Daring Greatly – “President Imran Khan”

 

by Syed Haider Raza Mehdi

(Urdu Translation, kind courtesy Nusrat Mirza saheb,  at the end of this English Version)

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat”. (Theodore Roosevelt)

The above quote so aptly reflects armchair analysts like me who offer opinions or criticism on Pakistan’s political journey, Imran’s governance and our future, either from the safe comfort of foreign shores or sitting on the sidelines like “those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat”

It also defines people like Imran where “……credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again….” ……who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly…”

So with a heavy heart, deep sadness and relief, this armchair critic, this “cold and timid soul” for perhaps the last time offers an opinion about someone “who is actually in the arena”

Sadness that my struggle to fight for a better Pakistan, last 6 years being most intense, 5 through my writings and a year “in the arena” in Pakistan comes to an end, as I realize that people like us are irrelevant, can never make any impact, because we have neither money nor political legacies nor personal friendships with the Khan, and most importantly no political ambitions or desire for political or government office.

Hence, we are the proverbial caravan barking dogs, who no one pays attention to and in the process we pick up many enemies and lose or taint some deeply cherished relationships.

As one friend put it.

“Haider you’re an equal opportunity offender, having offended everybody on all sides of the political spectrum, including the Military….and that’s quite an achievement….”

But also, great relief, that I will no longer undergo sleepless nights, suffer serious emotional upheavals and near nervous breakdowns and be constantly bombarded with severe criticism from political foes in the PMLN and PPP a well as former comrade in arms and my one time supporters in PTI.

But sad to see Pakistan’s best fighting chance, under Imran, going waste and hopes of a great rebuild, fast diminishing.

So with this, here goes the Last Post!

Firstly, in my mind, there’s absolutely no doubt about Imran’s honesty, commitment, intent, sincerity, tenacity, passion, leadership charisma, rock star status.

Shaukat Khanum and Namal would not have been possible without his charisma and the above qualities. Likewise PTI would never have come into power without him, despite all what people may say about the “support” he got from some quarters.

His unwavering, 22-year struggle against corruption is an outstanding example of what one man’s tireless efforts can achieve, especially breaking into an entrenched two-party system.

And for this one act alone of saving this nation from the clutches of the corrupt Sharifs, the Bhuttos and Zardari, Imran will earn a great place in history!

Getting rid of the corrupt from power was a difficult task, but he managed to do it. Bringing the corrupt to justice is even more difficult as we are seeing.

But the most difficult was and is to pre-empt the recurrence of corruption, rebuild state institutions which the Sharifs and Bhuttos and Zardari destroyed with a vengeance so they could loot and plunder at will, and finally institute good governance not just by Imran but by others who will acquire political power long after he is gone.

Here’s really what we want!

1. Rebuilding State Institutions.

2. Delivering Good Governance

And for this to happen the only way forward is to ensure that competent leaders of integrity with all the necessary skills and experience are appointed to the right roles.

We routinely hire cooks, drivers, office boys, tea boys, cleaners, mechanics, plumbers, teachers, lawyers, accountants, engineers, scientists, doctors, IT experts, etc because they have the skills and experience to do certain roles and deliver results, but when it comes to governance and political power and authority we appoint a whole circus of monkeys.

And this is Imran’s big issue!

In the one year he has been in power he has repeatedly failed to convince his well wishers like me and die-hard supporters with brains in their heads and not their ankles that he has appointed the right people to the right roles.

Before people start to rip this point let me say clearly.

No one expects a miraculous economic turnaround in 1 year.

No one expects that Pakistan will become a first world country in 1 year or even 2 or 3 or 10

No one expects that the police will be reformed in 1 year.

No one expects that the health care & education systems in Punjab, KP and Baluchistan would become shining examples.

No one expects the lower and superior judiciary to be the beacons of truth and exemplary justice in 1 year.

But we did expect one thing from Imran.

We expected him, wherever possible and wherever he was not hamstrung by political compulsions of coalition partners etc, that he would appoint competent people of integrity on merit, in an open and transparent manner.

And in this he has failed miserably!

And it this which destroys all hope for revival.

Because if we do not have the right people in the right roles, say goodbye to any development, any rebuilding, any good governance!

Imran, despite his honesty, passion for change and sincerity, unfortunately has two huge millstones around his neck, which pose existential threats for Pakistan and for his own government!

The first is his weakness for flattery.

It is fairly common knowledge that he loves people who suck up to him, build him up, flatter him and fawn all over him, feeding his huge ego. And these are the ones who worm into key roles, the others sit on the sidelines, twiddling their thumbs.

People like Najeeb Haroon, Shibli Faraz, Andaleeb Abbas, his own party legislators and at least a dozen more sit out while people like Fawad Ch, Vawda, Swati, Firdous, Gandapur, Zartaj Gul, some others who are my friends and may feel offended if I name them, and advisors like Yousaf Beg Mirza, who squirm and worm their way in

I am a witness to a conversation where Yousaf Beg Mirza’s name was shot down as MD, PTV, by Imran himself in Imran’s early days when Yousaf had expressed a desire for that role, because of his allegedly very dark and sordid past reputation, and by association would have cast a dark shadow on Imran. Little did I know what was in store!

And then Imran Ismail & Shah Farman as Governors and CM’s Buzdar and Mahmood.

And very recently he appointed another friend to head a government institution tasked with bringing investment into Pakistan. That person would never have passed a rigorous, transparent, merit-based appointment process. Some people close to him swear that some powerful and influential people around him deliberately don’t allow good talent to come near him as it weakens their hold over him.

But where he somehow appoints or is made to appoint the right person to the right role one can see positive change and results happening in months, not years.

Shabbar Zaidi, Chairman, FBR, is a rare symbol of outstanding, competent, professional, ethical leadership in the cabal of cronies & toadies in positions of authority, power, policy, influence that surround Imran, all appointed by him!

My heart bleeds not at this array of incompetence and sycophancy which surround Imran, as much as it bleeds in the knowledge that it is Imran who appointed them. This is the man who said he will never compromise on merit and transparency in appointments.

There’s a huge disconnect in what Imran says and does. The dictionary defines it as “hypocrisy”.

The second piece is his own inexperience, ignorance, incompetence and serious lack (still after 1 year) of understanding of governance and management.

His advisors and cabinet members continuously mislead him and take him for a ride because of his inexperience and ignorance.

The recent GIDC fiasco is a case in point. It was a perfectly above board and clean initiative to break the gridlock that had tied down the government in litigation with several business sectors. I will not go into the merits of the case but only illustrate how it was mishandled and how Imran and his government were caught with their pants down and face in the mud!

When the summary was being prepared for the cabinet and before the Ordinance was promulgated.

No one picked up on the fact that the media will term this Rs. 300 billion waiver as brazen corruption by elements in the Government.

No one had “war gamed” potential questions and answers from the media to address all the issues. This was apparent from the hastily called very embarrassing press conferences addressed by Minister Ayub, Advisor Nadeem Babar and Advisor Firdous

No one thought of calling Asad Umar, who is not in Imran’s good books nowadays, and ask him to explain the whole rationale behind the GIDC issue.

No one thought of flying a few trial balloons before the Ordinance with “friendly” anchors in talk shows to test the waters.

No one thought of a detailed off the record briefing to the key two dozen or so key media anchors on before the proposed GIDC ordinance, to answer all their questions. In my view and from experience it iscsafe to say that 60 to 70% would have been satisfied and defended it on air, while the other 30% or 40% may have been satisfied but because of political compulsions may still have spun a negative story line, or perhaps not.

While someone would say this is hindsight 20/20, those who know media narrative management will tell us the above is basic standard media narrative management 101

Poor Firdous Awan was a fish out of water clueless about the issue as was Minister Ayub who wanted the floor to swallow him. Nadeem Babar was left with the unenviable and unsuccessful task of fending off the baying hounds.

Another recent decision hot of the press and barely two days old. The PM (read competent authority) orders the establishment of a Task Force on Innovation headed by a someone who manages to sweet talk his way into every government since President Musharraf. Members include a retired bureaucrat, a serving bureaucrat, an IT entrepreneur and a water specialist.

Their mandate. FIX PAKISTAN! I swear I’m not joking. One just has to read the 8 TOR’s to go into a tizzy. And this is in addition to the scores of Task Forces under various Ministries, Imran’s own Prime Ministers Strategic Reforms Unit, overseen by Jehangir Tareen and Dr. Ishrat’s massive reform program!

How does this kind of screw up happen?

Don’t know for sure, but knowing the politics around him, some advisor wants to outdo another close aide and try and weaken their mandate and create their own parallel body to exercise influence.

They then get hold of a smooth talking used car salesman type con man, as they did in this case, present him to the King, promising the moon and voila the “Competent Authority is pleased to…..”

And Imran just doesn’t get it.

He doesn’t understand that a task force is not a think tank. Task forces are project delivery teams, specialized by sector or industry or technology, etc, staffed by experts and subject matter specialists and mandated to deliver very specific time bound objectives!

Not the biryanis his team conjures up!

As I said in a recent tweet.

Questionable decisions, ongoing crony appointments, sea of incompetence, ignorance, inexperience & arrogance, surrounded by an ocean of sycophancy. This defines King Khan’s Camelot!

So what now!

Either Khan saheb becomes better at his job, realises that his tried and trusted leadership style of 22 years in political opposition does not work in government. This realization that he is ill equipped for his role as PM is critical for any change and betterment.

One powerful and effective method is for him to have an executive personal coach and mentor who literally shadows him all the time, hand holds him daily and builds his management capability and governance leadership competencies. This person can come into his inner circle disguised as his Chief of Staff.

But given his arrogance and hubris it is unlikely that he will accept that he “doesn’t know, that he doesn’t know” and start learning so he can do the job better.

Also I’m not sure how long Pakistan has the luxury of a ” Prime Minister in training”, especially when after one year we hear him say in his full blown arrogance, that his Buzdar decision was correct and he will remain CM as long as PTI is in power.

His blind cultists believe that his decisions are infallible, they quote, sometimes in mystical magical terms how his decisions turn out right.

Yet they forget a certain lady he wedded, who nearly destroyed him and his career!

Listen, folks cruel as it may sound, he is not infalllible.

On the contrary he has made serious errors of judgement all his life. And he knows it. But where they don’t effect him personally, he does not undo them because of his ego and arrogance.

CM Buzdar and CM Mahmood fall into this latter category!

Therefore one comes to this very painful and sad conclusion after witnessing his confusion, his being overwhelmed by the challenges of his job, appearing clueless and like a drowning man clutching at straws or firing blindly at the enemy, like a panicking soldier, that this role is beyond him.

And that his incompetence, ignorance, inexperience, arrogance, hubris and the sycophants surrounding him are existential threats for Pakistan.

And that he is also handicapped by those who were part of his 22 years political opposition and hence the need to oblige them. Something completely contrary to his oft publicly stated view on the subject, that all positions would be given on merit and no one should expect government office simply because they have struggled with him.

Or he should have a very strong Chief of Staff who manages him day to day, vets infornation coming in and going out, stress tests his decisions, ensures con men are kept at arms length, party politics are minimized, ensures he has a competent PS not the current very ambitious incumbent who behaves like a Cabinet Minister or a Deputy Prime Minister

But it seems unlikely that someone could fill that role or Imran would accept a strong sensible advisor who would actively challenge him.

So the best way out for Pakistan and a better future is for him to become President, where he continues to motivate the nation, rally support through his immense charisma, and leave the day to day management to a more competent and equally honest person and who also fully subscribes to his vision of a corruption free well governed Pakistan.

Given the current lot, somebody like Asad Umar, seems most suited for the role, who for one will not be encumbered by Imran’s political baggage and obligations to others and in my view appoint better people to the appropriate roles and govern much more effectively.

And this is how we

1. Rebuild State Institutions.

2. Deliver Good Governance of equal opportunities of security, health care, education, employment, freedom, human rights, peace with our neighbors and a society free of corruption, misrule, exploitation of the weak and the poor!

Please let us remember that Pakistan is no one’s fiefdom or Jagir.

