Tread carefully Khan saheb! A short note!

 

 

By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi – 27 July, 2019

Khan saheb,

Our key challenges are

1. Economic recovery so our people can get relief from back breaking inflation, business confidence is restored, industry is revived, exports and taxes increase and foreign direct and local investments restart.

2. Rebuilding and strengthening state institutions and improving governance. This also means reducing corruption and holding crooks accountable. But this also does not mean we use heavy handed and harsh measures to crack down on political dissenters and low life’s, however third rate they may be. This also means the delivery of quality services to our citizens! Health, Education, Employment, Safety and Security etc!

3. Reforming the Judiciary and law enforcement agencies so our poor can get quick and real justice.

4. Strengthening the Executive and ensuring the Army’s influence is limited to its defined security related roles. So we’re not headed towards a dark dystopian, fascist future. This is a hugely polarizing phenomena in Pakistan even amongst your supporters!

5. Rebuilding our relationships with our neighbours.

6. Reforming our electoral and governance system to allow people of competence, skills, subject matter expertise into positions of governance, power, policy making and legislating!

This is crucial so that you and future administrators are not held hostage by the small corrupt coteries from which we elect our lawmakers and cabinets under the garb of parliamentary democracy! Something quite unsuited to us.

So that we have professionals making laws and policies and overseeing and managing public sector institutions with professional expertise.

So that Pakistan is saved from the “Elite Captured” claws of this small bunch of corrupt rich and powerful!

So we forever bury the Sharifs, the Bhuttos, Zardaris, Asfandyars, Fazlur Rehman’s and who they represent!

This in a nutshell is what we need, Khan saheb!.

Please do not open too many fronts to take your eyes off these goals.

Do not take on others Estates like the media. Now is not the time and place for this battle.

Like the rest of our society our media is also like a Mafia. Yes, they’ve been bought over by the corrupt mafias of the Zardaris and the Sharifs. Yes they must be held responsible through strong libel laws and strict punishnents!

But do not allow the kind of media optics and very poor handling of arresting and handcuffing a 78 year old journalist, on charges as flaky as a snowflake, despite his questionable character and third class attributes.

Do not allow the opposition to get to you, upset you, rile you with personal attacks and and use of words like “selected”. If they do, they’ve succeeded. Because it takes you away from fixing Pakistan.

Because our entire institutional infrastructure is dead, dysfunctional, corrupt, inefficient, ineffective, very weak, the task is huge, complex and very challenging.

But if anyone can begin to tackle it, its you, Imran.

You cannot afford to waste this great opportunity for the sake of Pakistan.

Tread carefully, Khan saheb!

Not fearfully, but carefully!

Salaams and Prayers
Haider Mehdi

I want to write about another piece of Heaven

I want to write about another piece of Heaven!
By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi – 4 May, 2019

I was so tempted to write about Nawaz’s bail rejection; Shahbaz’s Great Escape ; Maryam’s ascent to the throne (nearly); The sacking of the State Bank Governor and the FBR Czar.

Was itching to comment on PTI’s 23 Anniversary, where a message by a couple of the new spineless minions, who’ve taken over the party was delivered to Hamid Khan on the morning of the event to not attend the event, as his presence may offend King Khan, because of Hamid Khan’s views about his new “Deputy PM” Jehangir Tareen.

A resounding slap on the face of Saifullah’s Niazi’s subsequent high sounding speech on the occasion!

I even contemplated writing a note, following the recent DGISPR presser, on why the ISPR must relook and review how it articulates and manifests the perspective of the Army Chief, the Institution of the Army, the Government and Pakistan without having guns being fired at them and consequently causing great damage to their own credibility, that of their Chief, Gen. Bajwa, the Institution of the Army, the Political government, Imran and Pakistan.

Weakening all!

I so wanted to write why key decision makers and senior leaders in the military will find great merit and value in regularly, frequently and, proactively seeking perspectives and opinions that are very controversial, contrarian, thought through, analytical and insightful but aligned to our National interests, and most importantly very different to their’s, rather than only those they hear in their own “echo chambers” with everyone singing from the same music sheet!

I also so wanted to share my insights with the Army’s leadership that perhaps the greatest service they could do for this country and also atone for their many sins of omission and commission, past and present, is to help build capacity in our civilian public sector institutions transferring their own brilliant best practices, processes and systems onto the civilian institutional infrastructure.

They could help build capacity in the Establishment Division, Foreign Office and Key Ministries of Finance, Power, Petroleum (Oil and Gas), Information, Planning and Development and Commerce, all critical for future growth and success, by instituting an MS Branch type of system which delivers a very effective and transparent system of performance management, postings, transfers, promotions, punishment etc.

I so wanted to write why, despite his monumental blunders, his ignorance, his inexperience, his incompetence, his narcissism, arrogance and hubris, his complete lack of competence in selecting the right people for the right job, Imran must still be fully supported by all of us, to succeed for the sake of Pakistan.

Supported, so the wolves of the Houses of Sharif and Zardari and the interests they represent are buried under six feet of political earth, never to return and God Forbid, continue their terrible loot and plunder!

