How the MQM became so powerful!

To understand why a party like MQM was able to get support from the pre dominantly Urdu speaking segments in Karachi one has to understand factors which pushed them towards this.

Karachi was traditionally anti establishment. Supporting Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah against Ayub in the 60’s. In the 70’s and 80’s they supported the Jamat e Islami against PPP, because of the Sindhi dominance of PPP. They felt maginalized and threatened. Altaf and Co filled that leadership vacuum and garnered support with PPP being Sindhi supported and Pakhtuns under ANP.

They became very powerful and extremely influential and wealthy during General Musharraf’s time acquiring great influence and power at the Federal and Provincial levels, even exercising influence on key military postings in Karachi. Whatever GPM’s political compulsions this was one of his greatest blunders.

But back to the main argument.

A group coalsces around a leadership who is able to convince them that their rights, property, life and security will be better looked after by them. Then comes the factor of organisational ability. There association with JI provided the basis of the structure down to the Mohalla level, much like Marxist and Socialist cadres seen in Germany and Italy and the Communist countries. From there it was a short walk to acquiring a very strong fascist character using strong arm methods to organise and keep the rank and file in check WHILE AT THE SAME TIME ENSURING THAT PEOPLE’S DAY TO DAY ISSUES AND PROBLEMS WERE SOLVED.

It also gave rise to bhattha collection to raise funds to promote their agenda, enter mainstream politics, acquire positions of authority to do both things. Make more money and have the clout to provide support to its people. Thus becoming a full fledged fascist organization to keep the leadership in power and eliminate any threats to the leadership from within.

Hence the killing spree which started and continued for decades, eliminating people at all levels of the party cadres who posed a threat to the organization including those outside. The stranglehold was now complete.

We will help you if you’re with us. We will kill you if you’re not was the basic message.

The armed killing teams carried out the elimination while the sector leadership also provided help and support. Hitler’s brownshirts and Mussolini’s  black shirts are perfect examples. The leadership at all levels acquired immense power and wealth and perpetuated the system of both killing, physical violence and succor to keep themselves also entrenched.

A circle of total encirclement of the common MQM supporter was complete.

The average poor MQM voter or supporter was now resigned to their fate of supporting “The Quaid and the Party” or suffer huge consequences and even death.

The only way out of this stranglehold is for an alternate system of leadership or good governance by the Government to them and the physical elimination of the violent enforcers.

The recent Rangers operations put a dent into the latter. Mustafa Kamal’s PSP is another attempt at an alternate leadership.

However the government in Sindh has not and cannot deliver succor.

So people are still wary and cautious and scared to ditch the party, fearing PSM a passing fad, Rangers operations a temporary phenomena and a decision to stick with the known devil then the unknown.

Till the rank and file feel that the alternate is long term, and the physical threat to their lives no longer there will they dump the MQM.

This is my humble assessment of this party.

Altaf Hussain’s lunacy. Madness or a planned drama gone wrong?

What appears to be an act of lunacy by Altaf and his henchmen is not what it appears.

In my opinion, It’s a very well thought out strategy and plan to destablise a volatile phase.

If I was a conspiracy theorist I’d hazard that the PMLN dirty tricks brigade has something to do with this for several reasons.

I’d even venture that people like Rana Sanaullah, Pervez Rashid,  Saad Rafique etc, supported by the Zardari group of PPP with Rehman Malik Mastermind, may have something to with this. It’s an opinion and an analysis, I don’t have any facts.

Objectives could be to take pressure and focus off NS and Panama.

Dilute the impact of the Qasas and Ehtesaab movements.

Lure in Army to take drastic steps.  Become political martyrs. So many things swirling in my mind.

And finally our “friendly” neighbor fuelling opportunities to create “Occupied Kashmir” situations in Pakistan. Link this to their recent comments about Balochistan.

It certainly does not seem to be an an alcohol induced rant of a madman, in a fit of uncontrollable, lunatic rage.

There appears to be much more method behind this madness.

I think the mass unrest will not happen, because once the party leadership in Pakistan and rank and file realize that Altaf is history, support to him will dissipate.

