Monday, September 24, 2018

DFW ROADS NEED QUALITY REPAIR AND REGULAR MAINTENANCE


September 24, 2018

 By Saeed Qureshi
While there is vast network of the highways and smaller roads, the standard of repairs of the roads linking locations in DFW metropolis is patently quite unprofessional, rough and risky. The city and the country administrations take a huge pile of various kinds of taxes to provide the civic and municipal comforts and facilities efficiently and hugely. One can see the 121 and George Bush Turnpike built in the near past as keeping inter cities traveling fast easy and convenient. These additionally facilities are good boon to streamline and ensure the easy flow of commuters of all hues and cries.

There can be various reason for such a lapse causing sufferings to the countless commuters in DFW metropolis. One could be that unprofessional repair companies or individuals are hired which charge less money than the truly professional organizations or parties.

Secondly no checkup is carried out to determine of the job assigned to these groups was carried out in accordance with the laid down rules and requirements. The city and county governments might not have taken the repair work seriously as the building of the roads or resurfacing the main roads, highways and autobahns was more important than merely reaping the broken or damaged roads.

What happens to the countless commuters is that their tires go flat or wear out sooner than completing their normal span of remaining intact and serviceable. However, the cost to the overall body of the vehicles is costlier caused by the persistent daily erosion of the surface of the tire by the ditches, holes and pointed corners of the eroded place.

As daily traveling on roads with rough and eroded surface not only caused earlier wear and tear of the wheels but also cause mental shocks to the drivers and as well slow driving and damage to the parts of the body especially the system that has to be applied on these countless places almost every day.

Th speeding vehicle fall into the worn-out places with a thud and then come out by applying more pressure on the accelerator each time. Such surface erosion and potholes, a few years back, were witnessed on the smaller street roads but now one can also be seen in the intercity highways, freeways damaged and broken.

During the rains the situation bets more problematic and tedious. The rain water deposited in the cleavages and holes gets splashed and falls on the vehicles’ bodies and framers. Besides getting in the whole and coming out for a vehicle also erodes the tires which ultimately have to replaces putting additional financial cost to those commuters who may not be financially very well off.  The roads that are resurfaced or a new layer is placed or a ditch is filled remain uneven and therefore cause jerks and jumping of the vehicles up and down and sideways. If the respective city and county administrations and the departments in charge of the repair work take a survey of the roads big or small, highways and city roads they would find countless such faults and uneven sections. It would be rather pertinent and advisable for the county and city administrations to take a survey of all the roads to check the bumps and high and low and rough and uneven sections.

Some time back I wrote another article after the competition of the Georg Bush High way. I had noted that sections and portions of the that magnificent turnpike didn’t have smooth tracts on many places. Not only I but countless other commuters must have noticed and suffered the jerks on the uneven sections by traveling on that highway regularly or occasionally. Mercifully some of the sections were later resurfaced and their level there brought even with the even portions.

It appears that that not much of attention is given to the selections of the right and professionally compartment and the experienced parties and firms to build or repair the mauled highways and normal roads. I wonder that in the United States where merit, competence and expertise is the touchstone in services, such a gross negligence is being shown and practiced in proving good roads between the cities and within the cites causing a lot of frustration and disturbance to the commentators even in the modern age of perfection and professional excellence.



One can see the Texas State Highway121 and President George Bush Turnpike built in the recent past are keeping inter-cities traveling fast, easy and convenient. These additionally facilities are good boon to streamline and ensure the easy flow of commuters of all hues and cries in much less time. 

Nevertheless, as a regular commuter on the roads and highways of Dallas and Fort Worth Metropolis, I have observed that most of the big and small roads have rough and uneven surface. While traveling across the Metroplex the vehicles receive jumps and fall back on the roads. There is a vast network of the highways and smaller roads, yet the standard of repairs of the roads seem to be unprofessional and not very useful.

 There can be various reasons for such a lapse causing sufferings to the countless commuters in DFW metropolis. One of the reasons could be that the unprofessional repair companies or upstart groups are hired who charge less money than the truly professional organizations or parties. The crude surfacing of the eroded or rough roads is a crying evidence of that bizarre situation.

Besides, it appears that no regular or periodic checkup is carried out to determine if the job assigned to the repair contractors was carried out in accordance with the laid down rules and requirements. The city and county governments might not have taken the repair work seriously as the building of the roads, the main roads, highways and autobahns was more important than merely repairing the broken or damaged roads.

That leads to the heavy cost on the repair of the body of the vehicles as the daily traveling on such roads with rough and eroded surface cause earlier wear and tear of the wheels, tires and body of the vehicles particularly the brakes. The slow driving and jumping of cars on uneven spots cause mental agony and shocks each time.

The speeding vehicles fall into the worn-out places with a thud and then come out by applying more pressure on the accelerators each time. A few years back such surface erosion and potholes were witnessed on the small street roads but now these can be seen on the highways, freeways, and intercity roads.

During the rains the situation gets more problematic and tedious. The rain water deposited in the cleavages and holes splashes and falls on the vehicles’ bodies and frames. Besides for the vehicles getting out of the holes and cleavages also erodes the tires. The tires have to be replaced putting additional financial cost to those commuters some of whom may not be financially very well off.  The roads are resurfaced by the hired groups without leveling the surface smoothly. 

We have seen that the new layers placed over a ditch remain uneven and therefore cause jerks and jumping of the vehicles up and down and sideways. If the staff of the respective city and county governments survey, they would find countless unfilled ditches and uneven sections which the contractors falsely show as done. It would be rather pertinent and advisable for the county and the city administrations to take a survey and ensure that the filling or leveling work was perfect and nice and in accordance with the book and laid down regulations. Rather such inspections and surveys should be done periodically to ensure smoothness and proper level of the roads without holes or cavities.

