‘Good’ governance!

Published: July 17, 2014
The writer is a columnist, a former major of the Pakistan Army and served as press secretary to Benazir Bhutto 

The writer is a columnist, a former major of the Pakistan Army and served as press secretary to Benazir Bhutto kamran.shafi@tribune.com.pk

I first met Iqbal Mehmood, the recently sacked Inspector General of the Sindh police, when he was a Squadron Leader and Air force ADC to the Prime Minister, the much lamented Benazir Bhutto (RIP) during her first term in office. I found him to be an upright, cheerful, respectful, and highly efficient young officer, and got to know him well as I had almost weekly interactions with him as, first, Principal Information Officer, and then Press Secretary to the prime minister.

I have also followed his almost quarter-century career in the police to which he transferred during the caretaker prime ministership of Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi, and there, too, found him spoken highly of by his peers and his seniors some of whom were my old friends from school and college, and service.

It, therefore, came as a rude shock to see news reports in all of the newspapers that this good officer, and good man, was peremptorily sacked because he refused to sign off on reportedly second-hand armoured personnel carriers (APCs), which though have been allegedly reconditioned, are said to be more expensive than brand new ones. This is said to be the work of a middle-man who has not been named yet in the press; a man who can apparently press all the ‘right’ buttons in the Sindh government hierarchy.

It is also reported that one Chief Secretary, Aijaz Chaudhry; and one Additional Chief Secretary (Home Affairs), Syed Mumtaz Shah, have also been removed from their posts for the reason that they, too, objected to the non-transparent way in which the purchase of these APCs has been proceeding. Indeed, the mandatory Public Procurement Regulatory Authority’s (PPRA) rules have been lifted for a period of one year to facilitate this ‘urgent’ purchase.

Well, more strength to the Sindh government I say, this going down as one of the hallmarks of ‘good governance’ there. Let us also not lose sight of the fact that Mehmood is the 6th Inspector General of the Sindh police to have been changed in three and a half years. Individual stays in that office to the nearest month: let’s not quibble about days. (Thank you O’ Google!)

Wajid Ali Khan: 17/6/’11 to 22/10/’11: four months; Mushtaq Ahmed Shah: 22/10/’11 to 7/7/’12: nine months; Fayyaz Ahmed Leghari: 11/7/’12 to 8/3/’13: eight months; Ghulam Shabbir Shiekh: 8/3/’13 to 23/3/’13: 15 days; Shahid Nadeem Baloch: 23/3/’13 to 20/2/’14: 10 months; Iqbal Mehmood: 22/2/’14 to 7/7/’14: five months. So there you have it. And then we say the law and order in Karachi is bad because the police do nothing! What in God’s name can the police do when its commanders are changed so frequently, and I have not written about other important officers who have held critical posts such as the well-spoken of Shahid Hayat and who, too, were changed without good reason.

It is imperative for the Sindh police to be supplied with suitable equipment so they can fight the many mafias and terrorists which infest Karachi, but this should be done in a transparent manner, not in negotiated deals with just one party offering their wares. In any case, how long does it take for an urgent international tender to be floated? It is now for the Sindh government to look seriously into this matter and proceed with caution, always remembering the power of the social media that shines the light in the darkest corners of government doings. Please do the right thing and get yourself a good name.

In the meanwhile, Iqbal Mehmood will be a most suitable candidate for any job with the federal government/another province that appreciates upstanding officers who will not flinch while telling the truth to their superiors. Godspeed Iqbal.

And now for the light being shone on the PTI’s great Azadi March on August 14. I was astonished to hear Mr Hamid Khan the eminent lawyer complain on TV just the other night that the election tribunals were being unfair to the PTI’s candidates who, according to themselves, were the winners in last year’s elections. As an example, he quoted a person named Dar from Sialkot who lost to Khawaja Asif. Mr Hamid Khan stated that since Mr Dar was travelling abroad on business and could not attend three hearings of the election tribunal, his case was decided against him. I ask you!