 I think Altaf saw that coming and played his second last card of openly defying the State.

But he has his last card which is to openly declare war against Pakistan and set up a Jinnahpur Government in Exile. That will happen, sooner than later. I think.

But there is likelihood of an increased level of violence in Karachi,  fuelled by the MQM militant groups, along with the underworld and criminals and known and unknown armed militants and terrorists, who may also get into the act and use this for their own ends.

We could see more bomb blasts. Targeted assassinations. Kidnapping. Torture and killings. Etc.

IK and TUQ. Ehtesaab and Qissas.

IK and TUQ.  Ehtesaab and Qissas.

Yes. Our Media does raise the rhetoric with hyperbole. But the fact is, that we do have a very very serious problem of poor and ineffective governance, rampant corruption and zero accountability.

All this stemming from a flawed electoral system which is easily manipulated and hijacked by a small coterie of people to further their own extremely narrow self interests. This allows them to perpetuate their stranglehold over governance power structures,  all state institutions,  and thereby acquiring more influence, wealth and power.

So our starting point has to be electoral reform to enable relatively more honest and competent people to come into positions of governance policy making, power and influence.

And hereunder some thoughts on electoral and governance reforms.

1. Part elections on Proportional representation.
2. Part through direct elections with Majorality win and not first pas the post.
3. Empowered and autonomous local government with full administrative and financial powers and authority.
4. More administrative units/ provinces.
5. Presidential system with max two terms of 4 years each.
6. Cabinet appoontees can be  subject matter experts who are not necessarily elected legislators as done in the USA.
7. A 4 year  term for an elected government

The above of course requires major constitutional changes. And the big question is how?

Perhaps some “prodding” by institutions like the Sipreme Court backed by the stick of the Army in the background. Otherwise its the same old discrepit system of garbage in and garbage out.

No change can be expected or will happen under the existing electoral process and poor governance will continue.

The result.

Even more poverty and deprivation and further fissures in an already multifaceted, fractured society.

All one can say is that we are an amazingly resilient nation, having achieved what we have, DESPITE the terrible governance.

Anatol Leivin’s “Pakistan A Hard Country” describes us to the “T”. A must read, if not read so far.

Clearly IK’s planning is weak and implementation even weaker. He’s unable to define the plan, articulate his vision, and more importantly communicate the end goal and endgame, effectively.

While his focus on the problems of corruption, accountability and governance are correct. But his solutions are vague and hazy.

Also continuing on the path of removing the present government without a clear plan on major reform is counter productive. This becomes more complex as our current vested political interests cannot and will not push for such reforms. Reforms which sound their own death knell. Because every party, including his own, PTI, has people from these very groups who survive and thrive under the current environment.

So often one wonders, if this will continue, and will we go back to the old era where again the vast majority, myself included, abdicated ourselves from the existing electoral process losing hope in its ability to provide honest competent political leadership. And in disgust, giving these corrupt rulers, once again, a free pass.

Till of course eventually, the state institutions are so weakened, eventually leading to fascism and then total anarchy.

This as we know happens in all societies, where the rich become richer and the poor, poorer, deprived of all equitable opportunities of security of life and property, education, health care, employment and access to quick and fair justice.

Having said that and despite his many failings and poor judgement, IK, at least, holds out the semblance of some opportunity for some change.

He may not succeed. But at least he’s trying in his half cocked way and hence needs to be supported. This support is not about PTI and or TUQ, etc, but supporting a movement and an effort to change the system. There are dangers of course of military intervention but we must take that chance.

So given what we have today, our only options are either to support anything and everything, legitimate, to change the system or let the country go down its tragic slippery slope.

The tactics of Ehtesaab and Qissas movements are debatable. But, today,  they are the two more visible and meaningful symbols of protest.

Here’s something I wrote two years ago in a somewhat overly emotional manner, saying the same thing.

Why we must support Imran Khan and Dr. Tahir ul Qadri even if we don’t like them.

On Democracy and Martial Law

*On Democracy and Martial Law*
By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi

(With reference to the Posters asking Gen. Raheel to take over.

Some principles.

