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“Pakistan: Elections or Revulsion against Hall of Shame” By Mahboob Khawaja, PhD.

Uncommon Thought

“Pakistan: Elections or Revulsion against Hall of Shame”

By Mahboob Khawaja, PhD.

15 July 2018
Narwaz Sharif, Pakistan



[Photo: Nawaz Sharif (right end of row) at the kickoff of a USAID rural water project(WAPDA) in Pakistan.]

Editor’s Note

Will Pakistan ever recover from imperialism? Will the entire region do so? Will the world? The wounds of imperialism reverberate down through the generations of nations and peoples. The corruption of spirit that imperialism engenders tears apart both culture and social structure that leaves a system that no longer functions holistically. Under “normal” social development, a culture (a shared system of values, beliefs, and norms), continually reinforces and reproduces social structures (organized social institutions like family, economy, and polity) that in turn reinforces and reproduces the shared culture.With imperialism, the culture and social structure of the imperialists prevail or are insinuated into another society. Only those areas considered as “important” by the empire are truly transformed. Often, the imperialists will select (or leverage) one group within the society to be their proxies or henchmen within the host society. This disrupts normal patterns but also places internal groups into conflict. Often, the group selected is not the dominant group within the society, but one that will need the ongoing support of the empire in order to maintain power, but also survival. For without the backing of the empire, the people might rise up and not just overthrow, but obliterate the “collaborators”.

I believe that imperialism – first the British and the American (as reflected by one arm of that power, USAID above) – are at the root of the corruption that seems all too typical of Pakistani politics. How Pakistan or other nations might reclaim their integrity and build societies that work for the people is a question I cannot answer. Problematically, the societal system has been permanently damaged, and whatever replaces it must be something different than the pre-imperialist form because by now no one remembers that state. However, to even start that process a nation must remove the boot of the imperialists from its neck.

Mahboob Khawaja, PhD.

Are the Pakistanis Living In A Fantasy World?

The logic of the July 25th parliamentary elections in Pakistan is questionable for being a ceremonial stunt to undermine the reality of a highly corrupted and disoriented political culture.  For decades, Pakistan has lacked the systematic working capacity to organize fair and honest election campaigns representing the interest of the masses. At the forefront of this charade is the intent to hold elections on a short time span. Why was the interim government was not formed a year or at least six months ahead of the planned elections?  Given the extremely hot climate and the month of Ramadhan in between, it should have been a rational discourse. These facts should have helped to organize the necessary systematic mechanics of an election body to plan and organize all facets of complex elections. Because of the missing political accountability, and fearful of the on-going legal actions against Sharif brothers, the whole scenario of hurriedly arranged interim government tells a lot.  The Sharif regime had no interest and no priority to hold fair elections or to transfer power to another legitimate political party. They were all sadistic maniacs full of greed and deliberate mismanagement to dehumanize the Pakistani masses. Leaders are supposed to enjoin a vision of the future, creative thinking and selflessness, ethical character, a sense of positive thinking and commitment to serve the interests of the people. None of these is reflected in the profiles of any politicians in the recent history of Pakistan.Pakistan needs a major change in its constitutional framework, political system and the role and responsibilities of the political establishments. None of this is available in any rational context. If Pakistan is to spearhead a sustainable democracy, it needs major planned changes – a new constitution, a Presidential system of governance (elected directly by the people), new political institutions enriched with young, educated and people having a clear vision articulating a sustainable socio-economic and political future for the country. This rebuilding of the nation cannot be done by just one group or one party already operating in a highly corrupt and dysfunctional manner, and lacking political legitimacy. Have you ever read “Pakistan- Enigma of Change” (1999);  “Pakistan: Leaders or Political Monsters” (2015), and “Pakistan in Search of Political Change”, (2015) by this author?  Our nation has been robbed by its own so-called political leaders- Bhutto, and a few Military Generals, Zardari, Sharifs and Musharraf.  Truthfully, none were leaders except being military-backed opportunists and thumb lickers who could be used for all purposes in all seasons – legitimate or illegitimate – this is Pakistan’s junk history for the last 50 or more years. How could you imagine regaining that precious time and opportunities for change and development for socio-economic, political, moral and intellectual infrastructures to sustain the present and reconstruct nationhood?  Could this forthcoming July 25 elections take any remedial steps for what is required to be undertaken by hundreds and thousands of thinking people, strategic planners and political experts? Those who imagine miracles out of nothing must be living in a self-engineered fantasy world – a world that does not correspond to the prevalent realities of the 21st century.