People like Imran who acquire political power must view it as a trust bestowed upon them by the people of Pakistan. It is not a “bundar baant” to oblige cronies and toadies or satisfy ones’s ego or manifest one’s inexperience, ignorance and incompetence!

So PM saheb, with my sincere apologies, kindly either shape up or ship out!

And that’s all for now folks. The caravan moves on, this barking dog stops.

But perhaps this time the barking dog was warning the caravan of a gathering storm!

Or the King proves me completely and very happily wrong!

Salaams and Prayers
Haider Mehdi

 Urdu translation of

“Daring Greatly – President Imran Khan”

-Haider Mehdi

ہمت مرداں۔ صدر عمران خان
سیّد حیدر رضا مہدی

ایک سابق امریکی صدر تھیوڈر روزویلٹ نے جواں مردی اور ناقدین کی بات یوں کی ہے۔ زندگی میں جیت نکتہ چینی کرنے والوں کی نہیں ہوتی۔ نہ ہی جیت ان لوگوں کی ہوتی ہے جو بہادر انسان کے لڑکھڑانے کاسرعام چرچا کرتے ہیں۔ نہ ہی وہ لوگ جیتتے ہیں جو کہتے ہیں کہ میں یہ کام اس سے بہتر کر سکتا ہوں۔ دراصل ہمیں اس آدمی کو سراہناچاہئے جو اکھاڑےمیں موجود ہے۔ جس کا چہرہ مٹی ،پسینے اور خون سے لتھڑا ہوا ہے۔ جو جستجو کر رہا ہے۔ جو غلطیاں بھی کر رہا ہے۔ جو بار بار کوشش کے باوجود منزل تک نہیں پہنچتا۔اس لئے کہ ہر جستجو میں کچھ ناکامیاں بھی لازم ہیں۔ لیکن چونکہ وہ جوانمرد جوش سے لبریز ہے اور ڈٹا ہوا ہے۔ وہ اپنے ایمان کا پکا ہے اور اپنے ہدف کو حاصل کرنے کی تگ و دومیں لگا رہتا ہے۔ ایسے ہی جوانمرد کو فتح مبین اور کامیابی حاصل ہوتی ہے۔اگر کامیابی نہیں ملتی تب بھی وہ اپنی جستجو اور اپنی کاوش کی وجہ سے سراہا جاتا ہے۔ ایسا آدمی ان کمزور اور ڈرپوک لوگوں سے بہت بہتر ہے جنہوں نے زندگی میں نہ تو کبھی جستجو کی اور نہ کبھی ہار یا جیت دیکھی ہو۔

مندرجہ بالا قول میںمیرے جیسے ان ناقدین کو خوبصورتی سے بے نقاب کیا گیا ہے جو بیرون ملک اندرون ملک آرام دہ نشستوں پر براجمان ہوکر گھر بیٹھے پاکستان کے سیاسی سفر ، عمران خان کی حکومت اور ہمارے مستقبل کے بارے رائے زنی کرتے رہتے ہیں۔یہی وہ کمزور اور ڈرپوک لوگ ہیں جنہوں نے کبھی جیت یا ہار کا مزہ نہیں چکھا ہوتا۔

اس قول کے مطابق عمران خان جیسے لوگ ہی شاباش کے مستحق ہیں جو میدان عمل میں ڈٹے ہوئے ہیں۔ جن کا چہرہ مٹی، پسینے اور خون سے اٹا ہوا ہے مگر وہ بہادروں کی طرح ڈٹے ہوئے ہیں۔ جن سے غلطیاں بھی سر زد ہوتی ہیں۔ کئی بار ان کی کوششیں بار آور ثابت نہیں ہوتیں۔ اگر وہ کبھی ناکام بھی ہو جائیں تو ملال نہیں ہوتا کیونکہ انہوں نے کامیاب ہونے کی سرتوڑ کوشش کی۔

میں بذات خود کمزور اور ڈرپوک لوگوں کی طرح سہل پسند نقاد ہوں۔میں بوجھل دل اور بڑے دکھ کے ساتھ میدان عمل میں ڈٹے ہوئے جوانمرد عمران خان کے بارےآخری بار لب کشائی کی جسارت کر رہا ہوں۔

ملال اس بات کا ہے کہ میں نے پاکستان کی ترقی اور بہتری کے لئے چھ سال ان تھک محنت کی۔ پانچ سال اپنی تحریروں کے ذریعے اور ایک سال سیاسی میدان عمل میں رہ کر جدوجہد کی۔ یہ سلسلہ اس وقت رک گیا جب یہ احساس ہوا کہ ہم جیسے لوگوں کی کوئی اہمیت ہے نہ وقعت۔ کیونکہ ہماری جیب میں نہ پیسہ ہے ، نہ ہمارا کوئی سیاسی خاندانی پس منظر ہے اور نہ ہی ہماری عمران خان کے ساتھ ذاتی علیک سلیک ہے۔ سب سے بڑھ کر یہ کہ ہمیں کوئی سیاسی یا سرکاری عہدہ پانے کی کوئی حاجت ہے۔

ہماری حیثیت قافلے پر بھونکنے والے کتوں کی سی ہے جن کو کوئی قابل توجہ نہیں سمجھتا۔ اس دوڑ دھوپ میں ہم کئی دشمن بنا لیتے ہیں، کئی عزیز ترین رشتوں سے محروم ہو جاتے ہیں یا ان رشتوں میں دراڑ آجاتی ہے۔

میرے ایک دوست نے کہا
حیدر تم لگا تار ترقی اور آگے بڑھنےکے مواقع ضائع کئے جارہے ہو۔ تم نے سیاسی میدان میں کود کر سب سے مخالفت مول لے لی ہے یہاں تک کہ فوج سے بھی۔ کیا یہی مقصد حاصل کرنا تھا!

دل کو یہ اطمینان ضرور ہے کہ اس فیصلے کے بعد اب نہ میری راتیں بے خواب ہونگی، نہ جذبات بر انگیختہ ہوں گے اور نہ نروس بریک ڈاؤن کا خطرہ درپیش ہوگا۔ مسلم لیگ نون، پیپلز پارٹی کے سیاسی مخالفین اور پی ٹی آئی کے جیالوں اور اپنے فوجی دوستوں کی آئے روز کی تنقید کے ہتھوڑوں سے بھی نجات مل جائے گی۔

افسوس اس بات کا ہے کہ عمران خان کی سربراہی میں پاکستان بہتری کے مواقع کھو رہا ہے۔ اُس سے تعمیر نو اور بہتری کی جو امیدیں وابستہ کر لی تھیں وہ تیزی سے دم توڑنے لگی ہیں۔

اس طرح یہ آخری موقع بھی شائدضائع ہونے جا رہا ہے۔

پہلے یہ عرض کردوں کہ عمران خان کی ایمانداری، استقامت، خلوص، عزم، ولولے، اس کی کرشماتی قیادت اور مقبولیت کے بارے مجھے رتی بھر شک نہیں۔

اگر عمران میں یہ خوبیاں نہ ہوتیں تو شوکت خانم ہسپتال اور نمل یونیورسٹی کا قیام نا ممکن تھا۔اسی طرح دیگر ذرائع سے ملنے والی مدد کے باوجود پی ٹی آئی عمران خان کے بغیر کبھی اقتدار میں نہیں آسکتی تھی۔

عمران خان کی کرپشن کے خلاف غیر متزلزل جدوجہد ان ثمرات کی درخشاں مثال ہے جو اس کی بائیس سال کی ان تھک محنت کے بعد پاکستان سے دو جماعتی نظام کو اکھاڑ پھینکنے کی شکل میں ملے۔

قوم کو شریف، بھٹو اور زرداری خاندانوں کی کرپشن سے نجات دلا کر عمران خان نے تاریخ میں اعلیٰ مقام حاصل کر لیا ہے۔

کرپٹ عناصر سے جان چھڑانا بلا شبہ مشکل کام تھا یہ معرکہ عمران نے بخیر و خوبی سر کر لیا۔ مگر ہم دیکھ رہے ہیں کہ ان مجرموں کو انصاف کے کٹہرےمیں لاکر سزا دلوانا انتہائی مشکل کام لگنے لگا ہے۔

شریف ، بھٹو اور زرداری خاندانوں نے جس طرح جی بھر کر لوٹ مار کی ۔ ان کی کرپشن کے دور کی واپسی کا سد باب کرنااور برباد ریاستی اداروں کی بحالی اور ان کی تعمیر نو بہت مشکل کام تھے ۔ ایسی اچھی طرز حکومت کا کے قیام کا کام سب سے مشکل امر ہے جو نہ صرف عمران کی حکومت بلکہ اس کے بعد اقتدار میں آنے والوں کے لئے بھی طویل مدت تک کارآمد ثابت ہو۔ اس مقصد کے لئے جو چیزیں ضروری ہیں وہ ہیں:
1. ریاستی اداروں کی تعمیر نو
2. اچھی طرز حکمرانی

ان مقاصد کے حصول کا ایک ہی راستہ ہے وہ یہ کہ ایماندار اور اہلیت کے حامل افراد کو ان کی مہارت اور قابلیت کے پیش نظر ریاستی اداروں میں امور سلطنت سونپے جائیں۔

عام زندگی میں خانساماں، ڈرائیور، چپڑاسی، چائے پلانے والے، صفائی والے، مستری، پلمبر، استاد، وکیل، اکاؤنٹنٹ، انجنیئر، سائنسدان، ڈاکٹر یا کمپیوٹر ایکسپرٹ کی ضرورت ہو تو ہم اُن افراد کا چناؤ کرتے ہیں جنہیں یہ مہارت اور تجربہ حاصل ہو۔ لیکن جب معاملہ سیاسی اقتدار ، اختیار اور حکومت سونپبے کا ہو تا ہے تو ہم سب کچھ سیاسی شعبدہ بازوں کو سونپ دیتے ہیں۔

عمران خان کا بھی یہی المیہ ہے۔

اسے اقتدار میں آئے ایک سال ہو چکا ہے مگر وہ اپنے دانشمند جیالوں اور میرے جیسے مداحوں کو باور کرانے میں بار بار ناکام ہوگیا کہ اس نے کاموں کی درست انجام دہی کے لئے اہلیت سے بھرپور لوگوں کو تعینات کیا ہے۔

پیشتر اس کے کہ لوگ اس معاملے میں کود پڑیں ایک بات واضح کر دوں:

کسی کو بھی ایک سال میں معاشی معجزے رونما ہونے کی امید نہیں تھی۔

کوئی بھی یہ توقع لگا کر نہیں بیٹھا کہ ایک، دو، تین یا دس سالوں میں پاکستان کا شمار اول درجے کے ترقی یافتہ ممالک میں ہونے لگے گا۔

نہ کسی کو یہ امید تھی کہ ایک سال میں پولیس کی اصلاح ہو جائے گی۔

کسی کو یہ توقع نہیں تھی کہ سال بھر میں پنجاب، خیبر پختونخوا اور بلوچستان صحت اور تعلیم کے میدان میں درخشاں مثالیں قائم کر دیں گے۔

نہ ہی کوئی یہ آس لگائے بیٹھا ہے کہ ایک سال میں اعلیٰ اور ماتحت عدلیہ سچا اور بے مثال انصاف فراہم کرنے لگ جائیں گی۔

ہمیں عمران خان سے ایک امید تھی وہ یہ کہ سیاسی اتحادیوں کے دباؤ اور جبر کے باوجود وہ ایماندار اور اہل افراد کا شفاف انداز میں تقرر کرے گا۔

اس معاملے وہ بُری طرح ناکام رہا ہے۔

اسی ناکامی کی وجہ سے عمران سے لگائی گئی ملک کی بہتری اور ترقی کی امیدیں دم توڑنے لگی ہیں۔

اس کی وجہ یہ ہے کہ اگر ہم موزوں اور اہل افراد کا انتخاب نہیں کرسکتے تو ہمیں تعمیر نو، ترقی اور اچھی طرز حکومت کے خواب بھول جانےہوں گے۔