1. In the long term and even the short term a genuinely empowered capable, representative and accountable public governance structure is always better than a dictatorial, autocratic, non accountable one.

2. If the above does not have accountability of action and decision all other attributes become meaningless and  it morphs into a dictatorship as it has now under Nawaz Sharif. Using the trappings and symbols of democracy and ruling with the coercive reality of latent fascism.

3. A dictatorial and autocratic governance structure by virtue of its “one person” rule by fiat, while in the short term delivering quick decisions and actions, especially if that one person is also capable and honest, invariably ends up by passing existing processes, both good and bad, institutional gateways to deliver quick results. Thereby letting loose a whole system of adhocism and weakening and whole scale destruction of disciplined governing frameworks and processes as we have seen in Pakistan.

4. While ML governments delivered quick value, in the long term they destroyed or weakened our civilian institutional and governance frameworks. Which spelt disaster when corrupt and incapable civilian political leaders like Benazir, AZ and NS took over. As we see now.

4. One of the worst fall outs from a dictatorship is the loss of civil liberties and human rights. So along with speedy summary trial courts of hardened criminals and militants comes the misuse and abuse of power by the state of others who oppose, in belief and value,  a non representative governance, and becomes commonplace. Harsh arbitrary punishments are the norm, to stifle criticism and opposition.

6. But the worst is when in this totalitarian system the reps of the state machinery use the same principle to start settling scores with others, personal, professional, political. Only people with direct recourse to state henchmen have help.  All others are completely at the mercy of the state’s institutions of coercion. Police. Army. Intelligence and their own version of the judicial system.

7. In an electoral structure. However corrupt the MNA or MPA is, the common man either directly or through somebody can still reach this guy for for their Thaana, Kutchery, Naukari, needs.

Try reaching a lowly Captain in a Martial Law administrative office!

Hence we should we very careful of what we ask for when we say this country needs a *”real Martial Law”*

Unfortunately there’s no such thing as a *”real Martial Law”*.

When we use this phrase we are in fact giving voice to our inner desires of a magic wand which will change things and make them picture perfect. Far from it.

Autocratism and Dictatorship are not what this country needs. It needs *representative* good governance.

And ML is not the answer.

I’d personally like to see NS hang from the same lamppost which Shahbaz Sharif chose for Zardari. But if they are removed by other means, these terrible thugs and looters and plunderers will get another lease of political life.

If there is one thing GRS and other powerful institutions can do is to apply pressure and the fear of God for action.

Supreme Court can take action.

High Courts can take action.

NAB can take action.

Rangers can take Action.

FBR can take action.

FIA can take action.

Anti corruption can take action.

Agreed, many have sold their souls to NS. I know. But some will move and budge.

And above all, we the people have to take action.

We all look for the easy way out, always looking askance at the Army to come and change the system.

Where are we in this whole equation?

Why didn’t we hear a peep on the roads when Panama broke?

No sir, we the people must take our destinies in our own hand and come out to become the catalyst to throw the corrupt out.

Let’s not go back to the dark draconian days of ML OR dictatorship.

There’s no such thing as a *”good and real martial law”*

A possible solution?

Read my article on Electoral and Governance Reform.

A perspective only.

The Killing of Burhan Wani in Occupied Kashmir – Home grown Intifada or Pakistan sponsored uprising?

By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi
Two days ago when the Indian security forces gunned down 22 year old Burhan Muzaffar Wani, in Anantang, in Indian Occupied Kashmir, they may have, yet once again unleashed a bigger threat then the one they eliminated in the shootout. 

Burhan died in an intelligence laid operation along with two associates. Here is what is known about him. He belonged to Tral, in Southern Kashmir, the son of the Principal of a local government run school in Tral. His mother was also well educated and economically the family were fairly well off.

At 15 he joined Hizbul Mujahideen, a group fighting for Kashmir separatism and strong pro Pakistani leanings. Founded by Mohammed Ahsan Dar, in 1989, following the Indian government hijacking of the election mandate in 1987 and installing a rigged Congress government.

This group was at one time considered the biggest Kashmiri group fighting for Independence,  numbering over 10,000 fighters. The group later developed serious internal differences and it’s original founders were assassinated between 2001 and 2003.  Currently it is lead by Sayed Salahuddin. 

