Revenge of the ballot

Published: June 28, 2015
The writer is Executive Director News, Express News. He tweets @fahdhusain

The writer is Executive Director News, Express News. He tweets @fahdhusain [email protected]

It’s not really Civ-Mil that’s the problem, really. There’s something else cooking; something that is redefining the way we approach the mess that surrounds us; something that has been hiding in plain sight all these years.

And now it’s groaning back to life.

We have all been down this road before. Action, reaction and then back again to the stale status quo. But this time around, is it for real? Is Karachi actually being cleansed? Is the PPP really being punished for its criminal misdemeanours? Is the MQM really being roasted for its violence and shady dealings with India? This time, is the party really going to be over for all shades of crooks, criminals, scoundrels, swindlers and racketeers who come armed with a mandate?

The evidence is clearly mounting as secrets leak out like a rain shower. After Saulat Mirza sang like a canary and walked the plank, BBC now tells us the MQM has admitted to receiving funds from India. Then a confessional document of an MQM insider worms its way into social media and goes viral. The sizzler is a transcript (heavily blacked out in places) of an interview of Tariq Mir with the British police. He is a close associate of Altaf Hussain. In the interview he spills all the beans. Well, at least the most damaging ones. Millions of Pounds Sterling received from India, clandestine meetings in exotic European locales with Indian operatives sporting unreal names, and shady dealings with Indian agents to get weapons and training.

This is seriously enriched political plutonium. And the centrifuges are spinning like crazy.

While the MQM hunkers down, PPP types are scurrying away to dodge the dragnet. There’s an exodus of the extortionists underway as the putrid smell of the party’s governance wafts across the wasteland that was once the city of lights. There is muck and dung in everything that the PPP touched. A certain sickness pervades all government institutions and departments. Sloth, inefficiency and shameful corruption have wreaked havoc all across the province. The Pakistan People’s Party of the Bhuttos has reduced itself to a caricature. It would have been funny if it weren’t so darned tragic.

But some people don’t see it this way. Some people are outraged that the military is holding the civilians accountable. Some people are aghast that Rangers are conducting raids beyond their mandate. Some people are incensed democracy is yet again under threat from a rejuvenated Establishment. Some people are infuriated that an effort is underway to undermine a duly elected government. And some people are absolutely scandalised that the federal government is going along with this instead of putting a stop to it.

Some people are just such incurable apologists for elected scoundrels.

It’s really not that complicated. For five long bloody years Karachi groaned under the collective sins of the PPP-MQM-ANP triage. People were killed like flies while criminals flourished like emirs of oily sheikhdoms. Fat cats grew fatter and multiplied like rodents, infesting the nooks and crannies of government and semi-government organisations. And the city went to hell. As did the province.

They went to hell under the protective shield of democracy. Because this triage ruled on the basis of a mandate, it was accountable to no one. It could do as it pleased. And it did. Are the apologists at peace with the killing fields of Karachi? Are they okay with a criminalised police and a rotten bureaucracy? Are they fine with unchecked mayhem in the name of the ballot box?

If the police had truly done their work, would there have been a need for the Rangers? Who’s responsible for decapitating the Sindh police? Who’s responsible for the rot that now defines this force?

If the government agencies had sincerely done their work, would there have been need for the Rangers to unearth the colossal corruption in departments like Fisheries and Building Control Authority? Who let this corruption flourish and prosper?

If the Home Department and other relevant sections had genuinely done their work, would there have been need for the Rangers to crack down on the curse of China cutting? Who allowed the mafias to eat into state land and sell it off for commercial purposes? Who let party workers carve out land from graveyards and build housing schemes on them?

If the FIA (yes it’s a federal agency) had truthfully done its work then, it would not have had to wait till today — under the shade of the Rangers — to crack down on the humungous embezzlement in the Karachi Municipal Corporation.

If the PPP-MQM-ANP triage had honestly wanted to clean up Karachi and Sindh, they could have. They had the mandate; they had the legitimacy; they had the powers and the resources; and they had the time. Yes, five long years of unchecked, undiluted and unadulterated power. But they did not because they were, and are, part of the problem.

So you apologists — wake up and smell the stench of this farce. This mess is not what we deserved; this is not what this country was made for. Hundreds of thousands died and millions were displaced for scoundrels, rascals and swindlers to rule this land into total mayhem? Yes, the military has contributed generously to this mayhem, and yes its leadership in the past has unleashed monsters that ravage this land of ours today; but what do you do now when Sindh is being ruled to ruin and there is no chance of reform under the PPP and the MQM?

