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Showing posts from 2016

The Runaway Supreme Court Bench - A shorter version!

A short version about the Dishonourable Supreme Court bench  that ran away
By Haider Mehdi.

Several close friends asked me to write a shorter note on the Supreme Court Bench that ran away.

The longer and much angrier version is at The Supreme Court Bench that Ran away!

 Here it is to honour the request for a short version.

1. Why wasn't the case taken earlier? Why 7 months. And of course those who can, will justify this 7 month long delay.

2. Why fix the first hearing date ONE day before Imran's DHARNA?

3. Why go through the now clearly useless exercise of establishing a 5 member bench, which history will remember as the "Infamous Five" (with apologies to ENID BLYTON) ?

And then going through the farcical motions of hearing evidence, while all long, secretly knowing that they would never be able to fully adjudicate the case.

And why?

Just because of their incredibly important winter vacations in the spirit of Mohammed Shah Rangeela?

Or the even more sinister issue o…

Comparing Gen. Musharraf and Nawaz Sharif

In response to criticism of my piece on the Supreme Court Bench that Ran Away
Haider Mehdi

I did get some brick bats on the Supreme Court article by the "Nawazo-Zardari version of democracy supporters" and asked why I have never offered  comments about Gen. Musharraf's takeover but took the Supreme Court to task on their Panama disaster!.

Here's my perspective.

I think Gen. Musharraf's intervention while constitutionally wrong,  was morally right and in my opinion he should have finished of these rats who are now cutting our throats under the garb of "democracy".

And remember when we close all avenues then we again ask for and or invite military intervention. So thats my take, in short.

Gen. Musharraf was not a crook and a criminal. Nawaz and Zardari are.

And  that's the big difference.

You can technically call Gen. Musharraf a usurper but not in fact.

Nawaz and Zardari on the other hand are usurpers, criminals, corrupt in all ways we know, except,…

The Aleppo Tragedy!

The Aleppo Tragedy
By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi.

Absolutely unbelievable and incredible how the terrible tragedy of Aleppo in Syria, has legitimized DAESH, Al Qaeda & their proxies like Jaish Al Fatah, Jash Al Islam, Jaish Al Shaam & Jubhat Al Nusra, & their supporters,  who've basically committed mass genocide these last several years, as the "Good Guys"!

The power of petrodollars fuelling the tragic human stories on social media joined by Western media to put Russia and Iran on the mat has served its purpose in capturing the narrative and influencing people's opinion.

People, who in their simplicity only see the horrors of children and women caught up in this madness through the powerful but highly  subjective "Optics and Imagery" of impactful, social and electronic media, unfortunately fail to comprehend the terrible power politics and insidious machinations by all parties, which lead up to these heartbreaking tragedies.

And when the Western me…

The Supreme Court Bench that ran away!

The Supreme Court Bench that ran away.

For this dishonourable bench to hide behind a Winter vacation Calender, is as disgraceful, as shameful and as flimsy as Nawaz hiding behind the Qatari Prince's letter.

No shame. No respect.  No pain for the country. No professionalism and above all no ethics, morality and sense of justice.

Everything that this infamous Supreme Court and especially this infamous bench or rather gang of 5 did, is highly questionable.

First lying low, and like Nero and Caligula, power intoxicated and merry making, from April to October, while Pakistan burned.

Then deciding to take on the case and setting the Nov 1st date, for the first hearing, one day before Imran threatens Armageddon.

It stinks.  It stinks all across the Margallas

These actions are an absolute disgrace to their institution and to each individual who was and is part of this infamous bench.

Why on earth would you take on a case, set high expectations and then slink away like rats under the pret…

Victims of our DNA and our Environment

On the favorite pastime of many Muslims and people of other faiths, who judge and label others of different beliefs.

Any belief and faith is the product of our environments and influences.

As we understand more and more the power of the mind, and how, over the years, it is influenced and then develops the billions of neural highways of habits and choices and beliefs, we understand more and more how we are "victims" both of our DNA, which some call the "accident" of birth and the environment which influences us from birth.

