- Imran Khan in his 22-year long struggle as a political nobody, and today as the prime minister of Pakistan is doing the right thing
- What Khan as the prime minister has promised is the Riyasat-e-Madinah, a world in which there is no discrimination on the basis of family, relationship, wealth, and power
- What Khan as the prime minister who has vowed “I will not spare them...I will go after them” must prove with action that his accountability is of all, starting with himself
- Imran Khan’s process of accountability is not for political annihilation of one leader or one party
I’ve heard about it all my life. I’ve seen it all around me. Its presence is undeniable. It appears in many forms. Its affect is on many levels. Its beneficiaries come in all shapes, sizes and moral whataboutism. It is here, and it is there, and it is everywhere. There is no escaping it anywhere. It takes no prisoners. Not one institution has existed without its effects. Its primary and ultimate victim is one: Pakistan.
That ten-letter word that Mohammad Ali Jinnah warned about at the time of the establishment of Pakistan in August 1947, that all leaders of Pakistan, civilian and military, have used in various ways, to gain more power, or to oust a government, or to be elected into power: corruption. It is, it was, and it will be a word that empowers, dethrones, realigns and reasserts. How it will become more than a mere word to take the power of an instrument of real change, only time will tell.
And Imran Khan, the current prime minister of Pakistan, has much to do before his self-declared war against corruption effects a tangible change that is beyond any party, beyond any political ideology, beyond any vested interest, beyond any residual anger, and beyond any immature need to have validation of a promise that sounded good in political opposition and in an electoral campaign. Khan needs time and resolve to do what must be done to rid Pakistan of corruption that has been one of the main reasons for its ongoing and long-term debilitation in ways that are hard to ignore, and too many to be tackled in a short, sharp, one-size-fits-all, painful process.
The fundamental is simple. Any process of accountability must be clean, transparent, thorough, based on allegations of real financial or other misdeeds, an unbiased investigative system, collection of verifiable evidence, a strong legal case that is free of political loopholes, a judicial inquiry that is without fear, intimidation, pressure or bias, and a judicial trial that is devoid of any indication of being a political or a personal witch-hunt.
What needs to be established without any ambiguity is the intention to do the right thing for the right reason. Corruption should not and must not and ought not and cannot be used as a tool of intimidation, political isolation of an individual or a party, and a systematic obliteration of political opposition. Elimination of corruption is an absolute the achievement of which is nothing more than a utopia that looks good on paper, and remains an impossible feat for even the most upright, the most honest, the most dedicated of leaders. A sincere and exhaustive process for elimination of corruption is what Pakistan needs. It will not solve all issues of Pakistan, but what it will do is send a message to those currently in power, or were ever in power. You will not be spared if for your personal gain, or political hegemony, or accumulation of unlawful wealth, you harm Pakistan. Period.
- Justice and accountability in Pakistan: Will Imran Khan be true to his promise?
- On this Eid, I send a prayer for all who have lost love and lost faith in love
- Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is committed to peace and will fight bigotry
- Imran Khan will realise Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s dream of a glorious Pakistan
Be it a person on the highest level of state power; be it the incumbent prime minister; be it a long-serving party loyalist; be it a present or a former parliamentarian; be it any federal or provincial minister, be it a former prime minister with no real power; be it a military dictator who through a coup became the president of Pakistan; be it the widower of Pakistan’s most well-known female politician and two-time prime minister; be it a new minister of a government first time in power; be it a former chief minister who has been in power more times in the last two decades than most people with political aspirations to be relevant hope for in a lifetime; be it a son of that chief minister; be it a sibling of a serving prime minister; be it a daughter of a jailed prime minister; be it a close aide of a new prime minister; be it an in-law of a former prime minister; be it a relative of a powerful general; be it a general himself...No one is above the law, and no one will be allowed to play eenie meenie miney mo with a due process of justice.
Pakistan suffers from it all. There is accumulation of assets that do not have a verifiable money trail; unexplained bank accounts that have more zeroes than the dreams of a starry-eyed teenager wishing to become an astronaut; government deals with clauses that benefit in ways sneaky and dark those who promised to serve the country; use of government positions for extraction of personal and other favours; amendments in the taxation system to benefit a privileged few; money laundering that is done through means that do not take a rocket scientist to decode; dummy companies in tax-free havens; setting up of huge business houses in the United Kingdom and the Middle East while claiming to be working for the betterment of Pakistan when in power, and seeking global investments for making Pakistan a prosperous, self-reliant country; and formation of assets outside Pakistan while in power in Pakistan. Pakistan deserves to have it all accounted for. And not one stolen million too late.
Imran Khan in his 22-year long struggle as a political nobody, and today as the prime minister of Pakistan is doing the right thing. What Khan must ensure as the prime minister of a Pakistan reeling under an economic destruction that affects millions of those whose everyday struggle is limited to have a roof on their head, running electricity and water in their house, money to pay for state-provided education and healthcare, and have enough food for everyone in the family is that everything he is doing is for the good of Pakistan.
What Khan as the prime minister has promised is the Riyasat-e-Madinah, a world in which there is no discrimination on the basis of family, relationship, wealth, and power.
What Khan as the prime minister who has vowed “I will not spare them...I will go after them” must prove with action that his accountability is of all, starting with himself.
What Khan the prime minister who has declared that “Pakistan is stable now...That pressure [to stabilise the economy] has been relieved...Now I will go after them [the corrupt politicians]” must state without equivocation that he will also go after those in his own party who are accused of corruption.
What Khan the prime minister who has announced the formation of a “commission [that] shall comprise the Federal Investigation Agency, Intelligence Bureau, the Inter-services Intelligence Directorate, Federal Board of Revenue, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan” and “all those in power will be fully investigated by this commission that will prepare a report so that no one dare leave the country in tatters ever again” must promise the nation that not one of his party members, friends, family members, or political allies will be beyond the authority of that commission.
And what Khan the prime minister must state without any ambivalence when he says he would not be “blackmailed” with protests, and that “even if my life goes, I will not leave these thieves alone...I had prayed to God to give me one chance–I will not leave them” that his accountability system is for each and every person who is accused of a financial irregularity regardless of the party they belong to, or the family they hail from.
Imran Khan’s process of accountability is not for political annihilation of one leader or one party. His announcement of war with corruption, neither unexpected nor recent, is not for relegation to political irrelevance Nawaz Sharif and his family and party, and Asif Ali Zardari and his family and party. Imran Khan through his words to his nation has promised a system of checks and balances that once established in its truest form will be a guarantee that while in power and once out of power, if alleged of a financial impropriety or any misuse of power, Imran Khan will also not be beyond accountability.
That Pakistan will be on the lines of the Riyast-e-Madinah of Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him).