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Panamagate and what it tells us about ourselves?



By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi

Panamagate and the apartments are symbols of the rot in our society!

They define and manifest the cancer of total corruption, criminality, loot and plunder by Nawaz and Zardari and the system they represent. From our early days till today.

Nawaz, and Zardari before him and all other looters and plunderers, civilian and military, symbolise the complete meltdown of governance, state machinery, meritocracy and the ability of public sector institutions to deliver public service.

They define and symbolise what a system looks like when stuffed with toadies and cronies, who lack both competence and integrity. But most painfully and sadly, Nawaz Sharif and his family symbolise the rot and destruction of individual, familial and societal values in Pakistan.

Here is a person who cheats and tells lies and a very large segment finds it acceptable. Here's a father who makes his children his accomplices in crime and teaches them to cheat and lie. Yes! Teaches them not about truth, honour, integrity, hard work but how to cheat, lie, money launder, forge documents. And he shamelessly allows them to do so in full public view. And people still flock to him. His daughter, Princess Tubelight all the while twittering away religious quotes about him having been "cleansed".

And here is a PM. Somebody in whom the poor and wretched put their hopes. Here is this amazing person who will publicly tell lies many times and with that cool, brazen confidence of the best con men I've seen.

He tells lies on the floor of the National Assembly, in a nationally televised public address to the Nation, in countless Cabinet meetings and in scores of political Public gatherings. And everyone knows he's lying. But there's silence from the people he addresses. A shameless silence of the slaves! And yet he has the audacity to say. "Mayra Jurram kia Hay?"  

It's like the proverbial lady of the night indignantly questioning the arresting police officer about the cause of her arrest.

 "Prostitution, madam" he answers.

"But thats my profession" she replies even more indignantly. "But tell me what crime have I committed?"

Our PM's indignation is similar. "Corruption? Money laundering? But that's my profession. Someone please tell me what crime have I committed?" Asks our PM. And this nation takes it lying down.

And just look at this tragedy;

189 PMLN MNA'S, 38 Federal Cabinet Ministers, 26 Senators, 312 Punjab MPA’s, 28 Punjab Ministers. And not one had the spine or an embarrassed conscience or self-respect or even just a fleeting moment of madness remorse, to resign.

Or in the least come on a TV talk show and say something like. ..."I love my party and I love Pakistan but for the sake of our Nation's dignity and self-respect, I think Mr. Nawaz Sharif should step down”. But nothing except abject, tragic, slavish silence. But nothing can shame the shameless. For centuries we have been whipped and our only protest has been to tell the floggers to whip and hit harder and longer!

It’s amazing to see how those who support him are completely blind to the overwhelming evidence of corruption, money laundering, and illegal transfer of wealth, lying, cheating, and misrepresenting information presented against Nawaz over the last one year. Not one in his party can see how this family has been stripped naked of any form of self-respect and dignity and their guilt and corruption emblazoned across the skies for the whole world to see.

Not one public servant or bureaucrat or police officer at the Federal or provincial levels resigned.

Not one of the 350 plus CEO's of State run enterprises felt a qualm of guilt and shame and quit.

Not one academic in a State run university publicly resigned in protest against this man and his family's criminality.

Not one crowd of a few thousand people spontaneously came out on the streets demanding he leave office.

Not one person from the business community, the Manshas the Saigols, the Habibs and others like them, especially those who are close to him and the guts to publicly say, Mr. Prime Minister, I think it's time to go.

A scion of an "illustrious" business family from Lahore, with close ties to Nawaz, boldly asserted in an exchange with me that:

"......These apartments are the result of policy failure of successive regimes
That people felt the need to have assets abroad. And I think the economic crimes of successive governments are far greater than these stupid apartments......"

As if poor Nawaz was a victim of the State and had to money launder and transfer and hide his ill-gotten wealth. I was stupefied!

Not one lawyer association unanimously backed a call for him to resign.  Where is that foul mouthed, pan chewing Asma Jilani today with her vile poison and invective?

Not one trade or business association passed a resolution, condemning this evil family and their corruption.  Not one!

And in all this to and fro, we forget the big picture and the actual act. We forget the loot and plunder. We forget the total destruction of civilized values. We forget that he and his family are criminals.But we get bogged down in discussions about "just a few flats" and "Imran unable to provide x or y" .

Nawaz, Ishaq, Maryam Safdar "Tubelight", Hassan and Hussain (what a dark stain on the names they carry) have been caught red handed with their hands in the till. If people still believe in their innocence, citing painful contorted and torturous arguments and technicalities, then help us God!

On the contrary, even the educated and insightful amongst us drag down those brave souls, imperfect they may be in other ways, big and small, into their filthy gutters. Look at the manner in which Imran Khan's name is being dragged into this on the issue of his earnings. A person who singlehandedly forced the Supreme Court to listen to this case. A person who has presented evidence of nearly twice the amount required to justify buying his flat is being pilloried next to this evil man Sharif, accused of laundering billions.  

Imran brings money in through legal banking channels. This crook transfers his overseas on the back of Camels, if we are to believe him or money laundered through the likes of Hudaibiya (what a terrible scar on this great name from our history) and that evil Rasputin Ishaq Dar. And yet I get the question.  But what about Imran's money trail? What about it? You're telling me that Imran's bringing money into Pakistan with all evidence and receipts is the same as this guy's money laundering.

It's a sick society that can accept this perverted logic. The Sharif family saying this understandable. But the educated? So we dirty and sully them with dark fabrications. Sowing seeds of suspicion in the hearts and minds of the common person. And they win again. When. When. When will this Nation get a Spine? When will we free ourselves from the yokes of mental, emotional and physical slavery deeply seared into our hearts, our souls and our minds?

Could we only just get few dozen with some Spine? 

Some in the Supreme Court. Certainly two for sure. The jury on the other three, still out. And just 6 brave JIT souls and the few others who worked with them tirelessly and fearlessly.

A nation of 200 Million and 8 Spines plus some unsung heroes? Is that all we have?
Or maybe, perhaps the fault lies in our stars, dear Brutus!

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