The age old "nature and nurture" debate.

In simple words, all of us (mostly) frame and see the world based on our filters and the influences of our environment. Family. Social. Cultural. Workplace. Religion. Sect. Economic etc.

So for example, those in the Muslim world, labeling the Ahmadiyya Muslims as Kafirs, do so because that's all they know.

Likewise, many enlightened amongst us, have strong views about Jews and Hindus, or Shi…

What to expect from the New Pakistan Army Chief -Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa

Some early views on Gen. Bajwa's selection.

Agreed the Chief's selection is a tough choice for the PM.

Given the fractious civil military relations and the large number of skeletons in the politicians cupboards ( not that there aren't plenty in the military ones) the prime consideration over all others for the PM would be to chose someone who is unlikely to take over.

The second, as we all know, is the ability to get along and be trusted.

And then comes competence.

By the way these factors are also mostly true for the corporate world as well.

So Gen. Bajwa's choice ticked all three.

He is known to be against Army interference in the civilian political sphere.

He is known to be an affable and easy to get along chap.

And he is also very competent.

Lt. Gen. Ishfaq Nadeem, from what one has read and heard, was apparently the brightest and professionally most sound.

But two things cost him the job.

He was perceived as the main architect behind GRS's earlier push, in h…

Can Pakistan survive Nawaz Sharif's corruption?

What is most scary about Pakistan's current situation, especially those NS supporters who pretend to be objective, is how we forget the basic fundamentals and the ability to sift obvious truth and dishonesty, good from evil.

Either we get bogged down or, deliberately bog down others in the minutae of nothingness and idiotic one liners and hyperventilated talk shows.

The key and fundamental issue facing our political leadership is about Nawaz Sharif being above board with his Panamagate.

This notwithstanding whether one is a supporter or not.

Just a simple issue of asking ourselves with all that we've heard and seen, whether this man should continue to serve as our Prime Minister.

It's not about the legal aspects of who is named and who is not named. It's not about the finer letter of the law. But it's about, morality, integrity and honesty. It's certainly not about Imran Khan and PTI.

A simple internal honest question to put to one's own self.

Is Nawaz Sha…

Calling off the Nov 2nd Dharna. Wise move?

I think IK took a wise and statesmanlike decision to call of the Dharna. Irrespective of the compulsions. Whether it be lack of support or him being hunkered down in Bani Gala or the SC ruling.

Whatever the compulsions he made the right choice and stopped the situation from getting out of control.

He did this knowing fully well the backlash from his own supporters and the derision from his political opponents.

One thing it showed was his willingness to forgo expediency and sacrifice his own credibility at the altar of issue based politics. A brave thing to do.

That's why I call it statesmanlike.  And not a U turn.

This was in complete contrast to good ole Nawaz Sharir who did not have the wisdom to back off and was willing to put the federation's unity at stake and risking near civil war and total anarchy just to save his backside.  The politics of Rana Sanaullah and mafia dons.

My peeve with Imran is that once the SC court gave the 1st November date, he should have postponed…

The Pakistan Military - Civilian divide. A view.

Here's a quick gallop on the civilian military conundrum in Pakistan.

While we all know the challenges of our evolution as a nation state, we must remember that our institutions couldn't develop as strongly as India's, because they inherited the entire governance and institutional infrastructure of pre partition India, whilst we got odd bits and pieces and broken remnants.

We had to build everything afresh, except the military.

Thus, India inherited a mercantile -urban based strong civilian infrastructure embedded in its body politic, and centuries long legacy of urban political engagement.

Pakistan was another story.

Our political leadership, unlike India's, rose from an agrarian, feudal, tribal, jagirdari set up, without having sacrificed anything for the country.

All the public service administrators, in what later became West Pakistan, were either Hindu (70%), and even higher, in then, East Pakistan.

And those who were Muslims were mostly urban Urdu speaking, fro…

Putting Cyril Almeida on ECL- Patriotism or Fascism?

