The Chinese have a saying, "May you live in interesting times". I'm glad I'm alive today, when so many interesting things are happening, in Pakistan and elsewhere. 

In India, the media is busy reporting that there is a civil war going on in Karachi between the people and the armed forces. Even a respectable channel like CNN was duped into reporting this fake news. There was a time when I used to respect Indian journalists for being truthful. Not any more. They are so biased against Pakistan and Muslims that they don't report on the killing of Muslims in Indian-occupied Kashmir and other parts of India.

In Pakistan, things have heated up after the ludicrous attempt by Imran Khan to silence Captain Safdar and Maryam Nawaz. The Inspector General of Sindh was forced (probably at gunpoint) to sign the arrest warrant to get Safdar. If the ex-army captain had taken out his gun to shoot down those who broke open the door of his room, a bloodbath would have ensured. Probably that was what they intended, to kill Safdar so his wife would stay out of politics for four and a half months, thus depriving the combined opposition of its main speaker.

Imran and his cronies certainly were taken unawares by what happened after the shameful incident. Almost the entire police command in Sindh requested to be sent on leave ranging from ten to sixty days. This was a big shock, and the army chief had to be requested to conduct an inquiry and fine the persons responsible for acting as if they are above the law. Of course, since everyone knows who did it, it's doubtful if the results of the inquiry will be made public. Perhaps a few small fish will be sacked and people will soon forget the incident, and Imran will thank his wife for it. Until the next major incident happens, which will be very soon, seeing the panic on the faces of Imran Khan and his minions.

 Mr. Jinnah's mausoleum had previously been used for political purposes by the then opposition leader-on-a-container Imran Khan a few years back. He and his unruly followers had created a ruckus, demanding the resignation of the prime minister at the time (Nawaz Sharif). It had been considered normal at the time and no one was charged. But when Mariam Nawaz (daughter of the ousted prime minister) and her husband did the same thing, all hell broke loose. 

The youthia government went all out for the kill. After all their ministers condemned Mariam's husband Safdar of the crime of desecrating the grave of the founder of the nation, someone advised the desperate nincompoop Imran Khan to do something reckless. Luckily no one was killed.

They got a local leader's nephew to file a charge against Safdar for attempted murder and creating mayhem at the grave. The said nephew, by the way, is also free on bail pending the outcome of a trial for terrorism. Then the leadership got the Inspector General of police kidnapped and he was forced to order the police to break down the door of the hotel room where Maryam and her husband were staying. Not many saw what was the real intention behind the break-in. 

The leadership apparently thought Safdar (a retired army captain) would try to resist arrest, a shoot-out would follow and the couple would be killed. If not both of them, if the husband were killed, Maryam would have to self-isolate for four months and the opposition's momentum would be slowed. 

The incident shows the desperation of those who rule the country. It's obvious that Imran is in a panic, and will do anything to save himself from the people's wrath. Let's hope he doesn't do something drastic, like starting a war with a neighboring country.

 They tried their best to stop the united opposition parties from holding a "power show" in Gujranwalla. Event though all analysts (including those who love IK) admitted that it had been very impressive, Imran's cronies have spared no effort to portray it as a failure. The most voluble has been Punjab's information minister Fayyaz Ul Hassan Chouhan, who has never paid any income tax in his life. He is fooling no one else but himself if he thinks the public believes him. In fact, his party is so much hated throughout the country that Punjab's lady health minister was booed when she went to the burning Hafiz Centre in Lahore to sympathize with those whose shops have been destroyed. They yelled abuses at her, shouting slogans praising Nawaz Sharif and calling for Imran Khan to resign. This should at least convince her that her party is no longer popular in the majority province. I hope her boss sees the video and gets the message.

As expected, all government ministers called Nawaz Sharif and his allies Indian agents, with that loudmouth Railway Minister Shaikh Rasheed even saying that Nawaz's party should be banned. He seems to have forgotten what happened when the majority party in Pakistan was banned and its leader (Mujeebur Rahman) labelled a traitor and imprisoned. The country was dismembered. I wonder why this man is tolerated by those who rule the country. I also wonder why his recent bout with Covid has not left him scarred. I won't be surprised if his brain deteriorates rapidly and he starts making weird statements.

What Nawaz said has been known for a long time. We know that the 2018 elections were heavily rigged to foist that nincompoop IK on us. In just two years he has destroyed the economy. And I can bet that he will raise the salaries of government and private sector employees by twenty percent or so. This will again cause prices to go through the roof, as he will need to substantially increase petrol, gas and electricity prices to balance the budget. It won't be long before he is overthrown. I only hope his removal is done without bloodshed.

