‘Boggled’ isn’t the word

Published: November 15, 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

Well, neither is ‘marvel’ or ‘wonder’. Nor is one astonished, astounded, amazed, shocked or staggered at Imran Khan’s new, newer, and ever newer demands and threats and plain bullying. Culminating, of course, in his demand for including intelligence agencies’ personnel in the Supreme Court of Pakistan’s judicial committee requested by the government to probe charges of massive rigging in the 2013 elections. I mean, I ask you.

Recall, please, that he now demands this despite the fact that he has accused not only the former COAS, General Kayani, but also an unnamed brigadier of the MI (who he was to name on May 11, 2013 but did not) of being involved in the alleged rigging. Yet, he now wants to have the MI and the ISI represented on the inquiry committee as if General Kayani and the brigadier allegedly rigged the election all on their own.

It would do us well to recall, too, that Imran Khan has in the past accused the United States, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, India and the United Kingdom’s MI-6 of also being involved in rigging the election against his party. Then there are the dizzying U-turns that he executes with such elan. One day he admires a senior judge: in this case, Justice Tassaduq Jillani; the very next he is against him and rejects his name as chief election commissioner. The reason is that whilst as chief justice of Pakistan, the respected Justice Jillani was a fair judge and a good man, he will now become pro-Nawaz Sharif.

I don’t know about you, reader, but I am reeling and can barely keep from falling off my chair at these daft and comical charges at any and every one, leading one to ask once again of his handlers: do none of you do any thinking at all? I should have thought my friend Chaudhry Shafqat Mahmood had sense enough to caution restraint so that his leader would not make a laughing stock of himself, particularly at this time, a time of ‘renewal’ in our country’s security establishment.

I call it ‘renewal’ because we have a new ISI chief, who left a good reputation, from all accounts, as DG Rangers, Sindh. Indeed, if you read his dissertation written for his Master of Strategic Studies programme at the United States Army War College in 2008, you will see he is a liberal-minded soldier, who believes in democracy as the way forward. Indeed, he is a senior officer who thinks rapprochement with our neighbours should be pursued “aggressively”. For Imran Khan to try and literally drag the army into politics at this fraught time is irresponsible and utterly foolish.

Indeed, his threat that his ‘movement’ will not remain peaceful after the November 30 rally in Islamabad is puerile and violent and should be taken cognisance of. Indeed, taking a cue, Sheikh Rasheed ‘Talli’ has gone one further just the other day at Nankana Sahib and called for crowds of violent people to ‘gherao, jalao and maro’ (surround, burn and kill). This, in a country that is already bathed in blood.

The man should be arrested and locked up under charges of incitement to violence. We well remember the last time he was sent to prison for keeping unlicensed firearms and when he begged forgiveness after a few days in jail. Enough is enough I say: send in the women police and clear the empty chairs at ‘D’ Chowk to obviate any chances of violence in Islamabad.

On to other matters now, and why is it that so few Pakistanis wear the red poppy on Remembrance Day, which commemorates those that laid down their lives in the First World War? After all, thousands of young men belonging to areas that are now in Pakistan: principally the Potohar region and Gujrat, Jhelum, Chakwal and Mianwali districts. I know of six soldiers who came from just two villages around Wah who died in that war: there must be more.

I first came upon a graveyard, looked after and maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) while driving across Italy from East to West in 1991. It was beautifully kept and as I walked among its graves, I saw names from my own Baloch Regiment, names that could only belong to my area: Havaldar Painda Khan, Attock; Sepoy Sher Khan, Jhelum. This graveyard contained graves of the casualties of the Second World War.

Years later, while serving at the Pakistan High Commission in 1994, we received a visit from the vice-chairman of the CWGC, a retired air chief marshal, and his director general, who had come to request that Pakistan clear its dues: our contribution owed to the Commission but not paid since 1970. The excuse for not paying offered by our FO was that since Pakistan became two countries in 1971, Bangladesh should pay its share too!

The points to make were/are: how many soldiers from that part of the world served in the army anyway; and second, that Pakistan did not exist at the time of the war! The letter the high hommission wrote, recommending we immediately pay the amount of 80,000 pounds sterling that had accumulated over the years did not even merit a reply from the FO.

The upshot is that according to the CWGC website, Pakistan’s name still does not appear among the donors whilst the Indian high commissioner sits on the board of directors of the CWGC. Shame on us.

Note: The FO spokesman did not respond to a query as to whether we had paid up or not, 20 years after that letter! Shame on us.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 15th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (14)

  • saeed
    Nov 15, 2014 - 1:36AM

    I wonder, how these type of writers are not ashamed of themselves?


  • Shahbaz Asif Tahir
    Nov 15, 2014 - 1:37AM

    May Allah Subhana give Imran, all the health, and long life, Ameen.
    If any sane Muslim from Pakistan was to compare him to the killers, looters,
    insane kids of politicians, and their family beneficiaries, recipients of ill gotten
    money, the difference is light years.
    Therefore no matter, what the liberal rhetoric of the usual haters, the majority of
    us Muslims, in Pakistan, do not care the least about them.Recommend

  • Mirza
    Nov 15, 2014 - 1:42AM

    It is not complicated. IK wanted the third empire to overrule the democratically elected govt. IK has full confidence that establishment would support him to power without elections. It is a fact that anytime and every time an elected govt is overthrown there were never elections in 90 days and the regime always brought their stooges to share power. The same Rashid Tully, Choudhry brothers, Qureshi and likes are notorious and always with power.
    By openly involving the army, ISI, MI, and FBI in politics IK is again looking the backdoor to power. However, it is 21st century and the world would not tolerate it. Recommend

  • AAs
    Nov 15, 2014 - 1:43AM

    Dear Writer: Did you ever get hurt by IK or spurned by PTI? Honestly, you, Asma Jahangir and perhaps Maulana ‘Diesel’, should join hands and form a political party or a movement. I certainly see some support from the status quo!


