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Posts Tagged Incompetence. Nawaz Cannot Handle Govt

Of New Islamabad Airport

Incompetence is the Hallmark of the Corrupt Nawaz Sharif PML-N Government

Of New Islamabad Airport

Brig Rashid Wali Janjua

First visit to Islamabad Airport. Today was my first visit to the new airport as I was travelling to Karachi via PK 309. I started from Chaklala Scheme III at 16.45 hrs and reached the airport exactly after one hour of travelling on a Sunday when the traffic on Peshawar road and GT road was quite light. As we approached the airport the sight of wide approach road was reassuring. Suddenly I found a big queue of vehicles at two checkpoints which created a jam. So despite new facilities the ubiquitous traffic jam issue remained as it was on old Benazir Bhutto Airport. The new building of the airport presented a grand and spruced up look. Here at least was an international standard airport at Islamabad. As I entered the airport I beheld the red granite floor. While standing I closely examined and found chipped off edges of granite slabs, which was quite surprising as it indicated a poor workmanship. Apparently in hurry someone had compromised on workmanship. The queue for boarding pass was a horror story however. Quetta bound passengers were milling around all counters raising noises and entering in heated debate with the PIA booking staff. A plane bound for Quetta was diverted elsewhere and the Quetta flight now was at 11 pm. There was shortage of booking staff and the overworked and harried booking staff battled frequent internet breakdowns and communication problems. A seasoned staff member confided in me that due to sudden inauguration many services could not be fully developed a d especially communication equipment shortage like walkie-talkies etc was hurting the smooth operations. When I reached the booking gentleman he kept fidgeting with my ticket and his computer for good 15 minutes. After that he told me that since my ticket was economy premium and that the plane had been changed there was no premium economy and that I should contact my booking agent to upgrade my ticket to business class. The News was frustrating yet I went to another staff member and explained the problem. My travel agent meanwhile told me that since PIA ha changed the airplane to a 777 and failed to inform we needed to upgrade the ticket. I acquiesced. While this was being done suddenly the ticketing system went down with internet issues. Meanwhile I heard loud shouts by Quetta passengers who had started getting violent due to frustration. There were few counters and all overloaded with frequent computer breakdowns. Complete mayhem with harried looking booking staff and clueless coordination gentlemen presented an anachronistic scene for a newly inaugurated airport. Now when my ticketing issue was sorted out I was directed to finance desk to pay some amount. I moved around but found the finance guys absent! If I thought this was hilarious more was yet to come. The finance guy was frantically called on internet call bit the signals went down and no contact. Flight departure time meanwhile was approaching close and I was getting restless. After a tense wait of 15 minutes the cash guy sauntered in and I explained my requirement. He made few calls to get the right information as he was not aware of the ticket change dues payment procedure. After wasting a lot of time he finally informed me that there were no extra charges and that I could go. Relieved finally I dashed for Gate B1 to be precise for my inaugural flight from Islamabad Airport. After a lot of escalator movements we reached at the gate expecting to be led to the pedestrian bridge. No such luck however and this takes the cake. At the gate a forlorn yet spirited ASF guy informed us that we would have to wait for a bus to take us to the plane. I asked,”Where is the pedestrian bridge?” He replied matter of factly,”Sir, the pedestrian gate could not be operated as the Civil Aviation guy has gone away with the Key”. The passengers despite their discomfiture burst into guffaws. At least there was some redeeming feature in this disorder. Our flight took off 3xactly an hour late, nothing wrong with that since by PIA standards that was perfectly normal. 
Amid all this turmoil on the airport especially on the booking counters, there was one gentleman with the name of Harish Kumar and two ladies Maria and Bushra on the counters who were a picture of equanimity and handled all irate passengers with professional courtesy and a cool head. One felt for those nice souls caught up in an impossible situation. The overall impression was such that as if someone had deliberately conspired to create confusion on the airport.
I appeal to all concerned that if due to electoral expediency the premature inauguration was necessary all facilities and requisite should have been provided at the new airport. My humble suggestion is to suspend operations there for few months to get the complete staff and facilities operative and the flight operations are conducted from the old airport till then.

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CIRCUS OF INCOMPETENCE: Nawaz Sharif becomes a recluse,1/3 honeymoon passes without an agenda

Nawaz Sharif becomes a recluse,1/3 honeymoon passes without agenda

Politically Incorrect

Amir Mateen

582452_313644852057916_984887607_nThe first month of the new National Assembly and the new PML (N) government gives some contours of how Nawaz Sharif wants to run his third government in Islamabad.

