(This article conveys my views which I mailed to my mailing list in response to an e-mail received from one of my former students, conveying the worries regarding the serious current economic and political problems faced by the government and common masses of Pakistan.)
The Observations Raised Though E-Mail
(Important aspects underlined)
“The purpose of this email is to request you to assess the current political and economic situation of our country and give your valuable opinion. The pre-elections high hopes people had from Mr. Khan and his incumbent regime are already crumbling. Khan’s team comprises mainly upon the lotas and his selection of some really cheap ministers has disappointed many. To be very honest, its very rare that we hear any positive news about Pakistan these days, especially, about our economic situation. What is your take on this? Are things going to be smooth ever for our beloved but ill-fated country?”
In essence the observations are:-
- Pre-election high hopes are crumbling.
- Imran Khan’s team mainly comprises of ‘lotas’.
- IK’s selection of some really cheap ministers.
- Positive news, especially economic, are rare.
- Are things ever going to be smooth?
In this context, one time-proven reality, which we must keep in mind, is that throughout the recorded history of mankind the forces of evil have always been more numerous as compared to the forces of virtue. Such forces of evil manage to take over the rule of their country, whenever the societal texture of the nation deteriorates – i.e. people lose the moral values of the society and start indulging in malpractices for personal/family/ beradri’s gains.
Such rulers of evil forces do not take long in spreading their ‘mafia-stranglehold’ on different organs of the state to ensure longevity of their rule to their own next generation(s). Obviously their rule is despotic/ tyrannical focusing on their own vested interests, due to which the multitude of the masses continue to suffer severe miseries of human exploitation in all aspects of life; but they merely remain only craving helplessly for their social alleviation. However, merely craving for removal of the ‘mafia governance system’ of the evil forces is not sufficient. Masses have to actually strive/struggle for bringing about that change. Such struggles are quite prolonged, with a mixture of some successes and some reversals. If those who are struggling, especially their leader, are determined, resilient and continue struggling without losing hope, then they can hope for ultimately achieving their objective.
The fact – that success, for changing the condition of a nation, can only be achieved if the people of that nation strive/struggle for it – has also been clearly mentioned in Allah (SWT)’s injunction in Ayah 11 of Surah Al Ra-ad (underlining added in the translation to highlight this aspect):-
11. “For each (such person) There are (angels) in succession, Before and behind him: They guard him by command Of God. Verily never Will God change the condition of a people until they Change it themselves (With their own souls). But when (once) God willeth A people’s punishment, There can be no Turning it back, nor Will they find, besides Him, Any to protect”. (1).
It is also a noteworthy fact that the objective of those, so struggling, has to be ultimately forming their own government to establish the governance-societal system of virtue in the country.
The best example of this phenomenon which I can quote is that of the struggle led by our Holy Prophet (SAW), to overthrow the Evil Mafia’s societal and governance system which was prevalent in Arabia, and then establish the virtuous societal and governance system in accordance with the injunctions of Quran. In that context Ayahs 80 and 81 of Surah Bani Isra-il clarify the significant aspects (underlining added in the translation to highlight the related significant aspects):-
80. “Say: “O my Lord! Let my entry be By the Gate of Truth And Honour, and likewise My exit by the Gate Of Truth and Honour; And grant me From Thy Presence An authority to aid (me)”.
81. “And say: “Truth has (now) Arrived, and Falsehood perished: For Falsehood is (by its nature) Bound to perish.” (2)
Most Mufasserin opine that these ayahs were revealed by Allah (SWT) to Holy Prophet (SAW) just before ‘Hijrat’ to Medina. Both ayahs start with Allah (SWT) asking Holy Prophet (SAW) to “Say” (meaning thereby to pray to Allah (SWT).
The underlined part of Ayah 80 contains the ‘Dua’ (prayer) to Allah (SWT) to grant him (Holy Prophet (SAW) the authority. Obviously that authority was required to establish a government without which the virtuous Islamic societal and governance system could not be established in the country. And, as for ‘Batil’ – i.e. the societal and governance system of the evil forces – the underlined part of Ayah 81 clearly declares that ‘Batil’ (falsehood) is bound to perish.