Burhan became a famous Social Media sensation with his pictures in battle fatigues, weapons and videos urging young  Kashmiri youth to join the fight against Indian occupation. He was young, handsome, charismatic and hugely popular, and used Social Media very effectively to the cause of Kashmir’s right of self determination. 

As such he acquired a sort of modern day Robin Hood persona for these angry youth and his exhortations began to attract large numbers of Kashmiri youth to the cause of Independence. 

Conversely this was seen as a big threat by the Kashmiri Government and the Central Indian Government and a decision was taken to kill him, which finally took place two days ago on 8th July.

The sketchy details available indicate that Burhan was killed in an encounter on July 8, 2016 along with two other fighters later identified as Sartaj Ahmad Sheikh and Pervaiz Ahmad Lashkari.

All were killed in Bundoora village of Kokernag, by a joint team after being cornered by Special Operations Group of the Jammu and Kashmir Police and 19 Rashtriya Rifles.

From what is known,  Burhan actually had never taken part in any militant actions against Indian Security forces but had become a big thorn in the sides because of his ability to rally people behind the Cause of Kashmiri independence. 

His videos on social media attracted and inspired many Kashmiri youth and hence his elimination became a necessity for the Indian Administration. 

But the events that followed his killing were perhaps unprecedented in recent times, and quite unexpected, certainly by the Indian administration and their security forces.

His death and funeral became a rallying cry for Kashmiris and extreme violence followed with 21 deaths, including an Indian policeman,  and over 400 injured in rioting.

The Indian policeman drowned when an enraged crowd pushed a police armored vehicle into the River Jhelum!

At his burial Burhan’s body was wrapped in a Pakistani flag and buried amid slogans of JEEVAY JEEVAY Pakistan.

So back to the question.

Is this a spontaneous indigenous home grown Kashmiri response to Burhan’s killing, manifesting the festering anger of Kashmiris, especially its youth. Or is it a planned Pakistani lead orchestration?

Clearly the Indian media and government response would be to blame Pakistan, bring in ISI, and the Pakistani military establishment.

This would  then be followed by people like Hussain Haqqani and Tarek Fatah, adding their voices to these claims and once again portraying Pakistan as a base of terrorist activities out to destablise Indian Held Kashmir.

Indian lobbyists and supporters in USA and European governments and media would then join this chorus and drown out Pakistan’s response and position.

Pakistan’s response in such cases, in the past, has generally been poorly worded, disjointed, desultory, stilted, poorly presented and ineffective. Given our history and coupled with ineffective messaging, Pakistan looses the International media narrative battle.

The reason. Two part time Foreign Ministry advisors both pretending to be Foreign Ministers, vying for influence and the PM’s ear. The PM, less said about him the better. A person completely at sea about the finer points of effective governance and foreign policy, and now desperately struggling for political survival.

Advised by an inner circle of close advisers and cabinet members more remniscient of a monarch’s loyalist or a mafia dons close circle of  sycophants.

What else can one expect but a limp, lack lustre, ineffective response, barring a few high sounding statements.

Local Pakistani media talk shows are no better. Beyond superficial rhetoric more for internal audiences, they lack either the intent or the capability for serious deep analysis being presented to the outside world, worthy of their serious consideration and ear.

So how should we take our view to the world?

First the facts.

Based on information currently available about the killing and the subsequent unfolding of events, one thing seems quite clear. This was not a Pakistani planned, supported or orchestrated event or series of events, either at the state or non state levels.

For starters,  Pakistan would not have known of Indian plans to kill Burhan.  It was a secret intelligence based operation carried out by Indian security forces, unless of course they were hand in glove with the ISI!

Two. The spontaneous upsurge of support by Kashmiris at his funeral and the violence that followed did not have the hallmarks of a planned operation.

Three. The Indian mainstream media is also cautioning that his killing may lead to an indigenous uprising. Here are the headlines on this story from The India Express

*”……..In his death, security and political observers say, Burhan could become the rallying point of a renewed indigenous militancy and give rise to a potent theme for fresh recruitment….*

Four. The statement by the current Indian occupied Chief Minister is hugely significant. Reading between the lines is her stark warning of an indigenous uprising ….here’s what she said.

