Followers that lead the leader to doom.

Pakistan Tehrik e Insaf lead by the ex-cricketer Imran Khan emerged, for the first time as a popular party in October 2011 with a successful show of force at Minar e Pakistan, Lahore. Khan sahib for long has been taken as a symbol of change since he so vigorously talks of unorthodox politics. Anyways my purpose is not to discuss the merits of Khan sahib or his party, I am rather going to focus on his ‘trolls’; his young, childish, abusive followers and how they are trying to benefit him and his party but are succeeding in causing only detriment. My basic grievance and cause of anger at these kids is two-fold.

  1. Indecent conduct on social media.

On several occasions have I come across harsh, indecent, foul and obnoxious remarks by PTI followers for anyone and everyone who dares disagree with Khan sahib even on the pettiest of issues. If anyone tweets about Khan sahib in a critical tone it starts a rain of irritating and abusive tweets from all over the place. The most common targets are TV anchors who dare criticize the antics of Khan sahib’s party.

The decision taken by Marvi Memon to ditch PTI and join PMLN brought a wrath of character assassination and verbal abuse from these self-proclaimed judges of morality. Overnight this ‘down to earth’, ‘human rights enthusiast’, ‘youth representative’ became a ‘selfish traitor’ and a ‘wicked witch’. It was as if Marvi’s salvation relied on her decision to stay with or leave PTI.

Then the most recent and absurd behavior that basically triggered the writing of this piece is the abuse extended to Ms. Asma Jehangir; a human rights activist. It is impossible for any popular figure to remain clear of a controversy and there are always two opinions regarding their person; those of their supporters and their critics. The mere rejection of Ms. Jehangir as care taker Prime Minister by Khan sahib, which is his political right, has made the followers believe that Ms. Jehangir is an enemy of PTI. “Khan no like Asma..Asma not good..Asma baaadd” seems to run in their so called brains and filth starts to spill out. This is unbecoming and uncalled for. There is a limit to everything and I am sure anyone who has ever been abused by PTI followers would stand by this demand to Khan sahib that he talk to and reign in his followers and ask them to not ruin his and his party’s image.

2. Fake Photos and False reports.

The most recent of obviously false reports and fake news items posted on social media websites is the picture about Member National Assembly’s salaries. The stats given in the said picture are far from the truth, exaggerated and misstated.

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The actual numbers are;

  Monthly Salary:

a)         Salary                                            Rs.  23,803/- p.m.
b)        Ad-hoc Allowance, 2010                Rs. 11,903/- p.m.
c)        Office Maintenance Allowance      Rs.   8,000/- p.m.
d)        Telephone Allowance                     Rs. 10,000/- p.m
e)        Sumptuary Allowance                    Rs.   5,000/-  p.m.
f)        Ad-hoc Relief Allowance, 2009      Rs.   3,571/-  p.m.
Total:           Rs. 62,280/- p.m

ii)        TA/DA for attending session/committee meetings:

a)        Daily Allowance                             Rs.   1000/- p.d.
b)        Conveyance Allowance                Rs.     750/- p.d.
c)        Housing Allowance                       Rs.  2000/- p.d.
Total:   Rs.  3750/- p.d.

                (3 days before and 3 days after in case of Session)
                (2 days before and 2 days after in case of meeting

Now why does a party working for change stick to the age old trick of false propaganda? Why do these ‘educated’ and ‘enlightened’ youth resort to lies?

How all this damages PTI? PTI has so far been unable to penetrate the rural vote bank of uneducated simpletons effectively, owing to factors of ‘baradirism’ and ‘dharra bandian’. It mainly seeks to dominate the educated voters in cities but the above mentioned behavior on part of a certain class of PTI supporters is causing those circles to seriously rethink their support for PTI. They have already had to ditch their hopes for the popular slogans of ‘new faces’ and ‘politics of no compromise’, such behavior might as well prove to be the last nail.

