America Gives Us a Model For Official Inquiries

There are many times that people point to America as an excuse for doing something. We should not use proxies. “America does it.” We do not need to spend so much on weapons. “America does it.” We should not interfere in other countries affairs. “America does it.” However last night we saw the Americans do something amazing. I am writing of course about the inquiry into Donald Trump and the testimony before the Congress by the ex-FBI Director James Comey.

If you did not watch this incredible event, you should. The full and unedited video is posted online

Now let us discuss what we saw. First, the former FBI chief who was fired by the President was ordered to testify and answer questions from both Republicans and Democrats. During his statement, James Comey termed the President and his aides as liars. No shouting broke out. No threats were made or disruptions took place. The entire event was calm and taken seriously.

Next, the political leaders from each party both asked difficult but fair questions. When James Comey responded that he could not answer in public due to the sensitivity of the issue but he would answer behind closed doors, his reply was accepted. When he criticised the President, even the President’s own party members accepted his statements. The President’s party members did not attack him and term him as a traitor or a paid agent. Everyone involved in the inquiry appeared to have one thing in mind: Getting to the truth, whatever the truth might be.

It also must be noted how we know all of this. The entire hearing which took place in the Halls of Congress was broadcast by all media and streamed online. Even the full video of the hearing posted above was provided by the New York Times which the President has attacked as ‘fake news’. However no attempt was made to hide the contents or the criticism. To say the entire world was watching would not be an exaggeration, and nobody could watch and think that it made President Trump look good.

Now compare to how we have handled sensitive inquiries here. Panama Papers, Memogate, Dawn Leaks…each of these has been handled in the complete opposite manner. Public hearings have mostly been done by TV anchors pushing sensational narratives rather than calm and unbiased questioning by elected leaders. Political loyalties and personal biases have often been placed before the facts, even in cases of national security. And in the end, what has been uncovered by officials has been hidden from the public only feeding the confusion and conspiracies.

There are many things that we should not copy from American politics and actions, and we should always make our own decisions what is based on the good of our own country first and last. In the case of how to handle an official investigation, though, this is one where we should be taking notes.

Imran Khan’s Statement on Trump’s Muslim Ban Tells You Everything You Need to Know About Him

Imran Khan with Prince CharlesImran Khan wasted no time responding to American President Donald Trump’s order banning Muslims from entering the US, and his response tells everything you need to know about him.

“I pray that Trump bans Pakistani visas.”
–Imran Khan

Die-hard PTI supporters will quickly jump to excuse their boss by trying to explain that he was meaning it for the good of Pakistan, so that the country’s best and brightest don’t leave. However, let’s leave political spin aside for a minute and take a cold hard look at the facts.

  • Imran Khan himself lived abroad.
  • All of Imran Khan’s wives have been foreigners.
  • Imran Khan’s own children do not live in Pakistan.
  • Imran Khan has spent years traveling to America to raise money for his political party from overseas Pakistanis.

Now comes the second excuse: All of these people are patriotic Pakistanis because they support Imran Khan, they only stay away because all other politicians are corrupt.

It’s very clever. Actually, it’s too clever. If patriotic Pakistanis stay overseas because of corruption, how would banning them from US change corruption? And what about Pakistanis in London, or Dubai? Why just ban US visas? It makes no sense.

Need more convincing? Listen to how Imran describes “corrupt” politicians:

Lambasting Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Khan alleged, the PM had taken money from Pakistan and spent it abroad. “His businesses are abroad, his children are abroad, but he is the prime minister of Pakistan. He even goes abroad for checkups,” he said.

Once again, let’s take a cold hard look at the facts:

  • Imran Khan has admitted forming an offshore company to stash his money.
  • Imran Khan’s children are abroad.
  • Imran Khan goes abroad for checkups.

When Donald Trump’s visa ban was announced, I joked that Mullahs were going to be offended that Pakistan was not included in a ban on Muslims. Imran Khan did not even think to use the religious excuse (yet). Rather he has simply used an issue that hurts regular Pakistanis to support his own endless ambitions while also giving himself all the exceptions. He will gladly sacrifice you and your family if it helps him gain power. And he will do it while declaring it ‘patriotic’. In other words, Imran Khan himself is the embodiment of the everything he says is wrong with this country!

Religious Tests: Theirs and Ours

American protests

Following massive protests blocking US airports, an American judge has blocked an order by the American President blocking citizens of Muslim countries from entering the US. It is an incredible moment that is unfolding before our eyes. While Pakistan was not included in the first list of countries banned, we do not have to stretch our imaginations to predict that we could be next.