*”……… The pain of Kashmiris has reached a level where the hope of peace is sure to gain substantial local support if tangible confidence building measures are taken to address the issues concerning the state and its people,” Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said in a statement issued on Saturday night*.

Five. The former Occupied Kashmir Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah publicly acknowledged that Burhan’s killing by Indian Security forces are fraught with serious consequences for Kashmir.

…In a tweet, he raised questions on the operation to kill top Hizbul commander Burhan Wani.

*”Mark my words. Burhan’s ability to recruit in to militancy from the grave will far outstrip anything he could have done on social media,”   the National Conference leader tweeted*

*He further  said that he did not recall any terror incident attributed to Wani while he was in office.*

*”………….For all (of) Burhan’s social media activity, I don’t recall any militancy incident attributed to him while I was in office……”*

So one thing is clear. Pakistan is not involved.

Two. It is a very strong indigenous Kasmiri movement fighting for their rights of self determination and independance, unleashed by Burhan’s very tragic and unfortunate killing

But what is even more dangerous for the Region is that once again this completely indigenous uprising in Occupied Kashmiri may be exploited by extreme right wing militants who could easily convert this into a highly militant and violent movement, as we’ve seen in Iraq and Syria.

And in the process this genuine cry for freedom is engulfed in a fire maelstrom, loosing the support of the International Community and their influence to bring India to the table for a workable political solution. 

Pakistan must be very very wary of such a development and ensure that this movement is not hijacked by DAESH like elements.

India must realize that it can never play it’s role in the International community and be seen as a great democracy while at the same time brutalizing a community with Nazi like occupation tactics, which simply wants it’s right for self determination and freedom.

By keeping close to 1 million army and security forces in Occupied Kashmir is no less horrifying than the brutal Nazi Occupation of France and Europe, or the killing, torture and abuse of helpless Palestinians by Israeli security forces.

For India to stand tall as a responsible democratic state, it must give the people of Kashmir their right of self determination.

It is in their own interest in being seen as a responsible nation, and in the interest of the region and peace between Pakistan and India. 
For the longer they keep the lid closed by force the greater the explosion when it will happen.

And the greater the danger of this turning into another bloodbath like Syria and Iraq and Afghanistan, where everyone looses and their are no winners.

And this is the narrative that the International Community must hear!

The author is the current Convenor of The Strategy Study Group, founded by the late Col. S.G.Mehdi M.C. former Group Commander of the Special Services Group (SSG) of the Pakistan Army. Haider is also a former Pakistan Army officer, Corporate leader, serial entrepreneur and Management Consultant. Now based in North America. Deep insights about, Pakistani,South Asian and Middle Eastern Geo Politics.

Major Changezi’s Shahadat at Torkham

In loving memory of Maj. Changezi who I met only after he sacrificed his all for Pakistan. 

I have often written about how challenging it is for a non military person to understand what a soldier goes through in the Army. And once again Its this sacrifice by Maj. Changezi.

To many or most, the passing away of a Soldier in the line of duty giving the ultimate sacrifice of their life in a remote God forsaken outpost in FATA or Balochistan or Kashmir or somewhere in Pakistan is a mere statistic, a temporary flash in the pan news headline, a fast moving ticker, a talk show discussion and at best, a whatsapp comment (which is where I first posted these lines several days ago)

But to the soldier, even someone like me who shed the Khaki nearly 35 years ago, the passing away of a fellow brother in arms, epitomizes the whole symbolism of this great profession.

To many civilians who have a beef with the Army, and I don’t say it in any patronizing or derogatory manner, the Pakistan Army is confined to and understood through the filters of either Martial Law or the ISI.

The limited horizons, superficial understanding, pedestrian analysis, subjective biases and prejudices, about the institution, by many so called political pundits, does not even scratch the most basic fundamentals of the Pakistan Army and what it really is and stands for.

From their high heeled, sari clad, suited booted or kurtaad crisp shalwar kameez pretentious high horses, these so called “liberattis” run down this great institution, day and night.

