Daring Greatly – “President Imran Khan”

 

by Syed Haider Raza Mehdi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As one friend put it.

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

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

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

So with this, here goes the Last Post!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s really what we want!

1. Rebuilding State Institutions.

2. Delivering Good Governance

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

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

And this is Imran’s big issue!

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

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

No one expects a miraculous economic turnaround in 1 year.

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

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

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

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

But we did expect one thing from Imran.

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

And in this he has failed miserably!

And it this which destroys all hope for revival.

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

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

The first is his weakness for flattery.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How does this kind of screw up happen?

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

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

And Imran just doesn’t get it.

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

Not the biryanis his team conjures up!

As I said in a recent tweet.

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

So what now!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CM Buzdar and CM Mahmood fall into this latter category!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And this is how we

1. Rebuild State Institutions.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Or the King proves me completely and very happily wrong!

Salaams and Prayers
Haider Mehdi

 Urdu translation of

“Daring Greatly – President Imran Khan”

-Haider Mehdi

ہمت مرداں۔ صدر عمران خان
سیّد حیدر رضا مہدی

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

عمران خان کا بھی یہی المیہ ہے۔

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

اس معاملے وہ بُری طرح ناکام رہا ہے۔

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

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

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

اس کی پہلی بڑی کمزوری خوشامد پسندی ہے۔

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

یہ گڑ بڑ کس طرح واقع ہوئی!

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

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

عمران بھی اس معاملے کی تہہ تک نہیں پہنچ سکا۔

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

تھنک ٹینک بریانی ٹیم کی طرح شعبدے نہیں دکھاتا۔

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

اب کیا کرنا ہوگا!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

یاد رہے کہ پاکستان کسی کی جاگیر نہیں۔

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi – 29th April,  2019

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

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

We discussed his questionable choice of electables to bring Tabdeeli.

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

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

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

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

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

The charge of being a Taliban sympathiser.

His plans for civil service reforms.

Criticism about the Peshawar BRT.

Review of CPEC projects.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buzdar, anyone?

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

Our hopes and prayers for Pakistan.

Salaams and Prayers.
Haider Mehdi

Hazara! Lambs to the slaughter and Imran’s Shame!

Syed Haider Raza Mehdi

They are said to have been part of the great Mongol hordes of Changez Khan as they swooped down from Central Asia into South Asia!

Now mostly living in the heartland of Afghanistan and contestably comprising berween 9% to 20% of Afghanistan’s population, the Hazaras as they are known have a history of being violently persecuted, because of their religous beliefs!

From being serfs and living in slave like conditions to the highest political offices in Afghanistan and an occasional high military office in Pakistan, Gen. Musa being one, these people have been over centuries been repeatedly subjected to persecution, violence and mass killings both in Afghanistan and in Pakistan, where they number about half a million, mostly in and around Quetta.

Converted to 12 Imam Shiaism during the Safavid rule in 16th Century Iran and living in predominantly Sunni Afghanistan and later Pakistan, they have been singularly targeted because of their religious beliefs and their distinctive physical features distinguishing them from non Hazaras!

Their targetted killings in Pakistan and of other Shias have been the natural consequence of the terrible, violent, obscurantist, exclusive, militant interpretation of Islam adopted by extremist groups, funded by petrodollars, mainstreamed by Gen. Zia ul Haq and violently propagated by militant preachers originating from the terror following the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan and the Saudi Iran proxy war, both in that calamitous year of 1979.

The Hazaras of all communities are the most vulnerable living in an extremely hostile environment in Quetta, Baluchistan, because of the extremist sectarian militant outfits that appear to operate with impunity in a province which in all manner of speaking has been under strict military control for over 20 years.

Hence it is extremely strange for such a terrible, tragic, cruel, heartbreaking incident to take place in supposedly the most militarized province and city of Pakistan.

Where is the State?

Where are the Security agencies?

Where is Prime Minister Imran Khan?

Where is the PM who would tweet and roar and shout at the then Prime Ministers for their indifference, their lack of empathy, their lack of sympathy,  their lack of courage and spine when the Hazaras were earlier targetted by sectarian terrorists?

And all our “brave” PM could come up with was a pitiful tweet? A Tweet?

He should be ashamed of himself!

Some say he was advised against travelling because it would be a security risk!

A security risk?

He should be ashamed of himself if he listened to this advice. He should have said “I’m going, you take care of security” boarded his plane and been there the same or next day.

What sort of PM are you Mr. Khan?