Putting Dawn journalist, Cyril Almeida on the ECL, by Nawaz Sharif, is an unfortunate and sad development of brow beating a newspaper and a journalist.
As I've stated earlier, Cyril is not known to make up things. One may disagree with his perspectives, as I often do, but to pressurize him by putting him on the ECL is as ham handed and stupid and idiotic an action as any, by whoever ordered it, military or civilian.
 And if I were a betting man, I would bet my last Rs. that eventually the trail would lead to Nawaz Sharif's grubby paws all over it!
Dawn is an eminent paper. It is a patriotic paper.  If it does have a position on the Army it doesn't mean it's anti state. I have defended and also criticised our Army, publicly and privately. This doesn't make one anti state or anti Army. 
In the past, Dawn has been at the forefront in fighting tyranny, dictators and exposing corruption. Don't please fall into this trap of giving a dog a bad name and hanging him.Wh…

Nawaz Sharif -Checkmating the Army ?

On Cyril Almeida's Dawn article, and the battle between Nawaz Sharif and the Army High Command.

Cyril's article and reports of changes in ISI are classic trial balloons by NS to test waters.

He's up to something very dirty and nasty. Raheel is currently  lame duck with a month to go. 4 General officers eyeing the COAS and CJSC posts. NS has everyone guessing his next moves. Totally Machavellian.

Army High Command at its weakest and most vulnerable and in my opinion, Nawaz Sharif checkmated, Raheel.

He had it all planned to start this anti Army thing when Raheel was lame duck just before his retirement.

All this time he took Raheel for a ride, by his sweet talk. And then the sudden lunge to attack and catch the Army, off guard. And the timing!

NS and Co have survived because of such tactics.  They waited and then baited when Raheel has just over a month to go to unleash their tactics.

I don't doubt the veracity of Cyril's article. And I'm pretty certain Shahba…

Three 4 Star Appointments- CJSC, COAS, CSCA?

An Institutional and sustainable answer to the Gen. Raheel Sharif extension issue.

This is an updated version of a piece written earlier in 2016, after Gen. Raheel Sharif announced that he will be retiring in November 2016.

As the country went into a frenzy of "Will he..Won't he" the good general in his typical no nonsense soldier style (remember his ...Cold start ho Ya Hot start ho..hum thayyaar haen... speech)  gave his view. "No, I'm not".

So while most would agree it is in our national interest that he stays on there is significant divergence on "The Extension".

Clearly institutional strength far outweighs stop gap arrangements tailored to individuals. Our history is replete with such follies. So an extension to him would have  added to these long line of follies and its negative consequences.

Hence is there a solution? I believe there is. For many years there have been discussions about two things related to the Army Chief's role.

1. The…

Hussain Haqqani - Traitor or Nationalist?

My considered view is that HH was turned by the Indians in the early 80's, when he was in Hong Kong as a rabid Islamist, writing for the now defunct, Far Eastern Economic Review.

There. So much for the mystery of the blog title.

And this is where his journey started, to embed himself as an Indian mole, in Pakistan's governance structures.

And because of his radical Islamist views, he also caught Gen. Zia's fancy, the then Pakistani military dictator, who himself was a dyed in the wool, radical fundamentalist.

I don't have any evidence to substantiate my hypothesis, except Haqqani's subsequent actions, behaviors and career moves.

Incredibly, he's changed more political ideologies than a kid's diapers, to suit his masters, both Indian and Pakistani, and the needs of the times.

From a rabid Islamist Taliban like activist, to a right wing democrat, to a supporter of military intervention, to left wing secularist, he's been to pretty much every base!


Another election under the same system?

For those advocating another election under this terrible, horrible, disreputable explotative system of loot, plunder, pillage and corruption currently in Pakistan.

Nothing is more unconstitutional than the "Constitutional"  rape, loot, plunder and corruption by Nawaz Sharir and his cronies and toadies.  Many masquerading as supporters of "democratic" values but really trying to promote this terrible and useless system to keep them in power. They must be eliminated and rooted out mercilessly.  If not this society will fall into anarchy.