They do not, and cannot ever know what a soldier feels, does and dies for.

Never. Ever.

Unless they’ve worn the Khaki or been very close to someone who has.

Rest in Peace dear Maj. Changezi.

We sleep better and in peace, because of your sacrifice!

May Allah Bless your Soul in the Eternal Abode. Aameen.
Haider Mehdi.

Is the Pakistan Army in Nawaz Sharif’s Crosshairs?

As a former Khaki man for some years, and then civvies for most, one thing was and is quite clear. It is well nigh impossible for a person who hasn’t done two years of PMA and several years or an entire military career in the Pakistan Army to understand even peripherally the psyche of the institution and it’s members.

All that the so called military pundits in the civilian sphere have to go on are the 4 Martial Laws and the “dreaded” ISI to fill their columns, and their rhetoric.

Our Army and our officers and jawaans are much more than the politics of Martial law or the shenanigans of ISI, real or perceived.

We go through deprivations and pain and labor which no one can understand. We are away from our loved ones and spouses and children not for days or weeks or months but years. And for a pittance in financial terms. The vast majority of our officers and jawaans really have nothing.

And yes, we made these choices willingly and for our country.

Since 2004 the institution has defended the integrity of its country. Yes it’s senior leaders in the past did make questionable and even catastrophically wrong choices, but to lambast and pillor the whole institution is an act of criminality and treason, at least in my eyes.

When I read or hear from the likes of Hussain Haqqani, Asma Gilani, Marvi Sirmed, Aqil Shah, Najam Sethi, et al and marvel at their intellectual brilliance, of which there is no doubt, I’m equally surprised at their pedestrian and extremely superficial treatment of the institution. And joined in this chorus by much less and poorly endowed but aspiring pseudo intellectuals, like Hamid Mir etc.

While I’m no blind lover of the Army, right or wrong, I do believe there is an insidious and very calculated move ( don’t want to say conspiracy) supported by many main stream politicians, including Nawaz Sharif to weaken this institution, which is seen as the only bulwark or barrier to their unrestricted and unchallenged rule, loot, rape and plunder.

And if I may add the only institution which may be standing between efforts to denuke us.

While the ever intellectually endowed phoo phoo the denuke conspiracy as a ….well, figment of a hyperactive imagination…all that I’ve seen happen these last three decades in the Region, clearly indicates a desire to bring Pakistan to heel.

If I were the USA and India or represented the very right wing ultra conservative Israeli lobby lead by Netanyahu…the only thing keeping me up awake at night would be Pakistan’s Nuclear Arsenal.

And I would do everything possible to remove this threat. So while direct ways are impossible, the only options available to me would to weaken institutions who stand in the way. In this case the Pakistan Army.

I would seek out pliant and anti Army national politicians who have a common interest in weakening that institution. I would then make the country economically hostage and eventually when all three ducks are in line, to go for the kill.

Weak Army.
Pliant political leadership.
Economic bankruptcy.

It’s quite clear to me.

So hopefully someone’s listening.

Martial Law in Sindh -1978 – Inspector Shah’s Punishment and Nawaz Sharif’s Panama Leaks

It was close to 2 am on a hot humid night in Johi, Sind. Several officers, including me, had just finished work and were about to crash, dog tired after a long day, sifting through tons of documents. 

It was 1978. Gen. Zia’s Martial Law was in full flow. My batman, Ali Afsar, with his permanent half smile which only an officer’s batman can forever carry, depicting both amazement and utter disbelief, at the kind of people God Blesses to become officers, informed me that a truck driver was outside the Martial Law Headquarter and insisting on seeing the “Afsar” right now!. Bold man or incredibly stupid, I thought.

Being the Adjutant, the unenvious task fell on me, and I hustled back into my uniform and met him in our makeshift offices.

He was clearly agitated and also a bit scared ( you don’t walk into a military martial law office at 2 am in the morning and expect to be garlanded! ). After the pleasantries and an offer of a cup of tea and a chair, both nervously declined, he stammered out an incoherent babble.