We all know that Holy Prophet (SAW) and his companions (RA) had continued struggling in Mecca for about 12 or 13 years under extreme difficulties, but could not achieve the desired success, rather were forced to migrate to Medina. And, In Medina Allah (SWT) rewarded the struggle of Holy Prophet (SAW) and his companions (RA); an Islamic government was established in Medina. But in establishing that government, Holy Prophet (SAW) had to accept within the ranks of Muslims the presence of ‘Munafiqins’ (what to talk of ‘lotas’), as also he had to enter into treaties with the non-Muslim tribes to ensure peace and stability in the state of Medina. Even then, the government by Holy Prophet (SAW) continued facing severe challenges – intrigues of ‘Munafiqins’, external threats and attacks – till, after about 9 years, with the help of Allah (SWT) Holy Prophet (SAW) succeeded in conquering Mecca and thus finally bringing peace and stability in the state of Medina.
In the case of our country, since 1958 we have had a mixture of rule by military and political parties (PPP and PML-N). I vividly remember the state of our society during the decades 1950s and 1960s. In those decades the moral values of the society were still prevalent; and the masses were living a reasonable life. However the last two decades, under the rule by Zardari and Nawaz Sharif, brought immense misery to the masses; in which the strongly entrenched mafias of Zardari and Nawaz focused only on making illegal money/wealth for personal ‘covered investments’ abroad, leaving the masses to suffer extreme lack of even the basic human needs (food, medical care, education, etc.). These sufferings of masses started increasing manifolds when Zardari, after becoming PPP’s actual leader through a ‘mysterious wasiyat’ by Benazir, craftily took over the reign of the government and applied his ‘mafia governance system’.
By then condition of masses had become really pathetic, but apparently there was no way out of that ‘mafia rule’. Whenever I discussed this plight with anybody, I found the general impression that the miserable condition of our nation could not be changed for better because there were no signs of any emerging struggle by the nation for changing their condition. I also knew the aforementioned injunction of Quran in this regard. However, I still retained my hope for the betterment of our nation.
The basic reason due to which I was still retaining hope was based upon the commandment of Allah (SWT) in Quran – (Ayahs 3 &4 of Surah Najm, and Ayah 7 of Surah Hashr) – that, whatever Holy Prophet (SAW) gave us was not from himself but from Allah (SWT); and that whatever Prophet (SAW) gave us we should take it, and from what he stopped us we should stop from taking it.
Those Ayahs are as follows (underlining added in the translation for highlighting the related aspects):-
3. “Nor does he say (aught) of (his own) Desire”.
4. “It is no less than Inspiration sent down to him:” (3).
7. “What God has bestowed On His Apostle (and taken Away) from the people of the townships,—belongs To God,—to His Apostle And to kindred and orphans,
The needy and the wayfarer; In order that it may not (Merely) make a circuit Between the wealthy among you. So take what the Apostle Assigns to you, and deny Yourselves that which he Withholds from you. And fear God; for God Is strict in Punishment”. (4).
These Ayahs clearly show that whatever Holy Prophet (SAW) taught us, through his Sunnah (his Hadith, his Sunnah, and his Hadith-e-taqreer), was based upon the revelation from Allah (SWT). With this clear knowledge, one of the Hadith which provides the hope is as following (underlining added):-
“Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim (rahimahumallah) have recorded this narration on the authority of Sayyiduna ‘Umar ibn Al Khattab (radiyallahu ‘anhu). The full narration is as follows”:
“Some captives were brought to Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), among whom was a breast feeding woman. When she found a child among the captives, she took it and suckled it. Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said to us, ‘Do you think this woman will cast her child into a fire?’ We said, ‘No, if she has the power not to.’ Then Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, ‘Allah is more merciful to His slaves than this woman is to her child”
(Sahih Bukhari, Hadith: 5999 and Sahih Muslim, Hadith: 2754)”. (5)
And, I have no doubt that it was Allah (SWT)’s unfathomable love for His ‘makhlooq’ (us) that seeing the masses of our nation so inhumanly oppressed by the ‘Batil’ system enforced by our rulers under Zardari-Nawaz, He intervened by inducing in the majority of our masses – especially the young generation and the elderly lot who had seen good days of 1950s and 1960s – the inspiration to struggle for democratically bringing about the governance-societal change. And, Imran Khan, who was struggling to bring about the desired change since about twenty years but was still a political non entity, suddenly became a heroic leader and the thus inspired masses flocked around him – and the massive struggle to bring about the desired change started. The unprecedented ‘Jalsa’ (public meeting) held by Imran Khan in Lahore attended by the very vibrant and politically charged mammoth crowd was something like a ‘shot from the blue’ for the forces of the then existing ‘Batil’ governance-societal status quo held by PPP, PML-N and associates.