It’s not Civ-Mil anymore. This traditional equation does not define our conundrum any longer. What we are faced with is something much more sinister and ominous: the creeping delegitimising of representative democracy as represented by incompetent and corrupt people in Sindh. The framework for failure has a new dimension now, and it is not dressed in a uniform.

Gulp this down, you apologists.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 28th, 2015.

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Reader Comments (27)

  • shoaib
    Jun 28, 2015 - 1:01AM

    Aptly summarized.

    Fahad thumbs up and thanks for giving words to the anger of every sensible Pakistani.Recommend

  • Ih
    Jun 28, 2015 - 1:38AM

    Bravo,three chaeers, very lucid and penetrating analysis. I pray there is enough backing to clean up the mess. You omittedly inadvertently the religious fanatics.Recommend

  • Ih
    Jun 28, 2015 - 1:50AM

    Hope people in Sindh elect who represent thei aspirations, so do people in Karachi. I donot it is any different what people in West want. Safe neighborhood, good education opportunities for next generation . Stable honest governance. Pray it happens. We lost couple of generations to violence emigration and fanaticism. Let’s put end to all.Recommend

  • M Tahir
    Jun 28, 2015 - 4:45AM

    Yet another relevant and correct analysis from a person who feels for this thoroughly robed country! May you continue this jihad with your God gifted strength of producing touching masterpieces.
    M TahirRecommend

    Jun 28, 2015 - 5:32AM

    what about wrongdoing of generals? what about land grabbing by Rangers and doing business of construction materials? why no raid on Cantonment board Karachi where permission has been given for construction high rise building by passing all the rule ?what about corruption in DHA..Recommend

  • A J Khan
    Jun 28, 2015 - 10:58AM

    Best article I have read in Pakistan’s case. Reality projected so well.
    “Some people are just such incurable apologists for elected scoundrels”.Recommend

  • observer
    Jun 28, 2015 - 12:45PM


    The narrative so far used to say that the TTP, the BLA, the Jiye Sindh were in the pay of India.

    Now it seems the MQM and PPP are also going the same way.

    So who funds LeT, LeJ, JuD, ASWJ?Recommend

  • M A Hameed
    Jun 28, 2015 - 2:29PM

    Why “China” comes in “China cutting?” Did the tecnique came from China? Was there something else?Recommend

  • shahid sattar
    Jun 28, 2015 - 2:39PM

    Who is to take care of wrong doings of generals and DHA and all? And besides, is the magnitude even comparable? Recommend

  • ishrat salim
    Jun 28, 2015 - 3:22PM

    This is for the apologist…if generals did it, the elected representatives have immunity too. My dear, 2 wrong cannot make 1 right. The generals are no more, we gave you the mandate to clean up, but you messed it up more. Is this correct ? If you are correct, take the bull by the horn & bring back those looted billions from the generals & DHA etc; but you have no guts, because you are more corrupt & looters than them, so how can you point fingers at them when you are doing same ?

    Fahad, thank you…your frustration is justified, because the apologists will remain in the state of denial – which has become part of our culture, same as resignation & non-acceptance of responsibility. We as a nation has become morally & intellectually bankrupt, however, war against un-scrupulous elements must continue. Truth must & shall always prevail…. Recommend

  • Usman
    Jun 28, 2015 - 3:39PM

    I can assure you DAWN news will still wrote editorials on why Rangers are a menace, how Bhutto is still alive in Bilawal Zardari and how Sindh govt. should respond. Recommend

  • Parvez
    Jun 28, 2015 - 5:18PM

    That was brilliant ……. and you have called out those are bent on breaking this country.
    What I am suspicious of is that the boys doing the clean up will not take the fight to its logical conclusion………as can be seen that Zardari and his sister both have been allowed to leave the country and enjoy the billions they have looted and plundered. Recommend

  • Jun 28, 2015 - 6:55PM

    A very interesting self explanatory article, well written, people of Pakistan are well judge, excluding beneficiaries, Recommend

  • Jun 28, 2015 - 7:15PM

    Well written facts. Good job FahdRecommend

  • Pity
    Jun 28, 2015 - 7:17PM

    Two wrongs do not make a right. We give votes to political parties not the generals and we expect political parties to address our issues not get indulged in corruption and militancy. So instead of blaming the generals, wake up and smell the coffee. Recommend

  • Shahid Kinnarre
    Jun 28, 2015 - 7:43PM

    So General created mess in last sixty years and now you want politician to clean it up in seven years with limited powers. Educated but without wisdom.Recommend

    Jun 28, 2015 - 8:06PM

    @Pervez… Zardari and his sister both have been allowed to leave the country….those who are corrupt them self can not take action against others …it was late Gen.Ayub who introduced corruption in politics and in institution before 1958 politician were not corrupt.When Iskader Mirza was sent in exile he used to work in hotel for his survival… Recommend