FROM BOKHARI’S OPEN LETTER TO BUKHARI’S LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT

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On 16th of February, 2007 an open letter addressed to the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) was written by Mr. Naeem Bokhari. This letter was more of a charge sheet against the CJP Iftikhar Chaudhry and later formed basis of a reference against him. There were and still are several conspiracy theories regarding the origin of this letter as to who instigated/sponsored or paid Mr. Bokhari to write the controversial letter. The most commonly believed theory is that since the then President Gen. Pervaiz Musharraf and his Prime Minister Mr. Shaukat Aziz were unhappy with the judicial activism of the CJP and his ‘undue’ interference in the executive functions of the State, they were behind this move to remove Mr. Iftikhar Chaudhry from office. What happened afterwards is history; a ‘revolutionary’ movement which started as a movement for Independance of Judiciary but soon became a movement for restoration of Mr. Iftikhar Chaudhry and managed to achieve just that. The movement culminated with a long march and the restoration of Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry as CJP On March 16th, 2009. Honestly speaking, regardless of the questions surrounding the open letter and its consequent implications, truth value of the allegations contained therein could never be ascertained since there was no proper investigation or inquiry into any of the allegations.

Now almost six years after the open letter from Mr. Neem Bokhari, a seemingly frustrated Chairman NAB (National Accountability Bureau) writes to the President of Pakistan, what seems like another ‘open’ letter and another charge sheet against the Judiciary; the CJP. Both letters held the conduct of Supreme Court in question and contain allegations against the CJP.

Between these two letters, especially after the restoration of CJP in 2009 there have been several confrontations between the Government and Judiciary. The most significant of them was the NRO case which resulted in contempt notice to the Prime Minister of Pakistan and his subsequent removal from office. This was seen as some local and international circles as overstepping of judicial authority. The CJP’s wand of suo moto has been most active acquiring the role of a ‘supervisor of the executive’ justified by the malfunctioning of government machinery. While this interference into functions of the executive seems noble and for ‘public interest’ it is interesting to note that Supreme Court fervidly claimed that it’s Registrar cannot be summoned by the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament because Article 175(3) of the Constitution of Pakistan provides for separation of powers between the executive and judiciary. It should also be noted that PAC did not summon the Registrar in his judicial capacity, which he has close to none, but in his administrative capacity which falls within the ambit of the executive and not the judiciary.

At the end of his letter the Chairman NAB warns the President of his resignation; “Should these issues not be addressed expeditiously I will regretfully be forced to tender my resignation.”

But what methods are available to the President to “address” these issues? The only constitutional step available is filing a reference with the Supreme Judicial Council. This was done by President Musharraf and it cost him his government, his Presidency, his uniform and reputation.

I have the utmost respect for Mr. Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, but like him I too believe that no one is above the law, not even the Supreme Court or the CJP. If an allegation against a Prime Minister or an Ex- Army Chief can be investigated into, and verdict can be passed regarding their guilt or innocence, same should be allowed for the CJP. And unless this is done the pillar of ‘equality before law’ shall remain a few inches short of providing foundation to democracy.

Children of Democracy

Children of demo

The evolution of a democracy witnesses numerous bizarre, unsettling and revolutionary phases. In countries where democracy has been allowed to grow uninterrupted, such phases are a thing of the past and reference to them may only be found in history books or a piece of black and white recording.

In Pakistan however, all this is happening in the age of electronic and social media hence making these absurdities ever more obvious and in our face.

Our democracy was born in 1947, however owing to its feeble state and repeated poisoning from foreign and local elements it has been put on ventilators more than a few times. And every time it was taken off of the ventilator, the journey began anew. We are therefore still in the early stages of evolution of democracy.

Each institution of the state in its own way behaves more or less like a child passing through phases of growth. Personalities of these ‘children of democracy’ are an effect of their upbringing and environment.

Bureaucracy: This fortunate child has been allowed to grow with close to complete freedom and the least interference hence appears to be the most mature. It carries all attributes of a grown and developed institution. It seems to have almost reached adulthood and looks down upon the tantrums of other ‘children’.

