Dear Muhammad Zubair, the credit for Karachi operation goes to General Raheel Sharif, not Nawaz Sharif

Published: April 10, 2017

I suppose Mr Zubair thought that by praising Nawaz to the skies, the latter would be gratified.

Sindh Governor Muhammad Zubair Umar recently amazed everyone by claiming (with a straight face),

“The credit for Karachi’s operation goes 100 per cent to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif”.

Really, Mr Zubair?

Do you know that the number of times Nawaz Sharif has visited Karachi during the past four years is much less than his visits to London and other foreign cities? In fact, during his present stint in power, he has been more concerned with the beautification of Lahore and the Panama leaks verdict during the past one year.

We know, of course, that in the corporate world one has to be a boot licker to get ahead. Among our politicians, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was perhaps the greatest sycophant, proclaiming that “President Iskander Mirza is a great leader, greater than even Mr Jinnah.” Bhutto even used to call Ayub Khan “daddy” to be in the president’s good books. Ayub himself liked to be surrounded by sycophants, particularly in the last two years of his reign. His advisers, in a desperate effort to project him as someone whose continued rule was essential for the survival of the country, spent millions in a massive publicity campaign labelled “Decade of Development”. One of his generals (Governor Moosa) often said that Ayub was the man who was solely responsible for the country’s progress. The truth, of course, was that the country was in a terrible mess by the end of Ayub’s reign, and the masses poured into the streets and he was compelled to resign. Had Ayub not succumbed to flattery, he would have been remembered as a good ruler.

During Ayub’s rule, the Urdu word “chamcha” (literal meaning “spoon”) began to be used as a synonym for a flatterer and a sycophant. Anyone who praised Ayub would be called Ayub’s “chamcha and he would be said to be indulging in “chamchagiri” (sycophancy). I have tried hard to find out the connection between “spoon” and “flattery” or “sycophancy”, but there seems to be none. I doubt if we’ll ever know why Pakistanis should use a large spoon as a symbol for sycophancy.

So I suppose Mr Zubair thought that by praising Nawaz to the skies, the latter would be gratified. Of course, Nawaz appears to be the type of man who loves to be surrounded by people who flatter him. So Mr Zubair was doing something which comes naturally to him, and which he knew would put Nawaz in a good mood and make him forget (even for a few minutes) the Sword of Damocles called Panama leaks hanging over his head.

But isn’t it stretching the truth a bit too much to say that all the credit for improving Karachi’s situation should go to Nawaz, when it is evident that he had nothing to do with it, being too preoccupied with other matters to even visit Karachi, except for a few times in recent months? One would have thought Nawaz would at least have done something to get all that garbage on the streets of the city removed if he cared at all for Karachi. What about the target killings that are still a regular feature of life in Karachi? Should Nawaz get the “credit” for all the deaths that have occurred as a result of people being killed for their religious beliefs or ethnic backgrounds? And by the same token, shouldn’t Nawaz be held responsible for the street crimes and muggings which are still common in the city? What about Karachi’s permanent water shortage problem? Wouldn’t you say that Nawaz should get 100% “credit” for that as well?

By the way, governor, doesn’t the Constitution require you to be absolutely neutral and not take sides? You have to be like the speaker of the national or provincial assembly and be absolutely impartial. By openly praising Nawaz for something he did not do, you have, in effect, violated the Constitution.

Governor, you also said that General (retd) Raheel Sharif is “just another general and no one should make him larger than life”.

Wrong again, Mr Zubair.

The general is not just another general; he was the most popular man in Pakistan for three years and he refrained from suspending the Constitution and dismissing the government (as some generals have done in the past). Despite Imran Khan and others expecting “the umpire to raise his finger”, General Sharif decided to uphold the Constitution. He was almost single-handedly responsible for defeating the terrorists who had made life hell for us. So please give credit where it is due, governor. It is General Sharif and the Rangers who made the Karachi operation a success, not Nawaz.

