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Archive for the ‘Bhutto’ Category

The Blame In Pakistan Lies With…..

Posted by imrananwar on April 5, 2012

Basit Jehangir Sheikh Formar President Distric...
Basit Jehangir Sheikh Formar President District Kasur with Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Former President Pakistan and the founder of Pakistan Peoples Party (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Benazir Bhutto, photographed at Chandini Resta...
Benazir Bhutto, photographed at Chandini Restaurant, Newark, CA by iFaqeer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Did I miss offending anyone with this comment I posted on a Pakistan friend’s Wall?

She posted a photo of the front page of the respected Pakistani newspaper, Dawn, of the day power-hungry despot but once popularly elected Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, ousted Prime Minister of Pakistan, was hanged to death by the creator of the ISI, lapdog of the CIA, and purveyor of hate, intolerance, violence, ethnic strife and religious fundamentalism, Zia-ul-Haq.

“I was a big fan of Zulfiqar Bhutto. Met him as a pre-teen (with Col. Qaddafi on the same day!). I’d met dictator Zia several times. The first time was as a student at Aitchison College, Lahore, when, even as a self-imposed President of Pakistan, he was the de-facto Chief Guest.

Later, after leading a protest against his martial law regime, I was arrested, tortured, court-martialed and imprisoned in Lahore‘s Kot Lakhpat prison. I was 20. And, later, I met the repulsive dictator at media events, when I was working for the Jang Group newspapers.

I recall I was visiting my Karachi home, from Lahore, and was woken up with the news that Bhutto had been hanged. It was inevitable, but still, a shock. It was always said that “There is one grave, and two men. One has to go in.”

I was devastated by Bhutto’s hanging (which he brought upon himself in his state of hubris) and I had always despised Zia (Islam-thaikedar evil dictator intolerance breeder ko karwat karwat jahannumm naseeb ho) {May he face hell on every turn and twist in his grave… come to think of it… he did burn alive in a plane crash}.

But, to this day, people tend to blame one or other for Pakistan’s problems. In my humble opinion, 80% of the root causes of Pakistan’s economic problems were because of ONE man, Bhutto and his selective socialism.

He nationalized all that was working in free markets in Pakistan yet let waders {feudal landlords who were lapdogs of the British raj} like himself fraudulently hold on to jageers {estates} and tax free land income.

90% of the intolerance, hate, violence in Pakistan is because of ONE man, evil Zia.

The remaining 20% of economic and 10% of hate mongering problems are because of “ordinary people” like all of us in Pakistan, especially those of us who worship personalities like incompetent Benazir Bhutto, corrupt Asif Zardari, hypocrite Nawaz Sharif, criminal and repulsive Altaf Hussain, and even slogans-without-solutions Imran Khan, instead of doing what WE can to fix OUR own ways.

Not to mention power hungry corrupt Army generals who can only occupy their own country and stinky illiterate spiteful mullahs. Only when the people of Pakistan decide to take control of their own destiny, demand specific detailed plans from their present and wannabe leaders, is there any hope.

Otherwise, Pakistan will continue its path through history like a drunk bull in a china shop.

(Sorry, did I miss offending anyone? LOL)”

[End.]

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Imran Anwar on Imran Khan: Why The Future Of Awakened Pakistan Is Not In One Man’s Hands

Posted by imrananwar on October 31, 2011

The news media are buzzing about a rather large political protest gathering that took place in Pakistan. People seem galvanized and gravitating more to a national hero Cricket player, turned populist politician. Much that I am happy to see the silent majority Pakistani public starting to rise, I do not have much hope for the person they are following, even though I like and respect him. Here’s why.

Imran Khan was about a decade ahead of me at Aitchison College, Lahore, Pakistan, and about 100 years ahead of me in popularity (and dashing good looks 🙂 ). He will always have my respect for sacrificing his popularity not for wealth but for a Cancer Hospital (in the memory of his late mother). With that one mission in life, he has done more good than Zardari, Benazir Bhutto, Nawaz Sharif and Pervez Musharaff combined could do – even if they had tried.

However, there were two reasons Imran Khan struggled in his quest for national power.

Initially it was the typical curse of Third World countries like Pakistan… the same “awam” (عوام – public/populace) that curses crooked politicians is also the one that votes them in to power. Why? Because the crooks are the ones who will help peddle influence illegally, to get things done when voters ask for favors. Someone supposedly aboveboard will not. So, he, like Imran Khan, will stay on the fringe and not get real power. This one sad realization was one major reason I said good bye to my political aspirations in Pakistan when I left 20 years ago. (I do salute Imran Khan for staying and putting up a good fight, even at great personal risk).

Now that the Arab Spring in the Middle East, the Occupy Wall Street in the United States, and far more importantly, the middle class uprising in India against corruption has vested interests and tyrants (political and economic) running for cover, Imran Khan may have a real chance.

But, that brings us to the second serious problem. He is still hampered by lack of any clear (articulated) PLAN that he would execute on, if he was in power. Even his speech in his largest rally (which is being reported on by media including the New York Times, etc.) was another “letdown”.

