Pakistan’s democracy. Jithay dee Khothee Uthaay Aan Khalothee !

By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi

There’s a saying in Punjabi. “Jithay dee Khothee uthay aan khalothee”.

Loosely translated.The she donkey (or whatever one calls a female donkey) always comes back to where she started from. In more sophisticated terms its “back to square one”. Basically. No change!

Pakistan’s version of democracy is no different to this Khothee, aimlessly going round and round finally arriving back from where it started.

To move forward, Pakistan needs change as many of us know and want.

Deep systemic change which uproots the old order and brings in the new. Not just a cosmetic one with one bunch of looters and plunderers replacing the other.

Some misguidedly call for military dispensation or a temporary government of technocrats.

But the answer lies in neither, but in institutional reform under the due process of law and that willing handmaiden, the constitution, ever so often used and abused and or locked up, as the case may be.

But because our institutions are so weak, having been systematically debased, degraded, destroyed and debilitated by successive governments, both civilian and military, this reform cannot happen without getting rid of those responsible for this wilful destruction, and making it easy for them to continue their loot and plunder

Our electoral process recycles and elects the same trash and garbage, over and over again. Bhutto, Benazir, Nawaz, Benazir, Nawaz, Zardari, Nawaz. And interspersed by long periods of men on horseback, equally destructive. Clear?

So what now?.
A military intervention?
A short term non elected technocratic administration?
A combination of the two?

Or leveraging some of our strong institutions like the Supreme Court and the NAB, to start to drain the swamp, getting rid of and punishing the most powerful and most corrupt and strengthening key institutions like ECP, FBR, FIA, SECP, Police, PEMRA, Railways etc to give us a fighting chance. All within the law and constitution.

And that is why I fully support the efforts of the Supreme Court in bringing some order, some accountability to our mess.

Many have crticised the “Good Governance and Anti corruption” jihad launched by the Chief Justice. This would have been justified if we were operating in an environment where our public sector institutions of governance, administration and especially of accountability were operating honestly and as per their mandate.

But they’ve failed. No institution could punish Benazir, Zardari, Nawaz Sharif for their institutional destruction and wholescale corruption, loot and plunder.

Nor could they haul up people under military government and many made fortunes. Take the example of the Akhter brothers, Humayun and Haroon, sons of Lt. Gen Akhter Abdur Rahman, or Ejaz ul Haque, Gen. Zia’s son, or Ch. Qamaruzaman the former NAB boss, one time ADC to Gen. Zia. Or those who got a free pass out of jail under Gen. Musharraf.

And the many generals, brigadiers and other officers who’ve been graciously helping themselves.

And then who can ever forget the terrible and infamous Gen. Musharraf, NRO .

So clearly the military is not the answer.

While I have great respect for our Armed forces being an ex Khaki myself and their tremendous efforts in winning the battle against terror and militancy, military interventions are not and will never be the solution, despite the organization’s professional brilliance, discipline and relatively corruption free environment, compared to other government institutions.

Any hopes from another Military government are, to say the least, seriously misplaced. This is because all military governments or administrations, overt or covert, eventually truck with the same kind of people they came to replace. Zia, Musharraf. No change. In fact they leave behind a system and institutions, even weaker.

This happens because of two reasons.

One the military mind while operationally outstanding, operates in a binary of “us” and “them” or “friend” vs “foe”. You’re either “with them” or “against them”.

That’s the nature of military training since time immemorial and rightly so, because they are not trained to operate in shades of grey or ambiguity or uncertainty or compromise. So any person, group, institution who offers a contrarian view, automatically gets pushed into the “other” “enemy” “foe” or “they” camp. Not their fault. In their world you’re either with them or against them.

And people who do not like authoritarianism, will disagree with them, irrespecive of their good intentions or good work.

And this to me explains why many intelligent, educated and aware people will support a known crook and criminal like Nawaz as he cunningly crafted his anti establishment rhetoric, muddying the waters and trying to move the focus away from his own criminal acts, and pretending to stand up to militarism. This despite the fact that he sent over six emissaries to the army desperately seeking a bail out!

Secondly and more critically because they are operationally successful in implementing programs within their own areas of expertise, and observing the abject misgovernance in the civilian sphere, they mistakenly believe that they will achieve similar success when implementing programs in the non military sphere, operating outside their organizational structures, policies, procedures and systems.

This is where they fumble and flounder and finally have to seek support from the “civilians” and the “politicians” to help implement any change agenda.

There they find the same leeches who have stuck to them. Not the bright intelligent ones, who will challenge them and who’ve been thrust away. Honourable exceptions apart. And many honourable exceptions did one find during Gen. Musharrafs regime, especially his first 3 or 4 years. Otherwise tragically once more its back to square one.

So how does one use the tremendous organizational capabilities of a disciplined and relatively corruption free institution like the Pakistan Army in helping Pakistan reform? The Army is a reality in Pakistan. Its latent power and influence in Pakistan is huge, especially coming out of its highly successful war against militancy and terrorism. While technically the Army Chief is a grade 22 officer, subservient to the Minister of Defence, his office is by far the most powerful in the country.

What can and should the Army do to get us out of this hell hole for which it shares equal responsibility with the corrupt politicians?

In my opinion, two things.

Stand behind the constitution and law and support any institution like the Supreme Court and NAB and others who are endeavouring to create space and opportunity for institutional reform, holding the corrupt accountable and ensuring that honest and competent people are appointed to positions of power and authority in key public sector institutions.

2. Ensure that they support the Election Commussion to ensure elections are free and fair, as much can be, given the total hijacking and destruction of our electoral process.

And they MUST NOT tinker with the political process and try and influence the outcome!

Nor should there be any ham handed and stupid attempts at muzzling the press, as one hears nowadays!

A free press even if it runs wild is the greatest shield against unbridled fascism and authoritarianism.