Where’s your courage?

Where’s your Spine?

If ever the Nation wanted you to grasp a leadership moment, it was now!

If nothing else, you could have helped wipe their tears and shared their sorrow!

What a fall, PM!

“A little piece of Heaven” in Pakistan

Syed Haider Raza Mehdi*

While the chattering, thumbing, typing, opinionated, full stomached, overly wealthy, overly stupid and ignorant, so called elite of this country bitches and moans every day on WhatsApp and Facebook in drawing rooms and meeting rooms, many angels quietly slog away at making a difference in the life of the extremely vulnerable, poor and most at risk, in Pakistan!

They impact the lives of the very very poor who belong to a socio economic status that perhaps may shame even the shameless.

Mohra Fatima is a small hamlet on the road to Chakwal, where a dedicated team of local and foreign qualified doctors have been providing free health care to people suffering from severe emotional and mental disabilities.

“80% would either commit suicide or kill somebody if they hadn’t been treated by us” says Dr. Shakil, Consultant Psychiatrist at Sussex Hospital, UK, the person behind this effort and now based in Pakistan.

I spent a day there a few weeks ago. What I saw would melt the hardest heart. These were people who were extremely poor and in great mental and emotional distress.

“Many were tied in chains by their families, because they didn’t know what was wrong and how to deal with them”.

“Then other doctors take advantage of them prescribing wrong medicines, keeping them hooked as potential earning assets, till these poor people run out of money, and either kill somebody, commitv suicude or end up in chains and die.”

“Pakistani Society is suffering from serious psycho -social toxicity. The violence and trauma we’ve suffered these last 40 years has corroded our society, destroyed families and normal social interaction. And the most impacted are the poor and the underprivileged who have no safety nets, financial, family, social and emotional”

How can we fix it, I asked? Is there a solution?

“Yes, we can.”

“We have to address this at the levels of our schools, colleges and universities. We have to equip our teachers on how to address this phenomenon, how to weave it into our teaching curriculum.  Federal and Provincial education authorities, Higher Education Commissions, University Vice Chancellors etc, should seek advice from people like us on how to weave this into our curriculums.”

“We must educate our political, public and private sector leaders and our military leaders about this terrible social bomb which is exploding all across our country.”

*”Institutions like the Civil Services Academy, the Pakistan Institute  for Parliamentary Services,  National Defence University, Staff College, Pakistan Military Academy, Police Training institutes, Pakistan Institute of Management, etc must get insights. We are also planning to establish an institute to take this forward!*”

What about children suffering from mental and emotional disorders?

“They really are the most at risk. Many are abused.  They are unable to participate and learn. They cannot become productive members of our society. So in a humble effort we’ve started a school, free of cost for such children.

I visited this school yesterday in Gulzar Colony, Rawalpindi and saw my little piece of heaven.

Children with severe disabilities being looked after, cared for and taught by people with hearts of gold, the patience of Hazrat Ayub and the virtues of Saints.

How do you support this?

“Our own funds, friends and family and well wishers.  One lady in the UK didn’t use her car for a month and biked to work, and then donated the fuel money she saved.”

“You don’t have to be wealthy to donate or care, just have to have a heart that cares!”

Any support from our government poverty alleviation organizations. BAIT UL MAL etc?

He just smiled and offered me a cup of tea!

*-Haider Mehdi*

Somewhere between….we grew up

Syed Haider Raza Mehdi

The following inspired by a Facebook post!

Somewhere between knowing a dear one will break your fall and knowing they were the cause, we grew up!

Somewhere between a sibling opening their hearts to closing them and their homes, we grew up!

Somewhere between dropping in unannounced and being welcomed with open arms to “you should have called” we grew up!

Somewhere between accepting a yes as a yes and then as a no or a maybe, we grew up!

Somewhere between open hearts and closed doors, we grew up!

Somewhere between getting up at 2 am to help a friend to “yaar may bohath busy hoon” we grew up!

Somewhere between real love to a pretentious “how lovely” we grew up!

Somewhere between unsuccessfully having to choose between clamouring relatives demanding we stay with them, when visiting another city, to a hesitant you should have stayed with us and to a cold room in a hotel or club, we grew up!

Somewhere between a dozen dinner invitations to a cold pizza in a hotel room, we grew up!

Somewhere between Khuda Hafiz and Allah Hafiz, we grew up! (Kind courtesy Jamil Janjua)

Somewhere between pithu garam and candy crush, we grew up!

