I have heard that classified documents are normally released by the U.S. government thirty years after the events relating to them, yet more than thirty years have passed since Zia and others were killed in an air crash, but no documents about the event have been released or de-classified. 

If you ask anyone in Pakistan who they think killed the president, most of them unhesitatingly say "CIA". Some of them say it so confidently that I'm tempted to ask them if the CIA consulted them before arranging the crash.

Eric Margolis, the Toronto-based journalist, has repeatedly claimed that it was the Soviets (Russians) who did it. As proof, he pointed to the way Chechneyan terrorists were overpowered in a theater in Moscow. Cans of cold drinks were given to them and among the cans there were a few which contained the nerve gas to incapacitate the guerillas. The cans were opened by remote control, the gas was released, and the terrorists overpowered. This was the way the pilot of Zia's plane was incapacitated. 

I read more on the subject and found that the KGB teaches its students Zia's murder as a case study and how the agency arranged for it to happen. A Russian defector to the U.S. also revealed all the details.

But when I tell this to the few intelligent men I know, they refuse to believe it. The most intriguing thing is what I read today in my grandson's text book ("History and culture of Pakistan" by Nigel Kelly). According to this book, an anonymous caller phoned a daily newspaper two and a half hours before the crash and asked if Zia's plane had crashed. I have never heard about this before, and it seems that our children are being told something that is false.

Thank you, Modi

Shakir Lakhani

AUGUST 15, 2019

Thank you, Narendra Modi, for proving that you are the Muslim-hater we always knew you were. Thank you for proving that Mr Jinnah and his associates correctly surmised that in a united India, Muslims would be second-class citizens with no rights. Thank you for proving that you and your Hindutva followers can never be trusted, that you ignored Nehru’s promise to the UN to conduct a plebiscite to determine the state’s future, despite Nehru saying, “If they [Kashmiris] tell us to walk out, I would have no hesitation in quitting Kashmir”, you did the very opposite, just to appease those who voted for your party and its twisted policies.
We know how rabid Hindutva works, Modi. My father and his friends would pretend to be Hindus when going by bus from one city to another in your home state of Gujarat. Even many years before the partition, they were terrified they would be massacred if spotted and caught by those who subscribed to the violent philosophy propagated by those who founded the RSS. I’m grateful to your predecessors for the mass killings in 1947, which convinced my father and other members of my family to flee to Pakistan.
We knew, of course, after you presided over the massacre of thousands of Muslims in 2002 that you hate Muslims more than Hitler hated the Jews. We know that as your followers wrenched open the wombs of pregnant Muslim women and you watched in glee, you were openly expressing your hatred for the thousand-year Muslim rule over India. You further provided more proof by not fielding a single Muslim to contest the UP elections, a state of 200 million where three out of ten people are Muslims. We also know that you were able to secure a majority in the Lok Sabha due to your open hatred for Muslims, and your promise to suppress the freedom movement in the Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir. How can Indian Muslims ever forget the popular slogan ‘Vote for BJP if you want to destroy Muslims’ in the recent general elections, which you won by a vast majority?
You have now proved that you are worse than we thought, by making Kashmir a colony, a land where the people are proud of their history of opposing foreign aggression for four thousand years. Thank you for convincing Indian Muslims that they will never be able to live like free citizens in India. Thank you for exposing the true face of Hindutva. The whole world will now see non-Hindus being expelled from India if they don’t convert to Hinduism, after you get India declared a Hindu Rashtra.
Thank you for displaying flagrant contempt for the constitution of your country, which declares that Article 370 is an indispensable part of it. We know that your cowering judges in the Supreme Court will take a long time to decide the issue, by which time the genocide of Muslims will already have taken place.
Thank you again, Modi, for drawing the attention of the whole world to the hapless people of Kashmir. If you think you can silence them by imposing curfew and not allowing them to communicate with the outside world, you’re living in a fool’s paradise. They have the grit and the determination to fight for many years to protect their identity, their culture and their land.
You have only served to alienate the Muslims and liberals of your country, and despite your best efforts, you have only internationalised the issue. We hope you live long enough to realise that you have made a terrible mistake.
The writer is an engineer, a former visiting lecturer at NED Engineering College, an industrialist, and has been associated with the petroleum, chemical industries for many years.

