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 National Government Has Become An Absolute Imperative. Saeed A Malik.

 National Government Has Become An Absolute Imperative

Saeed A Malik

 

From 2008 onwards, the central aim being pursued by the governments in power stood naked and exposed, without a shred of modesty nor any sense of shame. This central aim was to loot Pakistan. There is therefore a direct correlation between the exponential rise in Pakistan’s national debt and the assets of its”leaders”. Our national debt is not just a serious issue. It is potentially a catastrophic one. This is not a matter for speculation which may be argued against, for this a mathematical reality. The figures are out there. Our debt is known and so is our income. It is also known that we do not have the income to repay our debt, the first installments of which are due from us in 2018. Non-payment means bankruptcy. And bankruptcy means economic sanctions at the very least. To avoid these sanctions a pound of Pakistan’s flesh will be required by the lenders. And one does not need to guess too hard that this pound will include our nuclear assets; an end to CPEC; and a free hand in Baluchistan. In short Pakistan will lose its defense capability; will be truncated for all practical purposes; and its only chance to get out of its present economic mess will die the death of an unrealized dream.
In short, the level of corruption in Pakistan and the huge national debt this has spawned, are existential threats to the viability of our independent existence.
There is also a nexus between the looted money and terrorist funding. Our leadership has therefore given us the twin gifts of economic catastrophe, and its financial support of terrorist groups. Either of these gifts would have been enough, in the long run, to have taken Pakistan down. But coming together, their lethality could well wring Pakistan’s neck.
It is often suggested by the apologists for the government that the real cause of our debt is the costs incurred due to the war against terror, whose smooth execution has actually been hindered by the government i.e they have stood with the enemy in this war.
Be that as it may, the fact is that the almost seventy percent fall in the prices of oil has more than met the costs of the war on terror. The cost however which cannot be met is the cost of economic terrorism waged by our leadership against our country.
But the immensity of the theft that was visited on Pakistan leads one to ask, how could this have even been possible? The answer to this question is a very simple one for those that have the honesty to face the problem squarely without blinking. This situation is the direct result of the “system” which is trying to masquerade as a democracy. The public representatives elected to parliament are not elected to legislate and govern. They are elected to loot and plunder the state, because the very order is based upon a ” returns on investment” system. In short this is a system where “madate” has come to mean a mandate to loot and plunder. The logic being spewed by a frothing Nawaz Sharif to proclaim his innocence tells us that this interpretation of “mandate” is the one he goes by.
Under this “system” the one seeking a seat in parliament has to first make an investment, which begins with his purchase of a ticket from those who supposedly give us our “democracy”. A person who “invests” ten crores to get elected, comes motivated to earn fifty crores if elected. Thus the “system” is rooted and founded on theft and villainy. And that is what should be expected from it.You cannot expect to sow bramble, and hope to get roses.
At the level of a political party, this system metastasizes into a vast criminal enterprise, which was what both Zardari and Nawaz Sharif were running. The mechanics of this “system” are very easy to understand. To commit economic fraud on your country you cannot do it alone. You need to be facilitated. And this facilitation is done by the secretary of your ministry. And so you get yourself a corrupt secretary. And here begins the undermining of the bureaucracy. Pretty soon you have placed all such institutions which can help you make or hide money [like the FBR, SECP, OGDC etc etc] under corrupt bosses. With the passage of time the whole civil service  becomes diseased, ministering only to you at the cost of national interest.
The second enterprise you embark upon is to give yourself immunity from the law and any form of accountability. For this you subvert the police, the FIA, NAB, and any and all such organizations which can hold you accountable, going right up to the judiciary.
To make the “system” work without any challenge, you also co-opt the political opposition into this criminal enterprise and sign with them a “Charter of Democracy.”
Lastly you want to ensure that the elections that are held, return you to power each time they are held. For this you rig the election commission, as well as the interim governments sworn in to hold elections, and take help from your man in NADRA. And lastly you amend the constitution to further strengthen your immunity from accountability and to ensure your perpetuation in power. This has divided the country between a rotten “elite”, and the hopeless rest, and driven the state to the margins of extinction.
By the time you have “achieved” all this, the “system” that you have brought about, stands in direct opposition to any form of accountability and therefore against this central pillar of democracy: while a mangled constitution stands opposed to national interest. The situation therefore is so created, that any citizen who stands with national interest, will per force have to oppose the constitution. This is the sorry pass where the combined exertions of Zadari and Nawaz Sharif have dragged the nation to.
The only institution which could not be subverted by this duo, despite their best efforts, was the Pakistan Army, and lately, a rejuvenated judiciary. But sadly, the army, which guards our national security, stood back and allowed the very foundations of the state to be undermined by mega corruption, without moving a muscle to thwart it. Without this negligence to duty, we could not have reached this stage.
The system which uses the label of democracy but is geared to breed only criminals, needs to go and new one put in its place. The only way this can be done is to eliminate, as far as is possible, the promise of monetary gain from political office, so that increasingly such people enter politics, as are committed to serving the people and the country. The most important single step in this direction is to reform the civil service and the police. Each of these must have their own secretariats to deal with the promotions and postings and transfers etc of their cadres, so that no minister can have in his ministry a secretary of his choice. These postings should be done entirely on merit by the service itself. If the officer who facilitates the corruption of a minister is denied to him, theft and chances of it will greatly be reduced; while a relatively independent police force, largely operating without political interference, will take away the comfort of immunity which is now being enjoyed by all the ministers.