Somewhere between a “Kulli Sawari” Tanga and a Careem, we grew up!

Somewhere between hope and hopelessness, we grew up!

And somewhere between everything and nothing, we grew up!

Releasing the Indian Pilot -Weakness of Wisdom?

Syed Haider Raza Mehdi

Did PM Imran Khan do the right thing in releasing the Indian Wing Commander in Pakistan’s custody?

Was it a sign of weakness or a statesman’s leadership act of great wisdom? Or was it something called the “weakness of wisdom”.  A wise act appearing like a weakness!

We can argue both perspectives with cogent arguments, very forcefully and sway the conclusion to our desired end.

But really, the biggest issue that should determine the label of, weakness or wisdom is whether both countries were ready for a war?

Conventional or Nuclear!

Whether this would have remained confined to short and limited engagements, as we saw, or quickly expanded to a larger, perhaps even a full scale military conventional engagement or even our worse nightmare, the  horrifying spectre of an existential nuclear conflict?

This, to me, is the defining narrative, and reality that confronted us these past few days.

More importantly both countries must have war gamed and scenario planned a spectrum of possible scenarios ranging from a “least likely to happen with no damage”, meaning that no country would attack the other and no damage would be inflicted on either side.

To the other extreme spectrum of a worst case scenario of “most likely to happen and worst outcome”. Which in this case would mean attacks and counter attacks by both countries, expanding to a larger conflict and leading to a suicidal nuclear war.

This latter scenario was clearly what both countries must have concluded.

It did appear for a heart stopping 24 hours that Modi’s brinkmanship or miscalculation, call it what you may, of pushing his luck and striking Pakistan with conventional missiles, especially after the public humiliation of the two downed planes and the captured pilot, may well have scripted through to Armageddon!

This would have been compounded by Pakistan’s clear intention communicated to India of a 3 to 1 counterstrike, which meant for every 1 strike by India, Pakistan would hit 3 targets.

And thus the fires of hell would have rained on both countries as they initially unleashed their conventional arsenals and then their nuclear.

So where and how did this slide of insanity down the slope of a  nuclear holocaust stop?

Perhaps two things. And one can debate which came first or had more impact.

But clearly the decision to release the pilot greatly mollified the terribly bruised Indian ego, humiliated in their own country and outside.

And secondly then of course Big Brother USA who stepped in and said. Ok guys, that’s enough.

But I think, and this is a pure assessment, a third factor may also have played a role. I think the Indian military leadership may have, and I say may have been reluctant to follow Modi’s midnight madness.

It is in all that one can safely conclude that PM Imran Khan may have averted a very likely nuclear disaster by demonstrating great sagacity, tremendous magnanimity and most importantly, brilliant statesmanship in releasing the pilot!

We’re not out of the woods. The Indians are still smarting. They are angry and hurt. They feel insulted, humiliated.

Despite Modi’s putting up a brave face, he’s clearly got egg all over his face. This is not to gloat over their discomfort or misadventure, which I would love to do, but simply to state the obvious. They screwed up, royally!

But, tragically these events also showed how isolated we are, today.

Not one country, including *Taller then the Mountains and Deeper then the Oceans, friend forever BFF China, so called brotherly Ummah Muslim countries, Saudi Arabia and UAE, the latter host to “Guest of Honour, Sushma Swaraj, what a kick in our backsides, except Turkey, condemned the Indian attacks and pointed at Kashmir as the root cause.*

Not one!

*Our Foreign Policy is in tatters. Let’s not kid ourselves folks!*

All these recent foreign junkets by the PM and the Army Chief, and the chest thumping PR of how successful this person did this thing and that thing and saved the day etc etc are, in my opinion, in the final analysis, complete foreign policy failures.

Yes we did manage to get some money, but also a kick on our faces and on our backsides, with UAE’s invitation to Sushma as Guest of Honour, perhaps alongside “et tu Brute” go down in history as another most sad act of treachery, given the recent bonhomie between Pakistan and UAE!

But here is the light at the end of this dark tunnel. The silver lining. The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Name all the cliches one can but this truly is *Pakistan’s best opportunity to cleanse our Augean stables of all the filth and crap we’ve collected and nurtured for decades.*

Call them what you may. Strategic Assets. Non State Actors. We don’t need them! We must root them out mercilessly or they will be responsible for our destruction, God Forbid!

And the World, rightly or wrongly, now just doesn’t have the patience to listen to our stories.

