The return of Nawaz and Maryam – A short note!

By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi.

A non-establishment but very knowledgeable pigeon whispered in my ear that Nawaz, after the Avenfield judgement, had approached several quarters requesting that he and Maryam, and unsurprisingly no mention of Safdar Luggar buggar, be granted judicial relief from punishment and jail.

In return both will publicly renounce all forms of political and electoral politics and permanently live outside Pakistan.

The answer. We have nothing to do with the judicial process nor had or have any influence. Your decision to return or not return, seek relief and get it or not get it, and renounce politics is yours and yours alone!

So that’s that!

Senior voices in the PMLN are divided on their return.

One camp is against their returning.

They think a free Nawaz and Maryam, located in London, are far more potent and effective than in jail in Pakistan.

They argue that by being in London they will continue to have access to both Pakistani and International media, and use this access, to continue to hammer away at the Army and the Judiciary and protest their “victimhood”!

They also argue, that even if the PMLN loses this election, the fact that they are not in jail, gives their supporters hope that in a few years the situation might change and a good possibility of returning to Pakistan in triumph, like Benazir!

Those advising Nawaz not to return to Pakistan also advise that both Nawaz and Maryam get political asylum in the UK. They believe that by doing so they strengthen their case of being politically victimized in the Avenfield case and therefore saving their foreign assets from being seized and confiscated by any foreign government such as the UK, in line with the decision of the Pakistani courts.

Additionally, by staying out, also allows them to fight any case more effectively brought against them under the recently promulgated UK “Unexplained Wealth Orders” which asks people to explain their sources of wealth.

Here’s the link for those interested in this UK order

In summary this gives them a better chance of saving their ill-gotten wealth and assets, retain their freedom with access to media to continue to hammer away at the Army and the Judiciary and keep the flame alive of a possible triumphant return to Pakistan, at a future date.

The other group insists that Nawaz and Maryam come back and face the judicial consequences and even go to jail, if they have to.

They believe that like Zardari, both will emerge politically stronger and that a future judicial review of their cases may allow them to come back into mainstream politics with the focus on Maryam picking up the mantle, now having achieved the ultimate political badge of imprisonment!

They argue that if Nawaz and Maryam don’t return, the damage to the party and its morale will be irreparable and destroy any chances of a possible comeback, especially for Maryam.

They also believe that their return may generate a huge sympathy vote wave in PMLN’s favor, just before the election, and just enought to spoil Imran’s chances of an outright majority at the Center and in Punjab, with the field open for a coalition which may look more benignly at their case later, when in power.

When I asked about the “Kulsoom” factor, one pigeon said that if her condition is what’s being rumoured then by returning under such circumstances would result in a massive funeral, Ghaibaana Namaaz e Janazas all across the country and an even bigger synpathy vote wave.

Additionally this may thwart any plans by the authorities to either divert the flight to Islamabad or the possibility of heli lifting them from Lahore to avoid a tumultuous welcome, a possible serious law and order situation and a long procession from Lahore to Islamabad.

All covered, second by second, by local and international media!!

Because if the “Kulsoom” factor does play out, it will be very difficult for the authorities to divert the plane or heli lift them from Lahore, till the final rites are done!

So what will Nawaz and Maryam do?

Come back or stay away?

If I were him, and knowing how he cannot bear life in jail I would save my wealth, fight my unexplained wealth orders case, get political asylum and stay away.

And live to fight another day!

Or perhaps come himself and leave Maryam behind!

But who knows how the future unfolds.

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*

Some Pakistani TV Anchors: Monkeys with Machine guns!

Some Pakistani TV Anchors. Monkeys with a machine gun

By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi

I think many Pakistani TV anchors such as Arshad Sharif, Rauf Klasra, Abbassi etc and others who try to expose the ills of our society, are well meaning and keep people on their toes.

I think they’ve also done sterling work in exposing corruption and criminal activities.

But I also think they have gone grossly overboard and have no idea of the damage they inflict on their viewers by completely distorting issues and facts. Sometimes deliberately. Sometimes because they do not understand the art of anchoring.

There’s a huge difference in letting loose full-throated, highly subjective and very superficial opinions in a closed room social gathering vs sharing the same juvenile stuff on prime time, watched by hundreds of thousands.

They grossly lack training, understanding the role of the anchor and the actual art of anchoring, despite years in this business.

They are conceited, pompous, arrogant with inflated egos and even more inflated stupidity!

For them its all about “their opinions” their views” and they use the ownership of the mike to completely take over the discussion and out shout their guests.

For them it’s about generating as obnoxious a show as possible and deliberately berating and humiliating people to get higher ratings.

They don’t know how to question, nor do they know how to anchor.

The golden rule of anchoring is 20/80. Anchor speaks 20% and guest 80%.

In the case of Klasra and company its a show with just one perspective. Klasra’s. No one can question him. No one can challenge his rants. He just sits there mouthing everything that comes to his mind. Amir Mateen is much better.

Klasra is the classical sophisticated bhaand! Pugg uchaalo, muzza daykho!

Most of our anchors have very superficial insights of the subject and most times are usually ignorant and ill-informed. They do not research the subjective, do not offer tentative views and try to coax an answer and never attempt to also let audience hear the other side of the picture.

It’s their opinion or the onion!

On top of this they have very subjective opinions, a sharp tongue and a manner of questioning and offering their perspectives which makes a Lahori Badmash look like an angel!

They want to been as “tough guys” in the Tim Sebastian, Hard Talk mode, but embarrassingly expose their pettiness, immaturity and emotional imbalance and lack of upbringing and basic good manners.

While one can grill and, expose the guest’s double speak and ask the tough questions, but no one has any right under any professional journalistic training, rules, protocols to behave obnoxiously and become jury, judge and executioner and conduct a witch hunt they way Arshad or Klasra or their fellow Neanderthals appear to do.

It is embarrassing to see the quality of anchoring on display by these Idiots in the idiot box.

People like Arshad Sharif or Klasra have a highly inflated sense of their own brilliance and professionalism and clearly like the nouveau rich unable to handle their new-found wealth, these anchors and some others are unable to handle and deal with their public exposure and fame.

They begin to see themselves as the nation’s conscience guardians, which is extremely welcome but they do frequently fall flat on their faces, showing an uncouth, ill-mannered and highly questionable display of professional ethics and behaviours in the manner they go about their so-called business.

Their one-sided judgements, the manner of enquiry, the manner of questioning, whether against Nawaz or Imran or people they invite to their shows or others is deplorable, condemnable and shows a pettiness of mind, emotions and values.

They present half-baked rumours as facts. They present their own superficial opinions as deeply researched insights and most times as facts.

They present one-sided arguments as if it is the complete case and perspective.

They do not allow others to present their side of the picture and cut them off in mid sentence, using derisive language and derogatory tone and behaviour of a fish monger.

In a society with very strong libel laws, Arshad, Klasra and the like etc would either have been cooling their heels in jail or begging on the streets, having sold everything they owned to pay those they had public humiliated in their programs.

I look forward to seeing that day!

I don’t want to liken them to Monkeys with machine guns, totally out of control, but clearly they are making a pretty good effort to achieve that accolade and stature!


Here’s how I interview. I have no formal anchoring training or experience but I do believe the art is in the questioning. And if I ever do join this “august” fraternity, I would like to develop my approach along these lines.

I wish we had a Charlie Rose (sans the groping scandal) 🙂