BY USMAN NADEEM
Mr. Prime Minister you won the election on 25th July 2018, your swearing-in ceremony was on 15th August 2018 shortly after the oath taking of the 15th national assembly of Pakistan on the 13th of August 2018. Every Pakistani was glued to their television sets on the day you came to give your first speech, the first public address of a man who rose to power through the relentless support of all who had lost hope, all who were pestered and tortured by the preceding rulers.
God knows even the most evil and vile had a glimmer of hope that day, maybe things will change this time, maybe things will take a turn for the better under this regime.
Excellency, I remind you the issues and action areas you highlighted in your public address that evening of 19th august 2018:
1. The inherited loan of 28000 billion
2. Children’s health
3. Looking into the life style of those in power
4. Climate change
5. One role model
6. Austerity drive
7. We have to stand on our feet
8. Speedy justice for all
9. Police reforms
10. Strict action over child abuse cases
11. Improvement in education sector
12. Improve conditions of government hospitals
13. Agriculture and water issue
14. Merit policy
15. Public service
16. Local government system
17. Job opportunities
18. Recreational and sports activities
19. Environmental challenges
20. Tourism sector reforms
21. Development of neglected areas
22. A real and true welfare state – medina ki riyasat
Need I mention all the bold claims you made when you were making speeches before the elections.
Sir, at the end of your speech not only me but a huge percentage of the population of Pakistan felt encouraged and their spirits were lifted. We believed you even though some educated, visionary people thought your claims were too bold. Yet we all wanted it to happen or shall I say even if a percentage of your claims would have come true it would have shown everyone the path of prosperity and a wind of change in the making.
Its 26th July 2020 and I have decided to raise my voice and ask you some questions today.
Sir, in all due fairness you have failed the common masses of Pakistan, it seems you bit on something far bigger than you could chew. You proved yourself to be far too much ambitious than practical. Your think tank failed you and in a domino effect you have failed us.
It was a common misconception that you had a plan. A plan that never really emerged for the masses to know the line of action your government has in place for us. Your ministers and your learned council seem to be clueless at the moment. You lacked actions in pursuit of that dream country called the NAYA PAKISTAN you painted for us. And now I feel you are even running out of words to project any hope for the future.
Mr. Prime minister my first question is why the NAYA PAKISTAN?
The father of our nation is Quaid e Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah. He presented us a nation which became our identity on the globe. I do not think his vision was flawed. He presented the vision for a nation set on the path of prosperity. His vision and his efforts did not push us on to the path of destruction we have set this nation on.
Yet throughout this charade of destruction we have put ourselves through since partition, it was always Pakistan and it always will be Pakistan. We shall never forget that whatever concept of this NAYA PAKISTAN is. It cannot be any different than Mr. Jinnah’s vision. The preceding rulers corrupt or not steered us into confusion, chaos and poverty due to their lack of respect, or shall I say lack of knowledge of Mr. Jinnah’s vision. Yet it always will be and it always is going to be just Pakistan.
Sir, when the home is dirty or requires repair, we don’t bulldoze it down. We go to the process of deep cleansing and refurbishment. That certainly does not change the name of our home or the address. You captained the Pakistani cricket team, you found your fame and identity during the reigns of the same ruling parties who are now under the stick for corruption by your government. You set up your cancer hospital under the blessings of these corrupt rulers in the past.
And it all happened in the same Pakistan. The Pakistan we are still a part of. Yet when you became a politician you started boasting of a NAYA PAKISTAN. Why Sir? When it suited you best the concept of old Pakistan was just fine. These politicians you hold responsible for our economic destruction were just fine for fund raising towards your social cause. And now you want the concept of NAYA PAKISTAN. Sir please look around even in your own party you have people who were associated with these corrupt political parties responsible of steering us towards this crisis we are currently facing as nation.
If you still insist on the concept of NAYA PAKISTAN, then a deep cleansing of your own party should be on the menu as well. Otherwise what difference shall we expect in Pakistan and ‘NAYA PAKISTAN’.