Beware the proverbial Ides of March has yet to come! Let’s fix our house before it’s too late! It’s only then that Kashmir will get a willing ear and we may have another friend or two!

*-Haider Mehdi*

The Modi Miscalculation!

Syed Haider Raza Mehdi

Modi had 3 reasons to resort to this brinkmanship by either orchestrating Pulwama as a false flag operation or taking advantage of a completely indigenous occupied Kashmiri action in their fight for self determination and freedom!

1. Gain Political mileage for April elections.

2. Tell the West that Pakistan continues to sponsor militancy in occupied Kashmir.

3. Hence, Kashmir has been militarized and therefore we, India have to crack down harshly with an Iron fist. And when we do, please don’t accuse us of human rights abuses, as western governments and organizations have been doing so lately.

But he grossly miscalculated Pakistan’s response, as we did in Kargil, as well as the uncontrollable hype created by the Indian media. The latter putting him in a very difficult situation of now taking action. Pretty much damned if I do and damned if I don’t.

So he did, hoping the “non-action on a deserted hill side will not provoke Pakistan to retaliate”!

But the reaction was sharp, swift and disastrous for India and its mad jingoism and media optics.

The damage to their collective national ego is colossal. The two downed aircrafts and the two captured pilots do not show themassive mourning that’s hit the Indian Nation!

What was planned as a cake walk by Modi has turned into a terrible PR disaster and an embarrassment and humiliation of olympian proportions.

So he either suffers the terrible humiliation of keeping quiet after receiving a Pakistani backhander and kick in the curlies or he responds to save some face! My sense is that the chances of an Indian action are more than not!

And it is this Indian retaliation which is worrisome because here is where things can go out of control.

The most desirable action by the Indians is call it a cease fire. But it seems that there are greater chances that the Indians will try and sneak across the LOC to attack an isolated Pakistani border post and try and bring back a Pakistani officer or two as captive, to even the score of the two Indian pilots in Pakistani custody and try and redeem the public humiliation they’ve suffered.

This can escalate to a much more large scale ground attack supported by Artillery, Amour and Air in Azad Kashmir or the Shakargarh salient, our most vulnerable defended area because of its peculiar geography.

We have to be vigilant!

They won’t give up easily with all this egg on their faces and the abject humiliation they’ve suffered.

*- Haider Mehdi*

The TLP Case Judgement!-A personal view!

Syed Haider Raza Mehdi

While directionally, I think the judgement is powerful and correct, but also sadly, the obvious biases of His Lordships against Imran and the Army are there for everyone to see and read, as well!

We were and still are in exceptional circumstances which required exceptional responses.

In the future when we have robust and strong civilian institutions, strong political institutions, strong governance structures and implementation architectures, the military’s footprint will and should recede automatically.

We can of course argue till the cows come home about the chicken and egg.

Who is responsible for our Mess?

Martial Laws or incompetent and corrupt politicians?

Was it the first Martial law, which opened the floodgates of subsequent ones, the consequence of political causes and corruption or was it vice versa?

My personal view supports the former.

In my view, our Martial Laws are directly and indirectly responsible for the kind of corrupt political leaders that acquired power in Pakistan and the consequential governance mess, loot and plunder and weakened civilian institutions!

BUT and this a big BUT, like it or not, the Army, today, is THE ONLY strong, disciplined surviving institution and hence has progressively filled the vacuum left by weakened civilian institutions.

Many, as stated earlier, through their own creation, directly or indirectly!

They will only vacate, recede and reduce their footprint as we start to strengthen our civilian and political institutions.

To that extent the judgement is futuristic, directionally correct and powerful.

But the language used in penning the judgement betrayed the Honourable Judge’s very obviously bias!

While covering a large historical canvas from 2007 to 2018, the Honourable Judge did not deem it fit to even give a passing mention to the loot, plunder and rape wreaked on this hapless nation by the Zardari and Sharif administrations and to the total destruction and havoc they deliberately wreaked on civilian institutions!

And that is why this terribly weakened civilian edifice gave the military a power vacuum which they filled! And hence the heightened and very visible and prominent role of institutions like the ISI and MI etc.

They did not feel the need to mention the sedition of a Husain Haqqani, living in the President’s house, the then President harbouring a person charged with high treason, which caused serious concerns about National security.

They did not deem it appropriate to even give a token passing mention of the loot of Nawaz, the rape by Zardari. No Sir! Not at all!

