Every year the government blocks social media and the internet whenever there are riots or disturbances. This time they did it to block the news of its failure to control the situation. Even Whattsapp and Twitter have not been working today. In parts of Lahore and Peshawer, internet has been switched off. 

But what the government doesn't realize is that the blocking or banning works against it. Most people living in Arab states never believe what their government tells them. The same is true of China and Russia, both countries where the officially reported deaths from Covid are suspected to be false. With Imran Khan's frequent U-turns, it is doubtful if people will really believe that the ban on TLP will work. Probably the party will regroup in another name (with the support of the state). It is immensely popular in Punjab and Sindh, where it won three seats in the 2018 elections.

Whatever it does, the prospects of Imran Khan's survival is doubtful. It has not succeeded in curbing inflation, and most Pakistanis being very superstitious, believe that Covid cases and deaths are increasing because of him. His party has lost all the recent bye-elections, despite its efforts to influence voters by the announcement of so-called "packages". Today he has come to Karachi to tell the people that his government will spend a lot of money in Sindh, like making a motorway. Everyone knows he will forget about it tomorrow, the people are so skeptical. When he departs, people will be relieved. 

One of the ways used to destabilize Nawaz Sharif's government was to make the newly-created party (Teheek-e-Labbaik Pakistan) to demonstrate against his rule. At that time the TLP wanted the law minister to be sacked for doing something which I don't remember exactly. It had something to do with Ahmedis. When the sit-in ended, an army officer was seen giving a thousand rupees to each demonstrator. The video of this event immediately went viral and is also on Twitter today, as the TLP paralyzed two cities (Karachi and Lahore) yesterday. What I don't understand is why the media is not using its name, it is simply being described as a religious movement. 

A few months back, the TLP had been out on the streets, demanding the withdrawal of the French ambassador, and cutting off all relations with France (which, by the way, is a major arms supplier to the country). At that time, Imran Khan's cronies had agreed to do so in six months or so. But when the TLP saw that it hadn't been done, they came out on the streets, affecting traffic movement in the two major cities and causing the deaths of many Covid patients in hospitals, which had run out of oxygen cylinders.

Imran Khan must be wondering why everything he did and said before being selected has come back to haunt him. he recently said rapes are caused by scantily clad women in movies. The next day, pictures of him with such women went viral on the social media. When in opposition he said he would never go to the IMF, but was compelled to do so immediately after becoming prime minister. Let's hope and pray that he's sent home soon by those who selected a moron like him to lead the country.

The way Imran Khan's cronies behaved before the election, they thought no one would take action against them for any crimes they would commit. Even Imran Khan contemptuously treated the police. It seems someone told him to look at the criminals in his party. And that is why Jehangir Tareen and Khusro Bakhtiar didn't see it coming. They are part of the sugar mafia that reaped billions this year (and without Imran Khan knowing about it). So it appears that the two criminals will have to face the music.

Of the two, Jehangir is the man who has propped up Imran Khan's government. He hosted a dinner last night in which thirty parliamentarians of the ruling PTI party were present. Imran Khan must've been shocked. Perhaps that's why the court postponed the case for another fifteen days. Knowing how things work in this country, the case may fizzle out, as the real rulers of this country want Imran to continue. 

Naturally, people must be wondering why Imran suddenly turned against Tareen. One reason may be the fact that Tareen wasn't able to get Imran's candidate Hafeez Shaikh elected in the Senate. Another reason may be that Jehangir Tareen hasn't contributed much to the ruling party, at least not as much as he should have, considering that he has raked in a few billions in the sugar scam. 

I sincerely hope Tareen sticks to his guns and reveals the corruption in the ruling party. That would be the final nail in the coffin for the puppet Imran Khan.

When Mukhtaran Mai was gang-raped by nine men, the misogynist Parvez Musharraf (who, like me, is a patrician), blamed her for the incident. He also said that Pakistani women love to get raped so they can easily get a Canadian visa and live abroad for the rest of their lives. Ironically, it's Musharraf who today lives in exile, while Mukhtaran is involved in giving education to girls in her village, some of her beneficiaries being daughters of her rapists. 

