The Battle for Pakistan’s Soul!

The Battle for Pakistan’s Soul!

By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How low have they fallen?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Haider Mehdi

*A Postscript -The Army isn’t wearing Trousers

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

The Army isn’t wearing Trousers!

The Army isn’t wearing Trousers!

By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi.

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

Two reasons.

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

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

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

Was this discussed and debated in the National Assembly?

Did the cabinet discuss and approve it?

What are the regional geopolitical implications of such a deal?

And very puzzling!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Haider Mehdi

Comparing Imran Khan and Nawaz Sharif!

Comparing Imran Khan and Nawaz Sharif!

-Syed Haider Raza Mehdi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Imran has singlehandedly changed the politics of Pakistan.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And yet we compare this man to Imran.

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

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

– Haider Mehdi

Pakistan’s Schizophrenia or the death of (un) common sense!

Pakistan’s Schizophrenia or the death of (un) common sense!

*Pakistan’s Schizophrenia or the death of (un) common sense!*

*By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi.*

My recent piece on Bilawal’s Davos interview which set hearts aflutter, drew lots of feedback. Both for and against.

Comments ranged from unqualified support to qualified support, given the harsh language and phrases used for which I apologise to all those who were offended including Bilawal and take full responsibility for crossing the line of social propriety and good manners.

The brickbats were total condemnation of my perspective and full support for Bilawal as a potential leader for Pakistan.

While I fully understand people’s objections to the language used, one still cannot understand comments from those who I’ve personally known to have struggled against Gen. Zia’s dark years of militarism and Gen. Musharraf’s Martial laws and strived for the rule of law and democracy in Pakistan.

It’s painful to see those who fought against military rule and for democracy, becoming silent spectators if not, in many cases, willing supporters to the corruption, misrule, loot and plunder of civilian so called democratic regimes.

I know two former editors of leading publications, both brave souls. One in particular took on the mullahs, the drug cartels, the fascism of political parties, the underworld, putting her life at stake but has now succumbed to this “mirage”, for reasons which are incomprehensible!

Then one sees the romance that many have with the PPP, the Bhuttos or Zardari (ouch) and the Sharifs.

While it’s easy to understand this support by people hostage to their subjective and personal vested interests of wealth, business interests, political influence, feudalism, and family, ethnic and linguistic ties, the support of others, educated, aware, who are unable see through the democratic facade these rulers adopt, is mind boggling.

This to me is Pakistan’s Schizophrenia and the death of our (un) common sense!

Look at Benazir Bhutto 1, 2 and Zardari 1. Nawaz Sharif 1, 2 and 3 regimes. A total period of 21 years and 1 Martial Law regime of 8 years under Gen. Musharraf.

In these 21 years of civilian rule except for one, all goverments were dismissed on charges of corruption and misrule under the then constitutional clauses.

Let’s not forget that under Benazir, Nawaz Sharif and Zardari and the false facade of a democratic order, these rulers lorded over a period which can only be described as one of sheer incompetence, corruption, loot and plunder, resulting in the total and complete breakdown and destruction of all our public sector institutions.

Not defending any Martial Law regime, but we did not witness this massive loot and plunder and wholescale destruction of our public sector under Gen. Musharraf as we’ve seen under the PPP and the PMLN.

And the answer to why they get away with this loot and plunder is simple.

Our current democratic order and electoral process is so weak that it is consistently hijacked by these people and parties and then simply used as a means to grab power and loot and plunder.

Here’s how it happens. Get a certain number of electables, rig the elections through administrative measures and or the silent support of the Army high command, for which the hands of this institution is also stained with blood for the murder of good governance, and come into power.

This is what they call “democracy” and the “will of the people”. 13% of registered vote to Zardari in 2008 and 17% to Nawaz in 2013. This means that more than 87% and 83% of registered voters respectively either voted against them or chose not to vote, so disenchanted and disillusioned were they with the electoral process. They didnt see any hope and were resigned to the inevitable rape.

But even worse are our systems of public accountability and transparency which are unable to hold public office holders accountable for misgovernance or corruption and their malafide decisions and actions.

And the above is not a deduction but a fact.

Had it not been so, Benazir, Zardari, Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif, their relatives like Faryal Talpur and Ishaq Dar, cronies like Saad Rafiq, offsprings like, Hamza Shahbaz, Salman Shahbaz and Maryam Safdar and hundreds of others would be cooling their heels in the jails of Adiala or Landhi!