Could Pakistanis Learn from Others and the Challenges of Time?

South Korea sentenced President Park to 20 years or more on corruption charges. It was done in a visible systematic legal framework. Why could Pakistanis not hold Zardari, Ms. Bhutto, Sharif and Musharaf to the same legal criterion action?  Is Pakistan a legally dysfunctional State? See how the Brazilian legal system dealt with the past two presidents. Now, see how Malaysia handled Najib Razik’s corruption scandal as he is being held for trial.  If the Pakistani political elite and judiciary were honest and effective, should they have not taken tangible measures to exercise the legal accountability in a public court of law against so many political gangsters?

Nawaz Sharif has been sentenced to 10 years on corruption charges, but he will not serve the sentence because he has already fled the country. Why did the higher court allow him to leave the country? Were the Supreme Court judges ignorant of the fact that he could leave the country and avoid all measures of legal accountability?  Likely not as this was nothing new in Pakistani political culture.

Rationality and truth have their own language. Everywhere the blame game is used by corrupt politicians to cover up their cruel impulses. Their insane egoism does not recognize its own incompetence, criminality and failure. Across the nation, agonizing situations warrant urgent attention to deal with insecurity, conflict prevention and conflict management, Pakistani Taliban’s terrorism, problems in responsible governance, disdain trade and commerce and to revitalize sustainable national unity. The dismissed PM Sharif and his colleagues amassed wealth, stole the nation’s time and opportunities for political change and killed peaceful civilian demonstrators. They react like paranoid maniacs as if the masses are the problem. If conscientious Pakistanis living abroad are concerned about the decadent political culture and rebuilding of the moral, intellectual and economic-political infrastructures, the ruling elite will ensure to deprive them the opportunity to be heard at a national level. When people are forced to live in political darkness, they lose the sense of rational direction.

These corrupt leaders demonstrated a dehumanized gutted culture of naïve politics, be it inside the Higher Courts, National Assembly or the political powerhouses. It makes no sense in the 21st century knowledge-based age of reason and political accountability.  People’s pain, political agony and continuing sufferings cannot be transformed into a single portrait to show to the global audience. All of the political monsters have stolen time and looted the wealth and positive energies of the people. At a glance, Pakistan appears to be reaching a dead-ended political discourse. The political misfortune needs a high power jolt of intervention to pave a smooth way out of the stagnated political culture of the few. People are the legitimate force for change if there is any hope of democracy still operational in Pakistan.


Leaders or Monsters of History – Pakistanis Should Look in the Mirror

The military dictator – Bhuttos, Zardari and Sharifs – could never have come into power unless the nation had lost its sense of rationality, purpose and meaning of its existence. These sadistic monsters have institutionalized chaos and fear, demoralization of a moral society and dehumanization of an intelligent nation, and have transferred these naïve traits and values to the psychological-social-economic and political spheres of the mainstream thinking hub of the nation.

Pakistani politics is operated by those who have absolutely no qualifications to be at the helm of political power – yet they are continuously engaged in systematic degradation of the educated and intelligent young generations of Pakistanis who are deprived of opportunities to participate in the national politics. The contemporary history of political degeneration includes generals, neo-colonial feudal lords, members of the assemblies, and a few family-vested houses of political power, ministers or prime ministers; they have the distinction of all acting in unison against the interest of the people of Pakistan.  Political power is an aphrodisiac. Do the people belong to this mad scrum overwhelmingly witnessed across the peoples’ movement against the oligarchy? To an impartial observer, the scene is clear that the wrong people are conducting the political governance where reason and legal justice are outlawed. This contradicts the essence of the Freedom Movement of Pakistan. It appears logical to think that at some point soon, those who are fit to lead must take over from those who are unfit to govern with credibility. It could be a bloodless coup – or it could be a bloody insurrection. One way or another, the process of phasing out the obsolete and phasing-in the fair and much desired and deserving must happen.  Are Pakistan’s freedom and futuristic integrity being sacrificed for the few dumb and dull criminals who wish to extend their power beyond the domains of reason and honesty?  It will be extremely harmful and deeply flawed and dangerous ethos to the interests of the people if Sharif brethren –Bhutto’s family including Zardari reemerge in the outcome of the July 25, 2018 elections and are allowed to continue the crime-riddled political governance while their legitimacy is under sharp questioning. The path to peaceful change and political success requires the wise and informed to establish an organized council of responsible oversight to move-in to the void once the despots are ousted. That is an essential component of any public uprising determined to manifest genuine and sustainable political change and legal justice.

