Sheikh Rashid – a pretentious talker

Sheikh Rasheed

 

Sh. Rashid has been playing fast and loose for quite sometime. Given the free rein, he began mouthing insults and abuses against just about everybody including the serving Prime Minister, former Premier Gilani, Husain Haqqani et alia. Still nobody took any notice of him. Then he had his show on the road – blustering and bullying – but it failed to excite the people and flopped miserably at Liaquat Bagh despite hoisting banners and billboards all over the city. Bringing in Imran Khan to lend the ‘luster’ did not help either. Disappointed and dismayed, he issued an unsolicited advice to the highest judicial forum of this country to “kill these bastards“. These were the words of a man who had himself been bastardized by every politician of any consequence. He has been living like a pariah since the ouster of Pervez Musharaf, failed to make his way into the mainstream of the country politics, despite his frantic efforts, and began feeling jittery and then started to jerk by swooping down on leaders left, right and center without pausing to think of the adverse public opinion that will grow against him as a reflex. This was frustration and very obviously so. Besides, he is crestfallen because he is jobless. From the time of Gen Zia he has been in the power corridors ceaselessly, courtesy the sources projecting him. Like every self-important person, he considers himself the man who can steer the country out of the squally situation and place it on the highway to the heaven of progress and prosperity. Pray, tell me if this is not self-delusion, over-estimation of oneself, or an idle boast of a sick-mind after all?

This man is now busy making predictions, giving the countdown to people for the departure of this Government. Little does he realize that, by the time the Government is gone, it will have completed its legitimate tenure. So, the Government will not be making an unceremonious exist any time soon either at the hands of military or judiciary. The poor guy is desperate to get back into the limelight again. It would, therefore, be in order to either give him a job to keep him quiet or shut his big mouth up for good by giving him a fitting reply like reminding him of the way he behaved to let NS and his family down at a time when they were almost down and out. May be someone can step forward from the common people of Rawalpindi to put a tape on his mouth. The media continues to invite him to Talk Shows. Why? To improve the ranking or there are some other motives. Anyway, it is very irritating to see him on the TV every other day. In my opinion, the TV Talk Shows are being sullied by his very appearance. Currently, he is nothing more than a social outcast and, to the best of my knowledge, nobody likes him. He is espousing eccentric political notions and can be safely described as belonging to the lunatic fringe. He has made his fortunes from politics and that should be sufficient to serve him well to live in clover until he reaches his final resting abode. Shakil Awan belongs to the grassroots, his loyalty to the Sharifs is above board and he fully deserves to be where he is now. That he cannot hold his denture in place while talking, does not take away anything from his overzealous efforts to serve his leader by making all kinds of nuisance in the talk shows.

Being a handy man of the agencies, Sh. Rashid is eager to see the return of army or the so-called technocrats not for the good of this country but to make sure that he gets a slot on the administrative set-up that will emerge in such a scenario. He is playing corruption corruption to a fault. Don’t bother to worry your head on corruption and single out Zardari for it. It won’t be wise to dump everything dirty in his backyard. Yes, corruption and crime is soaring in the country but so it has always been as a backlash of our less than adequate political system. Corruption is part of life. The planet earth is not inhabited by angles. Was there no corruption in nearly 3 decades of military rule? Did the cesspools of corruption like MES, CDA and PWD then renounce their evil ways of accepting graft and offered penance for their past guilt? MES stands for Military Engineering Services but because of this very corruption its been nicknamed ‘Money Earning Services’ yet the media did not say a word. A point to ponder here is that Malik Riaz, our country’s business and real-estate tycoon, started off as a clerk in the MES. One can imagine the amount of money a clerk makes is no where near what he made at that time. On the contrary, our media was busy in bringing out supplements/special numbers on the family members of the Generals riding high, especially, Zia ul Haq. Jang Group was always to be found in the forefront. Those who did dare to protest were flogged and reduced to fleeing for life. We are all corrupt and self-righteous one way or the other. Corruption is not likely to end before the onset of the last millennium after the return of Jesus and the outcome of last war between the good and evil at Megido has been determined. It will be an era when man will know no evil. So, let us wait until then when the corruption will be thrown into the bottomless pit and there will be no Asif Zardari roving on our minds. We are earthly people and, as corruption grows with us from the earth, we just cannot avoid to enjoy it for sheer pleasure and to outshine our fellow men in the rat race to gather riches. After all, riches cannot be gathered without sin and evil means. Greed drives man to sin and the penalty of sin is death, yet we all waste no time to sin regardless of the consequences.