I know it isn't important to the younger generation, but I do feel that they should be told that many things they hold as true are in fact not so. There is, for instance, that fiction that Mr. Jinnah used to speak Urdu fluently, even though the fact is that he could speak only a few broken sentences in the national language. His speeches were translated into Urdu and they found someone whose voice was similar to his, and made audios for broadcasting. This was done in the frenzied days of that hypocrite who pretended to be a very good Muslim (Zia). 

Another piece of fiction that needs to be demolished is that Pakistan came into existence on August 14. For the first two or three years, Independence Day was August 15. Fortunately there are postage stamps which prove this, as well as records of speeches by Jinnah and Liaquat Ali Khan asking the nation to celebrate with zeal the first Independence Day on August 15. Actually, our rulers suddenly realized that we should not observe our most revered holiday on a day on which the Indians also did so. Therefore, it was changed to August 14.

I also recollect that our standard time used to be the same as India's, namely four and a half hours ahead of GMT. (For East Pakistan, it was 6 hours ahead of GMT). I recall my geography teacher saying that the time selected as standard was the one corresponding to Karachi, as Karachi is centrally situated. The teacher hesitated a bit when she said it, as if she doubted it. But later, I found that the longitude passing very near to Karachi neatly cuts Pakistan into two almost equal halves. And this is how it should be, but just because India was following the same time, we had to change it. Right now, our standard time is that corresponding to the Northern Areas (this, in fact, should be India's Standard time). This is unnatural, and someone with pluck should try to persuade the government to correct it, but I know it won't, just because it will mean having the same standard time as India's.

To the average Pakistani, just because Saudi Arabia is a hundred percent Muslim country (there are no Jews and Christians there), therefore Saudis should support Pakistan in its efforts to prevent India expanding beyond its borders. More particularly, Pakistanis are surprised that even though the Imam of Kaaba used to pray for the Kashmiris to win freedom, he stopped doing so a few years back (obviously due to pressure from the U.S.).

So it should not surprise us, particularly the brainwashed followers of Imran Khan, that the Saudis have decided to invest a whopping seventy five billion dollars in India (this is apart from the billions they've already invested there in the past). 

What most Pakistanis don't know is that the Saudis (and Arabs from other countries) have a very poor opinion of Pakistan. This is because most Pakistanis abroad are arrogant and dishonest. Another reason is that most Saudis don't consider Pakistanis as Muslims, due to the vast number of Shias and Barelvis in Pakistan. They are disgusted when Pakistanis try to portray themselves as true Muslims, better than even the Saudis. 

So it shouldn't surprise us that they don't trust Pakistanis and would rather invest in a country where infidels are in the majority. And the situation will not change if we continue allowing those openly preaching violence to roam around freely in our country. We should insist upon the government to provide good scientific education to our children. And we should stop listening to illiterate mullahs completely.

For the first time in the country's history, we have a Minister of Climate Change, a woman (Zartaj Gul) who would have served Imran Khan better as information minister. A few months back, when it rained unexpectedly, bringing much relief to people in Punjab, she simpered and said that the rains were due to the good and impeccable character of the prime minister (the so-called Mr. Clean, who pays only fifty dollars a month as income tax). A couple of days later, there were more rains, killing a number of people. She must have regretted her earlier remarks, because obviously the deaths were also due to the "good character" of Imran Khan, who happens to have fathered many illegitimate children, according to his ex-wife Reham Khan.

This belief about good weather being due to good people ruling the country is apparently wide-spread. Having been brought up in an environment where science reigned supreme, I regard all such beliefs as superstition.

My late father-in-law was a great admirer of the dreaded dictator (Zia-ul-Haq). He once told me that there had been no floods or earthquakes or other natural disasters after Zia snatched power and virtually destroyed the country, and it proved that Zia had God's support. I had looked at my father-in-law in disbelief, wondering how such people could exist in the twentieth century (he died in 1997).

