STRAIGHT TALK by Hafeez Khan

Habibullah Kalkani better known as “Bachai Saqao”, which means a water carrier, ruled Afghanistan from January 17th to October 1929. He forced King Amanullah to abdicate. He was thrown out by Nadir Shah. Kalkani, of Tajik origins, came from a humble background, earning his livelihood distributing water in buffalo skin bags. Driven to break shackles of poverty, he started as a petty thief,graduating onto becoming a robber of caravans transiting Afghanistan. Through murders and plunder he was able to assemble a force to take over Kabul.

During his short rule, his ultimate rebellion was to introduce pieces of leather as the official currency. Laughable but true. He was executed within 20 days of being overthrown. When a robber king takes over anything is possible. It appears the same is happening on ourpolitical scene. PM Sharif and his gang of 13 are clueless and totally bamboozled how to tackle the challenges facing us.

Geographically more than half of the country is literally drowning. Millions of acres of standing crops and animals have been washed away. Traffic is cut on all the national highways. Millions of affectees are surviving under the open skies facing scorching heat during the day and swarms of mosquitoes at night. Without respite they aredesperate and starving.

Food shortages of an unbelievable magnitude have hit the urban centers to add fuel to the fire of an existing runaway inflation. Electricity bills are killing the people. Economy is tanking fast with a steep drop in exports and overseas remittances. The IMF dole out of 1.2 billion is already eaten up by the drop in the above segments. The ruling political elite of bandits have no plans to deal with this precarious situation. Cracks have already begun to show within PML (N) ranks. Abid Sher Ali, a close confidante of NS, is only an opening salvo.

The ugly head of terrorism is re-surfacing. It will only be accentuated by a clear shift in our foreign policy. We are clearly in the Western camp through permitting drone attacks and expedited and unhindered supply of ammunitions and arms to Ukraine. There are no clear announcements; however actions speak louder than words. CPEC, deemed a lifeline for Pakistan, is literally dead.  

Bilawal is just the face. The actual policy making is being done by duo of Zardari and Haqqani. Finance Minister Miftah is only following the dictates of our foreign masters oblivious of the suffering masses. Rana Sana is the new Gullo Butt attempting to crush anything that comes his way. Sharifs quest to rake in ill gotten wealth is at work again. Is PM Sharif’s visit to Qatar for a national cause or to finalize the sale of New York’s Roosevelt Hotel to a family member? Do all his bold pronouncements for solar energy equipment from Turkey revolve around the fugitive Salman Shahbaz tying up the suppliers during PM’s visit?

Pakistan is at its weakest position since the fall of Dhaka in 1971.This situation begs the question; who is really in charge?  Rather than dealing with the burning issues, this imported regime is totally consumed by attempts to corner Imran Khan. The terrorism case against him is ridiculous. In which dictionary do you find that instituting a case against a delinquent police official is an act of terrorism? While attacking the Army Chief and a Corp Commander by name is totally condoned. Contempt of court proceedings have been initiated against IK for a remark against a District Judge who ignored custodial torture of Shahbaz Gill. How do they equate that with the tens of statements from elder Sharif, his daughter and other PML (N) lackeys against the Superior Courts? Lice covered by hair are still lice.

While PM Sharif lords it out in his expansive office under the portraits of the Quiad-e-Azam and Nawaz Sharif, is he really running the show? Real events tell a different story. “Orders from above” is a clear theme emerging from all quarters. The echo grows louder by the day. Be it police privately claiming about Gill’s torture, or mayhem on 25thMay, non revival of ARY TV despite High Court Sind’s orders, ARY and BOL journalists lifted from their homes, ECP’s undue haste in issuing two differing versions of its findings in prohibited funding, and Mr. X’s failed attempts to rig by-elections except on two seats. The list keeps growing.

Hence IK’s rhetorical question. Are you neutral or not? A lot of damage is already done. Local media can be muzzled. What can you do about social media and overseas media? Army binds us together and loved by all Pakistanis. Yet in the words of Michael Kugelman, Deputy Director, Asia Program at Woodrow Wilson, the Chief has gone from revered to reviled.”

It is truly a tragic day for Pakistan. Relying on coercion, attempting to create fear and custodial torture is only further galvanizing support for IK. The all night vigil at Bani Ghala is just a starter. Thinking minds stop and re-think after taking a deep breath to re-calibrate. Ego driven desperate acts taken in panic makes the situation worse for the perpetuators. Do not commit the ultimate blunder of arresting IK. It will unleash a reaction from masses already spoiling for a fight due to inflation. It will paralyze the country. Police and Rangers do not have the numbers. Please don’t force the Army to fire on its own citizens. IK seems prepared seeing his latest haircut!      

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