However, the forces of evil were strongly entrenched in almost all segments of our country’s state system; so Nawaz Sharif managed to steal the results of 2013 elections to form his government at federal level and in Punjab, fully supported by those in power including the then CJ of supreme court Iftikhar Chaudry who held sway upon the returning officers who were from judiciary, and the famous “Paintee Puncher” interim CM of Punjab Najam Sethi, etc. Zardari got his share of government in Sindh – that was the arrangement under the Charter of Democracy signed by Benazir and Nawaz Sharif. In that COD arrangement PPP and PML-N had to ‘manage’ getting the government in turn one after the other, so that while one of these parties formed the government at federal level in its turn, the other party became the opposition, shielding each other from any danger of accountability of their in-turn plunder of national wealth. That arrangement was orchestrated by US, which preferred ‘made in US governments’ in our country.
The struggling masses of our country – especially the youth – led by Imran Khan, however continued their struggle, the details are well known to you. Their struggle had to succeed, in light of the injunction of Allah (SWT)’s assurance mentioned in Ayah 39 Surah Najm:-
“There is nothing for man except what he strives for”. (6).
And Allah (SWT) sent another ‘shot from the blue’ in the form of the ‘Panama Leaks’. What all happened after that is also well known to you.
Now, coming on to the current condition, problems, and challenges for the current Imran Khan’s government, as also the discerned ray(s) of hope.
What all I have written so far provides adequate understanding of the answers to the following observations raised in the e-mail. In essence the observations are:-
- Pre-election high hopes are crumbling.
- Imran Khan’s team mainly comprises of ‘lotas’.
- IK’s selection of some really cheap ministers.
- Positive news, especially economic, are rare.
- Are things ever going to be smooth?
However now I present, in brief, the specific answers to these observations in the succeeding paragraphs.
Pre-election high hopes were certainly crumbling. In that context it is worth noting that in many TV talk shows certain media persons have mentioned that PML-N, PPP leaders and certain other ‘elites’ have ‘managed’ a number of TV channels, their reporters, anchors and ‘tajzia kars, etc.; as also a number of newspapers and their column writers. These ‘managed’ persons (male and female) use their expertise in projecting news, ‘tajzia’, etc as per the instructions of their ‘managers’. There was therefore no surprise that these ‘managed’ persons launched the wide-spread rumours that – forward bloc is in the making in PTI’s parliamentarians and is in contact with PML-N/PPP, PTI’s ministers are now deeply involved in in-fighting, a move of no-confidence against Imran Khan and against Punjab CM is in the making, Imran Khan is desperate and may dissolve the parliament himself, a massive anti-government public street agitation will be launched after Eid and Islamabad will be locked down till the government is overthrown. Has any of these claims by the ‘Opposition Mafia’ came to be true, or even reflect the slightest sign of coming to be true? – Certainly not. The falsehood filled balloon of the Opposition Group and its ‘managed’ media persons has been busted by the Will of Allah (SWT).