Some time back I wrote an article after the competition of the Georg Bush Highway or Turnpike. I had noted that various sections and portions of that magnificent Turnpike didn’t have smooth tracts on many places. Not only myself but countless other commuters must have noticed and suffered the jerks on the uneven sections by traveling on that highway regularly or occasionally. Mercifully some of the sections were later resurfaced and brought at par with the even portions. That brought a great relief to the commuters on this vital traveling artery between various locations and cities.

It appears that not much of attention is given to the selections of the right and professionally competent and truly experienced parties and firms to rebuild or repair the mauled highways and normal roads. I wonder that in the United States where merit, competence and expertise is the touchstone in services, such a studied negligence is being shown towards providing good roads between the cities and within the cities.

It would be preferable if various parties and surveyors can be employed or hired to check all the roads and highways to locate and identify and report defects of unevenness, jagged surface and potholes can be identified Besides the edges and linings of the roads needs to be straightened and leveled. At countless places the big and small roads need to have straight and even-leveled side lines. We have experienced that while exiting or entering, the vehicles go astray and fall from one surface to another because of variation in level of surface between them. Thus, a kind of upwards or downwards jerk is experienced which are certainly unpleasant and irritating and can cause accidents.

The city, and the county administrations and the municipalities charge various kinds of taxes and fees for a variety services such as the civic and municipal comforts and good roads. The taxes and duties can be increased provided the level of facilities like providing hassle-free roads are provided and streamlined for smooth traveling.

In this regard dire and immediate attention should be given to the jumbled-up and narrow roads in the so-called down towns where traveling and driving is nothing short of a nightmare at day time. The citizens have to come to these Down-Towns for a variety of pressing chores, particularly those who have to attend the court hearing and attend other offices for a variety of chores and unavoidable tasks.  The downtown of Dallas Texas and that of Fort Worth are awful examples of the difficulties that the commuters come across every day.




Tuesday, September 11, 2018

LET US PRAY FOR IMRAN KHAN’S SUCCESS


September 10, 2018

By Saeed Qureshi
It would be an unrealistic expectation that Imran Khan has a magic wand which he would wave and things would start improving. Nevertheless, under his leadership sooner than later, Pakistan would be embarking on the road to an overall progress and prosperity. Hopefully, the state building institutions would be washed of all or most of the dysfunctional aspects and sleazy contours which have been there in the Pakistan society and state ever since its creation in 1947. 

Granted that Imran Khan is a leader of his mettle and is absolutely sincere, a true patriot and embodiment of the commendable leadership qualities. Yet the challenges and tasks that he is faced with are also unusual, tricky, stupendous and extraordinary. As a matter of fact, he needs a prolonged space of time and planning and absolutely honest and committed team to fulfil his dream and mission of putting Pakistan in the comity of the developed and prosperous nations. I reckon that to fulfil this gigantic task and accomplish massive undertaking, he needs to win the next term and to remain at the helm for another five years.  If he leaves half way, the Himalayan goal which he is aiming at, cannot be accomplished in a single term of five years.

Granted that he is blessed with unconditional and voluntary support and unstinted cooperation from the armed forces as well as the superior judiciary. Nevertheless, one has to also look at the ground conditions that would prove to be hazardous and rather complex to be streamlined in a limited period of five years. It is not to doubt or underestimate his integrity, ability and resolve to catch the bull of misrule by horn. Still there might be unforeseen roadblocks and unexpected challenges that might be difficult to overcome in a short period of time.

He would find himself between the proponents of a secular state with religion confined to the personal level and those who may want the revival of the State of Medina, in the present times. He has already made this pledge and let us watch how he can turn Pakistan into a replica of the state of Medina established by the Prophet of Islam Hazrat Muhammad(pbuh) in 622 CE after his migration from Mecca to Medina.   

As a matter of fact, what he meant by establishing the state of Medina it is to revive and enforce the character and qualities of the Muslims in those blessed eras. There cannot be any comparison between the prophet of Islam and any head of an Islamic state. Yet what the Muslims have to do is to follow as far possible the tradition, the sublime life of the prophet and the tenets and beliefs on which he established the State of Medina. When Imran Khan aims at taking a cue from the contours of the state of Medina, he means by it the morality, integrity, truthfulness, honesty, spirit of sacrifice and unity to be imbibed by the Muslims and leaders.

The state of Medina also takes care of the minorities with regard to their rights and obligations, grant of equal status, and their security at the same time. But even if the real replica of state of Medina cannot be established, and Imran Khan succeeds in attaining that pristine goal by a fraction, Pakistan would move forward as a stable and righteous country among the comity of nations and would be respected for clean society and efficient and honest administration.

We all know what is the dream, plan, and manifesto of Imran Khan. He has unfolded his far-reaching reforms and milestone agenda in his August 19 inaugural victory speech. In that momentous maiden address, he categorically spelled out his vision and momentous mandate to restructure Pakistan and bring it in the comity of developed nations. He wants to attain and earn international support, respect and dignity for Pakistan. It would be fruitful for the people of Pakistan to go through his charter of reforms and ponder how groundbreaking and revolutionary these are.

His agenda for a new Pakistan consists mainly 27programs or reforms that are essentially far-reaching and innovative.  Even if a part of this agenda is implemented, a new prosperous, truly democratic and stable Pakistan is believed to emerge. That Pakistan may earn respect in the comity of nations. Pakistan, with Imran Khan as the prime minister, may not only emerge as a dignified state but hopefully, would have peaceful and friendly relations with neighboring’ countries mainly India, Iran and Afghanistan without bargaining Pakistan’s vital national interests.