عمران خان کی ایمانداری، تبدیلی کی خواہش اور اس کے خلوص کے باوجود اس کے گلے میں دو طوق پڑے ہوئے ہیں جو پاکستان اور خود عمران کی اپنی حکومت کے لئے مہلک ثابت ہو سکتے ہیں۔

اس کی پہلی بڑی کمزوری خوشامد پسندی ہے۔

بالعموم عمران کو وہ لوگ پسند ہیں جو اس کے ساتھ چپکے رہیں ۔ اس کی بڑائیاں بیان کر کے اور حد سے بڑھ کر خوشامد کر کے اس کی انا کو تسکین پہنچائیں۔ اس طرح کے کاسہ لیس لوگ کلیدی اسامیاں اچک لیتے ہیں اور محروم رہ جانے والوں کو ٹھینگا دکھا کر زچ کرتے ہیں۔

نجیب ہارون، شبلی فراز، عندلیب عباس اور پارٹی کےدرجنوں ممبران اسمبلی باہر بیٹھے پیچ و تاب کھاتے رہ جاتے ہیں اور فواد چودھری، واڈا، سواتی، فردوس عاشق اعوان، گنڈاپور ، زرتاج گل، یوسف بیگ مرزا اور میرے بہت سے دوست جن کا نام لینے سے وہ بدک جائیں گے عمران کے کمرے میں گھس جاتے ہیں۔

میں ایک موقع پر موجود تھا جب پی ٹی آئی حکومت کے ابتدائی ایام میں عمران خان نے یوسف بیگ مرزا کی خواہش پر ا س کی پی ٹی وی کے مینجنگ ڈائریکٹر کے عہدے پر تقرری کی درخواست اس کے تاریک ماضی ، مذموم حرکات اور خراب شہرت کی وجہ سے رد کر دی تھی کیونکہ اس کی قربت سے عمران پر منفی اثرات پڑ سکتے تھے۔اس سے زیادہ میں کچھ نہیں جانتا۔

اور پھر عمران اسمٰعیل اور شاہ فرمان کا بطور گورنر اور محمود خان اور عثمان بزدار کا بطور وزیر اعلیٰ تقرر حیران کن تھا۔

حال ہی میں عمران خان نے پاکستان میں بیرونی سرمایہ کاری لانے کے لئے اپنے ایک دوست کا ایک ادارے کے سربراہ کےطور پر تقرر کیا ہے۔ اگر اہلیت اور شفافیت کی کسوٹی پر پرکھا جائے تو وہ دوست یہ عہدہ نہ لے پاتا۔ عمران سے شناسائی رکھنے والے کہتے ہیں کہ کچھ با اثر اور طاقتور لوگ اس کے گرد جمع ہیں جو با صلاحیت لوگوں کو عمران کے قریب نہیں پھٹکنے دیتے کیونکہ اس طرح عمران پر ان کی گرفت ڈھیلی پڑ جائے گی۔

لیکن جب بھی عمران نے کسی بڑے عہدے کے لئے موزوں شخص کا تقرر کیا اس کے ثمرات سالوں میں نہیں مہینوں میں ملنے لگے۔

شبر زیدی جیسے اہل ، ماہر اور با کردار شخص کی چیئرمین ایف بی آر کے طور پر تقرری قابل تحسین ہے۔ جب کہ عمران نے اپنے اطراف میں موجود جن خوشامدیوں اور کاسہ لیسوں کی خود اعلیٰ عہدوں پر تقرریاں کی وہ اپنے اختیارات کا غلط استعمال کرکے پالیسی سازی پر اثر انداز ہو رہے ہیں۔

عمران کے گرد چاپلوسوں اور خوشامدیوں کی مسلسل موجودگی پر میرا دل خون کے آنسو روتا ہے۔ دل کا گھاؤ اور گہرا ہو جاتا ہے جب معلوم ہوتا ہے کہ ان نا اہلوں اور کاسہ لیسوں کی اعلیٰ عہدوں پر تقرریاں اس عمران خان نے خود کی ہیں جو کہتا تھا کہ تعیناتیوں کے سلسلے میں وہ شفافیت اور اہلیت پر کوئی سمجھوتہ نہیں کرے گا۔

عمران خان کے قول اور فعل میں زمین آسمان کا فرق ہے جسے اخلاقیات کی لُغت میں منافقت کہا جاتا ہے۔

عمران کے گلے میں لٹکتا دوسرا طوق یہ ہے کہ ایک سال گذر جانے کے بعد بھی عمران خان کی نا تجربہ کاری، لا علمی، نالائقی اور حکومتی امور کو سمجھنے میں ناکامی کا ہے۔

اس کی نا تجربہ کاری اور لاعلمی کی وجہ سے اس کے مشیر اور کابینہ اراکین اس کو گمراہ کرتے ہیں اور اس پر دباؤ ڈالے رکھتے ہیں۔

جی آئی ڈی سی(گیس انفراسٹرکچر ڈویلپمنٹ سیس) کے معاملے میں ہونے والی خفت کو سامنے رکھتے ہیں۔ یہ کئی تجارتی حلقوں کی جانب سے حکومت کے خلاف مقدمہ بازی کی بھرمار سے گلوخلاصی کرانے کے لئے شفاف اقدام تھا جس کا مقصد عدالت کو اعتماد میں لے کر معاملہ حل کرانا تھا۔اس اقدام سے حاصل ہونے والے فوائد سے قطع نظر میں یہ سمجھانے کی کوشش کروں گا کہ کس طرح عمران خان اور اس کی حکومت نے اس معاملے میں اپنا منہ کالا کروالیا۔

کابینہ کے لئے صدارتی آرڈیننس کے اجراء سے پہلے جب سمری تیار کی جارہی تھی تو کسی کے گمان میں بھی نہیں تھا کہ میڈیا اس معاملے کو 300ارب روپے معاف کرنے اور حکومتی عناصر کی کرپشن کےکیس کے طور پر پیش کرے گا۔

کسی نے اس مسئلے کے بارے میڈیا کی جانب سے اٹھائے جانے والے سوالوں جوابوں کی پیش بندی کرنے کی ضرورت نہیں سمجھی۔جلد بازی میں بلائی گئی پریس کانفرنس میں وزیر توانائی عمر ایوب ، مشیر برائے توانائی ندیم بابر اور مشیر اطلاعات فردوس عاشق اعوان کے چہروں سے عیاں تھا کہ وہ میڈیا سوالات کا جواب دینے کی تیاری کرکے نہیں آئے تھے۔

کسی نے عمر اسد سے رابطہ کرنے کا بھی نہیں سوچا۔ گو آجکل عمران خان اسد عمر سے گریزاں ہیں تاہم وہی بتا سکتے ہیں کہ جی ڈی آئی سی ریفنڈ کے پردے میں کون سی منطق پوشیدہ تھی۔

کسی کے ذہن میں یہ خیال نہیں آیا کہ صدارتی آرڈیننس کے اجراء سے پہلے معاملے کا جائزہ لینے کے لئے آزمائشی طور پر ٹی وی ٹاک شوز کے اینکروں سے اس بارے رائے لی جائے۔

کسی سرکاری افسر نے زحمت نہیں کی کہ صدارتی حکم جاری کرنے سے پہلے اس سلسلے میں دو درجن میڈیا اینکروں سے ہونے والے آف دی ریکارڈ مباحثے کے سوالوں جوابوں کی تفصیلات جمع کرکے دیکھی جائیں۔میرا تجربہ کہتا ہے کہ ان میں سے 60-70% اینکروں کی تشفی کردی گئی تھی اور انہوں نے میڈیا پر سرکاری موقف کی حمائت بھی کی تھی۔باقی 30-40%اینکر متفق تو تھے مگر سیاسی مصلحت کے پیش نظر وہ مسئلے کے منفی پہلو پر بحث کرتے رہےیا انہوں نے اس مسئلے پر کوئی تبصرہ نہیں کیا۔

کئی ایک نے اس معاملے کو سو فیصد فہم و فراست اور بصیرت کا مرقعہ قرار دیا۔ جو لوگ میڈیا بیانیہ کی گردن حسب منشا موڑنے کا گرُ جانتے ہیں انہوں نے اسے میڈیا بیانیہ کو کنٹرول کرنے کا فارمولا نمبر 101قرار دیا۔

بیچاری فردوس عاشق اعوان کو معاملے کی باریکیوں کی شُد بدھ نہیں تھی پھر بھی وہ بن پانی مچھلی کی طرح تلملاتی رہیں۔ جبکہ وزیر توانائی عمر ایوب کا اصرار تھا کہ ان کے موقف کو من و عن تسلیم کیا جائے۔مشیر توانائی ندیم بابر کو میڈیا کے بپھرے بھیڑیوں کے سامنے سرکاری موقف کے دفاع کا ناخوشگوار فرض سونپا گیا جسے نبھانے میں وہ بری طرح ناکام رہے۔

ابھی دو روز سے ایک حکومتی فیصلے کا میڈیا پر بڑا چرچا ہوا ۔ وزیر اعظم نے (مجاز اتھارٹی) حکومتی امور میں جدّت لانے کی غرض سے ایک نئی ٹاسک فورس قائم کرنے کا حکم صادر فرمایا ہے ۔اس ٹاسک فورس کی سربراہی جن صاحب کو سونپی گئی ہے وہ جنرل مشرف کے زمانے سے اپنی شیریں گفتار کے لئے مشہور ہیں۔ٹاسک فورس کے باقی ممبران میں ایک ریٹائرڈ بیوروکریٹ ، ایک حاضر سروس اعلیٰ افسر کے علاوہ آئی ٹی اور آبی مہارت رکھنے والے دو ممبران شامل ہیں۔

ان لوگوں کو فِکس پاکستان کا فرض سونپا گیا ہے۔ان کے ٹی او آر پڑھے جائیں تو میٹر گھوم جاتا ہے۔ یہ کوئی مذاق نہیں اور میں قسم کھا کر کہتا ہوں کہ یہ ٹاسک فورس بھی ان بیسیوں ٹاسک فورسوں میں ایک اضافہ ہے جو پہلے ہی کئی وزارتوں اور وزیر اعظم کےاپنے سٹریجک ریفارمز یونٹ کے تحت کام کر رہی ہیں جن کی نگرانی جہانگیر ترین اور وسیع ریفارمز پروگرام کے ذمہ دار ڈاکٹر عشرت حسین کر رہے ہیں۔

یہ گڑ بڑ کس طرح واقع ہوئی!

زیادہ تو علم نہیں لیکن جس طرح عمران خان کے قریبی حلقوں میں سیاست ہورہی ہے اُس کے ایک مشیر صاحب دوسرے بہت قریبی مشیر کو ہٹانے، اس کا اختیار کم کرنے، اپنا اثر و رسوخ بڑھانے اور اس کے مقابل اپنا ادارہ قائم کرنے کے لئے کوشاں ہیں۔

اُس مشیر نے ایک گھاگ بھیدی کو قابو کیا جو پرانی کاروں کے بیوپاری کی طرح خوشامد انہ گفتگو کرنے میں ماہر تھا۔ اُسے مکمل اختیار کے سبز باغ دکھائے بادشاہ کے حضور پیش کر دیا۔مجاز اتھارٹی نے بھی اس کو بہت پسند کیا۔

عمران بھی اس معاملے کی تہہ تک نہیں پہنچ سکا۔

عمران خان کو یہ ادراک نہیں کہ ٹاسک فورس کسی تھنک ٹینک کا نعم البدل نہیں ہو سکتی۔ٹاسک فورس تو کسی منصوبے کی تکمیل کرنےوالی ٹیمیں ہوتی ہیں جن میں مختلف صنعتی شعبوں کے ماہرین اور تجربہ کار ملازمین ہوتے ہیں جن کو مقررہ وقت پر پراجیکٹ مکمل کرنے کی ذمہ داری دی جاتی ہے۔

تھنک ٹینک بریانی ٹیم کی طرح شعبدے نہیں دکھاتا۔

جیسا کہ میں نے اپنی حالیہ ٹویٹ میں لکھا:
قابل اعتراض فیصلے،پرانے دوستوں کی روز افزوں بھرتیاں، نااہلی، جہالت، نا تجربہ کاری، تکبر اور خوشامد کے سمندر میں گھرا ہوا عمران خان ۔ یہ ہے ریاست مدینہ کا قبلہ۔

اب کیا کرنا ہوگا!