It is best if we GO THROUGH SOME OF THESE ISSUES YOU HIGHLIGHTED AND LET US SEE WHAT HAS BEEN DONE SO FAR ON THESE ISSUES.
The inherited loan of 28000 billion.
Mr. Prime Minister, the extreme debt situation the nation was facing was common knowledge from the past two decades, in your political campaigns you always highlighted this inherited problem. Now that you are in the office, it seems like you have started expressing the existence of these debts as an excuse, it simply won’t cut it that you and your brilliant team were taken by surprise by the loans owed by the nation. Or the increase in debts as the rupee devalued against the dollar.
The question here is what were your plans to deal with these extreme situations once you and your party came into power?
Or were you as surprised on your win in the elections as PML n was on their defeat?
And in this dismay you didn’t plan enough to tackle this inherited problem which was common knowledge. Don’t you think your extremely abled ministers and your team should have planned ahead rather than just presenting it like an excuse to the already suffering and the vulnerable people of Pakistan?
Your only move which became clear with time was to go after the corrupt predecessors. Even a laborer on the streets of the smallest town of our country could tell us that our nation has been infested by severe corruption of the ruling elite moving down to even the lowest ranked government official serving in the office over the last five decades if not more.
Arrest everyone, don’t spare anyone. Was your order of business.
Yes you did manage to arrest the ones on the front line and they were sent to jails.
Yet their stay in these jails proved temporary, only for them to enjoy their stay in the jails on the tax payer’s money. Were these corrupt elite sent to the common cells or barracks or were they kept in special confinement?
Mr. prime minister this surely did turn out to be beneficial for some, the superintendents and the jail staff of the respected jails suddenly had high profile inmates residing in their jails, and this opened a whole new window of opportunity for them. How the system of the jails work is a whole new chapter in itself. How the officials in the jails exploit and benefit from the inmates is well known. Once a high profile inmate is in a jail, what benefits it brings for a superintendents is a whole debate in itself.
How corrupt the officials in the jails of Pakistan are is surely a debate on its own.
Millions were spent keeping the high profile corrupt elite inside these jails. The government money that was spent taking them back and forth to the courts providing them security. The privileged facilities these corrupt elite were offered in comparison to a common inmate in these jails. The cost of these privileges? And to what use in the end?
CAN YOU TELL US IN ALL FAIRNESS THAT JUSTICE IS SERVED?
Has anything been recovered after convicting these elite corrupt individuals? What has a common Pakistani benefited from these actions of your government? I am unclear and so are millions of others in our nation Sir. If strict punishment would have been announced for those caught in corruption, taking bribes or stealing funds sitting on the seats of responsibility serving the general public of our nation.
Maybe things would have turned out different. Maybe we would have struck fear of dire consequences in the hearts of the corrupt for any future misadventures.
If only you had the courage to make an example out of a few of these evil and corrupt individuals, maybe things would have turned out better.
Yet how could you Sir, it became evident that even your own house was infested with team members who were suspected of corruption.
So here is this question raised Mister Prime minister, why didn’t you do anything to strike fear in the hearts of the corrupt, evil and vile?
Why are these people still walking free?
Why haven’t someone been held accountable or punished dearly for their crimes till now? Why haven’t we seen a punishment for even one of these people who have robbed us of our lives over the past three decades?
From where I see Sir, it has further endorsed that the rich and elite in Pakistan are above the law. That you can buy your way out of any charges faced, if you have the money or the sources, it will not matter how big or serious your crimes are.
What a mockery of the legal system of justice in Pakistan.
Speedy justice for all. It is clear to us now Sir that speedy justice is served for the rich and elite.
Anyone can walk away from the charges filed against them no matter how serious these charges may be. A case for a corrupt politician will be heard by a single or a double bench on priority bases, whereas the same judge would strike a future date for even the simplest of cases presented in his/her court room if there is a commoner involved throwing that case into an endless loop which linger on for years. And still even after years a ruling on merit is doubtful.
Money and power would defy logic, evidence and proof for the rich and powerful. Whereas a commoner will be screaming proofs and evidence of his innocence in the same court room and will never be heard on the same merit.