 I've heard it so many times that I would like to hit the next man who says it to me. "There is no compulsion in Islam", some of them say, with that pious expression that only hypocrites adopt. If what they say is true, why do fanatics routinely kill Shias? 

Way back in 1964 or thereabouts, an Arab king visited Pakistan. A con man put up a huge banner with his name and picture on it, and the words "Islamic banking" in English and Arabic. It was placed in such a spot that the King couldn't have failed to notice it. Of course there was no response from the Arab, as the kingdom in those days was a poor country.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, "The easiest way to dupe a Pakistani Muslim is to use Islamic words or terms wherever possible". Using words like "sharia compliant", "halal" and "Islamic" are sure to attract Pakistani customers. A few years back Taqi Usmani made it mandatory for women working in his Dubai bank to be fully covered. The order also applied to Hindu and Christian women. He was the same person who (as Chief Justice of the Shariat Court) tried to ban interest-based banks but failed, when it was pointed out to the Supreme Court that he was the chairman of 200 organizations promoting interest-free banking.

The only thing Islamic about these banks (until now) was that they replaced the word "interest" with "profit". In fact, their charges are much higher than those of commercial banks, but Pakistani fools still gave their hard-earned money to them. 

Now, Faysal Bank has made it compulsory for its female employees to don the all-enveloping burqa also. The irony is that its male employees are free to wear western clothes and shave daily as well. There has been a huge outcry on the social media about this, but I doubt if it'll affect them. 


New force on the block?

The prime minister has asked his Tiger Force to monitor food prices in the country. I’m afraid it will be a waste of time. From what has happened in Egypt under the IMF programme, it can be assumed that food prices will increase at least another hundred percent before stabilising.

A man will need at least Rs500 a day to spend on food if he wants to survive. How will a family of four survive on Rs20,000 a month? But not to worry, our people have been enduring hunger and starvation for centuries now.

Shakir Lakhani


October 14, 2020

 If there is one thing I've always believed in, it's never buying property in foreign countries, especially Dubai. This is because I know that your plot of land can easily be occupied by others, and then you don't have a chance of getting it back, as the courts (particularly in Arab countries) are always prejudiced against foreigners and invariably favor the local land grabbers. 

So despite being tempted many times by relatives to buy even a small flat in Dubai with my meager savings, I refrained. I knew that a day would come when property values would plummet and my friends would be left holding ownership papers not worth anything. After the pandemic struck, property values went down even further, and those who thought their money would be safe abroad were proved wrong.

But something else has happened in the meantime. Pakistan's tax agencies have somehow got hold of names of those Pakistanis who own properties abroad and have not declared the same in their tax returns. So they have started sending notices to local businessmen to explain how they were able to invest their money in foreign countries despite their tax returns showing very limited income. Of course, Imran Khan's friend Faisal Vawda won't be called, even though he owns millions of pounds worth of property in the UK. He's one of the many in the present cabinet who must be worried about the growing opposition to their beloved leader. 

So, many businessmen and industrialists are spending sleepless nights nowadays, wondering how they'll get out of the jam. But knowing what happens in Pakistan, they'll be able to buy their way out. In a country where rapists can also remain at large, they will pay off the investigators and wait until there are buyers for their foreign properties. Let's hope that happens soon, although it's highly unlikely.

 The vast majority of Pakistanis are absolutely illiterate, so one can understand why they're afraid to go to the police when their valuables are stolen or when their women are raped. But I've seen even well-to-do Pakistanis who dread going to any government official. If it is absolutely necessary, they send their employees or lawyers. 

I remember the time when some very expensive electrical equipment (including the meter for recording energy usage) was stolen in my salt factory. My partner didn't want to go to the cops to register the theft, but I pointed out that it had to be done, since the meter was owned by a government organization (the Karachi Electric Supply Corp). We went to the police station, but he refused to go inside with me, as he was convinced he wouldn't come out alive. I went in alone, had tea with the Station House Officer, who registered the complaint, then came out to escort me to my car. I looked around, my partner had disappeared, until I saw him in the distance seated at a roadside restaurant. He came over, shaking with fear, and got in the car. He asked me how the cops had treated me, as he thought they would beat me up for reporting the theft (as it is still commonly believed that the police are involved in most cases of theft and robbery).

Then there was the time when a lady neighbor of mine started receiving obnoxious and threatening calls. She had three very pretty daughters who had given up answering the phone as some males had been threatening to kidnap them. I asked her to go to the telephone department across the street and file a complaint. She shuddered and said that she (being a woman) might be harassed in some way (like getting a huge inflated bill). So I drafted a letter, got her to sign it and delivered it by hand to the telephone company. In a couple of days, the threatening and obnoxious calls stopped and she was able to sleep well again.