Though should express concerned about the spread of bigotry and intolerance in the world, we should also take this moment to reflect on our own bigotry and intolerance. Some have asked if there could be a religious test forced on Muslims.

Have we forgotten that Muslims have already been forced into religious testing, not by the Americans, but by ourselves? Every time you get or renew your passport, you are forced into a religious test.

religious testWhere are the crowds blocking airports in Islamabad and Karachi demanding the rights of Ahmadis? Is there a judge in this country courageous enough to block this act of bigotry and intolerance?

Donald Trump’s orders are extremely worrying, but it is comforting to see the resistance of the American people. We can see the madness in Trump’s bigotry. When will we wake up and fight back against the Trump-ism that has already taken root here?

The American Election’s Lesson for Pakistan

USA election Hillary ClintonThey say trouble always comes in threes. First India elected Modi. Then UK voted for ‘Brexit’. So maybe we should have predicted that America would follow suit and elect Donald Trump. What does this mean? Nobody really knows, though everyone seems to have a prediction. Some are saying that this will finally bring the downfall of America. Some are predicting that it unites the Ummah against America. Many are worried about their overseas family members, and some are predicting that all overseas Pakistanis will now come home. The only thing anyone knows for certain, is that no one knows what will happen, but it will probably not make anything easier for us.

There is one interesting thing about the election, though, that I want to mention. It is what happened the next day after the election. After losing a very close election to Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton went on TV and gave a speech and said this:

“Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.”

President Barack Obama who is the leader of Clinton’s party also gave an official statement where he said this:

“We are now all rooting for his (Trump’s) success in uniting and leading the country,”

No dharnas. No long march. Clinton did not file cases with the Election Commission. She didn’t make any accusations of rigging. There’s no ‘Go, Trump Go!’ Clinton’s party lost, and then she told her workers and activists to ‘give Trump a chance’. The leader of her party said he was rooting for Trump to succeed. Can you imagine this happening here?

If this is not shocking enough, let me tell you something else: Clinton is accepting the election results even though she actually got more votes. How did she lose if she got more votes? American elections have something called the ‘Electoral College’ which is a complicated system that allocates votes based on the number of seats in the Congress. The winner is usually the person who gets the most votes, but sometimes, like in this election, the person with the most votes can actually lose. Sounds like it’s not fair? Maybe it’s not fair, but the system still works because politicians accept the results because they respect the law.

American democracy works even though it is obviously not perfect because politicians and people respect the law, even when it works against their own interests. Even when it seems like it’s not fair, they still respect the law instead of trying to cheat it. This made me think: Instead of trying to predict what the American election means for Pakistan, maybe we should take a lesson from it – Even when democracy is flawed, it can still be successful if only we will accept and respect the law.

 

Is calling Donald Trump as Hitler a compliment?

Donald TrumpFor anyone who incorrectly thought that extremism was something that only happened in Pakistan, American Presidential Candidate Donald Trump has proven them wrong. His political campaign has broken all boundaries of common sense and decency as he has declared that if he is elected he will ban all Muslims from entering the United States and any who stay in the country to register with the government. The madness of such statements becomes even more terrifying when one hears the sound of his supporters cheering as says these things. All hope is not lost, though, as many many more in the West have condemned Trump and his message of hate including many leaders from his own political party. Many in the Western media have begun openly comparing Trump to another madman, no less than Adolf Hitler. An American newspaper even used its cover to depict him as the Nazi dictator.

Daily News Donald Trump Hitler

Westerners hitting back against Trump’s Islamophobia and racist statements gives some hope that all hope is not lost. Hopefully they will see that just like not all Americans are crazy Islamophobes like Trump, not all Muslims are terrorists. Actually, it is these loud mouthed lunatics who give everyone a bad name.

However there is another point that I want to make which is a lesson that we should also learn from Donald Trump’s intolerance and bigotry. Westerners have compared Trump to Hitler to show how insane he is…but would the same comparison be an insult here? Unfortunately the question does not have a pleasant answer.

Pro-Hitler memes have been popular on Pakistani social media since long.

Pakistan Hitler praise

Hussnain A Chaudhry PTI social media team praising HitlerThis is nothing new and it has been discussed before so I will not repeat all of the many obvious problems with this trend of praising Hitler in Pakistan, but while we are rightly condemning the intolerance and bigotry of Donald Trump, we should also ask ourselves if we are doing enough to condemn the same intolerance and bigotry in our own society also.