So back to democracy! Many people are of the opinion that in Pakistan, “Democracy” will eventually evolve into a better form than before. I have a very strong opinion to the contrary .

Technically we’ve had “Democracy” in its current form since Gen. Musharraf’s 2004 elections. Since 2008, Asif Zardari and Nawaz Sharif have enjoyed and enjoy nearly as much absolute power as did Gen. Musharraf. Not a twig moves in the Federal and Punjab governments without the Sharif nod or the Zardari nod in Sind.

Yes we have the trappings of federal and provincial legislatures. These have hosted the august bottoms of the same people and families and mindsets since 1940 pre partition days. The only exception being the urban MQM, a party sadly tainted with horrible fascist crimes.

Has anything changed in Pakistan as a consequence of this more than a decade long “Democratic” period?

Are our national leaders less corrupt than before?
Has our law enforcement become better?
Terrorism apart, is our life, property more safe today?
Are our courts, both lower and superior judiciary, delivering better and quicker justice?
Are our government departments less corrupt?
Are public sector appointments made on merit on two fundamental criterion of competence and honesty?
Do we have better and more job opportunities for our youth?
Has our public health care system become better?
Has our public education system become better?
Has our economy grown ?
Have our exports grown?
Have our foreign exchange reserves grown?
Do people pay more taxes?

We live in a dream world of rose tinted glasses and a simplistic construct of “let Democracy continue and evolve.

Yes it must.

But then it must be democracy, a trust of the people, transparent, accountable and delivering good governance. Not a near total dictatorship disguised as a democracy as we see today. It must deliver growth and betterment to the questions asked above

Look at the election statistics. PPP got 13% of the registered vote to come into power in 2008 and PMLN 18% in 2012.

And they governed and govern as if Pakistan was and is their personal fiefdom.

Both parties have mastered the art of hijacking the electoral process through money, patronage and outright criminality called rigging. And then the audacity of foisting their children on this country as one does in a dynasty. Who is Bilawal? Who is Maryam? Who is Hamza? Little twits and nothings with absolute no right but their incident of birth.

Is this democracy?

Will we continue to pay homage to a twenty something twit Bilawal as our next “democratically” selected PM? or that trashy botoxed dumb blonde, Maryam in the same slot?

And their “courtiers” who’s only relevance is that they support such a dysfunctional order. This is no better than North Korea, or Saddam’s Iraq or our “brotherly” Muslim dynastic countries. But this is not democracy!

Gen. Musharraf was a military ruler and one in uniform, but compared to these two so called “democrats” he was far better, in both letter and spirit.

Did he ever try and push his children on us?

Did we not have one of the most effective local government systems under his watch?

Did we not have one of the least corrupt Government’s in his time?

I’m not here to sing his praises or defend him. He also has much to answer in areas of foreign policy, partnering with corrupt politicians, the whole post 9/11 scenario and perhaps the most unforgivable sin of not implementing deep institutional reform.

The last, more tragic, because he had the opportunity, the power and initially the whole hearted support of the Nation.

But in areas of governance, democratic practices, transparency, devolution of power to local bodies, and relatively less corruption, he comes out, smelling like a rose compared to Nawaz Sharif and Zardari!

So this is not “Democracy”.

Nawaz Sharif did not even pay token homage to the trappings of a parliamentary democracy. His record of attending the Parliament and the Senate is shameful. Shouldn’t he have gone to the National Assembly to make his position clear on the Panama Leaks and answer questions?

No. He did what a “dictator” does, hide behind a gentle camera and deliver a pathetic, embarrassing monologue of such juvenile logic that some senior members of his own party were reported to have thrown up! And now is out in the cold!

And trying to stir a near civil war!

So if we have elections again tomorrow and the silent majority does not vote, these criminals, looters and plunderers will come back in power. Not because they’re popular or they got the vote, but because they’ve captured the system.

Therefore cast your vote. Every vote counts and be very careful when you cast your vote. Each and everyone of us.

Look at your choices, Nawaz, Zardari and Imran. One would be daft not to see the obvious choice.

Yes we need an administration of honest and capable technocrats to get into positions of power and authority. Based on his track record, the only person who will appoint such people is Imran.

Get him in. The other’s we’ve tried and seen the outcome. Worst case scenario. Imran cannot be worse then the loot and plunder and the stench and vomit of the Sharifs and the Zardaris

Chief Justice Saqib Nisar is a God send! More power to him and his judicial activism. Either we let him drain the swamp, or wait for the men on horseback or slide further down into anarchy!

He has filled the vacuum created by the abject surrender of governance by the political order. Any vacuum will attract something to fill the emptiness. Thank our stars that he stepped ip to the plate and not the Military or anarchy and lawlessness!

And because of his activism, many others are showing spine.

Pakistan’s vector is heading north.

Please keep it this way.

Use your vote. And use it wisely!

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto -Part Devil, part Saint!

  1. By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi.

Bhutto was an enigma.

Brilliant and brutal. Part Saint, part Devil. Unfortunately the Devil won!

Inordinate ambition, a massive ego and the betrayal of his own political values got him the end he deserved!

Not for that crime of murder, but for the many unspeakable horrors he committed, especially on his own, like J A Rahim and Mairaj Mohammed Khan, and his political opponents like Mian Tufail, which cannot be repeated here!

He could have turned and moulded this nation into a great power but he couldn’t rise above his own terrible inconsistencies and his personal ambitions!

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, directly responsible for the breakup of Pakistan.

As Pakistan’s only Civilian Chief Martial Administrator, with one stroke of the pen on midnight, 1January 1972, he destroyed Pakistan’s economic engine, it’s educational system and it’s health care, by nationalizing all three.

And then the coup de grace in destroying the bureaucracy, which has since become the handmaiden of all administrations!

He set us back decades including, in my opinion, directly responsible for Zia’s takeover.

