When he was blaring false accusations against Nawaz Sharif during the 126 days on the container, he would frequently refer to Transparency International's reports about government corruption. At that time he didn't know that the same Transparency International would report that corruption has increased massively during his three and a half year reign. So now his ministers are spending time trying to prove that the report is wrong, which was only to be expected. The Information Minister Fawad Choudhri says that the report does not mention financial corruption, only the deteriorating law and order situation. He's forgotten that his government keeps on sacking and transferring senior police officers who don't do its bidding and that it is the lady in black who reportedly decides whom to appoint as Inspector Generals. So, when senior police officials are more preoccupied with when they will be sacked or where they will be transferred, how can they devote their time to improving law and order?

If there is one thing Imran Khan's government will be remembered for, it is the utter shamelessness of him and his ministers. Even though the country is headed for an economic meltdown, they keep insisting that the economy is much better now than it was when they took over the government. Probably they think most Pakistanis are morons who can be fooled all the time. I wish Imran Khan would carry out his threat of going out on the streets to prove how dangerous he will be for those who rigged the last elections so he could become prime minister. He will then find out how much the people love him!

Finally, Imran Khan's cronies have seen the writing on the wall, after he lost his head yesterday and warned that he would be very dangerous to those who are against him if they removed him from power.

Just see what he said: "I wish to warn you: If I am ousted from the government, I will be more dangerous for you. Right now I sit silently in my office and watch all the drama taking place. If I take to the streets, you will have no place to hide, because the people have seen your true colours."

So it's finally happening. He's telling those who helped him attain power that he can fight back if they have him removed from prime minister's house. Everyone now is convinced that the establishment is disillusioned with him and wants him to go home before he can inflict more damage to the country.

Whenever a ship starts sinking, the rats jump overboard. In Imran Khan's case it's his accountability czar, the repulsive Shehzad Mirza Akbar who turned out to be the first to resign. Soon, the others who were made advisors or ministers under pressure from those at the top will go, leaving him alone with his core party members (though I suspect most of those will also leave him soon).

I expect a palace coup, led by Parvez Khattak or Shah Mahmood Qureishi. If I were in Imran Khan's place, I would fly to London tonight.

Whenever a Pakistani government knows it can't hold out any longer, it talks of a presidential system or imposition of emergency to postpone elections. The totally incompetent government of Imran Khan is no different. Having recognized the signs (defeat in local elections as well as rebellion by members of his own party), Imran Khan knows it's only a matter of days before the public comes out on the streets and sends him home. 

I can't help comparing Imran with two other world leaders (Trump and Boris Johnson). Trump was booted out by the people in an election he considers was rigged. Boris Johnson is on the verge of resigning (and perhaps saying good bye to politics) after he and his party members were discovered holding parties while the public was told to stay at home during the lock down. So it's natural to assume that Imran (the third member of the trio) should also face an ignominious end to his career. 

There are those who think a presidential system is more suitable without knowing anything about the damage done to the country by erstwhile presidents (all of them generals). Ayub Khan, the first of the lot, made Pakistan bankrupt by making a new capital city (against the wishes of the majority Bengalis). He also sowed the seeds of the nation's breakup by handing over power to another general in violation of his own constitution because he could not bear the thought of a Bengali being president of the country. Yahya Khan presided over the disintegration of the country by not handing over power to the winner of the 1970 elections (as it would have meant rule by Bengalis). Zia destroyed the fabric of the country by his hypocritical Islamization, while Musharraf staged a coup and made billions by bending over backwards to appease the Americans.  

So it looks like Imran Khan, by wanting to be a president, wants unlimited power so he can destroy what remains of Pakistan.


Taxing the poor

January 19, 2022

This refers to the article ‘Transforming Pakistan: Powerful, crooked politicians accustomed to being above law’ by Prime Minister Imran Khan (January 17). It is indeed shameful that in Pakistan some categories of people are exempt from paying income tax. Most of the burden of taxes then falls onto the poor and middle classes.

I would like to inform the prime minister that there was technically no income tax in Madina; people only had to pay Zakat on the value of their assets. The prime minister should consider this seriously so that there is no discrimination among the rich and poor, and all people are treated fairly in matters of taxation.