Richard Nixon meeting with President Bhutto of...Image via Wikipedia
The only Pakistani leader who could get away with rambling speeches, and still have a million people or more listening and jumping into action, was the late, once-great, later-tyrannical, deposed and hanged Prime Minister, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. Imran Khan is nowhere near that man’s stature, statesmanlike quality, popularity, or even vision. In the end, even with his charisma (that Bill Clinton would want to learn from), speaking ability (that Barack Obama would dream of achieving without a teleprompter), it was Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s hubris, putting the interests of his crooked henchmen ahead of the nation’s, and having no more vision and plan beyond getting re-elected, that got him hanged by General Zia-ul-Haq and the military.
Picture of imran khan infront of the flag of P...Image via Wikipedia
Imran Khan needs to do more than gather 100,000 people (and make a meaningless speech).

Even I can make a speech about what the problems in Pakistan are, name who the crooks are, and why we need to solve the problems….

But, without saying HOW I would solve the problems, WHO I would have as my trusted and nationally trusted lieutenants to execute the plan, I too would be as useless in power as Imran Khan will be – if he does by some twist of fate find himself in government.

Unfortunately, even 15 years in politics getting to this point, Imran Khan, whom I would love to see in power compared to the current crop of so-called leaders, has neither stated his vision, nor articulated his strategy, and neither has he shared a roadmap and execution plan. That is what makes Pakistan’s leadership void doubly sad.

Even worse, regardless of his Western education and former lifestyle, Khan’s current wave of popularity is driven by a populist state-the-obvious (politicians are crooks and have done nothing for Pakistan), blame-USA fervor (while sometimes sounding like a Taliban apologist).

Yes, the current leaders and even the opposition are crooks. News Flash: So are the ones in the USA and other countries. (Italy‘s Premier could give Pakistan’s Asif Ali Zardari a run for the money and the scandalous behavior).  Yes, the USA has a shameful record in Pakistan. Yes, Pakistan’s spineless sellout leaders have allowed even more exploitation for their own power. But, Pakistan had economic problems since independence. It has had ethnic near-civil war in different regions for decades before 9/11 or America’s arrival in Afghanistan.

Without addressing specific problems that Pakistanis themselves tolerate — and allow their leaders to create — neither the cronyism-loving leaders, populist personalities, nor well-intentioned analysts, or worse, power-hungry dictatorial generals, can change the country’s future.

As I have said in my own public speaking and on radio & television…. “National destinies are created by people, not by leaders, dictators, pedagogues, or sycophants. Pakistan needs to be saved not from America, but from (illiterate, violent, extremist, close-minded, crooked, corrupt) Pakistanis, by Pakistanis (who still believe in the great future that the nation is capable of achieving).”

What do you think?

© 2011 Imran Anwar
IMRAN.TV

 

 

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Pakistan Democracy: The Long March, The First Step

Posted by imrananwar on March 25, 2009

What a difference a day makes. What an even bigger difference a week can make.

What an amazing and exciting week this has been for Pakistan as a nation. Its elected leaders had just recently squandered a historic opportunity to set Pakistan boldly and directly on the path to institution and nation building.

On more than one occasion, on TV and radio, I had compared Pakistan, as a nation and especially as a government, to the ship Titanic, except that this one had deliberately hit every iceberg it could find.

Just when it seemed that the current government in Islamabad had completely forgotten the lessons of history – of merely one year ago – something changed. It had appeared that the policies of Islamabad were surely and not so slowly pushing Pakistan in the direction of chaos and eventual return of martial law.

As someone who has told his share of lawyer jokes, for the last one year I have had nothing but praise and kudos for the barristers and attorneys of Pakistan. Theirs is a career dependent upon daily earnings, made from daily work outside the court houses of Pakistan. One could not have been imagined that profession as the consistent and unstoppable source of the year-long protest movement. What the lawyers of Pakistan carried out was doubly special, as they did it against not one but two tyrants within one year.

Besides self-inflicted wounds, almost exactly of the kind that General Musharraf suffered from, perhaps there was some hubris or misconception in Islamabad. Maybe there was a feeling that people in Pakistan have become immune to tyranny. Perhaps it was felt that when push comes to shove Pakistanis are so used to having people in power do what they please that nothing would come out as protest against any power grab carried out by Islamabad.

But just when it seemed that our ship PNS Titanic was headed straight into a minefield, surrounded by icebergs, in the midst of the perfect storm, the most amazing opposite perfect storm arose in response. The nation became a nation.

The Long March, as it was called, was the best example of a peaceful (at least by Pakistani standards) uprising by the people of Pakistan to have their way with an elected ruler trying to cling to, and expand, his power.

I was in Lahore in 1977 when it happened the last time. I remember driving past puddles of blood covered with ash in dozens and dozens of locations on The Mall where anti-PPP protesters had been killed by the government at that time. This time however, thankfully, the perfect storm that arose was one of common sense, decency, courage and people power.

In particular in addition to the lawyers of Pakistan, there are many people I, even as a New York-based Pakistani, want to give thanks to.
This includes Prime Minister Gilani for his understanding of which way the wind was blowing and helping President Zardari see some light. General Kayani must have had to fight the urge not to take over the government. It must have been difficult when the elected leaders were themselves creating a situation that was going to endanger not just law and order in Islamabad but bring chaos across the nation.

Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has grown in stature not just within Pakistan but also abroad. He is being praised for taking a stand on principle, showing patience and then being very statesmanlike in his response to broken promises from Islamabad. To then show courage and refuse house arrest to march upon Islamabad put him on a much higher level of leadership than he was at before.

