Is there an end to Pakistan’s perpetual misery?

PTH is not a partisan blog-zine. Our regular contributor, Bilal Quershi has sent this article for publication. We do not take any position on the views expressed here. However, in the interest of democracy and promoting and protecting free speech in Pakistan, we are publishing it. PTH Admin

Is there an end to Pakistan’s perpetual misery? Of course, there is no easy answer for this question. Moreover, it also depends on who is answering this untimely and rude question.

If you ask the coalition partners running the government, you are likely to get a tough, but realistic answer. But who cares about tough love, honesty, or facts, or honesty? On the other hand, if you ask the PML (N), you might get figures (don’t worry, they won’t add up in the end!) about how much more revenue can they generate without expanding the pie, bravado and artificial optimism with a caveat. What is that caveat? Well, they would argue, falsely, that if only Nawaz Sharif is given one more chance (never mind his two awful and failed stints) to lead the country, things will improve, inflation, lawlessness, water and electricity shortage and poverty etc will come under control, and believe it or not, it will happen instantly.

So, why can’t we appoint Nawaz Sharif “Amir-ul-Momineen”,? By the way, Nawaz Sharif did try to become Amir-ul-Momineen in 1998, when another man had declared himself Amir-ul-Momineen. Guess who that man was? Yes, Mullah Omar, leader of the Taliban and Nawaz Sharif’s ideological soul mate. But, shhhhhhhhh, don’t share or remind this with the Americans. It seems that American don’t remember Nawaz Sharif’s ties with fundamentalists or his ideological leanings. So, keep it down, will you?

Once Nawaz Sharif takes over as Amir-ul-Momineen, we should give him all the power to control the judiciary, military, press, television, radio, police, secret police, intelligence agencies, banks, embassies, ambassadors, etc to run everything. If you do this, you are likely to have peace in Pakistan within years, or perhaps decades, but, let’s not rush to judgment here. Let the man start work!

But, make no mistake about it. Only a Sharif can govern in this country. What? You don’t believe me? Just look at Punjab where Nawaz Sharif’s party has hundreds of MPS from his own party, but he chose his own brother to be the Chief Minister. Doesn’t this prove that Nawaz Sharif is anything, but serous?

So, isn’t it tempting to have Nawaz Sharif as the leader of Pakistan? In fact, I often wonder, just like Nawaz Sharif (but without staring in the space); why is it taking so long for Pakistanis to fall for Nawaz Sharif’s illusion this time?

Let’s walk down the memory lane to examine facts. Shall we?

During the recent drama to restore a highly questionable man, Ch. Iftikhar as the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, leader of one of the 2 dozens Muslim Leagues operating in Pakistan promised, repeatedly, and promised in front of the nation, that if, (and it was not even a big if), Ch. Iftikhar is restored, he, the big leader, Nawaz Sharif would not ask for anything else for five years. I mean come on, you’d think that like rest of the world, I too would remember this promise, but, as you know, perhaps like Nawaz Sharif, I too am a man who regularly forgets commitments. So, please, remind me, every time I forget that Ch. Iftikhar has been restored and it is Nawaz Sharif’s turn to keep his word. Okay?

Anyway, as I was talking about broken promises, or was I talking about Pakistan’s misery? Oh, well, let’s not mix these two because these two are completely separate issue.

By the way, how can anyone define a broken promise? For example, and let’s take the big leader as an example here, if Nawaz Sharif promised the leader of his own party, Junejo, that Nawaz Sharif won’t do anything to damage the party unity, won’t challenge Junejo’s leadership, won’t do anything to destroy the confidence within the party, but ended up destroying party confidence, challenging Junejo’s legitimate leadership and formed his own Muslim League, would it be considered a bad thing? Would it also reflect badly on Nawaz Sharif? All Nawaz Sharif did was that he (some naïve people argue illegally) tried to remove Junejo from the party’s presidency. Why is it wrong to climb up by any means necessary as was done by Nawaz Sharif?  No, it is not wrong to climb up, and Nawaz Sharif did not break any law; he just broke couple of promises, and promises are meant to be broken.