It should be taken for granted that Imran Khan is thoroughly honest. He cannot be blackmailed or bribed. He is fearless, and undaunted. He is truly a patriot who loves Pakistan and the nation from the core of his heart. He is just an opposite of most of leaders who remained at the helm of power. The essential and sublime tradition of accountability, has been for the first time implemented, without any discrimination and fear or favor. If this ruthless and across-the-board accountability culture continues unabated, Pakistan would be ridden off the criminals and corrupt individuals and leaders. At the same time, it would have a salutary and positive impact on the integrity and honest functioning of the state building institutions.






Thursday, September 6, 2018

Rigging Allegations Must Be Investigated


September 2, 2018

By Saeed Qureshi

After winning 2018 general elections, Imran Khan the newly elected prime minister of Pakistan, in his inaugural address, delivered on August 19 made a solemn and firm pledge to hold investigation to probe the widely reported charges of corruption and votes rigging.

The opposition parties in Pakistan are raising hue and cry to demand the investigation to determine if the 2018 general elections were rigged or not. Hopefully, the PTI government and prime minister Imran Khan would stand by their commitment and probe as to whether the opposition’s allegations were valid or not.

Now vote rigging allegation is certainly a very serious issue by itself. If proven it could put the legitimacy of the 2018 elections in doubt. PTI, the prime minister’ party bagged 149 National Assembly seats leaving far behind the runner up party PMNL which could grab only 82 seats out of a total of 272 National Assembly seats. It should be remembered that the same kind of rigging allegations were leveled against the PMLN which won the three elections prior to the 2018 elections.

It should be reckoned as to which authority would be entitled and asked to conduct the inquiry and investigation into the rigging rigmarole which is not an easy task. The record at the elections centers could have been manipulated, wasted away or hidden by the interested party which in this case is the PTI. However, primarily it should be the Election Commission of Pakistan on which this onerous responsibility devolves.

If the case goes in case of the refusal of the government and the Election Commission to conduct inquiry or recount the votes, then possibly and credibly this thorny issue would be placed before the judiciary which could be no less than the Supreme Court of Pakistan. If Supreme Court orders an enquiry that might take quite a long period of time to finalize the outcome and its findings. This task of election rigging is not the first of its own kind in Pakistan. But keeping in view the rigid confrontation and strong discord between the winning party and the runner up PMLN together with other fringe political contenders such as Awami National Party, Awami Workers Party (AWP), Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan, Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam (F)., the situation may not subside till a verdict in clear and transparent terms is, handed out by the Supreme Court of Pakistan. Even another main political party “Pakistan People’s Party” may jump into fray.

There is also a possibility which ought to be kept in view that if the verdict of the Supreme Court is not accepted by the loser parties and they persist in unrelenting agitations, a serious law and order situation could emerge. Thus, there could be a leeway for the armed forces to step in to rein in the cataclysm and worsening law and order situation.

If that is the probable scenario then the country would be, democratically, back to square one. That development would be as the reminiscent of taking over power by General Zia against Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in July 1978(as Chief Martial Administer) and later from prime minister Muhammad Khan Junejo as the president from September 1978 to August 1988. Again, General Pervez Musharraf took over power from the PMNL government headed by Nawaz Sharif in October 1999 and ruled Pakistan first as the Chief Executive (October 1999-November 2002) and then as the 10th president until August 2008.

If the inquiry is instituted by the sitting government in Pakistan and the PTI government comes out with flying colors then it would be functioning on firm footing for five years. The political opposition would have no excuse to create fuss against the government headed by prime minister Imran Khan. With Imran Khan, the people of Pakistan have nursed enormous hopes to rebuild a strong and prosperous Pakistan. After clearing of the rigging stigma, PTI and prime minister Imran Khan could, without hindrance, implement the PTI’s voluminous agenda comprising of 27 ground breaking programs one of which is to fashion Pakistan on the format of the State of Medina. The State of Medina was established by Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) the last prophet of God after his migration from Mecca to Medina in 622 A. D.  By all reckoning, the State of Pakistan would be a combination of the contours and foundations of a modern state as well as the “State of Medina”.










Friday, August 24, 2018

Prime Minister Imran Khan and The State of Medina


August 23, 2018

By Saeed Qureshi

Imran Khan the 22nd elected Prime Minister of Pakistan with an overwhelming mandate offers a great hope for a prosperous and modern Pakistan. He wants to erect and build a new Pakistan on the pattern of the State of Medina that the Prophet of Islam, Hazrat Muhammad founded after migrating from Mecca to Madina in 622 A.D., along with his closest companion and the first Caliph Hazrat Abu Bakr who later also had the honor of being his father-in-law.

On August 19th in his inaugural victory speech, he spelled out his vision and mandate to restructure Pakistan and bring it in the comity of developed nations and earn international support, respect and dignity for Pakistan. It would be fruitful for the people of Pakistan to go through his charter of reforms and ponder how groundbreaking and revolutionary these are.

His agenda for a new Pakistan consists mainly 27programs or reforms that are essentially far-reaching and innovative.  Even if a part of this agenda is implemented, a new prosperous, truly democratic and stable Pakistan is believed to emerge that may earn respect in the comity of nations and have peaceful and friendly relations with neighbors mainly India, Iran and Afghanistan.

While Prime Minister Imran’s mission and mandate are noble and essential for the uplift of Pakistan, one may wonder as to how in a short space of time, he would be able to fashion Pakistan on the pattern of the Islamic State of Medina or Khilafat-e-Rashida. How the State of Medina could be worth emulation when three out of four Caliphs were assassinated. How then it could be rated peaceful and glorious era for the Muslims and to be assessed as ideal for emulation?

