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Zaheer Bhatti
Another Friday verdict: has added to the smog rather than clear the mist, as it has relied on Nawaz Sharif’s speeches in and outside Parliament and presumptions that the father financed fortunes of his children who ought to have been his dependents at the time the London properties were acquired by the family, again presuming that they had been financed through ill-gotten money. While their opponents rejoice and some question the timing of the judgment, the affected PML(N) President is resilient and vows to take recourse to all legal remedies available to it for redressal of what it terms a politically motivated verdict. It remains to be seen if this development helps the PML(N) rhetoric of going to the People’s Court.
Promising more of the same – When an interim Government headed by a Former Chief of the Apex Court brought in for just 2 months continues burning imported fuel on elaborate self-protocol and slaps petrol hikes twice in just a month, the Election Commission allows the same set of tainted and non-performing individuals and Parties to contest the forthcoming polls; only cosmetically disallowing and then issuing clean chits, and rumours gather strength that the polls were being engineered with those allegedly behind the manoeuvre not categorically refuting the charge, there is nothing but more of the same to expect from the future. But having said that, blaming the interim set-up for not taking pre-emptive precautions for the ensuing monsoons is unfair, as without doubt it was the duty of the Government just departed.
Protests a Right but lock downs a crime – In the face of the economic crunch staring the country, it can ill afford to allow paralyzing of the economic wheel with public entities resorting to strikes and lock downs which ought to be declared essential Services such as medical doctors, teachers and communication services besides the media. Early this week was marred with lockdown by the staff of National Savings whose dysfunction each day causes colossal loss to the national exchequer while marooning mostly Senior Citizens dependent for sustenance upon dividends from their hard-earned savings. It is time that the State clamped a total ban on strikes and lock downs while allowing orderly protests and demonstrations.
Plugging the loopholes – External forces finding the development of CPEC hard to digest considering it another red rag have redoubled their incursions particularly in Balochistan and FATA besides fashioning the so-called Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement aimed at sabotaging the development. In most cases of terrorist attacks the perpetrators invariably riding on motorbikes flee the crime scene without being challenged, and points to gaps in the security of targeted convoys of law enforcing agencies or a set of individuals where the vigil ought to be quadrupled in the face of open threats and incursions by neighbouring India using Afghan soil and the continued US tirade against Pakistan.
And since the RAW/NDS inspiration in a newly sprung Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement has been tracked down with anti-Pak Army slogans and preventing waving of the national flag at its rally, the implants amid their ranks need to be busted and thoroughly exposed through a grand Jirga.
Reward for merit and diligence to duty – Ziaullah, an Inspector of the Motorway Police a decorated police official with appreciation from the Prime Minister and cash Award for diligence to duty, is without a job and sustenance for his family for a year having been reportedly first transferred from Swabi in KPK to Gwadar in Balochistan, later suspended and then removed from service because he had challaned Chairman National Highway Authority for over-speeding on the Motorway. Ziaullah’s appeal against dismissal continues lying pending in the Services Tribunal. Merit being the continuing casualty, this is not the first incident of its kind but a rare one in a Service normally not held in great public esteem. Who pray! Would then be encouraged to emulate the example?
To cap this, Zardari, one of the contenders to future power corridors in his Party’s campaign is pre-emptively putting merit to dust by promising to accommodate a member each of the families of his Party loyalists in already over-stretched Government jobs, overburdening the Exchequer and adding to Government inefficiency rather than striving to create job opportunities by striving for cheap energy to enable world competitive industries.
Transforming Sindh into Punjab – President PML(N) Mian Shehbaz Sharif at a public gathering in Matiari Sindh was seen vowing to transform Sindh into Punjab given another chance at the polls, while another channel was running a story about a Police SP stationed at Babu Sabu Interchange on the Lahore-Islamabad Motorway who allegedly owned billions worth of properties made out of traffic ‘Bhatta’ or ‘jagga tax’ from commuters, running gambling dens and protecting brothels; the cameras capturing the officer in plain clothes in the act. If this is what the PML(N) Chief was promising to deliver to Sindh they already have a lot of this besides the customary false FIRs, killings in fake encounters, running dens and protecting criminals.
Naming Islamabad International Airport after Benazir – With due deference to Senator Reza Rabbani whose views and opinions one greatly values, his suggestion to name the New Islamabad International Airport after Benazir Bhutto does not hold ground. The common man is of the view that while it is a good gesture to name roads and institutions after renowned social, literary and sporting figures, it would be preferable not to name any structure or a national scheme after the crop of Pakistani politicians among which even if there are some who have made some significant national contribution, each one has also carried a baggage which better be forgotten. My objection also is to a National Income Scheme for the poor out of the national kitty named after Benazir, as if it was a scheme out of her personal pocket. Such honours must remain the preserve of father of the Nation the Quaid-e-Azam and the poet philosopher Allama Iqbal, or perhaps at best Sir Syed Ahmad Khan.
—The writer is a media professional, member of Pioneering team of PTV and a veteran ex Director Programmes.

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