in appointing honest and capable people to positions of authority in the key 24 or 25 public sector institutions and simultaeneously strengthening the institutions which hold the politicians and public servants, accountable. But a challenging task!

Long term, in my oponion, we have to change our electoral system and form of government, to allow people of integrity and competence into our legislatures and cabinet.

For the former a start is in a system of proportional representation which allows people of ability to get into our legislatures without going through the hustings.

Not ideal, because patronage will still play a part. But many good people will come in. Its like diluting a jug of dirty water with infusions of clean water till we have reasonably clean water.

No system is perfect. Our choice is to select the one whhich gives us the greatest chances of success!

For the cabinet, in my opinion, a Presidential system is far more aligned to our needs, where a directly elected President, and likewise elected Governors, can pick non elected, competent people to their cabinets.

This is similar to the USA model!

And whenever we tried it, under Ayub, Zia and Musharraf, unfortunately all Military dictators, we had the highest economic growth and relatively much better public service delivery.

The system was clearly effective, except it was tainted by authoritarianism and the many ills associated with it.

In a democratic Presidential setup with highly potent and effective institutions to hold leaders accountable, this system will flourish.

The election must cater to the smaller populations through a system of weighted average, ensuring an even playing field for the smaller provinces.

And to limit the influence of individuals, Presidential and Governor terms be limited to a maximum of two.

The question is how?

To me the only answer is either an overwhelming vote gor Imran to bring about these changes.

Or a recourse to the Supreme Court, under a fundamental rights constitutional petition, which states that the basic fundamental right of every citizen is to expect good governance and equitable opportunities of safety and security, healthcare, education and employment.

That this fundamental right is not available under our current system, hijacked by a small coterie of politicians.

That this has grossly weakened our institutions and the State resulting in an unhealthy imbalance of power amongst key institutions, especially the Army and the resultant conflict and Martial Laws.

The Supreme Court today, like it or not, under its CJ is, in my opinion, fighting a tremendous battle to rid this country of corruption and the politics of patronage.

But, I’m afraid, unless and until we have deep reform, all their efforts will go in vain, despite their best intentions.

My fear is if that if we do not change this system to ensure good governance and equitable opportunities for all, we will continue down our slippery slope to much greater anarchy.

We eill continue to be hijacked and held hostage by the likes of Nawaz Sharif and Zardari and the system and values they represent.

And God Forbid fall victim to the desires of our enemies. Within and without.

And Nawaz Sharif and Zardari are clearly ones, within

Pakistan cannot continue to afford the severe body blows of abject misgovernance and massive loot and plunder as manifested by the Sharif and Zardari regimes.

In a worse case scenario, we may even have another praetorian intervention, which in my opinion would be an unmitigated disaster, perhaps even fatal for Pakistan.

Therefore a vote for Imran, in my opinion, is really a vote for a change in our system and the hope and promise of better, brighter future for Pakistan.

No guarantees. But our best fighting chance!

*-Haider Mehdi*

Gen. Bajwa’s silence on the NSC PRESS RELEASE !

By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi

Khaqan Abbasi is a wily character. A bureaucrat, who worked closely with him says…” he’s a very cunning man, uses his soft demeanour to trick people in agreeing to him…in cabinet meetings he slyly gets his agenda through, and people dont even realise he’s making a “Mamoon” out of them….” he shared some more interesting details how Khaqan manupulates everyone around him, including his cabinet colleagues.

Apparently he used the same ruses to make a fool out of the NSC and has done a “Mamoon” on the Army Chief by distorting the NSC press release, stating that the committee condemned the Indian media narrative and not Nawaz Sharif’s statement!

Hats off to this Thund Abbasi from Murree. No wonder there’s a boycott Murree campaign!

So do we see another “it is rejected ” tweet from the DG ISPR, or silence?

My sense is that while the Army high command, especially Gen. Bajwa, must be smarting in the manner they’ve been made a fool out of Khaqan Abbasi, is now treading very carefully not to get into the same mess that he did, following the it is “rejected tweet” after his post Dawn Leaks meeting between Gen. Bajwa and then PM Nawaz Sharif.

Then, he was reported to have been incensed at Nawaz Sharif’s about face from what had been agreed to in their private meeting on Dawn Leaks.

So why the silence? Why has the Army not clarified that the NSC unainimously condemned Nawaz Sharif’s statement and not what that wily fox, Khaqan Abbassi is making it out to be?

The answer lies in two things.

One. The Army has learnt a lesson from its embarrassing “it is rejected” tweet by the DG ISPR to not get into a public media spat with the civilian government and get a large segment of society gunning for them for exceeding their mandate.

2. Gen. Bajwa is a much wiser man and knows that he and the Army are being deliberately baited to take an anti Nawaz position, publicly, and thereby provide more oxygen to Nawaz’s anti military rhetoric and move the focus away from his corruption!

He also knows, as we all do, that Nawaz is fighting a battle for his survival. Economic and political. If convicted, the liklihood is that he will eventually also be deprived of his wealth.

This is Nawaz’s worst nightmare. Because he knows that once deprived of his wealth, his political death is certain!

Therefore, however much Nawaz attempts to muddy the water and obfuscate the real issue of his corruption, money laundering and ill gotten wealth, by his inflammable and inflammatory, anti military narrative, his conviction is on the cards.

So why should the Army intervene in any form or shape and be baited?

Its been 10 years since Mumbai!

For 10 years we’ve had civilian governments. The former Army Chief, Raheel Sharif, if anything, was totally aligned to Nawaz, despite the media hype.

He owes his current assignment in Saudi Arabia to Nawaz. The evidence of Maryam’s and Nawaz’s involvement in Dawn leaks has mysteriously disappeared from the records of the security agencies, both military and civilian.

Later, Bajwa was his handpicked Chief. An avowedly anti martial law advocate since his younger days. He was a very strong voice against any form of Army intervention during the 2014 dharna days and was removed from his Corps Command assignment, and posted to a “khudday line” post by Raheel.

If this odious man, Nawaz and his brother had governed well, not resorted to unbridled corruption loot and plunder at will, there wouldn’t have been any Panama.

Panama is not a military establishment conspiracy against Nawaz. His corruption was uncovered by an International consortium of journalists.

As a senior PMLN leader told me recently *Ubb yay Fauj ki conspiracy ka Nawaz Munjan nahee chullay ga. Nawaz bohath khatharnak game khayl raha hay, aur mulk ko soch sumujh kay dabonay ki koshish kurr raha hay, upnee jaan aur maal buchaanay kay leeyay*

Here is the fundamental, irrefutable fact. The overwhelming evidence to date is that Nawaz is guilty of corruption, money laundering and ill gotten wealth. He will and should swing from the gallows, political or real, because of his own actions. Not because of any conspiracy by the military.

Therefore, I think Gen. Bajwa is wise in swallowing his pride, accept that he was out maneuvered, and outfoxed by a cunning Khaqan Abbassi, made a “mamoon” and keep quiet.

Nawaz, as we all know, is sliding down a slippery suicidal slope, and hopefully for the sake of our country, will fall on his own sword!

Nawaz Sharif has over reached in his desperate attempt to stave off his inevitable conviction for corruption and his ultimate political death.

But as we get closer to his conviction, Nawaz in his desperation, will willingly put everything at stake, including the country!

So expect a drowning Nawaz to take many others down with him! Even attempting to grievously harm the country!

*Haider Mehdi*