Zain Qureshi Saga: The Shamelessness Of Our Extreme Right Wing


By Syed Wajid Ali

Maybe you’re not familiar with this colorful expression, which is commonly used among some minority groups in the US.  The phrase refers to the tendency of some people in a group to do their utmost to keep others from rising to the top – literally clawing their neighbors to prevent their success. 

While quintessentially American, this phrase fits Pakistanis to a T. Let’s face it, we tend to make hue and cry over petty issues and outrageously criticize others – regardless of truth – without any knowledge and understanding of things.

I received this email last week about the Foreign Minister’s son along with his Business Card. The subject line of the email reads:

<b>Re: Business Card of Pak Foreign Minister’s Son, Employee of Sen. John Kerry </b>

The email reads:

<i>Please find the Business Card of our Foreign Minister’s son who is employed at the office of Sen. John Kerry, the main sponsor of the controversial Kerry Lugar Bill.
Let’s see how he will deal boss of his son who is on a visit to Pakistan. </i>

The response from a “senior” journalist was:

<i> I think each and everybody who has so far commented on the issue, dont know basics of nature of Assignment of Mr (younger)Qureshi. US think tanks and lobbiests usually attract Research Associates from the respective counties, which are deemed to be benficiary or effectees of the findings of their research which provide foundations of the forthcoming US policy.
 So what Mr younger Qureshi had suggested, is very much obvious in shape of K L Bill. Without going into merits or de merits of K L Bills, becoming a reserach associate is an honour for any individual selected for this assignment.

Now you must understand that why the senior Qureshi was declaring it as a “historic achievement”. If father will not appreciate the achievements of his son who else will do?
 Cheers to Pir Sain </i>
My response to the initial idiotic email was as follows:

“The business card attached clearly says that the guy is a “Fellow”, which is a glorified  internship in a Government office. Just like Fulbright Scholarship, it takes months of study and hard work to land in such a competitive position.

First off, the KL Bill was drafted last year when George Bush was the President. The legislation was approved this year. There is no evidence that young Qureshi had any input in the final bill nor is it likely, given the nature of his temporary job, that he had anything to do with any aspect of its content.

Secondly, any person can apply for a fellowship at the Hill, if he’s up to it. A legislative fellow is either a student or a professional who is sponsored by a US organization to work in the office of a member of Congress or other Government office for a period ranging from 6 to 12 months. The fellows are not employees and are paid a small stipend. The whole idea of the fellowship is to learn the legislative process. They are basically there to learn rather than working as a consultant.

It is good that Zain, being a Pakistani, is working with a Senator who is interested in Pakistan. Zain may actually help the Senator get a better idea of Pakistan, its people and its politics. ”

I assumed someone would come forward after realizing the initial misunderstanding of a Fellow’s duties and would say something like: “Oh sorry, I didnt know this” or “hmm – interesting, I never actually thought that way” – but instead the dialogue went rapidly downhill. The responses accused the “Fellow” of all manner of intrigues and suggested that not only did the Foreign Minister get his son hired at the Senator’s office, but that the younger Qureshi hatched a Machiavellian plot to propose a “Kerry Lugar Bill” and incorporate radical anti-Pakistan elements into it.  Those who came up with this wild conspiracy theory did not explain why the Foreign Minister would find it necessary to plant his son as a mole, nor did they realize how insulting it was to suggest that it was the son, rather than the father, who called the shots in this important bill, nor what the son’s motivation would be in humiliating his native land.  But no matter.  If Glenn Beck’s success has proven anything it’s that you don’t have to be educated or informed to get people to listen to what you say; as a matter of fact, trying to engage in rational, civilized discourse actually gets your point of view dismissed.

Later, the instigator of this email chain shamelessly, again without any research, added:

<i>Don’t you guys see this situation as “Conflict of Interest”? One side is people of Pakistan who dont like this bill and other side is his son who works for the sponsor of the bill.
 “The News International” has reported that Mr. Zain is no more working with Sen. Kerry. The journalist raised the questions; Why has ZHQ gone into hiding? Did he do something wrong? </i>

Hiding? No one for a second thought that he might have left because of these emails, or undue pressure? Or that he didn’t care what a bunch of ignorant, jealous and petty people on an inconsequential e-mail chain though?  Or that maybe he just finished his fellowship and went on vacation?  Is this arrogance, ignorance or merely sheer stupidity?