This is the Nawaz Sharif way! Get used to it.

It is not good to look in the past all the time, because like Nawaz Sharif, I too am not interested in history, or learning, and pretty much anything else,  but I am being forced, by you, the readers, to think of couple of more examples to exemplify Nawaz Sharif as a leader. So, reluctantly and with a heavy heart, I am going to help you understand why Nawaz Sharif is a big leader, and it is for your own good. Take out your notepads, pencils and start taking notes!

What is a leader? A leader is someone who does what he wants to do and this unique leadership quality is found in Nawaz Sharif in ample quantity. Here is how I know Nawaz Sharif is a leader.

Nawaz Sharif showed total lack of trust and respect towards Benazir Bhutto. Benazir, whose father opted to give his life, but refused to compromise on Pakistan’s nuclear program, which he himself started and his daughter thought that after fighting Zia, Nawaz Sharif’s political father, and after being in prisons fighting for democracy, human rights, equality, justice, and democracy,  she has somehow qualified as a bona fide leader. So what if her father did so much for Pakistan? So what if he gave his life for Pakistan? Therefore, exhibiting genuine leadership qualities, Nawaz Sharif ignored all the precedent and protocol as Punjab’s Chief Minister and refused to receive Benazir Bhutto at Lahore Airport whenever she was in Punjab.

Comrades, this is what Shakespeare called leadership. This is what Aristotle called character, dignity, and courage, as displayed by Nawaz Sharif. (Yes, Shakespeare and Aristotle did say these things, just ask PML (N) to verify and produce these quotes with the help of Brig Imtiaz!) Take this as another example of leadership because by totally not playing by the rules, Nawaz Sharif proved to the nation his heroic leadership qualities. Abiding by the law, respect for law of the land, being a team player etc is for democratic people and Nawaz Sharif on the other hand wants to solve the problems. Democracy, if we go by the standard and the logic of Nawaz Sharif, is not the answer, it is the problem.

Moreover, Nawaz Sharif has proved to us that being a team player doesn’t help. Nawaz Sharif tried, repeatedly, to be a team player with Benazir, but she wanted democracy. Forget her. Nawaz Sharif tried to be a team player with Asif Nawaz, Waheed Kakar, Aslam Baig, Pervez Musharraf, Ghulam Ishaq, Farooq Leghari, and Sajjad Ali Shah. But, all these important people were not team players either.

I know you might be thinking that if Nawaz Sharif was unable to get along with anyone, even his own handpicked people, isn’t the problem with Nawaz Sharif and not with anyone else? Well yes, on the surface it looks that way that Nawaz Sharif doesn’t have the temperament to get along with pretty much anyone else, but who knows the truth. . So, we should not speculate that Nawaz Sharif was wrong or bad when he fought and quarreled with everyone else. Let’s just say that we don’t know and keep our head in the sand, just like the Americans as for as Nawaz Sharif goes.

By they way, in the interest of full disclosure, I must say that even when Nawaz Sharif was firing army chiefs one after another, I was getting impressed with his talented leadership that is required to get rid of people, but I needed something big from him to give me this confidence that yes, Nawaz can be a leader. And it didn’t take very long for Nawaz Sharif to win me over, completely. I became a full time fan of Nawaz when paid thugs from Lahore, (we should call them signs of strength) stormed the Supreme Court in Islamabad where the then Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah was hearing a petition to disqualify Nawaz Sharif because of his corruption, mismanagement of funds and abuse of power etc.

By orchestrating a brave attack on the Supreme Court by thugs, Nawaz Sharif gave me this confidence that no matter how big or serious the problem, Nawaz Sharif has what it takes to fix it, by any means necessary! Hallelujah, bravo, wow, is how I expressed my gratitude towards Nawaz Sharif after his thugs, oops, I meant, his supporters forced the Supreme Court to shut down and Sajjad Shah ran for his life. Ha ha ha, that must have been fun. But, let’s get back to Nawaz Sharif, the big leader.

A leader is a leader and he must employee every tactic to achieve whatever he wants.