In “Pakistan:  Reflections on the 70th Independence Day:  Imperatives of Optimism and Future-Making,” (Uncommon Thought Journal, USA: 8/15/2017), this author made the following observations:

The political elite and the people live in a conflicting time zone being unable to understand the meaning and essence of the Pakistan Freedom Movement. This purpose needs unwavering public commitment and continuous struggle for political change. It needs not to be invented, it is living in the mind and spirit of the people, it just needs to be revitalized and better organized as the momentum is waiting for the grieving people. Pakistan urgently needs a saviour, not Sharif, Bhuttos or the few Generals. The solution must come from the thinking people of the new educated generation – the intelligent Pakistanis to facilitate hope and optimism for a sustainable future of the beleaguered nation. This should be the framework of the message and active agenda for change and reformation as the core of the celebration of Pakistan’s 70thIndependence Day.


Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja specializes in global security, peace and conflict resolution with keen interests in Islamic-Western comparative cultures and civilizations, and author of several publications including Global Peace and Conflict Management: Man and Humanity in Search of New Thinking. Lambert Publishing Germany, May 2012. His forthcoming book is entitled: One Humanity and The Remaking of Global Peace, Security and Conflict Resolution

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Jewish IMF Mission Chief in Pakistan Calls the Shots:
The Silence of the Lambs   (written in October 2013)
The Finance Ministry hierarchy is flustered about the IMF’s $6.64 billion loan that will be provided to Pakistan during the next 36 months on a quarterly disbursement of $545 million each. The Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Secretary Finance Dr Waqar Ahmad and Secretary Economic Affairs Nargis Sethi seem over-exuberant about this loan. They view it as elixir to heal all fiscal maladies Nawaz Sharif’s clueless government is suffering–but the first tranche of $545 million which they are expecting in the next few weeks is a little over what Pakistan has already paid back to the IMF during the first half of FY 2013– i.e. $340 million. 


As per SBP the government is doomed to pay back over $3 billion to the IMF before the end of September 2015. This clearly means that half of the promised $6.64 billion loan that they receive from the IMF over the next three years will be used to pay off old debts. As the old debts are cleared the new debts emerge, twice as big.



The Finance Ministry also expects in the next few months $1 billion from the World Bank as its President Dr Jim Yong Kim has recently approved it. The Asian Development Bank President Takehiko Nakao has given a nod for another $500 million loan to Pakistan.



The big picture that shows here is, will the Nawaz Sharif government run country’s economy for the next two years on these loans put together as a little over $8 billion? This amount is not enough to fill even Nawaz Sharif’s own coffer–because he is such a politician that if you make him in-charge of the Sahara Desert it would run out of sand.
Ishaq Daar is also over-optimistic about USAID to make some offer to Islamabad. Nawaz Sharif’s elder son Hussain Nawaz has recently approached the head of USAID Rajiv Shah–who studied with him at the London School of Economics in 1996, but Rajiv Shah is a staunch Hindu and is under the influence of Manmohan Singh,Shashi Tharoor and Salman Khursheed.39-year-old Shah is the highest ranking Indian-American in the Obama Administration. That said, any monetary offer to Pakistan will be India-tied.