He was also cruel, sadistic, vindictive, unforgiving, petty and mean. Never forgot a slight. The last got him the gallows!

Brilliant he was, no doubt.

But not in the mould of great leaders, but that of a charismatic con man!

-Haider Mehdi

“Damned if he does. Damned if he doesn’t”

Election results 2013. Nawaz 17% of registered vote. 83% did not vote or voted against him.

This is how these evil looters and plunderers get into power through this version of a sham democracy!

What amazes me is the narrative being promoted by Nawaz about “honouring the vote”. Not amazed at his propagation but its resonance in the ears of the educated and the aware.

If this version of a prostituted democracy, hijacked by a coterie of looters and plunderers is acceptable to us then good luck to Pakistan.

If some of us can accept these criminals who’ve done nothing but lined their pockets, then good luck to them.

If some of us are happy with a Nawaz Sharif, his brother, his family, his coterie of criminals to loot and plunder the national exchequer, money laundered 300 billion rupees, trying to foist a bimbo on us as his heir, then good luck.

He shamelessly purveys her in front of drooling crowds to save his wealth and politics. One wonders if these crowds would have gathered had either one of his two sons been doing the rounds.

This shameless woman, Maryam has the temerity to equate this evil man, Nawaz and her trashy character with Nauzobillah the Prophet PBUH and his daughter Bibi Fatima. She’s treading on very dangerous grounds. There are many today, who can and may do something that cannot be spoken here.

The real story behind why he was picked up by Governor Jilani is another very dark stain on this family’s character. Sufficeth. This whole family is shameless, devoid of self respect with serious issues of morality!

And these are the wretched we want as our leaders?

Or a Zardari, having looted and plundered at will as well and now attempting to foist a twenty something twit on us. Then good luck!

If some of us are happy with a Nawaz or a Zardari, who have both systematically destroyed every institution in Pakistan so that they and their evil coterie can continue to loot and plunder at will, then good luck.

Those who support these evil men are as guilty of their acts of commission and commission, as if they committed them, themselves.

They do so perhaps, either out of ignorance, or self centered vested interests. I can see no other reason.

If the former, then they are forgiven. If the latter then understandable, because they’re riding and eating and benefiting from the same evil gravy train of the Nawaz’s and Zardari’s of Pakistan and fear the end of this terrible status quo.

They will hit out, cry out, fight anybody and everybody who are battling these evils. Whether it’s the Supreme Court, or Imran Khan or the so called establishment.

They will pick at the soft spots in these three, higlight inconsistencies and their errors of judgement to try and destroy them.

None who support Nawaz or Zardari talk of the genocide of values these two evil men have wrought on Pakistan.

None of these laud the Supreme Court in bringing Nawaz to justice.

Not even acknowledging that he was and is corrupt and evil! But they pick holes in minutiae, nit picking laws, muddying the waters.

None admit that this man siphoned the taxpayers money out of Pakistan and ensconced it in properties and businesses abroad.

None question the whole scale destruction of our institutions by him.

Democracy they cry! What democracy?

A democracy which has made this nation poorer?
A democracy which has destroyed every semblance of good governance?
A democracy which puts Pakistan on top of the list of infant deaths?
A democracy which couldn’t provide education to its poor and exploited, giving rise to the thousands of madrassahs and all the challenges associated with it?
A democracy whose health care system is in tatters and yet these evil demigods run to London and the USA at the slightest sniffle!

Fie on this terrible perverted democracy!

Democracy means a system which vests those governing with the public trust. A trust which expects good governance, progress, development, better education, healthcare, employment, justice, security!

It doesn’t mean multibillion dollar projects which allow these snakes to siphon off tens of billions of the top!

To me the battle lines are stark and clear.

The battle is for the future of Pakistan and it’s people against the terrible evil, misgovernance and loot and plunder of the Sharif’s and the Zardaris who use the shield of a prostituted democratic order to save their wealth, their power and influence and to continue to acquire power!

This is a prostituted, cancer ridden version of a democratic process.

Unless and until we don’t have a system which allows people of integrity and competence to get to positions of governance, power and authority, it will continue to be hijacked by those with wealth, for whom the only value system is further acquisition of wealth and power and not the good of the people of Pakistan!

Our Electoral process, as it currently stands, cannot stop evil and corrupt people like Nawaz and Zardari acquiring power. This must be stopped. And the only way is for institutions to be strong enough to stop this rape, loot and plunder.

While the Supreme Court may be displaying activism of a sort that may not appear to many as fair, at least laud them for bringing a crook to justice, because all others failed!

Imran is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t. His Senate play stopped a major and evil ploy by Nawaz. And he had to compromise with another evil to ward of the bigger evil!

When he doesn’t…he doesn’t understand politics…when he does…he’s sold his soul.

We pontificate from the soft recesses of our armchairs, especially mine and forget that he’s been in this game and in the trenches for 22 years. Has experienced and tried every trick in the trade, every tactic, every strategy to fight the status quo.

We forget that he has literally and singlehandedly broken the two party system. That it was his doggedness in the valleys of despair that kept the party going.

That it was his unrelenting and unforgiving approach which got the Supreme Court to take notice of Panama, otherwise It would have been buried in the dustbins of history.

We forget that despite his errors of judgement, by sheer force of his character and charisma he’s set up a university in a place where no one would set up even a goatshed! Where kids come from 54 districts and 95% are on free scholarships.

He’s set up 3 Cancer hospitals. He’s broken the back of the political mafia and made key institutions wake up from slumber.

We forget that this person, with all his faults, his inconsistencies, his errors of judgement, stands taller than Nawaz and Zardari!
And yet we petty things in our ultimate pettiness quibble over issues that are for want of a better word….petty!

I pity the good people of this nation who do not and cannot differentiate the good from what is truly evil.

Even a flawed Imran, and minor are his flaws, is a thousand times better then these evil people!

Choose your side’s carefully!