Even the police officers who, after some “kaarwai“, showed common sense and decency, either to resign or to let the protesters begin their march towards Islamabad, should be considered heroes of democracy. As most of my readers and fans know from my background, during my days at the University of Engineering and Technology in Lahore, in the early 1980s,

I was a student leader and chief organizer of QSF. The Islami Jamiate Taliba, as well as its parent, the Jamate Islami, were considered the mortal enemies of liberal organizations like ours. They even murdered Anas Choudhry, a final year student member of QSF, the year I joined UET.

But, today, as during the previous year, I am happy to give credit to this party for its principled stand against tyranny and dictatorship.

I never thought it possible, but even a member of the very political party and inner circle of Islamabad, Ms. Sherry Rehman, deserves praise for her decency, courage – and good timing – in resigning her position. It can be argued that she did it because there were others interfering in her ministry rather than what the government was doing to the independent media. But I, and the people, still give credit for her resignation.

Many of these things would not have become possible had it not been for the courageous, first-time in the life of our nation, stand of the real Chief Justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Choudhry, and his fellow judges, who resigned under General Musharraf.

They stayed out of office and jobs, despite pressure, incentives and other tricks that governments have at their disposal in Islamabad. I will avoid passing comment on the people who sold out their souls to get the appointments that they got. But I hope that this new chapter in Pakistan’s history will also be the time when we start naming our villains for future generations to remember and spit on the names of.

Another hero, an entire industry really, that is among the less respected professions around the world these days, including America, was the Pakistani media. I say this not as a member of the media but as a proud Pakistani American who was ashamed of the silent acquiescence of American media in George Bush and Dick Cheney‘s shameless rape of the American Constitution and human rights around the world.

American media cannot be shut down by any government. Yet the media here quietly let the Bush government do whatever it wanted.

The Pakistani government, through many of its Stone Age laws curtailing freedom of expression and press, can shut down almost any Pakistani media entity. The bigger they get in Pakistan, the more the government can squeeze them. Even as a teenager I know how many magazines Prime Minister Zulfiqar Bhutto, whom I then admired, shut down for being critical of his policies. Urdu Digest was one that frequently had to reappear under other names.

I was a member of the press in Pakistan when vile dictator General Zia-ul-Haq gave many journalists a taste of what a dictator can do. He had writers’ nails pulled with pliers to make them stop criticizing him.

For the Pakistani media to have stood up, first to General Musharraf and then to the current Zardari government in Islamabad, at great risk and financial loss to themselves, is another element to celebrate in this great victory of the people. A lot of credit goes to GEO TV, Jang and many other media.

Lack of space and time prevent me from individually thanking every single group or individual, like Mr. Aitezaz Ahsan, who played a central role in this great turnaround. God bless you all, for being the new heroes of a new democracy that can still rise in our nation.

The long march may have been intended for Islamabad, but it may turn out to be something far more important.

The Long March may have become The First Step in a thousand-mile journey – to the true destiny of Pakistan – as a great, free, democratic society ready to take its place in history.

“Qadam Barhao Saathio, Qadam Barhao”

Imran Anwar is a New York and sometimes Florida based Pakistani-American entrepreneur, Internet pioneer, inventor, writer and TV personality. He can be reached through his web site http://imran.com and imran@imran.com . You can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/imrananwar

Posted in America, Army, Benazir Bhutto, Bhutto, Constitution, Democracy, Dictator, Dictatorship, Elections, George Bush, Imran, Imran Anwar, India, Judges, Justice, Musharraf, Pakistan, Prison, Zia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Hoping For Good Luck, On Friday The 13th

Posted by imrananwar on March 23, 2009

This has been quite an eventful week in New York. The previous few weeks of economic decline, bad financial news, increasing unemployment numbers and other news of global distress had been pushing the New York Stock Exchange consistently and constantly lower and lower.

Things were so bad that people would have preferred a return of the stress-filled yo-yo stock market days, where one at least had a 50-50 chance of making or losing money!

From a high of almost 13,000 the NYSE reached 6500 and there was talk of it even heading lower. There were fears that it might even fall below 6000 before all is said and done.

This decline continued while the flood of bad news also continued unabated. The only silver lining one could see around these ominous dark clouds was that most companies were choosing to do greater layoffs than they need and reducing costs as much as they can.

Even though each job lost is something that can mean the destruction of dreams of a family, sadly, for big businesses it is all a numbers game. Companies generally prefer to dish out all their bad news in one lump rather than dish it out piecemeal. It is generally easier to recover from a massive jolt and negative dip in stock prices over a few weeks or months. It is harder to get over the malaise that can cripple a company’s stock price if the bad news, no matter how small, just keeps coming every few weeks.

What’s that suggests to me, and keep in mind that I’m no financial adviser, is that most companies may be gearing up to have better than expected results at the end of the March quarter. Or, at least results that are less terrible than the market anticipates. Either one of these could potentially mean a rise in stock prices in April.

Even before the end of the quarter, a few pieces of good news have come out. One of them was that Citibank has been profitable for the last two months. This is the giant global behemoth that is one of those banks considered too large to be allowed to fail. This news came shortly after the bank’s stock was trading at as low as one Dollar per share, a far cry from nearly $60 per share it used to be.

Anybody who bought those shares at the ridiculously low price of one Dollar literally made a profit of 35% in one day, as investors suddenly found their greed outweighing their fear.