The life and mission of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) were threatened in Mecca from his opponents.)  Therefore in 622 A.D., he migrated to Medina clandestinely along with his close companion Hazrat Abu Bakr, later the first Caliph of Islam and Prophet’s father in law.  

During his life of 10 years (622-632 AD) spent in Madina, the holy Prophet laid down the fundamental structure of Islam and the contours of the newly emerging Islamic fraternity and the nation under the divine inspiration. The fundamental guidelines of Islam are preserved in the holy Quran and read and imbibed by all of us day in and day out.

The state of Medina originally was confined to a few miles and later expanded by the Islamic victories to as far as Iraq, Syria, Persia, Jerusalem and the entire Arab Peninsula came under the sway of the Muslims.

As pointed out earlier that the Medina State was founded by the Prophet when he migrated secretly from Mecca to Medina in 622 AD and headed it until his demise in 632 AD. It means that he headed the state of Medina for ten years. He created unity and fraternity among the hostile tribes and established brotherhood during his life time. It was a nascent small state confined to a small city of Yasreb or Medina but it was a truly Islamic state in the making.

Would a new modern state fit into the pattern of a small state of the past or vice-verse?  Spiritually and religiously the state of Medina was glorious but materially it was not a kind of modern developed state that came into being after the industrial revolution.

The modern comforts, learning and knowledge, democratic institutions, educational patterns and fast modes of transportation were not available in earlier times including Saudi Arabia, although both Mecca and Medina, and even Jerusalem were spiritually and morally on the highest level and still are. In the modern times the discovery of electricity by itself is the main vehicle of all the scientific inventions and the discoveries are the boons that we witness all over the world today. Education, health, fast transportation agriculture, housing and so on, are the boons of the modern times. Now every small and big city has masques and Islamic educational and learning institutions imparting latest knowledge to the people including Islam. There are mosques in every town and country where Muslims pray and perform their religious obligations much faster under a galore of comforts that were not available in earlier times. The whole world has become a village where the human beings can move and travel.

If Imran Khan means by state of Medina by law and order, unity welfare, equality, brotherhood and the unity then these fundamental obligations are taken care of in an absolutely perfect and safer manner by the courts and laws of the land and the relevant institutions. In the present societies, there is absolute freedom to follow one’s religion in every society more than the past. The number of the Muslim faithful is increasing by leaps and bounds all over the world. The State of Medina was morally high but by way of material comforts is no match to the modern nation states.   

There are four principle Imams who reinterpreted some of the confusing or complex Jurisprudence clauses and rules in Islam. The division of Islam into Shia and Sunnis needs two Islamic systems of jurisprudence and payers in Islam. But during the incipient state of Medina these differences were not there. Either you throw way all the Shias and other fringe sects out of the pale of Islam or reinterpret or redefine the injunction prevalent during the State of Medina headed by the Prophet himself (622-632 and Khilafat Rashida of four Caliphs which lasted for 39 years (632-661.The Khilafat-e- Rashida was succeeded by the Ummyad dynasty. Amir Muawiyah the founder of the Ummayad dynasty declared himself a Caliph while Caliph Ali had been an elected Caliph already with capital in Medina. Through a ruse of arbitration, Amir Muawiyah the founder of the Ommyad dynasty (680-743 AD).  also assumed the title of the Caliph. As such for quite some time there were two Caliphs in the Islamic empire. Their mutual fighting between the forces of Ali and Muawiyya for almost six years led to the   killings and death of thousands of Muslims from both the sides.

Ommyad dynasty came to an end in 750 AD and was replaced by the establishment of the Abbasid Caliphate (followers of Caliph Ali) or empire consisting of Persian, Syrian and Arabs. Banu Abbas killed each and every member of the ruling Umayyad clan except one youthful Abd-al-Rahman Ibne Muawiyya, the grandson of the tenth Ommyad Caliph Hisham. Abd-al-Rahman fled to Spain where he founded a new Islamic empire.

It is a part of the early Islamic history that most of the consolidation and extension of Arab domain in the Middle East and North Africa took place during the Ummayad Caliphate and Abbasid dynasty (750-861 AD). The Abbasids have the credit of setting up an international empire of the Persian, Syrians and Abbasid Caliphate.

The fundamental difference between what the founder of Islam achieved was to not only inculcate a set of divine rulers for a better conduct and sinless life style among the ill-informed and hostile people and tribes but to bring them together as brethren and members of the same faith. Hazrat Muhammad had to undergo extremely hard conditions and oppositions both in Mecca and Madina.

However, Prophet Muhammad received the guidelines from Allah the creator of the universe who conveyed his commands to him through the Angel Gabriele, besides creating those injunctions in his mind. As a result, a society of dedicated and the devoted Muslims came into being who spread the message of Islam far and wide though after a long trail of sufferings and difficulties. Prophet Muhammad’s companions had also to undergo extreme hardships and impediments in carrying forward the teachings of Islam among the community. That was a miracle as earlier Prophets couldn’t achieve these pristine and virtuous objectives.

Finally, the State of Medina and Khilafat Rashida was an ideal example of an Islamic state, yet it was not free of contentious issues and ideological conflicts. Immediately after the death of the Prophet and when still his body was to be buried, three incidents happened. One was the claim of three groups for the position of the successor. One such group favored Hazrat Ali the son in law of the Prophet who pressed their claim emphatically. The other claimant were from the Ommyad branch of the Qureshi tribe to regain their former position and status through the new religion. The third group emphasized the tradition prevalent among the tribes that the oldest and the wisest should be chosen as the successor of Prophet or Caliph after the demise of Prophet Muhammad.