It is as if the Army was the cause of all our ills. As if we lived in Lala land under Zardari and Nawaz, these 11 years, flowing with rivers and honey.

Of course the military has overextended itself.

Of course it must confine itself to its mandate.

But for now it’s in the saddle in areas it should not be. Like it or not!

Therefore it’s a journey and we will get there! But it will not happen overnight.

For now, our enemies are out to defame and weaken our Army, knowing, sadly that they really are our “last man o woman standing”!

Get them, for now, and you get Pakistan!

We must not fall into this trap of weakening the Army, sowing doubts in our own youth, to further our politics as Nawaz and Zardari are doing. Or as India and Afghanistan are doing, including Ashraf Ghani.

We must not fall into the trap of furthering those who fan the flames of conflict and sedition as in PTM, playing and preying on genuine grievances!

We must work towards strengthening our civilian institutions.

And my request to our current and future military leadership. Please do everything you can to strengthen civilian institutions and reduce your footprints in areas where you can, so others in the civilian space can breathe, stretch and grow.

Let’s not forget that the peace and freedom all of us enjoy today, including the freedom our Honourable Judges enjoy to write this judgement is because of the blood and tears of those whose dying breaths kept the flag fluttering when the terrorists were 100 kms from Islamabad!

Let none of us ever forget those sacrifices.

We sleep well today, because they sleep forever!

Salaams and Prayers.
Haider Mehdi

The Rumour Mill!

Syed Haider Raza Mehdi

Three huge rumours are doing the rounds. In my opinion, all quite serious, worrying and not good for the State of Pakistan.

*Rumour 1*Nawaz Sharif is being facilitated “out of Pakistan” under that terrible, now so cliched term, made famous by Gen. Musharraf, an NRO.

*Few questions, if true!*

Who is facilitating this and to what end?

Why should a criminal who has looted and plundered this country, alongwith his cronies, and his daughter, be the beneficiary of an NRO and escape their punishment and jail time?

Why should this criminal not be treated like any other criminal and left to rot in a jail cell, he fully deserves?

Why should any person or persons or any institution in their wisdom not allow due process and in the “interest of the country” deem it wise to let this man and his daughter off the hook?

One sincerely hopes this rumour is untrue!

If there’s even a remote possibility of some backdoor engagement, then this Nation looks at CJ Khosa to not allow this cataclysmic tragedy to happen, irrespective from where it emanates.

*Rumour 2*
A one year extension for the soon retiring COAS Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa (Nov 2019).

And a variation.

Increasing the Army Chief’s tenure to 4 years from the existing 3 years. This is to be implemented with the current incumbent, Gen. Bajwa who will consequently become the first beneficiary and get another year on the job!

If both true, then here’s a brief comment. Gen. Bajwa has been a very balanced Army Chief. He is a down to earth person, very humble, no pretentions and this has been manifested in the cool and calm manner he has handled his ship. He has a lot to do with Pakistan’s current internal and external stability. Of course he has detractors and one can, may and should fault him where he faltered. But he has played a very good solid, positive and productive innings. And that really is his legacy.

After over 40 years of great service to this institution and to the country, he, I am sure, even if offered an extension, will not accept and retire gracefully. And in my opinion, an extension should also not be offered.

If there is talk of increasing the Army Chief’s tenure from 3 to 4, then this should be applied from the time the new Chief is appointed and not during Gen. Bajwa’s incumbency to avoid the impression of changing an institutional policy to oblige a person.

The institution is and should always be bigger than the person. And from what I know of and about Gen. Bajwa, he will insist that this new policy be made effective for the new Chief being appointed in November, 2019.

*Rumour 3*
The recent busting of a major spy ring involving very senior people. If true, they must be punished publicly and let not the case be hushed up in the interest of *”institution ki baysthee ho gee!”*

-Haider Mehdi

25 December thoughts – Wither Accountability in Pakistan?

By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi

3 times former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif convicted to 7 years imprisonment yesterday on his birthday!

A damning JIT investigation report submitted in the Supreme Court against a former President, his sister, his cronies and that incredibly colorful maverick, Malik Riaz of the wheels on file fame.

Quite a day!

It’s wonderful to see this happen.

Wonderful to see the highest and the mightiest in the political realm facing accountability, however imperfect.

But its a start. A journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step! So there’s much to celebrate

Wonderful to see how these looters and plunderers, conjured and conspired and concocted amazingly complex webs of financial deceit and subterfuge to route, moneylaunder and hide their ill-gotten wealth.