Any constitution and system of laws is predicated on the assumption that those sworn to uphold it, will be the last ones to undermine it. But in our case these are the very people who have mangled the constitution, and they subvert the spirit of what is left of it, on a daily basis. And there is little to hold them accountable.
Just examine the situation that this criminal enterprise has brought about. We have a prime minister in parliament; we have one in Jati Umra to whom all the ministers report; and we have one in the shape of Maryam Safdar  whom all the ministers who once constituted her “gaali galoch” team, report to. Together these three prime ministers have one aim in common i.e they are all committed to undermining and conspiring against the Supreme Court and the Pakistan Army, the only two institutions left standing. They are openly violating every legal norm, and the relevant articles of the spirit of constitution in doing so. This, then is your “system” which, it is daily alleged, is in danger of being derailed.
This is a joke that has lost its hilarity and must now be terminated.This system must not only be most assiduously derailed, but mercilessly beheaded. Pakistan is in the grip of a dire emergency. This emergency should be recognized and declared before further harm can be done to the state. This is the job of the President, the C.J and the Army Chief, who should join together to come to the aid of the state. They must bring to an end, this criminal enterprise about whose criminality little doubt remains. They must not allow it further tenure to commit grievous wounds on the state.The President should announce national emergency and the formation of a National Government while the supreme Supreme Court must give radical new interpretations of law to give legal cover to every such measure as is deployed towards salvaging the state. And the Court must invoke all relevant articles of the constitution to take assistance from the Army to stem the current rot.
The National Government should 
— as the first order of business,immediately put every suspected criminal on ECL pending investigation and trial.
–form, with the help of the Supreme Court, summary courts to try people for corruption. The proceedings of these courts should be monitored by the Supreme Court.
–define mega corruption and institute death penalty for it, convertible to life imprisonment in case the convict repatriates wealth stolen from the state.
–set in motion efforts to retrieve Pakistan’s stolen assets stashed abroad.
–suspend the 18nth amendment of the constitution, and issue ordinances to give legal cover to its actions.
–dismiss the large numbers of civil servants and police officials who have acted as personal servants of people exercising political power, to the detriment of the state. And retrieve from retirement such officers of these services who had a reputation for integrity and ability, and place them in the most important slots ravaged under the present dispensation.
–set in motion reforms of the civil and police services so that these institutions become independent of political masters of the future.
–do electoral reforms.
–issue an ordinance to the effect that all citizens under any indictment in a court of law, may not take part in any political activity till cleared of the same.
–ensure that elections to parliament are held no later than eighteen months, but those fighting such elections must sign a declaration that if elected, they will sign into law all such ordinances which have been issued by the national government.
–among the first orders of business, get into negotiations with the Chinese government, on a bail-out package, should Pakistan not be able to meet its international debt obligations.
–define mega corruption and include it among national security imperatives, and create an institution where it can be monitored,freely debated , and killed in infancy. A national security council could be such a forum.
–define a minimal politcal role for the army insofar as national security issues are concerned. The army and its heft are a reality. To treat this reality as non existent, is to hobble the system through imbalance. It is this imbalance which has resulted in the present situation. Had there been a functioning and effective national security council to take up corruption issues at their incipient state and squelched their further progress at that stage, things would never have reached their present pass. A very good example here would be the huge LNG scandal. The press reported it when this fraudulent deal was being hammered out. It could have been killed in childhood, but it was allowed to prosper. And now it will kill tens and thousands of our children because of the consequences of poverty it will visit on so many additional families.
In the past, army generals have moved in to redress an emergency situation. Emergencies are temporary phenomena, but the generals made their reigns permanent. And the Courts gave legal cover to the generals to get away with it. This did immense harm to both the army and the country. Now here is a chance for both the Judges and the Army to redeem their past, and to give their country a future.
I would like to end this with my essential premise i.e any system founded on a” return on investment” basis must per force subvert every mechanism of accountability. And if accountability is destroyed as a result, call this system whatever you may, but it cannot be called democracy. Such a system is designed for loot and plunder with immunity. And this has been levied on Pakistan with unprecedented zest since 2008, while the leaders got exponentially richer at the cost of the state, to the hypocritical applause of bought out “intellectuals”, who continued to call this hands off mayhem, a “democracy.”
P.s. The most  malign and effective adjunct of the criminal enterprise is NAB. If the Supreme Court is really serious about seeing its orders being implemented, they must begin with throwing the book at Qamar Zaman Choudhary. They must take the space away from petty hoodlums which they are using to do incalculable harm to the state. And the Court must follow and put away in jail, all those who have committed contempt against it, and are continuing to do so. This will take the pith out of Nawaz Sharif’s “revolution”, and reduce the insignificance, which should always have been his station in life, but for Gen Jilani’s one egregious mistake. Legal action against Nawaz Sharif’s section commanders will take the wind out of the potential anarchy which is being sought to be built up by him, and the instability craved by him will be stayed.
Saeed A. Malik.

