STRAIGHT TALK by Hafeez Khan
I had just finished watching the Bollywood style presentation of G20 summit glorifying PM Modi when I got calls from two friends that I respect immensely for their dedication and contributions to Pakistan. Both have excelled in helping the needy. As they were private conversations I will not share the contents; the gist was that I am spreading doom and gloom. It revolved around my last article wherein I had stated that pipe dreams for future prosperity are no substitute to the present unbearable pain. It emanates from killing energy prices, back breaking inflation, cruel human rights abuses, and suffocating censors getting worse by the day.
I reflected deeply out of respect for my friends to mend my erroneous path, if at all. I found the answer in byline I use for all my articles “Straight Talk”. I am not a reporter nor dowrite about sensational breaking news. At best, I present my analysis based on what I consider valid arguments about the prevalent situation to the best of my abilities. At times, I earn the displeasure of the powerful that can have gruesome consequences these days living in Pakistan; fortunately I have another option. It has enabled me to dodge the bullets thus far.
I also spoke to some other friends. Chaudhry Ghulam Abbas was an icon in Punjab University student politics. He was a diehard PPP supporter who braved torture of Zia Ul Haq’s brutal suppression of Bhutto’s supporters. He also bravely faced the ire of Musharraf’s rule standing firmly with Benazir Bhutto. Disenchanted by the compromises and Machiavellian manipulations of Zardari,he joined PTI. He is disliked by the intelligence agencies for his dedication to democratic dispensation. He became a victim of now famous “RTS failure” as a PTI ticket holder in 2018 when his 35,000 win was converted to a loss. Thanks to General Bajwa’s master plan to contain Imran Khan’s victory margin.
They say the fruit does not fall far from the tree. His son,Ahsan Abbas is a prominent High Court lawyer and a ticket holder of PTI for the provincial assembly. He has inherited his dad’s fearlessness and guts to stand up to the bullies and is presently paying its price after being kidnapped by the “unknowns”. His crime was his activism amongst the lawyer community encouraging them to launch resistance against this barbarian rule.
Our present rulers have imposed a civilian martial law, even though they don’t want to admit to it, and are presently masquerading behind this so-called “interim setup”. In reality it is a continuation of rule of House of Sharifs paving the way for the patriarch Nawaz. As all their palace intrigues fall apart, their brutality continues to escalate. Hype is being created for the victorious return of Nawaz Sharif through the “pay as you go” segments in the discredited media. What does he have to offer? A cowardly leadership and a discredited and failed financial wizard, Ishaq Dar. He carries the cross for the worst PDM regime that he ran remotely from London through his puppet Shahbaz.
These old corrupted and failed politicians are no match to the budding youthful leadership emerging in PTI who are bravely facing the torture and suppression of these brutes. Take the case of the irrepressible Hussan Niazi. His dad and I go back decades; I have known Hussan as a young kid who grew up in Zaman Park. He has inherited his boldness from both the maternal and paternal parents. He is being tortured and bullied for the last so many months for his unwillingness to submit to the crazy demands of turning against IK. His present crime is waving the trousers of the Corp Commander. He did not strip his pants, just saw it hanging somewhere and waved it in his youthful exuberance. Does that make him anti-state? Shame on the perpetuators and kudos to Hussan; stand firm my be-spoken nephew.
The rulers are so pre-occupied in perpetuating their rule that they have lost all their focus about what is happening around Pakistan. The recent G20 summit in India has completely marginalized Pakistan. India was always viewed as our rival that justified turning us into a security state. This approach, favored by the west, led to the concentration of power to our defense forces massively sucking in our scarce national resources. Army’s encroachment into our power structure started under Ayub Khan and has kept increasing over decades. Now they control every lever of power and are so intoxicated by it that they have forgotten about their primary function – defense of Pakistan.
The Chief and his lackeys are loudly touting the impending investments starting with Saudi Arabia. Nothing concrete has emerged yet; instead MBS has signed onto a network competing with the Belt and Road Initiative. Knowing the Saudis, they will probably benefit from both, but where does it leave our CPEC? We know China must have strategic plans to counter this move. Can they rely on Pakistanis who have willingly become a poorly placed 2ndtier nation in search for Godfathers to bail us out?
No one likes to carry around an imbecile. We have to stand on our feet. What is the shortest route to that? A free and fair election that will enable the elected Government to commence our journey back to respectability with the backing of the people. Using the stick to solve all problems is definitely not the answer. It is about time our uniforms realize that.