I know a secret: Grounded planes and flying capital

Not a single member of the PPP Lahore chapter attended Salmaan Taseer's chehlum. Coincidence?

Khadim Hussain March 22, 2011

The Khadim-i-Aala may be bending over backwards trying to set things right and boast about rule of law in Punjab, but right under his nose an outspoken MPA belonging to a family of Pirs has been involved in not just the talk shows but doing what he should not be doing. The man is involved in all sorts of things.

He was instrumental in getting a magistrate transferred because the man was not willing to cough up Rs2.5 million. The young man has also been reported to be criticising the CM for creating hurdles in his way and not letting him make hay while the sun shines. He is not the only man because an MNA from a Lahore Cantt constituency is famous for making billions in shady land deals. He is also popular for his claim that he has won millions of rupees in prize bonds.

A former icon of the lawyers’ movement, who was also SCBA president once, had a meeting with a very high official. He was not alone at the meeting. His wife was also there. The official in Islamabad wanted him to once again play the role of his lawyer defending him in NRO cases.

What the boss had forgotten is that this lawyer had made a commitment not to appear in the court of a particular judge of the most superior judiciary. Was this just a feeler, or is there a feeling in the corridors of power that better legal advice is needed?

While the national airline faced a complete shutdown with over 265 flights cancelled, the private airlines made a killing charging domestic air travellers more than twice the normal fare. One wonders what the federal government, the Competition Commission of Pakistan or the Civil Aviation Authority were doing. The people of Pakistan are flabbergasted at the role of the CEO of a private airline, who tried his best to stop the dispute between PIA unions and the management being resolved, so that his airline could reap a harvest of gold.

A former director general of Rangers, once a close confidante of Gen (retired) Pervez Musharraf, is a beneficiary of the largesse of the Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited. Some see in this the Kashmiri clan network at work. Others state that the managing director knows how to keep people who matter happy, which explains how he has managed to break all previous records of getting extension after extension, even though there has been a change of guards in Islamabad and Lahore.

Former governor Salmaan Taseer’s chehlum was held at his residence. Only close friends and relatives were present. The PPP was conspicuous by its absence. Not a single member of the Lahore chapter of the PPP was present. Is this party policy, or just a coincidence?

The Pakistani singer caught red handed at Delhi for violating foreign exchange rules which forbid the carriage of US $5,000 or more is being wrongly painted as a victim by many anchors. The unfortunate reality is that carrying foreign exchange beyond the proscribed limit is a very serious crime, which can lead to confiscation of money, along with fines and imprisonment. The problem in Pakistan is that every member of the ruling political elite or civil or uniformed bureaucracy has been very active in organised flight of capital, with which they have bought villas and penthouses and business empires abroad.

What people forget is that in democratic societies you have to pay taxes. Even foreigners earning money in another country have to pay taxes before they can take that money out through legitimate banking channels.

Published in The Express Tribune.

Khadim Hussain A Lahore based columnist for The Express Tribune who contributes to Five Rivers Running.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.

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