Imran Khan is just like Musharraf and the 99 out of 100 Pakistanis who believe that if a woman shows too much skin, she deserves to be raped. But then, he's not known as Taleban Khan for nothing. Until a few years back, he used to frolic on the beaches with scantily clad Western women. Now that he's nearing 70 and is married to a fundamentalist, he wants all women to don the all-enveloping burqa or stay at home all the time. He also believes divorces have increased due to men watching too many movies, particularly Hollywood and Indian films. One should ask him if his two divorces were also due to him seeing movies featuring women wearing bikinis?

Thanks to social media, Imran's remarks received widespread condemnation. But his supporters of course say that his words were taken out of context. Even if Imran burns down all the girls' schools in his home town, his supporters will applaud him and will say he did the right thing. I hope the PTI candidate is defeated by a huge margin in the Daska bye-election the day after tomorrow. At least that will make the rape-apologist Imran Khan realize that he's very unpopular with the people.

It's been forty two years since Bhutto was hanged. Even though I was convinced Bhutto was guilty of the murders he had been accused of, his execution was a great shock. Like almost everyone I knew, I felt that Zia would let Bhutto fly away to another country (probably Libya or UAE), as leaders of many countries were pleading with Zia to spare Bhutto. I think even Bhutto himself was convinced it was a farce, a drama to make him beg for mercy. In retrospect, I believe that it was wrong to execute him. His trial was not fair, and the judges were coerced into finding him guilty.

Why did I hate him? For one thing, he was solely responsible for the dismemberment of the country. If he had been a true democrat, he would have accepted the results of the 1971 election. But that of course would have meant power being handed over to Mujeeb, and Bhutto would have been the leader of the opposition for at least five years. He, along with the generals, refused to allow a Bengali to become the prime minister, and ultimately that led to the secession of more than half the country's population and the formation of Bangladesh.

But that was not the only reason why Bhutto was so unpopular. He destroyed the country's industrial base by nationalizing all the industries that had been set up over twenty five years by hard working entrepreneurs. Most of the factories were then handed over to incompetent people and the country's industrial sector soon collapsed. He nationalized schools and colleges so that his party workers could be given jobs. Karachi was particularly affected, because it was where most nationalized factories and colleges were situated. Due to Bhutto's indiscriminate nationalization, it's impossible to find a Pakistani graduate who can compose a single sentence in any language.

It's been forty four years since he was deposed, but the country is still paying for his vindictive policies. 

 When Im the Dim unceremoniously sacked Dr. Hafeez Shaikh and appointed an inexperienced young Hammad Azhar as finance minister, there was bound to be a lot of confusion. The newcomer immediately announced a resumption of trade with India and a reduction in petroleum prices (although very limited).

The very next day, he heard that he would be removed and replaced by Shaukat Tareen (former finance minister). Not only that, the cabinet decided not to import sugar and cotton or anything else from India until the latter restored Indian-occupied Kashmir's status to what it was before August 2019. When Hammad Azhar was asked by Im the Dim  why he had announced resumption of trade with the enemy country, he told the prime minister that he (Imran) himself had authorized him to do so. It looks like Imran Khan signs documents without reading them. His own order to resume trade with India was revoked by his ministers. All of us should be seriously concerned at this habit of his, because someday he may sign a document that may be detrimental to the country. Undoubtedly he is a security risk.

It now seems that the only Memon in the cabinet (Razak Dawood) will also be sacked. But of course Imran would never terminate his favorites (Faisal Vawda and Murad Saeed), as they are the ones who are reportedly very close to him. 

Superstitious people in Pakistan are always told to change the names of any of their children who are autistic or hyperactive or suffering from any other serious disease. Even though it never works, yet this is what they do. Imran Khan, like most of his countrymen, apparently acts on the advice of soothsayers and palmists. How else can you explain the sacking of the very able Dr. Hafeez Shaikh, the finance minister who was roundly praised just twenty days back by the imbecile Imran Khan himself?

