Imran may follow some austere Pakistani, world rulers

Published on: 20/08/2018 | Comments: 3 comments 

LAHORE: As Pakistan’s new Premier, Imran Khan, is adamant to introduce austerity at all levels in a bid to shun the apartheid of elitism and hence cut down on the exorbitant excesses, he should not only seek inspiration from compatriots like Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and one of his predecessors, Muhammad Khan Junejo, but should also take a leaf out of Uruguay’s ex-president, Jose Mujica’s book and may even follow the likes of Nepal’s former head of government, Sushil Koirala, and Malawi’s first female President, Joyce Banda.

All the above-named world leaders had set magnificent examples for the mighty and powerful with their humble and austere lifestyles.

Chronicles of history reveal that Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah had practiced the values of honesty, austerity and humility to the very end of his life, but unfortunately, this glorious phase of our history is buried in books that are hard to find.

An example of how Quaid-e-Azam prioritized austerity was the way he checked the details of the expenses incurred on the first cabinet meeting, although the sum spent on serving tea and biscuits to cabinet members was only Rs 38. He ordered that, in future cabinet meetings only cold water will be served because Pakistan could not afford even such small expenses.

By the 1930s, Quaid-e-Azam had become the best and one of the most expensive lawyers in India. He would charge Rs 1,500 an hour for going through a client’s case papers. To ensure that clients were charged fairly, he kept a clock in front of him while reading their case papers to note the time spent thereon.

In one such instance, a client had submitted his case papers to Mr Jinnah’s secretary who, after looking at their volume, asked the client to deposit Rs 3,000 thinking that the Quaid will take two hours to study them. But because it took Mr Jinnah only one and a half hour to read the case papers, he informed his secretary accordingly, and the next day his secretary called the client asking him to collect a refund of Rs 750.

In the budget for 1987-88, the-then Pakistani Prime Minister, Muhammad Khan Junejo, had sought to introduce austerity in governance. He scrapped the head of purchasing new, big and imported cars for official use and for officers who had been entitled to them. Under the scheme of austerity, he ordered that all officers who were entitled to use cars would now use locally-assembled Suzuki cars instead of imported cars.

His move had annoyed many in government and bureaucracy, but Muhammad Khan Junejo remained unfretted and unmoved. By the way, on November 20, 1979, Pakistan?s military dictator, General Ziaul Haq had announced that he would ride a bike in Rawalpindi.

In the beginning he rode a bicycle to his office from his residence. Later, he had planned to travel on a bicycle to Raja Bazaar in Rawalpindi. A large number of soldiers had to peddle bicycles alongside him in plain clothes to ensure the General?s security, while the event was given wide publicity by the official media.

While this show of cycling was taking place, on the morning of November 20, 1979, some Saudi militants calling for the overthrow of the House of Saud had taken over the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca.

Shortly after news of the takeover was released, Irani leader Ayatollah Khomeini had told radio listeners that it was not beyond guessing that it was the work of criminal American imperialism and international Zionism.

Following Khomeini’s announcement, a crowd had started to move towards the diplomatic enclave in Islamabad to attack the US embassy. The embassy was set alight, while the staff was trapped inside and faced almost certain death.

At Fawara Chowk, the infuriated mob came across General Ziaul Haq riding a bicycle. General Zia thus had to rush and address the nation, urging people to calm their nerves and declared that America had nothing to do with the sad incident in Makkah. General Ziaul Haq’s bicycle riding was thus short-lived.

In modern history, Uruguay’s ex-president, Jose Mujica, had caught the world’s eye for being the humblest head of state on Earth. The former president shunned the luxurious lifestyle and was usually seen in casual clothes for official ceremonies and rarely, if ever, wore a tie. By donating 90 per cent of his salary to charity, his income was roughly equal to the average wage in Uruguay – $775 (?485) a month.

According to BBC, in 2010, his annual personal wealth declaration – mandatory for officials in Uruguay – was $1,800 (?1,100), the value of his 1987 Volkswagen Beetle.

While most presidents travel around in chauffeur-driven saloon cars, the former Uruguayan president drove his own beat-up Beetle. He was even offered $1m for the car by an Arab Sheikh, but said he didn’t give the offer “any importance”.

This year, he added half of his wife’s assets – land, tractors and a house – reaching $215,000 (?135,000). With just his three-legged dog Manuela and two police officers for security, Mujica lives on a small farm on the outskirts of the capital Montevideo.

The first female president of Malawi, Joyce Banda, had sold off the presidential jet and the fleet of 60 Mercedes limousines in an effort to steer the then-struggling country to financial austerity. Later, the money earned from selling the plane went to feeding more than one million people, the country’s Treasury Department said.

Nepal’s Prime Minister, Sushil Koirala, was widely lauded for eschewing the perks associated with being the leader of his country. In a nation where politicians are typically associated with wealth, Sushil Koirala’s only declared assets were three mobile phones.

Before moving into the official prime minister residences, the BBC reported that he rented a house in Kathmandu. Koirala is also said to have stayed with his brother when he visited the city instead of a hotel.

History also shows that the only substantial property that former Indian Prime Minister, Lal Bahadur Shastri, had when he died was an old car that he bought on installments (part of which he was yet to pay). After his death, his wife had repaid the bank loan.

“The Times of India” had written: “In 1964, the Shastri family only had Rs 7,000 in the bank. The Prime Minister applied for a loan of Rs 5,000 loan which was sanctioned the same day. But soon tragedy struck the family and the nation. The Prime Minister passed away on January 11, 1966 in Tashkent where he had gone to sign the declaration that resolved the 1965 war between India and Pakistan. “The loan remained unpaid. It was repaid by my mother (Lalita) from the pension.”