Imran Khan himself is a firm believer in this poppycock, his beliefs having been strengthened after his third marriage to a woman who claims to have spiritual powers. It was she who persuaded him to believe and proclaim that huge oil reserves would soon be discovered in the sea near the Karachi coast. For weeks the superstitious prime minister had the nation on tenterhooks, all awaiting with bated breath the confirmation of the discovery of all that oil which would have turned the country into an economic superpower. 

Unfortunately it didn't happen, which should have convinced IK that his wife is not what she claims to be, but apparently he continues to believe in her powers. I'm not surprised.

Inflation? what’s that?

Shakir Lakhani
AUGUST 6, 2019

Inflation is, reportedly, very high nowadays, principally due to the nefarious activities of those parties that lost the last general elections and couldn’t form a government. Despite being in the opposition, they seem to have so much power even now that they are able to damage the country by raising prices of essential items. They used the same tricks to keep the rate of inflation low during their last stint in power, not allowing the dollar to increase by more than ten percent over five years, which is why they were rejected in the last poll. At least, this is what we have to assume since the present high inflation has not at all affected the popularity of the current government.

Having spent so much time on this planet, I know all kinds of people from every group in society. I know billionaires as well as paupers. Among my acquaintances are those who are struggling to survive on their salaries, as well as those whose only problem is how to spend the millions they earned yesterday. Some are feudal landlords who don’t care if the price of petrol shoots up to two thousand rupees a liter, and there are those who have heart attacks every time the government increases the price of kerosene or gas.

I met a wealthy man last week who makes millions every month from the many houses and shops he has rented out. He is a smuggler with friends and relatives in all government departments. I asked him, “Are you affected by the high rate of inflation?” “What inflation?” he asked, glancing at his seven million rupee watch and getting up to go. “I have no problem with inflation; this year too I’ll go for my four annual vacations and two pilgrimages to the Holy Land. My only problem is whether to go with my second wife or the third one, whom I married last week.”
Next, I asked a Customs officer whether inflation had affected him. He cheerfully said that he has simply increased the amount of bribes he gets from importers. Not long ago, he used to charge twenty-five thousand rupees to let a container of refrigerators and air conditioners go out of the port without looking into it, today he charges forty thousand rupees. And the importer said, “I recover the extra money from shop owners, who in turn charge more from their customers, who wouldn’t be buying refrigerators and air conditioners if they weren’t rich”.

A construction magnate said, “Yes, the increase in cement and steel prices will cause the prices of apartments to go up, but hey, who cares? Buyers of luxury apartments can afford to pay much more.”

Then I asked a few of those who are known as the ‘middle class’. They are the ones who earn anything from twenty-five thousand to fifty thousand rupees a month; they are comprised mostly of peons, clerks, electricians and plumbers. This is the group that should be badly affected by high prices of petrol, electricity, gas, medicines and food. How do they plan to deal with inflation? Some said they would give up going to cheap restaurants and dhabas completely, or restrict eating out to once in three months. Others said their wives would not buy two new suits this summer; they will do with old and second-hand clothes. Their long cherished desire to go for Hajj will have to be postponed indefinitely. They will transfer their children from schools charging a thousand rupees a month to a madrassah charging three hundred rupees a month.

As for the sixty or seventy million poor living below the poverty line, beggars and those who depend on charity, they know their conditions will never change, whoever is in power. They easily get free food at shrines and at Edhi and Sailani welfare homes; they live in hovels and sleep out in the open, even during rains and cold weather. They don’t have to worry about petrol, gas, food, medicine and electricity prices. When they fall sick they simply lie down and die without bothering anyone. They are the lucky ones because they don’t fear the future, they don’t care if the stock market index declines by a thousand points every day or if property prices go through the roof.

So the Great Khan and his ministers should not worry about high inflation. The vast majority of Pakistanis is quite capable of enduring even more hardships without protesting. Those Pakistanis who are badly affected by high prices don’t really matter; most of them won’t be around to cast their votes four years from now.

The writer is an engineer, a former visiting lecturer at NED Engineering College, an industrialist