اپنا کام احسن طریقے سے انجام دینے کے لئے عمران خان کو سوچنا ہوگا کہ بائیس سال تک حزب مخالف کے طور پر جدو جہد کرنے والی قیادت کا طور طریقہ حکومت میں آنے کے بعد ناکام ہو گیا ہے۔ حکومت چلانےاور وزیر اعظم کے فرائض نبھانے کےلئے وہ مطلوبہ لوازمات سے لیس نہیں ہے جو بہت خطرناک بات ہے۔

ایک موثر اور کارگر طریقہ تو یہ ہے کہ عمران خان کے لئے ایک مضبوط ذاتی ٹرینر اور گرُو کی خدمات حاصل کی جائیں جو سائے کی طرح اس کے ساتھ رہے ۔ جو اس کی انگلی پکڑ کر حکومت کرنے کے رموز سمجھائے اور عمران کی انتظامی اور قائدانہ صلاحیتوں میں اضافہ کر۔ یہ شخص چیف آف سٹاف کی شکل میں اس کے قریبی حلقوں میں ہر وقت موجود رہے۔

عمراں کے گھمنڈ اور منہ زوری کی وجہ سے ممکن نہیں کہ وہ کہے کہ مجھے کچھ پتہ نہیں اور پھر وہ سیکھنا شروع کر دے تاکہ وہ اپنا کام بہتر انداز میں انجام دے۔

میں یقین سے نہیں کہہ سکتا کہ پاکستان ایک زیر تربیت وزیر اعظم رکھنے کی عیاشی کب تک برداشت کر سکتا ہے۔خاص طور پر جب ایک سال گذر جانے کے بعد بھی وہ بڑے فخر سے کہہ رہا ہے کہ اس کا عثمان بزدار کو وزیر اعلیٰ کے طور پر لگانے کا فیصلہ بالکل درست تھا اور جب تک پی ٹی آئی بر سر اقتدار رہے گی بزدار ہی پنجاب کا وزیر اعلیٰ رہے گا۔

عقیدت میں اندھے عمران خان کے جیالوں کا ایمان ہے کہ اس کے فیصلوں میں غلطی کا امکان نہیں ہوتا۔ انہوں نے بڑے پہنچے ہوئے سائیں بابوں کی طرح عمران کے فیصلوں کو درست ثابت ہوتے دیکھا ہے۔

وہ جیالے ماضی قریب میں عمران کے عقد میں آنے والی خاتون کو بھول جاتے ہیں جس نے عمران کی ذات اور اُس کےسیاسی سفر کا تقریباً خاتمہ کر دیا تھا۔

دوستو میر ی بات بری لگے گی مگر جان لو کہ عمران غلطیوں سے مبریٰ نہیں۔

عمران نے زندگی میں فیصلے کرنے میں انتہا ئی غلطیاں کیں جن کا اس کو پتہ ہے۔ اگر ان غلطیوں سے اس کی ذاتی زندگی متاثر نہیں ہوئی تو وہ اپنی ضد اور ہٹ دھرمی کی وجہ سے ان غلطیوں کا تدارک بھی نہیں کرے گا۔

وزیر اعلیٰ عثمان بزدار اور محمود خان کے تقرر کا شمارعمران خان کی ثانی الذکر بڑی غلطیوں میں ہوتا ہے۔

ہم اس کی بد حواسیوں کے پیش نظر اس تکلیف دہ نتیجے پر پہنچتے ہیں کہ وہ وزیر اعظم کے منصب کے جھمیلوں میں الجھ کر بے دست و پا ہو کررہ گیا ہے ۔وہ ڈوبتے ہوئے شخص کی مانند ہے تنکوں کے سہاروں کی تلاش میں ہے۔یا پھر وہ خوفزدہ سپاہی کی مانند اندھیرے میں اندھا دھند گولیاں برسا رہا ہے۔ ان نے وزیر اعظم کے طور پر جو کام اپنےذمے لے لیا ہے وہ اس کی استطاعت سے بہت زیادہ ہے۔

عمران کی نا اہلی، لا علمی، ناتجربہ کاری، اکڑ فوں، منہ زوری اور خوشامد پسندی سے پاکستان کو درپیش حقیقی خطرات میں اضافہ ہو گیا ہے۔

عمران خان ان لوگوں کا ممنون ہے جو 22 سالہ سیاسی جدوجہد میں ا س کے ساتھ کھڑے رہے۔ وہ ان لوگوں کی دلجوئی کرنا چاہتا ہے مگر اس کا عوامی موقف آڑے آجاتا ہے کہ تمام عہدے اہلیت اور قابلیت کی بنیاد پر دیئے جائیں گے۔کس کو کوئی سیاسی اور سرکاری عہدہ اس بنیاد پر نہیں ملے گا کہ وہ سیاسی جد وجہد میں عمران کے شانہ بہ شانہ کھڑا تھا۔

عمران کو چاہئے کہ وہ کسی مضبوط آدمی کو اپنا چیف آف سٹاف مقرر کرے جو اس کے روزمرہ معاملات کی دیکھ بھال کرے، معلومات کی آمدورفت پر نظر رکھے اور اس کےفیصلوں کی نزاکت کا جائزہ لیا کرے۔ عمران کا پرسنل سیکرٹری قابل اور مضبوط شخص ہونا چاہئے جو دغا باز حواریوں کو اس سے دور رکھے اور پارٹی معاملات کم سے کم زیر بحث لائے۔یہ ایسا شخص ہونا چاہئے جو موجودہ سیکرٹری کی طرح خود کو ڈپٹی پرائم منسٹر یا کابینہ کا وزیر نہ سمجھے۔

یہ کام نا ممکن نظر آتا ہے۔ کون ہوگا ایسا شخص جو یہ کام کما حقہُ کر سکے۔پھر عمران ایسے سیانے اور مضبوط شخص کو کیسے قبول کر پائے گا جو اس کے غلط احکام پر روک ٹوک بھی کرسکتا ہو۔

پاکستان کے بہتر اور روشن مستقبل کے لئے بہتر ہوگا کہ عمران خان پاکستان کے صدر بن جائیں۔ اس طور وہ قوم کی رہنمائی کر سکیں گے، اپنی کرشماتی شخصیت سے عوام کی ڈھارس بھی بندھائیں گے۔ انہیں چاہئے وہ اپنے روز مرہ کے کام ایسے شخص کے حوالے کردیں جو اہلیت اور ایمانداری میں ان کے ہم پلہ ہو اور کرپشن سے پاک پاکستان کے بارے عمران خان کے وژن کو ملحوظ خاطر رکھے۔

عمران خان کے ساتھیوں کی موجودہ کھیپ مں سے اس منصب کے لئے اسد عمر بہترین انتخاب ہوگا۔اس کے کندھوں پرعمران کی طرح سیاسی قیادت کے فرائض کی ذمہ داریوں کا زیادہ بوجھ بھی نہیں ہوگا۔ اسد عمر کے لئے اہم سرکاری فرائض کی ادائیگی کے لئے اہل اور قابل افراد کا تقرر کرنا بہت آسان ہوگا۔

اب ترجیحی طور پر یہ کام کرنا ہوگا!
1. ریاستی اداروں کی تعمیر نو۔
2. اچھی طرز حکمرانی کا فروغ جس میں سب کو یکساں تحفظ، صحت ، تعلیم، روزگار، آزادی، انسان حقوق اور سہولیات دستیاب ہوں۔پڑوسی ممالک کے ساتھ دوستانہ تعلقات بڑھائے جائیں۔ معاشرے کو کرپشن ، بد نظمی، غریبوں اور کمزور طبقات کے استحصال سے پاک کیا جائے۔

یاد رہے کہ پاکستان کسی کی جاگیر نہیں۔

عمران خان جیسے لوگ بر سر اقتدار آجائیں تو ان کو سوچنا چاہئے کہ ان پر عوام کی طرف سے اعتماد کا اظہار کیا گیا ہے۔ یہ موقع اس لئے نہیں ملا کہ اپنےکاسہ لیسوں اور خوشامدیوں میں سرکاری وسائل کی بندر بانٹ کی جائے۔ اپنی انا کی تسکین کی جائے اور اپنی ناتجربہ کاری، جہالت اور نااہلی کا مظاہرہ کیا جائے۔

اس لئے جناب وزیراعظم آپ سے دست بستہ درخواست ہے کہ آپ یا تو سدھر جائیں یا ہٹ جائیں۔

دوستو اس کے ساتھ ہی مضمون کا اختتام ہوتا ہے۔ قافلے کا سفر جاری ہے مگر یہ سگ خاموش ہو گیا ہے۔

شائد سگ اس سے پہلے قافلے والوں کو بڑھتے ہوئے طوفان سے خبردار کرنے کے لئے صدائیں دے رہا تھا۔

یا پھر بادشاہ سلامت اپنی بہتر کارکردگی سے مجھے غلط ثابت کر دیں تو بڑی خوشی ہوگی۔

 

The Myth of the “Deep State”! Part 1 of a 3 Part Series on Civil – Military Relations in Pakistan

 

By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi – 4 August, 2019

It’s time to take this ‘Deep State” bull by the horns. But first a full disclosure.

I’ve served in the Pakistan Army from 1974 to 1981, resigned as a Captain, and have a very soft corner for the institution. My father served it with distinction, as did my uncle and scores of other family members. I am very proud that I and my family have served Pakistan in this manner!

I think it is, without question or doubt, our finest, most professional, most well led, most merit driven, most process driven, most reliable and the least corrupt, of all our state institutions.

Its is my considered opinion that if every able bodied young man and woman of this great nation could serve two years in the military and undergo the physical and emotional experiences that the rank and file undergo, Pakistan and Pakistani society would be far better and it’s enemies, both internal and external, would not be able to mislead our people, especially our youth against this institution.

For this, I urge PM Imran, Defense Minister Khattak, Human Resources Minister Zulfi Bukhari and Army Chief, Gen. Bajwa to institute this great public service.

I think if there is one institution that has been saved, thank God from the massive institutional decay suffered by other institutions, it is the Army!

I also think that a major factor which saved them from the destruction faced by civilian institutions were the repeated Martial Laws and their 33 years in power, leaving them as the proverbial last man standing and all powerful!

Sad but true!

And here is where I must admit that military rule, despite the strong economic growth during the three military governments, has been the major cause of most of our problems. To name a few

1. The rise of a corrupt coterie of politicians.

2. The the elite capture of Pakistan and all its sources of power, wealth and governance.

3. The hijacking of a very weak electoral process by this small mafia like coterie of political kleptocrats and plutocrats symbolized by the political dynasties and the likes of the Bhuttos, Sharifs, Zardari, Ilahis, Khar’s, Fazlur Rehmans, Achakzais, Bizenjos, Mengals and many many others, who like the ladies of the night would and still bed any party, any leader, as long as they could stay in power.

4. The systematic destruction of all state institutions. This last was perhaps the deepest cut! Nearly fatal!

Once these groups had captured power, such as Benazir in the post euphoria of Gen. Zia’s terrible dark years, or Nawaz Sharif, propped by Gen. Zia or Zardari through Gen. Musharraf’s infamous NRO, all of them, Benazir, Nawaz Sharif, Zardari, systematically set about weakening and destroying every major state institutions, so that not only could they rule like feudal monarchs, but loot and plunder the nation’s wealth, at will, and not be held accountable.

They systematically hijacked, bribed, cowed, destroyed and weakened the entire Federal and Provincial infrastructure, the superior and lower judiciary, the law enforcing agencies, institutions which hold public office holders accountable, like the NAB, FIA, Anti corription. Economic and planning and development institutions like the FBR, SECP, State Bank, Planning Commission etc.

They did this by deliberately appointing corrupt cronies, corrupt and weak officials on positions of authority, power and influence, who would do their bidding.

All these politicians and their families, with very few exceptions, have walked, lived, eaten, slept with every mistress or master. Whether it was Gen. Ayub, Gen Zia, Benazir, Nawaz, Gen. Musharraf, Zardari and Imran.