If Mr Dar considers his business dealings abroad more important than pursuing his case before the election tribunal, whose fault is it? Surely he should then pursue his business dealings instead of hankering after a seat in the National Assembly, the hearings of which he has not attended on the three postponements allowed him.

At the same time, Mr Hamid Khan says the PTI has no faith in the Election Tribunals. Who then will carry out the audit of ALL the NA seats that Mr Imran Khan is demanding now? Men in Green who saved the Ravi Bridge from Indian bombing raids in the ’65 war?

Then, one PTI leader says one thing, the other something quite another. While self-same Hamid Khan says PTI has no intention of asking the government to resign, the PTI Punjab president says the ‘Dharna’ after the August 14 ‘Tsunami’ to Islamabad will stay in Blue Area until the announcement of mid-term elections!

As for the government’s ‘handling’ of the Blue Area ‘Dharna’, if anyone were to take my advice, I would say give notice to the shops/businesses/hospitals/residents in and around Blue Area that they will be responsible for their own safety. To remove any danger of a repeat of the Model Town fiasco, the police should be present behind containers placed outside the fence of the parliament buildings with hundreds of CCTV cameras beaming pictures live on a PTV channel all across the world.

If there are troublemakers in the crowd let everyone see them. Problem solved.

I’ll bet the residents will chase away the ‘Dharnistas’ as soon as they start relieving themselves outside their premises.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 18th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (32)

  • Jul 18, 2014 - 12:36AM

    What’s a Satrap to do ! This is how Satraps rule and make revenue for themselves.
    Why is transparency needed now, so urgently? From Qaim Shah and Co. [Sindh Satraps]
    Mohtarma, Herself, was never transparent. no. During her reigns everything was under wraps.
    Very famously, her directives would go :- “Under the direction of the most competent
    authority…” That is how Mohtarma amassed her fortune. Very well documented. Even
    by Newsweek. That includes the $300,000 necklace in the Swiss vault, belonging to Mohtarma.
    Plus, Nawaz and his brother are very scared. After Shabaz’s Model Town Massacre blunder,
    things are dicey. The blunders and the Imperial style Governance will cause a lot of grief to
    the Co Emperors. Walking Dharna of the Cricketer means massive headaches.


  • Jul 18, 2014 - 12:50AM

    Why is the author so surprised and shocked, by Mehmood’s removal? After all,
    This is the most corrupt country in the world. Beating even Nigeria. Maybe
    Mehmood can be reassigned to Punjab. Under Chota Sharif’s [little Sharif] wings.
    They need an Inspector General in Punjab. The last one was seen leaving town,..
    after the Model Town Massacre.


  • Blithe
    Jul 18, 2014 - 2:59AM

    How can honest civil servants just be sacked??? Where are civil service rules?

    18th amended has ruined the bureaucracy . We must protect these good officers and ‘recreate’ the legal structure .

    I miss CJ Iftikhar Ch. During these moments . He would have definitely taken sou moto action


  • Blithe
    Jul 18, 2014 - 3:02AM

    And very sensible approach to managing the insane PTI. Just have a lot of cameras and expose the miscreants .
    Residents will kick them out once they start deficating in blue area.

    Hope PML N is listening to the sound advice .


  • Parvez
    Jul 18, 2014 - 3:33AM

    The first part read reasonably well……….the second part on the PTI, not so well.


  • Jul 18, 2014 - 5:56AM

    Good governance = Narendra Modi


  • Malveros
    Jul 18, 2014 - 6:42AM

    Awesome as always.


  • cmsarwar
    Jul 18, 2014 - 7:40AM

    Dear sir.It appears you are still hopeful that you will get some high profile assignment in the the current setup.You have taken notice of ” good governance” in Sindh. It appears you are happy with ” good governance” in Islamabad and Lahore.


  • Humza
    Jul 18, 2014 - 9:07AM

    @Hasan Abdal wala: You obviously don’t know the rankings of Transparency International or the reports of international observers. The fact that this incident is being brought to light shows that there is awareness of improper practices and clearly the sacking of Iqbal Mehmood was unjustified. Even disputing such an event is unheard of really corrupt countries in Africa and the Middle East. No need to make silly comments about most corrupt nations when you can do a little bit of reading on Arab countries and African countries.


