NationalVolume 13 Issue # 16

Hope for Pakistan

On 23rd March, the nation celebrated the 78th Pakistan Day across the country with traditional fervour and national zeal. Pakistan Day commemorates the passing of the Lahore Resolution on March 23, 1940, in Lahore’s Manto Park, now, the Minar-e-Pakistan. In the Lahore Resolution, the All-India Muslim League demanded a separate nation for the Muslims of the British Indian Empire on the basis of the two-nation theory. Under the dynamic leadership of the Quaid-e-Azam, the Muslims achieved Pakistan in 1947 after giving untold sacrifices and facing gigantic problems. To mark the day, a joint military parade was held at the Parade Ground in Islamabad.
In his speech, President Mamnoon Hussain, “welcomed the Sri Lankan president, and troops from Turkey, Jordan, and the UAE to the parade. He paid tribute to the founders of the country who made the creation of Pakistan possible and emphasised the importance of peace and stability for the country’s progress”. He also paid a rich tribute to the martyrs of the Pakistan movement. Talking about anti-terrorism operations in the country, he lauded the armed forces as well as the nation for eliminating terrorism from the country under operations Raddul Fasad and Zarb-i-Azb and announced a medal “Tamga-i-Azam” for those who rendered sacrifices for “restoration of peace”.
No doubt, the army has achieved many successes in the war against terror but, it is a bitter fact, that the terror war is not yet over. On 14 March, at least nine people, including five policemen, were killed and 20 others injured in a suicide attack on a police check-post set up near a religious gathering in Raiwind. The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack. The banned outfit released a statement in which “it termed this retribution for the killing of its ‘associates’ in the Punjab; while threatening more violence targeting law enforcement agents”. In spite of sacrificing around 76 thousand people, including 6 thousand security personnel, and spending around $120 billion, the Lahore attack clearly shows that the security situation is as fragile as ever in the country. The US is not acknowledging Pakistan’s sacrifices and efforts in the war against terror. Rather, it is forcing Pakistan to “do more” against terrorism.
In his message to the nation on Pakistan Day, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi “urged his countrymen to follow the teachings of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Allama Muhammad Iqbal as a lively and determined nation for the stability and supremacy of the homeland”.
It is very unfortunate that after 71 years of its creation, Pakistan is still fighting for its very survival. Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi who himself openly negates the constitution by announcing Nawaz Sharif as his prime minister, is talking about following the teachings of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Allama Muhammad Iqbal. Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is also facing many cases of mega corruption in the courts. It is very ironic that a corrupt leader is talking about democracy and prosperity in Pakistan.
After the ouster of Nawaz Sharif from the prime minister’s office in the Panama case verdict, the entire PML-N government is trying to protect Nawaz Sharif’s corruption and politics. The PML-N leaders, including Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz, want to create instability in the country. To achieve their target, they are instigating the people to rise against the judiciary and the army. To prove his money trail and innocence, Nawaz Sharif is not providing any document to the NAB court. He is just speaking against the judiciary and the army, while the PML-N government is taking every step to bring about instability and financial failure in the country.
Pakistan’s finance Minister Ishaq Dar, an absconder and economic hitman, has weakened Pakistan’s economy very badly by his corrupt, bad and unpatriotic economic policies. He has even taken loans against the very important roads and buildings like the motorways and air ports. Pakistan is not in a position to repay its foreign debt or even pay the interest. Now, shamelessly, Ishaq Dar is putting all the blame on Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s government and Miftah Ismail’s bad economic policies. It is very strange that Ishaq Dar is criticising his own PML-N government from England, where he is pretending to take medication. On the other hand, the PML-N government does not know how to handle the economic free fall. It just wants to sell the PIA, Pakistan Steel Mill and other national assets like Reko Diq to stop this rapid fall of the economy. The Sharif family’s steel business and Prime Minister Abbasi’s private airline are flourishing. It is a classic example of “conflict of interests”. No doubt, these leaders have used their power to destroy the Pakistan Steel and PIA just for earning more and more money in their personal businesses.