This includes our so called intellectuals, symbolized in persons like Mushahid Hussain and Najam Sethi, the vast majority of our media anchors and journalusts (yes journaLUSTS) and many others who have and still are willing to sell their souls for the proverbial 30 pieces of silver!

This political mafia launched large scale massive infrastructure projects, not because of economic or developmental or social priorities, but because it was easy to skim off huge amounts from these massive projects.

Funds were not invested in major public impact sectors like clean drinking water, public transportation (not one bus or train service for a few cities) empowering local governments, low cost housing, education, schools, colleges, heath care, hospitals, population control, agriculture and very importantly in improving the capability and capacity of the police and other law enforcement agencies.

The last used as personal militias to extend monarchist and fascist like control.

No effort was undertaken to reform the judiciary, because it served their purpose of buying judges and judgments whenever they so wanted.

It is my considered opinion that our judicial system, both the Superior and the Lower judiciary, has been one of the greatest causes of the greatest misery inflicted on the poor people of Pakistan!

Enrobed in their dark robes, they daily and darkly inflict death by a thousand cuts on our society.

And for all this mess, I hold the 3 military dictators directly responsible. Not the Army, but these three individuals.

Gen. Ayub because he short circuited the evolving political process of this agrarian feudal newly born country, blundered us into the 1965 war and worst of all, handed power over to another military dictator, Gen. Yahya, rather than to the Speaker of The National Assembly, a symbol of his own created political system.

Strangely, though, Pakistan’s fairest elections were held under Gen.Yahya in 1970 but under whose watch we also lost half our country and suffered a humiliating military defeat. The causes for the latter requires another article!

But perhaps Gen. Ayub’s greatest sin during his 10 year rule, was in creating a class of self serving, corrupt politicians who were willing to truck with military dictators and who have subsequently trucked with every civilian and political ruler since.

The genuine, true blue blooded democrats, starved of political power and platforms just died, politically! As did Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah, the Quaid’s sister who was cheated out of a Presidential win by Gen. Ayub.

And it was then that we also saw the emergence, for the first time, of dynastic politics, at the head of state level in the shape of Gohar Ayub Khan, Gen. Ayub’s son!

So this is how people like Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, gained access to prominence and political power in Gen. Ayub’s cabinet.

This subsequently provided him the springboard to launch his political career and his party the PPP, by literally stabbing his benefactor, Gen. Ayub, in the back.

But for Gen. Ayub, ZAB would possibly not even have won a councilor’s election from Larkana and we would have been spared his administration which set us back 50 years in terms of our economy, education and health care, because of his ill thought through and disastrous policies of nationalization.

And lest we forget, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto is the same person, who before he started sucking up to Gen. Ayub, calling him uncle, wrote to then President Iskandar Mirza, in his now infamous and public letter, calling him a leader greater than Quaid e Azam.

Let me say it without mincing words to those who are so still enamored in their love for Bhutto.

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was NOT A DEMOCRAT but a FASCIST!

Yes he did come into power through the ballot as did Hitler and many others who destroyed their countries, by the way.

There’s no doubt that ZAB was brilliant, perhaps touching genuis. He was very charismatic and an outstanding orator. And he used these attributes to craft a very powerful message of hope of a better future for the most exploited segments of Pakistani society.

They loved him and he cheated them.

For in reality he was a truly evil man, part Devil, part Saint. Unfortunately the Devil won!

He was a fascist through and through, a haughty, arrogant, brutish autocrat, and as most autocrats, extremely petty and mean and very very vengeful!

This may shock those who do not know. But such was this person’s nature that he had the aging J. A Rahim, his own Party’s Secretary General, and co founder, sodomized by a jail sweeper, simply because J A Rahim saheb would not put up with his autocratic pretensions.

He had similar treatment meted out to Maulana Tufail, the then Amir of the Jamaat e Islami.

He had his own nominated successor Mairaj Mohammed Khan brutally tortured in jail. Mairaj saheb never really fully recovered from the physical and emotional trauma and inhumane treatment he met at ZAB’s hands! Hundreds, perhaps thousands of political opponents suffered great physical torture during his period.

ZAB’s and Zia’s periods were our darkest periods of political repression

Many of our young today do not know about a Para Military force called the Federal Security Force, established by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.

A personal note here.

Our father, the late Col. S.G. Mehdi, considered an SSG pioneer and its third Commander, was approached by Gen. (Retd) Akbar, Bhutto’s National Security Adviser, in January or February 1972 to set up this Federal Security Force for the Government and the People’s Guard for the Pakistan People’s Party.

Our father Col. Mehdi refused the offer, saying that these militias would turn into Hitler’s Blackshirts or Mussolini’s Brownshirts and will lead to a fascist state and urged him to advise Bhutto not to go this route.

But Bhutto did.

And they did become his fascist militia and ironically also the eventual cause of his hanging!

For it was the FSF, who on his orders, while attempting to assassinate Ahmad Raza Khan Kasuri, a dissenting PPP party MNA, killed his father!

While I agree that the case did not warrant a death sentence, simply because Bhutto did not pull the trigger or commit the act himself, but as they say, one day our sins catch up with us and Nature has its own ways of delivering justice!

Gen. Zia’s present to Pakistan in the shape of Nawaz Sharif and Gen. Musharraf’s in the shape of Zardari and the NRO is recent history, so don’t want to dwell too much on them.

Sufficeth that what Benazir, Zardari, Nawaz, Shahbaz and company, subsequently did to Pakistan is now no secret!

Their loot and plunder is now public knowledge. Panama, Corruption, Money laundering, Fake accounts etc are there for everyone to see, except those whose political and business interests and futures are tied to these criminals and hence are blind, deaf and dumb

And for all this.

Yes, I’m afraid, a large part of the responsibility lies with Gen. Ayub, Gen. Zia and Gen. Musharraf! And we haven’t even discussed our involvement in the Afghan Jihad or the War on Terror, or giving space to sectarian and Jihadi outfits and using these non state actors as instruments of State and Foreign policy!

So there we have it.

Corrupt politicians, a broken hijacked electoral system, weakened or near destroyed civilian institutions, a bankrupt economy, a dysfunctional society polarized on ethnic, linguistic, religious and sectarian grounds.

But the most serious issue today are the attempts to polarize Pakistani society on pro and anti ‘Establishment” basis (read Army).

This is fraught with extremely serious and even existential consequences for us.

Yet it is the same institution, along with other para military institutions which successfully defended the country against terrorists for 9 years, giving tremendous sacrifices.

It is the same institution which responds most effectively to every natural and man made calamity, disaster or security situation, we face everyday.

It is the same institution, despite its terrible past and despite its current inordinate influence, which believes that the future of Pakistan lies in strong civilian institutions, not dominated by the Military.

It is the same institution which believes Pakistan’s well being is best served by a strong and corruption free governance model, fully representing the will of the people, their hopes, desires and aspirations of a just, equitable society where everyone has the same opportunities.

It is the same institution which is very clear that non state actors, militant jihadi outfits and sectarian religious groups have no role in the affairs of the State and will never and should never be used as instruments of State policy.

It is the same institution which believes that we have punched well above our weight in the Region and that we must live in peace with our neighbors, especially India and Afghanistan!

It is the same institution which believes that Pakistani has been grossly misgoverned and sucked dry by all its past leaders, military and civilian and they must do whatever they can to support the current PTI government, despite its weaknesses, to cleanse the system, so we have a fighting chance to rebuild the Nation!

It is the same institution whose current leadership realizes the terrible effects, a military coup has on the Country, its People and its Institutions!

It is the same institutions whose past two leaders, Gen. Kayani and Gen. Raheel, despite their weaknesses, and the current Chief, Gen. Bajwa, have studiously stayed away from directly interfering in the affairs of the state, but, and we must and should say, have exercised or attempted to exercise indirect influence to try and limit the unbridled loot and plunder that prevailed under Zardari and Nawaz Sharif.

But for Panama, no government institution, no individual, no judiciary, no media would have been able to stop Nawaz from coming back in power by hijacking a highly compromised electoral process, using the entire force of the State machinery at his disposal.

In fact, on 29th May, 2018, then PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, a day before their government was dissolved, told a senior diplomat, “Don’t worry we will be back in July”. So sure where they of their total grip on the electoral process and their ability to rig the results!

So what is this “Deep State” or the “Security Establishment” that we throw about with abandon?

Well in simple terms it is no different to the ones existing in the USA or UK or the democracies of the Western World or India, with one difference.

Because of our past military rule of 33 years and the consequent destruction of our civilian institutions, the Army Chief, who heads your so called “Deep State” or the “Security Establishment” or whatever name you want to call it, seemingly exercises greater influence as compared to other countries.

However the ground reality is that agencies like the CIA, MI5, MI6, RAW, MOSSAD or the Defence establishment of countries like the USA and India exercise huge behind the scenes influence on every aspect of society in their countries.

Does that justify the influence the Pakistan Army Chief exercises. Of course not.

There is no deep state! There is no “establishment”.

Its just the Army Chief heading an extremely powerful monolithic well run military machine, which happens to be the only functioning state institution, today!

But do not forget that there is also a very very dark and dirty side to national and international politics and someone has to do the dirty work as well!

So today we have a dysfunctional state a near bankrupt economy, civilian institutions in ruins and just “one man standing” The Pakistan Army!

And if you were an enemy of Pakistan like Modi or you wanted to regain political power like Nawaz or save your dad from imprisonment like Mrs. Safdar or Master Bilawal, and thought that the Pakistan Army or Imran Khan stood in your way, what would you do?

Well if you were Master Bilawal or Mrs. Safdar, or Modi or other enemies of the country, you would do everything in your power to weaken the Army, weaken Imran and bring them both down!

And how would you do it.

You would polarize the country against the Army and Imran.

You would attack the Army and Imran in direct and indirect ways.

You would launch slogans like “Khalai Makhlooq” Dayshath Gardi kay Peechay Wardi Hay”.

You would ridicule imran with labels of “selected”.

You would fund, launch and support movements like the PTM, under the garb of democracy and freedom of speech.

You would employ Cambridge Analytica type tactics to fill mainstream and social media, that Pakistan’s problem is not corruption, not misgovernance, but its Army.

You would buy media anchors and hacks to promote this theme of the Army running the country. That Imran is a puppet and continuously building resentment and animosity against Imran and the Army.

You would use the likes of Master Bilawal and Mrs. Safdar, to attack the Army. Two biological absurdities of zero ability, zero achievements, zero experience, terrible values, propped up by their Rasputins, because the entire status quo of the corrupt mafia, their political future, financial wealth, power and influence is at stake.

You would use the slogans of “Democacy” and “freedom of expression” to sully the name of the Army!

Or like Hasil Bizenjo, himself a beneficiary of Rs. 5 lakh from the ISI in 1988, boldy name the ISI chief as being responsible for not being elected Senate Chairman. By the way quite a cheapskate to sell his soul for a mere Rs. 5 lakhs, I must say!

And By God, you would have a lot ammo because today the economy is in a slump, thanks to Nawaz Sharif and Zardari, prices are sky high, people have lost jobs, there’s been significant erosion of wealth, a significant economic downturn and loss of business confidence.

On top of all this the military’ footprint and influence is quite visible and ISPR ensures we dont forget it!

But!

And, and it’s a very very very important BUT for us to understand.

In an environment which has been raped, looted, pillaged and plundered by Nawaz Sharif and Zardari, we have no option but to rely on an institution like the Army to tide us over this extremely difficult period in our history simply because no other institution today stands strong and firm!

It is difficult for me to say this because, like the vast majority of Pakistanis, I strongly object to the way the Army exercises its influence and is not held accountable and answerable!

Also like the vast majority of us, I abhor Martial Laws and military dictatorships, and in fact joined Air Marshal Asghar Khan’s, Tehrik e Istiqlal, immediately after I left the Army in 1981, to campaign against Gen. Zia’s rule.

But, I know that today, whether we like it or not, we have no option but to successfully navigate through these very difficult times.

We have to work diligently to rebuild and strengthen our civilian institutions and the Country.