For a start, the Prime Minister has become quite a recluse this time around. He keeps himself away from the Parliament, the media and even from his party members. He spoke twice to the National Assembly so far. His first speech was just a sketchy account of the government’s intentions. The second time he came to the Parliament was to announce the indictment of Pervaiz Musharraf in the treason case before it was laid before the courts.

He hardly appears before the media after becoming the Prime Minister and is only seen in photo-ops issued by the government. Even his media managers keep the journalists at arm’s length. We wait for Nawaz Sharif’s policy speech that was supposed to announce his grand agenda for this country.

The government’s pace is definitely slow. It does not give the impression of a government that has got its homework done and offers solutions on the fast track. It’s almost been a month since the National Assembly took oath and nearly 50 days since May 11 when the PML (N) knew it was coming to power.

One third of the supposed 90-day honeymoon period is over and we are yet to know the larger contours of the government objectives.

Interior Minister Chaudhary Nisar plans to announce his national security plan this week. Whether it matches the hype built around it and gives us hope of peace in near future–only time will tell.

More important, we hold our breath to listen to what has the entire country going through hellish days and sleepless nights—the energy plan. Already, the government backed out of its election bravado and party manifesto about resolving electricity load-shedding in two years. We just hope it’s as good—and transparent—as they claim.

But the Parliament and the public is totally out of the loop on foreign policy. We have no idea what is the government policy on Iran gas pipeline. PPP’s Naveed Qamar asked why the crucial project was missing in the budget but was not given any response. The parliament was not taken into confidence about the US-Taliban talks in Doha and Pakistan’s role in it. Despite protests in the Senate, the government did not explain the contours of our Afghanistan policy and the post-US withdrawal strategy. The Prime Minister briefly mentioned about the Chinese offer about making road and rail link from Gwadar to Khunjrab but no details were shared even as he leaves for China this week.

We know about the government intentions on peace with India but the details, again, are missing. All we hear are rumours about tension between the Special Assistant and the Advisor to the PM on foreign affairs.

Unknown-49-1Frankly, it does not look as a government that had 13 long years to prepare a shadow agenda and to groom its team for Cabinet jobs. The Cabinet core of Ishaq Dar, Chaudhary Nisar, Khawaja Asif, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi are all experienced hands to run their Ministries but the challenge before them is no small either. We have reservations about other Ministers. Some are simply being trained on the job.

Ayaz Sadiq was groomed for the Railways at the Parliamentary Committees but he was promoted as the Speaker at the last minute. Khawaja Saad Rafiq is making extra effort to become Laloo Prasad Yadav of Pakistan but, in the words of a colleague, “Khawaja Sahb was made the Minister not to sort out Railways but the idea was for the Railways to sort him out.” It is rarely that the sharp-tongued Saad is seen nonplussed. 

Zahid Hamid was transferred to the Ministry of Science and Technology after his name came up as one of the drafters of Musharraf’s 2007 Emergency order. Now, how will a lawyer handle a Science Ministry. And if you read the objectives of the Ministry of Science and Technology you might wonder why should it exist in the first place. His predecessor, Khurram Dastgir, an engineer by profession, is now made Privatisation Minister. “It’s akin to deputing a cobbler for a gardener’s job or making a cook run a poultry farm,” quipped a journalist. What has Rana Tanvir to do with Defence Production or Sara Afzal Tarrar with Health Ministry.

Anusha Rehman, we are told, has a degree in law but was made IT Minister because she types the minutes of official meetings on a computer. She could be a better Public Relations Minister considering the intense socializing she does in the House. Pervaiz Rashid might happily oblige her with his Information Ministry as “I have no secret funds and no power to take journalists on official junkets.” He said this in a lighter vein in the Press Gallery the other day.

The key Ministers are seen only in talk shows and are generally not accessible even when approached for their version. This could be because of tactics, arrogance or, we are forced to infer, they do not have much to say.

Riaz Pirzada, a perpetual turncoat, was made a Minister to adjust a pressure group from South Punjab. If this be the criterion, Javed Ali Shah was already seen spitting venom against the government in the corridors.

The PML (N) was smart to divert the public attention from the unpopular budget to Musharraf’s treason trial and the Swiss cases. But it’s about time the PML (N) came out with something of its own.

Luckily for the government, the opposition is equally disappointing. The PPP is only concerned about wriggling out of its corruption cases. The battalion of Sindhi Waderas that it has brought to the Assembly is pathetic is not a shadow of the PPP we once knew. And the PTI will need a lot more to make an impact. The experiment of introducing new faces and academics in the Parliament has backfired. None of them has shown any spark so far. The ‘Naya Pakistan’ has luckily a handful of old Parliamentarians to save it from utter failure.


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