For all of us and our future generations will have to live with the choices we make today!
-Haider Mehdi

Nawaz Sharif’s “Shubkhoon” to destroy the Supreme Court and the Army through Constitutional Amendments!

By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi

The air is rife with speculation and wild rumours. Mainstream and Social Media is abuzz with countless conspiracy theories.

Chiefly.

1. Zardari has cut a deal with the Army.

My take. Nothing of the sort. It’s a very deliberate and calculated act of extremely clever disinformation being spread by the AZ man himself.

In closed door meetings he drops hints and names, impishly winks, gives knowing half smiles, leaves sentences hanging, loud conspirational whispers during telephone calls implying that a “certain person” or somebody from “The Institution” is on the other side.

He deliberately and consciously creates a sense of high confidentiality in small and large groups, swearing all to secrecy about what they overheard or what he told them, knowing fully well that it’ll travel far and wide, quicker than a hot knife through butter.

So, sadly for the Jayalas, no deals have been made, or under consideration or will be, with Mr. AZ dealmaker, despite Malik Riaz’s best efforts! Kaira saheb to especially take note!

2. The Army is not supporting the Supreme Court.

My take. True. The Army has no business “supporting” the Supreme Court other than what’s it’s constitutionally mandated to do so.

The Supreme Court is strong enough and capable enough to do what it seems right under the law and the Constitution. And that is to mete out justice to all and sundry, especially the high and mighty.

If it ever needs support from any State institution, Army or any other, it will ask for it and will receive it under Article 190.

So chapter closed on this one. This despite the desperate shrieking “Rok Sako tho Rok Lo” siren, hilariously mimicked by Naeem Bokhari! And that other shrieker, her father, desperately trying to save himself, his ill gotten wealth and his politics.

But one rumour currently doing the rounds, now more fact than rumour as substantiated from several sources, both inside and outside the government, is the drafting of two key constitutional amendments impacting the Army and the Superior Judiciary!

These are planned to be presented and passed by the PMLN government, after getting a majority in the forthcoming Senate elections and prior to dissolution of the assemblies before the next general elections.

The first is about the appointment of Judges and their retirement age and amendments to Constitution Articles 175A and 179.

Article 175A currently reads.

*Appointment  of  Judges  to  the  Supreme  Court,  High  Courts  and the  Federal  Shariat  Court.−*

*(1) There  shall  be  a  Judicial  Commission  of Pakistan,  hereinafter  in  this  Article  referred  to  as  the  Commission,  for appointment  of  Judges  of  the  Supreme  Court,  High  Courts  and  the  Federal Shariat  Court,  as  hereinafter  provided*

*(2) For   appointment   of   Judges   of   the   Supreme   Court,   the Commission  shall  consist  of—*

*Chief  Justice  of  Pakistan; Chairman Four most  senior  Judges  of  the  Supreme  Court;*

*Members.*
*A former Chief  Justice  or a former Judge or Member the Supreme  Court of Pakistan to be  nominated by the Chief Justice of Pakistan, in  consultation with the  four member Judges,  for a term of two years;*

*Federal  Minister  for  Law  and  Justice; Attorney-General  for  Pakistan;* 

*And a  Senior  Advocate  of  the  Supreme  Court nominated  by  the  Pakistan  Bar  Council for  a  term  of  two  years.*

*3) Notwithstanding  anything  contained  in  clause  (1)  or  clause  (2), the  President  shall  appoint  the  most  senior  Judge  of  the  Supreme  Court  as the  Chief  Justice  of  Pakistan.*

The amendment proposes to reconstitute the Judicial commission and take away its power to appoint judges in the manner they do so now.

The new Judicial Commission will comprise the Chief Justice, Minister of Law, other law officers of the government plus parliamentarians, comprising government and opposition members, proportionally based on their assembly strength.

Under the planned amendment, the incumbent Chief Justice will only have authority to recommend a roster of names and the Judicial Commission, by majority vote, will approve names before forwarding to the President for appointment.

The proposed amendment will also do away with the seniority rule, whereby currently the senior most judge is automatically elevated to become Chief Justice. In future the Judicial Commission, again by majority vote, will chose any person from amongst the Judges, they deem fit to become the Chief Justice.

In summary, the ruling party, in this case rhe PMLN, will have total power to  appoint judges.

But the second change is what will completely change the current makeup of the Supreme Court during the incumbency of the current government!

This amendment to article 179 aims to reduce the retirement ages of the Judges and the Chief Justice from 65 to 60.

*Constitutional Article 179  reads* 

*Retiring age.* 
*A Judge of the Supreme Court shall hold office until he attains the age of sixty five years, unless he sooner resigns or is removed from office in accordance with the Constitution*

While one cannot fault these amendments in principle in a democratic order where the ruling party, if it has the numbers, choses to make such changes.

But what is seriously questionable, are the very evil and nefarious designs, behind such moves and attempts to amend these clauses, and even more importantly, why now!

Hypothetically were this amendment to pass, by say early March, the Supreme Court would be immediately wiped clean of the following Judges who will automatically retire being over 60 years of age.

1. Chief Justice Saqib Nisar.
2. Justice Asif Saeed Khosa.
3. Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan.
4. Justice Gulzar Ahmed.
5. Justice Sh. Azmat Saeed.

And perhaps a few more!

Then the new Judicial Commission will appoint a Chief Justice of its choice and fill the vacancies with Nawaz toadies.

What a really neat Constitutional Coup!

Imagine the horrors and the terrible consequences of such a nightmarish scenario, for Pakistan, for the rule of Law and for our Superior Judiciary!

It took the Supreme Court nearly 60 odd years to free itself from being the Executives handmaiden and mistress. Over the last 10 years it has become an independent institution, diligently working to wipe the scars on its honour and mete out evenhanded justice. Granted they’re not perfect, but a far cry from the “Doctrine of Necessity” types. Pakistan cannot allow this wholescale destruction of our Superior Judiciary into becoming Patwaris once again, simply to save Nawaz and his family and cronies from getting their just desserts.