And for this the Nation needs the whole hearted support of the very institution which we ironically also must, when the task is done help retreat and confine itself to its constitutionally defined role. The Pakistan Army.

It’s not going to be an easy ride. No individual or institution gives up power and influence easily, but this is the only way and it will take time.

We cannot undo the consequences of 33 years of military rule and 35 years of loot and plunder by the Sharifs Bhuttos and Zardari in one or two years.

My assessment is that this transition will take anything from 5 to 10 years before we have very strong civilian institutions, a revamped electoral process, based on proportional representation, which allows for competent professionals, specialists and subject matter experts to come into politics, legislatures and government so we don’t have to elect the same corrupt politicians from the same gutter over and over again.

But most importantly that we have complete civilian, legislative and executive oversight and control over all affairs of the State, including the Military!

And despite my personal aversion to any extension to the Army’s current Chief, Gen Bajwa, I think between PM Imran and Gen. Bajwa, the stars could not be more auspiciously aligned for Pakistan to get us to that state!

A lot is riding on the PTI government to deliver good governance and on the military to help rebuild Pakistani institutions.

And hence a lot is riding on the shoulders of PM Imran and Army Chief, Gen. Bajwa!

A piece of unsolicited advice for the Chief and his ISPR.

Please keep a low profile. Do not keep reminding us and the world how powerful and influential you are. Everyone knows it.

Just focus and help in rebuilding Pakistan and at the same time ensure that the Army is also accountable.

If a serving 2 star Maj. Gen or 3 star Lt. Gen is found to be corrupt, kindly revoke his commission, strip him of his rank, privileges and benefits, name him and shame him. Publicly indict him, prosecute him and convict him as harshly as you can and then send him to jail in handcuffs in the full glare of media publicity so you make an example out of him, so that the people of Pakistan know that there are no sacred cows!

But for God’s sake, don’t give him a cushy job to head a civilian institution!

So before I end, let me repeat what I said earlier, lest we’ve forgotten.

I think, the Pakistan Army, is without question or doubt, our finest, most professional, most well led, most process and merit driven, most reliable and the least corrupt, of all our state institutions.

It is my considered opinion that if every able bodied young man and woman of this great nation could serve two years in the military and undergo the physical and emotional experiences that the rank and file undergo, Pakistan and Pakistanis would be a far better country and society

Pakistan’s enemies, both external and internal, Master Bilawal and Mrs. Safdar, especially, would not be able to mislead our people, especially our youth against this institution.

This is the Pakistan Army, not the Indian Army, for God’s Sake

I urge PM Imran, Defense Minister Khattak, Human Resources Minister Zulfi Bukhari and Gen. Bajwa to institute this great public service.

And now Kashmir on the brink of a major conflagration!

Time to dump Master Bilawal and Mrs. Safdar!

Salaams and Prayers
Haider Mehdi

“……And we missed the Boat!!!…..

 

By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi – 13 June, 2019

Earlier today, a friend and former classmate sent me a short news report on the quality of Indian graduates of the IIT, established by Nehru, in the early 50’s, soon after partition.

Our story was very different and how we in Pakistan, missed the boat, not just in developing strong public sector institutions but in establishing similar high quality science, technology and engineering educational institutions.

It’s my considered opinion that a key reason was that at Partition, a cabal of hereditary, rich, corrupt and powerful, landed feudals “elite captured” all sources of Pakistani power, simply to perpetuate their hold over the people. They had no love for Pakistan, or its people or its future, except their own selfish interests.

The vast majority already lived in the geography which later became West Pakistan. They sacrificed nothing for Pakistan. They lost no property, no fathers and mothers, no sisters and brothers, no sons and daughters but in fact, acquired even more power and wealth as a consequence of the infamous evacuee property scams!

By and large this evil cabal of plutocrats and kleptocrats still exists today.

Today, these rural political heavyweights, are joined in the merry plunder, by the urban merchant elite, the bureaucratic elite and that most elite of elites, the Pakistan Army General.

Our political and social contract has always been of an “elite cabal” lording over poor masses. Imran and PTI included.

Despite Imran’s desire and protestations to the contrary, his desire to clean up the mess, I do not see him succeeding, unless this stranglehold of the Elite Mafia, is broken.

Unless he is able to, as a start, throw out this mafia like cabal of crooks, self seeking carpetbaggers, power brokers, corrupt and crooked cabinet ministers, advisors and, special assisstants who have leeched onto him.

Not all, but certainly the vast majority!

We need a new Republic!

A new political and social contract.

Perhaps an anarchic revolution, if not a real revolution. But anything, literally anything, which will uproot the existing order.

We need something so harsh, so cruel so painful that the wounds make us think twice before allowing another crooked cabal like mafia to take over.

Last week I saw a documentary series on The American Civil War by Ken Burns, on Netflix. A strong must see.

Made me realise why they’re the most powerful and influential nation on earth.

1. 4 million people fought against each other in over 10,000 place over a 4 year period. And over 160 years ago!

2. 620,000 died to defend what they stood for. Their State, their way of life, their values. For and against slavery!

3. 4 million black slaves were released from bondage.

4. A President was assassinated for not giving in.

Father against son, brother against brother. Former classmates and childhood friends mowed each other down in cornfields and cotton plantations.

That is how this Nation was forged in the most painful way.

The vast majority of the people of Pakistan got this country handed to them on a platter on the morn of 14 August by one of our greatest leaders, Mohammad Ali Jinnah.

But for him we would have still been living in even more abject misery as a marginalized ghettoized community, much like the Muslims of India today.

If anyone lives in some fools paradise of a united secular India with Muslims and Hindus living together in communal harmony, they need to look at Modi, the BJP and what’s happening to Muslims in India.

Those who migrated to Pakistan, and sacrificed their all had to start from scratch.

Those who spoke one of the regional languages, and came from East Punjab, mostly Punjabis, assimilated well.

Those who were alien to the land and spoke Urdu were and are still hounded for calling themselves Mohajirs.

Interestingly, have yet to come across a single Punjabi, Sindhi, Balochi or Pathan who identifies himself as a “Pakistani”.

Who are you?

I’m a Balochi, a Sindhi, Makrani, a Punjabi, a Pathan/ Pakhtun, Baltistani, Kashmiri, Gilgiti etc etc or some even call themselves Afghans. Then the tribes, sub tribes, clans, sub clans etc etc.

But we berate the Urdu Speaking community for trying to establish their own identity, bereft from the one they left behind and because no one will take them as their own.

The solution?

No idea!

Perhaps a revolution or sheer anarchy with marauding unruly mobs, finally fed up, go on a looting and plundering rampage. Centuries of anger hurled on the riches of the privileged.

Mobs looting and plundering those living in the comforts of the Bahrias, the Defence Societies, the Gulbergs and even the privileged no go areas of our most powerful elite, the Army Generals, living in the fortified safety of their palaces in pristine Cantonments and colonies.

And Golf Road in Pindi, perhaps symbolises this most ugly and visible symbol of this elitism, alongwith their luxurious residences, gilded huge offices and palatial messes.

Perhaps a major calamitous event which breaks the stranglehold of the elite.

Perhaps a mad dictator.

Perhaps a complete change in our electoral process which allows highly educated, committed people to come into positions of governance and policy making.

I don’t see any of this happening, hence my temporary “retirement” from political commentary and activism and media.

But that IIT report just compelled me to pen this!

Alas and Sigh!

Salaams and Prayers
Haider Mehdi

Nov 2017 Longest Media Interview – PM Imran Shares his Plans for Pakistan

By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi – 29th April,  2019

Nov, 2017 – PM Imran sharing his plans on Pakistan in his longest media interview ever 

In November 2017, 9 months before he became PM, a very upbeat and confident Imran Khan, perhaps gave his longest and most wide ranging TV interview ever. 1 hour and 7 minutes.

We discussed his questionable choice of electables to bring Tabdeeli.

How he plans to reform institutions, especially the Punjab Bureaucracy.

His views on then MD PTV, Ataullah Qasmi and I can’t help but contrast this with his treatment of his own handpicked MD, PTV, Arshad Khan, who he threw under the bus.

How Sharifs destroyed institutions by appointing incompetent, inexperienced people to senior posiitions and his plans to address this.

His views about Jehangir Tareen and Aleem Khan and the criticism that Jehangir Tareen controlled him and basically ran the party.

His plans to address the economic crisis, the fiscal and current account deficits, FBR reform, increase taxation and exports.

The charge of being a Taliban sympathiser.

His plans for civil service reforms.

Criticism about the Peshawar BRT.

Review of CPEC projects.

Now 9 months into his Prime Ministership it is interesting to see how successful he’s been.

But in all fairness to him and his government, many are long term.

To me of particular interest were his comments about merit and competence in appointments, economic reforms, reforming the Punjab bureaucracy and Police, FBR and Civil Service reforms.

While I’ve temporarily moved away from political commentary, but believe that this interview is a must watch to understand the contrast between being in opposition and in power and the current situation in Pakistan.

Also its worth noting, that, to date, Imran has not given a single one on one interview to any Pakistani anchor since taking oath. One of his media handlers, who earlier was rejected by him for the post of MD, PTV, because of his tainted past in the same role, now periodically “selects” groups of “gentle” anchors.

A huge contrast and departure from Imran’s bold free wheeling confident chats and interviews when he was in opposition.

While I’m not amongst the chosen who have access to him, although Imran personally promised me, thrice, his first interview to a Pakistani anchor, after being elected, I hope he comes out of his cocoon and the Castle his handlers have captured him in and plead his case to the people who had, perhaps still have faith in him, as well as all others in Pakistan!

But clearly from the interview we can see that IK had, perhaps still has, his heart in the right place. And he may yet pull an “Imran rabbit” out his hat, as he has done in the past.

We hope he is able to understand better, the art of governance, gets a group of extremely competent advisors around him to fill his inexperience gap and as per his own criteria, appoint the right people for the right roles!

Buzdar, anyone?

But the Jury is still out on him and his government, as they’ve 4 years to go.

Our hopes and prayers for Pakistan.

Salaams and Prayers.
Haider Mehdi

Is Imran still our best fighting chance?

By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi

5 month’s into administration, is the jury still out on IK and PTI?

Or are we witnessing a sad meltdown not just of governance but of the hopes of the millions who voted for the Khan?

Are we witnessing the tragic spectacle of a group of inept and inexperienced novices, at sea on how to administer this complex country called Pakistan?

Are we seeing the growing footprint of an establishment silently trying to plug this lack of capacity and capability in governance?

Are we fated to see the continuous erosion of civilian public sector institutions and deliberate acts of ommission and commission by other state institutions, keeping these civilian public center institutions on ventilators? Ineffective, weak, toothless!

Are we tragically fated to be administered by silent behind the scenes forces and not through legislatures and governing bodies and civilian institutions peopled by persons of integrity and competence?

Are the early missteps and floundering of a first time party in power at the Center, existential to governance and the Country?

Are we fated to have massively fouled up this best fighting chance in so short a time of taking back the nation from the clutches of the kleptocrats and plutocrats so starkly exemplified by the Sharifs, the Bhuttos and the Zardaris and decades of misrule and loot and plunder, including the periods of military dictatorships?

Are we fated, as a Nation to revert to a rule of charlatans, crooks, robber barons, mafiosi, looters and plunderers, garbed in “democratic robes”?

The same “Democrats” who in the same breath and in a most bizarre manner foist their biological offspring on this wretched nation, in a macabre display of democracy and shamelessly defended by their democratic pretenders?

Are we fated to see the incredibly painful public spectacles of the educated and the aware amongst us, spinelessly and shamelessly, slave worshipping, boot licking and brown nosing Maryam, Bilawal, Hamza?

This Roll of Dishonor is long and painful.  Leading jurists, former superior court judges, military generals, landed feudals, leading business people, multi billionaires, renowned journalists, poets, writers, left wing secular liberals.

All make up this bizarre collage of the shameless!

Other than a pure lust for power, money, influence, and other crumbs that feed the ego, nothing else rationalizes the personal choices these people make in the obsequious manner they humiliate and insult themselves in front of a Bilawal or a Maryam!

So here’s my reality check!

