Vote ko Izzath Do! 25 July 2018!

By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi*.

The sanctity of our vote, especially of those who have voted in the past, is reflected in the manner this trust was manifested by those who acquired power.

PPP got 13% of registered vote in 2008.

PMLN got 17% of registered vote in 2013

But whatever the percentage it is supposed to manifest.

In the quality of governance.

In our institutions responsible for delivering public services, becoming more efficient, effective, stronger and less corrupt.

In improved law and order and security of life and property.

In better health care, better education, better employment opportunities.

In a Parliament which acts as an eagle eyed watchdog on the Executive, ensuring this trust is not breached.

In public office holders being transparently and swiftly held accountable when they misuse public office for private gain.

In public institutions headed by honest and competent professionals who do their jobs without fear or favor.

And ultimately it is all about improving the quality of life of the citizens of Pakistan!

But this sanctity of the vote is not an unchallegeable license to kill, murder, loot, plunder and pillage our national wealth, misuse authority and destroy our institutions.

It’s not a shield to save a public leader from corruption, criminality and blatant and brazen abuse of office.

It’s not a “victimhood” card when a leader and his family is caught with their hands in the till for the entire world to see.

It’s not a means to weaken and destroy public sector institutions so the corrupt cannot be held accountable.

It’s not to flood government positions of authority and power and influence with toadies and cronies who are both corrupt and incompetent and their only attribute being loyalty to an individual and their ability to use these positions to illegally siphon off public funds and taxpayers money for themselves and the leader.

It’s not to foist their incompetent children on the country, as heirs to a throne.

It’s not to weaken other State institutions who they fear can check their unbridled loot and plunder.

It’s not to plunder obscene amounts of ill begotten and stolen wealth and , stash them away in overseas properties and assets and bank accounts in UK, Dubai, France, Switzerland, Spain, Malaysia etc.

*It is a sacred public trust to be honoured and not betrayed.*

On 25th July, vote with your feet and your heads.

Vote for those who you think are most likely to honour and not betray this trust.

Vote for those who you think will actually give “Izzath to your vote”.

Vote for Pakistan, for its future, for your own future and for our coming generations.

Vote for those who will give us a “fighting chance” to once and for all rid ourselves of this mafia of looters and plunderers.

*Salaams and Prayers*
*Haider Mehdi*

5th July 1977 – The Day Gen. Zia took over!

By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi

Much has been written about Zia’s period, so I will only briefly dwell on a few major factors which caused immense damage to Pakistan.

The first was our entry into the Afghan theater against the Soviets at the behest of the USA.

An act which has led to the devastation of our society and the rampant culture of sectarianism, terrorism, guns, violence and drugs.

I remember the words of the late Air Marshal Asghar Khan who tried to convince our nation of this “myopic thinking” as Gen. Bajwa put it so aptly in his address to the Munich Security Conference in Feb, 2018.

Asghar Khan, said as far back as 1980 that “The fire we are helping ingnite in Afghanistan will also consume Pakistan”.

Many people called him a coward, a traitor and stupid. But, sadly he was right and Gen. Zia plunged us into a fire which continues to burn us.

The second was his advocacy and implementation of his personal brand and version of Islam with Salafi/Wahabi roots.

This destroyed the fragile but still intact culture of reasonably peaceful co-existence between the various muslim sects, especially sunnis and shias.

Pakistan which till now had a benign non violent Barelvi brand of Sunni Islam and living peacefully with Shias saw groups morphing into a violent, obscurantist, non inclusive wahabi brand funded by Saudi dollars.

This set in motion violent sectarian strife all across the country, resulting in thousands of deaths and assassinations, which still bedevil and haunt our society.

It set in motion the intolerance we see today.

It set in motion the burning of mosques, churches, hindu temples.

It set in motion the rise of highly obscurantist an intolerant society.

It set in motion the rise of religious preachers urging the killing of others.

It gave rise to the sectarian killing machines like the Lashkar e Jhangvi and Sipah e Sahaba now renamed the Ahle Sunnath Wal Jamaath (ASWJ).

Such is the impact of his thought that the ASWJ, an openly sectarian outfits, which openly advocates the killing of Shias, was last week, declared a non terrorist outfit, taken out of the 4th schedule and allowed to contest the 2018 elections.

Such were Zia’s gifts to Pakistan.

The third was the use of non state actors as agents of state policy in Kashmir.