One analyst writes, “True, the economy is in bad shape, and former finance minister Ishaq Dar, now implicated in graft charges, was largely responsible for financial mismanagement. The crisis has been brewing for a while, made worse by the deterioration of foreign exchange reserves.”
Miftah Ismail has devalued Pakistan’s rupee all of a sudden. General Secretary Exchange Companies Association Zafar Paracha, “holds foreign loans, the government’s unannounced commitments to international bodies, and corruption, responsible for the sudden dip in rupees’ value”. Paracha, speaking about corruption with respect to fluctuation in the dollar-rupee rate, alleges that those with “advance knowledge” of the changing value were able to earn money off the adjusted rates, meaning even in this crisis, people are making big bucks.
The PML-N government has also made criminals like Ishaq Dar, Shaheen Butt and Rana Maqbool senators just to put more pressure on the judiciary and the army. Nawaz Sharif would use them in creating disorder in the country in the coming days.
The PML-N government has also appointed unacceptable ambassadors in critically important countries just to create anti-army feelings in the world. Prime Minister Abbasi has appointed investment banker Ali Jahangir Siddiqui as an ambassador to America. Ali Jahangir Siddiqui has also served in the PM’s Air Blue.  He is also working as an adviser to Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. This appointment is a classic example of nepotism which has surprised many sections of the society, including the army. Ali Jahangir Siddiqui is also facing a case of over Rs40 billion alleged embezzlement in NAB. He has also no experience of diplomacy. But, the PML-N’s corrupt government has nominated him as an envoy in America.
Samson Simon Sharaf, a political economist, writes: “Ali’s appointment is a case of defiance by the PMLN government… I am not sure if the appointee has been cleared by intelligence agencies or not. Perhaps they too would not have the true measure of the extent of wheeling dealing, backdoor deals and fraud that has made JS group such a juggernaut. Pakistan’s entire system is deeply infested by individuals who serve outside masters, whose self-interests override national interests and whose only interest is money. Pakistan’s political will is inversely proportional to its power potential. Most business houses and politicians make a crucial link with outside powers to get and stay in power. If Pakistan melts, it is not their concern. I dread to think that an economic hit man will soon ride the dangerous currents of Pakistan-US relations and to what purpose?”
On the other hand, the army is fully aware of the bad intention of Nawaz Sharif and the PML-N government’s anti-state policies. General Bajwa has categorically declared: “The path to salvation lies in protecting and preserving the integrity of all state institutions (Parliament, judiciary and military) as much as in upholding the rule of law on the way to free and fair elections — come what may. Indiscriminate application of laws — anchored in the Constitution — is absolutely essential if Pakistan has to extricate itself from the vicious cycle of mis-governance and selective application of laws; the rot must stop if we want to see Pakistan survive and prosper as a self-respecting nation; subversion of the judiciary or its rulings will not be allowed; the country will descend into chaos if we let the Supreme Court be humiliated by those who don’t like its decisions; national security far outweighs individuals’ interests; everybody shall have to perform his/her function with honesty and integrity… Political leaders like Altaf Hussain are history. All MQM followers should realise that ‘Altaf, violence and extortion’ are not acceptable at all. Everybody is free to indulge in politics, but not at the cost of the constitution and the law of Pakistan.”
The supreme court has also become very active. It is virtually taking notice of  almost every thing relating to the people’s wellfare like monitoring drinking water and hospitals, cleaning village streets where funeral processions pass. The Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar has also said that there is no place for “judicial martial law” in the Constitution. Addressing a congregation of students at Lahore’s Cathedral Church on Pakistan Day, the CJP said, “The kind of things that are being said about a judicial martial law — the Constitution does not allow any such thing.” The CJP asserted that he had “taken an oath to protect the Constitution”. “Any deviation from the Constitution will not be tolerated,” he declared, vowing that he would not allow “democracy to be derailed in the country”.  He said he hoped the upcoming elections would be independent and the next government would be formed in accordance with the Constitution.  He insisted that it was the duty of a judge to treat everyone, be it a ruler or a citizen, equally.
Nawaz Sharif and the PML-N government should pay heed to the words of the CJP Saqib Nisar and General Bajwa. They should refrain from indulging in any anti-Pakistan activities as they will not be allowed to destabilise the country.