There have been other examples of Nawaz Sharif’s character. Just look at the accountability process that he started under the leadership of a supremely qualified man, Saifur Rehman. Everyone in Pakistan was stunned, speechless and crying (with joy of course) as the process of accountability was unfolding. It is also important to note that while the unpatriotic press in Pakistan was publishing stories after stories (false stories, obviously planted by the enemies of Pakistan to destabilize the country and damage the big leader) about the illegal, immoral and unethical Gestapo like tactics to intimidate, malign, and harass foreign agents, otherwise known as political opponents, Nawaz Sharif totally ignored every warning sign that a weak leader might have paid attention to.

By allowing Saifur Rehman to run amok in the country as for as rule of law goes, Nawaz Sharif taught us that a genuine and a strong leader ignores all advise, doesn’t accept or tolerate dissent, and plows ahead, even at the cost of sanity, humanity and decency . By allowing Saifur Rehman to test the limits of everything that stands of a decent society, Nawaz Sharif reached new heights of glory, respect and admiration, not only in Pakistan, but also in FATA.

Another example of exemplary leadership by Sharif brothers is the recent incident at Gojra. Had Punjab been under the rule of PPP, people would have lost lives, property would have been damaged, and hysterical mobs would have played havoc in Gojra. But, thanks to the leadership of Sharif brothers, nothing of that sort took place in Gojra. Just CLICK HERE to get the facts about Gojra and the leadership of Nawaz/Shahbaz Sharif.

There are other examples, where Nawaz Sharif, showing leadership, used the parliament as a rubber stamp, where he hired and fired people at will without any regard for merit or the process, where he openly admitted to be a fundamentalist, which he later clarified that he meant he is a fundamentalist in religious sense, where he routinely aligned himself with right wing anti intellectual, anti common sense, anti progress, anti tolerance forces. Like every other genuine leader in human history, Nawaz Sharif always attempted to crush liberal forces in the country, while fully supporting religious parties. Don’t forget, these religious parties provided the initial frame work for the Taliban, and if given an opportunity, these religious parties have repeatedly promised to emulate Taliban style governance in Pakistan. So, it was only Nawaz Sharif’s leadership that brought these religious parties together to turn Pakistan, a diverse country into an Islamic State where only Sunni Muslim, just like Nawaz Sharif would live in peace and complete harmony! After all, Pakistan was created for only Sunni Muslims, and our big leader can vouch for it. Try asking him this simple question!

Still, if you are on the fence and not totally sure about Nawaz Sharif’s ability to lead the country; let me give you one last example. Do you remember that traitor Musharraf deposed Nawaz Sharif? Do you also remember how Nawaz Sharif fooled Musharraf by signing a confession statement admitting to conspiring against the army chief? Well, Nawaz Sharif fled the country with his family, servants, money, personal belongings, etc, even though he was facing death sentence for his heinous crimes (not my words), but once again, using amazing leadership qualities which at the time of signing confession looked like a cowardly act, Nawaz Sharif went into exile instead of doing time in prison within Pakistan. I mean, what good is a leader if he can’t compromise and save his own skin? Right?

So, in conclusion, I’d say that Nawaz Sharif is a genuine leader. Also, as reported before, he is also a big leader. And, leaders are not bound by any agreement, they act in their interest, and their interest also becomes country’s interest, yeah, ask Nawaz Sharif.

If the current set up is folded, and if democracy fails in Pakistan, and if Nawaz Sharif and his party form the government, the joke is on Pakistan!

21 Comments

Filed under Pakistan

21 responses to “Is there an end to Pakistan’s perpetual misery?