The Opposition Group then met in an All Parties Conference (APC), but the parties failed to agree on a leader of the Opposition Group. Then they formed a ‘Rahbar Committee’ to take the decisions about anti-government move; but again there was a disagreement about who should head this Committee, so the ‘Rahbar Committee’ is to be chaired in rotation by different parties. Today they have announce that on 9 July the Opposition Group will move a no-confidence motion against the current Chairman of Senate Mr. Sanjrani from Balochistan); and on 11 July the Opposition Group will nominate a consensus candidate to be elected as the new Chairman of Senate. From the point of view of numerical strength in the Senate, Opposition Group has a clear majority of 65 Senators, while PTI Group has 38. So numerically, Opposition Group should have an easy victory; however, the repeatedly appearing divisiveness in the parties of the Opposition Group, and the fact that voting on no-confidence move is held through secret ballot (Article 226 of the Constitution reads, “Election by secret ballot: All elections under the Constitution, other than those of the prime minister and the chief minister, shall be by secret ballot.”(7), Opposition Group may as well face difficulty in wining its no-confidence move to remove Mr. Sanjrani from the Chairmanship of the Senate. The Opposition Group also still intends to mobilize the public against the government.
However, whatever the already divided Opposition Group may do, two aspects are very clear. Firstly, the current trend of the State institutions – Supreme Court of Pakistan, NAB, FIA, Anti-Corruption Department, SECP, and FBR – displays their will to exercise their constitutional authority to root out corruption and conduct across the board accountability (remember the latest remarks of the Chief Justice of Pakistan that the money/wealth earned through corruption will be recovered even after the death of the culprit from the descendants of the culprit). Secondly, in all probability the majority of the masses are not expected to participate in any street agitation launched by the Opposition Group.
Fuel to the propaganda fire of the Opposition was certainly added by the sudden intolerable rise in the prices of common man’s house-hold utility commodities, huge devaluation of Rupee and unprecedented rise of US Dollar’s value. But all that was mostly ‘managed’, especially in the case of price hike of common man’s commodities. That ‘management’ was done by the ‘partners’ of the ‘Opposition Mafia’, in stock exchange investors and market business persons, etc. We all know that the ups and downs of the stock exchange are greatly influenced by the speculation of investors. The false rumours spread by the Opposition’s tentacles in stock market (who regularly found place in prime time TV talk shows in the ‘managed’ TV channels) drew away the investors, resulting in daily increasing slump of stock market, as also withdrawal and hoarding of US Dollars. Many common man’s commodities were similarly hoarded to raise the prices. Just imagine that the ordinary home-grown lemon was then selling at Rs. 300 to 400 per kg. The answer given to public was that “Dollar mahnga ho gaya hae”. And, after busting of that balloon of falsehood of the Opposition Mafia, stock market has started rising and stabilizing, US Dollar has started coming down – from Rs. 164 per Dollar three days back to Rs. 156. 50 per Dollar (inter-bank) yesterday. And, after the announcement by the government to crack down on the hoarders, the prices of common man’s commodities have also climbed down quickly.
Imran Khan is certainly handicapped by many ‘lotas’ in his governmental circle. But what he could do. After the election of 2013 he had to accept our societal fact that he had to give electoral tickets to certain ‘lotas’ and ‘electables’, so that he could form the government without which he could not help our nation in getting rid of the so strongly entrenched Corruption Mafia of PML-N, PPP, and associates. That decision helped him in becoming the largest NA party through the 2018 election, but he was still short of the required number of 172 MNAs in National Assembly. So, he had to accept another mixture of the ‘Ettehadi’ small parties – MQM, PML-Q, and Mengal Group from Balochistan; all of whom – like Shylock’s demand of pound of flesh from Antonio’s flesh (Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice) – have their demands, in terms of ministerial posts, funds, etc. That mixture of ‘lotas’, ‘electables’, and ‘Ettehadis’ is the reason for compelling Imran Khan to live with some of the cheap ministers, at least for now. Unfortunately such is the character of the ‘power-wielding’ elite of our nation – a matter of real shame! PTI’s hold in Punjab Provincial Assembly is similarly weak. However, despite their nuisance value, these ‘lotas’ and cheap ministers also know one of their critical weakness, i.e. in case they cross the ‘red line’ they will be out of the government – something which is most dreadful for our ‘power hungry’ elite. For them it is the same unbearable condition which a fish suffers when thrown out of water.