But if you still believe that more sycophancy or “chamchagiri” will help you attain whatever goal you have in mind, the next time Nawaz comes to Sindh, you should present him with a gold crown, as is the practice among “chamchas” in the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). That might convince Nawaz that you’d make a good president of the country, assuming of course that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) survives Panamagate and wins the 2018 general elections.

Shakir Lakhani

Shakir Lakhani

Engineer, former visiting lecturer at NED Engineering College, industrialist, associated with petroleum/chemical industries for many years. Loves writing, and (in the opinion of most of those who know him), mentally unbalanced. He tweets @shakirlakhani (

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Keyboard Soldier

    The author is correct. The matters related to internal and external security are handled at the GHQ, not the PM house.

    But, should it? is another issue for debate.Recommend

  • Asad

    He is a typical darbari.Recommend

  • Rohan

    As per the latest pentagon report Karachi is nothing but a hub for anti India militants,thank you raheel shareef lolRecommend

  • Anonymous

    Mr. Shakir Lakhani, I am not a fan of the PML-N government or the party for that matter but I do believe that credit should be given where its due. I found your post highly plagued with personal remarks and lacking in factual statements. For Rangers to operate in Karachi, they had to be given special powers by the federal government and this was done in 2015. Had the federal government not done this, Rangers could not have come into the city and operated the way they did. Secondly, you spoke about the lack of infrastructure development in Karachi – that is something that sits solely with the provincial government i.e. PPP, and not the federal government. Provinces are allocated a budget by the federal government for such purposes and federal government has no responsibility or say in such matters. Lack of knowledge or understanding as portrayed by yourself, is a very careless endeavor when posting on such public platforms.Recommend

  • Parvez

    This sickness is called sycophancy …..and sadly all our leaders love it and the ” darbari ” lot shamelessly oblige.Recommend

  • Anoop

    Shouldn’t it be “blame”, than “credit”?

    Has Terrorism disappeared? No. 2017 will be much more bloody than 2016. Even the Census team wasn’t spared.

    All the operation has done is to drive the militants into Afghanistan and into the cities and towns of Pakistan, like Lahore, where so many attacks are taking place. They had clear warning that an operation was pending and like any insurgent, they ran away to fight another day.

    “I heard on the radio we had to leave, that we had three days to get out,” Farhadullah says, recalling the scene last June.”

    All the militants got the warning and left. The ones left behind were villagers who didn’t want to.

    2000 people have been killed, but apparently zero civilians.

    “With journalists barred from travelling to North Waziristan, the principle source of information about the battle is a steady stream of press releases from the Pakistani military, which claims to have killed more than 2,000 “terrorists”, including hundreds described as “foreigners” and zero civilians.”

  • Nas

    Flattery was reason of demise of last Mughal emperors. My dad used to say that even greatest of the great kings(leaders) scumb to flattery hence meet their doom.
    Unfortunately Nawaz has all the chamchas around him which tells his nature.Recommend

  • Maz

    It’s a collective effort. Only Raheel Sharif couldn’t do anything. PM is not required to visit a place to put it right. Recommend

  • NKAli

    The real action that crushed the terrorists by the Pak Army was initiated by General Raheel and not NS.
    Let me recall that the government’s negotiating team with the TTP called them “stakeholders.” Shocking! How can one negotiate with cold-blooded murderers and diehard killers. That was the condition of our “terrified politicians.”
    Mr. Lakhani has hit the nail on the head and all political heads of parties should think and act seriously to remove chamchas from their fold. “Chamchagiri” has driven this country into a ‘cul de sac.’ SalamsRecommend

  • HKM

    following the foot steps of Sharjeel Memon!Recommend

  • Dara Shaikh

    I could not have put it better myself. Well said Mr Lakhani. What a fine analysis.
    Yes I agree 100% that Raheel Sharif is our true hero. Did what no else had the guts to do. Cleaned up the snake pit of Karachi for one, ably supported by the Rangers who are true patriots.Recommend