  1. Ammar

    Good piece Bilal. you have nailed Nawaz. I think Nawaz by running away to Saudi has shown others the way to get round the accountability process/courts. Any one who has contacts with Saudis knows which number to dial when in trouble. Just saw the news reports about Musharraf getting royal treatment in Saudi Arabia… and it wont be long before Nawaz Sharif gets a phone call from Saudi to forget about Article 6…. No one in this country, who has connections with Saudis, can get punished and Nawaz Sharif should be blamed for setting this tradition which others are too happy to emulate. What can Nawaz say- it is ok when it comes to saving his skin and not ok when somebody else saves his skin by invoking Saudi connection. Pakistanis may buy that argument- but Saudis are not going to have this nonsense. For them Musharraf is a person who has obliged them twice: once when he allowed Sharif to fly out of Pakistan with his family and second time when he allowed Nawaz in to contest elections. it does not come as a surprise that they are ready to shield him in his hour of distress. Who is to be blamed for this helpnesses of Pakistanis in front of Saudis- it is Nawaz himself due to his past behaviour and actions.

  2. Dear readers,

    This is partly satire and partly an attempt to shed light on Pakistan’s future leader’s recent past. Obviously, I am not a partisan hack, but I have tried to be objective, especially in the light of the recent developments and the risk that Pakistan faces in the short and long run.

    You are welcome to disagree with me, and obviously,i expect you to back up your disagreeing argument with facts, instead of attacking me personally or maligning others.

    This is about Mr. Sharif and let us focus on Mr. Sharif, instead of dragging others in this debate. Ironically, in Pakistan, when people talk about Nawaz Sharif, Mr. Sharif’s supporters consider Sharif’s critics as Zardari’s loyalists and start attacking Zardari. I am not a supporter of any one Pakistan, but I do want the current government to complete its term.

    This is the only way to move in the right direction.

    Please don’t confuse my support for democracy and rule of law with being a supporter of any particular party.

    Bilal Qureshi

    Washington, DC

  3. Hayyer48

    As PM NS seemed a parody at times, but in the last few years particularly after his first (aborted) return, he comes across as mature and dignified.
    Of course we in India see only the occasional glimpse on TV and read the occasional comment, which may not be enough to judge.

  4. ahmad

    This article could be written about any Pakistani leader, past or present.
    PTH will have a lot more credibility if it allowed and invited the people about whom critical article are published here to respond.
    this guy keeps saying he is not partisan but has written a totaly partisan article.
    I agree that Nawaz Sharif’s both stints as PM were failures, but so were Benazir’s, and so were every other leader’s since I remember.

    I find Nawaz Sharif a changed and more mature leader now, with “Abba jan” not around any more, he semms his own man now.

  5. PMA

    Hayyer48 (September 2, 2009 at 4:56 pm):

    “he comes across as mature and dignified”

    Obviously you are fooled by the hair implant. What he needs is some implantation of grey matter inside that skull of his. There is no dignity to these Lahori gondas.

  6. Hayyer 48

    Well he always seemed short of gray matter. I was only referring to the externals. Is it a toupee or an implant?

  7. yasserlatifhamdani

    The Lahori Goondas once saved Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s life at Mochi Gate…

    Look I am not a Sharif fan – his shameless pandering to the right wing is case in point…

    But he is at the end of the day the product of the system that Zulfi Bhutto put in place and Zia took to another level.

    If PPP wants to stop the Sharifs, it needs to undo the constitution of 1973 in its present form. Irrevocable progress to liberal ideals will stop their way or alter their ideology.

    However given the limitations of this system, Sharif is better than Zardari. Sharif’s business friendly vision has led to such pragmatic things as the Sunday holiday and peace with India. Zardari belongs to the feudal class and will certainly play into the hands of the hawks…regardless of his statements otherwise. (During my trip to DC earlier this year I was shocked to see how many people actually believe that Zardari had something to do with BB’s assassination – a preposterous charge though one which sticks because of Zardari’s own dubious reputation and class interests).

    What is important is – and this must be underscored- that the current government completes its five years and fresh elections are held not before 2013.

  8. Hamza

    Bilal

    PTH must have left out the other half of your article. Because going on this, lets face it, you are a partisan. If you really aren’t, then may I suggest that you write a more balanced article.
    As ahmad has already noted, such an article could be written about any Pakistani leader.
    Am not sure you would support nawaz’s government to finish their term in the same way as you want the current government to finish its. You article certainly doesn’t suggest that.
    Oh and btw, I’m really not a partisan. Guess I’m up for this government to finish their term, but only if they will be something left to govern after they’re gone!