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PAKISTAN TODAY : Finding the Correct Path the Hard Way by Humayun Gauhar

PAKISTAN TODAY 

 

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 December 28, 2014

         

Finding the Correct Path the Hard Way

 

‘Terrorist Taliban Pakistan’ killed our future; kill them to reclaim our future  

 

Humayun Gauhar

 

We had two choices: give in to the terrorists and face the consequences or fight terrorism and face the consequences. Sensibly we opted for the latter, the correct decision, so fight it is. Else we would have been at their mercy and what passes for justice Taliban style. All men would have grown beards, women hidden behind veils and not allowed education or outside their homes, minorities forcefully converted, forced to flee or massacred. Pakistan would have gone down the drain as Afghanistan did after the Taliban conquest with our stupid help. We saw a glimpse of it after the ‘Terrorist Taliban Pakistan’ or TTP were allowed to rule Swat and impose ‘Nizam-e-Adl’ with the complicity of a supine government. They whipped a girl for leaving her house with a man who was eligible to marry her. They paraded the streets holding the chopped heads of soldiers in their hands to spread terror.

 

That the decision to fight terrorism of all hues countrywide flowed from the barrel of a gun as​,​too ,​the reluctant acceptance of the ‘National Anti-terrorism Plan’ by all parliamentary politicians is a no brainer, as,​too,​the prime minister’s speech announcing it. This becomes inevitable in crises when there is utter political and judicial failure and all three branches of government are confused, unable to decide, only talk.

 

So praise what is good and don’t worry about who did it. Don’t quibble with details. Wrinkles can be ironed out later, lacunae plugged. You cannot argue with correct decisions. That should be the  motto of every writer – ‘Proclaim Truth’ Mujhay Hai Hukm-e-Azaan La Illaha Il Allah.

 

Politicians, army and even the judges deserve praise for finally coming together on the right track for one objective: fighting terrorism together to its end. Well done. Better still would have been a National Government of Unity to show that they are fighting the war together. Without it I wouldn’t bet on this forced unity lasting long as each party jockeys for advantage. We are already hearing voices of dissent from pro-Taliban and pseudo democratic politicians quibbling about military courts, fearing not quite incorrectly, that they might bypass due process and be used to harass or eliminate opponents. They should recognize that it is utter judicial failure that has led to military courts. If the normal constitutional courts cannot dispense justice, someone else has to and that someone is always the most powerful institution standing.