I ought to say someone cost Pakistan a talented guy who now has valuable knowledge of the inner workings of the legislative system of the world’s most powerful country.  It doesn’t matter whose son he is. But if one of you is the conspiracy theorist, congratulate itself: You just proved yourself more patriotic than the rest of us.



Filed under Kerry Lugar Bill, Obama, Pakistan, USA

16 responses to “Zain Qureshi Saga: The Shamelessness Of Our Extreme Right Wing

  1. Shahbaz Ali

    People who hatch these conspiracies, and those idiots who believe them, are beyond stupid. If it is true that Mr. Qureshi (Senior or Junior) can influence the bill making process in US to this extent then, fellow countrymen, we have absolutely nothing to worry about. Sit back and relax. But it does not works like this. Law making is an intricate and painful process with drafts, re-writes, lobbying, arm-twisting etc involved. It is so painful a process that the bills are named after the people who proposed them just to honor their dedication and sacrifice.
    But I guess loud and stupid is what sells in this society.

  2. Haaris Ramzan

    I think i would agree with Wajid. I have had the privilage of knowing Mr. Zain Qureshi well and would say this without any doubt that i have found him as very patriotic, down to earth and above all a nice and caring person. It is very unfortunate that people without any research and actual knowledge start writing things about which they themselves are unclear.

    In my opinion Zain would not do anything that goes against the interests of Pakistan and above all he would never betray his own countrymen.

    At this juncture it is important to clarify such misconceptions and in my opinion this article is a way forward.


    Haaris Ramzan

  3. Z G

    Finally someone sees the light.

  4. People jumping to conclusions isn’t restricted to just Pakistan.

    Take the case of a dubai company that won a contract to manage US seaports. Americans raised a huge hue and cry about the whole matter because they thought it was a national security risk because dubai is a muslim country. This in the most capitalist of capitalist countries where foreign investments and free market transactions are supposed to be respected. The end result was that the dubai company had to give up the contract.

    So consider that in the US even the hint of a threat, however irrational, is dealt with without regard for what is right or wrong. Have you heard of any americans apologising for kicking that investor out? No of course not because right or wrong they stand united in their suspicion of Muslims.

    But not so in Pakistan where you can have cabinet ministers who have sons working for foreign governments and some people doubt that their exists a conflict of interest. There is no doubt in my mind that it is a conflict of interest for a Pakistani foreign minister to have his son working for a foreign govt.

  5. PMA

    Just a small point. Kerry-Lugar Bill was initially drafted in 2007-08 by Senators Joe Biden and Lugar. It is only after Biden became Vice President in 2009 and Kerry stepped in to replace him that the bill became K-L Bill. Younger Qureshi was most likely not involved in the development of this bill. It will be good for Pakistan-USA relations that more and more young Pakistani-Americans do internship in American governmental as well as non-governmental institutions. However I find it interesting that a son of foreign minister of Pakistan served as intern in the office of a senator of an other government. Would such relationship be ethical?

  6. Bloody Civilian


    Would such relationship be ethical?

    you;re right. there is a clear appearance of a bias or conflict of interest. a true professional – serving either govt – would have ensured that she steered clear. the fact that both men are elected politicians possibly increases the burden on them, even more than that on an unelected professional, to ensure that they act above and beyond all appearance of bias.

    the young qureshi could have received better advice from the older men… esp his own father.

  7. Hayyer

    These positions are not easily obtained. The father should have been aware of the damage it could do to him, and by implication to the government he served.

  8. wajid

    The expression that i was referring to, in the begining of this piece is: “Crabs in a barrel”.

  9. Real Patriot

    The article above is all non-sense.
    I can challenge the writer of this article and the orignal composer of the email in response to the journalist.

    1. The above article says “The business card attached clearly says that the guy is a “Fellow”, which is a glorified internship in a Government office. Just like Fulbright Scholarship, it takes months of study and hard work to land in such a competitive position” … U KIDDING ME…. How many months of study does this idiot son of Qureshi had before he got the internship….From where and when did he graduated …. and when did he started …. and what a co-incidence , Mr. Qureshi left the internship exactly and not approximately a day after this news was spread in Pakistan.

    My argument is not if he did or didn’t took part in the compilation of the Kerry-Lugar bill, however I have serious concerns over the merits on which he got this internship. I am not against Mr. Qureshi in particular but a behaviour of the Pakitani politian in general , whether it is daughter of Amin Fahim working in Ireland without passing CSS exams or whether it is Zain qureshi working at the legislative office merely because his father is Foreign Minister of Pakistan…Can a son of a poor who has the same capability has ever made an internship for such a stretegic position at this office in history of Pakistan…Answer would be without any doubt NO.