My thoughts go back to the Supreme Court.

Recently they passed a landmark judgement on the rules of governance and limiting and defining how the PM exercised his authority. And if they can take up Panama and Model Town a significant headway can be made.

5 possible options on the table.

1. Judicial driven accountability. Most desired.

2. Street agitation to bring about resignation. Unforseen consequences.

3. A latent Kakar type eff…

A high level road map for Pakistan.

Martial Law is not the answer but we do need a system which can put shackles on the corrupt and provide good governance.

We can't hyperventilate ourselves blue in the face by justifying the massive corruption of Nawaz Sharir and his cohorts by criticising past Military interventions and giving a fellow Lahori a free pass as one dear friend advocates.

Here is what we need. No not Martial Law but a constitutional, judicial driven action supported by resignation of PTI PPP and perhaps MQM legislators,  leading to the dissolution of the present rotten stinking administration.

Several things essential before next elections. Otherwise we will have the same recycled crap back in power.

1.  Local government made immediately effective so that the public is not deprived of  administrative access to government.

2. Immediate appointment of capable people in public sector enterprises. PIA is already done with a very competent CEO and COO. This will start paying dividends in months.

3. Technoc…

On the Motorway incident - SSG officers and Motorway police.

Folks, two army officers embroiled themselves in an avoidable and embarrassing and ugly, situation.

This is typical of most engagements in Pakistan, involving civilians or military petsonnel, when questioned by law enforcement agencies, especially the police.

And especially again, if it involves egos and power play, further compounded if one is young, hot headed and arrogant.

And if one is an army officer and SSG, highly trained for combat, then it gets really complicated.

Everyday we see defiance of authority and law, by anyone who can.

Sons of politicians getting away with daylight murder.

A PM who robs the country in broad daylight has his and his children's guilt emblazoned in Panama headlines across the globe, yet flouts any and every law with impunity without any remorse OR shame.

A Chief Minister, who orders the cold blooded killing of 14 innocent people, is still in power, merrily squandering tax payers money on his "building trains in the air" spending spree!

Erdogan and post coup Turkey.

Here's something to think about.

If Erdogan uses the coup to go on a witch hunt against his political opponents he will undo all the good work he's done. The tragedy of success is that it engenders a feeling of being always right.

 Circumstances and environments change and smart leaders build on these to take their nations forward.

Long terms in positions of power and authority results in  complacency,  a desire to perpetuate their hold, and, consequently, becoming more and more repressive and authoritarian in their governance.

This leads to myopic thinking, that those who oppose them are out to subvert them, not realising that it's a response and reaction to their dictatorial style.

A fixed two term rule in countries which continue to progress and innovate is the critical factor which brings in new faces, new ideas, innovation and progress and development.

Erdogan had this luxury when he started and the real reason behind his spectacular success.

Since the past few year…

On banning the MQM

Banning the party is not the answer. It will further enhance the perception of being persecuted and drive the hard core militants to violent reaction.

RAW sleeper cells will be activated. Criminal, terrorist and other ethnic groups will jump into the fray, taking advantage of this opportunity to pursue their ends through violent means.

Even now, given the current environment, there's the very real danger of a major terrorist attack on a soft target in Karachi and not by the MQM but others to put the blame on this party

We can all surmise that the vast majority of people who support the MQM do it for their Thana Kutchery Naukari needs as do others elsewhere in Pakistan.

The MQM militant group is no different to the private militias of our politicians to keep their supporters in check. Except it is huge and big and powerful and forced an entire ethnic group into a kind of bondage,  in the country's largest city.

Let's also not forget the MQM of Punjab, the PMLN with it'…

How the MQM became so powerful!

To understand why a party like MQM was able to get support from the pre dominantly Urdu speaking segments in Karachi one has to understand factors which pushed them towards this.

Karachi was traditionally anti establishment. Supporting Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah against Ayub in the 60's. In the 70's and 80's they supported the Jamat e Islami against PPP, because of the Sindhi dominance of PPP. They felt maginalized and threatened. Altaf and Co filled that leadership vacuum and garnered support with PPP being Sindhi supported and Pakhtuns under ANP.

