IK REBOOTS. PEOPLES’ LOVE IS BEING VALUED. NAB BLOCKED JUDICIALLY. MEDIA WAR MOVES TO TRENCHES

Pakistanis fell in love with three leaders and took ownership of their visions throughout our
history. It resulted in endearing loyalties surviving the test of time. First
it was incorruptible and determined Muhammad Ali Jinnah. He achieved the
creation of Pakistan. Unfortunately his inning was cut short before he could
lay framework for the future functioning of the state he had envisioned. After
2 decades it was flamboyant and charismatic Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. His program
was socialism. He dismantled the existing economic structure. He deflated the
economic balloon that had poised Pakistan for a takeoff. He failed to replace
it with any meaningful alternate system, leading to economic anarchy whose
effects linger till today. Still his legacy has carried three generations
purely on Bhutto’s name. The PPP foot print shrunk under his torch bearers
because of inefficiency and corruption.

After 4 decades Imran Khan has emerged. He has the love and loyalty of the masses. Imran
Khan History is your side. Pakistan movement emerged over 7 years. 1940 to 1947.
Bhutto’s movement developed in 4 years. 1966 to 1970. Populace was ripe for
change. He found the right symphony to enamour them. It was a huge but a short
sea wave. PTI has built its base over 22 years. Its roots are deep. A whole
generation has grown up on his message of equal opportunity, elimination of
corruption, reform agenda.

It reminds me an incident in the early PTI days. I accompanied Imran Khan to a
public meeting in a then PML(N) stronghold. When we got to the stage, I saw
most of the front rows occupied by kids. I was disappointed and upset with the
organizers. I shared my feelings with IK. His words reverberate in my mind till
today. He replied “these kids will grow up too Hafeez, we are in it for the
long haul”. So true.

Despite all the negativity propagated extremely professionally against PTI, IK must stay
resolutely on course for his reform agenda. Ignore the noise IK. Elected for 5
years, time is on your side.

The challenges PTI Government faces are different beasts. Imran Khan uprooted two
deeply entrenched political opponents. Unimaginable two years ago. PPP and
PML(N) are first cousins in loot and plunder. Even their methodology is
similar. They accumulated humungous amounts of wealth illegally, laundered most
of these funds overseas. A fact confirmed by World Bank, UNODC through Stolen
Asset Recovery Initiative (STAR). And they are incurably addicted to the elixir
of power.

PPP politics is confined to Sind which they have ravished and pillaged to their
hearts content. They have enjoyed unfettered political power that has been
deployed for the leadership’s enrichment cleverly protected by 18th
Amendment. This Machiavellian legislation designed by Zardari was executed with
such finesse that it’s mind boggling.

PML(N) is a different story. Their leadership is the legacy and remnants of Zia Ul
Haq’s dictatorship. They have dominated Punjab politics for nearly 4 decades
remaining the lord and masters for prolonged stints. As I stated  previously, they are deeply entrenched in
judiciary, media, bureaucracy, police, religious and business elite. They have
created a personal loyalty based network through doling out Government
resources to chosen ones. These loyalists will go to any extent to protect
their benefactors and safeguard their share of loot.

This has clearly emerged through judgements announced by Lahore High Court in recent
times. The continuous relief given to Sharif family in corruption cases speaks
volumes of loyalty dominating legality. I have observed judicial behaviour in civilized
societies where law is more powerful than individuals. Judges at all levels
voluntarily recluse themselves from cases where there is even a semblance of
partiality or personal relationship.

No such thing in Pakistan. Killing Hodaybiah case, blocking Model Town mass
murders JIT, opining on merits of a case in a bail application of Shahbaz
Sharif, giving continuous bail to Hamza Shahbaz despite irrefutable proof
presented publicly, releasing a convicted drug dealer Hanif Abbasi on a
technicality, issuing contempt notice to integrity personified AG Ahmad Owais are
a few regrettable examples. The Mir Jafars of modern days are bent on blocking the
dynamic accountability process. They are standing in the way of a Tsunami. They
will be blown away. I urge them to wake up and not be judged in history as unpatriotic.
Worldly possessions shall remain here,
we are all bound for a 4 by 6 hole in the ground empty handed. What endures is
reputation and deeds performed.

Then there is the media battle. The well oiled PML(N) media machine comprises well
fed fat cat multi millionaires, enriched illegally. They are in full swing. Their
well orchestrated messaging focuses mainly on 3 points:

  • Cry wolf. Exaggerate & spread despair &
    disillusionment against PTI
  • As masters of art of deception & deflection
    their job is to keep attention away from the corruption proofs unearthed.
  • Keep repeating lies over & over, again
    & again to murky the waters.

PPP is playing 2nd fiddle.

In this political space where does PTI stand?

In governance domain:

  • PM Imran Khan has rebooted. I had urged it
    all along. Old IK is back. Encouraged. He has reshuffled the cabinet. This
    process must continue. Please move the imbecile in Punjab.
  • He must continue to surround himself with top
    class professionals in his immediate circle.
  • Continue to hold ministers accountable for
    their performance.
  • Push through low cost administrative reforms
    that give immediate relief to public through automation.
  • Implement one window approval process to
    encourage local & foreign investors eliminating useless layers of
    bureaucracy. I have seen its success in Canada.
  • Enforce price controls for Ramadhan through
    local committees. Expand Utility Stores out reach.
  • I believe many such actions have been
    initiated.

In accountability domain:

  • Provide resources to strengthen NAB’s
    efforts.
  • It is doing a great job investigating,
    additional white collar capacity shall help.
  • There is a huge hole in their legal prosecution
    capabilities. Additional resources will assist to engage top legal brains.
  • Encourage established criminal lawyers to
    come forward and serve the country on reduced fees or Pro Bono by giving them due
    respect and recognition. Kudos to Naeem Bokhari.

In media campaign:

  • Keep focus on corrupt politicians misdeeds
    and proofs unearthed.
  • Promote and propagate Reform Agenda
    implementation achievements, however minor. Supporters need talking points.

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