  • Gp65
    Jul 18, 2014 - 9:08AM

    Meanwhile across the border ‘bloody civilians’ have filed a chargesheet against a Lt.General for corruption allegations regarding purchase of trucks. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/cbi-files-chargesheet-against-tejinder-singh-in-bribery-case/


  • Jul 18, 2014 - 9:53AM

    E T e Newspaper= Starving Indian trolls


  • Jul 18, 2014 - 10:26AM

    Too bad you took an oath to the Sharif brothers…er…Co Emperors.
    Read the comment again 100 times,…slowly. Who knows, the concept
    might sink in.There is always hope for the mentally challenged like y..er..people..
    The mumbo jumbo you spouted has nothing to do with blatant in your face
    corruption. Prime examples are your liege lords from Punjab, now in Madina.
    Begging for forgiveness, like every Muslim does in Ramzan, from up to date sins
    At their 32 room lavish villa, paid with the blood of hard working remitters from Gulf

    ] moderator, this is an answer to a convoluted mystifying reply [


  • Jul 18, 2014 - 11:27AM

    There is hope for Hamid Khan et al. They can keep circling the Blue, Green, Purple,
    Red, Orange Areas until the Sharifs, [Barra wala and Chota wala] acquiesce to the
    strange convoluted mystifying demands of the Cricketer. Keep in mind, he travels very
    frequently to London. And will not be there as a fixture. Only for TV face time.
    The hard work and long haul, circling, walking, sitting will be done by the hirelings.


  • John
    Jul 18, 2014 - 12:16PM

    t@Hasan Abdal wala:
    You spoke like a clear headed man,kudos.And the worst you can do is engage the unfortunate ones who happen to have a lower level of intellect or in other terms,I.Q. of a lemon!
    Steer clear mate,its a dumb world out there.!


  • Shamshad Nabi
    Jul 18, 2014 - 12:42PM

    Still hoping to be made High Commissioner/ Ambassador somewhere ?


  • Ranjha
    Jul 18, 2014 - 12:59PM

    Which bar will you be sitting at watching the 14th August “charade” I mean parade, by Naan League? I want to buy you a couple of stiff ones for the shock to your system when you see the people of Pakistan come and tell your paymasters who is in charge.


  • Rex Minor
    Jul 18, 2014 - 1:54PM


    Good point. Only a chaiwala knows how best to govern and manage the illetrate masses.

    Rex Minor


  • Lobster
    Jul 18, 2014 - 2:08PM

    @Shamshad Nabi:
    Shafi could have never wrote against PPP, being an old Jiyala himself; but Nawaz Sharif has offered such a bait that the unthinkable has happened.


  • Faruque Malik
    Jul 18, 2014 - 3:54PM

    I would request Mr. Kamran to use his suggestive pen for initiating a free and fair trial for all those responsible for the Model Town faisco, which includes we all know who. He should let the Dharnaists face a meltdown.


  • Rex Minor
    Jul 18, 2014 - 5:46PM

    Let me give a tip to the major: Pakistan is no longer a colony but an independent country and no longer bound by the colonial practices of appointing civil servants and police officers from one province to another. Let the Provincial Governments recruit both policemen and their officers from the residents of the province, answerable to localy electaed city mayors!

    Rex Minor


  • Come to the point
    Jul 18, 2014 - 5:53PM

    @Rex Minor:
    What is your point?


  • Gp65
    Jul 18, 2014 - 6:31PM

    @Rex Minor:
    You talk as though it is a matter of shame that someone who started life in such humble circumstances rose to the top. It is not. That is how true democracy works.


  • Blithe
    Jul 18, 2014 - 6:35PM

    @Rex Minor:
    Excuse me!!