Tragically we are a bloodthirsty lot. We love mayhem, criticism, confusion, blood, gore.

Our prime time TV shows, of which I’m a part, put to shame the Roman Gladiatorial encounters!

Here’s my view of our society after 5 months of being in the thick of things or the opportunity to see and experience things at very close quarters.

1. The entire Pakistani society, from top to bottom is corrupt, ill disciplined and completely self centered and selfish. We do not not operate under any process. Formal Processes being mere facilitators of the “informal process”.

This goes for all of us.  You and me. Each one of us. Rich or poor.

Anytime we have a problem or need some work done or undone, whether right or wrong, especially in Government, we pick up the phone or contact somebody, directly or indirectly.

We either use money or power and influence or our network to get our job done or escape punishment from our misdeeds.

Each one of us regularly, every day, corrupts and pollutes the very system we criticise.

Ungortunately in this jungle, the poor and the weak, suffer the most, held completely hostage by an extractive, cruel, rent seeking environment.

2. The entire government machinery, rare and honourable exceptions aside, has been so politicised and brutally raped by everybody, both civilian and military administrations included, that it has very limited capacity, capability and desire to execute.

They operate on the time old tested principle of  either covering their backsides or making as much money as they can.  Mostly both!

3. For the last 70 years, since partition, our political governance has been in the hands of a corrupt coterie of plutocrats and kleptocrats, comprising rich politicians, landlords, feudals, businesspersons, who were part of every administration, whether civilian or military.

The military dictators, Ayub, Yahya, Zia, Musharraf, all using them to perpetuate their own rules. And civilian administrations using them as handmaidens to loot and plunder

This kleptocracy / plutocracy deliberately weakened our civilian institutions and hijacked our electoral processes, so they could retain political power and loot and plunder at will.

For this dishonorable class of vagabonds, most disguised as upholders of democracy and defenders of the parliament, changing parties is as easy as changing diapers.

They owe no allegiance to any ideology or values but one. How do we remain in power and continue to loot and plunder?

And it is this last value which defines the slavish behaviours of those licking the boots of a Bilawal or a Maryam.

4. Then is the very powerful footprint of our security establishment seen in every sphere of life. This is a natural consequence of 3 decades of military rule and the near death of our public sector civilian institutions.

Its a sad Chicken and Egg story.

But this influence is a reality and in my opinion, very detrimental to civilian public sector institutions becoming strong and effective and for Pakistan’s strength and stability in the long run.

In a counter intuitive way, Pakistan’s future strength, security and stability, lies in our security establishment voluntarily reducing their footprint to allow civilian institutions to breathe, grow strong and prosper.

Recently, I was appalled to read a comment from a retired three star laying down “conditions” under which the Military will cooperate with a Political government.

While we all value the tremendous work and sacrifices of the armed forces in the war against terrorism for which they have our eternal gratitude and prayers.

While we all appreciate and admire the discipline, professionalism and patriotism of the institution.

While we all admire their efficiency, effectiveness and ability to execute.

None of the above justifies in any form or shape their determining the destiny of the nation. Period! As partners, Yes! As Masters, No!

There is and can never be any justification, whether qualified or unqualified to support anything contrarian to this perspective.

When a military spokesperson waxes, however eloquently, on every issue under the sun, be it military, which they should, or economic, political, foreign affairs etc, which they should not, not only do they damage the reputation of the institution, but the Government and the Country.

And perhaps their biggest damage is the fodder of a “Praetorian State” they provide to our enemies inside and outside. The recent article in The Economist magazine being a case in point.

This kind of thinking also provide political lifelines to our plutocrats and kleptocrats like Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari, who distort it to serve their own political objectives and ends.

Having said the above, the massive influence of the miltary establishment is a reality.

It is for them to realise that we have a rare once in a blue moon opportunity of a fighting chance under Imran Khan to strengthen our civilian institutions, break the back of the corrupt mafia of plutocrats and kleptocrats, and make this country strong.

This can only happen if they begin to limit their interference as much as possible and start to reduce their footprint which extends into the exclusively civilian domain.

This they must do in close partnership and collaboration and under the authority of a competent and an honest Executive.

For starters,  they should speak less and be seen less!

So it is in this extremely complex context and very challenging environment environment that Imran has come into.

A corrupted, ill disciplined society.

A corrupt, inefficient, ineffective public sector.

A bunch of rich and powerful politicians who have hijacked the electoral process and a stranglehold on political power.

An overwhelmingly powerful security establishment which influences and exercises power in most if not all key spheres of governance, inhibiting the growth of civilian institutions.

And in all this, if there’s hope in an individual who can overcome the above odds, despite his and his team’s weaknesses and inexperience, it is Imran. Of this I have no doubt.

And the reason for my optimism stems from five things.

1. The efforts by the Government to address root causes. Especially on the economic front. To paraphrase Napoleon. A Nation marches on a full stomach.

2. Imran’s and his inexperienced team, learning the ropes and making better decisions. And hopefully we see some better people coming into the cabinet and some bad eggs leaving

3. The cracks appearing in the power structures of the political mafia. Nawaz in jail. Zardari under pressure.

4. Governance reforms, albeit slow.

5. A genuine realization in our military leadership that this is a rare moment of opportunity to get the country back on track. This thinking will hopefully set in motion a reduction of power and influence and support the strengthening of civilian institutions

Whether he succeeds or not, is another issue. But my money is still on Imran!

And that’s why I believe he’s still our best fighting chance.

*-Haider Mehdi*

There’s still time to redeem yourself!

By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi

Just look at the enemies attacking Imran, the Supreme Court, NAB and the Army!

Nawaz Sharif, Asif Zardari, Asfandyar Wali, Achakzai, Fazal Diesel, Altaf Hussain.

Then the misguided and the misinformed.

Then those whose political, economic and social stakes are wedded to this terrible status quo of corruption, loot, plunder and institutional destruction.

And most dangerously those who want a weak Pakistan ruled by the corrupt. A Pakistan with a weak Army. A nuclear defanged Pakistan.

They certainly don’t want a progressive, forward looking, democratic Pakistan with strong institutions and strong leadership, working for its people and not the current rich and corrupt elite!

And then look at the media and writers and intellectuals who make fun of him. Deride him. Run him down.

And they do it so very cleverly. They cloak their daggers in silky narratives of “Saving democracy” “Army political meddling” “Judicial Activism” ” NAB witch hunt”, “Religious obscurantism”!

They are blind to the efforts of institutional reform in KP. They are blind to the massive efforts in the police, in healthcare and education. In strengthening the local bodies. And blind to their impact.

Not perfect, I agree, but substantial enough for everyone to see.

All they can see is the resignation of the Ehtesaab Chief.

But none will highight that for 4 years NAB was under a Nawaz toady called Ch. Qamarruzaman and were unable to investigate and or file a reference of any substantial corruption or wrongdoing in KP or against those who are close to Imran.

They lambast the Supreme Court and the Chief Justice for exceeding his mandate, but forget that the same Court, disqualified Jehangir Tareen.

They forget that with all state institutions lying on a death bed, the SC had to step in.

They question the Panama and accountability court’s judgements but forget the criminality of the Sharifs and the Zardaris and their terrible and abject deliberate misgovernance and criminality.

They question Hanif Abbasi’s conviction as a witch hunt, forgetting that this man has possibly been responsible for sending tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands into the dark abyss of lifelong drug addiction and abuse!

And Shaukat Siddiqi. The evil maniac one who calls himself a Judge! Muddying the waters of his corruption and misuse of authority and nearing his convuction, wants to die as a political martyr in a hail of his own calumny! A petty, hypocrital liar, worthy of nothing but contempt.

They question Imran’s monetary handout to Sami ul Haq’s seminary as evidence of his support for Taliban like organizations.

So, if that’s true is KP now a more radicalized province then it was before?

I also questioned him on this in my interview. His answer which he has shared publicly hundreds of time.

Do we leave the hundreds of thousands of madrassah kids, failed by the State, to the mercies of obscurantist thought or do we attempt to exercise oversight over them and teach them skills so they become positive contributors in our society vs being brainwashed into a life of intolerance, guns and violence?

So yes we paid them to establish a teacher training college, upgrade their facilities with computers and curriculum to teach non religious subjects.

In return we got membership on their board and management control and most importantly, authority of approval of their curriculm and complete oversight by the KP Board of Education.

Sami ul Haq also countered the Fatwa by the TTP/DAESH/AL QAEDA, supported by Fazal Diesel, that polio drops were haraam. Sammy’s people accompanied polio teams to address this Fatwa.

But who wants to talk about the rationale and the impact?

Who wants to talk about the crippled life that awaits those thousands of children without polio drops, because their parents and guardians were brainwashed by an obscurantist thought?

And finally lets get real. Sammy and Diesel are political enemies. What would you do if Fazal was your political enemy?

Internationally just look at the Indian and Western press and segments of our own media!

Look at the slander and the pettiness of the filth being heaped on our Judiciary, our Army, the NAB and Imran by his political opponents and many so called enlightened and educated!

So here are my questions to all who have joined this battle to defame Imran and hit out at our Judiciary, our Army and the NAB!

Why would you support known criminals, crooks, plunderers, money launderers like Nawaz and Zardari?

Why would you NOT support people and forces who are desperately trying to save Pakistan from collapsing and anarchy?

Why are you all pointing your guns at the Supreme Court, NAB, Imran and the Army?

Why are all of you desperately trying to scuttle and sabotage efforts to strengthen Pakistan?

Where were you alongwith all anti Imran, anti Judiciary, anti Army political forces when the wholescale loot and plunder in Pakistan was taking place these last 10 years?

Where were you when all our institutions were being royally raped and destroyed by Zardari and Nawaz from 2008?

Where were you when cronies and toadies were appointed to powerful posts so they could loot and plunder with abandon?

Why on earth would you support criminals like Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari?

Why for God’s sake? What have they given us, except deprivation, destruction, corruption, loot and plunder and large projects to fill their own pockets?

You are either ignorant, misinformed, or have deep political, social and economic vested interests with the current mafia like status quo.

And many amongst you with full stomachs, wealth, power and access to state power are not directly affected, so far by this massive institutional destruction and plunder of our wealth.

Woe the day when the pain and the cries of the anguished and underprivileged burst out on the streets!

They will douse your lights, loot and plunder your wealth, burn your houses and end your lives!

Woe that day which is not far off, if this system continues.

Many of you, like me living overseas, in safe environments, are completely oblivious to the horrors, our poor and exploited face everyday.

You the rich and powerful and privilged, are untouched and unfazed by the cries and agony of the millions who suffer everyday.

You do not hear the cries and death throes of the hungry, undernourished malnutritioned poor child, man and woman.

The only cries you hear are of two convicts. The criminal Nawaz and the forgerer Maryam!

You do not suffer the agonies nor do you hear the cries of the millions of suffering sick as your sickness is attended to by the expensive private hospitals in Pakistan!

Or like Nawaz, Shahbaz, Kulsoom, Zardari, Asim Hussain and others like you, you fly off to hospitals in Europe and North America to save your blighted health!

Your ignorance of what’s happening, deliberate or unconscious, is a curse on your insensitive skins, your conscience and your souls.

Your ignorance and insensitivity is a far greater curse then the curse of ignorance which millions of our youth are blighted with. Our schools and colleges failing them, providing an education which offers them nothing. No skills. No competencies. No employment!

Your ignorance pervades because you do not face the fascism of our police and others, either buying your way out or using your influence.

You are a miserable, sick, prostituted lot.

Prostituted by your arrogance, your power, your wealth, your egos, your privileged lifestyle, your vested interests and above all your insensitivity and your ignorance!

And because you’ve sold your souls, your self respect, your honour and your dignity, you will do everything in your power to bring down the man and the institutions, who for once in a long long time, in a rare moment in our blighted God Forsaken history, are desperately trying to fix our corrupted body politic and fight for the under dog, the poor, the marginalized and the socially and economically disadvantaged.

You want to kill this rare moment in our history!

If God Forbid, we are unsuccessful now in changing our system then please remember it was you who stabbed Pakistan in the back!

And then cry not when the flames engulf us all!