Financial company stocks in general benefited from this uptick in the stock market. Most major stocks have been rising consistently for the last few days, though I expect some drops as profit-taking starts again.

Even though it is far too early to claim that the market will not plumb new lows, but more than likely, one year from now economists and other so-called experts will analyse and say that the recovery had begun at an anaemic but measurable rate in these weeks.

President Barack Obama and his team have had most of their focus on the American economy – as well as the global recession that still imperils the world. But in the meantime other serious matters of the world continue to demand attention.

As is consistent with Pakistan and its self-destructive ways, once again American media and Pakistan bashers have gotten ample opportunity to raise the specter of Pakistani nuclear weapons falling into the hands of terrorists – should the country spill further into anarchy.

The recent blatant and brazen terrorist attacks in the metropolitan city of Lahore, the despicable attempts to kill the Sri Lankan Cricket team and the evil murder of police officers and innocent bystanders there showed how almost no part of Pakistan is safe. This was an attack obviously not carried out by Taleban type thugs but by some well-organised but equally evil professionally trained gang of killers.

The Taleban continue to remain in the news, especially Pakistan ceding control of Swat and other regions to what are perceived as extremist groups. American drone and missile strikes continue to kill Pakistanis, innocent or otherwise, with disturbing regularity. India continues to rattle its sabers in the guise of demanding justice for the Mumbai attacks. In other words, there is no possible threat, internal or external, military, economic, political or social that Pakistan does not face.

Yet our shameless, spineless, gutless, clueless and witless politicians continue to fight over who sits at the head of the table – while this ship of state is rapidly sinking. Unlike even the Titanic, Pakistan is like a ship whose captain has been aiming it at every single iceberg he can see. On top of that, the ship has been torpedoed from behind. Its own crew is setting fire to cabins and furniture while others are busy looting what they can.

It is no wonder therefore that foreign powers, including America, find that the only way to control Pakistan, even to keep it from self-destructing, is to manage it not as friends but as masters. And, Pakistani politicians are quite OK with that.

From politicians, I want to shift to lawyers. Every country in the world has its share of lawyer jokes. For the last one year, and once again this month, it happens to be Pakistan’s lawyers and barristers, who have taken up the challenge to restore democracy and justice.

A profession that relies not on regular salaries but on almost daily work in the courthouse has once again stepped up, at great cost to its self, economically, professionally, personally. Today I must salute the lawyers and other professionals of Pakistan, not just for bringing down one dictator, but for ensuring that Pakistanis as a nation see that they can choose and control what the government can or cannot do when an elected person tries to act as a dictator.

Will democracy rule or will Pakistan sink into the abyss of chaos and anarchy?

The fact that things have come to this stage in itself is a tragedy. For the first time in more than 60 years we had an opportunity to establish state institutions. This was a historic opportunity because so many forces lined up in a once in a century series of events. The sacrifice of Benazir Bhutto, the professionalism of General Kayani, the sensibility of some political leaders and the great courage of Chief Justice Iftikhar Choudhry and fellow judges. Rarely had so many forces lined up to restore true democracy to Pakistan. And, sadly, rarely have historic opportunities of such greatness been grasped in Pakistan.

As I am writing these lines in New York – on this 13th of March – I am hoping for some good luck for Pakistan. The only positive news is that some sort of compromise may be in the works in Islamabad. I, like millions of Pakistanis, can only hope and pray for that miracle and some Good Luck, today, on Friday The 13th.


This article was in client publications on Friday the 13th, 2009.

Imran Anwar is a New York based Pakistani-American entrepreneur, Internet pioneer, inventor, writer and TV personality. He can be reached through his web site http://imran.com and imran@imran.com . You can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/imrananwar

Posted in 2009, America, Americans, Army, Asif Zardari, Assassination, Bailout, Bank, Banking, Barack Obama, Benazir, Benazir Bhutto, Bhutto, Constitution, Democracy, Dictatorship, Economic Recovery, Economy, Elections, Free Speech, Freedom, Future, General, Hypocrisy, Imran, Imran Anwar, IMRAN.TV, ImranAnwar, In My Humble Opinion, Justice, Musharaff, Nawaz Sharif, New York, News, Newspapers, Pakistan, President, Stocks, Supreme Court, Terrorism, Washington | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Barafee’s Law: How To Lose Friends & Be Despised By People

Posted by imrananwar on October 6, 2008

Part 1: How To Lose Friends & Be Despised By People

By Imran Anwar

I think it was not too long ago when I had written about the way the American Democratic Party could snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, much like Pakistan could find a way to destroy any opportunity to promote itself.

Quite frankly, I was quite aghast at the prospect of the Pakistan People’s Party, cashing in on the death of late Benazir Bhutto, electing Asif Ali Zardari as President of Pakistan. I am not even sure it could be called electing him, as it was more like confirming instructions given to them by the party, and not their own minds and consciences. (Talk about figments of my imagination).

It was my stubborn belief in thinking “I’d rather have a crooked elected leader than a crooked incompetent dictator,” that I continued to cling to, and, sad to say, still do. But, if events of the last few weeks, and most recent days are any indication, Pakistan has provided, and continues to provide, all kinds of reasons to the world to show how bad Democracy can be, in the hands of the wrong people.