The second “Shubkhoon” ia planned on the office of the Army Chief and other two Chiefs of the Air Force and the Navy by taking away their authority to promote officers to two and three star ranks, make key command and staff appointments and limit their authority of command over their respective institutions.

Here’s the plan being cooked in The Devil’s Workshop”

1. The three Armed forces Chiefs will no longer be members of the National Security Committe. They will be represented by the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee. Currently Gen. Zubair Hayat.

2. Promotions to all two star and three star ranks, Maj. Gen, Lt. Gen, Air Vice Marshal, Air Marshal, Rear Admiral, Vice Admiral, will be vested in the National Security Committee of which CJSC will be but one member! And by majority vote.

3. All Principal Staff Officer and Corps Commander and similar Air Force and Naval appointments will be made by the National Security Committee.

4. DG ISI will be appointed by the National Security Committee.

5. ISI and ISPR will report directly to CJSC.

6. The Corps Commander Conferences and similar conferences in the Air Force and Navy, will be presided over by the CJSC and Minister of Defence.

So there you have it folks.

A complete destruction of the only two institutions that have survived the savagery of the Sharifs and Zardari. And the only two that stand between there loot, plunder, pillage and anarchy and a great Pakistan!

As I had written sometimes ago, Nawaz is willing to destroy any institution in Pakistan, perhaps even the country, and go to any lengths to save himself, his wealth, his family, his politics and his party. And in that order of priority!

Pakistan is the least of his concerns!

In his attempt to destroy the Judiciary and the Army, , he has the support of our estranged ally, as was Zardari in his misfired Memogate attempt via that vile oil merchant, “Mir” Hussain Haqqani! Maybe Haqqani is writing another memo!

Lest we forget our estranged ally has major “assets” within our government and also our Armed Forces!

Many a Quisling will make themselves available!

Honourable Justice Saqib Nisar and Gen. Bajwa! Gentlemen, you both have been duly forewarned! As has the Nation!

– Haider Mehdi

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

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

*By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi.*

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And the above is not a deduction but a fact.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The solution.

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

Several key changes in the electoral laws will help.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who will do all of this and how?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is not a prophecy but a considered conclusion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And then don’t cry for me, Pakistan!

-Haider Mehdi

Bilawal Zardari’s Davos Interview

(Urdu version at the end)

-Syed Haider Raza Mehdi

All those going gaga over Bilawal Zardari’s interview in Davos, in English, wearing a coat which only a certain type of “business broker”wears in New York (need i say more) and these colonial slaves waxing about his “eloquence” need to get their heads checked.

Those expecting a halfway dimwit 25 year old idiot to lead this country, really need to see a doctor.

I’m talking especially of those in the PPP and outside, educated, aware, well read. Former newspaper editors, journalists, newspaper anchors, political leaders, businesspeople, academics, analysts, owners of private equity funds, think tanks analysts etc.

I dare anyone of them to hand over their businesses or their wealth to him, if they have that much faith in his brilliance. These are the kind of people who would support a North Korean dictator or sell their soul because like vultures they want to live off the carcass that they want Pakistan to become.

If he had not been born to Benazir would anyone even have known he existed? Would you even have given him.a second look?

C’mon folks he’s just a spoilt Pakistani brat brought up on a diet of privilege and entitlement. He may perhaps have the appropriate highly anglicised and pretentious social graces, hallmark of our hypocritical elite and their wannabe country cousins, the other cursed family, the Sharifs of Ram gully Day naal aali gully

We shame ourselves, our families, our intellect and our souls by falling to such obscenely low depths and suck up to this kid! Shame on us, the spineless prostituted Souls of Pakistan!!

We happily promote….

A person whose sole claim to fame is biology.

A person who hasn’t done a days work in his stupid privileged life.

A person who cannot ever understand what Pakistani politics is except what he’s been tutored to say.

A person you wouldn’t trust with your garden, your kitchen, your house, your car, your business, your wealth, even picking up your damn trash, is being trusted to lead one of the most challenging countries in the world.

Shame on all those who think this idiot holds any hope.

Look what this family has given Pakistan.

Dismemberment.
Economic destruction.
Educational destruction.
Ethnic violence.
Fascism.
Taliban.
Unbridled corruption
Asif Zardari.
And now a ???????.

For God’s sake people have a bloody heart!!

*And if there are any plans by any institution, be it the Army or any other, attempting to cut a deal with Zardari to bring him and Bilawal into power, let me warn you loud and clear that the Pakistan Army rank and file, especially it’s younger officers who bury their comrades and their jawans everday will not have it, will not accept, and the Army and the Country will face the consequences of their anger.

Be warned! And this is a fear, not a desire!

If we can’t sort out the bloody mess this country is in, don’t make it worse!

Enough is enough!

-Haider Mehdi

*بلاول کا انٹرویو* ۔

سید حیدر رضا *مہدی* ۔

جو جو بھی بلاول کے انٹرویو پر واری واری جا رہے ہیں وہ اپنا دماغی توازن ضرور چیک کروائیں۔

ایک پچیس سالہ مشکوک شخصیت اور ذہنیت کے مالک بیوقوف شخص کو اس ملک کی باگ ڈور تھمانے والوں کو اپنا ڈاکٹری معائنہ کروانے کی ضرورت ہے۔

یہ میں خاص طور پر ان ہستیوں کے لئے کہ رہا ہوں جو پیپلز پارٹی کے اندر یا باہر ہیں، پڑھے لکھے، باشعور، دانشور۔ اخبارات کے ایڈیٹر، صحافی، خبروں کے اینکر، تاجر، اساتذہ، تجزیہ نگار، پرائیویٹ ایکویٹی فنڈز کے مالکان، تھنک ٹینک وغیرہ وغیرہ۔

