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*

Supporting Nawaz Sharif. Rooted in historical thought and mindset! A short note!

By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi*

With apologies to my Punjabi friends as this may hurt.

But to understand why Nawaz is still supported by a large number of people from Punjab, its important to understand some aspects of our dishonourable past.

This is the slavish thought which allowed foreign invaders to loot and plunder this land for thousands of years. From Alexander to the British.

For letting a small minority of 17% Sikhs lead by an illiterate and one eyed Ranjit Singh lord over a geography comprising 70% muslims, predominantly Punjabis.

Its the same mindset where Ranjit Singh’s army comprised a majority of Punjabi Muslims and converted the Badshahi Mosque into the Royal stables and munitions dump, guarded by punjabi muslim soldiers of the Khalsa Army!

The same thought because of which not a single punjabi Musulmaan unit of the British East India Company mutinied against their British masters, when everyone else mutinied, including hindu units and joined Bahadur Shah Zafar in May 1857 to fight the British.

The same mindset where 3/4 of the British Soldiery comprised Punjabi mussulman soldiers who raped looted and plundered Dehli after it was retaken from Bahadur Shah Zafar’s forces in September 1857. And mostly muslim women were singled out for rape by their punjabi muslim brethren!

The same mindset which ensured British rule till 1947.

And tragically it is still this same slavish, servile, spineless, disgraceful thousands of years old mindset, which continues to support a deranged and, treachorous criminal like Nawaz Sharif!

The objective is not to malign the Punjabis but to understand, and hope that our most populous province grows a spine and some self respect!

Look how the Kashmiris redeemed their honour, laughed at for centuries with the “thupp see thay thuss kursee” slogan.

Punjabis, its time to redeem your honour!

*- Haider Mehdi*

P.S.
A link to a more detailed insight on the subject, written earlier, is also attached if interested.

Our legacy, our democratic credentials and the Storming of the Bastille – 14th July- 1798

Free advice and ground realities!

Syed Haider Raza Mehdi

People have tons of free advice and opinions to offer from the sidelines without understanding context and environment.

We want the world to operate the way our individual minds think.

We dont understand the challenges of the person in the field, in the trenches in the thick of struggle and battle.

We pontificate from the sidelines but are not willing to step into the ring.

Go in Sir. Go and join a political party and strive for change and you will see and encounter the challenges of even influencing change within the party, let alone the government or the country! Its a hard slugfest!

So either do it or shut up!

I support Imran not because he’s an undhay may kaana Raja, but because he is an exceptional individual who has achieved the near impossible in this baradari ridden, mafia controlled political status quo.

He came from nowhere to become, today, arguably the most popular political leader of the most popular political party.

He singlehandedly broke the stranglehold of the two corrupt mafioso like parties. PMLN and PPP.

He singlehandedly, despite opposition from his own advisors launched the Dharna and the 2nd Nov 16 protest, which eventually lead to the SC taking up the Panama case leading to Nawaz’s disqualification.

He has changed politics and given people hope.

His party brought significant change in KPK in its first opportunity to govern. Despite not being in the driving seat and having to work with traditional politicians like Khattak or complete novices in the KPK cabinet. Perhaps not as much as the free advice givers would want. But still substantial. And most importantly he tried against the odds and was still able to bring change in many areas!

He’s not perfect. Far from it. But he is exceptional.

Only a person with his resolve and determination and committment would have continued for 22 years, despite the challenges, the entrenched status quo of the corrupt, as well as his own blunders and mistakes.

But grant him this. That he has tried every possible political approach and has taken corrective action, cruelly termed u turns and learned from his mistakes.

It takes a great person of character to acknowledge one’s errors and learn from them.

Pakistan will not get another like him for a long time, if we miss this fighting chance to take Pakistan back from the criminal clutches of the Sharifs and Zardaris and their loot and plunder.

Our choices will determine our future.

Choose wisely!

Haider Mehdi