To return to the subject, people are scared to have anything to do with the cops or any government department because they are victimized. A former police official revealed the other day that the prime minister Imran Khan himself had told him to arrest opposition politicians on trumped up charges. This kind of thing makes the police and other bureaucrats think they are indispensable and so they use their powers indiscriminately.

 Both Imran Khan and Trump are narcissists, they love being flattered and told by sycophants how good they are. Even though Trump is obviously in bad shape after getting emergency treatment for Covid 19, he resisted his doctor's advice to remain in hospital. Not wanting to appear weak, he wants to campaign for re-election. I hope he collapses and is declared unfit to run.

Pakistan's Trump, meanwhile, has gone berserk. Forty one important members of Nawaz's Muslim League were suddenly charged with sedition. Among the accused were three retired generals and the prime minister of Azad Kashmir! Naturally, Imran's stooges went on the defensive, saying the prime minister had nothing to do with the matter. Really? How do you explain that whenever they do anything, they always say it's done on the advice of the prime minister? Sometimes you wonder if they even have to take Imran's permission whenever they want to piss or shit. I saw a video of Imran in which he begins every sentence with "I', "My" and "Mine". The man is simply obsessed with himself.

So, while Imran's cronies claimed his government was not involved in the sedition charges, the media discovered that the man behind the FIR was a prominent member of Imran's ruling party. Moreover, he is himself involved in several cases of murder and other charges. The Punjab governor, a turncoat himself, said he didn't know the man, even though there are enough photos of the governor with the complainant.

It makes you wonder how this country has been able to survive for seven decades. If people like the governor and the narcissistic prime minister remain in charge, the country won't be able to survive for long.

It's easy to tell whenever a government in Pakistan knows that it is no longer popular and is about to fall. The biggest sign of course is the imposition of censorship on the media. All TV channels have been ordered not to telecast speeches of the opposition leaders, even those who have so far not been convicted of any offence (like Maulana Fazlur Rehman).

The other significant sign is calling all opposition leaders Indian agents. The entire cabinet of the puppet prime minister Imran Khan has gone into overdrive, painting Nawaz Sharif and his allies as helping India. Strange, Nawaz Sharif and his ministers did not call Imran Khan an Indian agent when he paralyzed the government of the day for 124 days in 2014. That "dharna" led to the cancellation of the visit of the Chinese president to the country. Ironically, it is said that the same Chinese president is reluctant to visit Pakistan after an important advisor of the puppet premier was caught indulging in corruption. 

As I said, almost every minister in the government is yelling out loud about Nawaz's treachery. Shehbaz Gill brings up something new every day. Today he "revealed" that Nawaz met Modi secretly in Nepal, yesterday he said Nawaz's sons have been seen talking to Indians in London recently. Shaikh Rasheed, whose brain has obviously been affected by Covid, can't control himself. Yesterday he threatened Maryam Nawaz openly, saying he would reveal certain secrets that would cause an earthquake. If he really has such secrets, why not expose them now? But then, no one takes him seriously, he talks about everything under the sun except his job (which is to run the railways).

The third thing is arresting prominent leaders of the opposition. Today they have announced they will arrest Maryum Nawaz's husband on charges of treason, but they dare not arrest Maulana Fazlur Rehman, whose party leaders threatened to hold demonstrations outside the Peshawer Corps Commander's House when the National Accountability Bureau said it would charge him with financial crimes. NAB of course hurriedly withdrew the notice, probably after some bigwig told it to do so.

So we are in for interesting times in the days to come. I hope the puppet prime minister is told to go to London soon and rest there for the remainder of his life.

 I used to watch both Trump and Imran Khan mixing freely among the people without wearing masks, although Imran started wearing the mask when some of his close associates were infected. I thought, perhaps, that this virus was reluctant to attack stupid people, and so both of them were still free of infection. But now that Trump has gone down, it's only a matter of time before his Pakistani counterpart is also affected, particularly since his wife is a frequent visitor to crowded places like shrines. Of course, Imran may already have been infected but didn't have the symptoms, like about twenty to thirty percent of those infected. In which case, let's hope his brain isn't affected, as has been the case with several people in the U.S. He's already a nut, we can't have a man in his position going berserk and ordering missiles to be fired on his opponents!

Seriously, though, I hope the Democrats do some solid research and convince the American public that Trump is now a security risk. Even if he doesn't have symptoms, and he does get re-elected, the corona virus may remain hidden in his body until one day he gets this urge to start a nuclear war. All the world leaders must be hoping and praying that the Republicans lose the election next month.