Practically, Sh. Rashid has been shooed away by PML(N) to join its ranks again and this has embittered him so much that he is now clearly showing signs of canine madness while aimlessly talking about politics and political leaders. Sometime, when he is talking to media, he is so woefully out of rhythm that it looks as though a blind dog is whining at the wind blowing around him. In my opinion, NS would have been well advised to take Sh. Rashid back in the party because he could have been used to do all the barking against the PML(N)’s unforgiving foes. Rana Sanaullah is not doing just enough. After all, one and one add up to 11 and make a formidable combination to quieten even the bitterest enemies with energy to spare. The backhanded compliment Sh. Rashid paid to Raja Pervfez Ashraf when he called him “mirasi“ should sufficiently expose the symptoms of the rabies he is carrying. Because of his outrageous conduct, perforce, BB had to read the riots act to him only to remind him to mind his language when talking to decent people. He learnt a lot from this and showed improvement for a while. Finding the time congenial, he now appears to have relapsed into his frolics. Old habits die hard. Some people are slow to earn and some do not learn at all.

Being a compulsory mischief-monger, he is using his foul mouth to see some undemocratic turnaround of the political situation in the country which is otherwise normal and not under threat from any side. Notwithstanding the cases against PPP, everybody wants a change through the ballot. No military upheavals are going to serve the cause of this country. Sh. Rashid can keep clowning around as long as he wishes but his political career has reached its end. Psychologically, he has become a split personality where his thoughts and mouth are not consistent with each other. It would be, therefore, advisable for him to quit politics and go to Himalayas to join a band of ascetics or, alternately, join the Trappists in a Cistercian monastry somewhere in Europe – this order of monks imparts a measure of austerity in the form of manual labor that encourages the adherents to live free from reliance on others and complete the tedious journey of life in a self-effacing way. The oracle has spoken against Sh. Rashid and if he fails to listen and continues in his unrewarding quest for a second coming to the politics, he will be in for a shock of his life.

Despite his loud talking – unnecessarily being garrulous – he has always very little to communicate of substance. Twice, he has been rejected by his people. So, why should any party risk to take him under its wings when he has become a proven liability? He blurts out words like the air gushes out of a windbag when depressed under the armpit. The people are not amused because all his pretentious talk evokes nothing but boredom. If he thinks that, by playing a court jester, he can entertain people he will be better of joining a theater of second rate comedians or a bevy of drag queens in Lahore. As for politics, he is no longer needed.

 

The writer is in his mid 70s and has to his credit a vast experience of working with national and international business executives. He can be reached at qadirs38@yahoo.com

Persecution of Minorities in Pakistan

Protest against religious discriminationThe protection of racial and religious minorities from the excesses of the majority racial or religious group in the form of either persecution or discrimination on any account has been codified universally. In a civilized society, the people have to respect the religious and political freedom of all races and creeds, however, small in numbers they may be. In short, the protection of minorities has been guaranteed and the countries like Pakistan, where communal riots are a common feature, are not held in high esteem anywhere in the world.

It is very unfortunate that our track record of providing due protection to the minorities of this country from the ever looming threat of religious zealots has been extremely poor. This has run counter to the advice of the father of this nation. After the birth of Pakistan, it was made clear that the minorities will have their individual and collective freedom of exercising their religious beliefs/rites in that the Christians will be free to go to their churches, Hindus to their temples and Jews to their synagogues. Later, the religious zealots took over and the situation began worsening. By and large, it became a nightmare.

The politicians, by nature, have always an axe to grind and if the religious bigotry helps their cause, they won’t miss the opportunity of fomenting it and then utilizing it to their advantage if they can. In the earlier days, anti-Qadiani agitation ignited by some self-seeking politicians proved disastrous. A peculiar case in point could be that of Salman Taseer.  He was not a member of any minority group but fell a victim to religious persecution when he was killed because of his affiliation with PPP.  Otherwise had Rana Sanaullah said the same thing Gov. Taseer had said, nothing would have happened. Religious sentiments were exploited. I say this from experience because I come from a remote area where communal frenzy is always very high. Benazir was branded infidel on the pulpits with full religiosity. This led to her ultimate assassination and investment in it came from the interested quarters.

What has happened to the minorities like Shias, Christians and Qadianis is in everybody’s knowledge. The villages of Christians have been ransacked. The religious places of Shias have come under sniper fire in which even the children were not spared and, to quote an incident from the recent past, one of the mosques of Qadianis was attacked in broad daylight in the heart of Lahore wherein nearly 30 persons died during the congregational prayers of Friday including some prominent members of the community.  They showed the remarkable courage of refusing to file an FIR when asked to do so by the Government agencies.  This was a slap straight in the face of those whose favorite pastime is to trigger of such an act of bestial ferocity to satisfy their brutal religious compulsions.  It was most shameful to see such a staggering loss of human lives at the hands of those who had lost their way because of a warped religious vision. To cite a quote from Democritus “a man should feel more shame in doing an evil before himself than before all the world”.   But we refused to heed to this excellent piece of advice. On the contrary, I even heard people rejoicing and appreciating this carnage.

