Imran H Khan
In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
As part of Pakistani Diaspora we get a stroboscopic view of Pakistan which is quite different than of those living in the country. Generally these visits are full of very beautiful experiences of meeting family and friends and getting a chance to sample the culture at that instance. My recent week long visit was farthest from the typical, as the country is undergoing what can best be described as the “defining moment”. I am just going to present you with the facts and will leave it to you to connect the dots.
The visit started wonderfully as I boarded a new Turkish Airline flight straight from Boston to Islamabad with just a single stop in Istanbul. I highly recommend the flight for quality food, friendly staff and a sampling of Turkey in Istanbul. I have a weak spot for Turks since my years at METU in Ankara. When I landed in one of the worst rated airports in the world called Benazir Bhutto International at 3 am in the morning the only other planes were from Emirates and Qatar. Not a single PIA plane to be seen. There was something repulsive in naming an airport after a lady who was responsible for making Cotecna establish the value of my company’s computers instead of the Custom’s Deptt., when I had started an off shore development office in 1996. One could also see that super sized image of Nawaz Sharif on the wall of the hangar close to the airport. This should have been a warning that currently Pakistan has become a Mango republic.
Have an Armored Car for Transportion from the Airport
Our driver apparently slept through the night and I looked forward to taking a journey home in one of the smallest taxis usually frequented by the labor classes coming from the Middle East. As we entered the Mall Road in Rawal Pindi a silver colored Toyota pulled next to us with gunmen inside and asked us to pull to side, stating that they were civil police. My taxi driver had the presence of mind to carry on and duke it out on the Mall till we reached the well lit gates of Pearl Continental with their guards on the streets. The dacoits or abductors or whosoever they were took off. My driver was by now shaking in his chappals and appraised me of what had just happened. He said that this a usual occurrence and is happening with the protection of Pindi Police ( driver’s opinion). Had it not been for the luck that they waited to attack till we had reached the Mall, the presence of mind of the driver and had the armed guard of the hotel not been present, I could right now be sitting somewhere in FATA. You can read more about what is happening right under the nose of Pakistan Army’s General Head Quarters. I am writing this to fore warn others that this is a VERY serious situation that needs to be addressed immediately or there will be no more foreign visitors of any type.
Don’t Get at the Wrong Side of Punjab Police or Government of Pakistan
In recent days with all that is going on with Dharna etc. I have watched more Pakistani channels than ever before. One of the most amazing facts of Punjab Police attack on the unarmed people is that the GOP refused to create the First Information Report of this incidence. You be the judge of the seriousness of the attack after watching the video below.
I also discovered the real hero in Pakistan by the name of Mubashar Luqman. His programs showed the arrogance of the government and the collusion between the executive and the supreme court in getting away essentially with murder. The most damning video is the airing of the audio recording between an ex Judge of Supreme Court and Chief Minister of Punjab Shahbaz Sharif.
On one day a Senator by the name of Aitzaz Ahsan spent the whole day talking about his achievements and essentially indirectly incriminated the ex-Chief Justice Iftikhar by stating that many of his friends made crores of rupees by taking cases that were being judged by him.
The brutality and the subsequent lack of human rights exhibited by the Govt. of Pakistan on its citizens were evident by forcing the doctors not to categorized those hit by bullets in front of the Parliament. The amount of tear gas fired into the demonstrators in the still air could be categorized as chemical warfare as it resulted in a number of deaths.
The lethality of the tear gas can be read here.
Rape of the Historic and Sacred Land
On the way to visiting Cadet College Hasan Abdal I traveled the motorway towards Peshawar for the first time. On the way I was met by the most ugly and horrific sight of Margalla Hills literally torn apart by gravel crushers. The crushers tore into these beautiful rolling hills that are the precursor to himalayan mountains. The companies involved are carrying on the desecration despite Supreme Court orders and the efforts of civil society.
The above image does not do justice in showing the extent of the damage. You can see more by looking at the google maps.
Desperate State of the Masses
The fact that tens of thousands of Pakistanis including women and children are protesting under grueling conditions in Islamabad for over a month is an indication of the state of desperation among them.
It first seemed wrong that Imran Khan was asking people not to pay the electric bills. I asked the male nurse in the hospital where I was taking care of my father as to what his electric bills were. He said that they were typically Rs 2000 per month. But last month his bill jumped to Rs. 23,0000 and he was at a total loss as to how he was going to pay it. This comment was over heard by the sweeperess who happened to be crossing the room. She said that her bill was Rs. 6000. She only made Rs. 9000 per month in salary. So you be the judge as to how these people can handle the exploitation the state is doing to its most exposed people.
The current government is underestimating the anger among the citizens. They see tens of thousands of protesters and say that in a nation of 180 million a few thousand protesters mean nothing. What they do not get is the fact that vast majority of Pakistanis are sympathizing with the protesters. It is just that they cannot afford to protest themselves.
If after reading and viewing these videos you feel like having a part in this historic era in the history of Pakistan, I would suggest writing an email to the Pakistani Ambassador in your country and asking him to either demand a new elections where aspirants truly fulfill the criteria established by the Election Commission of Pakistan, or that they should join the ranks of so many government employees who have resigned.
“Freedom is NOT Free” … ( a popular US idiom)