ان میں سے کسی سے اگر کہا جائے کہ وہ اپنا کاروبار یا ادارہ اس مشکوک انسان کے سپرد کر دیں تو یقیناً یہ ایسا کبھی نہیں کریں گے، مگر پاکستان کو اس کے حوالے کرنے کے خواہشمند اس کام سے بھی دریغ نہیں کریں گے۔یہ وہ لوگ ہیں جو گدھوں سے بھی بدترین ہیں۔ اپنے ذاتی مفادات کے لیے یہ لوگ اپنے ملک پر کسی بھی بھیڑیئے کو مسلط کرنے سے بھی باز نہیں آئیں گے۔ یہ لوگ پاکستان کو اپنی خواہشات کی تکمیل کے لیے کسی طوائف سے بھی بدتر بنانے سے بھی دریغ نہیں کریں گے۔

اگر یہ عجیب سا لونڈا بینظیر کا بیٹا نہ ہوتا تو شاید آپ اسکو جانتے بھی نہ اور کہیں دیکھ بھی لیتے تو کراہت سے منہ پھیر لیتے۔ یہ بات یقینی طور پر ایک انتہائی گھٹیاپن ہے جو آپ لوگ اس عجیب الخلقت مخلوق کو پاکستان کے لئے سوچ بھی رہے ہیں۔ شرم کریں۔۔۔۔

اس کو پرموٹ کر رہے ہو۔۔۔۔

جو شخص وراثت کو اپنی مشہوری کے لیے استعمال کر رہا ہے۔

ایک شخص جس نے ایک دن بھی اپنی زندگی میں کوئی کام نہیں کیا سوائے گندگی کے۔

ایک ایسا شخص جس کو پاکستان کی سیاست کا سر پیر نہیں پتہ اور وہ صرف وہ کہتا ہے جو اس کو پڑھایا جاتا ہے۔ طوطے کی طرح رٹی ہوئی باتیں۔

ایک ایسا شخص جس کو آپ اپنے کسی بھی ذاتی کام کے لیے بھی نہ چنیں گے، یہاں تک کہ کوڑا بھی نہ اٹھوائیں۔ اس شخص کو آپ دنیا کے سب سے اہم اور مرکزی کردار کے حامل ملک کی سربراہی دینے کی بات کر رہے ہیں؟؟؟

شرم آنی چاہیے ہم سب گھٹیا، منافق، پست ذہنیت، بےضمیر اور نفسیاتی طور پر مردہ لوگوں کو جو اس سے امیدیں وابستہ کیئے بیٹھے ہیں۔

یہ اس خاندان کی اولاد ہے جس نے یہ ملک توڑا، معاشی تباہی لائے، تعلیمی نظام کو برباد کر دیا، تفرقہ بازی کو جنم دیا، فاشزم، طالبان، کرپشن کا ڈان زرداری اس ملک پر مسلط کیا، اور اب ایک اور نمونہ ؟؟؟؟؟؟؟

اللہ کے واسطے، پاکستان کے لوگو کچھ ہوش کرو۔۔۔!!

*اور اگر کوئی ادارہ، چاہے وہ کوئی بھی ہو، فوج یا کوئی اور، زرداری سے ڈیل کرکے اس کو اور اسکے اس انوکھے لاڈلے کو لانے کا سوچ بھی رہے ہیں تو خدا کی قسم اس ادارے کے لوگ جو روز اپنے ساتھی دفنا رہے ہیں وہ معاف نہیں کریں گے۔۔ خبردار!!*

*اگر آپ اس ملک میں پھیلے گند کو صاف نہیں کر سکتے تو کم از کم اسے اور مت پھیلائیں۔۔۔۔*

بہت ہو چکا۔۔اب اور نہیں!!

حیدر مہدی۔

Benazir Bhutto – Flawed Diva

By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi

One of our biggest tragedies as a nation and society is the worship of false gods, and for want of a better word, Divas.

While Benazir Bhutto died a tragic and untimely death and one was shocked in the manner of her departure, I’m afraid as a political leader, she was no saint or this great upholder of democracy as she’s being made out to be.

I don’t know the “private Benazir”. She may have been a wonderful person, a great friend, collegue and a wonderful mother. But this is a commentary on her public persona as a political leader and a Prime Minister.

Let’s not forget that she became PM in 1988, after Zia’s terrible dark years and really had the world at her feet. Granted that her hands were tied in some areas, especially foreign policy, but nothing stopped her from rebuilding the institutions wrecked by her father and by Zia. But like all bloodline heirs to political dynasties she lacked experience and maturity. Some say she was intellectually bright, went to Oxford became the head of their debating society etc.

Excellent.

But what about experience in governance. The answer is Zero. What about learning how to manage teams, budgets, understand serious policy and political challenges? The answer. Zero.

So what did she have going for her? Four things. The Bhutto name and the romance associated with it as well as the whiffs of elitism and near royalty. Perhaps a slightly above average intelligence. Thirdly being a woman and that too, a tragic victim. And finally the powerful emotions and the tragic circumstances of her father’s death. In a South Asian society, like Pakistan, all four worked in her favour

But competence, experience, track record, ability etc ? Zero!

And that is why Pakistan has suffered massive institutional decay as we kept giving machine guns to monkeys, the latest in line being Nawaz Sharif, who even his own father wouldn’t allow to come near any family business. Idiots rising to positions of public governance has lead to our current rot. And many more in line. Bilawal. Princess Tubelight Maryam Antoinette Safdar. Hamza. We already have Shahbaz. Fazlur Rahman. Achakzai. Asfandyar. What a tragedy!

And that is why bureaucrats like the notorious Salman Farooqi, and Rehman Malik, who created for Benazir and Zardari the web of off shore companies to transfer their looted wealth, and many other terribly corrupt people acquire such influence.

