The Battle for Pakistan’s Soul!

The Battle for Pakistan’s Soul!

By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How low have they fallen?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Haider Mehdi

*A Postscript -The Army isn’t wearing Trousers

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

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

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

Comparing Imran Khan and Nawaz Sharif!

Comparing Imran Khan and Nawaz Sharif!

-Syed Haider Raza Mehdi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Imran has singlehandedly changed the politics of Pakistan.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And yet we compare this man to Imran.

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

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

– Haider Mehdi

“Alea iacta est” Your Lordships, The Die is Cast!

“Alea iacta est”  Your Lordships, The Die is Cast!

By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi

With these famous words Julius Caesar on January 10, 49 B.C, crossed the Rubicon river in Northern Italy in defiance of the Senate and began his long civil war.

Today both phrases, “the die is cast” and “crossing the Rubicon” symbolically represent “a point of no return”.

Has the Supreme Court cast the die and crossed the Rubicon in convicting Nehal Hashmi? To many they have. To others, more skeptical, this may be just a more serious and threatening warning shot across Nawaz’s bows to desist him and his daughter and other courtiers like Talal etc from further criticism and just stop short of awarding a similar judgement as Nehal’s!

Just for context.

Our Superior Judiciary doesn’t boast a very glorious and honourable past of courageous acts or stands against tyrants and crooks. Time and again it has bowed, bended, swayed, sometimes willingly, sometimes unwillingly, at times being bought, at times threatened and cowed into submission. And always given the OK to our Men on Horseback!

It has the dishonorable honour of turning against its own in the infamous case of the Supreme Court coup lead by a Nawaz minion Saeed uz Zaman Siddiqui, who turned against his own sitting Chief Justice, that most honourable and dignified personage Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah. History records their legacies very differently.

Then we have had the PCO and non PCO judges, the Iftikhar Chaudhry episode, the Dogar Supreme Court etc etc.

Sufficeth to say that this institution has had its days of running with the hares and hunting with the hounds, meekly acquiesing to the powerful and the mighty.

Justice Khosa quoted from The Godfather in his earlier minority judgement in the Panama case. But we must also remember that there existed and still exists a very tight close and evil mafia like nexus between the bench and the bar in Pakistan. It’s like a club where both scratch each other’s backs, suck the money and blood from the poor and the hapless, unfortunate enough to fall prey to the judicial system. Judges who were partners with lawyers from the same chambers stage a macabre hypocrtical drama in the courtrooms everyday. For a drama it is, while the hapless public looks on trying to make a sense of the never ending stay orders, the endless dates, the 15 minute rushed hearings, the hearings that never take place, and the lawyers and the court staff milking the litigants. Ask me. I know. Having run from pillar to post, as have many others reading this, completely helpless, held hostage by the Judicial Mafia!

But in recent times the Supreme Court has redeemed it’s honour in ways that one couldn’t even contemplate, let alone expect. CJ Iftikhar Chaudhry, to his everlasting credit, and perhaps his only real credit, was able to snatch away the administrative power of the EXECUTIVE to appoint judges to the Superior Judiciary, and in that one act he has changed the destiny of this Institution. And for this the legal fraternity owes him an everlasting debt for conjuring this miracle!

Thank God for this miracle, that we have witnessed, perhaps for the first time in our history, the crooked and the corrupt occupying our highest office being caught by the scruff of their necks, while in office, and meted justice for their crimes.

The Supreme Court judges clearly have a spine that I for one didnt think existed. But the events of the past year or so has changed all that. This dramatic change has shocked everbody. Some with joy others devastated! Especially their fraternity in the bar and many others used to the spineless lot of the past.

In a strange way the Supreme Court has rebelled against their own community in asserting their independence and the bar is incensed at what they consider a “betrayal”.

The shocked silence and failure of all the bar councils across the length and breadth of Pakistan in standing up for the bench against the daily slander by Nawaz and co is testimony to this deduction.

This silence of the Bar councils who should be celebrating this “born again Supreme Court” speaks volumes of their professional integrity and values and where their loyalties lie.

And the one council that spoke up, the Karachi Bar Council, is actually planning to go on strike to protest Nehal Hashmi’s conviction and sentencing. Subhan Allah!

And this is where the Supreme Court must display its spine again, without fear or favour, without being blackmailed or being threatened. We cannot afford to give in now and compromise or be again browbeaten into submission.

Your Lordships! Now that the die has been cast and the Rubicon crossed with Nehal’s conviction and sentencing, the Nation and Justice expects you to complete the job you started with him.