This led to the rise of the jihadi militias and nexus berween the State and the aforementioned highly militant sectarian outfits.

These sectarian outfits were in return given a free hand to commit Shia genocide, with the State looking the other way.

While the policy may have given India some temporary grief in Kashmir, its impact on our own society was and still is, devastating and deep.

For decades violence has wrecked our wretched country. Tens of thousands if not more of our finest brains have left the country. Our economy suffered. Our society disintegrated and our people suffered

Our international image also suffered, dramatically. But for his death, a civilian hiatus from 1988 to 1999 and 9/11 and the consequent reprieve, we would have suffered grievous international sanctions and perhaps a pariah Iran like status.

While the Kashmir cause is a highly emotional one for many Pakistanis, the answer lies in a political settlement and not formal or informal military or militant actions.

One of our biggest white elephants today is what to do with the thousands of highly armed jihadi militant, mostly in the Punjab heartland, we nurtured for decades?

Another Zia legacy!

The attempt to mainstream these Jihadis into politics, in my opinion is the only viable practical option. Those who criticise this, must remember, that there are two options. Fight them or tame them.

The former is just not an option because we cannot afford another civil war in the Country’s heartland.

Our only option is to wean them off their diet of Jihadism and militancy and feed them a less toxic one of political activism!

And finally Zia masterfully used an unscrupulous class of politicians to serve his political interests.

Some who were honest and didn’t or wouldn’t toe his line, such as his own hand picked Prime Minister, Mohammed Khan Junejo, perhaps our finest civilian PM, were summarily and humiliatingly dismissed.

PM Junejo, is arguably considered one of our most honest Prime Ministers. He had set in motion major administrative reforms and the country was slowly recovering after the ravages of Bhutto’s so called socialism and Zia’s fascism.

But Zia would have none of it and destroyed the fledgling embers of this brave but unsuccessful attempt at change and recovery.

Another gift to Pakistan was the creation and sponsoship of the MQM to counter the PPP in Sind and Karachi.

Another strategy with very serious consequences for Pakistan, especially, Karachi. The MQM monster went out of control and wreaked havoc in Karachi.

Importantly it also shows how the seeds of ethnic division sowed by Bhutto, eventually gave rise to a violent, militant fascist political group like the MQM.

And that the Urdu speaking community was perfectly happy to follow a half insane megalomaniacal demagogue and accept the violence his party wreaked, in exchange for political participation and access to rights, which the state was progressively unable to provide.

But Zia’s crowning glory and final “gift” to Pakistan was Mian Muhammed Nawaz Sharif.

And along with with Nawaz, came a whole coterie of crooked, corrupt politicians.

Barring the odd exception all subsequently looted and plundered at will, whether in the PPP or PMLN or Gen. Musharraf’s administrations.

I believe, it was Zia’s dark period which has really divided the nation into the pro and anti army camps, quite visible today.

A schism smartly used by Nawaz to muddy the waters and convert his corruption into a battle between “Democracy and Army”

This, in my opinion is sad, because the current Army and its leadership, is very different from that off Zia’s time and even Musharraf’s.

The current Army has partially paid for the acts of commission by its former Chiefs, by its sacrifices in battling extremism and terrorism, and saving the country from near civil war.

But I digress. Insha Allah more on this in a later piece and back to Zia and to my conclusion

Zia, like Musharraf also presented Pakistan’s view internationally, successfully and forcefully. The nuclear program achieved much success during this time. Economic progress was made.

But his lasting legacy will remain of a man who brought sectarianism, terrorism, drugs, violence and fascism to Pakistan and wreaked even greater havoc on our civilian public government institutions!

*Haider Mehdi*

5th July 1977 -The day Bhutto was ousted

By Syed Haider Raza Haider Mehdi

As the PPP celebrates 5th July as a day of darkness, which it certainly was, here’s a perspective on how Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto betrayed the people of Pakistan as well.

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was part Devil, part Saint and an enigma. Unfortunately the Devil won!

A person who was brilliant and brutal with inordinate ambition and a massive ego, finally falling victim to the betrayal of his own political values and the end he deserved!

Not for that crime of murder, which was a tragic travesty of justice, but for unspeakable horrors he committed against his own, like J.A Rahim and his son and Mairaj Mohammed Khan his own cabinet minister, and his political opponents like Mian Tufail of Jamaat e Islami.