  • OSD

    The courage and decisive actions of General Raheel are hugely appreciated, but it would be unfair to say that the PMLN government did not play its part in seeing it through. It was more of a gamble for the civilian government because if the operation had imploded, the negative fall out would only have been faced by the politician in charge. So yes, the credit for this operation really does go to Nawaz Sharif. General Raheel is an able soldier and he made it happen, but the credit and discredits remain with the politician.Recommend

  • raheel ashraf
  • Mujeeb

    Such a typical mindset on the part of the writer. All that goes well is because of the Army and all that doesn’t go well is because of the elected govt/PM. If you are going to give credit for Karachi to the army than all the failures in security need to be associated with them too. old school generation mind set. please stop…Recommend

  • Xnain

    And the author thinks visits to Karachi vis-vis foreign visits are the yardstick of seeing who has more ownership and whose not. But then of course anyone can write a blog at Tribune so its fair and square :)Recommend

  • A Reader

    Dear Shakir Lakhani: As a citizen of Pakistan you must understand that it is always a team work and no body can do it alone.

    People of Pakistan respect its armed forces and General (R) Raheel Sharif former COAS is one of the most respectful persons.

    Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif is the Prime Minister of Pakistan and whatever decisions are taken by Pakistan’s armed forced that are taken in consultation with the Prime Minister.

    You have a peculiar nature and by writing such articles you can’t impose your personal opinion on the readers.

    For your information, the ongoing operation Raddul Fasaad has also been approved by the Prime Minister after sitting COAS consulted with him.

    Every one in the society has its own role to play, but making things controversial is not a good option.

    Governor of Sindh Muhammad Zubair is an able person and whatever he said was his personal opinion and that has been made controversial by the media people.

    Keep your head cool before writing such articles in future. If you want to condemn Governor of Sindh Muhammad Zubai then I will suggest you to join one of the political parties which have become active for the last few days to gain the support of the masses before 2018 general election.


  • Talha

    Dear shakir
    The game of getting a puppet PM elected by establishment and getting him insulted over media while establishment doing corruption at the back hand, is getting old now. It’s high time you should write something about the people who are running the petroleum sector and under whom you work, must be a retired DG or someone. Write about assets of fauji fertilizers and fauji petroleum.If it wasn’t for the handful of civilians like yourself and a few more who let such articles publish, we would have had a democratic republic and in the end, I would like to add, try being different.


  • mian

    no one can take this credit from great leader Nawaz sharif Recommend

  • mian

    his name said it all he is not happy with his ppp Iranian dogs getting arrested in this govtRecommend

  • Patwari

    Nawaz bin Salman bin Abdel-Aziz bin Sharif [notice the double bin here]
    visits Kar surreptitiously. In the middle of the night, for a few hours. And
    scurries away very quickly, fast. He is not wanted there by the Karachiites.
    The Karachi-wallahs knows he is directing their hard earned money to Punjab. Kar the Financial Center of country does not have enough water, or electricity or natural gas or trash pick up. And there is no law and order. Crime is rampant.
    Kar is treated like a step child by the govt. And it has been so for 70 years,
    Never mind that the provincial ethnic political ruling party PPP is looting Kar too.
    So what Kar operation? What credit? Where? if you were robbed twice a month
    before, it’s now down to once a month? That is progress?Recommend

  • Anonymous

    This paragraph seems like you went on an online thesaurus and tried typing everything there, and then copy pasted it here. Nonetheless, the argument you made is just a summarized version of the article above and I’ll repeat; it lacks factual statements and is full of personal remarks rendering it not credible.”Nawaz bin Salman bin Abdel-Aziz bin Sharif [notice the double bin here]” duly noted along with a personal note to slap myself for taking the time out to reply to this.Recommend

  • Fudayl

    Raheel Sharif reported to Nawaz Sharif. Everything good or bad that happened under Nawaz Sharif, the credit/discredit must go to Nawaz Sharif. Recommend