  9. Jitendra Kaushal

    A beam of light in sharp focus can not light up two objects at the same time. When press and people get lost in discussing individuals issues get pushed to the background. Focus on issues can be effective in restraining bad leaders.

    It is for enlightened thinkers to shed prejudice and bring issues into limelight to enable the citizenry to discuss, debate and agitate, if necessary.

  10. mel

    I agree with what you said. But if talk about giving a second chance to the poor guy, then i would say we should, coz we don;t have any other option(zardari again ….hell NO). Nawaz seems like a different man now,but if he hasn’t really changed for real then he has certainly fooled me into believing that he is. So good on him , atleast he is good at convincing people.

  11. Ali Abbas

    Bilal,

    Even if this article is partisan, it is nothing in comparison to the partisanship shown by the Jamaat-dominated Pakistani media and the Taliban apologists civil society elites in favour of Nawaz Sharif.

    The president has been maligned on drawing room gossip and urban myth whilst there are confessional statements that Nawaz Sharif was an integral character in derailing a democratically elected govt. There are even allegations of Nawaz Sharif solicitating Osama Bin Laden for money in 1990 as part of a funding operation to derail a democracy. In 1997, his party leaders physically attacked the Supreme Court premises and this has been captured on video.

    Until before the military operation commenced against the Taliban in Swat, Nawaz Sharif was still apologizing for the Taliban and was asking for a dialogue with murderous Islamist thugs who have murdered thousands of Pakistanis and whose affiliates (the Sipah Sahaba, Laskhar Tayabba, Jaish Mohammad) were launching terrorist attacks at home and abroad. His party is still openly favouring the Taliban.

    As for the civil society elite types, they have always hated the PPP and are only in favour of democracy if an establishment-supported chauvinist is in power to cater to their elite business interests. The offspring of these elites is now pretending to be the next Che Gueveras and have sprinkled their confused, warped and contradictary narrative with Lefty slogans, whilst marching in solidarity with the Jamaat Islami. Their heros are the Imran Khans and Zaid Hamids who look upon all of Pakistan’s problems as part of a grand Hindu-Zionist-CIA-RAW-Mossad conspiracy.

    The president is hated because he is not part of the elite Urdu-Punjabi-Gujrati nexus. He is not a fair skinned Kashmiri Punjabi like Nawaz but instead a dark skinned Sindhi-Baluchi, who are reviled by Pakistan’s dominant elites. Most importantly, Nawaz Sharif is a Wahabi whilst Zardari subscribes to a hybrid of Sufi-Sunni and Shia beliefs ( a norm in Sindh and parts of Punjab before Zia’s “Islamization” drive).

    Most importantly, Zardari is unequivocally against the Taliban and wants true peace with India. On the other hand, Nawaz Sharif, while talking of peace with India, is still deeply sympathetic to the various Jihadi militias that pose an existential threat to Pakistan itself.

    Ultimately, it is useless to discuss these issues as the civil society elite types, inspite of their education and exposure, cannot look past their racist and tribal instincts and their ingrained bigotry.

  12. Parvez

    If NS party wins next election, would you let them finish full term?

  13. Hayyer 48

    “As for the civil society elite types, they have always hated the PPP and are only in favour of democracy if an establishment-supported chauvinist is in power to cater to their elite business interests. The offspring of these elites is now pretending to be the next Che Gueveras and have sprinkled their confused, warped and contradictary narrative with Lefty slogans, whilst marching in solidarity with the Jamaat Islami. Their heros are the Imran Khans and Zaid Hamids who look upon all of Pakistan’s problems as part of a grand Hindu-Zionist-CIA-RAW-Mossad conspiracy.”
    That is rather broad spectrum. ‘Civil Society’ types are surely not of a singular variety. Those running PTH also seem to be civil society advocates and they don’t seem to fall within range of the broadside above.

