Reckoning time in Chitral
.. by Islamuddin
The elections of 2018 are unique in the sense that these were fought on a single item agenda-corruption. Predictably the political alignments opposing corruption and committed to recover the stolen money won the elections. Parties known for encouraging corruption were voted out. It is unfortunate that politics being a normative science and regarded as superior one by its founder Plato was turned into a laughing stock in this land of the pure. Instead of using it for promoting high level morality and service to people our practitioners of politics made it a tool for amassing personal wealth and power. During the past few decades corruption and corrupt practices reached new heights and corrupt politicians tended to compromise on vital national interests for personal gains. When corruptions reaches such a level with impunity and threatens national survival, institutions responsible to protect national interests, have to come in to deliver on their oath and that has exactly happened. Fortunately this time over the entire nation is on the back of our Army, NAB and Judiciary and it is now up to them to redeem their honour and image, bruised by past mistakes, compromises and collusions.
The situation in Chitral is not much different. It started off its democratic journey in 1970 by electing Ataliq Jafar Ali Shah, who had played vital role in the State?s accession to Pakistan. Since then Chitral has elected many representatives but except a few almost all of them have come out without being tainted with corruption. They may not have done much for Chitral but they did protect its image by not indulging in corruption, as is borne out by their subsequent life styles. For them politics remained a vehicle for public service and earn fame rather than money, for which one should go into money market including business. Ideally speaking no businessman should be voted to elective office without ensuring that there was no conflict of interest. It is painful to hear that an elected representative has to justify his or her ill-gotten wealth saying that he or she earned it through business during incumbency, which in itself is illegal. The fact of the matter is that this unexplained wealth was made with kickbacks, commissions, selling of Government jobs and votes, especiaaly during Senate polls.
In Chitral?s folk heritage people are shamed by referring to them as ?bezamunu? i.e the one sold out. Traditionally the person sold out was innocent and perhaps those doing it also had some explanation by way of state necessity but there is no explanation for our elected representatives for doing it except to make money. A greedy person having no sense of honour could not resist the temptation of money if elevated to parliament. A lady MPA had to be expelled from the party for allegedly selling her vote in Senate polls . It is a measure of our fall that other political parties take in tainted people. If such a party makes claims to fight corruption and allows a corrupt person to join it then one should question its credibility as an anti corruption party. If the buyer and seller turn out to be Chitralies we must do some soul searching to find out as to what caused this fall from grace. How much money one needs to live, after all on death shrouds do not have pockets? How much money one should have to buy respect and honour? None. Then why prefer money over honour? Salt is added to injury when a corrupt person is allowed to cling to power in the name of sect, ethnicity or any other consideration even if in the process the fair name of that identity is undermined, making its adherents more vulnerable and suspects in terms of integrity.
I remember a short story taught at school about greed. We were taught that greed was a curse. It blinded a human being making him incapable to see the truth or make rational choice. If a human being allows greed to drive him it would tantamount to selling one?s soul to the devil and any one making this bargain is bound to fall one day and this has exactly happened to many people in these polls. It is a Divine retribution because no human hand could have broken the shackles with which the Sicilian mafia had tied our hands and tapped out lips. Imran Khan was only a tool in the hands of the Divine. Allah has unique ways to work to achieve His purpose. It is heartening that this time our Establishment also allowed itself to be used by the Divine and this augurs well for the future of Pakistan. These polls have brought back the Divine grace and we should make the best use of it.
The battle has been won but not the war. Arrests and jails for the corrupt are not enough. Instead of putting them behind bars and incurring public funds for their security and maintenance, innovative methods should be devised to recover the stolen money and refurbish state coffers to take the country out of its present dire economic crunch. In Chitral state fund thefts have taken place in timber cutting, contracts kickbacks, ghost projects, sale of jobs and votes. As corruption godfather Mian Nawaz Sharif once said that ill-gotten wealth is not kept in one?s own name, therefore the investigations should extend to all relatives, friends and business partners of the corrupt.
While it is true that skilfull thieves donot leave behind trails of their corruption but mercifully NAB law has a provision which requires the accused to prove that assets are backed up by genuine sources of income and tax returns. In case the culprits fails to do so the assets are confiscated. This has happened in the case of Nawaz Sharif and should happen in the case of others including those under probe in Chitral, to which Income Tax laws stand extended. Molana Chitrali owes it to Chitral to institute and pursue the corruption cases that he has registered or will do in the future. If the MMA in Chitral succeeds in uprooting corruption, promoting meritocracy and improving governance it would have won the war for Chitral and earned abiding support of the people and blessings of Allah. .. Islamuddin, Garm Chashma Chitral 13 Aug 2018
Chitralies vote against corruption
.. by Islamuddin
Bravo! Well done Chitralis. You have followed national trend to vote out corruption. MMA may not have governing skills but there are quite a few God fearing and honest people in the party Including the MNA elect Maulana Chitrali who did well during his last stint. The benefit of incumbency that PTI cashed in the elections owes much to the contributions of JI. PTI local leadership should blame no one except itself for the defeat. During 5 years PTI rule in KP this leadership failed to organize the party and remained out of touch with the people at grassroot level thus failing to educate the people about the vision of Imran Khan. They thought that participation in ?dharna? and Imran Khan?s image will get them through in the elections; so much so that their election campaigns were half-hearted. Electables were discouraged to join the party and even among those in the party there was no meeting of hearts. Public grievances were never ventilated at the right forums.
