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.

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!