Then there are the frequent changes in bureaucracy. In the two and a half years of this inept government, many police chiefs and many bureaucrats have been transferred without reason. In fact, Hafeez Shaikh was the third finance minister in this government. This government has removed five FBR chiefs and it is only halfway through its tenure assuming it lasts that long, which seems extremely doubtful).

So why was the finance minister summarily sacked? He is no ordinary man, having worked in the IMF as well as serving previous governments. It's being said that Imran asked him to control inflation and try to reduce the prices of essential items. When the minister said it isn't possible, Im the Dim is reported to have lost his temper and told him to resign. By the way, Imran was supposedly under quarantine until yesterday, but it's doubtful if he did test positive, as he was shown in a closed room with his closest advisors discussing how to make our lives even more miserable. Yesterday his doctor told him to resume working, even though he hasn't yet tested negative. One of his minions (Faisal Jawed) even said that it wasn't necessary for a negative report for him to return to work. 

I believe that someone is advising Imran to do what he does, even if there is no reason to do so. Perhaps it's his spiritual mentor, his wife, who reportedly converses with djinns and fairies. Maybe she has dreams in which she is told to advise her husband whom to sack and whom to appoint. Perhaps that's why the very inefficient Punjab Chief Minister Buzdar has not yet been removed.

I and my wife finally got vaccinated two days back. I had read about many side effects which had made me reluctant to register for the first dose. In fact, I didn't trust the Chinese vaccine (Sino pharm), as it had been provided free of charge to the government. Then the price of Russian vaccine was announced, and there was a huge outcry as it was too high. Almost immediately after registering I and my wife were told to go to Khaliqdina Hall on March 25. I was astounded to see so many people there and I thought it would take hours before they would vaccinate me and my wife. Fortunately, most of the people there were health workers and others who had come with their parents.

The young lady who wrote down our details did not wear a mask. Since she recognized all the medications we take, she may have been a doctor. After recording all our details, she told us to go to the man on the other side of the hall. The whole procedure was over in twenty minutes and there have been no side effects so far.

I was deeply impressed, as the Sindh government is known for its inefficiency. Most of the health workers there were Sindhi-speaking and highly professional. It was a novel and unforgettable experience.

Imran Khan seldom wore a mask in public, despite his own health minister asking everyone to do so. People strongly suspected that he had secretly imported vaccines and got himself and his wife vaccinated. But then, he was seen on TV being vaccinated. Just two days later it was announced that he had tested positive for Covid. And this of course caused people to wonder how it could happen. His wife too is reported to have tested positive. 

And because no one believes this U-turn guy and his ministers, people started saying that the whole thing is a fake, that he's been quarantined for three weeks because the Election Commission was getting impatient and wanted to conclude the Foreign Funding and money laundering case against him. In fact, Imran Khan had been asked to appear today and explain his position. So it's natural to conclude that this whole thing has been concocted by his doctor so he cannot be called before the court. 

I'm inclined to believe that it's fake, mainly because the doctor said that the symptoms are mild and he had probably been infected before being vaccinated. And what's more, none of his cronies (like Murad Saeed) have shown signs of infection. Just a day before the Khan was reported being infected, he was seen without a mask and in close proximity to his ministers and advisors. 

So I won't be surprised if some mole informs the media that Imran Khan is in good health and the news of him being infected is fake. Let's wait and see.


THIS is with reference to the letter ‘CSS and English’ (March 12) wherein the writer has claimed: “We may have got our independence from the British, but we are still enslaved by their language”.

I would like to remind one and all that Pakistan was created by a man who spoke Urdu with great difficulty, if at all. All his speeches were in English, and, according to Roedad Khan: “Even though most of the audience did not understand a word of what he said, they knew that he was the one who would make them free”.

Being a simple and easy-to-learn language, English should be taught to all children from the beginning if we wish to progress as a nation.

Shakir Lakhani


Published in Dawn, March 20th, 2021