Since Abu Bakr met these conditions he was chosen as the first Caliph of the state of Madina. Several Arab tribes revolted to get free from the new religion but were suppressed and subdued by the first Caliph Abu Bakr. Nevertheless, the family of the Prophet namely Banu Hashim including Ali and Fatima, the daughter of the Prophet claimed that it was their right to lead the Caliphate. Ali and their family members isolated themselves from the state affairs under the new Caliph for quite some time. Successor of Abu Bakr namely Umar bin Khattab and Usman were not from the Banu Hashim or Prophet’s family. Hazrat Ali became the fourth Caliph after the assassination of Hazrat Osman in 656 AD. Hazar Umar the second Caliph was the father in law of the Prophet and the third Caliph Usman was the son in law of the Prophet Muhammad.  There had been a division between the Muslims after the demise of the Prophet Muhammad which till this day is existing between the Sunnis and Shias or between Saud Arabia and Iran. Islam therefore has remained divided since the establishment of the State of Medina.    




Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Now When the General Elections are Over in Pakistan


August 1, 2018

By Saeed Qureshi

General elections were held in Pakistan on 25 July 2018 to elect the members of the 15th National Assembly and the four Provincial Assemblies of Pakistan. These elections would go down into the national and political history of Pakistan as game changers. The PTI (Pakistan Tehrik- Insaf) led by inimitable Imran Khan, has defeated the traditional contenders in these elections by a wide and impressive lead of 118/272 to 59 seats of the Pakistan Muslim League (PMLN) headed by Main Nawaz Sharif.

The former prime minister is now serving a ten-years jail term in Rawalpindi jail along with his daughter Mariam Nawaz. In a verdict on the “Avenfield reference” filed by the National Accountability Bureau(NAB) on 6 July 2018, the Federal Judicial Complex of Pakistan sentenced Sharif to ten years in prison. His daughter Maryam Nawaz and her husband Safdar Awan were sentenced to seven years and one year in prison, respectively.

This historic and game changing victory by a relatively new political party is like a whiff of fresh breeze in the stale corridors of power for such a long time. The PMNL headed by Mian Nawaz Sharif as the prime minister had three terms in the government: the first 6 November 1990 – 18 July 1993, the second from 17 February 1997 – 12 October 1999 and the third term from 5 June 2013 – 28 July 2017.

In the backdrop of allegations of pre-poll rigging to sway the elections’ results in favor of the PTI and against the PML (N), Imran Khan has offered to fully cooperate with the opposition parties over investigation into the alleged rigging in polls. The PTI is considering to form governments at the center and in Punjab, the largest province of Pakistan. The top brass of PTI has decided to contact the other political parties namely MQM-P, GDA, PMNL-Q and independent candidates to join government at the center, and presumably in three provinces namely Punjab, Sindh and KPK (Khyber Pakhtun Khawa). 

Unlike his pre-elections lethal rhetoric, the post elections victory speech of Imran Khan exuded a sentiment of reconciliation and sobriety. He has asked the rival parties to forget the pre-election heat and bitterness particularly between the two parties PTI and the PMLN. It could be condoned as the adage goes that “all is fair and justified in love and war”. Imran Khan’s reconciliation offer should also be relevant to the ladies with whom Imran Khan is reported to have been associated in the past. It is rather a sign of healthy political culture that the opposition refrained from drumming up the right or wrong sexual scandals of Imran Khan as claimed and revealed by his erstwhile wife Reham Khan is her book in which she castigated Imran Khan for sexual perversions.

Imran Khan’s post-election speech was a charter and package of reforms that he intends to implement and enforce in Pakistan. His claims and reforms make a long list that would take pretty good amount of time for implementation all the more in a politically divided arena of Pakistan. Yet there is no doubt he proved to be not only a valiant fighter in the cricket field but also lately proved that he has the same motivation and dogged determination which had been demonstrated in the cricket arena and brought victory to Pakistan.

Now the fiery and emotional speech that looked extempore is replete with commitments to clean and straighten the political, social, cultural, economic and foreign affairs turfs of Pakistan.  One can only wonder that while at the federal level, he might move forward and implement partial or entire agenda and package of reforms, at provincial levels there could be bottlenecks where the opposition parties would be able to form the governments. If he moves ahead with the perceived and targeted progress and success, he would not only make history as the architect of a new modern Pakistan but establish his personal credentials as a leader true to his mission and conscience.

Let us see what far-reaching reforms and fruitful changes which the 19th prime minister of Pakistan would bring and inject into the smeared politico-social culture of Pakistan. The number one emergent issue that he outlined for his government is to eliminate corruption (fiscal) from the lengths and breadth of Pakistan. As to what strategy he evolves and adopts is yet to be seen. His second priority is good and efficient governance that includes institutional overhaul whose range is wide and tricky.

But his top priority is to mold Pakistan in a pattern of the state of Medina by which he means a welfare state in which no one is denied justice and no one dies of hunger. In this regard, he particularly mentioned the lower and weaker sections of the society deprived of fair and equal privileges, rights and justice by the upper and powerful classes.

His second priority is to open more educational institutions, schools and colleges so that 25 million deprived boys and girls could be accommodated for education. Simultaneously his administration would focus on the medical facilities particularly for the females who die during the pregnancy for want of timely attention.

Then he talked of human development on a countrywide scale one of which would be the provision of clean and abundant water to the entire country particularly in water-scarce area.