Who doesn’t know or believe, unless they lived on Mars, that Benazir along with Zardari looted and plundered.? The scores of offshore companies they owned managing their stolen hundreds of millions in real estate overseas, in wealth stashed in secretive bank accounts in Switzerland and other safe havens?

Who doesn’t know about the massive loot and plunder of the Sharifs and their cronies, especially Ishaq Dar, leading this dishonourable muster?

Who doesn’t know that they did so by destroying the efficacy of the State and it’s institutions and appointing cronies and loyalists to positions of power and authority, so they could loot and plunder at will?

And those who hide behind this snowflake excuse that “the courts found them innocent” is in itself the biggest symbol of this terrible rot that our system has become and of a judiciary which had in the past become a handmaiden of these corrupt rulers!

Name one public sector institution which improved under these terrible terrible people? Just one?

The only two state institutions that have managed to survive their savagery are the Armed forces and the Superior judiciary. The latter, coming of age more recently because it forcibly took away from the Executive their power and authority to appoint their own Judges. And for this act alone, former CJ Iftikhar Chaudhry should be absolved of all his sins, plenty they maybe!

While I’m all for the Armed forces to be subservient to a true democratic order, I will fight tooth and nail and till my dying breath, to save them from the fate of our other state institutions. Yes it is unacceptable for an Army Chief to stage a coup! It is unacceptable that the military governs, but it is completely unacceptable for them to become the Punjab Police or the Sind Police. Rana Sanaullah and Rao Anwar are two of the biggest symbols of this terrible rot.

The Army has saved itself by fending off direct interference in the way they manage themselves,and consequently, whether we like it or not, has saved this country from near total anarchy and civil war. But and its a sad but, its leadership has been guilty of the very mess that we are in today, because of their acts of commission and ommission in the past.

Pakistan is a great country with immense potential. The damage can still be contained. The haemmoraging stopped. The downward slide the slippery slope stopped. Because we all know the issues, we know the solutions, but we’re challenged by the process of making it from the problem to the solution.

The issues are simple. Our institutions are weak and virtually toothless. Our rulers dishonest, corrupt and incompetent. Our electoral process recycles the same garbage back into power. The institutions cannot hold them accountable, consequently the misgovernance, loot and plunder continues and the institutions become even weaker. Come next election and the cycle repeats.

And Nawaz and Zardari are now setting up their offspring to take over. And that is why folks, my outburst against Bilawal! An interview does not a leader make. Nor will time! He has no experience except privilege and biology! And is hostage to the current corrupt system!

The solution.

An electoral process that allows for competent people of integrity to occupy positions of public power, governance influence and authority who can rebuild our institutions for sustainable success!

Several key changes in the electoral laws will help.

1. 25%to 50% seats on proportional representation basis. This allows parties to nominate subject matter experts and specialists to become legislators, without going through an electoral process, so we can produce quality legislation.

2. Majorality win to replace first past the post. This breaks the hold of the baradaris and ensures greater people participation.

3. Subject matter experts and specialists can be appointed to cabinet positions, without being elected to legislature, as in the USA and subject to the approval by a National Assembly committee. This would significantly raise the bar of policy making and governance in highly complex and specialised sectors. Who says we cannot have technocrats in a democratic set up?

4. Independent governance of all Public Sector institutions, free of political influence. We have 341 such state run institutions. But about 27 key ones. This by itself is a game changer. Just look at how the Superior Judiciary has come out of the gutter and asserted itself, because of its ability to manage itself!

5. Complete bar on development funds to legislators, so the lure of money and corruption is significantly less attractive.

Longer-term we must have more administrative units, at least 20 vs the current 6, to bring governance down to the masses and break the dominance of larger or dominant groups. This is a ticking time bomb. The fascism of the MQM is rooted in the perceived deprivation of the Mohajirs, the problems in Baluchistan in the perceived deprivation of many Baluchis. Encouraged and fanned by our enemies!

This also means a much more empowered local government system answerable to the people on a daily basis and not an autocratic Chief Minister in a far of city. And it should be responsive to the differing needs of our society ranging from more empowered Local Governments in the highly urbanized areas to less relatively empwered in underdeveloped and rural areas. The latter important, so that local government capacity and capability is developed in these rural environments.

This means there’s a strong case to develop a hybrid of the old commissionerate system along with local government, especially in the rural areas.

Who will do all of this and how?

Like I said earlier, the issues and solutions are known, the who and the how is the question?

A simple way is for the current legislatures to bring about these changes. Clearly they will not as it sounds their death knell!

Elect a new leader who has the stamina and the will to potentially bring about these changes. And that is why I’ve consistently advocated for Imran Khan. Despite his warts and inconsistencies, today he clearly holds the greatest hope and promise!