Mr. Prime minister Do you even know how many innocent are rotting in the jails of Pakistan currently, because of this extremely slow paced and decayed judicial system we have in our country?
The question is; Is it so difficult to introduce reforms in the judicial system?
Is it so difficult to make lawfulness prevail or strike the fear of dire consequences in the hearts of the criminals who have made a mockery out of the judicial system of Pakistan?
There are millions and millions of cases pending trails or decisions.
Has your law minister ever looked into the reasons why the honorable judges are not performing? Why are our judges not courageous enough to give out even the routine judgments on merit?
Is anyone from your government even slightly concerned about what happens to a common man in the courts of justice in Pakistan?
Is it so difficult to create a merit system to analyze the performance of a sitting judge?
Do we have a tribunal to question a judge, his ethics and his performance?
Sir I am heartbroken to say this that this country completely lacks justice in the courts of law. Need I go into the ethics and practices of the courts of Pakistan any further? Well maybe I will in the coming days.
Here we are in a domain of the law minister sb once again which seems like a lost cause all together. The government has great focus on building model police stations. Yet the performance of the investigation officers and the S.H.O’s are never ever highlighted, it seems this is such a lost cause that one ends up with an utter loss of words. Do we have a merit or monitoring system which is actually working to monitor the recruitment of the investigation officers and the S.H.O?
Are these officials even qualified to hold the office or the positions they are appointed at? Is there a screening system in place before an F.I.R is lodged?
Are there any repercussions for the concerned officers to face when they lodge a fake or wrong F.I.R?
Are the concerned officers held accountable to trigger landslide of excessive work load once they lodge a wrongful or fake F.I.R from the police station to the courts of law?
Is someone paying attention to the harassment that a commoners faces in these police stations. The way the public is robbed of their basic human rights. The way they are trapped, framed and robbed of their money through pressure tactics and manipulation by the same officers of law who have sworn to serve and protect them.
Try lodging a complaint without paying the speed money to the concerned police officers. Try pleading your innocence in a falsely fabricated F.I.R without paying up a bribe which is mostly openly demanded by the investigating officer in three portions, claiming his portion, his SHO’s portion and the DSP’s portion.
If you do not pay up you cannot even record the truth in the investigation no matter how much evidence or proof you have to back up your truth. A strike of a pen in shape of the investigation report presented by the investigation officer in the court seals the fate of both the innocent and the guilty in the same way. With a clear choice to pay a bribe and the same investigation office will pen down the innocence of someone who has solid proofs of guilt stacked against them, or he may pen down the guilt of someone who may have presented stacks of evidences and proofs of their innocence to the same officer who tends to ignore the reality because he was not presented with a bribe.
Not to forget once he presents his report in the court, no matter how flawed or biased it may be. The court starts presuming even the innocent as guilty and from there on a commoner goes into the grinder which is designed to tear his life apart.
Has your law minister ever visited or set up a monitoring system to deal with such ill practices or negligence? Does anyone even care what is happening to a commoner in a police station? Improvement in education sector.
Sir improving the education standards of our government run schools is one thing, your education ministry was not even able to penetrate the private school mafia. Parents suffering from fee surges of private schools fought their own case and won the case. Yet the revised fee structure was still not enforced although the decision from the court of law came in favor of the parents and against the private school management. The private schools kept neglecting the fee revisions and kept harassing the children and parents who took part in this campaign. No concrete action or initiative was shown by your education ministry.
Rather than enforcing the judicial decisions given by the courts, they acted more like mediators. Even now the issues stay pending. It should have been the basic target of the ministry of education to uphold the standard of education in government schools to such levels that we shall have choices to break the monopoly of the private schools.
Is it so hard to find the right resource to recruit as teachers for government schools or chalk out the proper academic system to match or even compete with the academic systems private schools present?
Jobs are created when industries are set up. When different sectors are developed. Have we set up the foundations of setting up new industries? Have we worked on a plan to set up relevant sectors in which employment opportunities can be created to deal the ever growing unemployment under the current back drop of the crisis we have been facing.