He emphasized that if China, a friendly country to Pakistan can bring out 70 crore people out of poverty why cannot we do that in Pakistan as well. He intends to enforce the supremacy of law at any cost by committing that henceforth justice would be for all the people high or low, poor or rich and there wouldn’t be discrimination on the basis of privileged and non-privileged.

He emphatically mentioned about the economy of Pakistan which he described as extremely fragile and in bad shape. His good governance plan aims at simplicity by the rulers. His emphasis was to drastically reform the prevailing taxation regime and culture because the rich and affluent classes and businessmen avoid paying taxes partially or fully. Imran Khan talked of abandoning the palatial edifice of the prime minister’s house and instead moving his office to a relatively simple, accessible and modest office.

Accountability seems to be watchword of his agenda that he promised would start from him and go down. That indeed is an historic pledge which if truly implemented would refine the society and may throw up a Pakistan with least corruption and wrong doings both in government echelons as well as institutionally and privately.

His plans and manifestoes include providing jobs particularly to the youth of Pakistan. Yet the most distinctive hallmark of his envisaged policies, and outlook is to normalize relations with the neighbors of Pakistan. In this regard he mentioned all the three neighboring countries viz India, Iran and Afghnistan and his resolve to sot out the mutual issues through dialogue and in an amicable manner. He would prefer to have open borders as well a productive dialogue to eliminate the cross-border tension, bitterness, terrorism and promote trade.

In a rare display of fairness and integrity, he has offered and agreed to open and investigate all those election seats that the opposition and rival candidates claim and allege to be rigged. He is ready to go along with any procedure to find the truth. That indeed a very generous and principled offer that looks positive as compared to the past elections held in Pakistan.



  


















Imran Khan’s Clean Sweep and Opposition Parties’ Reaction


July 28, 2018

By Saeed Qureshi

A segment of the people in Pakistan and elsewhere who watched general elections in Pakistan on July 25, are dumbfounded over the inordinate delay of the results. It is being speculated that the polling stations sent their results first somewhere else where the results were manipulated and then forwarded to the media or made public.

Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)has emerged as the largest party winning 115 National Assembly seats. The runner up party PMNL could grab only 64 seats. The PTI is also capable of forming coalition governments in the provinces. It means it is a clean sweep for PTI. In response, all other major parties including PMLN, PPP, MMA have alleged rigging in the general elections.



The most glaring lacuna that was evident to all the television viewers was the inordinate and unjustified delay in compiling the results at various polling stations and sending those to the Election Commission Center for releasing to the media.

I heard such allegations and apprehensions being expressed by a group of analysts and observes at GEO and other TV channels who seemed to be flabbergasted over the lists of results coming in after log spells of time. They looked cynic and amused over the delay and the lead by the majority of winners from the PTI.

There was an eerie and impatient wait for quite a few hours at the TV stations. The program anchors and the teams of interlocutors had no clue as to why the results were not being finalized and announced and made public through the Media. Such a situation has seldom come to the fore during the past elections although the malpractices did take place here and there.

Finally, that spell of waiting and uncalled for suspense started breaking and the announcement began appearing on the media and the television screens. Amazingly all the three mainstream political parties lagged behind in capturing their traditional or expected seats. Could it be possible that the MQM lose several seats in their home constituencies existing in the sprawling city of Karachi?

Was it possible that the PPP would get merely a handful of seats in all the provinces of Pakistan, particularly in its home turf of Sindh province. But the most astonishing setback accrued to the PMNL that it lost majority and even a sizable number of votes in all the provinces of Pakistan even in Punjab which is also their home province.

Of late, the Election Commission of Pakistan has rejected and denied most of the appeals for recounting of the votes. If there is a caveat in the law for recounting of votes in case of a doubt and apprehension by the contesting candidates then granting approval for such requests is legal and in order. But thus far except one or two cases, no other appeals for recounting of the votes in respective constituencies has been granted.

The fundamental question being debated is as to why the results of the votes were not announced by the concerned operatives immediately. Why there was a long spell of time before these results reached the media including Television stations.

The overall number of winners not only were mostly from the PTI but their winning margin was shown much higher than their opponent candidates. It looks as if all the numbers of votes were hastily or casually announced even without counting. Even it was not the case then why the appeals for recounting are not being entertained.

Now army is not going to pressure the staffers of the polling stations or the Election Commission because they would not ask the risk of seeing the PMNL candidates winning. Nor would judiciary and the Election Commission would agree to the counting the votes again as in case of wrong doings their own workers and staff could be exposed. It is indeed a dilemma.

In the meantime, and during the course of this fiasco the main political parties which indeed are the PPP, the PMNL Fazal-Rehman’s President of Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, Jamaat-Islami, MQM and others have rejected the results of the 2018 general elections. They have planned to launch a movement for holding fresh elections.

Rejecting July 25 election results, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has demanded Chief Election Commissioner to step down as he has failed to conduct free and fair elections. All Parties Conference (APC) convened jointly by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) has rejected July 25 general election results.

Briefing the media about the conference, Mauala Fazl-ul-Rehman said. “We will launch a movement for re-elections as all parties have developed consensus over it,” Maulana Fazl went on to say that they will organize protest demonstrations across the country till elections were held again. The PMLN President Shahbaz Sharif, Jamaat-e-Islami Chief Siraj ul Haq and others were also present.

Finally, after all it was not a kind of French Revolution that a colossal change of opinion took place by giving ascendency to one party and its boss over all other contenders whose roots were much deeper in the masses than a later-day born party with a limited appeal basically confined to KPK province.