I so wanted to write that this could be done by “someone” getting people of competence and integrity around Imran, in place of the vast majority of extremely incompetent and in many cases also corrupt Special Assistants and Advisers and Cabinet Members he currently has. This coupled with his own inexperience results in the poor decisions he has been making. He has to be made to get rid of many and bring in new ones. One current Special Assistant, earlier rejected by Imran, to head a government media organization because of his “colorful” past in a similar role, because Imran couldn’t afford to have his government’s credibility scarred, now “manages” Imran’s media engagements.

I so wanted to comment on the cringing feeling I get watching Fawad Chaudhry chair meetings of scientific organizations attended by scientists who must be wondering the reasons behind this terrible punishment being inflicted on them and Pakistan’s scientific landscape, by King Khan!

I so wanted to write about the Punjab CM Buzdar, who in the words of a very close insider says the following about Buzdar

“He (Buzdar) has bought the (power) bullshit hook line and sinker, he now wants all of us to do baait on his hands. Not for ourselves but in order to make a difference in our ministries we will either choose to do so or spit on his face. Choice is ours. The biggest problem is, we are now in the place we have wanted to be to make a difference. Are we going to let his ego get in our way or will we overcome our own egos and March on?

March on, I advised!

So its now King Buzdar, in Punjab, who King Khan insists on continuing with!

But none of this.

I want to write why, despite all of the above, despite Imran’s follies, despite the ISPR’s ham handed heavy handedness and communication indescretions, Pakistan will unleash its Potential and become a great Nation!

Here is why!

I want to write about a person and an organization who has impacted the lives of 33 lac (3.3 million) very poor people, by giving Rs. 80 Billion in INTEREST FREE small micro credit loans, through a network of 817 offices, in over 400 cities, towns and villages spread all over Pakistan, employing 7000 of the most dedicated, committed and awesome people, I’ve ever come across in my life!

I want to write about an organization which has unleashed a near and quiet revolution in our rural heartlands through some of the most effective community participatory models, I have seen, uplifting them not just economically, but socially, culturally and behaviourally!

I’ve personally experienced two such “model villages” funded through the philanthropic magnaminity of a Media Mogul!

I want to write about an organization which does not distinguish between class, colour, creed, sect, gender, ethnicity in who they employ and who they help.

I want to write about an organization which uses the many Houses of Allah, be they Mosques, Churches, Mandars to engage with the poor communities they serve and help!

I want to write about an organization which disburses interest free “Liberation Loans” to the most deprived segments of our society, handcuffed and shackled by “Money Lenders” charging interests ranging from 100% to 300% annually.

No longer is this the proverbial money lender from a particular ethnic group, but mostly women who now control this evil!

One woman money lender when contacted over the phone so that her money could be returned, (she was charging 150% interest) was told “wo abhee Ithaykaaf may bayhtee haen”!

I want to write about an organization whose board of directors and Executive Director do not draw a single paisa from the funds of the organization! Who’s administrative and operating costs do not exceed 7% to 8 %.

I want to write about an organization which has collected and disbursed millions and millions of clothes to the poor and the needy!

I want to write about an organization which employs transgenders to give them a fair chance in life!

I want to write about an organization that has used its Rs.18 billion credit pool nearly five fold to disburse over Rs. 80 billions in interest free loans.

I want to write about an organization which is visited by research teams from Harvard and Columbia to study and understand this remarkable interest free poverty alleviation phenomena.

I want to write about an organization which started with Rs. 10,000, 18 years ago and has now disbursed over Rs. 80 billion. And today, is the world’s largest interest free poverty alleviation organization!

I want to write about an organization which is inspired and hence implements and emulates the core principle of “Muakhat” of Riasat e Medina of our Holy Prophet PBUH!

I want to write about an event planned by this organization in early Ramzan, 2019 to disburse over Rs. 2 Billion in micro finance, interest free loans to over 77,000 poor people, 20,000 alone in the Badshahi Mosque and the rest in mosques, churches and mandars all across Pakistan, in one single day at the same time!

I want to write about this organization which has invited King Khan to this event and have yet to hear from His Highness or his Rasputins!

I want to write about this organization which has committed to build 1 million houses for the poor as part of the PM’s Naya Pakistan Housing Program, if the government funds them with Rs. 50 Billion, and then also promises to return the entire amount back to the government in 4 years!

I want to write about Dr. Amjad Saqib and Akhuwath!

And that is why, because of pieces of Heaven like them and thousands of others, Pakistan will succeed!

Salaams and Prayers
Haider Mehdi

In conversation with Ehsan Ali Malik, CEO, Pakistan Business Council

Assalaam Alaykum,

Posted below is the first in a series of interviews, also on my Youtube Channel

These are with subject matter specialists and experts of Pakistan. In a wide ranging conversation with Ehsan Ali Malik, CEO of Pakistan Business Council, Pakistan’s largest business advocacy group we discussed the challenges and solutions facing Pakistan, especially possible solutions on how to kick start Pakistan’s economy and industry.