Shakir Lakhani



As if Pakistan didn't have enough problems already, a Pakistan-origin British Muslims held up Jews in a Texas synagogue for many hours before being shot dead. The man (Malik Faisal Akram) was born and raised in UK, which proves that terrorists are not produced in madressahs only. He had everything going for him. His family were living in Manchester and after the incident his brother said he was mentally disturbed. 

The mentally disturbed person was very lucid when he asked to talk to his sister, Dr. Afia Siddiqui, who is in jail after being sentenced to 86 years. She is a heroine to most Pakistanis, in spite of the fact that she got a divorce from her husband to marry a Taliban extremist. At her trial she insisted that none of the jurors should be Jewish, which was enough to antagonize any jury. Again, she too was highly educated, with a degree from MIT.

I've always wondered why Pakistani Muslims get so emotional when they see anyone talking against their religion. The demonstrations against the insulting cartoons resulted in loss of lives and property in Pakistan, not in France. But the demonstrators thought they were doing a great service to their religion. 

I wonder if our religious scholars will ever stop saying that seventy two virgins will be given as reward to martyrs. Maybe this could be the main reason why Pakistani Muslim men are ready to put their lives at risk whenever they see anything offensive to their beliefs. 

What happened on January 13, 2022 could well change the country's history. The Dear Leader has been living under the delusion that he's the most popular person in Pakistan, that there is no inflation or law and order problem and that his ministers would continue worshiping him. He must have been shocked when his Defence Minister Parvez Khattak suddenly told him in the presence of his ministers and party workers that unless KP's demands for gas are met, he would not vote for Imran Khan. The Great Khan reacted in typical fashion. Saying that he did now own any mall or factory (like Khattak), he would not submit to blackmail. Another surprise, he said if those present were not satisfied with his performance, they could select someone else as their leader. With that, he rose to leave the meeting, but was persuaded to remain by his alarmed sycophants. The Defence Minister left the room, but returned after some time, claiming that he had gone out only for a smoke. But the damage has been done. IK will no longer command the respect he once did and it's only a matter of time before he faces open rebellion in his party.

As if this wasn't enough, another ruling party lawmaker from KP (Noor Alam Khan)  "assailed the government on the floor of the National Assembly for “ignoring” Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and demanded that top cabinet members’ — including the PM himself — be placed on the Exit Control List (ECL)" (DAWN). Now this is unprecedented. Accusing the leader himself of incompetence is bad enough, but demanding that Imran Khan and his cabinet ministers should not be allowed to travel outside the country is the limit. It should be interesting to see IK's reaction. If he remains silent, his goose is cooked. If he retaliates and expels this rebel from the party, he faces the danger of others resigning and he will no longer be the prime minister. Whatever happens, he and his ministers can no longer claim that all is well in the country, there is no inflation, Pakistan is the cheapest country in the world, blah blah blah.

I've long known that there is something physically wrong with me. Throughout my life I've been sick every winter of my life. My nose gets blocked, after a few days I start coughing and spitting out phlegm (I've never been able to find out why phlegm is formed). I also develop a mild fever, my whole body aches and most of the times I keep thinking whether or not I should kill myself. And even though I spend a fortune every year (besides refraining from consuming cold drinks and cold water), every year it happens. This year is no different.

Sometimes I think it's due to old age. Often I believe it's in the food, but what is certain is that it's something in the cold weather that causes my nose block. Sometimes I can't sleep at all and feel terrible the next day. In my thirties and forties, I used to get up and walk for half an hour before my nose cleared. But in recent years I've not been able to do that as I can't even think about getting up in the extremely cold weather. Actually the temperature is the same as in past years but I am feeling the cold. Maybe it's the humidity that has decreased this year, and that's what causes my nose block and the phlegm. 

I do wish I had enough money to go to a country like Sri Lanka or Malaysia, where the temperature remains constant throughout the year. But even if I did, it's impossible this year, with the Covid virus rampant in almost all countries. 