In fact Benazir wrote the first book on how to use bureaucrats and public sector institutions for personal corruption. Something Nawaz Sharif elevated to an art form and authored a doctoral thesis!

And that is how she and her husband, Asif Zardari, together, embarked on this massive loot, pillage and plunder from the get go. She set the standards of rot, corruption and criminality in governance that we see today. She consciously, knowingly and deliberately allowed the wholescale loot and plunder and the amassing of her wealth, overseas. She was part and parcel and in complete knowledge of all the corruption Mr.10% was upto.

How can we forget and or condone the hundreds of millions discovered stashed away in Switzerland and in properties across the UK and Europe etc?

How her front man, Jens Schlegelmilch, whom Ms. Bhutto described as the family’s attorney in Europe for more than 20 years, and as a close personal friend, managed her and her husband’s ill gotten, looted and plundered wealth. Pakistan’s wealth. The money that should have gone to feed starving children. Save lives. Create jobs. Build institutions. But it went into her personal accounts.

Let’s face it. She was a crook.

But the tragedy being that Pakistan’s rotten, corrupt and extremely flawed and compromised judicial system allowed them to get away scot free from this loot and plunder. Tragically and in a manner of speaking she’s paid the price for her actions. Now, Nature’s nemesis awaits Mr. Zardari.

Like her father, she had many personas. The public face of the Bhutto’s legacy. The private face of a corrupt monarc and the western darling face of the liberal woman leader of a conservative society. And again, like her father, she carried both the devil and the angel within her. And, usually as with her father, the Devil won.

During Zia’s years she really didn’t wage any struggle herself. Truly. Her party certainly did. Her people did. Her jiyalas did. Thousands suffered jail and lashes and imprisonment. But not her. She was never imprisoned in a jail in Pakistan, but incarcerated in comfortable house arrest till finally under a deal with Zia she left Pakistan in 1984 only to triumphantly return in 1988 as do all our wonderful democratic leaders.

Her battle with Zia was also very very personal. He had hanged her father and like her father she could be very unforgiving. This is really what drove her. But when in power, both times, she and her cronies and her husband raped and looted and plundered the country as all others have and as her husband, Asif Zardari did earlier and doing so now in the most absurd and shameless manner by appending the “Bhutto” name to Bilawal Zardari’s name, with the hope that this evil journey of loot and plunder will continue.

And then we question why does the Army step In?

Benazir ran with the hares and hunted with the hounds. She was at heart a feudal and an elitist. She blatantly and brazenly purveyed her father’s name and legacy to cling and grab on to power, and revelled in the role of both Diva and Victim!

Between her and Nawaz and the period from 1988 to 1999, they both had unchallenged opportunities to set Pakistan back on the road to progress.

Between these two, they had 11 years to fix the rot. Build institutions. Implement transparent policies and processes. Implement meritocracy in public service as a cardinal principle of promotion, placement and advancement. Curb corruption. Provide equitable opportunities for education, health, job opportunities ( not stuffing thousands of jiyalas into government jobs and destroying these institutions like PIA)

But No!

Both, Benazir and Nawaz, looted and plundered with shameless abandon and when the Men on Horseback rode in, they cried foul and instantly became victims and martyrs.

These are the hypocritical and corrupt people and their political cronies who have destroyed the institutions of Pakistan, including being active members of all military governments.

With sincere apologies to those who think highly of her as a political leader. Unfortunately I do not wear rose tinted glasses. One can’t be half pregnant or be half honest or be half a democrat. Like all South Asian so called democratic pretenders she used her family name to acquire and cling to power.

And made a mess of it and unfortunately her legacy is Asif Zardari and Bilawal Zardari.

But to her credit. She was a brave and determined woman!

-Haider Mehdi

Why we must support Imran Khan

Syed Haider Raza Mehdi

For those who continue to criticise Imran Khan, and in some instances with valid concerns, a humble plea. Please do read this.

We are an unforgiving people when it comes to others. But in our own lives we are deceitful, hypocritical, liars and cheats. Not all. But the vast majority.

Especially the well fed and privileged amongst us, who criticise from the comforts of their elegant houses and their expensive clothes and designer everything.

Those who question his leadership and find fault in his decisions, having never walked his talk, not even close!

Those who offer free advice by the ton but never care to step outside their comfort zones or put themselves at risk or sacrifice something substantial.

Those who live the privileged and elitist life in Pakistan or overseas.

Those who show off of our kids graduating from foreign universities and our houses and our elegant drawing rooms and our Koochi, Poochi and Timmy and Tony type friends celebrating botoxed birthdays on Facebook. Flaunting our houses and our lifestyles

And yet I hear many well meaning people wanting our society to change.

But do we really?

Nothing changes for us the elite, the rich, the powerful, the privilged, the well connected.

Our children go to elite schools, as I did. We use our privileged networks to get jobs, business contracts and escape the law. We spend more money on one dinner then what could probably feed a poor family of this wretched Country for a year.

We spend more money on our children’s weddings or their wedding dresses which could fund a small school or a health clinic or a free food kitchen.

We spend our vacations in the Disney world’s and playgrounds of the Far East,  Dubai, Europe, North America etc spending money like water, enough to feed hundreds if not thousands of poor starving families.

And when the going gets tough or a little insecure we have our Canadian permanent resident card to run away with, as I have, or a dual nationality, which I don’t have.

We know everybody who matters, bureaucrats, generals, judges, police officials, tax officials, customs officials. Anyone that matters. Our work usually gets done either by connections or bribery. Unless, of course we encounter a bigger scoundrel than ourselves!

So really nothing changes for the privileged.

We have generators to light our homes, gas cylinders to light our  kitchens. And we treat our house help worse than dogs but rant about the miseries of the Palestinians and the Kashmiris.

We treat our minorities even worse and then complain about how we’re discriminated against in the West.

