By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi.
Only in a country and society as schizophrenic as Pakistan can two of its most corrupt politicians, occupy it's highest political and executive offices.
President Asif Zardari, is a phrase, which still jars and send shivers down most spines (where they exist).
The other phrase "Thrice elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif" is like a heroin fix, making the addicts oblivious to the rabid destruction to their body, mind and spirit.
Both Nawaz and Zardari and their cronies and families, are corrupt, criminal and very dangerous. This despite the fact that kangaroo courts judged, and let them go scot free in the past. Themselves, mere handmaidens and mistresses.
They are dangerous because they are willing to compromise national interests and sell out to foreign powers.
Nawaz sold out to India to further his business empire and collar the Army and Zardari to the USA to strengthen his power and in return defang our nuclear arsenal and also collar the Army.
Thus both, terribly corrupt, acquire and hold on to power by buying their way into every state institution. Then they appoint their toadies and henchmen to positions of authority and through them subvert and destroy institutional processes and thus acquire total control over them.
They then consolidate their control over the key areas of law enforcement and lower judiciary, then the entire administrative and governance infrastructure and finally all institutions who have access to public funds.
These fat cows, they then loot, pillage and plunder, till they bleed them dry.
They get away with this loot and plunder by hijacking those State institutions who could hold them accountable.
Look at the state of organizations like the NAB, FIA, SECP, State Bank, FBR, Anti Corruption, IB, CID, to name a few.
But their biggest prize has been to subvert the electoral process
From an election commission totally beholden to them to a terribly flawed electoral process where results can be changed at whim after votes are cast, they control much of the outcome.
And there's nothing an opposition candidate can do, except protest or go to election tribunals, who are already in the pockets of the Zardaris and Sharifs, especially in Punjab and Sind.
One candidate's case, who I know personally, is still awaiting judgement from an Election Tribunal since 2013. The evidence. 45000 votes cast against this person with no counterfoils! As if the votes appeared by magic. Slam dunk, one would think? But no. The ET hummed and hawed and while tasked to deliver a judgement in 40 days, hasn't met in over two years!
In Punjab and Sind, Returning officers and Presiding officers, all government servants, school teachers and lower judiciary judges, are in cahoots. The Punjab and Sind provincial police forces, nothing but a gang of armed thugs in police uniform.
And then there's Imran Khan.
Those who oppose him, expect angelic conduct from him, yet are willing to wallow in the filth and vomit of the Sharifs and the Zardaris and their cronies. They will highlight his wrongs and justify the criminality of Nawaz and Zardari.
And that's why I say we are a schizophrenic society.
Imran may have many faults. And he does!
He's arrogant! He's preachy!
He says things that come back to haunt him.
He may still have a roving eye! He may be compromising his pristine clean political values, to some extent, at the alter of political expediency!
He may have made inopportune political moves in engaging with some dicey and questionable political partners and allies.
But all these are over ridden by the fact that Imran is first and foremost and above all, an unabashed patriot, who will not sell out Pakistan. Unlike Sharif and Zardari.
Secondly he's as incorruptible, financially, as one can get at his level of politics. Again in sharp contrast to N and A.
Thirdly. He is unbelievably persistent and never gives in.
Fourthly. He has managed to effectively run a province with a party and many people who have never been in power.
Fifthly. He has done everything possible under the sun given the limitations of inexperience and the challenges of managing and keeping in check a wily fox like Pervez Khattak, and some not so clean politicos, in delivering a near miracle in KPK.
And, let's admit it, even his biggest critic will give him this. That he really genuinely, tried and, despite all odds was able to deliver significant results in Police; Education, especially girls education; Health Care; Lower judiciary and administrative and governance reforms.
Yes. Admittedly streets are still dirty. There's still corruption in government offices and there aren't any flowing doodh ki nahraen in KPK. But KPK has changed. The hold of entrenched mafia has significantly eroded. And it doesn't stink with the stench of corruption that invades ones senses in Punjab and Sind!
But, folks, let's give PTI and Imran their due in delivering against massive odds. Societies don't change overnight especially those who've been looted and royally plundered by all and sundry.
Compare this to the total destruction of education, health care, law enforcement and all other public sector institutions at the Federal level and in Punjab and Sind in the last 9 years.
It's hard to find a single institution at the Center or in Punjab or Sind which the PPP or the PMLN can put forward and say. "Here look at this institution. Look how we changed it in our 9 years of loot and plunder!"
But our first term wunderkid, Imran can!
One can fault Imran for his KPK Ehtesaab Bureau mishandling and the intra party elections fiasco in his party and some of the really good leaders who left him and some not so nice joining the PTI.
But given all his challenges, he has come through pretty decently and well. And, but for him, Nawaz and Panama would have been a long forgotten story.
Of course Imran is no Angel or Snow White. But compared to these two devils, Sharif and Zardari, he comes pretty close to being an Angel.
Pakistan and its institutions have been misgoverned, looted, destroyed and plundered by its governments and rulers. Both military and civilian.
The Army, PPP, and the PMLN have basically ruled the country since 1958 and we see what they've given us.
Isn't it time we gave an honest leader like Imran a chance?
Isn't it time that we let a leader who will make a serious go to strengthen our institutions, hold corrupt people accuntable and finally deliver for the poor, the wretched and the massively exploited.
Pakistanis! Think about it?
And if he fails?
Well we can always go back to the filth and vomit of the Sharifs and the Zardaris!
But clearly looking at the evidence on hand, he will do a much better job than these two criminals.
Just one piece of advice for Imran.
Please be circumspect in what you say from now on and control the other foot and mouth disease types, in PTI.
Don't let Naeem ul Haque run riot. He looks really good when he's quiet.
Curb your younger turks who don't know the definition of "secular" or "liberal" and scream incoherently on talk shows and scare people who would otherwise vote for you. Give your Ali Mohammad's the Quaid's 11th August speech.
Don't be divisive. Engage and embrace everybody. Become a statesman in word and deed and demeanor. Ali Asghar Khan
Its time we all thought what's good for our country not what's good for my baradari, or my political party.
Give Imran a chance! For Pakistan's sake.
Hopefully we won't be disappointed!