Our criminal neglect ignoring the lessons learnt while vacillating from crisis to crisis may make this long and hot summer really sizzle. Millions of our countrymen continue to remain neglected and out of the mainstream because of mis-governance by our rulers, their feudal mindset loath to give participation to our citizens in decision-making even at the local level.
How the terrorists associated with a splinter group of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) were able to cart the son of the Chief Justice of the Sindh High Court undetected more than 1000 kilometres from Karachi arouses suspicions about “official protocol” being used. The suspicion also persists that this kidnapping was meant to subvert the course of justice by intimidating the judiciary. With known criminal Asad Kharal alongwith his cronies now in custody (and reportedly singing like canaries), startling disclosures are expected i.e. unless interrogation reports are used to make political deals with the “powers that be” likely to be affected by the disclosures.
Alleging that the Rangers were exceeding their powers beyond Karachi,delaying the renewal of their policing powers (now given) by the PPP’s Sindh govt has become a periodical farcical joke. In essence what the PPP is saying is that if Owais Shah was kidnapped in Karachi, what business did the Rangers have searching for him in Larkana? And is it not “Ripley’s Believe it or Not” that almost the entire PPP hierarchy was interceding to stop the Rangers action arresting a known criminal house guest at the house of the Home Minister, the man responsible for protecting the citizens of the Province. PPP’s senior leader Khurshid Ali Shah went one better on “believe it or not”, claiming that all the good work ridding Karachi of criminal elements has been done by the police and not the Rangers. With the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly (NA) speaking such blatant mistruths, what credibility has democracy in Pakistan? Why is the Federal Govt not using their powers under the Constitution to protect the life and liberty of the common citizen in any Province? Playing politics with the lives of the people is dereliction of your duty.
Detailed enquiry about the rich and powerful listed in the “Panama Leaks” will force-multiply the problems faced by our rulers on all sides of the divide across the entire spectrum of politics and administration. The PM’s heart condition gave him a fortunate “timeout”. In a replay of the delaying tactics used brilliantly by Ishaq Dar during the 2014 “Dharna”, the Terms of Reference (TOR) negotiations were deliberately filibustered till the “Panama Leaks” faded somewhat from the public imagination. Rhetoric is appreciated, can we expect some action against those responsible for Pakistan’s national security by the revelations connecting corruption through organized crime and its nexus with terrorism.
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has employed its vast powers and capability on a rather selective basis avoiding prosecuting the key players involved in corruption in administration and politics in Pakistan. The five hundred plus names appearing in Panama Leaks has not excited any NAB interest despite the laws to intercede available to NAB, “their see no evil, hear no evil” attitude undercuts their credibility. Corruption’s strong nexus with terrorism comes by fueling organized crime through a parallel black economy. The corrupt control vast financial resources for investing in real estate, the govt had to back down from properties being adjudged at real value for taxes. That symbolizes the enormous reach of how powerful “organised crime” is within the Administration.
The blood of our martyrs is being shed endlessly to afford opulent lifestyles abroad for our rulers. With the evidence at hand (plenty available from the transcripts of Dr Asim, Uzair Baloch, Asad Kharal, Nisar Moraii, Sultan Qamar Siddiqui etc and a host of target killers), the same summary punishment must be given to the corrupt directly and/or indirectly providing funds to terrorists. Only if something drastically changes can one agree with Raheel Sharif when he says that the day is not far off when our beloved homeland will be “an icon of peace and seat of learning among the comity of nations”. The “smoking gun” is the Sindh govt’s desperate efforts to keep the perpetrators of heinous crimes from giving evidence implicating them. Which Constitution in the world permits corruption, murder and mayhem that the incarcerated have confessed as part and parcel of their governance practices?
The integrity of the electronic media has been so subverted they avoid reporting adverse facts against those spending huge amounts of money in advertisements. The lack of accountability by the fourth estate contributes to the proliferation of corruption,with deliberate “misinformation” being disseminated in Pakistan media has mostly become a tool of “evil intent” in the hands of those with vested interest. If Hafeez Pasha, Prof Khurshid Ahmad, etc are to be believed, a lot of the Ishaq Dar’s positive statistics are fudged. We are borrowing money by the billions to keep the façade of a humming economy going.
The game-changer China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is causing irritation for the Chinese because of slow progress, magnified by differences openly cropping up among our political groupings. A number of security-related concerns continue to bedevil Pakistan. Gen Raheel Sharif had to publicly renew the Army’s commitment to oversee the CPEC projects to maximize the “dividend of our geo-strategic relations”. The Chinese are asking that the Pakistan Army be formally given control to ensure a smooth execution of the projects. Those interested in making money (and keeping power) by any means at the cost of the State will never let go.
Rumors surfacing about granting General Raheel Shareef in extension when he has categorically said he ‘did not believe in extension” is a deliberate attempt by vested political interests to create unnecessary controversy. The last few years have seen no dearth of capable and battle-tested commanders emerging who can finish the work started by General Sharif Shareef.
With many of domestic and international problems of the government’s own making, Imran Khan has announced a countrywide anti-corruption movement from Aug 7 saying Mr. Nawaz Sharif must be held accountable, threatening that the campaign could turn from rallies into sit-ins or any other form. Government ministers of the Pervez Rashid-kind are already hinting that Imran Khan’s “Dharna” has “covert” support like was alleged in 2014. With the present nexus between corruption and organized crime morphing into financial and logistics support for terrorism, politicians who “cry wolf” about support from hidden hands this time around may make it a self-fulfilling (and not-so-hidden) prophecy.
(The writer is a defense and security analyst).