Sunday, September 30, 2018

PTI Government May Not Survive for Five Years

September 28, 2018

By Saeed Qureshi

If Pakistan Tehrik Insaf (PTI) does not fulfil it pledges and agenda of reforms, it may have to leave the power for three reasons. First, the opposition parties might launch a nationwide agitation for the ouster of the PTI from power echelons. Secondly, there could be turning of tables within the National Assembly if the majority of PTI is overtaken by the other political parties. Such a possibility exists by viewing the latest overtures of the two main political parties PPP and PMNL to come together. It could as well be joined by Maulana Fazalur-Rehman, the President of the Religious party, “Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam”. The third possibility is the masses’ agitation if PTI doesn’t stand by its commitments of changing Pakistan into a modern welfare state, with hallmarks of honesty and fair play. 

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 19, in his inaugural victory speech, he spelled out his vision and heavily promising 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 27 programs or reforms that are essentially far-reaching and innovative.  Even if a part of this agenda is implemented, a new economically 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 span of five years, he would be able to fashion Pakistan on the pattern of the Islamic State of Medina or Khilafat-e-Rashida.

The example of Saudi Arabia is not relevant as it is a monarchy while Pakistan is a democratic country where unlike Saudi tribal establishment, the will and mandate of the people decide about the leadership. Here in Pakistan, the government like Saudi Arabia cannot hang any one upside down till the usurpers cough out the stolen money. In Pakistan, the decision making is carried out with the will and support of the elected representatives, judiciary and the people of Pakistan. As such, hanging upside down of countless people is simply impossible and rather a barbaric tribal custom.

As such Information Minister, Fawad Hussain is living with a mindset which doesn’t go along with the political and social culture of Pakistan and its society and for that matter any civilized society. While speaking on the floor of the National Assembly, Fawad Hussain, the robust, emotional, youthful, and hawkish Information Minister of the PTI government lashed out at the opposition members and blatantly castigated some of the opposition members as the dacoits. Loudly, and an in degrading tone, he accused the opposition leaders most notably Asif Ali Zardari and Mian Nawaz Sharif for looting the national wealth and depositing that money in the foreign banks.

By calling them swindlers, he suggested the most condign punishment of public hangings to these people who are charged with decamping with the national wealth of Pakistan and put that money in foreign banks. He informed the august house that he would recommend to the prime minister Imran Khan to follow the Saudi example by nabbing these corrupt looters and thugs to be hanged upside down until they promise to bring back the stolen national wealth.

The overall reaction to Information Minister’s speech from the prominent leaders of the main political parties namely PPP and PMNL was stunning, Khurshid Shah, the National Assembly member from the PPP, rebutted the charges of the Fawad Chaudhry in the strongest possible words.  He called upon Fawad Chaudhry to apologize and take back his sleazy words and shady allegations uttered on the floor of the National Assembly against fellow politicians.

 At the same time, the house members from PPP and PMNL staged a walkout in protest against the sleazy language and pile of allegations hulred by Fawad Chaudhry who has emerged a diehard hawk on behalf of PTI. He is known for excelling in the distasteful art of bitter and hard-hitting tongue lashing against the opponents of PTI and Imran Khan. Apart from Fawad Chaudhry, the PTI chairman and newly elected prime minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan too has a propensity and attitude of being hawkish and for degrading and demeaning utterances against the political opponents. His poignant opposition and rivalry are aimed at PMLN president Mian Nawaz Sharif, followed by the stalwarts of the PPP including Asif Ali Zardari and Maulana Fazlur Rehman: a noted religious yet political leader of Pakistan.

If that questionable and irrational statement has been given for the peoples’ consumption then it is tantamount to outright hoodwinking, chicanery and dishonesty. If not then it ought to be withdrawn and a public apology should be tendered by the youthful yet goofy Information Minister.

As a matter of fact, the PTI won the 2018 general elections on the basis of a full-blown campaigning of castigation and drumming up the colossal corruption of his predecessors with PMNL and his family in the lead. This blame game should have discontinued after the elections. Instead the PTI, its prime minister and other leaders should have unfurled their construction agenda and launching of the pile of the reforms to build a new Pakistan which they have been pledging since the formation of PTI.

Now when they have the political power and clout, they should focus on launching their grandiose program of rebuilding a new developed, progressive economically strong Pakistan, besides, rebuilding national institutions, creating an enlightened and prosperous society.  After attaining power and forming the government, the time for hurling accusations on the political opponents and continuation of blame game is over. On the contrary they should invite other politicians to join the PTI in the monumental task of building a new prosperous Pakistan and creating an enlightened society, culture and traditions.