At the start of the poll campaign this scribe, using this esteemed Online newspaper, had requested all contestants not to play on faultlines. This advice was not heeded and few candidates tried to enter this danger zone for short term political gains even at the cost of Chitral?s communal harmony which should have remained their top agenda. It is a measure of our maturity that we refused to be swayed by narrow considerations. Issues of governance and corruption remained upper most in the public psyche while deciding to choose candidates. MMA was chosen because of the perception that they do not have the tendency to indulge in corruption. Though lacking in governance skills, they are percieved to be simple people who would do no harm to public exchequer the way it has been squandered by past rulers. Favouritism and contract commissions have been used by past rulers for personal enrichments and then these ill-gotten funds were used to buy votes in elections. This trick was used this time also but mercifully to no effect.
The results of these elections must be eye opener for our political leaders. Gone are the days of vote buying, intimidation and blackmail. The voter has come of age and is judging the candidates on the basis of their performance and honesty.The free media has made election a completely new ball game. The rout of PML(N) and PPP in 2018 polls is proof enough of the changing paradigm. Both the parties have damaged their reputation because of corruption. However greedy people cannot see this change because corruption blinds a person to every thing except personal interest. Cyril Almeida, the controversial Dawn reporter wrote in a recent article that some politicians would even sell their honour to get into office. There is another explanation as well that politicians tend to make elective offices as ancestral possessions to protect their ill-gotten wealth. The results of 2018 polls holds an important lesson for such people as well.
Here while congratulating Maulana Chitrali on his well-deserved victory, I would suggest that his individual honesty may not be enough, unless he puts all his energy to make NAB take notice of corruption cases in Chitral. NAB has already taken notice of corruption in contract and timber cutting. Maulan Saheb should follow it up and recover public funds for correct utilization. In my own area quite a few projects (some ghost projects), including medium sized water supply projects await investigation for substandard construction and subletting . In fact these are programmed to fail so that fresh funds are allocated thereby making these projects as gold mones for corruption. Many of these cases case fall under NAB ambit on account of being asset beyond legal means. In fact during an election meeting when MMA complained that Ismailis do not vote for MMA, I responded that MMA should cultivate these voters through continuous interaction instead of making it a once in a blue moon activity. When out of power it should work as active opposition and expose corruption. Chitralis like to vote for merit but by not highlighting it, civic spirited leaders themselves allow free ride to political adventurers who love to side track public opinion by playing with faultlines of ethnicity, regionalism and religion.
The simple and innocent people of Garam Chashma have been taken for a free ride by few adventurers. Fortunately this year we saw some improvement in public psyche, depicted in voting pattern, despite efforts to play on the faultlines. This time over Garam Chasma did try to come out of this faultline. New elected leadership should give them more awareness and confidence to come out of the fear syndrome to call a spade a spade. Unless these steps are not taken political adventurers motivated by personal interests would continue to exploit the unwary public. Chitralis expect their new leadership to focuss on issues of governance and corruption as without them development funds would take us nowhere and we would continue to move in the vicious cycle. While drawing priorities for allocation of funds community based educational and skill development institutions should get due attention. The previous policy of MMA in this behalf should be revisited. As actions speak louder than words, these steps would bridge the gap between the MMA and the local communities throughout Chitral. We have reasons to believe that MMA would not make distinctions between its voters and opponents in the distribution of state largesse. By appearing as representatives of all the Chitralies they can bring Chitral on a single platform i.e loyalty to Chitral. .. Islamuddin, Garm Chashma Chitral 27 Jul 2018
Three govt personnel arrested for corruption in Chitral
Chitral .. Three govt personnel two belonging to the food department and one to the revenue department have been arrested after inquiry on charges of corruption to the tune of many million rupees, as reported by a local urdu news website chitralmail. According to the reporter, Abdul Jalil food grain supervisor and his accomplice Usman Khan have been arrested for swindling 12 million rupees from the government exchequer and inquiry against many other personnel is also underway. The third accused arrested was Yasir Ali who got himself employed as patwari against a fake certificate. The Anti corruption officer Chitral Muhammad Yaqub said no one would be spared who has indulged in corruption ... CN report, 23 Nov 2017