  14. PMA

    Hayyer 48 (September 4, 2009 at 9:28 pm):

    You are one intense observer! I ask you the same question I asked RR once: The word “civil society” is thrown around a lot these days in Pakistan. But what the hell is a “civil society?” Really?

  15. Nawaz Sharif is a Kashmiri-Punjabi (fair skinned as well!!)– he’s all good then:)

    That was a joke in case any decides to call me out on my “ethnocentrism”

  16. bonobashi

    @PMA

    In the lesser sense, the sense used here, generally that part of a nation which is articulate and influential, but whose influence and authority over the minds and actions of others is due to the support that its members’ ideas receive, rather than the sometimes unwilling obedience accorded to organs of state.

    After writing this, I looked at what the LSE had to say:
    Civil society refers to the arena of uncoerced collective action around shared interests, purposes and values. In theory, its institutional forms are distinct from those of the state, family and market, though in practice, the boundaries between state, civil society, family and market are often complex, blurred and negotiated.

    Civil society commonly embraces a diversity of spaces, actors and institutional forms, varying in their degree of formality, autonomy and power. Civil societies are often populated by organizations such as registered charities, development non-governmental organizations, community groups, women’s organizations, faith-based organizations, professional associations, trade unions, self-help groups, social movements, business associations, coalitions and advocacy groups.

    Put succintly, for the LSE, it broadly approximates to the NGO world: be aware that I am summarising ruthlessly.

    In the larger sense, ‘civil society’ has often been equated with Civilisation itself.

    There is an obvious Islamic sense, a perfectly valid one, one which harks back to the idyllic conditions of the ‘rashidun’, which will already have suggested itself to the knowledgeable.

    In the context of what Hayyer 48 (I can never get his second name right, and he doesn’t help in the matter!) wrote, it will be evident immediately that ‘civil society’ can be a fractured mass of differently-thinking segments, that are united only by their common foundation as non-State players, if I may take advantage of my advanced years and declining condition to be permitted some irony in the use of that last phrase.

  17. Hayyer

    In deference to Bonobashi’s ‘advancing years and decling condition’ I have shortened my name.
    About civil society I cannot better the definitions given by him.
    Pinning down this elusive entity is always going to be difficult. Generally, those who talk about it have specific contexts in mind. In the 3rd world where this term gets used more often it is nearly always a context sensitive usage; e.g. ‘I support civil society, you support the Jamaat, or the Army or the Communists or whatever.’
    From which we may risk the notion that the less you have of it the more you talk about it.

  18. bonobashi

    @Hayyer

    Rather like secularism, democracy and a respect for women, I fear. Those who have respect for these don’t have a need to talk about it. I hope the RSS reads these columns.

  19. Jitendra Kaushal

    One could argue that civil society is that minuscule social strata which is acutely aware of its, perceived or real, intellectual superiority, and prefers its rather sanitized space to mingling with the mainstream. Theirs is a world of parallel existence, their concerns tend to be superficial, with PR as the main thrust of their endeavors and their impact on ground reality is marginal.

    Is it not presumptuousness to suggest that ordinary citizens are any less civil?

  20. Rao

    We Pakistanis have lost faith in current political parties, we need a new party based on Pakistaniyat. Fascist ultra-nationalist Pakistaniyat movement. Our motto should only be glory to Pakistan and Pakistanis. Third position as economic structure, Single party rule, and street justice against Mullahs.

    Long live my mother land
    Rao

  21. Jitendra Kaushal

    Force can never usher in enlightenment or replace anarchy with functional democracy. Patriotic fervor under present circumstances is second best option for a nation plagued by divisiveness and dogmatism.The topmost priority should be to bring in learning and enlightenment to dispel ignorance and prejudice. to that end, Madarsas need immediate transformation into secular schools of humanism imparting all round education based on a curriculum matching the best in the world.

    Statesmanship is the art of making an existing apparatus work and the business of dismantling is alien to it. To earn its rightful place in the comity of nations Pakistan must shine as a beacon of reason and harmony. An ultra right wing, fascist state will not fit that description. Nation building is a slow and demanding process and to demand quick fixes is to display unawareness of it.