Horrors that cannot be repeated here! But such is Nature’s nemesis.

With his brilliance, his amazing grasp of history, and the adulation by the masses, the nation at his feet, broken and shattered after its breakup, Bhutto could have turned and moulded this nation into a great power.

But tragically for him and Pakistan, he couldn’t rise above his own terrible inconsistencies and his personal ambitions and failed us!

His politics were schizophrenic. His pendulum swinging from the man of the masses to a ruthless fascist dictator. A flawed Angel and a Devil incarnate, he was directly responsible for the breakup of Pakistan.

Brilliant and cunning, calling Iskander Mirza a leader greater than the Quaid, addressing Ayub as “Daddy”, Bhutto wormed his way into the corridors of power, and as always happens to people of inordinate ambition, finally turned against his own benefactor. Ayub.

And as his own chosen Army Chief, Gen. Zia, who once reportedly followed him meekly a few steps behind him, carrying his glass of scotch at a military function, turned against him and hanged him!

His period and that of Gen. Zia’s, in my opinion, caused perhaps the greatest damage to our country.

On 1st January, 1972, Chief Martial Law Administrator Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, with one stroke of the pen, destroyed everything that we had achieved since independence.

He destroyed Pakistan’s economic engine, its industries, its financial sector, it’s educational and health care systems by nationalizing them all and setting us back decades.

He marginalized the Mohajir community by closing the chapter on evacuee trust property. His nationalization hit the Mohajirs badly as they had been the main drivers behind Pakistan’s industrial and educational sectors. And concurrently he let loose the monster of ethnic Sindhi nationalism.

These actions eventually giving rise to the MQM fascist monster we saw emerge in later years.

But a little discussed act with huge repercussions was his destruction of the Civil Services of Pakistan. He removed their constitutional protection of service and tenure and allowed direct lateral entry into the Civil Services.

For the first time in our history political favorites were appointed directly into government positions. And It was for the first time we saw the blatant rise of political control and patronage of ‘loyal and pliant government servants”.

This culture, later extensively used by Benazir and Zardari to loot and plunder and finally transformed into an art form by the Sharif brothers.

The rot and destruction of our institions we see today, was started by Bhutto.

Bhutto also attempted to curb the power and influence of the Army by creating the Federal Security Force, a new para military force. Ironically this eventually led to his death, convicted for Nawab Kasuri’s murder, who was murdered by Bhutto’s own FSF goons.

My late father, Col. S.G. Mehdi M.C, was initially offered the post to create and head the FSF by Bhutto’s National Security Advisor, General Akber. He politely refused, saying that it would become ZAB’s private militia, much like Mussolini’s and Hitler’s Blackshirts and Brownshrts! This they eventually did under his handpicked man, Mahmood Masood who ironically turned state witness against Bhutto in the murder trial.

To his credit. He gave hope to the poor and the exploited. But then, tragically betrayed them.

As a person, Bhutto was cruel, sadistic, vindictive, unforgiving, petty and mean.

He never forgot a slight. And this last attribute finally got him to the gallows!

By 1977, Bhutto’s luck had run out.

Economic distress, erratic policies, angry business people who had been ruined, fuelled the street agitation against him.

Then the large-scale attempt by him to rig the 1977 elections, another first, and use the Army to browbeat his political opponents eventually caused his downfall.

Theories of international hands cannot also be discounted in the context of our nuclear program.

Sufficeth, that he created the perfect storm against himself!

He left behind a devastated economy, a highly politicised bureaucracy and a divided nation!

And into the hands of the Army and a decade of infamy and darkness under Gen. Zia!

Brilliant he was, no doubt. But not in the mould of great leaders, but that of a charismatic con man!

-Haider Mehdi

The Imran Khan “Fighting Chance”!

The Imran Khan “Fighting Chance”

By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi

The recent hooplah over PTI ticket allocation to “electables” has set Pakistan abuzz.

Many have criticised his “electables” electoral strategy and there’s a rift amongst his own people on specific ticket allocations.

These are both strategic and tactical questions.

Strategic in questioning this approach of using “electables” as a winnable electoral strategy vs the “Bhutto Khumba” strategy.

Tactical, in questioning specific ticket allocations.

A strategy is always questionable. One can always argue for or against an adopted strategy. “Electables” or “Khumba”.

Let us remember that the Bhutto phenomenon came after 14 years of quasi military and military rule. The electoral environment was very different.

