If Muhammad Ali Jinnah came back from the grave and saw the sorry state of the country he had created, what would he say? He would be shocked to see that the Pakistan of 1947 had been broken into two, with East Pakistan (where his beloved Muslim League was founded) no longer a part of Pakistan. He would see a country on the brink of an economic collapse, with the dollar (which was equal to the rupee in value in 1947) now worth Rs107. He would see fruits and other edibles from New Zealand and other countries selling at prices beyond the reach of the common man in a land which ...Read Full Post
Why weren’t other religious minorities forced to videotape their Independence Day celebrations in India?
As if ghar wapsi programs and beef lynching was not enough, madrassas in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ruled state of Uttar Pradesh (UP) have been told to celebrate the Indian Independence Day with great fervour and patriotism. And to prove that their students are very good and patriotic citizens of India, those who manage Indian madrassas will have to submit videos of how they celebrated the patriotic day. Of course, it shouldn’t surprise us, since after the appointment of a rabid anti-Muslim like Yogi Adityanath as the chief minister of India’s largest state (with a large Muslim population), killings of Muslims suspected to have eaten beef have increased. Now, ...Read Full Post
Last month, the rupee plunged to its lowest in nine years. A banker friend called me and said, “If you have dollars, don’t sell them, if you don’t have dollars, buy them. The market is plunging and by the evening you will need Rs120 to buy a dollar.” This was very alarming since I am in the import business and would have to sustain big losses if the free fall continued. In the evening, the price of eggs had shot up by Rs10 to the dozen. Why? In response, the shopkeeper said, “Don’t you know? The dollar has gone up sharply.” Pressed further, he said, “I buy ...Read Full Post
#GoneNawazGone: Today could be the darkest day in Pakistan’s judicial history or the day a new Pakistan was born
The nail-biting suspense leading up to the verdict is now over. The unthinkable has finally happened. Nawaz Sharif, who managed to win three elections and serve as Pakistan’s prime minister, has been disqualified and faces political extinction. This is the mother of all Supreme Court (SC) verdicts and whether it will change the country’s fate for better or worse will be decided in the next few days. It could be the darkest day in Pakistan’s judicial history or it may be remembered as the day a new Pakistan was born, depending on whether or not the SC disqualifies others who are equally corrupt (which includes ...Read Full Post
There is much talk of disqualifying the Panama accused to prevent them from running for public office again. Disqualification alone will be against the principles of natural justice. Simply disqualifying the accused will send the wrong message to other corrupt politicians who have enriched themselves over the past few years. The court (in addition to sentencing the accused as per law), should also seize all their properties and assets, freeze their bank accounts, confiscate their vehicles and put their names on the Exit Control List (ECL). And it should not simply end with the conviction and disqualification of those who are on trial today. There are ...Read Full Post
I suppose it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the present Sindh government, like its predecessors, is also selling whatever open land is left in Karachi to interested developers. I’m referring to the most recent scandal, the selling of 30 acres of land meant for the Horticultural Society to the builders’ mafia at a price which is about 1% of its actual value. I wonder if they have ever thought of the fact that one day, all the open spaces in Karachi will be gobbled up and replaced with shopping malls and commercial plazas, and they will have nothing left to sell. So if a man is struck on the head ...Read Full Post
Ask any schoolboy in Pakistan which political party is the most corrupt and he will reply at once, “Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).” Even before a Swiss court convicted the former president and his wife Benazir Bhutto of money laundering, the leaders of this party have been known to be highly corrupt. It was not for nothing that former President Asif Ali Zardari was known as Mr 10%. So it was highly ironical to see PPP stalwarts such as Aitzaz Ahsan in Parliament demanding accountability of Nawaz Sharif. Either he forgot the rampant corruption in his own party or deliberately chose to ignore it. Mr Ahsan, how can we ever forget ...Read Full Post
96 children from three fathers because birth control is a “heinous sin” – do you understand what’s happening, Pakistan?
When I read about Gulzar Khan, Mastan Khan Wazir and Jan Mohammed, the three Pakistanis that fathered 96 children, I was reminded of a man in our neighbourhood who had 17 children (from one wife) in the 1960s. Most men in those days had six children, though one sometimes did come across couples with 10 or 11. In fact, I know a few even today who have nine or 10 offspring. Now these are not average illiterate Pakistanis. Some of them are engineers and doctors; one is a chartered accountant, while the rest are executives in banks and offices. If you ask them why ...Read Full Post
Dear Murad Ali Shah, It is well known that if you want to get anything done in your province, you have to pay the right people. In most cases, the right people are the ‘baboos’ as they are the ones who can skilfully insert whatever you want in any document knowing that the person who approves it will do so without reading it. Sometimes, if a baboo is not paid anything or not paid what he wants, he can do the opposite; he can get a tax imposed or increased on a particular commodity or service. This is what seems to have happened in the recently announced Sindh budget. ...Read Full Post
A few years back, I stopped at a red light and my car was hit in the rear by a taxi driver. A crowd soon gathered and a traffic policeman came over and blamed me for the accident. “You’re not supposed to stop at traffic signals, even if the light is red,” he said. “You should slow down, look left and right and go across without getting hit, or hitting another car.” “But what about the traffic rules?” I protested. He laughed contemptuously. “Rules are made to be broken. If everyone followed the rules, the country would collapse.” By this time, the crowd was baying for ...Read Full Post