Yet as a matter of fact, the grandiose agenda that PTI professed during the elections would take a long time in turning Pakistan from a poor, backward and mismanaged country to a developed nation. Imran Khan is not a juggler nor a magician to bring about radical changes and transformation in a short tenure of five years. Pakistan is plagued with a plethora of grave diversity of problems most notably poverty, degradation of life sectarianism, religious bigotry, mismanagement of institutions, financial corruption and so on. It cannot be brought in the fold of the developed nations merely by slogans and continuation of blaming the predecessors. Now is the time to move ahead and produce results by implementing the agenda that PTI has been dishing out all these years as the political contender.  

By selling scores of the vehicles and buffaloes being used in the prime minister’s house by his predecessor Nawaz Sharif is a flimsy and funny gesture.  It is patently ridiculous and shouldn’t be drummed up as a monumental breakthrough that would move Pakistan towards a moral and fiscal zenith.

As earlier stated, Pakistan is beset with a host of most fundamental and serious problems. As such, the superficial and flimsy announcements and measures can be laughed at but cannot be taken as milestones for putting Pakistan on the road to progress, prosperity, economic uplift, cultural openness, religious freedom and renovating nation building institutions.

Also, every homeless Pakistani citizen cannot be provided a house and clean water for every household. Absolute elimination of corruption and moral crimes such as kidnappings, illicit sex, degrading of womenfolk and children and building health institutes and schools and educational institutions allover Pakistan and cleaning of the government departments of corruption and the mismanagement in five years is simply a dream that might not come true.

Even if these commendable tasks and laudable goals are to be initiated, the support and cooperation of other political parties and national institutions would be indispensable. The impression that Imran Kahn is dynamic and an honest person is not helpful nor enough for the nation building and putting bedeviled Pakistan onto a truly democratic course, militarily robustness, economic prosperity and so one.

As a matter of fact, there is such a huge agenda and countless pledges and commitment by the newly installed government of PTI with Imran Khan as the prime minister, that it looks improbable that in a short period of five years Pakistan would join the fold of developed and advanced nations. It is an unrealistic notion that it would turn into a garden of bliss and happiness. It is indeed, a long-drawn process and if PTI doesn’t return to the power, their achievements and initiatives might be nullified by the new government. It might not be possible, for instance to resolve all the contentious issues with India and other countries during the tenure of PTI. Who knows if PTI would stay in the saddle of power for five years or leave the throne for other political party.  The PTI and its leaders may receive the same venomous propaganda blitz that it heaped on the other political opponents all this time. However, a beginning can be made and a course can be set out towards a better future for Pakistan as well as its citizens.   

The taste of the pudding is in its eating. If PTI fails in realizing its dream, plans and pledges of rebuilding a prosperous, stable and ecumenically viable and strong Pakistan, there is going to be a mayhem in Pakistan. If PTI somehow fails to deliver on its pledges, then the opposition political parties might bring the people in the streets and whip up agitational protest against the incompetence of the PTI. It would a sort of return compliment of what PTI has been doing against the PMNS establishment for a long period of time. That bizarre situation might tempt or force the army to step in and there could be another spell of military rule imposed on Pakistan. Thus, Pakistan would be back to square one.


Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Dallas Fort Worth Roads Need Quality Repair and Regular Maintenance

September 24, 2018

By Saeed Qureshi

There is a vast network of the highways and smaller roads in DFW for traveling. One can see the Texas State Highway 121 and George Bush Turnpike built in the near past keeping inter cities traveling fast, easy and convenient. These additional facilities are great boon to streamline and ensure the easy flow of the commuters.

However, the standard of repairs of the roads in the DFW Metropolis is patently quite rough and risky. We have experienced that occasionally 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 upward or downward jerk is experienced which are certainly unpleasant and irritating and can cause accidents.

It appears that not much of attention is given to the selection of the right and professionally competent and 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 in providing good and well-maintained roads.

As such, the cost of repair goes higher because of the persistent daily erosion of the surface of the tires by the ditches, holes and pointed corners of the eroded places. As daily traveling on roads with rough and eroded surface not only causes earlier wear and tear of the wheels but also causes mental shocks to the drivers due to slow driving and persistent jumping and jerks. 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 worse and more problematic. The rain water deposited in the cleavages and holes gets splashed and falls on the vehicles’ bodies and frames. The roads that are resurfaced, a new layer is placed on these  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 take a survey of the highways and city roads, they would find countless such faults and uneven sections.

Some time back I wrote another article after the completion of the Georg Bush Turnpike. I had noticed that some sections and portions of that magnificent Turnpike didn’t have smooth tracts at many places. 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 brought even with the even portions.

The counties and the city administrations should survey and ensure that the filling or leveling work was perfect and in accordance with the book and laid down regulations. Besides, the edges and linings of the roads need to be straightened and smoothened. At countless places the big and small roads need to have straight and leveled sidelines. Rather such inspections and surveys should be done periodically to ensure smoothness and proper level of the roads and to be without holes or cavities. These groups should also identify and report defects of unevenness, jagged surfaces and potholes.

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

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 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 have to face every day.

The writer is a senior journalist, former editor of Diplomatic Times and a former diplomat.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018


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”.