Who is aiding and abetting this religious rage?  There are many groups standing on the sidelines and encouraging the disruptive elements.  One of these outfits is Difa-e-Pakistan Council for which Sh. Rashid is most vocal and playing a contributory part in promoting the communal fury, the victims of whose wrath are only the minorities. What is most disappointing is that an enlightened person like Imran Khan is throwing his weight on the side of these people, little knowing that religious groups like Difa-e-Pakistan Council are, in fact, the hotbed of communal riots and persecution of minorities. Sh. Rashid has nothing to lose. He has been rejected twice by the people of Rawalpindi and is trying to resurrect himself from the depths of political obscurity. Imran Khan has every thing to lose if he continues entertaining people like Sh. Rashid and Difa-e-Pakistan Council. I am a great admirer and well-wisher of the great Khan and would advise him to keep Sh. Rashid at a distance instead of closely associating with him.  The time has come to put the last nail in the coffin of this clown from Rawalpindi in the coming elections and dispatch him to the dustbin of history to be forgotten forever.  Imran Khan should play cool and distance himself from the extremists in the larger interests of the minorities of this country.

The writer can be reached at gulzar.anwar1@gmail.com

A Much Needed Reality Check

Shaukat Khanum Memorial

In the ongoing political spat between PML(N) and PTI, both parties have leveled serious allegations against each other by way of financial scams.  Kh. Asif, the trusted lieutenant of NS has come out openly accusing Imran of money laundering and wasting the public endowment funds in the vicinity of Rs. 4.5 Million, a humongous sum of money, in speculative investment abroad.  If true, it may not have caused a dent in the national treasury but – being the public money – it becomes morally imperative that Imran Khan clarifies the position.  All in all, it is a scathing attack on Imran Khan’s saintliness that we know him for.  In return, Imran has cited the money made by the Sharif family via the “midnight proposals” on the motorway feasibility, subsequent project cost overruns, cab scam, tax evasion, loan-defaulting etc., partly spending it on raising the Raiwind hacienda and stashing away the balance in foreign banks.

It is not the question of who is right and who is wrong?  A reality check is necessary to come to the right conclusion. However, it is important that transparency should be established for the trust funds of Shaukat Khanum because it is the money the people endowed to the hospital through massive donations. Losing this money on chance games, if it is true, is a serious breach of the public trust. The onus of responsibility for coming clean on these damaging recriminations lies on the shoulders of Imran Khan.

Regardless of the allegations and counter-allegations, it must be understood that nobody should be taken as a sacred cow, much less Imran Khan. He is only a mortal and must know that no one is above suspicion except the caesar’s wife. It is the responsibility of Imran Khan to prove once and for all that the money was not taken out for dissolute pleasure in the guise of investment in business abroad, public trust was not betrayed and if taken it has not been used and lost unethically and immorally because it comes from the public.  Accountability and transparency must not be selective or that it should be applied in some cases and overlooked in others. Moreover, the conflict of interest in regard to the Board of Governors of this unique hospital must be addressed, the public satisfied and all the doubts creeping up in the minds of people laid to rest.

It would be highly inadvisable to say that Shaukat Khanum Trust should not be touched or questioned because the management of the trust is above board.  A thorough investigation must be made now and the accounts reconciled not only to post a fitting riposte to the allegations of Imran’s political detractors but to satisfy the public also that their money was not wasted in a dubious way.  Innocence must not be taken for granted in any case.  When it comes down to pointing out anomalies or misuse of public funds in any set-up, a full-fledged enquiry needs must be held and facts established one way or the other.

Both Imran Khan and Nawaz Sharif are eminent persons in their own right but as the ball is now in Imran’s court, he should come good on his responsibility to clarify his position against the allegations made about the corruption. If he can satisfy the curiosity of the people whose faith may have been shaken to its roots, it will give Imran a clean chit to redouble his efforts in upholding the cause of the public welfare and do all the point scoring necessary to boost up his upcoming election campaign.

I hope and pray that a showdown in a court of law determines the veracity of this whole affair one way or the other.  In my opinion, both NS and Imran are in the dock but Imran is in a tighter spot because he is known to be Mr. Clean and needs to clear his name earlier the better.

Will the great Khan listen?

 

The author is 74 years of age and has vast experience of working with government officials and ministers. He can be reached at <gulzar.anwar1@gmail.com>