‘Zust imazine’

More often than not, I am telling you about what we have gained as a nation, if you can call us one. Its about time that we looked at what we have lost: half our beautiful country not least at the hands of a political party that millions of our compatriots still dote on, as if some kind of a curse has descended upon us. It is a curse that we have brought upon ourselves and cannot blame anyone for. The Bengalis are a wonderful people who strived more for the creation of Pakistan than any province in what our heroes have left of Pakistan today. We deprived them and then massacred them for their pains, the last of which was to exercise their democratic right of vote in December 1970.

Those of us who are old enough to remember East Pakistan can never forget the people of Bengal. In our hearts they shall always be our compatriots, even though they have acquired a different travel document, thanks to our collective stupidity that manifests itself as arrogance combined with our suicidal perfidy that manifests itself as misplaced patriotism.

Something, sometimes, triggers a memory that transports me back to the East Pakistan of my childhood a person, a sound, some smell, a colour, kathal (that wonderful fruit known as Jackfruit in English and its smaller Malay variant called Durian), a painting of Zainul Abideen, someone saying Mr. Zinnah Its their phonetics that invariably brings a smile to my face. Many pronounce J as Z and Z as J, so Jinnah becomes Zinnah and Janaza becomes Zanaja. Exact would be pronounced exjact. I once received a telex saying, Please send us exjact, repeat exjact, quotes. They do that with their names too, as you can see on the shirts of their cricketers. Jahoorul for Zahoor ul Haq. Wonderful, loveable people that gladden the heart with joy.

One of them, my late fathers friend Zahoor (Jahoor Bhai) Chaudhry, Editor of Sangbad, now also gone to live with the stars, would exclaim Zust imazine when bemused by something. His arrival to our home was a great event for he always brought us Dhaka Cheese, which we sliced, fried and ate with great relish. A most loveable and very, very brave and principled man the likes of which we rarely make now.

Zust Imagine, I said to myself when I got a message from my hum zulf twice over and once removed, to wit Dr. Nasir Ahmed of Malaysia (which is why his in-laws call him La No La; Yes La which is the Malay way of saying things, the other being How can? No can). If you have a problem with your ear, nose or throat, go to Doc Nasir and he will put you right, or at least try his best to. Nasir had gone to Dhaka to study medicine long, long ago when most everything was almost right with Pakistan. There he met and later married my wifes beautiful cousin Anjum, another medical student, God bless her since she has now gone to be with Him. Anjum was the daughter of Mr. I. A. Khan I.C.S. and granddaughter of Nawab Ismail Khan of Meerut, one of the major leaders of our Freedom Movement. He is the one who invented the famous Jinnah Cap. The rest is history.

Nasir first became a Pakistani and now belongs to Flint, Michigan, USA. So naturally he too has deep affection for the Bengalis of late East Pakistan. Read and Think About It Yourself, said Doc Nasirs message not so long ago.

Okay Doc, will do. The message is about the mess our electricity is in. Not surprising, for all our peoples basic needs and fundamental rights are either non-existent or wanting (except, of course, for democracy, such as it is) because our rulers deliberately deprive them to create justifications for doing unnecessary projects like rental power projects to take huge kickbacks and commissions to buy flats abroad. Better and cheaper and to pay off the circular debt with the same money and get our idle power generation going almost immediately. This would occur to even the meanest intelligence, but our rulers dont even have that. All they are genetically programmed for is self-aggrandizement, like a Bloodhound is genetically programmed to track with his nose.

There is a reason why the people keep electing such rulers it has to do with the Predator State that we are that preys upon its own people. The only people who do something for them are their local landlord or politician from a big political party. He is clever enough to know that while he preys upon the rest of us, he should give a semblance of protection to his constituents to keep getting re-elected helping retrieve his stolen cow or recovering his kidnapped wife or whatever. They dont care whether he has a fake degree or how corrupt he is, so long as they have someone to go to that will protect them from the Predator State and its institutions.

Words escape me and I begin to splutter, for regardless of this explanation our educated illiterate elite has brought our doom upon our heads themselves. So it does not behoove us to lament too loudly. Lament, certainly, for it relieves pain and frustration, but softly, softly please lest others hear and say what a stupid, suicidal people we are. I can see Enoch Powell, the late racist but brilliant politician of Britain, smirking and saying, I told you so. These people dont deserve independence.

Anyway, the message from Doc La Nasir is that Pakistani electricity comes from three sources:

1. Hydro, through large, medium-sized and small dams that our people dont have the sense to make enough of and the feudal robber barons and tribal warlords and chieftains, the bane of our lives and our primary cancer, dont allow. Instead, they make political capital out of opposing dams by misinforming people. An impoverished country has an impoverished populace. Backward, poor and illiterate, they cant raise their heads and question the feudal robber baron and tribal warlord chieftains iniquitous and un-Islamic way of life and ask what right they have to lord it over them.

2. Thermal (Gas/Steam/Furnace Oil).

3. Nuclear.

Sadly, solar and wind dont figure anywhere. Hopefully they will one day, after our primary cancer has been obliterated.

Our electricity generating units are owned and operated by four major power producers:

1. WAPDA (Water & Power Development Authority).

2. KESC (Karachi Electricity Supply Corporation) that unlike Stone Age man cannot even light a fire with a flint.

3. IPPs (Independent Power Producers).

4. PAEC (Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission.

The break-up of the installed capacity of each of these power producers, as of June-2008, is:

WAPDA Total Hydro Electricity: 6,465 MW

WAPDA Total Thermal 4,900 MW

WAPDAs Total Hydro plus Thermal capacity is 11,365 MW.

KESC total 1,756 MW

IPPs Total 6,365 MW

PAEC Total Nuclear 462 MW

Hydro Electricity generated by WAPDA varies between two extremes 2,414 MW when the river flow is low and 6,761 MW when the river flow is high and the dams are full.

Total Power Generation Capacity of Pakistan (including all sources) is 19,948 MW while the electricity demand on April 20, 2010 was 14,500 MW yet we have acute countrywide load shedding because we are generating only around 10,000 MW.

Generating Capacity: 19,948 MW

Demand: 14,500 MW

Generation: 10,000 MW

Surplus: 5,448 MW

Shortfall: 4,500 MW

Doesnt make sense, does it? But this is not the only thing in our beloved country that doesnt make sense. How about plundering, inept and illiterate or uneducated rulers being repeatedly elected? The fault, dear Brutus, lies not in our stars but in ourselves that we are underlings hungry, destitute, mentally colonised, indebted to the gills and, seemingly, without a hope in hell. Dont be fooled by their fancy degrees from fancy western universities. Our biggest problem is that our elite is uneducated.

Have you ever seen something so stupid, so callous, so suicidal? When people come out on the streets, which they invariably will, our rulers will cry CONSPIRACY Zionist conspiracy, Hindu conspiracy, CIA conspiracy, ISI conspiracy, Zulu conspiracy and God knows what else. The only conspiracy is their own, to deny the people and make money out of their woes. Gather money, gather power and let the devil take the hindmost.

Whats there to think about, Doc? The answer is obvious: corruption ascended to loot and plunder unhindered by patriotism.

The writer is a political analyst. He can be contacted at [email protected]

Humayun Gauhar

Humayun Gauhar is a veteran columnist in Pakistan and editor of Blue Chip magazine.