With some coaxing to calm him down, I was finally able to understand that earlier that night, a certain Police SHO, Inspector Shah (name changed) had charged the truck driver double the usually agreed “monthly”. “Monthly” being the “unofficial fee” charged by the police from these truck transporters.

He indignantly showed me a greasy page in an equally greasy diary with a few strange squiggles, supposed to represent a rupee amount, a signature and a date of a week ago!

” ….Look at this saheb…. This (followed by a choice phrase describing the offspring of a pig) Inspector Shah has now asked me to pay again…..I’m fed up of this man and want to launch an official complaint against this (some more choice words)……Inspector…….”

Long story short….Inspector Shah was tried and sentenced by a military court. It was an open and shut case. The evidence against Shah was overwhelming. A trap was laid and he was caught red handed. He pleaded for mercy and leniency, citing his excellent record. This was true. He was actually one of the most efficient and effective SHO’S in that area. Crime in his area was very low and he ruled his domain with an Iron fist. We actually quite liked him. But the case against him was crystal clear

“……Shah saheb”..he said turning towards me wistfully….” You know I’ve done some really nasty things in my career but to be caught, tried and sentenced for this petty act is an insult and a disgrace to me and my reputation”……and off he went to jail, handcuffed, stripped of his police rank, to serve time.

I was reminded of Inspector Shah earlier today, as I watched Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif deliver his fiery Panama Leaks sermon in the National Assembly.

‘You complain about Western exploitation but tell me what have you done about your despotic rulers’ – A Lunch with Tim Sebastian

In 2004 in Abu Dhabi I had the opportunity to spend some time with Tim Sebastian, the renowned anchor.
He was an invited guest of the Higher Colleges of Technology at an International Conference of Noble Laureates. I was, for want of a better label, his chaperone and “Minister in waiting” so charged because of my employment with the University/ College, as Chair of their Business Programs at the Abu Dhabi Campus.
Later that day over lunch, several passionate Arabs and an equally effervescent Pakistani laid into the poor chap, lashing out at “what the West had done to the Muslim world”.
I saw him nodding politely and as the rhetoric from our “brave hosts” reached, perhaps a level tad beyond gracious social conversation, some meek quiet rats, now also jumped into, what was turning into, a free for all.
Tim turned red.
And as the poor deprived representatives of the “colonised” Muslim world became louder and louder against the representative of the “evil” British Empire, Tim looked at the most active Rat.
What’s your name Sir? He said in his most soft yet incredibly intimidating style.
The poor soul stopped in mid air as he was narrating the horrors of what the “West” ( read USA and Britain) and mumbled his name.
Said this man from UK….Mr. ( whatever the name was) I accept that the West has done what you say it has…terrible terrible things….but please tell me what have YOU and your forefathers done in the past and even today (Saddam, Qaddafi, Hosni were still in power) to fight for your rights against colonization and today to replace the dictators who are ruling these Muslim countries with arrogance.
Please tell me why do you allow a family monarchy to rule over you?
He turned to the Pakistani gentlemen. Your country is under military rule today. You’ve had three military dictators before. What did you do to stop them from continuing to rule over you?
I am not here to defend what the West has done. I’m asking you all, what have you done to safeguard your own independance and your rights and get rid of your corrupt rulers.
By this time Tim was on a roll.
The fault, he said, is entirely yours. You people allow foreigners to rule over you. You allow despotic dictators to rule over you. You allow dynasties to rule over you and you have the audacity to blame the west.
We took King John to task in the 13th Century! So my dear friends he said, my apologies for my answer, but you people are responsible for your own misery through your cowardice.
It was a pretty silent lunch after that!
I thought of this conversation, as I heard our PM on TV today.
He is where he is, because we allowed him and others like him, to hijack our system and come into power. And now, unable to muster the guts to remove him, because he will not go otherwise.
We couldn’t stand up to military interventions and allowed a corrupt electoral process to elect corrupt leaders.
We’ve honoured crooks, murderers, money launderers, corrupt politicians, by electing them to our highest offices of President, Prime Minister, Chief Ministers, Governors, Cabinet Ministers.
So why now the hullabaloo? From the comfort of our rooms we look at the Army to “get rid” of Nawaz Sharif, yet unwilling to do anything ourselves.
Sleep well my friends as more sleep is in the offing.
The sleep of the shameless, the spineless and of the cowards!