The Secretary Finance Dr Waqar is also naive about UK’s DfID headed by Justine Greening MP but the DfID Select Committee is headed by the Scottish Lib-Dem MP from Aberdeen, Malcolm Bruce, who is friends with Shashi Tharoor, Salman Khursheed and Sonia Gandhi‘s son-in-law Robert Vadra. He visited India for a week (25 September to 02 October 2010) –all expenses (£3,300) were paid by India’s Ministry for External Affairs. Malcolm Bruce informed the author (Ejaz Hussain) in March 2013 that DfID had given to Pakistan over £380 million in 2012, they will give Islamabad £422 million in 2013, £480 million in the year 2014 and over £500 million in 2015. This will make around $2 billion that Britain will give to Pakistan over the next two years. If we add this amount to $8 billion above–Pakistan will have $11 billion by end of 2015. Canada’s CIDA, Japan’s JICA, the Saudi regime, Qatari/Kuwaiti Ameers and UAE monarchs have promised to give under $2 billion (put together) over the next two years–but there are no guarantees. 

 As regards the Foreign Exchange Reserves (FER)–Pakistan had a little over $11 billion in April this year (2013). When Ishaq Dar paid Rs 326 billion (of the total Rs 503 circular debt) on 29 June 2013–Pakistan’s FER were just over $5 billion.


The figure of $5 billion will continue to pinch the Pakistani nation for the next five years–whether it was paid to the crony IPPs or the crony bankers. This is the figure that has purportedly disappeared from Pakistan’s FER. The SBP has also printed Rs 850 billion notes during the past few weeks. The Governor State Bank Yaseen Anwar, both Deputy Governors (Qazi Muqtadir and Arshad Wathra) and Secretary Finance Dr Waqar Ahmed are completely silent over this issue–what a Silence of the Lambs?



For the record: IMF blows holes in Ishaq Dar’s claims

Published: January 11, 2014

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar. PHOTO: AFP


The head of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) mission in Pakistan claimed on Friday that the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz “unilaterally decided” to reduce the budget deficit – in open contradiction with Finance Minister Ishaq Dar’s claim that the caretaker government, in conjunction with the Fund, had agreed to a Rs200 billion tax levy.

Speaking with The Express Tribune, IMF mission chief Jeffrey Franks said there had been dialogue about the possibility of measures to raise revenue. “In the end, in the absence of a programme with the IMF, the caretaker government chose not to implement any of the measures,” said Frank by telephone from Washington.

Franks said the IMF accepted the caretaker government’s decision, adding that the PML-N government took measures to reduce the gap between national income and expenditures.

 photo 41_zpsfec9603b.jpg

In the last cabinet meeting, the finance minister had admitted that an estimated Rs200 billion in taxes that his government levied was one of the main reasons for skyrocketing inflation. But he blamed the caretaker government for the move, while providing a summary of revenue-increasing measures suggested by the PML-N government. Dar said that after former president Asif Ali Zardari did not approve the measures, the PML-N government was bound to honour the commitment made to the IMF.

Franks statement suggests that the government was trying to pass the buck to its predecessors, particularly as independent economists have criticised the government for levying indirect taxes in the budget for raising revenues instead of widening the tax net. They voiced fear that indirect taxes would fuel inflation – as can currently be witnessed. Analysts also doubt the credibility of Dar’s statement, arguing that if the caretaker government had finalised a decision, why would the PML-N government spend three weeks to finalise the programme?

The IMF chief also appeared dissatisfied with the performance of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR). “There has been some progress in the annual growth in revenue collection but it is far from adequate and more needs to be done to improve collection and tax administration,” said Franks.

In six months, the FBR witnessed a 15% growth through the collection of Rs1.020 trillion in taxes — far below the required growth rate of 28% to hit the Rs2.475 trillion tax target.

Franks also maintained that the IMF did not lower the Rs2.475 trillion tax target. “We deliberately pitched the projected collection at Rs2.345 trillion but the government should aim at its original target,” he said. He maintained that improvements in the areas of taxation and energy was a multi-stage process. “It is unrealistic to expect progress in just six months, as it will take a few years to fully implement reforms,” he explained.

Franks said the IMF was neither soft nor hard on Pakistan. “There is a fine line between being too tough or not to being tough enough,” he said, adding that the programme required flexibility in order to take into account the country’s circumstances. He said the adjustments Pakistan is making have to be made with or without the IMF programme.