 

We will support our government in this war as long as it stays the course and remains steadfast. If our leaders don’t break with their false notions of the past and waver one bit the war will be lost. Then we will oppose them tooth and nail as we do criminal governance. Revolt and military intervention will then stare politicians in the face. Else, Balkanization could be our harvest. For the record, Altaf Hussain of the MQM was the only politician persistently warning about growing ‘Talibanisation’ for years, but no one took heed. Today we reap the harvest.

 

Fighting a war, especially in your own country, is psyche-damaging but not fighting it and leaving enemies the run of the place damages the national psyche even more. It desensitizes you, brutalizes you and dehumanizes you until you become an animal yourself. Having exhausted all others, we were left with no option but to fight. What we need now is God’s pleasure with our endeavors. But God will only be pleased if we realize our own past mistakes that have led us to this sorry pass and repent – Taubah – never to be stupid and repeat them again.

 

Now that our politicians and generals have finally seen the Correct Path that humankind prays to God to show them in the first chapter of the Quran, ‘Fateha’, they must start treading on it tirelessly and doggedly and defeat the multi-headed hydra of terrorism breathing fire on us. We must also defeat the multi-sectoral implosion that we are faced with if Pakistan is to survive. Selfish ‘allies’, misguided clerics and pseudo intellectuals local and foreign will divert us along the way Satan-like, but we must learn to clearly differentiate between what is good for us and what is bad. I am concerned that our leaders’ native stupidity doesn’t get the better of them – all of them, army, politicians and judges. The best way to keep native stupidity in check is to follow the universal process and principle of decision making: know who to take good advice from, do relevant research and analysis without getting paralyzed, set up counter syndicates and before taking each step ask yourself whether it is good or bad, right or wrong and ensure that it will please God by not violating his humane injunctions.

 

Last week I wrote that seeing a photograph of our politicians discussing terrorism the day after the Peshawar carnage made one’s heart sink. Are these the people, I asked, who are going to lead our destiny? Seeing another photograph of them in their second conclave would have made our hearts sink lower, beholding the unbelievable sight of what a parliament of monkeys looks like, bearded, bewigged and botoxed wearing half a pound of makeup. Thus far, all we have heard from them are pious declarations of intent and hollow words and more words. Our rulers have confused words with bullets. No longer, hopefully.

 

Conspicuous by their presence in the conclave of political geniuses were the army and ISI chiefs, signifying that real power had quietly passed to the army. General Raheel Sharif was wearing four hats: the army chief’s, the foreign minister’s, the defence minister’s and the interior minister’s with the chief executive’s hat in his holster. No wonder there was consensus. A silent coup if ever there was one. Better this than a takeover upfront, but if our politicians continue in their usual vein of bickering, nitpicking and bellyaching busy splitting hairs, I’m afraid they will cause a direct coup yet again.Coups too are part of political evolution – unhealthy political evolution – and are certainly not good for the country or the military. They are backward evolution, not forward. They have no system of succession. Only a genuine people’s revolution that upturns an iniquitous status quo and replaces it one better is forward evolution.

 

Those who were gleefully awaiting a coup should think again. It is no long-term solution. Instead, it ends up leaving a mess by prolonging the life of a decrepit political system flourishing in the name of democracy and retards healthy political evolution. The system should be allowed to self-correct or die its natural death, not be made a martyr again and given longer life by putting it on life support. It is fast reaching an ignominious end anyway, so why stop it?

 

By murdering our children the Taliban killed our future. Terrorist students murdering genuine students exposes our decline beyond the pale, beyond Islam or any secular or spiritual creed. Instead of exterminating terrorists we have been soft on terrorism for years because we confused it with Jihad and forced our entry into the realm of national infidelity with God, humanity and all civilized norms. That other countries wearing the garb of civilization are also in the realm of national infidelity is no excuse for us to be there too. We should have realized that terrorists don’t fight any Jihad but spread discord and disharmony through wanton murder and destruction. That they would be another front in conventional war is a pipedream.