In the first instance the opposition parties may concede to the victory of PTI. Alternately they may take recourse to legal option by approaching the courts. But to launch a countryside agitation is going to be ruinous for the political system to continue and disruption of the normal life in Pakistan. That situation of disturbance and countrywide upheaval may invite the army to step in and may impose martial law.     




Thursday, July 26, 2018

Which Political Party is likely to Win the 2018 General Elections in Pakistan!

July 21, 2018
By Saeed Qureshi
The 13th General Elections are being held in Pakistan on 25 July 2018 to elect the members of the National Assembly for 342 seats and four Provincial Assemblies of Pakistan. It is being speculated that this time also the PMNL would win the elections. The PTI (Pakistan Tehreek-e- Insaf) is believed to emerge as the runner up and second in the row.  
So far 12 general elections for federal government have been held in Pakistan. After the birth of the new state of Pakistan in 1947, The first two elections were held in 1954 and 1962 which were indirect elections. In 1958 no direct elections were held. The PPP and PMNL each won four times. The 10th elections held in 2002 were won by PML(Q) and not PMNL.
The 2018 elections would be contested for 342 seats of the National Assembly and any party scoring 172 seats would emerge as the majority party. The paramount question is which party would emerge as the majority party and form the government at the center this time?
In 2013 general elections, the PMNL won 166 seats and this time needs only 6 seats to emerge as the winner party. The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) won 42 seats last time and now needs 130 seats to win the 2018 elections. In 2013 elections, The PTI led by Imran Khan won 35 seats and therefore needs 137 seats to win the ongoing elections. 
While it looks pretty easy for the PMLN to add 6 seats more to her 2103 tally, it might be a tall order and rather unattainable goal for the PTI or the PPP to win 172 seats for obvious reasons. The PPP doesn’t enjoy a good reputation because of Asif Ali Zardari who has several stigmas attached to his profile, known in Pakistan and abroad as well. The Current Chairman of the party, Bilawal Zardari Bhutto is still very young and is not a seasoned leader as his late mother Benazir Bhutto was and his illustrious grandfather Z.A. Bhutto had been.
It is not possible for young and inexperienced Bilawal to come on top beating other contenders who are in the domain of politics for a pretty long time. As such it may run as the third winner after the PMNL and the PTI. The PTI may well attain more votes than it did in 2013 elections. However, it might not be possible for a relatively younger party to take lead and come as the winner to form the government.
There are two potent factors that may help and spur or pave way for the PMNL to win the 2018 General Elections and form the government even for the fourth time. One most glaring and the paramount factor is the legal battle based upon his alleged financial corruption charges, laced with a visible bias of the judiciary against him and his party. The lodging of Main Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Mariam Nawaz in jail at this stage as a blessing in disguise and could prove as a boosting development for his party to win the elections. It is a general opinion that the superior judiciary has been in league with the PTI and the political opponents of Mian Nawaz Sharif. The judiciary seems to be exercising the judicial clout and powers to sideline Mian Nawaz Sharif clan and create conditions for his downfall and longish absence from the political arena of Pakistan. 
But in politics what matters are the policies and achievements of the political parties. Nawaz Sharif may have been meddling in financial corruption and making stockpiles of wealth through foul and fair means. But to sideline him just prior to elections connotes to the people that the judicial activism was aimed at sidetracking him and make his party lose elections. It is being speculated that the path is being paved for PTI and its aggressive and anti-Nawaz chief Imran Khan to win the elections and assume power. It is being expected that when in power, Imran Khan would wash Pakistan off the rampant corruption and punish those hoarding wealth offshore and whose names have been mentioned in the Panama Papers.
Yet the judicial propensity for cleansing the political arena in Pakistan from corruption and foul play doesn’t give an impression that it was across the board. On the contrary it looks as if it was solely focused on Mian Nawaz Sharif, his party and the family.
As such the judicial onslaught is not serving its pristine objective. It is generating sympathy and support for Sharif family specifically and his party PMLN generally for being targets of both the judiciary and the PTI chief. Nawaz Sharif and his daughter are in the prison. Yet their party PMNL is potent to drive ahead and may score good number of seats as this party has been doing in the past.
Imran Khan could have won the elections if his attention and endeavors were not solely focused on maligning and condemning Nawaz Sharif and his other family members including his two sons. Had he launched a crusade against the moral and financial corruption and innumerable wrong doings in Pakistan and not against an individual or party, he would have swayed the people in his favor. But sorrowfully he built his political philosophy, mission and mandate exclusively riveted against Nawaz Sharif and his family which is a narrow agenda and looks like a personal enmity of Imran Khan with Nawaz Sharif and his family. Imran Khan would have prevailed had he raised a hue and cry and lashed out all the known corrupt individuals and families in Pakistan. He would have raised slogan of a new Pakistan with specific strategy across the board. Thus, his chances of winning the 2018 elections would have brightened and his victory would have been ensured.
Secondly, he should have used civilized language and convincing demagogy with logic, poise and dignified pastures. The example of such civilized and dignified behavior could be taken from the conduct of the founder of Pakistan; Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Mr. Jinnah seldom used indecent adages or filthy expression against anyone during his political crusade for creation of the Republic of Pakistan. Its is not the bravado, abuses and blames that are helpful in political battles. Instead, the elections contenders ought to lay out a clear agenda and road map for rebuilding Pakistan and strengthening nation building institutions. Imran Khan’s aggressive foul-mouthing was zeroed in on Nawaz Sharif, his party and family, thus exhibiting a kind of personal bias and enmity.
Imran Khan is aggressive by temperament. He needs to scale down his exuberance, the level of lethal ridicule and compelling tendency to take thing for granted. He would have a brighter chance to win the next general elections in Pakistan, if such a fundamental and positive transformation comes about in his behavior, personality and outpourings. But by that time much water would have flowed down the rivers. However, in the meantime and till the next general elections, he can play a very productive and vigorous role as the leader of the opposition. That would be possible if PPP doesn’t emerge as the runner up party or majority opposition party in the July 25 elections in Pakistan.