  10. Je ne sais quoi

    Here here!
    It is a relief to see there are at least a handful of educated, broadminded, far thinking Pakistanis around.
    I read the articles written about the Qureshis’ in the papers and it left me feeling ashamed of my countrymen- that is no longer the case. Thank you Sir, Mr Syed Wajid Ali, for preventing me from giving up hope.
    It is us and others like us who are the future of Pakistan and it is thus up to us to change the mindset in our country and our countrymen.
    So here’s a prosperous future!

  11. It’s obvious that some of the commenters missed the point entirely while claiming to be well-informed.

    Some of the commenters are building a classic straw man argument which is all too familiar to those who have had the misfortune of watching FOX. The issue is whether young Qureshi had any influence on the Kerry-Lugar bill and questions about his patriotism. Did he influence the final outcome? There is no proof of that and the suggestion he did is laughable. The article also addresses the issue of rumors and innuendo being accepted as fact. Behold the following line from of of the above comments:

    “and what a co-incidence , Mr. Qureshi left the internship exactly and not approximately a day after this news was spread in Pakistan.”

    Is that you, Glenn Beck?

    On a serious note, when this type of cynicism masked as “patriotism” enters the bloodstream the body public is in serious trouble.

    As to whether or not the fellowship was ethical, again, read the title. A person who obtains a prestigious fellowship or internship and acquires knowledge WHICH COULD THEN BENEFIT HIS OR HER HOME COUNTRY is providing a valuable service to said home country. The fellowship is open to all qualified applicants. The United States does not operate on the principles of feudalism. It is in fact possible for “the son of a poor” to make it. All I see here is distasteful class envy.

    If you don’t believe me, just take at the example of a mixed-race young man from a humble background, who received an Ivy League education and was elected Senator and then President of the United States in record time.

    And by the way, what does the Dubai deal have to do with the price of eggs?

  12. YLH

    mian patriot… looks like you havent been to US. I know many pakistanis working as interns and fellows of all backgrounds on the hill.

  13. As if juicy tidbits about “Meera” aren’t bizarre enough already, staggering reports about Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s son, “Zain H. Qureshi” are a ‘special’ and hopefully ‘limited’ edition to tabloid journalism in the country. The intern who has been ripped to shreds for his internship at Senator John Kerry’s Office is alleged to have been complicit in drafting the controversial Kerry Lugar legislation in his capacity as “legislative fellow” during the period of his internship. So much for gaining pre-professional work experience prior to graduation! What is more amusing is the portrayal of this association between the FM’s son and the Senate Foreign Relations committee chair as being covert and classified, intensifying Pakistani suspicion about recently passed and highly controversial “Kerry Lugar Bill.”

  14. RS

    Murshid Pak,

    In my experience a guy running huge corporate is much more vulnerable to compromise on national interests compared to a student. The host state can twist his arm any time in disguise of rules and regulations which all of you know are never possible to follow completely.

    Now, all our top judges (including good ones), Generals, politicians, bureaucrats and business elite have their families or at least their children running businesses overseas. Take Nawaz Sharif’s sons example, a billion $ business in London, is not he posing a threat to national security as he would submit more easily to pressure. Similarly chief of an ethnic group is British citizen and accused of many things. All black money of our bureaucrats and feudal lands in London.

    Each and every ‘influential’ has dual nationality, mo one cares!!

    The right wing media hawks gets such stories from certain quarters and publishes as directed. They have no moral or ethical values and are puppets working for establishments agenda.

    I wish they can publish about bureaucrats, judges, generals and business elite who got dual nationalities and businesses empires overseas rather than whipping a student! They cook such stories for consumption of idiots and these idiots sing mantra of patriotism without knowing the real issues.

  15. AM

    i guess its a typical psyche .. if your doing it, ur talented if someone else does it their traitors n ur the patriot voicing their love for their country… we tend to fall like dominoes with such theories n workings … very few keep standing!!

  16. Real Patriot

    Hello YLH,
    You understood my point before understanding it first. Don’t tell me that Mr Zain Qureshi got an internship without his father’s PR and position. Mr. Shah Mehmood Qureshi is representing Pakistan on the highest level and penetrating his son as a fellow at kerry’s is a blow to the integrity of the merit system in Pakistan. Mr.Shah and other senior polititians should be examplary for others to follow , Indeed, Mr.Shah on this occassion missed the plot or may be HE and other top politians enjoys to abuse the system.