An open letter to the Chief Justice of Pakistan

An open letter to the Chief Justice of Pakistan.

9th April 2016.

Honourable Chief Justice of Pakistan, Mohtarem Anwar Zaheer Jamali saheb

Assalaam Alaykum from a deeply concerned citizen of Pakistan, perhaps voicing the pain and anguish of millions of helpless Pakistanis.

Helpless, because our Prime Minister, has hijacked all instruments of state, it’s administrative machinery, it’s law enforcement agencies, it’s lower judiciary, all its state run institutions and most sadly,  it’s so called democratically elected parliamentary bodies.

Except for the Pakistan Army and perhaps the Supreme Court, everything and everybody of consequence is under the thumb of the Prime Minister and his cronies, both in and out of government. I have used the word “perhaps” for the Supreme Court, because the deathly silence from your quarter is both unnerving and scary.

Hence, we the people of Pakistan are not sure where you and your Honourable court stand on this issue of daylight robbery, conflict of interest, blatant corruption and brazen and arrogant misuse of power, privilege and authority vested in Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif by the poor, hapless and If I may say, servile and spineless people of Pakistan.

The people of Pakistan look askance at you and your court for justice and fairplay and to put into motion, transparent investigation, by professionals of unimpeachable integrity and technical competence in white collar crime investigation into the charges against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter, Maryam Safdar who has now changed her name back to Maryam Nawaz Sharif, and two of his sons Hassan Nawaz Sharif and Hussain Nawaz Sharif, and others such as Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, for the following charges as brought to light by the Panama Leaks.

1. Money laundering.
2. Tax evasion.
3. Lying on record.
4. Illegal transfer of funds outside Pakistan
5. Acquiring public office by misstatements of facts about their assets.
6. Misusing public trust and using his authority as Prime Minister to acquire assets and business projects in a brazen display of conflict of interest and promote his personal business interests and acquire wealth through illegal means.
7. All others associated with the above crimes, especially  Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and Mian Mohammed Mansha, owner of MCB Bank of Pakistan.

We the people of Pakistan request you Honourable Chief Justice of Pakistan to kindly establish a commission of legal experts, criminal and forensic investigators, through suo moto action tasked with ascertaining all details about the information made public by the Panama Leaks.

If you sir, fail to act now, and only pontificate in your speeches etc about the ills of corruption, nepotism and terrible misgovernance that have befallen this incredibly wretched nation, then you Sir, are as guilty, if not more, through your silence, inaction and obvious act of omission, of being as much a part of this rot as this person who styles himself as the Prime Minister of Pakistan.

This person, Nawaz Sharif, has tainted the office of the Prine Minister to such an extent that today it stands for and symbolises nothing but unbridled greed, never ending corruption, abject and deliberate misgovernance, gross misuse of authority and total failure in protecting the public trust entrusted to the incumbent.

If you do not Sir, then we the people of Pakistan will then turn to the only other institution which has fortunately saved itself from the Prime Minster’s dirty hands and clutches. The Pakistan Army.

We will openly request Gen. Raheel Sharif  to step in and investigate and throw out these knaves, crooks, criminals who have looted this hapless country in the name of Allah and Democracy and Public Good.

This intervention Sir, while not advisable will be inevitable and certainly not in the long term best interests of Pakistan.

Unless of course Gen. Raheel Sharif does not take over but seek advice from you and your Honourable court to initiate and implement wide-ranging electoral and governance reforms to stop people like Nawaz Sharif and his like from ever coming into power and betraying the sacred public trust they were entrusted with and to prosecute and punish without fear or favour all those responsible for looting this country including Asif Zardari and company.

Honourable Chief Justice, the Nation looks askance and expectantly towards you and your august court for justice.

Please do not fail us!

For evidence, the show by Arshad Raschid, appended below, pretty much says it all.

Ary Talk Show of 9th April by Arshad Raschid

Yours Sincerely

Syed Haider Raza Mehdi
On behalf of the good and helpless people of Pakistan.