    CCS officers are trained to be impartial vas we cannot have provincial politicians picking civil service officers based on favoritism.
    Sindh is just way to corrupt and we need independent civil servants ( federal) to stand up and disobey those orders that aren’t above board.


  • Gp65
    Jul 18, 2014 - 6:39PM

    @Rex Minor:
    Pakistan’s structure is such that the IG police for the state is appointed by the state but recruited from a central service. Yes the local SHO would typically be recruited from loal population – not IG.

    Pakistan has not had local government for past 6 years. The question of police reporting to a mayor does not arise.

    You are the one that needs some education before criticizing people without knowing facts.


  • Razi
    Jul 19, 2014 - 4:53AM


    You seriously need to stop blowing the trumpet of your country at the drop of a hat.


  • Humza
    Jul 19, 2014 - 8:55AM

    @Hasan Abdal wala: name calling from your end only confirms your level of intelligence and insight. I don’t pretend to know what Nawaz Sharif plans to do in Madina any more than you know what I plan to do tomorrow. Having said that he entitled to go to holy sites during the month of Ramadan as are you. Whether his asks for forgiveness from his Maker is none of my concern. My concern is that he gives a good account of himself as the elected leader of the nation. In my opinion, he is tackling a number of serious issues which were left to fester by the incompetence of Musharraf and his ten year dictatorship. The PPP were unable to lift the nation’s economic fortunes but I can see that hardly a year has passed since Nawaz Sharif has been in power and the economy looks to be improving. This is not my opinion alone but the opinion of international observers including Moody’s investment services. For the record I initially supported Imran Khan but became disillusioned by his antics showing him to be nothing but a sore loser. I have not sworn an oath to anyone but the democratic system in the nation but I don’t expect you to understand this. By the way, corruption rankings for nations in the world are easily accessible on the internet.Take a look at them before you write. Moderator – you will see I have not stooped to the level of the original response of the the fellow to whom this comment in directed.


  • Gp65
    Jul 19, 2014 - 9:53AM

    I was responding to @Rex Minor who was disparaging the Indian Prime minister due to his humble origins. There is no trumpet blowing going on.

    My comments are always related to the subject matter of the OpEd or the comment someone has made.

    Perhaps you can also do that instead of your unending ad hominem attacks.


  • Jul 19, 2014 - 10:11AM

    Dipak@Rex Minor:
    At least Chaiwala’s countrymen are better educated, better placed in higher positions not just in India but all over the world. You can’t even come close.


  • Razi
    Jul 19, 2014 - 12:04PM


    I was referring to your first comment about charge sheeting a Lieutenant General on corruption charges. That is blowing your country’s trumpet and that is something you do as a routine as if it gives you some psychological upper hand. This superiority complex may give you a high but let me say that it comes across as crass.

    And pointing out your and your compatriots behavioural patterns on this forum, which explains where you people are actually coming from, is not an ad hominen attack.


  • Rex Minor
    Jul 19, 2014 - 4:24PM

    Razi has a point; you are an expatriot Indian residing in a country which is a young country of amendments and not a fully developed democracy and indeed regularly blowing the trumpet of your former country and always trying to educate others. What you are not aware of or is not your knowledge, you regard it a suspect and like a typical Indian ask the evidence and proof. I am not on this site to educate but simply to exchange knowledge that I have as a European. We are in the Knowledge era and can only exchange our knowledge and learn from each other. But not from cacophony or emotions.

    Rex Minor


  • Jul 19, 2014 - 5:45PM

    @Rex Minor: …So precisely put. Could not have said it better.
    @Razi: ….Agree with you 100%. That is true.
    She operates under two nom de guerre,..one ‘Gp65’,.. the other,.. ‘powwow’

    This country is an underdog when it comes to these Indian trolls. Smothered!
    Will back an underdog, any sweet ‘ole’ day, as they say in the South.


  • Gp65
    Jul 20, 2014 - 12:10PM

    @Razi: My first comment was directly related to the subject of corruption and how it is treated elsewhere.

    Sorry. I do not go by the other name that you have chosen to assign me.


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