Our Allah of our faith and our God of the mosque are very different. We try to buy salvation by contributing to religious charities from our ill gotten proceeds. Exceptions of course excepted. And they will not take exception to these remarks.

We are a miserable, sick, hypocritical wretched lot and when a 3rd rate foul mouthed preacher takes on the state and all that we stand for, we quake in our shoes. We blame the Army. We blame the government. We blame the law enforcement agencies.

But we don’t blame ourselves. Us the wretched elite who have along with the politicians and the generals and the bureaucrats looted, pillaged and plundered this poor country.  A small minority being an exception.

We have partnered with our political elite by active commission or spineless ommission to destroy this country.

And then comes a man, Imran Khan,  from this same elite and like a mad person, quite insane, I must admit, and says that he wants to change the system and provide equitable opportunities for the poor, the marginalized, the exploited and the disadvantaged.

The very same wretched lot, we the elite of Pakistan, have used and abused for as long as one can remember to fill our coffers and our bodies and our egos!

And what do we do?

We rave and we rant against him. How dare he? We attack the man from the lowest of the low.

Even the educated amongst us. Oh he takes cocaine! Good for him, I say, if that’ll help him make this country better. I’ll gladly send him a lifetime’s supply, If it means destroying rhe blood sucking leeches that the elite are. But I don’t know if he does.

Oh he’s a womanizer! Well if he is, it’s between him and his Creator and he will be held accountable. Provided he is.

This is not to offer a defence, it’s to illustrate the pettiness of our accusations.

Oh he’s arrogant! Damn right he is. He’s achieved more in one lifetime than many of us would achieve in 4.

Yes arrogance isn’t good and I’m sure he’s learning. But hey will it destroy Pakistan? In fact I think a great part of his success may actually be because he has such a high opinion of himself.

And so we slowly and gradually attack every part of this man. Why? Not because he’s bad. But because he may possibly upend everything that the elite and the privileged want to preserve.

Because he may destroy that entire system of power, privilege and patronage so assiduously and painstaking built up by the likes of Nawaz and Zardari. And in which we the privileged are full partners.

Many well meaning, sincere, honest and good souls joined him and  left.

Perhaps because they were unable to give or take the terrible toll and cut and thrust of politics in Pakistan. Perhaps not all left, but most did. Some because of huge overblown egos. Many misrepresented their past and current credentials.  Many came wide eyed, wearing rose tinted glasses, looking for heaven.

Sorry folks, wrong place. Politics is a dirty business, especially if you’re in serious opposition to the entrenched mafias of the status quo, not the I scratch your back and you scratch mine kind of politics of the PPP-PMLN mafia combine.

Because if you’re going to be part of a movement which threatens to break the existing order you better be ready!

Your business will be attacked.
Your interests will be attacked.
Your life will be attacked.
Your family will be attacked
Your reputation will be attacked.

So either you’re very very powerful and strong to withstand that for a long time or you go under or you leave. And like any organization, political parties have their internal power struggles. Some win some lose. It’s about impact and influence and results. PTI is no exception!

Of course Aleem Khan is an unsavory character. But is he an existential threat to Pakistan now? Imran may have made some mistakes and errors of judgement and if so, he will pay the price for his decisions. But are those really as terrible as they are made out to be?

I for one had and still have, a serious problem when the KPK government gave the handout to Sammy Sandwich. But Imran has a point. If we want to influence what is being taught in the Madrassahs, we need to have leverage on that decision. And what better than buy yourself a seat on the board? It’s a risky decision, fraught with consequences. But anybody got a better idea?

His KPK track record is better by miles then any predecessor government. He’s done a near miracle, in spite of and despite Khattak, that wily dyed in the wool traditional elitist politician.

But for heaven’s sake give Imran his due.

In 21 years he’s changed the political landscape of Pakistan by creating a third party in a two party system. And starting from absolute zero. Zilch.

In this journey, he has experienced the entire range of political options, and has become much more pragmatic and realistic about how to get into governance.

If his pragmatism leads to whole scale surrender of his political values, then lynch him. If he has been blindsided by some people then he will reap the consequences of his decisions.

But, for heavens sake, let’s wait and give him an opportunity.

This plea is especially to those who live comfortable lives in the snug confines of their homes, far from the terrible hopelessness of the poor and the marginalized and the dispossessed.

How many have been part and parcel of this man’s struggle and suffered? Very few.

The guy destroyed his marriage. His reputation is the target of all those who enrich themselves from the current system. Many also in his own party. People who have vested interests with the PMLN or PPP.

And then the “may na manoon” types. So if not Imran, then what? I ask. How will the system change? And there is this stupid incoherent silence and then a rant against him and the stupid mantra of “let democracy continue”. Yes by all means let’s keep getting the same wretched lot from the same wretched gutter!

I personally, cannot see Imran allowing any of his questionable team members, if they are, like JKT and Aleem Khan or others using their offices to indulge in corruption when in power.

And he’s not God, for God’s sake. He’s desperately trying to make do with what he has. And that’s not much to begin with.

We’re trying to kill the horse even before he’s at the starting line. Fie on us!

Let’s give Imran the things he clearly has. His courage and bravery. His financial incorruptibility and his unmatched passion, drive, determination and above all his unquestionable patriotism.

And for that alone he deserves a chance. So let’s give him that chance.

We are petty people. Very petty. Our egos overwhelm our good sense.We find fault in everything he does which reminds me of what Cassius said about Julius Caeser in Shakespeare’s drama.

*Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world Like a Colossus, and we petty men Walk under his huge legs and peep about To find ourselves dishonorable graves.* (Julius Caeser)

Maybe I’m wrong. But till he proves otherwise, I see no man upending this wretched and terrible system of elitism, except him, with all his faults!

And he will use the system to destroy the system.

Otherwise, as I’ve always said, it’s back to the stench and vomit and cancer of the Sharifs and the Zardari.

Your call, folks!

– Haider Mehdi