And Imran’s Khumba strategy failed in 2013.

The question to be asked from those offering criticism of Imran’s electables strategy is to ask themselves whether they possess the expertise, insight and most importantly their own practical experience in Pakistan’s political environment.

At a tactical level, I think its a question of who is able influence decisions. And clearly some errors were made.

And if these are serious and widespread then Imran can only blame himself and no one else.

But I think our bigger problem is that we offer free advice by the ton without having walked in the shoes of others.

Most who criticise Imran, have not journeyed Imran’s 22 years in this harsh political mafia like environment.

But we choose to become self appointed gurus on electoral strategy and tactics and what he should do and not do.

If anyone had walked in Imran’s shoes to try and change the system, in my opinion, would have had four obvious options available to them.

1. Give up after trying several times. Most do. He didn’t.

2. Join the loot. Most do. He didn’t.

3. Launch a violent and bloody revolution. He didn’t. He’s a builder not a destroyer.

4. Use the existing system to somehow pole vault him over the bar so he comes into power and sets about his agenda of change. He opted for this and made compromises, some of which apparently are tactically questionable. But his strategy, given current realities, is the only option available. And yes it may fail.

But one has to win the election to come into power.

And given the current electoral process, having potentially winning candidates on your side is now the only option.

One can argue that had Imran built up a very powerful intra party organizational structure and electoral engine, he may not have accepted as many “electables” from other parties.

But for now. This is his best strategy. Moaning and groaning and grumbling won’t help him.

For now as the battle begins, he needs the unqualified support from all of us who want a better, brighter, more just and equitable Pakistan.

Hence I would still give him my unqualified support till the elections and about 1 year beyond.

This unqualified support could be shorter after the elections, if one sees that he is wavering and following the path of the Sharifs and the Zardaris.

And most importantly if “questionable” people elected on his party ticket are doing the same what the Sharifs and Zardaris were up to.

And that he is unable to control them.

Laykin aik chance bilkul buntha hay!

I say this, because a man who can reach this stage of political influence and power in the gutter called Pakistani politics, without a political legacy, without being a wadera or a sardar, with no ties to any political groups and most importantly not acquired political power riding on the shoulders of military dictators like Bhutto and Nawaz, must have amazing qualities and stamina and something exceptional which keeps him going.

Bhutto would have been just a smart lawyer, but for Ayub Khan.

Nawaz Sharif, would still be bribing government bureaucrats but for Gen. Zia and Gen. Jilani.

I personally think Imran is not just an “undhon may kaana Raja” but a giant in our political landscape. Otherwise he would have faded away much earlier.

There’s a phrase I use for the nitpicking we do in running him down, but which perfectly describes what those who have never suffered hunger, never been exploited by the rich and the powerful, those who belong to the privileged elite of Pakistan, full stomachs, electric generators, wealth, power and influence.

They are the ones who indulge in this terrible exercise called “Intellectual Analysis Paralysis”.

There’s another much more colorful and graphic phrase to describe this mind set but parliamentary norms restrict me from using it here.

We are like all those half assed cricket “specialists” watching a match on TV or sitting on the sidelines, commenting on why Mohammed Aamir didn’t ball a yorker or an inswinger or Why Misbah played that shot or why didn’t he?

Useless people, never having achieved anything substantial in life, never ever been in the cut and thrust of this quagmire called politics, pontificating and sermonising, criticizing freely, hoping this would elevate their pygmy like stature closer to someone who has sacrificed his entire life to try and fix this nation.

Or then those who are simply hard wired in their opposition to him because of high stake political and economic vested interests with the Sharifs and Zardaris.

A PPP Senator and a friend since 1984 recently cut off ties with me when I questioned her slavish servitude to the “House of Zardari” and Bilawal Zardari.

I questioned her on how someone like her with a lifeling track record of fighting injustice could sell herself like a courtier paying homage to a “twenty something nothing” called Bilawal, because of vested political interests and economic power and influence?

But their support for a criminal like Nawaz or a looter and plunderer like Zardari is understandable.

And then there is this wonderful lot of so called liberals who will support crooks like Nawaz and Zardari as symbols of “democracy” and everything that is anti military.

They live in the “cold war” era of anti militarism and anti authoritarianism of the Zia and Musharraf eras. And still believe that they are fighting a Jihad!