I was in Islamabad for the oath-taking of Mr. Zardari. I will not even bore readers with a rehash of the weirdness of the whole event. It was painful to see a person like him take “oath” of office of President, and that too from a “Chief Justice” that by his own previous policies was considered to be not even legal.

Then to have the repulsive, even despicable, behavior of the PPP workers, who were chanting Bhutto and PPP slogans, during the national anthem on that surreal yet historic moment. I know they have no sense, but have they no shame either, is what I thought?

Then to see more PPP jialas and jialis actually phalang-ing the gates to the supposedly most-secure civilian location in the country was too funny even for words.

I recall some American journalists asking me how could it be possible that some totally unidentified, thuggish people claiming to be PPP workers actually climb over the walls to get into an event unhindered, where almost the entire civilian and military top brass were present? All I could do was give a “What can I tell you,” shrug to hide my embarrassment and amazement. I bet AlQaeda was watching that video clip. (The same pathetic and shameless “Party above Pakistan” mentality was displayed by Zardari supporters, in New York, this week).

Anyway, as if that was not enough, for the Government of Pakistan to actually give a seat and joint press conference opportunity to a puppet from next door, Hamid Karzai, who barely rules over his own palace’s dining room, was just one more moment of amazement.

I did tell my friends and listeners that it was not by accident, but by design, that Zardari had Karzai there. The whole idea was to have a distraction, and to find an additional tool, on top of Mr. Zardari’s obvious deflection of EVERY single important question asked of him.

I was still scratching my head wondering if this whole charade of “elections” was worth the country suffering or Benazir being murdered in very mysterious circumstances, as I flew back to New York. (Don’t even get me started on telling you the stories of having flown PIA, the national flag carrier -, OK, OK, if you insist, maybe in a subsequent article in these pages.)

Being an eternal optimist, I decided to ignore all the above observations and give this new government in my original homeland, Pakistan, a chance, to prove me wrong in thinking I was wrong about democracy in Pakistan.

Yes, yes, I know I am using a double negative. But, if I can’t openly disagree with myself, who else can I disagree with! (LOL)

During this time, as you have read my previous columns, my fellow American politicians were not really doing much to make me feel more confident in the kind of democracy that is practiced in my American homeland.

In America I was crying for 8 years at history’s biggest moron, George W. Bush, as President. Pakistan decided to go one up, and elect a President with admitted mental problems.

It was not enough to have to see Bush stealing one election, incompetently watching 9/11 happen, letting Bin Laden continue to roam the wild lands, start a wrong war in Iraq, meltdown the American economy, help oil buddies and Hailburton make Bilion$ in profit with VP Dick Cheney pulling the strings – while melting down America’s global goodwill.

I then had to see Pakistanis elect a man called Mr. Ten Percent to President, riding on the “dupatta­”-tails of his murdered wife, having his shameless supporters dishonor the national anthem at nothing less than the Presidential oath taking.

How much worse could it get, I wondered. After all, Mr. Bush is only in office a few more months. Zardari sahib and his jialas will finally settle down from the indigestion of getting more than they can handle, somewhat like a starving man coming to a dinner buffet at The Village restaurant in Lahore and eating until finally full, or sick.

No, my fellow Americans, especially the Republicans, had to shove the mindless, inane, hypocritical, almost comical, highly-ridiculed Sarah Palin as the VP candidate under 700-year old John McCain. You already read my opinion on her. By the way, I read somewhere that McCain was bottom of his class in his student days (something like #894 out of 899 students) making him even more scarily similar to George Bush.

So, I am thinking, OK, this is not so bad. My Pakistani President only embarrassed me by being elected, actually taking oath, breaking signed agreements he has, going back on his word, mismanaging the relationship with China, and others, and so on. Bush and then McCain-Palin, as candidates, means the Republicans have embarrassed me as an American even more.

Phew, at least things can’t get worse or more embarrassing for Pakistan, I assumed.

I said to myself, “I mean, what else could go wrong?”


Part 2: Welcome To The World Of Barafee’s Law ™

By Imran Anwar

In the previous column, I had been discussing about how my two homelands, America and Pakistan compete to amaze and embarrass me with their politicians. First we had the moronic George W. Bush for President here, TWICE.

Then Pakistanis elected a man called Mr. Ten Percent and having medical records showing mental problems. (Well, at least, as they say, “paagal hai, baywaqoof naheen“, {‘He’s crazy, but he ain’t stupid!’}).

Then the Republicans among my fellow Americans selected John McCain (aged 72 or something) and Sarah Palin (with an IQ of about 72, which is a step up from Bush) as their nominees for elections in 2008. And, I said to myself, “That’s got to be it. How much worse could it get?!”

Darn! Spoke too soon. As if to prove Murphy’s Law applies to politicians and Pakistan’s reputation Mr. Zardari actually showed up in New York.

This led to my version of Murphy’s Law, which I will call Barafee’s Law. This is based on a new recipe for the sweetmeat (Barfee) and ice (Baraf).

My newly announced Barafee’s Law basically states that “If there is any opportunity to embarrass and harm Pakistan’s interests and reputation, our “sweet” politicians (or worse, Presidents), trying to be “cool” will use it to the fullest.”

I had always squirmed seeing how Dictator Musharaff used to “visually undress” well known celebrities, like Angelina Jolie, if they showed up in Islamabad. Mr. Zardari did one better. He made President Dictator Musharaff look like a refined gentleman.