Should we go to the IMF? What has undermined local industry and possible solutions? Why have countries like Bangladesh and Vietnam sped ahead of Pakistan? How to broaden the Tax base, improve exports, reduce imports? CPEC and its impact; Kick-starting the Agriculture sector. What measures can be taken to generate employment for the 3 million entering the work force every year?

While It is a long interview, but very insightful about the above issues. Please do watch and spread it so we get substantive and informed insights on our challenges and solutions, well beyond the superficial chatter we hear on mainstream media and social media.

Thank you.
Salaams and Prayers

An unseen consequence of the Abraaj downfall!

By Haider Mehdi.

Aman foundation, a private sector social impact organization offering major services in health care and technical training is winding down its operations in Pakistan, specifically Karachi, because of bankruptcy declared by Abraaj, its primary sponsor.

For Karachites this has serious consequences.

60 state of the art, fully equipped Aman ambulances, staffed by highly trained para medics and in some cases, doctors provided round the clock emergency support services to the citizens of Karachi, at nominal cost.

To date they catered to nearly 100,000 incidents with an average response time of 18 minutes.

The cost per incident ranged from Rs.5000 to Rs. 6000, but people were charged Rs. 800 to Rs.1100 depending on distance etc and those who couldn’t got it free.

Moreover these ambulances were crucial in providing the critical emergency medical care by highly trained para medics or qualified doctors to patients in the critical time from pick up to drop off to a hospital.

Like the 1122 service, this service was very effective and quite unlike the Eidhi or Chippa ambulances which are nothing more than a means of transportation, with no health care support in the transit time when it’s needed most by the patient.

While the Eidhi and Chippah services are better than nothing, they really are not ambulance services in the true sense of the service.

Following Abraaj’s bankruptcy, Aman foundation, now left with no funds and unable to sustain their operations, have been forced to dismantle operations.

15 ambulances have been taken over by NICVD (National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases).

Some reports suggest that the private sector South City Hospital and Aga Khan Hospital, may take the rest.

While NICVD will continue to serve its own clientele of heart patients, including the poor, but they will likely send some out to their satellite operations in interior Sind.

The private sector hospitals, as we know, will only cater to their own, and likely for only those who can afford them.

Consequently, your average Karachi citizen will most likely no longer have access to this critical and state of the art public service!

What now?

The previous PPP Sind government, with all its faults and whatever their political motivations, created a wonderful and sustainable model of free health care delivery to citizens.

In one case the vehicle was a government entity, NICVD and in another a private sector health care foundation called the Child Life Foundation, started by a near angelic being called Dr. Naseeruddin Mahmood.

Former PPP CM Murad Ali Shah, knowing the rampant corruption, handed over large sums of budgeted health care allocations to these two institutions.

Child Life Foundation (CLF), took over all Child emergency centers of all government hospitals in Karachi and in a few years changed the terrible and tragic statistic of 95% mortality of all children brought to the emergency centers into a 90% survival rate.

A miracle of sorts! Thanks to Dr. Naseer and his team!

They were able to do so by taking over the management and administration of these facilities, using trained medical staff and state of the art equipment and facilities, funded from their own sources and the government. A key factor also was being free of government interference.

In NICVD, Dr. Nadeem Qamar and Dr. Nadeem Rizvi, two amazing individuals, both government employees, completely revamped the NICVD and its processes, procedures and systems.

They established an independant governing board, enhanced salaries of doctors and staff to very respectable levels, prohibited private practice and wrought a near miracle in heart health care in Karachi and Sind, now offering near to world-class heart care even in remote parts of interior Sind!

Government funding was crucial to these two success stories, as ordinarily these funds are either siphoned away because of corruption or even more tragically, lapse because of lack of capacity.

Health care is a basic right. It does not fit into “return on equity” business planning frameworks. But a “return on well-being” quotient!

Therefore the civic, political and administrative leaders of Karachi, and any other city of Pakistan, who want state of the art ambulance services, must step up to the plate and establish similar partnerships as stated above.

People like Dr. Abdul Bari Khan of Indus Hospital, Dr. Adeeb Rizvi, Dr. Nadeem Rizvi, Dr. Naseeruddin Mahmood, Mushtaq Chaapra of The Citizen’s Foundation, Yousaf Jameel, now a caretaker Sind cabinet minister and the indefatigable Nazim Haji and others, must quickly get together to develop and operationalize a state of the art emergency ambulance service for Karachi with funds from the private and public sectors!

And I understand that their currently exists a Sind Ambulance service, which has not taken off, but offers an opportunity for Karachi’s and Sind’s civic leaders to adopt it and make it come to life!

In fact every city in Pakistan and its civic and political leaders and well-heeled business people must adopt this highly successful and sustainable model of public private partnerships, especially in health care and education.

An ideal partnership of political will, functional expertise and taxpayers money coming together for public good!

In its death throes, Abraaj may have unleashed a revolution of sorts in Pakistan.

Let’s wait and see who puts money and expertise where their mouth is!

  • Salaams and Prayer
    Haider Mehdi