And Nawaz has used this anti military sentiment very effectively to muddy the waters and make this into a “Democracy vs Martial Law” narrative with the help of these so called anti army crusaders.

Those who have bought into this narrative are treading very very dangerous waters, because were this terrible mafia to survive, Pakistan is headed for major anarchy.

Get ready to see your wonderful boulevards and house in the Bahria’s, and DHA’s and Gulbergs etc go up in flames.

Get ready to see your freedoms and rights usurped as mad militias loot, plunder, rape, pillage and destroy.

The anger we see amongst the poor and downtrodden on videos circulating on social media are small eruptions of the massive lava of anger and discontent lying just below the surface.

Once it erupts, no one will be able to stop it. No one.

No. Not even the Pakistan Army.

Innocent and guilty will be swept away in this tide of violent anger.

And this will not be a revolution. But total anarchy.

This last group in my opinion is worse than any other. In their singleminded anger against the Pakistan Army, they are willing to support and truck with the most corrupt criminals of this land. Nawaz and Zardari and lead us to anarchy.

One very well known journalist, currently in the USA, publicly shared that he would vote for the PPP. This person, highly educated, well read, brilliant, is an example of this terrible terrible affliction which impacts our educated and aware.

Another owner of a main stream newspaper waxed eloquently about the “accomplishments” of Nawaz, Khaqan and of all people, Maryam Aurangzeb, blinded by commercial interests and blind to the loot and plunder of the Sharifs and Zardaris.

Hence my unqualified BUT timebound support for Imran because in my opinion his “electables” strategy is a means to an end.

And once in power he gives Pakistan a fighting chance to get us out of this terrible quicksand:

1. He plans to insulate public funds from legislators. Restrict them to legislating.

2. Restrict Cabinet to policy making and limit their administrative and functional interference in operational implementation.

3. Institute major civil service reforms, especially restoring constitutional protection for civil servants so they are free of unwanted political and government influence

4. Dramaticall improve the delivery of public services for the common man by appointing competent heads of public sector state owned enterprises with independant boards, free of political interference.

5. Institute major judicial reforms with Alternate Dispute Resolution mechanisms as an important fundamental.

6. Ensuring that administratively and financially empowered local governments deliver public services.

Thats his plan.

So lets give him a chance andnot shoot him down before he’s even started.

KP was his first shot at governance.  He has done a very credible and effective job, despite the entrenched mafias and vested interests, including those in his own party.

And he has learned much!

And to Imran

If Imran betrays our faith and trust.

If he doesn’t walk his talk.

I will be at the head of the long line to cast the first stone!

This I assure him and everybody!

No one is above Pakistan.

And a last word for the critics from a speech by Teddy Roosevelt.

“…….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……”

Haider Mehdi

An evening with the Oakville, Canada, PTI Chapter.

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

*Haider Mehdi*

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

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

Apologies for the poor audio.

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

Salaams and Prayers.
Haider Mehdi.

A personal view on award of Election tickets by PTI

By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s that simple!

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

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

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

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

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

Finally as we get to the last stretch.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Islands of excellence in our rotten public sector!

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

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

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

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

For example;

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

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

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

Only policy making will vest with cabinets.

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

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

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

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

2. Legislatures only to legislate.

3. Cabinets to only make policy

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

Remember nothing and no person is perfect.

No one is! Not Imran! Not anybody!

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

Only time will tell.

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

Dont Trust Zardari

By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi

Zardari’s recent statement about supporting Pakistan is laughable.

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

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

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

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

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

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

*And Zardari is the man behind everything Haqqani did*

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But his primary objective is to hurt Pakistan.

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

Here are my reasons:

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

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

But to actively undermine Pakistan is treason.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Absolutely correct!

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

Not when you hold an office of Public Trust.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Also a petty footnote and with apologies.

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

What you see is not what you get!

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

Be Warned.

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

Straight from Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kayani’s mouth!

By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

P.S.
*On the Osama mystery.*

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

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

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

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

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

*Haider Mehdi*

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

By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi.

What’s the real story on Osama?

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

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

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

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

Perhaps 3 as well perhaps not.

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

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

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

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

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

Nawaz Sharif -Traitor or Trader?

By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Big business has its political parties.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nawaz was the family’s “failure”.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And moving on.

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

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

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

So what are his options?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If this alone is not treachery, then what is?

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

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

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

-Haider Mehdi