He may perhaps also fail, but it will certainly not be for lack of will or effort or trying, but because the forces of status quo are so strong and so powerful, fuelled by decades of money and nepotism that they will crush all such attempts!

But I genuinely and sincerely believe he’s a real hope, despite, that at times, he’s his own worst enemy. And that is why the entire political mafia of the current status quo so relentlessly attacks him day in day out! And they pick on his weaknesses, occasionally helped by his own actions and words, which by the way are nowhere existential, to destroy his credibility.

They do so because they fear him and the change he promises to bring! And if we join these criminals in not giving Imran and Pakistan a chance then we deserve our fate. For those with a religious inclination should re-read Ayat 11 of Suraa Raad!

Otherwise folks it’s back to the stink, stench and vomit of the PMLN, the PPP, the Sharifs, Zardaris. Bilawal or no Bilawal. Maryam or no Maryam. They are just newly minted coins from the same old garbage!

And here are the inevitable consequences if we are unable to change the system.

Pakistan will not survive in its present shape and state if the current system survives and we do not eliminate its most powerful and potent symbols. Nawaz, Zardari, Shahbaz, Ishaq Dar, Faryal Talpur, Maryam, Hamza etc. All to ne suitably charged and convicted for their crimes. The Supreme Court and The High Courts must not succumb to threats and blackmail!

But if we do not or cannot do so, and the current system continues, with a very heavy heart, I say, in a decade or even less we can kiss Pakistan goodbye as we know it, today.

This is not a prophecy but a considered conclusion

Expect total anarchy and lawlessness. And the Army will be helpless. Read history and see the inevitable consequences of continous misrule, misgovernance, corruption, loot and plunder and the wholescale destruction of State institutions.

And I also fear that this will also put great strains on the Army’s unity with the possibility of some young Turks or even an older Turk deciding to take matters in their own hands and run amok. Not a probability but a possibility. And yet again the inevitable consequences of this foolhardy act!

Be prepared to see your DHA’s and Bahrias and General Colonies and the villas, businesses and street line boulevards of all our cities in flames. Be prepared for marauding mobs, finally fed up and unable to distinguish the good and the guilty from amongst us.

Once the dam breaks nothing can stop the deluge. And then we will lament why it happened and see our country engulfed in destruction.

The international forces arrayed against us are very powerful. Our internal fissures and fractures deep and painful and we think that a Sharif or a Zardari or a Maryam or a Bilawal offer hope?

And sadly it will not be a revolution but just mayhem, bloodshed, chaos and anarchy!

So the time to act is now, Pakistanis, or face the consequences.

And then don’t cry for me, Pakistan!

-Haider Mehdi

The General’s Visit to the Senate!

The General’s Visit to the Senate!

By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi.

The General came, presented, answered questions and left. The questions were petty. As petty as the people who asked them.

The General’s briefings were detailed and deeply insightful with a message. Kindly get your act together.

His briefing to the Senate is being termed as a triumph for democracy and elevates its Chairman Raza Rabbani to the status of a near god and as the “true conscience” of Parliamentary democracy in Pakistan. Here’s my view about this so called great democratic pretender and conscience keeper.

 How can we call this elitist, egotistical, pretentious, hypocritical person the “conscience” of parliamentary democracy?
A man, who smilingly and obsequiously,  twiddles his thumb, standing slavishly behind a twenty something idiotic twit, and calls him his party leader?
A man who will condone the corruption, rape, loot and plunder of Asif Zardari and his sister and his cronies and continue to accept him as his party leader?
A man who will allow dynastic rule in the PPP and not oppose it so he can conveniently enjoy the perks and privileges and power of office?
A man who has had it good cannot be what people say he is. This is not being a conscience keeper of Parliamentary democracy. It is being a gravy train beneficiary and a boot licker, leeching off a corrupt system and enjoying it’s power, perks and privileges.
Either we need to redefine parliamentary democracy or conscience to justify these accolades to the Senate Chairman.
Raza Rabbani and  people like him are even more dangerous because they enrobe themselves in the holy garb of democratic pretenders and many good and well meaning people fall for these wolves in sheep clothing.
He and all those like him are hypocrites who have supported a putrid, decayed, morally and financially corrupt order and system.
If this is our definition of a representative  democratic order, then may we be saved from this stinking system and from painting these crooks as honourable people.
The quicker these people are dead and buried along with this terrible system they represent and perpetuate, the better for Pakistan.
-Haider Mehdi

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