To a question regarding the relaxation of a target of building foreign currency reserves to $2 billion by State Bank of Pakistan for the second quarter of the fiscal year, Franks said the IMF had to adjust the target after the first review as some of initial projections were not met. He said in the upcoming second review meeting of the programme, the IMF will consider if there is a need to review any targets again.

Franks said there were no specific concerns about data manipulation, either of the fiscal deficit or economic growth. “We have no reason to doubt the data of Pakistan,” he stated. He said the IMF was offering technical assistance to improve the quality of data, adding that the quality of quarterly GDP numbers will gradually improve.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 11th, 2014.


Boosting forex reserves: Pakistan refuses to sell $2.7b worth of gold says IMF

Published: March 29, 2014

According to the IMF’s staff report, the State Bank of Pakistan holds over 2 million troy ounces of monetary gold, having $2.7 billion value at market rate. CREATIVE COMMONS


Pakistan has refused to sell gold worth $2.7 billion, citing national security reasons, as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) pushes Islamabad to convert the precious metal into cash to build foreign currency reserves, revealed the global lender’s report on Friday.

The report, prepared by IMF’s staff led by its Washington-based Mission Chief to Islamabad Jeffrey Franks, also spills the beans on the ‘$1.5 billion gift’ to Pakistan by ‘Saudi Arabia’ – the name Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government has so far refused to officially share with parliament.

According to the report, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) holds over 2 million troy ounces of monetary gold, having $2.7 billion value at market rate. It is not counted in gross international reserves as it is not deemed to be liquid by the SBP, says the IMF.

The IMF and Pakistan authorities discussed what steps would be needed to make gold more liquid, the report adds. “However, the (Pakistani) authorities stressed that they have no plans to sell gold and preferred existing arrangements for gold holdings for national security reasons.”

The IMF is pushing Pakistan to sell gold holdings at a time when other countries are buying the commodity as a strategic reserve. The IMF had even sold its surplus gold to India a couple of years ago.

According to analysts, one reason behind the IMF’s insistence could be the country’s inability to build official foreign currency reserves despite being in the $6.7 billion IMF arrangement.

While the IMF hinted in its report that the SBP was not aggressive in building foreign currency reserves, it disclosed that Pakistan’s central bank continued its efforts to build reserves by purchasing dollars from the market.

The SBP purchased $575 million in the last few months till March 17, the report states. The SBP purchases may help stabilise the foreign currency reserves but is considered one of the reasons behind depreciation of the local currency against the US dollar. The rupee started appreciating only after the $1.5 billion grant from Saudi Arabia.

$1.5 billion gift

While the federal government remains reluctant to officially disclose the name of the country that ‘gifted’ Pakistan $1.5 billion despite persistent demand of the opposition, the IMF report identifies it as Saudi Arabia.

A “$750 million grant recently received from Saudi Arabia” will help the Pakistan government in reducing borrowings from the SBP for budget financing, said the IMF.

“Reserve accumulation was also aided by an additional inflow of $750 million from Saudi Arabia,” according to Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies (MEFP), which is attached with the report and is jointly prepared by Pakistan and the IMF.

In a footnote to the MEFP, Pakistan told the IMF that it received an initial inflow of $750 million on February 19, indicating that it would receive more money.

Strong growth forecast

The IMF confirmed its recent forecast of 3.1 per cent growth this year, which was revised up from an earlier 2.8 per cent. “The overall economic situation in Pakistan is gradually improving,” said Jeffrey Franks.

“That 3.1 per cent may still be a bit on the conservative side, so we see indicators of growth that are relatively strong considering the fiscal adjustment that has taken place,” he told reporters on a conference call.

For the 2014-15 fiscal year, the IMF expected Pakistan’s growth to accelerate to around 3.7 per cent.

The IMF report said the growth was boosted by a stronger manufacturing industry thanks to an easing of Pakistan’s chronic electricity shortages, despite weaknesses in agriculture.

It also said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government, despite its commitment to IMF-backed reforms, faced ‘strong’ political resistance to certain structural measures.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 29th, 2014.

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