He came to New York, found himself in the same room as the ridiculed and reviled Sarah Palin, and started hitting on her (flirting, pathetically trying to seduce), again, and again, and again.

That is not done, even in a socially liberated (read, very azaad khayal) country like America, where 50% marriages end in divorce, where secret affairs are also common, where dating is a social norm, where the American “conservative” VP candidate Sarah Palin’s own underage daughter is pregnant out of wedlock. There is one thing no one does, at least publicly – and that is to hit on (to try to charm or seduce) a married woman.

Yes, it happens, but it is highly frowned upon.

Doing so publicly is considered nothing less than despicable, and the lowest of lows. It is not to be done, period. It is especially not to be done in public and, especially, especially, especially not as a head of State of an ISLAMIC Republic.

Yes, it is not done especially as a “grieving widower” whose own wife was murdered supposedly by terrorists (or some other conspiracy that can well be imagined after seeing such behavior).

It seems like Mr. Zardari would get along just fine with the notorious American ex-movie-actor football-star thug O. J. Simpson, who got away with killing his wife and who still claims to be “searching for her real killers”!

But, I digress.

I am not perfect. Far from it.

Yes, I am “Happily Single” (see http://happilysingle.net ) and will never claim to be “mukkamal kanwara” like a well known Playboy cricketer of the same name as me did many years ago. I am not a paragon of virtue. I am not without sin. I am most definitely no moral authority. So, believe me, I am not thumping some faux morality Bible on Asif Zardari’s head (skull!).

I am human, and I have said words without thinking in meetings or conferences. I am certain I must have made more than my share of inappropriate remarks (Sorry anyone who was hurt!!)

But, I am also not the President of my country. And, even after making some accidental, or shamelessly deliberate inappropriate comment, and realizing my mistake, I (and almost no one) has gone on to keep making the same remarks embarrassing the speaker and recipient of the Barafee (being cool and being extra ‘sweet’) gift.

Mr. Zardari left no doubt in anyone’s mind that while he was making speeches about working to avenge his wife’s killing by improving Pakistan and its future, in fact, he is nothing more than an out of control aging desi-Playboy who does not have any sense of decorum.

By making his comments to Sarah Palin, in full view of cameras, political operatives, Pakistan-haters, he showed he was not using his head for thinking but had something else in mind. He embarrassed Pakistan, Pakistanis, and the memory of the late Benazir Bhutto. Maybe he was missing her too much. (I am reminded of a Country Music song from some years ago. It was titled “Honey, I Miss You {But My Aim’s Getting Better!}”).

We had always been taught to “Win Friends And Influence People”, by our thoughts and actions, as I had been reading since I was a pre-teen going to St. Paul’s English High School in Saddar, Karachi.

It appeared Mr. Zardari was hell-bent on publicly making a fool of himself and doing maximum harm to Pakistani interests just to get a japhee (hug) from a married woman, who could one day (Khuda na Khasta) become VP or President of the USA.

I am serious. Sarah Palin’s candidacy is a joke but it can be a bigger joke for Pakistan.

Do a Google search for “Tina Fey As Sarah Palin On Saturday Night Live” or use http://tinyurl.com/IMRAN-MAG-TinaFey-SarahPalin to see how she is perceived. This woman herself was the biggest laughing stock in the world – until Mr. Zardari showed up in town, and in her tow, and apparently under her ‘sehr‘ (magic).

We have a serious national crisis in Pakistan, with terrorists intent on destroying the country (and killing its leaders). Obama and McCain both now consider Pakistan, not Afghanistan, the new front in their war on terror. They have their eyes on Pakistan’s nuclear assets, and terrorism statistics. President Zardari is more interested in Sarah Palin’s vital statistics.

She is highly unpopular even among educated and sensible women who supported Hilary Clinton, and there is a good likelihood that McCain-Palin will be an election disaster. But, by making comments about her popularity, Zardari has interjected himself, in a manner destructive to Pakistan, as officially supporting Republican candidates.

It was a lose-lose proposition, and Mr. Zardari not only took it, he played his cards on the same bad bet over and over. If Obama is elected President, his handlers may think Pakistan supported Republicans just because of the Pakistani President having several repeated moments of “tharak”. If McCain-Palin are elected by some remote chance, they will surely not have a high opinion of Pakistan.

With what face can a Pakistani President panting to hug a married VP candidate go to her boss and demand that the US administration not shoot missiles into Pakistan?

All Palin has to do is flash her eye-lids and maybe we will exchange giving them access to all Pakistan’s tactical assets in exchange for a glimpse of her strategic assets.

Is that what our nation’s reputation in the world has come to? Mr. Zardari wrote the book on it… “How to lose friends and be despised by people.”

The writer is a New York and Miami based Pakistani-American entrepreneur, Internet pioneer, writer and TV personality. He can be reached through his web site http://imran.com .