They became very powerful and extremely influential and wealthy during General Musharraf's time acquiring great influence and power at the Federal and Provincial levels, even exercising influence on key military postings in Karachi. Whatever GPM's political compulsions this was one of his greatest blunders.

But back to the main argument.

A group coalsces around a leadership who is able to convince them that their rights, pr…

Altaf Hussain's lunacy. Madness or a planned drama gone wrong?

What appears to be an act of lunacy by Altaf and his henchmen is not what it appears.

In my opinion, It's a very well thought out strategy and plan to destablise a volatile phase.

If I was a conspiracy theorist I'd hazard that the PMLN dirty tricks brigade has something to do with this for several reasons.

I'd even venture that people like Rana Sanaullah, Pervez Rashid,  Saad Rafique etc, supported by the Zardari group of PPP with Rehman Malik Mastermind, may have something to with this. It's an opinion and an analysis, I don't have any facts.

Objectives could be to take pressure and focus off NS and Panama.

Dilute the impact of the Qasas and Ehtesaab movements.

Lure in Army to take drastic steps.  Become political martyrs. So many things swirling in my mind.

And finally our "friendly" neighbor fuelling opportunities to create "Occupied Kashmir" situations in Pakistan. Link this to their recent comments about Balochistan.

It certainly does not…

IK and TUQ. Ehtesaab and Qissas.

IK and TUQ.  Ehtesaab and Qissas.

Yes. Our Media does raise the rhetoric with hyperbole. But the fact is, that we do have a very very serious problem of poor and ineffective governance, rampant corruption and zero accountability.

All this stemming from a flawed electoral system which is easily manipulated and hijacked by a small coterie of people to further their own extremely narrow self interests. This allows them to perpetuate their stranglehold over governance power structures,  all state institutions,  and thereby acquiring more influence, wealth and power.

So our starting point has to be electoral reform to enable relatively more honest and competent people to come into positions of governance policy making, power and influence.

And hereunder some thoughts on electoral and governance reforms.

1. Part elections on Proportional representation.
2. Part through direct elections with Majorality win and not first pas the post.
3. Empowered and autonomous local government with full ad…

On Democracy and Martial Law

*On Democracy and Martial Law*
By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi

(With reference to the Posters asking Gen. Raheel to take over.

Some principles.

1. In the long term and even the short term a genuinely empowered capable, representative and accountable public governance structure is always better than a dictatorial, autocratic, non accountable one.

2. If the above does not have accountability of action and decision all other attributes become meaningless and  it morphs into a dictatorship as it has now under Nawaz Sharif. Using the trappings and symbols of democracy and ruling with the coercive reality of latent fascism.

3. A dictatorial and autocratic governance structure by virtue of its "one person" rule by fiat, while in the short term delivering quick decisions and actions, especially if that one person is also capable and honest, invariably ends up by passing existing processes, both good and bad, institutional gateways to deliver quick results. Thereby letting loose a whole …

The Killing of Burhan Wani in Occupied Kashmir - Home grown Intifada or Pakistan sponsored uprising?

By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi
Two days ago when the Indian security forces gunned down 22 year old Burhan Muzaffar Wani, in Anantang, in Indian Occupied Kashmir, they may have, yet once again unleashed a bigger threat then the one they eliminated in the shootout. 

Burhan died in an intelligence laid operation along with two associates. Here is what is known about him. He belonged to Tral, in Southern Kashmir, the son of the Principal of a local government run school in Tral. His mother was also well educated and economically the family were fairly well off.

At 15 he joined Hizbul Mujahideen, a group fighting for Kashmir separatism and strong pro Pakistani leanings. Founded by Mohammed Ahsan Dar, in 1989, following the Indian government hijacking of the election mandate in 1987 and installing a rigged Congress government.

This group was at one time considered the biggest Kashmiri group fighting for Independence,  numbering over 10,000 fighters. The group later developed serious internal…