Another former Indian Prime Minister, Gulzarilal Nanda, had died in a rented house and never managed to purchase a house of his own.? .. Source

Imran’s austerity intentions, opening signature for a New Pakistan

Published on: 04/08/2018 | Comments: No comments 

Chitral: A problem that has always been overlooked but that has plagued Pakistan since it’s early days is the culture of living beyond our means. Our rulers have shamelessly been accruing debts and grants and living lavishly on these debts, without caring about their repayment. International and internal debt liability on the national exchequer has swollen to such an extent that we are about to sink under these debts and loans. Begging for more loans to even pay interest of the earlier loans is now the only option left with Pakistan.

At such a juncture, the announcement by the Prime Minister to-be, Imran Khan, that he will incorporate austerity measures in the government is a good augury. Starting with personal example of sacrificing the Prime Minister house, relinquishing the nauseatingly exaggerated protocols enjoyed by former prime ministers, cropping the size of the cabinet are some examples which are very encouraging.

Embracing austerity measures by the prime minister will have a salutary effect across the society as people tend to emulate their leaders. The word austerity had become alien to our society just as the word ‘corruption was deleted from our dictionary until Imran Khan inserted it back into the book. Similarly the word ‘austerity’ would also become respectable with the people when their prime minister practices it. .. CN report, 04 Aug 2018

Imran Khan tells Britain he will retrieve Pakistan’s looted wealth

Published on: 04/08/2018 | Comments: No comments 

Imran Khan is won the July 25 general election, but is still trying to form a coalition

Imran Khan has told Britain he will retrieve wealth looted from his country and stashed in the UK by corrupt Pakistani politicians.

The former cricketer used his first meeting with British officials since his general election win to say he would pursue laundered money.

New anti-corruption UK legislation designed to target oligarchs and international crime could be used to freeze or seize property and assets if there is evidence it was bought with illegal or unexplained wealth.

Attacks on the greed of Pakistan’s dynastic ruling elite have been the cornerstone of the populist anti-corruption drive which has swept Mr Khan to power.

He has denounced the political class for siphoning off money from public sector institutions and contracts and then salting it away overseas.

The issue has dominated Pakistan’s politics since the Panama Papers leak linked former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s family to offshore companies and four Park Lane flats.

Imran Khan meeting the British High Commissioner Thomas Drew
Imran Khan meeting the British High Commissioner Thomas Drew?CREDIT: @PTIOFFICIAL

Sharif was ousted from power, then jailed for 10 years after a court found he was unable to explain how he bought the flats now worth an estimated ?8m.

In the meeting with the High Commissioner, Thomas Drew, Mr Khan said it was ?our firm resolve to bring back to the country the money laundered to the UK.?

The Telegraph understands no specific requests for investigations or seizures were made during the meeting, but on Thursday the UK said it would ?work constructively? with the new leader.

The Government has brought in new legislation to combat money laundering and corruption as it tries to tackle London’s reputation as a haven for dirty money, much of it from Russia.

Nawaz Sharif was jailed for 10 years by an anti-corruption investigation into his London property portfolio
Nawaz Sharif was jailed for 10 years by an anti-corruption investigation into his London property portfolio?CREDIT: REUTERS

Expensive London property bought through shell companies in weakly regulated jurisdictions has long been a favourite way to hide ill-gotten wealth for everyone from mobsters to kleptocrats.

A spokesman for the British High Commission said: ?Tackling corruption is a UK government priority and we will continue to work constructively with Pakistan on this issue.?

He said Britain has robust laws ?for the recovery of illicit assets where there is evidence to do so?.

The meeting also discussed British aid to the country.

Mr Khan’s party back-pedalled on suggestions he would invite foreign dignitaries and international sports stars to his inauguration later this month.

Officials in his Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) party had earlier in the week met with foreign ministry officials to discuss inviting foreign leaders including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Invitations to friends from Mr Khan’s cricketing days were also mooted, including Kapil Dev and Sunil Gavaskar.

On Thursday the PTI said Mr Khan had instead decided ?to arrange the oath-taking event with austerity? with no foreign dignitaries or celebrities.

A spokesman said: ?Being the custodians of tax-payers money, we are looking forward to hold a simple and austere oath-taking ceremony completely national in its fa?ade and essence?,

Meanwhile reports that a computerised anti-fraud system for compiling election night results had been deliberately not used led to calls for an investigation by defeated parties who have alleged Mr Khan won through massive rigging.? .. Source

Imran Khan wins hearts through a passionate speech

Published on: 30/04/2018 | Comments: 2 comments 

Chitral: The matter of fact, down to earth speech of Imran Khan at the historic public meeting in Lahore has won him many a heart of even hitherto detractors. Pouring out his inner being, the PTI Chairman went passionately into details of his life story which effected his course of thinking and eventually persuaded him to join politics and do service to the people.

One may disagree with Imran Khan on many accounts but it is very difficult to not appreciate his sincerity of purpose and his desire to serve the nation unlike most other politicians whose end desire is to get into power one way or the other and they use different means to achieve this end. Compassion for the people is alien to most politicians while it was gleamingly radiating? from Imran Khan’s speech.

Imran Khan’s eleven point manifesto looked balanced and practical. Other political parties hardly talk about their manifesto (if at all they have one).

Whereas there are no doubts left about the commitment of Imran Khan to deliver to the nation if given a chance, what is to be seen is whether he will be able to walk his talk staying within the existing system which is the biggest hurdle in the way of any one’s sincere intentions to deliver. .. CN report, 30 Apr 2018