But there is still time to redeem yourself.

Please Vote for Pakistan and not this terrible band of looters and plunderers of the Sharifs and the Zardaris!

*Salaams and Prayers*
*Haider Mehdi*

Pakistan’s transformation from a Kleptocracy /Plutocracy to a Democracy and the onslaught on the Army!

By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi

Given the massive onslaught on the Pakistan Army by International media, specifically USA and India and parts of our national media as we saw recently in Hameed Haroon’s recent BBC Hard Talk interview, a historical gallop is essential.

Historically one thing is clear. Our military interventions have sorely impacted the evolution of our State into a genuine and strong democratic polity

Notwithstanding the fact that we had the strongest economic performances during the three military regimes of Ayub, Zia and Musharraf, they used the same category of carpetbagger politicians to further their individual rules. Each blundered us into conflicts which had major impact on our political evolution and development.

Take our five military adventures under our military rulers. 65 war under Ayub, 71 war under Yahya, the Afghan cauldron under Zia, and most recently Kargil and the war on terror under Musharraf.

All these Military interventions grossly weakened the State.

Internally their administrations nurtured and strengtened the political mafias represented by the likes of the Bhuttos, the Zardaris and the Sharifs and gave rise to this kleptocratic and plutocratic class of politicians.

Kleptocracy and Plutocracy means a governing order of the rich and the corrupt, ruling a country!

This evil order has deliberately weakened and destroyed our state institutions, so they could loot and plunder unchecked, leading to the near social and economic collapse we face today.

Thus the responsibility for our current state lies squarely on the shoulders of both our military rulers and our politicians.

So lets get this “but what about the Army….” out of the way!

But today’s Army and its military leadership is starkly different.

The rank and file have been bloodied in a 14 year long conflict, sadly and as a consequence of decisions by its own leaders in the past.

But It has sacrificed with blood, sweat and tears, as have our law enforcement institutions and tragically, as have we, the people of Pakistan.

It has been steeled and forged in battle. It has the highest officer to troops casualty ratio in the world.

This is an Army that has paid and is still paying for the sins of their forefathers and in the process have saved the country from near destruction and total anarchy.

It has withstood the onslaught that destroyed civilian institutions, partly because its leaders ruled for 33 years and partly because it defended its turf jealously even under civilian rule. And thank God for their institutional discipline, for God forbid, had it gone the way of our civilian institutions, I shudder to think of the consequences.

This is a different Army with a different leadership and mindset.

They have seen the follies of their own myopic decisions in 1979 and 2004, as the current Chief has publicly stated.

This is no longer an Army with a “security mindset”. It is now truly a national army, which has come of age.

There is absolute unainimity of views in the Army that Pakistan’s future lies not in any military intervention nor in any backdoor manipulation, but in deep systemic internal reform and long term peaceful relations with its neighbors, especially India and Afghanistan.

Apologies for this tangent.

But its important to share this insight of the so called military economic complex, especially for many civilians brought up on a brainwashed diet of the Army’s domination of the economic sector!

Today our Defence expenditure is 2.5% of GDP vs 5.8% in 1960 and 9% of total expenditure vs 28.3% in 1960.

The collective value of all military owned businsses is a mere 4% of total market capitalization on the stock exchange. A drop in the ocean.

Their main military conglomerate is Fauji Foundation running 18 enterprises.

Four are wholly owned. Fourteen are associated companies. Another nine are public unlisted companies.

The Foundation earned dividends of Rs.13 billion in 2016. Of this Rs.11 billion was spent on ex servicemen welfare. Rs. 1 billion on Corporate Social Responsibility welfare projects. Only Rs. 1 billion was retained as earnings and another Rs. 1 billion on administrative expenses. No money goes into making anybody rich.

The Defence Societies have overwhelmingly benefited the civilians in a housing starved society!

So why do they exist?

These military businesses exist because the State of Pakistan does not provide any post service support to ex service people, except pension.

There is no “Veterans Program” as exists in the USA and all other developed western democracies to cater to the needs of ex-servicemen!

Unlike the private sector and the civilian bureaucracy, where everyone retires at 60, the vast majority of armed forces officers retire at the prime of their life at age 45 and troops at age 37, with no means of income, other than a very small pension, usually a growing family, with children still in school or college or university.

The entire military economic complex caters to these people by providing jobs, health care, education, retraining and most importantly, financial and employment support to the families of shaheeds.

And all this because the State cannot.

The Foundation runs 11 hospitals, 103 medical centers, 104 schools, 2 colleges and 77 technical and vocational training insitutes.

All business enterprises are not money making exercises to fill the pockets of serving officers or troops. Nor is this an attempt to control our economic engine.

No business owned by any armed forces foundation is exempt from taxes, other than what is directly attributable to verifiable welfare spend. The same as for any civilian welfare project.

In 2016 Fauji paid Rs 17.8 billion in taxes. Employing tens of thousands of people. Both civilians and ex service. *Their welfare activities impact over 10 million people, directly and indirectly.*

Can you imagine the disaster if the Army had not catered to their ex employees?

While one can criticise Martial Laws and military interventions as I have done, the terrible propaganda unleashed against the institution is a very deliberate effort to divide the country, sow serious dissension and conduct highly inflammable politics, as Nawaz is doing.

So here we are in 2018, with Nawaz convicted and imprisoned!

Let’s understand one thing clearly.

Nawaz is no innocent lamb or brave gladiator, valiantly fighting the cause of democracy and civilian supremacy over the military.

He is desperately fighting not just to save and his daughter’s political future and his wealth, but to save the sordid and evil kleptocratic/plutocratic order that he, Benazir and Zardari, presided over in turns.

Over 14 articles have been written in the US press and 27 in the Indian press in recent weeks and countless in our national press, all criticising the Army for political interference in the electoral process.

But strangely not a word about the wholescale corruption, loot and plunder and destruction of State institutions by Nawaz Sharif or Zardari.

Not a word about questioning the snowflake defence offered by Nawaz in defence of his Avenfield properties.

Not a word about his and his brother’s misrule and misgovernance. Nor anything about foisting their children on the nation!

Hameed Haroon’s BBC Hard Talk interview was perhaps the lowest depths that the once mighty Dawn has fallen. A media house which was once the pride of our nation, where I also once worked. And sadly, from a person who I’ve known personally, worked under and respect deeply.

A strong Pakistan with strong leadership is not something the USA or India relishes, despite their hollow protestations.

The USA would much rather have a malleable person like Nawaz or Zardari, or even a military strongman, who are easy to manage. But not a strong democratic order!

Internally those whose political and economic stakes are wedded to this mafia, including those in the media, have also come out in their support, masking their financial interests with high sounding defence of democracy, protestations!

And then those tragic souls who are still fighting a Don Quixote “cold war” against militarism, which they commenced during Zia’s rule! A sad and misguided lot, living in cuckooland!

These are the gangs that Nawaz has rallied to his “cause”!

Let’s get real folks.

The kleptocratic /plutocratic mafia has a stranglehold on Pakistan’s body politic.

Nawaz sits on top of this mafia. Zardari a close second!

They will not go easily and certainly not willingly. They will fight till the end, even if it means creating dissension in the country. Even if it means throwing the country into unprcedented turmoil, even civil war.

They will use every ruse, every trick up their sleeve to turn this battle against an evil order into one against “democracy” and “civilian supremacy”.

They will attempt to turn the nation against the Army, using all resources and people in their fight for survival.

And while all this is happening, does anyone seriously expect the Army to sit demurely, hands folded, like a shy blushing bride, while Nawaz, his misguided supporters, and sections of the media and our society, misinformed and ill informed, go on the rampage, putting the State’s existence and future at stake?

Well. Apparently not! And let’s leave it here! This is not a picnic we are talking about. This is about our survival and our future!

Clearly a strong, democratic, well governed and corruption free Pakistan is a political death warrant for Nawaz and Zardari!

Hence the battle!

So where do we go from here?

Pakistan’s salvation lies not in individuals be they Imran, Saqib or Bajwa or any others etc.

Our salvation lies in building strong public institutions, rigorous regulatory regimes with strong accountability and parliamentary oversight.

Our salvation lies in empowered legislatures and local governments.

But most importantly our salvation lies in the alignment of our four key institutions. The Executive, the Judiciary, the Legislatures and like it or not, the Army.

All four standing shoulder to shoulder and fully aligned towards the clear goal of a better governed and corruption free Pakistan.

Yes the Army, has become the fourth pillar in our country with influence far beyond its mandate. Something not to relish and a sad reality!

And it is my considered view that when the three real pillars of the state become strong, the Army’s role as the fourth will automatically diminish and eventually finish and should and must finish.

It won’t happen overnight, but sooner than most expect.

And if Imran wins, this will be the first time in Pakistan’s civilian history that we will have this strategic alignment between these key State institutions which matter!

And herein lies our salvation and transformation from a kleptocracy /plutocracy to a democracy!

Salaams and Prayers
Haider Mehdi

The Drama of the Sharifs!

By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi.

Seeing the latest social media onslaught by the Sharif supporters showing the “helplessness” of Dad Sharif and daughter Sharif, “poor souls”, victims of a miscarriage of justice; Valiant fighters for democracy; Poor little innocent Princess Maryam Borgia Sharif “bravely” refusing a higher jail class; Bubloo in London talking about his dad’s mattress! Makes one cringe!

What nonsense! What calumny! What sickness! What invective! What slander! What a pack of hypocritical garbage!

There god of money and power is history.

Mark my words. If anyone is living under the mistaken and highly misplaced impression that these guys will get some kind of a deal to escape what they richly deserve, are living in cuckoo land!

We have turned an important corner in our history. For the first time a sitting and powerful PM was removed from office while his own party was in power under the glare of public scrutiny. No foreign government has criticised or condemned their trial and conviction and imprisonment. Perhaps India may and for reasons we all know!

Nawaz’s and Maryam’s conviction and imprisonment are totally different from extra constitutional methods employed by previous military interventions which removed an elected PM.

This time for over a year and a half in full view of the world the man and his daughter were asked a simple question by the court “Just show us the money trail with which you bought these properties?” And herein lies the whole case!

Nothing. Absolutely nothing. And sickness upon sickness, this daughter not only lied to prove their innocence, but had both the temerity and the royal bimbo like stupidity, which only the children of the most corrupt and obscenely rich can somehow muster to “forge a document”.

Here’s the entire family caught with their pants down and proven guilty as hell!

Smart alecky lawyers are twisting and turning like contortionists, doing amazing jackknife backflips and incredulous legal gymnastics to bore holes into the judgement!

But really! Really! Is there any sane person in Pakistan who genuinely believes that Nawaz and Maryam and Bubloo and Dubloo are innocent? If they do, then I wish them and their sanity, good luck!

One can of course debate the pros and cons of law and the judgement etc but the fact of the matter is that this man, his sons and his daughter were hand in glove in this loot and plunder and fraud.

They deserve a much harsher punishment then they are currently serving. And they will get it, if not from our legal system but from the cries of the teeming hungry starving tens of millions who have suffered because of lack of nutrition, clean drinking water, health, and an opportunity to get a decent education and make a decent living.

And all because this wretched family stole our nation’s wealth

Like Bhutto who deserved what he got, not as much for the crime he was finally convicted of and hanged, these damn Borgias of Pakistan will suffer a fate that will chill everyone to the bones for their crimes against the people of Pakistan.

Nature’s Nemesis has finally caught up with them!

Allah will not spare them. The people of Pakistan will Insha Allah not spare them. The dying shrieks of malnutritioned infants will not spare them. The cries of orphans, widows, the sick, the unemployed, the very old, abandoned by society and state, will not forgive them!

Every Rupee this abominable and despicable family stole was one Rupee less that could have saved lives, given people better health care, better education.

But no. This terrible family snatched livelihood and life from the people of Pakistan.

I’m convinced that despite their wealth, their social media brigade, the sympathy they are trying to garner in incarceration, they will face the fate they deserve.

Pakistan has no use or need of them. They’ve done enought damage.

Let them rot in jail here and in hell in the Hereafter. Insha Allah.

Salaams and Prayers.
Haider Mehdi