The most critical problem for the government is economic; especially the huge financial loans taken by the PPP and PML-N governments during the last ten years from 2008 – 2018. It is already well-Known that the financial loan of our government in the year 2008 (since the year 1947) stood at about Rs. 6 trillion (Rs. 6 Hazar Arab); including the expenditures of three wars with India, construction of huge dams and link canals, etc. On the other hand, official records of State Bank of Pakistan show that a whopping loan amount of Rs. 24 trillion (Rs. 24 Hazar Arab) were taken by PPP and PML-N governments during the period 2008-2018 – including the loan of Rs. 4. 752 trillion (Rs. 4. 752 Hazar Arab) in just the last year of PML-N government, i.e. the financial year 2017 – 2018. (8). And, there were no major development expenditures during the period 2008-2018, except for the ‘show piece’ projects of Metro Bus and Orange Train, etc. which are well-known to have been much ‘commission-yielding’ for the ‘Ruling Mafias’ and their associates – while the provision of basic human needs (food, medical care, education, etc.) for the ‘non-elite’ masses went from worst to extremely inhuman. Now the PTI government has to pay the huge financial installments of the ‘Sood’ (interest), as also of the re-payment installments of the principal amount. That is not an easy task. It will require extreme austerity measures both at governmental and national levels, as also the severest governmental measures to recover the looted and black money/wealth from the ‘culprit elite’.
By the ‘Rahmah’ of Allah (SWT) some ‘hope-giving’ signs have already started emerging. According to the latest official announcement, the ‘Asset Declaration Scheme’ requiring to show the hidden/black wealth/money (obviously by the ‘elite’) by 03 July this month has resulted in a record-breaking mammoth number of 1, 37, 000 persons so declaring their hidden assets and joining the national tax net; while also paying Rs. 70 billion as tax to the government exchequer. Besides that, the value of the so declared assets is reported to be Rs. 3 thousand billion (Rs. 3 Hazar Arab) on which the tax will be regularly paid now onwards.
Those of the ‘elite’, who still thought that they could retain their ‘Be-Nami’ hidden/black wealth un-detected, faced the bad news. Reportedly the data of about 95% of such hidden/black wealth and their actual owners is already available with the government – and the move for freezing (for subsequent confiscation), along with the jail terms for the defaulters, has already started. To start with on the very first day of that move on 4 July, reportedly 6, 000 canals of ‘Be-Nami’ land actually owned by PML-N’s prominent leader Ch. Tanveer, and 8 ‘Be-Nami’ properties actually owned by Asif Zardari, have been so freezed by FBR.
Even the hidden wealth of the ‘elite’ in foreign countries is now on government’s radar. FBR informed the NA committee that according to data received from 28 foreign countries; those Pakistanis who are non-residents of those countries have a deposit of US Dollar 7. 5 billion.
Lastly, about Pakistan’s current position in international relations; it has certainly started improving from the worst scenario of ‘isolation’, to a constantly strengthening position; whereby not only the regional countries but also the very important world power Russia, as also certain members of European Union, have shown their intentions to develop their diplomatic-economic relations with Pakistan. And, the latest entry is that of Donald Trump, who had given an anti-Pakistan speech when Imran Khan’s government came to power. To that speech, Imran Khan gave an apt but a very strong reply. That reply of Imran Khan made Donald Trump to realise that Imran Khan could not be intimated like the previous rulers. Intensely shrewd as he is, Donald Trump finally decided to ‘change course’, despite the well-known anti-Pakistan attitude of US’ ‘Establishment’, and to develop at least a workable relationship with Pakistan which is now ruled by Imran Khan. According to reports, the programme for Imran Khan’s upcoming visit to US and his scheduled meeting with Donald Trump has been worked out on US’ initiative.
There is no doubt that Pakistan’s journey to economic stability will take some time – may be one or two years; yet by the Grace of Allah (SWT) we are clearly on the path of recovery and betterment.
Hope all this explanation will help in removing sign of despair if any lurking in your mind and Insha Allah will arouse Allah (SWT)’s awarded hope.
As a parting note, I cannot resist the desire to quote Allah (SWT)’s injunction in Ayahs 53 and 54 of Surah Zumar, as following (9):-
(05 July 2019)