Wonderful to see how the scores of good men and women of this great country, diligently and painstakingly attempted to unravel this mass of deceit so marvellously planned and laid out by Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari through their children, cronies and henchmen!

Wonderful to see that perhaps for once the corrupt, not yet caught, may perhaps be having a sleepless night or two.

Wonderful to hear the current PM vowing not to relent on holding the corrupt accountable.

And so are these indicators of a better tomorrow?

Are we headed towards a time where everyone faces the guillotine?

Can we hopefully see a future where corrupt and crooked generals, judges and other “protected species” will also be arrayed in civilian courts like Nawaz and others and not receive the kids gloves treatment they get from their own institutions?

Why shouldn’t a serving or retired General or a sitting or retired Justice of the Superior Judiciary have a NAB reference filed against him or her and like Shahbaz Sharif, Saad Rafique, Fawad Hassan Fawad, Ahad Cheema etc, be summarily arrested, sent on judicial remand and interrogated?

Why shouldn’t these people face the full force of public accountability in a NAB accountability court under the glare of 24/7 media spotlight and talk shows, if they are charged with corruption and corrupt practices?

Why shouldn’t their families face the same public humiliation of being spouses, children, siblings, parents and relatives of a corrupt and crooked military officer or a judge?

Why should these people be held accountable *”by their own internal system of accountability?”*

This is a common argument one hears from former military colleagues or the arguments one receives from friends in the judiciary. Oh our internal accountability processes are very robust and strong!

If that be so, I say, then please show me an Air Marshal, a Rear Admiral a General, a Justice of a Hight Court or the Supreme Court who has been indicted, convicted and sent to jail when in service or even after retirement for corruption and corrupt practices?

Admiral Mansoor ul Haq being the one dishonourable exception who was tried and convicted under the NAB law and not by the Navy’s internal accountability processes! Though he was arrested by Naval Intelligence!

So why haven’t we seen more such cases?

My friends in the Army talk about, and that too in hushed whispers about *”that general and this general “sent home without benefits”. Or “so and so general paid back x amount, and has been “prematurely retired”.*

What nonsense! Why aren’t these corrupt crooks not publicly tried, convicted and sent to jail?

Oh because it will negatively affect the morale of the Army, is the incredible answer, I receive from people who one would safely categorize as being certified sane!

Effect the morale of the Army negatively because they caught a General with grubby fingers, his hands in the till and held him accountable, I ask again, incredulously?

And how may I ask with what perverted logic you make this claim?

Oh because the young officers and troops will lose faith in the system and this will greatly affect military discipline and morale if they find out that our leaders are corrupt!

SubhanAllah. Masha Allah. Wah! Wah! Wah!

It’s quite amazing that in a predominantly Muslim society where personal accountability, integrity and honesty are its most fundamental tenets, there is this perverted logic of defending the guilty in not being punished publicly.

Let me warn these simple souls that if they continue to not hold their guilty accountable and publicly and in the same manner as we have started to do with our politicians and civil servants, we will destroy the institution!

If we do not make an example of all the generals, serving or retired of corruption and corrupt practices, in time this great institution will be as corrupt as any other and headed for a disaster.

And woe betide the day that this institution crumbles!

I’m not familiar about how many High Court or Supreme Court judges have been found guilty of corruption and corrupt practices, arrested from their offices, sent on judicial remand, interrogated, convicted and sent to jail?

I’m not even familiar with how many judges have been found guilty of corruption and corrupt practices by their own accountability forum, the Supreme Judicial Council?

By I do know that the numbers are dismally low!

Why shouldn’t these people, found guilty of corruption and corrupt practices, be stripped of their ranks, titles, privileges and serve rigorous imprisonment like common criminals, which they are?

Let us remember that any departmental or institutional accountability rules or processes are subservient to the law of the land!

No military process of punishing the guilty or Supreme Judicial Council proceedings can and or should override or be superior to the accountability laws that deal with corruption and corrupt practices.

The NAB law MUST bring under its purview of corruption and corrupt practices, all serving and retired personnel of the Armed Forces and the Superior Judiciary, and the laws applied to them in the same impartial manner as is applied to other segments of society.

If Allah Can Hold his Prophets Accountable.

If He can Hold Humanity Accountable.

If Caliphs can be held publicly accountable.

If Prime Ministers and Presidents can be held publicly accountable.

If Civil Servants and businesspeople can be held publicly accountable.

Why can’t Judges and Generals be held publicly accountable?