  • Shakir Lakhani
    Jun 28, 2015 - 8:51PM

    “The framework for failure has a new dimension now, and it is not dressed in a uniform”. Sir, the uniform has been tried and it too has failed. The only way to deal with the current mess is more democracy. Musharraf did introduce a radical form of local government, which succeeded, at least in Karachi. Make the directly elected representatives responsible and see how they perform. Otherwise, convert the present 27 or so divisions into provinces. Do away with words like “Sindh”, “Punjab”, etc. Let the people’s tax money be spent in those areas where it is collected, not siphoned away to Swiss banks or Metro projects.Recommend

  • Timorov
    Jun 28, 2015 - 8:55PM

    Brilliant analysis and compelling prose by Fahd as always. Keep doing an amazing job sir. The writer channels the inner frustration of tens of millions and asks basic questions few from his perch in society are willing to ask. I salute his courage and pray more and more people take up such a mantle with equal zeal, sagacity and linguistic brilliance! Recommend

  • Ishrat salim
    Jun 28, 2015 - 10:51PM

    @Shahid Kinnarre:

    The elected politicians have unbriidled powers drawn from the mandate, so, how you are saying they have limited powers ? What has the govt of last PPP did for the people of pakistan ? If they had done good performance and governance, they would be in power today….and what has the PML N govt done this past 2 years ? Thanks to the Army under Gen Raheel, he had the guts to take the bull by its horn. If you are not aware, under the present democratic system, these elected politicians have unlimited power given under the constitution, yes! They have unlimited power only to loot and plunder, not anything for the poor masses.Recommend

  • Rizwan
    Jun 29, 2015 - 12:41AM

    what abouttheir sympathizers, they will wait for their Lords to return

    Second it to simple to believe that Karachi was destroyed and the ffederal government looked on without any idea that all this was going on.
    What was ourintelligence intelligence doing Recommend

  • H Raza
    Jun 29, 2015 - 8:12AM spoke our heart out man..thumbs up for being our voice. .indeed u did a commendable job but alas no one’s gonna give a damn to our leadership is doomed into massive rotten corruption unless all if us stand up for our right to have a just and fair system and get a level playing field in every there any hope at all …as people seem careless to having an equitable system!Recommend

  • Shahid Kinnare
    Jun 29, 2015 - 8:41AM

    @ishrat salim you must be very naive to believe that our armed force believe believed in constitution or rule of law. It is easy to call any one corrupt, but that your choice what you believe in. Recommend

  • Omer
    Jun 30, 2015 - 1:42AM

    Very powerful words indeed. I have always enjoyed Fahd’s writing style, straight and to the point, with an added sense of drama.

    Can i dare to ask, who allowed this mess to happen? Who has been pulling the strings for the last 30 years that resulted in stinking farce?

    We all know the origins of these “leaks” to social media! If these things were know why were these culprits not prosecuted before?

    But hush, national security! Recommend

  • Does It Matter
    Jun 30, 2015 - 6:25AM

    You enrich Uranium in centrifuges, not Plutonium. :DRecommend

  • ishrat salim
    Jun 30, 2015 - 3:58PM

    @Shahid Kinnare:

    The Armed forces believe in constitution or not is history. For the past 7 years, the govt in power is an elected govt & is supposed to perform as per constitution. So, who is naïve. Unfortunately, it is the civilian govt who does not perform as envisaged in the constitution. Not 1 article & clause of constitution has been followed by the elected representative, yet they call the book ” sacred”. Sacred book is only ” the Holy Quran”. They try to defend their sacred book only when their power is threatened. It is the constitution which they are protecting but will not act as per the articles stated in. 7 years & no sign of local govt election, why ? are they not supposed to protect the lives & freedom of the common man, are they doing ? are the common man not supposed to be provided with equal justice, are they doing that ? & the list is long mr Shahid, let us come out from the state of denial which has now become part of our national culture & a sure recipe for disaster. With mindset like you, we do not need enemy. For any deficiency in governance issue, Army is blamed. Forget it yar ! it is high time 7 years is a long time but has the condition of the poor people changed ? Yes! 1 thing has changed – small begging bowl has replaced a bigger begging bowl.Recommend

  • A Khokar
    Jul 5, 2015 - 7:01PM

    Military, even previously, in Pakistan has always been doing marvels till the time Chief Martial law administers; they tried to wear a mask of civilian leaders. Let, this time Military stay in uniform and do it to put the oar of ship back on right course before it stretches too far.Recommend

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