There are increasing signs that Pakistan may not survive. I hope to God I'm wrong, but if it disintegrates, the main reason would be the greed of its leaders and their failure to enforce the law,

Shahrukh Jatoi was sentenced to death but apparently escaped execution after reaching a settlement with the victim's family. Normally he would have been released, but the court decided that the victim's family may have been coerced into "forgiving" him. What is important is that the killer should have been in jail, but an intrepid reporter saw him in a private hospital and Geo telecast the news. It turned out that he had been outside the jail for most of the time, perhaps being there only when a higher-up was due to visit. Sharukh was able to get away with it because he is a member of a highly influential family of politicians (one of them was Pakistan's prime minister). Obviously, the law enforcers looked the other way because they know that their jobs depended on keeping feudals like the Jatois happy.

A similar instance is that of Usman Mirza, the s.o.b. who forced a couple to take off their clothes and indulge in sexual intercourse so he could make a video and blackmail them. He even raped the poor girl. It was an open and shut case, with many witnesses and video evidence. When hearings of the case got postponed repeatedly, I knew the victim couple was being forced to withdraw their complaint against the bastard. And this is exactly what happened. The scoundrel will now be free, even though a senior police official has said he can be convicted on the basis of evidence available. Even if some judge is bold enough to sentence him to a jail term, you can bet he'll bribe his way to freedom, living in his own house or a hospital most of the time. 

I have lost all hope. These are two instances (there are many others, like the 23 killed in Murree the other day due to Imran Khan's negligence) that prove that Pakistan is a failed state and only a miracle can save it from disintegration.

One would've thought two jabs of the Sinopharm vaccine would be sufficient for protection against Covid. But no, now we're told that booster jabs are required. So we had no option but to go for the Pfizer booster, as the government didn't have the Chinese one in stock. Even though I've suspected that the Pfizer one is not so effective as many U.S. nationals have received it and are still being hospitalized, I ignored my gut instinct and opted for Pfizer. And within minutes I was shaking uncontrollably and had fever for the next twenty four hours. And the same thing happened to my wife. So I'm wondering if it isn't a scam, forcing people to get vaccinated, knowing that it will not provide full protection, and one will have to go on taking jabs every few months to avoid getting hospitalized.

I remember how worried I was with the thought of contracting Hepatitis-C in Saudi Arabia. When I gave a plastic bottle of Dettol to the Punjabi barber shaving my head, he threw away the bottle, saying, "You'll get infected if it's in your stars". This is what most Pakistanis believe, which is why I strongly doubt the official Covid deaths reported daily in the country. For all we know, instead of 2 or 3 people dying of Covid, the actual number could well be much higher, seeing that most people are hesitant to get themselves tested (the test costs up to Rs. 8,000, which is much higher than a common Pakistani can afford). But then, there are so many things the government tells us that are not true, so I'm afraid we'll have to live with it.

Last month the Chief Justice of the apex court ordered the immediate demolition of Nesla Towers in Karachi. Even though defence lawyers pointed out that similar illegally built structures in Islamabad (Imran Khan's properties in particular) had been "regularized", the court refused to oblige. The poor owners of Nesla Towers were thrown out of the building and have had a tough time finding alternate accommodation. Now the Islamabad high court has ordered the demolition of a Navy Club in Rawalpindi. To an ordinary man, this would appear as if the courts have started standing up to the Establishment. But is it really so? I doubt it.

The apex court had also ordered the PAF to hand back the land on which it had built a marriage hall. The marriage hall was renamed as an Air Force College (I don't remember the exact name), and there the matter ended. Then there was the Macro Supermarket built in contravention of all laws in the Lines Area. That building was vacated by the civilian company (Habibs) that had rented it, but the building has not yet been demolished by the army.

You know what? I won't believe that our courts are really independent until they take suo moto action against Imran Khan, against whom more evidence of illegal activity has been found. In fact, there is the matter of the disqualification of Faisal Vawda, who clearly committed perjury and should be barred for life from contesting elections. But it's doubtful if our courts can ever become truly unbiased and impartial and independent. After all, as Mao said, "Power flows from the barrel of a gun".