Military: This strongest of all children has had too much of freedom and authority which did induce some maturity but also infused attributes of narcissism, superiority complex and the ‘know it all’ syndrome. It has the tendency to overestimate its ability to discipline and solve problems of other ‘children’ and sees itself in an authoritative role, above the rest. It has developed traits of a spoilt brat; having had too much of attention and affection showered upon its self. The other ‘children’ looked towards it for protection, since its power and built made it best equipped to provide protection, but now those children feel like they need protection from their own protector. Typical of such children this child suffers from the delusion that only they know what’s best for everyone.

Parliament: Oh how this poor child has been subjected to a roller coaster ride from palaces to pot holes. It has been given complete freedom at times and has been en-caged and shackled at others. It has repeatedly been told that it is not worthy of any responsibility, not worthy of trust and that it is inept, unqualified and uglier than the other children. Parliament has thus developed severe lack of confidence and insecurity and has extreme difficulty in asserting itself even when the manual (constitution) gives it a privileged place among the rest. This particular child finds it difficult to stand up for its self, has developed an inferiority complex which allows other children to bully and make fun of it.

Media and Judiciary: These two toddlers are learning to walk having recently discovered their freedom. Like most children in the same age group they seem to have developed a mutual affinity. They seek each other’s attention and deem all other, older children as a threat. They also have the tendency to try and gang up on one or more of the other children. Each helps project a good impression of the other while trying to cover their flaws. They often engage in mutual appreciation for each other’s acts that may seem meaningless and insignificant to the other, older children.

The good thing is that democracy seems to have found ground to hold on to, and the process of growth can continue unhindered. I look forward to the day when all these children would become grown, mature, responsible adults who would play their respective roles in the betterment of their home. Let us just hope that any childhood differences do not turn into lifelong rivalries.

Yaum-e-being a Muslim

hypocriteI have always observed that we, as Pakistanis have reserved our patriotism and expression thereof for selected and designated days like the 14th of August, 23rd of March etc. The rest of the year we do not exhibit any love, care and sincerity towards our homeland. Sadly same is the case with our religion, there are days that we have designated for us to be or feel like Muslims. Today is one of those days; ‘Yaum-e-jashan-e-eid-e-milaad-un-nabi’ (Wao just saying that out loud makes me feel like a better Muslim already). But what is this day actually? This day, like several other occasions is more like a ‘yaum-e-being a muslim’ because somehow it seems that its days like these only which require us to be Muslims. We seem to have established this belief that on the Day of Judgment when God asks us why did u cheat? Why did you lie? Why did you kill your brothers? Why did you forego your prayers? And why shouldn’t the gates of hell be opened for you? we would say ‘hey hey hey! wait a minute, we celebrated the birthday of your beloved Prophet S.A.W’ and behold the gates of heaven shall swing open.

Consider this, there is this person who is completely ignored by his fellows, made to feel nonexistent throughout the year and then suddenly on his birthday everyone showers him with love, praise and promises to give him his due place in the following year and then from the very next day he seems to not exist anymore till his next birthday or till someone says or does something to dishonor him. Do you think this one day of love, obedience and respect would make him happy or would it rather make him doubt those people’s sanity?

Is protecting our Prophet Muhammad’s S.A.W honor and celebrating his birthday our only obligation towards Him? Prophet Muhammad S.A.W hated hypocrisy yet we gift wrap and present it to him on his birthday. When for petty gains you sell fake medicine that causes His people to die, when you rape women from His ummat, when you lie and deceive His followers in His name, when you hoard food for profit and starve His people, when for worldly gain and fame you make up lies about Him and exploit the gullibility of the innocent, when you walk in arrogance on this earth for you have wealth that was accumulated by corrupt ways, when you conspire to generate hatred in His ummat and divide them into sects and when you pretend to be his follower but in your heart are not, I don’t think He would even want you to be any part of a celebration of His birth or life.