None of the Fifteen Prime Ministers of Pakistan Completed Five Years’ Term

July 16,2018

By Saeed Qureshi

Recently one of my email interlocutors Mr. Shuja-ur-Rahman Khan sent me an interesting and revealing email. This email recapitulates the democratic and constitutional setback of the past 71 years of Pakistan existence as an independent state.

In Pakistan, the political culture based upon universal democratic system has remained unfulfilled, wholly or partially. There has been emphasis and even efforts on making Pakistan a theocratic state by the religious right and religious parties and groups. That is why Pakistan nomenclature was changed from to Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

Let us go through the time tunnel since 1947 until the present period. The former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam were arrested in Lahore on July 13 on their arrival from London after an accountability court found them guilty over his family's ownership of four luxury flats in London. The case is known as “Avenfield properties corruption reference”.  Nawaz Sharif was first disqualified from holding the portfolio of the prime minister by a superior court. Later he was sentenced by the accountability Court 11 years jail term along with his daughter Mariam Nawaz who is punished with 8 years in jail. They are already lodged in Rawalpindi Adiala jail.

Since Pakistan’ birth as new state in 1947 until this year (2018), there have been a total of 10 governments and 15 prime ministers in Pakistan. Out of these ten governments there were three military regimes. It should sound unbelievable to many of my readers that all the prime ministers couldn’t complete their constitutional tenure of five years in office.

The first government was in place from 1958 to 1971, the second from 1977 to 1988, the third from 1999 to 2008. The last and the 10th government including both the civilian and military phase was in place from 2008 to 2018. During the last phase, the PPP remained in power from 2008 to 2013. It was followed by PMNL (Pakistan Muslim league Nawaz) government whose tenure continued from June 2013 – July 2017 with Nawaz Sharif as the Prime Minister. Nawaz Sharif was disqualified by the supreme court and is now in jail along with his daughter. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi replaced Nawaz Sharif and was in office from 1 August 2017 – 31 May 2018. Abbasi was succeeded by Nasirul Mulk as caretaker prime minister to oversee the general elections to be held this year on July 25.

Out of a total period of Pakistan’s existence for 71 years the share of army rule was for 23 years. Field Marshall Ayub Khan from 1958 to 1969, General Yahya Khan from March 1969 to Dec 1971 and the third phase was of general Ziaul Haq that remained in vogue from Sept. 1978 to August 1988.

 As a result of people’s agitation spearheaded by Zulfikar ali Bhutto, president Ayub Khan handed over the power to General Yahya Khan who remained in power saddle from March 1969 to December 1971. It was during his tenure that as a result of a civil war (March 1971-decmber 1971) the Eastern wing of Pakistan separated from West Pakistan. The third phase of military government was headed by general Ziaul Haq being both president and martial law administrator for 11 years (sept 1878 -August 1988).

Pakistan has been beset and rather afflicted by serious crises from toppling the civilian government, the palace intrigues for attainment of power through backdoors and unconstitutional shortcuts one of which was the establishment of military rule.

In comparison the kind of political anarchy has been almost non-existent or rare both in India and the formerly East Pakistan, separated from the Federation of Pakistan in March 1971 under the nomenclature pf Bangladesh.

The first prime minister of Pakistan Liaquat Ali Khan (1947-1951) was assassinated in Rawalpindi on October 16, 1951.The second prime minister Khaja Nazimuddin (1951-1953) was removed, the third prime minister Chaudhry Muhammad Ali (1955-1956) resigned. Hussain Shaheed Suhrawardy (1956-1957) resigned. He was followed by A. R. Chundrigar (1957-1957) who also resigned from his office. The came Firoz Khan Noon (1957-1958) whose government was toppled. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto remained the prime minister from 1973 to 1977. He was not only toppled but hanged by his military successor General Ziaul Haq. Muhammad Khan Junejo was the eighth prime minister (1985-1988). On 29 May 1988, Prime Minister Junejo was dismissed by President Zia.  

The last two political phases are one by Benazir Bhutto who ruled from 1988 to 1990 and for the second time in 1993-1996. She was assassinated in Rawalpindi after addressing a public meeting. Prime minister Zafarullah Jamali was at the helm between 2000-2004 and was forced to resign. Yusuf Raza Gillani served as the prime minister from 2008 to 2012. He fell prey to a judicial disqualification.

Mian Nawaz Sharif had three stints as the prime minister of Pakistan. The first was from 1990-1993 during which period President Ghulam  Ishaq Khan dismissed Sharif on corruption charges in 1993. The second term was from 1997 to 1999 when he was ousted by the army and he went in self-deportation to Saudi Arabia.  

His third phase as the prime minister of Pakistan began in 2013 and ended with his judicial disqualification in July 2017 because of the so called “Avenfield Properties Corruption Reference”.

After his and his daughter Mariam Nawaz’ return from England, the Accountability Court on July 6 announced the verdict in the Avenfield properties corruption reference filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). Nawaz Sharif was sentenced to 11 years in jail. His daughter Maryam was given 7 years for abetment after she was found "instrumental in concealment of the properties of her father" Besides 1 year was added in her jail term for non-cooperation with the bureau.

In the meantime, jailed former Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Mariam Nawaz and son-in-law Captain Muhammad Safdar today filed an appeal in the Islamabad High Court against the verdict in one of the corruption cases and seeking their release on bail,