 

Hopefully, we have reached our tipping point and our exit from national infidelity has started. We are determined that we will not go silent into the night. We will fight them to the last man and woman. We will no longer tolerate any laxity, sympathy, apology or confusion by our authorities. If our rulers don’t shape up we will ship them out. Terrorist enablers, sympathizers and apologists should be treated as terrorists and get the same treatment, no matter how high their office. That goes for mosques, madrassas and misled mullahs too, like Lal Masjid has been turned from a House of God into a House of Satan, another Masjid al-Zirar (‘Dirar’ in Arabic) meaning Mosque of Opposition, Dissent and Harm spreading ‘Fitna’ and ‘Fasad’, discord and disharmony, to the extent that it is mentioned in the Quran. Masjid Zirar was burnt down on the orders of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

 

I likened terrorism to a tree. We have to destroy it root and branch. Military operations will just cut the leaves, branches and trees. In tandem, government has to destroy its roots, which means destroying the soil of injustice in which terrorism flourishes, arming our young with the best contemporary education, bringing semi-literate mullahs of mosques and madrassas to heel and all media within proper regulation, fighting cyber terrorism on the social media and cell phones and above all, ending State Terrorism on which non-State terrorism feeds. We rightly grieve for the 132 children brutally massacred in Peshawar but we don’t have tears for the 250 children killed by state terrorism neglect in Tharparker and over 54 percent undernourished children in Balochistan and everywhere in Pakistan. We don’t give a thought for our 55 percent living under the poverty line – 110 million. State terrorism my friends is not only armed terrorism as in the Model Town massacre; more sinister is economic terrorism of loot, plunder and corruption, absence of basic needs and fundamental rights, and the lies, crass hypocrisy and insensitivity of our rulers…

 

More suggestions to add to the government’s 20 points:

  1. Extreme vigilance at all entry and exit points.
  2. Maximum scrutiny and security checks before issuing visas to anyone and I mean anyone and everyone just as the US has done. No more wholesale visas without check to American ‘contractors’ and assassins like Raymond Davis as happened in the ‘democratic’ Zardari era.
  3. Extreme vigilance in letting in overseas Pakistanis hiding behind our passports. Many of them have joined terrorists or are their sympathizers and funders.  
  4. Upgrade and strengthen the selection, training, emoluments and equipment of police. Weed out criminals recruited by political governments into the force. Fighting criminality and internal terrorism is police, not army, work.
  5. Afghanistan should be told to  forthwith remove India’s terrorism proliferating offices along our border – or else.
  6. Many hospitals and jails have become terrorist hubs with computers and mobile phones. End it.
  7. Repatriate all Afghans under the guise of ‘refugees’ even those carrying Pakistani passports and identify cards or born here. Afghanistan’s occupation is ending and there is no more justification for Afghans staying here like leeches.
  8. Make new provinces in tribal areas and bring them under Pakistani laws. Don’t pander to the myth of the Pukhtoon code. If they are as brave as advertised, they should prove it by fighting terrorists who are destroying them most.
  9. If we genuinely believe that we are good Muslims, let us publicly and loudly proclaim the terrorist creed as unIslamic heresy, infidelity and Kufr.
  10.    While making laws more effective, one cannot stress enough not to plan in anger because if we drop due process we will become an uncivilized police state and the terrorists would have won.
  1. What about Mumtaz Qadri, the self-confessed assassin of Salman Taseer Shaheed? Qadri is a hero to many, including lawyers and judges. When is he going to be brought to justice? I would rather that they first extracted the full story of who really was behind his assassination. Salman had become a pain for the Sharifs while Mumtaz Qadri was an employee of the Punjab Police under Shahbaz Sharif and had no business being in Governor Taseer’s security detail.

 It won’t take two years but one generation to end terrorism root and branch. So get on with it. There will certainly be more blowbacks so don’t lose your nerve and remain steadfast. Problem is, this army and political leadership won’t last that long. What guarantee that their successors will be as steadfast? If the terrorists hold out long enough for weak leadership to succeed, then what? So think long-term.

 I am still not done.

 humayun.gauhar786@gmail.com

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