Not convicting Nawaz, Maryam, Talal and Saad Rafiq and others guilty of the same crime of defaming the Court, would be a travesty of justice. There are already voices, not mine, saying that Nehal got this harsh punishment because he is a Muhajir and Urdu speaking! And the others being Punjabis will be spared and let off with a gentle wrap on the knuckles “in the interest of the State and public order” etc etc.

Well, Your Lordships, in all humility, since I have no intentions to join Nehal, either the Honourable Court shouldn’t have convicted him, which I and the vast majority think you should have, and thereby set the precedent which then leaves the Honourable Court very little room to forgive the others.

Howrver, if for some unearthly reason and in your wisdom your Honourable Lordships were to let Nawaz and company off the hook, it’ll be a resounding slap on your own faces, on the Court, on Pakistan and on Justice.

Nawaz, Maryam, Talal, Danyal, Saad Rafiq and others must also be punished as has Nehal.

If you do not, Pakistan will face the serious consequences of this abject surrender by the Honourable Court, however beautifully or artfully your Lordships may pen your poetic travesty.

The Nation is watching, Your Lordships!

You have done much to redeem the honour of this your institution and of this nation. Much more remains to be done!

-Haider Mehdi

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

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

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

*By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi.*

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And the above is not a deduction but a fact.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The solution.

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

Several key changes in the electoral laws will help.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who will do all of this and how?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is not a prophecy but a considered conclusion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And then don’t cry for me, Pakistan!

-Haider Mehdi

Nawaz Sharifs “Saudi NRO”

Nawaz Sharifs “Saudi NRO”

By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi

Disclaimer: This is a perspective based on some unsubstantiated claims, some circumstantial evidence and some deductions.

Apparently the only NRO offered to The Sharif’s by the Saudis stands for “No Refunds Offered”.

From what I’ve heard and been told, unsubstantiated of course as no one’s privy to the discussions, but based on current circumstantial evidence and some whispers, the Sharifs are being questioned about their wealth in Saudi Arabia and it’s source.

This follows a similar pattern, apparently earlier done with former PM of Bangladesh, Khaleda Zia, who has allegedly signed over several billion dollars of her wealth to the Saudi Exchequer, because she was unable to substantiate the source of her wealth and assets she had in Saudi Arabia.

The Sharifs, as is now fairly well known, have been using Saudi Arabia as their “money laundering clearing house” for quite some time.

Most of their ill gotten funds, plundered from Pakistan were routed to Saudi Arabia from other Gulf countries, especially UAE and Qatar and channeled into their accounts in Saudi Arabia. From there, as the story goes, these funds made their way to the UK and whenever required, routed back to Pakistan as gift transfers by his sons to him.

This was a really neat and tidy operation till things started to unravel. The biggest loss was the death of King Abdullah, their patron in chief and the subsequent coming into power of MBS who was unencumbered by any past relationships with or obligations to the Sharifs.

If anything MBS, as I’ve been told, has a very poor opinion of them, and is also terribly displeased with Nawaz, in particular, for NOT delivering on his commitment to provide troops for MBS’s Yemen misadventure, scuttled by the Army’s refusal to do so.

Qatar is also a factor. A substantial part of the Sharifs wealth in recent years has originated by awarding contracts to Qatari companies fronted by the effervescent Saif ur Rahman and Qatari Prince Jassem, the author of the two infamous Qatari letters showing Nawaz’s money trail during his hearing by the Supreme Court of Pakistan in the Panama case.

The Saudis and especially MBS would love to squeeze this particular portion of the Sharifs wealth.

So Nawaz was the brother who was “summoned” to explain the sources and means of the Sharifs wealth in Saudi Arabia. Apparently he got cold feet, given the recent arrest and incarceration of several hundred princes, including Prince Waleed Bin Talal, who has reportedly signed over 95% of his wealth to the Saudi Exchequer.

So the younger Sharif was sent, Nawaz excusing himself due to some very “important political commitments” in Pakistan. Some say the meeting between the NSA with Nawaz Sharif was also in the same context, apparently to discuss eventualities. Unsubstantiated though!

After being given an all clear by Shahbaz he’s also flown to Saudi Arabia to explain his wealth. The apparent inevitable end is that he will be signing off a substantial if not his entire wealth to the Saudis.

Now this is one heck of a story, if true.

And if it’s our standard NRO then boy oh boy are we in trouble and is the Army in even bigger trouble for allowing or facilitating this.

If Gen. Bajwa by any stretch of expediency or compromise does this, he would have signed a death knell for Pakistan and himself and his institution. So beware!

– Haider Mehdi

The General’s Visit to the Senate!

The General’s Visit to the Senate!

By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi.

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

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

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

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

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