Sir you gave decided to set aside 130 billion for the housing project you were so keen of from the word go. Have you even considered that even if you provide the poverty stricken masses of Pakistan with cheap housing schemes? Where will they find the funds to feed themselves, pay the inflated utility bills or educated their children?
Sir I am shocked that the so called economists or advisors around you failed to advise you that set aside this budget for the industry before setting aside budgets for housing schemes. With a budget of 130 billion, the money would have been enough to set up almost 1300 companies in different sectors which could have easily accommodated up to 50-100 staff members, resulting in providing employment to 65000-130000 individuals, this would have provided the chances of these individuals to then further more provide a reasonable life style for their families.
They would have further become sufficient enough to spend on their monthly budgets, that spent would have proved to be a boost in demand for all the products and services a regular household demands, a further improvement in the existing businesses on the respective production of these products or services thus creating more opportunities for employment and this loop goes on and on Mr. prime minister.
We are a nation where providing loans and grants are almost always misused. Rather than setting up youth loan schemes. We shall have a team of leading economic minds come together and set up different industries and companies to provide employment opportunities to not only the youth but to provide employment to people from all walks of life who are struggling to make ends meet under your regime.
Mr. prime minister it does not matter if you get elected for another term. But if you end up providing the source of ROZGAR for a quarter of a million people which I am pretty sure will have a replica effect on more than 10 million people once this loop is put in motion. You will be remembered in the history of this nation as someone who actually did something and made a difference. Something which your predecessors were least bothered with.
Mr. prime minister you stood on a container and waved the hyped up utility bills charged to the masses and declared civil disobedience by tearing those bills apart. Yet when you came in power you did nothing to rid the masses of the unexplained taxes the utility bills are loaded with.
Your FBR reforms failed miserably. The ones on the radar of the FBR are bombarded with notices and recoveries. Yet the tax registered numbers have still not gone up.
Why is your concerned ministry so helpless Sir? Why have they failed to present a solution? Everywhere us commoners turn and look, we see chaos and confusion far greater than we have ever witnessed before.
A severe lack of solutions and a lack of planning which downright qualifies as negligence and incompetence. This makes me wonder, are you even informed enough about the problems of a commoner?
Has anyone shared with you the issues a lower middle class family faces?
The issues a poverty stricken household faces who has a son who is an engineer or an MBA driving an uber or careem bike to work 18 hours plus to bring home just about enough to pay for two meals consumed in their household. Who has no choice but to ask for financial help from others if a hyped up fictitious utility bill is slipped under the door by the utility companies without any explanation of why the bill has been charged higher than their usual consumption.
A verdict given in the end that you will have to pay it as it cannot be retracted. So either face the disconnection of the utility in use or pay up.
Mr. prime minister, we live in a nation where we are robbed off our basic human rights on a daily basis.
We live in a nation where over 80 percent of the population is struggling to make the ends meet.
We live in a nation where our children are unsafe.
We live in a nation where the law makers break the law.
We live in a nation where there is nothing but chaos, confusion, hopelessness, poverty and frustration.
Yet we live in a nation who was created with the slogan, ‘Pakistan ka matlab kya, LA ILAHA ILLALLAH’.
I have no doubt in my mind that you mean well. I and millions of others in this nation solemnly believe you are a good man at heart, that you basics are right. That you still are a glimmer of that bleak hope which is fading fast.
I am still one of those who can give you a benefit of the doubt for not living up to the promise of hope you gave this nation. You are most certainly a hardworking and honest man with a good heart and a will to see change. I would stand and fight tooth and nail when the cause is a brighter future of my country.
Sir this is a nation of geniuses, call out to us and we will stand with you to make amends to this decayed state of our nation. There are many out there like myself who have the wisdom, experience and education to help our Pakistan get her back on the path of prosperity and success.
Will you break out of the shackles of all the unworthy that are around you to lead us to that future we all so dearly pray for.
This country may be infested by a corrupt decaying system, yet there is still hope. All we need is someone who has the courage to take the lead.
We saw you as that courageous leader.
PLEASE don’t let us down Sir.
Writer is Managing Editor of ‘Islamabad Telegraph’