Posted in AlQaeda, America, Asif Zardari, Barack Obama, Barafee's Law, Benazir Bhutto, Bhutto, Bin Laden, Democrats, Dick Cheney, Elections, Flirting, George Bush, Joe Biden, Murphy's Law, Pakistan, PIA, Playboy, President, Republicans, Sarah Palin, Seduction, Terrorism | Leave a Comment »

Friends, Not Masters – A New Old Approach For Pakistan-US Relations

Posted by imrananwar on September 17, 2008

President Zardari, the whole nation and almost the whole world have congratulated you on your ascension to the highest office in our land.
Your political party also controls Parliament and most of the provincial bodies. The Armed Forces have, showing wisdom and loyalty to the Constitution of Pakistan, stayed out of the fray.
Past allies and even competitors have shown political civility towards you. For the first time in recent history of Pakistan there is not a group of politicians sitting outside the tent throwing rocks, claiming the President is illegitimate.
On top of that, you can even leverage your historic domestic opportunity to win advantages for Pakistan on the global affairs scene.
As a Pakistani writer, and later as an American TV and media commentator, I have always loudly complained about the way America and Americans want to see democracy around the world, but American policymakers love to deal with, and support, dictators, especially in Pakistan.
Even in this, fate is on your side, at least at present. As I said during a recent interview on the very popular and influential Fox News Channel, in having you as President of Pakistan, America and American policymakers can get what they both want; a democratically elected Pakistani President with almost dictatorial powers, but without the bad aftertaste of a military regime.
Talking about fate, it seems the alignment of the stars favors you in one more way. Thanks to the foolish, even America-destroying, policies adopted by President George W. Bush, the United States has turned its post September 11, 2001 surplus of global goodwill into a huge deficit. His actions have made and are making America, and my fellow Americans, widely reviled among the very people who once loved us.
Not content with destruction of America’s foreign goodwill, Mr. Bush has also taken the huge economic surplus left by ex-President Bill Clinton, and turned that into a huge, and growing, budget deficit. The result is the weakening of the sole-superpower, the United States of America, and enabling opportunities for other countries to rise up.
That is why puny dictators, like the one in North Korea, can play games of one-upmanship with Bush. It is also why Russia was so easily able to walk right into, and take over, parts of the former Soviet state of Georgia. They did it knowing full well that all Bush could do was send the Darth Vader of American politics, Vice President Dick Cheney scampering to the region. All Cheney could do was try to ensure the remaining states did not start quickly falling in line with the latest Russian expansionism.
What that means for America is the opportunity to work with a democratically elected President (and Prime Minister) of Pakistan, both belonging to the same party, which also enjoys a clear mandate by the nation to solve problems. What that means for Pakistan, under your government, is to exploit your position, not for further personal gain, or to benefit your friends and supporters, but to gain greater benefits for Pakistan and Pakistanis.
When I first heard about it, I thought you were doing well by heading to China, a supposedly stalwart Pakistani ally, but which recently has started building close relations with India. But now I hear that trip may be on hold. I still think you should not ignore China in this manner.
I also think it is imperative that you reach out to the Russians.
I have always been anti-Soviet, and am no fan of Russia or its grand designs. But, at this juncture in time and history, it is imperative for Pakistan to finally, and fully, exploit its geo-strategic opportunities. Former Communist and Socialist states are now more and more Capitalistic, at least in their economies. Therefore, it is even easier for you, and Pakistan, to build relationships with, what I call, a “Commutalist” China and a Resurgent Russia.
Let no one think for a moment that I have forsaken my lifelong disdain for Communism, Socialism and all things Soviet. I actually think Pakistan reaching out to Russia is in the interest of both countries I am citizen of, Pakistan and the United States.
How is that possible? Well, it is long standing US policy to exploit Pakistan as a willing satellite and then to walk away from it to go woo India, for example. Having a Pakistan that can as easily walk into the arms of China and Russia actually will help ensure American policymakers show more wisdom in dealing with Pakistan.
What this enables you to do is leverage the situation and work with America. It lets you gain back the trust we lost in the post-9/11 age. It helps you gain facilities that Pakistan has never enjoyed, despite being a loyal American friend for six decades.
During this time, a supposedly non-aligned, but Soviet-allied, India has gained incredibly huge business benefits. Even worse, it is now getting closer and closer to the United States militarily.
To add insult to an even bigger injury, it is India that is now getting civilian nuclear technology from the Bush government. The lame duck government of General Musharraf had ample time to prevent this terrible decision from being made by the lame duck administration of George W. Bush.
Despite having American policy being totally based on his persona, General Dictator Musharraf, and his lazy cohorts, hardly tried to do more than just get enough funds from America to keep them in power. Even if they did try, they failed miserably to stop India’s brilliant and confident march on to the world stage. India has managed to stand next to the United States as a democracy peer, and one day as a military one too. Even more brilliantly, India has done this without jeopardizing its relationship with the Russians.
What kind of slap in the face, kick in the pants, or punch in the nose does a Pakistani government need to see how quickly, and how effectively, Pakistan is being sidelined on the global stage?
The need of the hour from you, on the world stage, is to show that Pakistan means business; not that ruling Pakistan is just a business.
It is essential to insist that America immediately, sincerely and boldly increase its development aid to Pakistan. But you have to ensure transparency in linking such development funds to specific national level projects, be they dams, power plants or roads and infrastructure in underdeveloped areas of Pakistan. With your mandate, and the powers you are yet to show signs of relinquishing, you can easily push through long-stalled projects essential to national development and even survival.
Insist and demand that American nuclear power companies, with some of the world’s best civilian nuclear technology, be allowed to build, own and operate nuclear power plants in Pakistan. This is mutually beneficial. The American nuclear industry segment, which is very close to the Bush and his interests, gets opportunities to grow their global business. Pakistan gets the fastest possible mechanism for producing cheapest possible energy. And, this gets done while ensuring these civilian energy related nuclear projects do not get bogged down in nuclear non-proliferation issues.
Instead of increasing reliance on aging US-supplied military hardware, especially Zia-era aircraft like the F-16s, you must try to expand the horizons of Pakistan’s defense forces. To build our own capabilities, you must invite and encourage Pakistan’s private sector and technology entrepreneurs to build and provide military grade technologies to our armed forces.
At the same time, Pakistan must make sincere efforts to win America’s trust. You must leverage Pakistan’s geo-strategic location. Your government has to show solid results in the war on terror, which is now “our war” as much as America’s.
Your government should work to help stabilize Afghanistan and earn the right and privilege to be at par with, if not ahead, of the technologies America is giving India.
I can think of many reasons why my fellow Americans must realize that India is a long-term threat to US military and strategic interests in the region. I am sure your brilliant foreign affairs experts can give you many more.
Yet, India has all world powers falling over each other to sell it weapons and give it technology and business. Why can’t Pakistan do the same? Pakistan should reach out to European, Russian and American governments and defense manufacturers to seek the best they have to offer.
To exploit to the fullest the foreign relations opportunities you have been blessed with, I suggest that you reach out to, and visit, the largest powers that impact us directly. You must meet with the leaders of China, Russia, the United States as well as India.
Going to Dubai to take care of any kind of non-strategic, non-mission-critical, or personal business is a bad move. Blowing off China and rushing to our former colonizers in the United Kingdom at their slightest beckoning is a move Pakistan, and your government, will regret in the long run.
My suggestion is still to visit China, Russia, possibly Saudi Arabia. I would also add France, Germany and Japan to the list, while having your experts consider visiting a Muslim country like Malaysia that has done well on the global economic scene.
Yes, later, you should also visit the UK, and the USA and the UAE and any other country that you have an interest in.
But, now is not the time to rush there. When the time is right, when you have established a modicum of Pakistani sovereignty and independence, in the eyes of these countries, only then should you visit them. Believe me, you will find them more respectful and receptive to you if they know you are not rushing to their arms.
Ironically, even then, the loud and clear message you have to carry, as a democratically elected Pakistani President, is best summed in the words of a former dictator.
The people of Pakistan seek relationships with all these countries…. as our “Friends, Not Masters.”

