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

By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So clearly the military is not the answer.

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

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

This happens because of two reasons.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In my opinion, two things.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yes it must.

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

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

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

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

Is this democracy?

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

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

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

Did he ever try and push his children on us?

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

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

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

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

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

So this is not “Democracy”.

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

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

And trying to stir a near civil war!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pakistan’s vector is heading north.

Please keep it this way.

Use your vote. And use it wisely!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And these are the wretched we want as our leaders?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Democracy they cry! What democracy?

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

Fie on this terrible perverted democracy!

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

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

To me the battle lines are stark and clear.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Choose your side’s carefully!

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

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

Zainab – Take a look in the Mirror!

By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi

Lying beneath the crumpled, broken, lifeless body of a little girl with dreams and hopes, who once merrily skipped ropes, played with her friends, lies the dark ugly face of a degenerate society, unable to distinguish between good and evil, between right and wrong. Between law and criminality. And as complicit in this terrible crime as the perpetrator !

There are untold stories of many other Zainab’s, who have suffered such terrible evil, and society looks the other way.

Zainab in her terrible victimhood shows us the ugly, scarred, horrible face of our society.

Kasur is a microcosm of the larger malaise where the boundaries of human conduct, decency, morality are being continuously pushed and accepted. A society which continues to support a criminal shamefacedly, will also allow its wholescale destruction!

She and her tragic death will soon be forgotten, as we get over the shock and back to what we do best, living a self centered life in which we continue to support the filth that prevails in our society to serve our own interests.

And then when another Zainab happens, we will, yet again, stop for a fleeting second as we did now. And then, happily go back to our stench and vomit. Zainab once again forgotten

Zainab happens when we allow society to deteriorate. When we allow the institutions that should and could have saved her, to become private militias, bowing and scraping to the personal whims and desires of their political and administrative masters.

When institutional breakdown is so widespread that despite the frequency of such incidents in a small geography, nothing happens. Nothing!

Zainab and many others at risk segments in our society, symbolise in many ways what’s wrong with our individual selves and all institutions which make up society. Family, friends, neighbourhoods, schools, colleges, workplaces. Everywhere one sees compromises in how we conduct ourselves. In our ethics, morality, decency and just plain old good manners and behavior.

But most importantly it is the State which is responsible to ensure the safety and security of its people.

But if it’s leaders squander it’s limited resources on grandiose schemes, destroy the professionalism of these institutions who are supposed to protect Zainab from predators, and deprive it’s people of its basic need of security of life and property, then these terrible and tragic outcomes are inevitable.

Zainab’s story and broken body is actually the story and broken body of our society.

Because it us who have allowed the wholescale destruction of our institutions in our society by supporting and foisting criminals to positions of power and authority.

Look not for the predator who snuffed tiny Zainab. Look in the mirror and you will find the criminal!

What have we done to save this society from rotting?

-Haider Mehdi

Why we must support Imran Khan

Syed Haider Raza Mehdi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But do we really?

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

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

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

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

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

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

So really nothing changes for the privileged.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And what do we do?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But for heaven’s sake give Imran his due.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And he will use the system to destroy the system.

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

Your call, folks!

– Haider Mehdi