What all was wrong with the TUQ march

TUQ-and-Govt-Delegation

Early in November, 2012 Dr. Tahir Ul Qadri started appearing in TV interviews from Canada wherein he declared his plan to come back to Pakistan and rid this country of everything that is wrong with it. The country then began to see hoardings and flexes publicising the return of the Maulana. On the 23rd of December Dr. Tahir came to Lahore, addressed a large crowd and declared that he would lead a ‘million man march’ to Islamabad on the 14th of January, IF the government does not adhere to his demands. It is interesting to note that no demands were laid out clearly in his address on the 23rd. Thus began the movement against corrupt, inept, unqualified politicians; a ‘revolutionary movement’ for electoral reforms in Pakistan. This movement culminated with an agreement between Dr. Tahir and a group of representatives from different political parties that are part of the coalition government in Pakistan. This entire movement, the march and the sit-in was peculiar in so many ways.

First off Dr. Tahir called it a ‘million man march’ whereas even by the most lenient of estimates the actual number of people that marched with him or were part of the sit-in in Islamabad never crossed one hundred thousand. Dr. Tahir, who has claimed on more than one occasion that he never lies, kept referring to the crowd as a crowd of millions.

Then it wasn’t a long march, but more of a long drive since no one was actually marching but only driving to Islamabad. The term long march inherently includes the act of marching, one may read about the famous long march of Mao Zedong to know what exactly can qualify as a revolutionary long march.  Nevertheless Dr. Qadri believed that by calling this drive a march he may be able to get better results.

For me, the most noticeable irregularity of this entire movement was the fact that Dr. Tahir gave the government a clear dead line, 10th of January, for adhering to his demands, yet he did not make the demands clear till after that deadline had passed and presented the charter of demands for the first time on the 12th of January. He might as well have announced the long march without pretending to have been forced to take that course.

Dr. Tahir gave long sermons which were given full and live coverage by our media, raising serious questions about our media’s ability to tell newsworthy from unworthy. These sermons had harsh criticism and statements against political parties and politicians and praises for the Army and Judiciary. Dr. Tahir went quite far and at times questioned even the faith of ruling politicians, same people he was glad to exchange greetings with on the last day of the march. At one point Dr. Tahir even called the sit-in in Islamabad a present day version of Karbala, and the government and politicians therein as ‘Yazeedi forces’. This was offensive, disturbing and insulting for there was no agreement in Karbala, no one gave in to Yazeed and especially for the leaders in Karbala stood with their followers, suffered the heat and thirst equal to that suffered by their followers. Dr. Tahir however chose to go on with his sit-in in a bullet proof container with ample food and water supplies and protection from cold and rain while his innocent and gullible followers stood in excruciating cold exposed to any and every threat from terrorists.

The sit-in eventually ended with a 5 hour long session of negotiations and a consequent agreement on the fifth day. When the agreement was made public it was astonishing to see that Dr. Tahir’s demands, which were impracticable, were not met at all yet he decided to end the sit-in. Dr. Tahir wanted instant dissolution of assemblies which wasn’t done, instead it was agreed that the assemblies would be dissolved at any time before the 16th of March. Same was the fate of all other vague and unconstitutional demands that Dr. Tahir had been making throughout this episode.

For me this so called long march and sit-in was a joke. It was a joke on the gullible poor followers who stood their ground despite all obstacles in hope of change; a revolution that would change the fate of Pakistan overnight. It was a joke on any individual or institution that paid for this stunt. And it was a joke on the people of Pakistan who for a minute took Dr. Tahir seriously.

Nevertheless Dr. Tahir’s antics did bring some unintended good. It raised the awareness in masses of how crucial the continuation and sustenance of democracy is for Pakistan. Since many took this act as a conspiracy against democracy, it resulted in unification of political forces and civil society in defense of the democratic system. The meeting called by Mian Nawaz Sharif in Lahore was the final blow dealt to Dr. Tahir that made him desperate and search for a way to end the drama with some shred of self-respect hence his consent to the most hilarious of agreements.