If wishes were…’By Nusrat Javed

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Being hardened political activists, Raza Rabbani and Pervez Rashid seemed to have finally realised Tuesday that a session of the Senate, the opposition had enforced upon the government, was miserably failing to achieve the desired results. The speeches, delivered from both sides of the aisle, rather kept drifting to trivial point scoring. In addition to inducing yawns, most senators also projected their house to look frighteningly disconnected to an overwhelming mood of doom and gloom.

The government representatives were still able to viciously rub in the story that our opposition parties mostly behaved like ‘mindless slaves’ of previous rulers, Asif Ali Zardari and Nawaz Sharif, who Imran Khan had eventually succeeded to expose as “hardened corrupt and money launderers” through dauntless struggle, spread to more than two decades.

With a well thought intent of steering the focus to real time issues of utmost public concern, Raza Rabbani took the floor Tuesday to recall the complete breakdown of electricity-supply system that had plunged the whole country into long hours of chaos and fear stirring darkness, between the night of Saturday-Sunday of last week. He was totally justified to add that if the government really felt answerable to an elected parliament, the minister of energy should have reached the House at the outset of the Senate sitting of Monday. Through a comprehensive statement, Omar Ayub khan should have explained the causes of this massive breakdown. But he didn’t care to say even a word about it.

After realising that the government was simply not willing to discuss the matter, Raza Rabbani appealed to the Senate Chairman to take the lead and ask the Senate Committee on Energy to initiate a deep probe. Not one person from the treasury benches opposed Rabbani’s proposal. Yet, Sadiq Sanjrani felt shy to exercise his authority and another highly critical issue was wantonly ignored. The opposition senators also appeared not too keen to press it further.

After Raza Rabbani, Pervez Rashid of Pakistan Muslim League also tried to trigger serious discussion on another significant matter. Recently, a near-bankrupt company was able to extract a huge amount of 28 million US dollars from the Government of Pakistan by invoking ‘arbitration’ from a British court.

The said firm was primarily hired by the Musharraf government to locate the “hidden wealth” of our politicians and bureaucrats for National Accountability Bureau (NAB). Apparently, it failed to deliver in the end and the government felt forced to cancel the deal with it. The company believed otherwise and thanks to a drawn out legal battle forced the government of Pakistan to pay a hefty amount as “compensation” for cancelling a ‘duly signed’ deal.

After extracting a huge amount from our government, the new CEO of a once “liquated company” granted a long interview to a London-based V-logger of Pakistan origin. During this interview, he continued to feign concern for the “looted money of Pakistan” and faked generosity by expressing willingness to return the amount his company had extracted as compensation.

Like a crafty mercenary, he surely showed ‘generosity’ to bait the Imran government for signing a new deal with his company. He also employed all possible tricks to allure and dropped heavy hints to suggest as if he was in the know of “billions,” the corrupt politicians and bureaucrats of Pakistan continued to hide from their government. And to sound credible, he specifically dragged in Nawaz Sharif to promote scandalous stories.

Ironically, the diligent-looking accountability czar of the Imran government, Shahzad Akbar Mirza, had contemptuously described the said CEO as a greedy hunter on the prowl, while talking to a London-based correspondent of a prestigious English newspaper of Pakistan.

Yet, a huge brigade of the media managers of Imran government kept persuading news editors of all our “independent” TV channels to highlight stories told by a profit-seeking CEO, which clearly maligned Nawaz Sharif, currently living in London.

As an ordinary citizen, I would prefer to disregard the pain of Pervez Rashid, when it comes to scandalous stories allegedly maligning his leader. But he surely had a point while seriously wondering as to why members of our elected parliament were not so keen to find nothing but whole truth about the accountability outfit’s dealing with a shady looking firm. After all, the huge amount, a company had already extracted from the government of Pakistan was paid from multiple forms of direct or indirect taxes you and I are forced to pay. No one cared to seriously consider the pertinent questions raised by Pervez Rashid, including those crowding the opposition benches.

Instead of responding to here and now questions of utmost public concern, the government representatives went on and on to project the whole opposition parties as “pathetic cabal” of “corrupt and incompetent hypocrites.”

Senator Mohsin Aziz took the lead in drumming the said story Tuesday. He remained deliberately rude and provocative while describing the decade of 1990 as the “wasted decade,” where the ceaseless craving for the loot and plunder allegedly crippled the economy of Pakistan.

Too proud he sounded to pronounce that General Musharraf eventually proved the savior of Pakistan after taking over in October 1999. He furnished vigor and energy to our economy. Hardly a Pakistani is familiar with the names of his children. Yet the nation feels shy to express gratitude to him.

He kept insisting that after the fall of Musharraf in 2008, Pakistan once again turned into a lifeless hostage to “dynastic politicians.” For another time, however, the country proved lucky for “God gave us Imran Khan as a benevolent gift.” The cricketer-turned-politician is dead honest. He has no business interests and has devoted his energies to get rid of the corrupt.

With contemptuous tone and words, he kept claiming that by joining hands in the alliance called Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), “looters and plunderers” miserably failed to bully Imran Khan. They rather lacked the will and courage to face a born-brave like him.

After him, Walid Iqbal also kept referring to a pile of diligently collected data to establish that during their turns in the government, both the PPP and PML-N continued to recklessly govern, not through active and inclusive legislation by parliament but by issuing Ordinances, slavishly signed by the previous presidents. Their grudge against Ordinances these days thus sounds “hypocritical”.

Besides focusing on shaming and embarrassing the opposition by recalling its conduct during turns in the government, the ministers were also adamant to convey the message that in the end, the Imran government would succeed in taking over islands, currently falling under the jurisdiction of the Sindh and Balochistan governments, with “sincere intent to develop them.” Perhaps they only need to wait until the end of March this year to move on to the target. One can only say: “if wishes were…”