Bad Things; Good Things | Pakistan Today

Bad Things; Good Things

  • Some good things for Pakistan

Many bad things are happening in many countries which are causing their economies to nearly go down the drain, like the massive resurgence of covid-19 in Europe. The UK is on the cusp of going into another national lockdown which will not help productivity and the army of unemployed will grow. Ditto for many other European countries. The USA cannot yet talk of a covid-19 resurgence because covid-19 never really went down in the USA, and this will be probably the most important issue in its forthcoming presidential elections. A much-respected American Supreme Court judge has passed away and the process of her replacement could throw the US elections into a tailspin. The racial protests and riots there show no signs of going away. And, needless to say, as he faces the possibility of defeat, President Trump’s rants are increasing and he is threatening to put both feet into his mouth. But Joe Biden doesn’t fill one with excitement either. So it’s Trump the would-be fascist or Biden the fuddy-duddy. How exciting.

Mercifully, Pakistan has been the recipient of some good news. Covid-19 has receded largely and we are in the process of beating it, which we will do entirely once a viable vaccine is found. The Prime Minister has announced a terrific rehabilitation plan for Karachi and the opposition, as predicted, in particular the People’s Party, as expected, is yelping and yowling mouthing absurdities, like Sindh is paying Rs 800 billion out of the Rs 1.3 trillion earmarked for the plan. Apart from the fact that this is a load of poppycock, the question arises, who cares where the money comes from as long as it comes? Isn’t it all Pakistan’s money whether it comes from Tom, Dick or Harry? Sindh’s money largely comes from the federation and is also earned by the other provinces though they keep on repeating the canard that Karachi provides 70 percent of Pakistan’s revenue. That’s another load of poppycock. This includes customs duties charged at the port for goods that are largely imported by other provinces. But that matters not either. But again it matters not for it’s all Pakistan’s money. We are not four countries fighting over the spoils of taxation and it is the responsibility of the centre to ensure that it is distributed equitably between the four provinces.

Another breath of fresh air was Imran Khan threatening to come down hard on rapists and child molesters. The very worst of them he would first chemically castrated and then hanged publicly. He should do a serious rethink about public hanging for it only brutalizes society. Otherwise a tooth for a tooth and an eye for an eye is how it goes and I don’t mean that some demented life prisoners should be let loose on the rapists so that they can be raped. This is a universal sickness to which there is not yet any universal cure but they have to be made to pay for their crimes.

Imran Khan and his party have managed to pass legislation against money laundering, which is a vital aspect for the Financial Action Task Force comprising a number of countries whose decision can put a country in a grey list or a black list, meaning completely beyond the pale. Pakistan is in the grey list and has made considerable strides to meet all the FATF’s concerns. But wait a minute. Money laundering and money launderers are largely enabled by the West, particularly the UK, the USA and their stupid tax havens. They also give refuge to our criminals, money launderers, murderers and prevent them from getting into the not so long arm of Pakistan’s law. Think of Altaf Hussain of the MQM who has not only been given refuge in the UK for over two decades but also British citizenship which means protection by the UK. Despite many murder cases against him and charges of money laundering, the UK has still not let him back to Pakistan. Not to forget Nawaz Sharif, who escaped to the UK under false pretences thanks to a weak judiciary and a confused executive. His bail has long since run out but there doesn’t seem a chance in hell that he will return as a convict to complete his prison term. His health is fine despite the manufactured excuse of a low platelet count and he is certainly nowhere near death’s door. But he refuses to return.

A desperate and frustrated opposition has called an All Party’s Conference (APC) to form a united front against the government because it did not let them get away with money laundering and other crimes. I believe it will come to nothing because it is a last ditch attempt by losers to get away with their loot. There is much in- fighting within each party. For example, Nawaz Sharif’s daughter, Maryam is trying to rub out her uncle Shahbaz. The Jamat-i-Islami with its massive street power and network of mosques has refused to join the APC. Since it is being held a day before I write, I hesitate to proceed further but I would love to see how these eleven cats trying to tie their tails together will arrive at a minimum common platform.

Local bodies elections shall soon be upon us. If the ruling PTI wins them they are already a considerable way towards winning the next national elections. In March, the Senate elections will begin and senators will be selected by the size of each party in the provincial assemblies. In these too, the ruling PTI is likely to get more seats and ultimately a majority in the Senate. This will make it easier for it to legislate. We could be in for seminal change because Imran Khan might then go for a change in the Constitution and the system for a presidential system. I hope it will also include making numerous administratively capable provinces in Pakistan with their own financial viability. And a presidential system on the basis of being cleared of qualification and disqualification clauses in the Constitution before they are eligible to contest elections. The same should go for all parliamentarians, federal and provincial and so forth. Then see how the mare goes round and cleanses our body politic of all looters, plunderers, money launderers, criminals and what have you.

Humayun Gauhar

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



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