Posted in Afghanistan, America, Anwar, Bhutto, Bush, China, Clinton, Constitution, Dictator, Dictatorship, Election, Elections, France, Germany, History, Jihad, McCain, Musharaff, Pakistan, President, Republicans, Security, Self Defense, Terrorism, Terrorist, USA, War | Leave a Comment »

Can Bush Push Mush? Another Legacy Leaving Opportunity Lost

Posted by imrananwar on August 12, 2008

For all the years I have followed Pakistani politics, from the inside as a student political leader, or from the outside as a media person, I have always been amazed by the huge number of historic opportunities squandered by Pakistan, Pakistanis and Pakistani generals, judges and politicians.

From the dictator Zia having an opportunity to clean up the country of corruption, to Benazir Bhutto doing something for womenkind and education, history was wasted. Ghulam Ishaq Khan was thrust into the role of President and blew a historic opportunity for him to be apolitical, and have a chance to be someone Pakistanis would remember as a hero.

Alas, once in power in most countries, and especially in Pakistan, elected and unelected heads of state, regardless of being 40 years old or 70, seem to live in the moment, for the moment, and moment by moment. Even the aged Ghulam Ishaq Khan did more to enrich his relatives, and play political games, than grab the incredible opportunity he had to become a new father figure in Pakistani history.

It is amazing that in Pakistan’s 61 years, there is not a single head of state who has tried to, or left, a legacy good enough for Pakistanis to consider adding his (or her) photo on even a (now defunct) One Rupee note.

We now have a situation that is eerily similar to what we have seen before. A dictator, even more unpopular than Zia, is clinging to power, simply because one of the most unpopular American Presidents, ever, George W. Bush’s grand foreign policy for the South Asian region is — ‘we stand by Musharraf.’

Perhaps Bush supports Mush because it ensures there is at least ONE President who is more unpopular than Bush himself is! But, jokes aside, even a tragic accident of history like George W. Bush is trying, belatedly and with no success, to spend the next 6 months trying to “leave a legacy.”

I can easily say Musharraf is a far smarter and more cunning man than Bush ever was, or will be. But, one thing they both share in common besides the sound of their names – no understanding of how legacies are left.

They do not understanding that a legacy is not created by clinging to power, or failed ideas, but by doing things in the greater interest, things bigger than what even our biggest admirers could imagine us doing. Legacy and history smile on us when we do things even we could not imagine being selfless, brave and visionary enough to do. When we become bold enough to stop living for our own egos today, but to step aside now, so the future can look back on us with respect.

Alas, neither Bush, nor Mush, get the concept, which is why they are both close to each other in how history will not remember them. They are among the most unpopular, ineffective, and impeachable Presidents – though they rule over countries thousands of miles apart, and worlds apart in political, religious and social systems.

Posted in America, Army, Benazir, Bhutto, Bin Laden, Bush, Dictator, Dictatorship, Elections, Freedom, Judges, Justice, Musharaff, Musharraf, Opportunity, Pakistan, Politics, President | 2 Comments »

 
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