  • SecularPakistani
    Nov 15, 2014 - 1:50AM

    The upshot is that according to the CWGC website, Pakistan’s name still does not appear among the donors whilst the Indian high commissioner sits on the board of directors of the CWGC. Shame on us.

    Sir,This is what is the reason pakistan is sinking.We compare ourselves with india in every matter while they are 10 times better than us in every way…be it economy,film industry,science,people,Land etc…and moreover there prime minister….stop comparing we should compare ourselves with IRAN,SAUDI ARABIA as well as europeon countries of our size…the problem is here people are so deep ingrained into religion that they dont see the reality of science and commerce instead they beleive in water cars….please..please…


  • sabi
    Nov 15, 2014 - 4:01AM

    “so that his leader would not make a laughing stock of himself, particularly at this time, a time of ‘renewal’ in our country’s security establishment.”
    This renewal is a matter of life and death for their handlers and they (dharna walas) are obedient slaves where dignity is the first casualty.
    They have been ordered to go on their maximum to get arrested as part of strategy for safe exit.Naughty pmln seems not interested giving them face saving.Another six!


  • Jawaid
    Nov 15, 2014 - 5:00AM

    Why should Pakistan contribute to CWGC? indeed had Pakistan been in existence, it is likely to have remained neutral. The dead soldiers are legacy of those who fought against Tipu Sultan, Siraj ud Daulah and the emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar and even those who marched and fired on the holy Kaaba under Lawrence of Arabia.


  • Faraz
    Nov 15, 2014 - 8:37AM

    100% reality. 100% agree with u sir. PTI want dead bodies what was Sheeda Tali the right hand of IK was telling in a clear way. Ever word and every line of article is base on reality. Those who disagree with u are requested to read once again irrespective of any party affiliation and found the statement which is not based on reality. Salute to kamran Shafi, the courageous writer.


  • F Khan
    Nov 15, 2014 - 11:29AM

    Imran Khan has nothing in his speeches except incitement, hate and leveling unfounded charges against everyone. This way he is not going to get votes this time either.This is not 1970″s and he is not Bhutto. This is 2014. He is against media groups, army, judges, almost all political parties, US, UK etc. He has to understand that wining election is not everything, one has to govern/rule also after that. With a reputation of Ilzam Khan and Taliban Khan he is further reducing his charges as the next PM.His advisers are Rashid Sheikh, TuQ, Luqman & Gujrat Chudhries.I can just pray for him. Such a nice talent going wasted by wrong advises, hate and impulsive politics.


  • Parvez
    Nov 15, 2014 - 1:39PM

    Absolutely agree Imran Khan is making mistakes but then the system he faces is not altogether kosher itself. Simply question Sir, ‘ who do we have if Imran is taken out of the picture ?……..Nawaz Sharif, Asif Zardari…….REALLY ? Are you saying that the present ‘ stuts quo ‘, this ‘ day light loot and plunder ‘ is acceptable ?


  • Zaida P
    Nov 15, 2014 - 3:13PM

    Spot on. IK is perhaps the most irrational politician around – only match by Altaf Hussain. His intentions may be good but nations do not run on good intentions.


  • javed Iqbal
    Nov 16, 2014 - 12:36AM

    I agree with AAs that writer should form an anti-Imran political party & invite other likeminded i.e. Asma Jahangir, Irfan Hussain, Pervaiz Hoodbhoy & many other Urdu columnists. They do not forget to warn/ inform us once in a week that all only & only Imran Khan is wicked person in present political scenario whereas all political lot including Zardari , Both Sharifs, Altaf Hussain , Fazal etc are those righteous/ honest & exemplary leaders who never compromise on the principles.


  • lkhan
    Nov 16, 2014 - 12:46AM

    I can not agree more with Mr. Kamran Shafi. IK not only contradicts himself constantly, but speaks with ignorance most times. There are so many examples of his decisions without looking beyond his nose, suffice with just this one: his acceptance of the Talibans, not once denouncing them in name for the barbaric atrocities that have caused the country horrific losses of human lives and resources, police officers and army soldiers.

    His party’s record in KPK speaks for itself. He is a danger to the country, ignorance combined with arrogance are a deadly combination, and will not serve the nation well.

    It is unfortunate the country lacks in leadership or statesmanship – a situation not only in Pakistan but suffered in most parts of the world today. IK knows how to appeal to masses through criticism, bad jokes, and worse still, abusive insulting language, in short a populist.

    Our lot of politicians will have to begin to deliver to the citizens of the country, in rural and urban areas with transparency. The awakening of the people to their fundamental human rights is the only positive achievement of IK. IK, much as he has the goodwill, has no know- how of day to day governance, the complexities of heading a country. Pakistan has many very capable people, and deserves better.


  • Zeeshan Ahmed
    Nov 18, 2014 - 9:34PM

    Please help us understand the ‘as opposed to what’ side of the equation. For all the criticisms you levy against every nook and cranny in the Pakistani political landscape, you’re being quite unreasonable in lambasting someone who is sincerely doing something to change Pakistan for the better. What do you want him to do? Accept vote rigging as a reality of living in Pakistan and stop protesting so the country can back on track to it’s developed-nation status excellent economy?


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