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Sacking judges is an act of high treason in Pakistan

25 Jun

MushThe government has finally come clear on a matter which is being considered of paramount importance for democracy, Pakistan style. Amid strong protests against unjust taxation in the next year’s budget, load-shedding and law and order issues, the new government has decided to prosecute former military ruler, Pervez Musharraf, for high treason under article 6 of the Constitution. The charge, if established, will lead to death penalty for Musharraf. The provision of the Constitution prescribes similar punishment for all those who aided or abetted in heinous crime of suspension or abrogation of the Constitution.

The development is interesting. Pervez Musharraf is guilty of high treason on two counts; the military under him staged a coup on October 12, 1999 and dismissed the government of Nawaz Sharif. At that moment, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Musharraf was not present in Pakistan; he was not even anywhere. He was in an airplane flying home from abroad. While he was in air, he was sacked and the pilot of his airplane was ordered not to land till the newly appointed COAS was securely installed in his place. The pilot was even asked to take the plane to India, a country bitterly hostile to Musharraf for Kargil operation which was a huge embarrassment to Indian government and India. Pakistan army reacted to this, captured the government and allowed Musharraf to land in Pakistan. Rest is history.

Second time Musharraf suspended the Constitution was when he proclaimed emergency on November 3, 2007. This second offense was aimed at getting rid of troublesome judiciary. No government was sacked this time and no parliament dissolved; it was judges of the superior courts who lost their jobs. They remained jobless as even the successor democratic government of Zardari was not willing to restore them. They were restored after street agitation started by lawyers and supported and sponsored by opposition parties.

The first act of suspension of the Constitution was widely aided and abetted by a cross-section of society; opposition under Benazir Bhutto welcomed it, 70% of the people on the street were jubilant, the Supreme Court endorsed it and the subsequent parliament validated it.  The second suspension was endorsed by the SC but when the sacked judges were restored they declared it as an act of high treason.

Imagine; abrogation of the Constitution, dismissal of elected government and dissolution of the parliament was not only acceptable, it was baptized as kosher by the judiciary. The judiciary was so magnanimous with the usurper that it gave him a blank check to amend the Constitution at will. Amendment of the Constitution, even the judges knew, was the prerogative of the elected representatives and that too with a two-third majority.

It seems that the judiciary which is Pakistan’s new establishment is bent upon settling its score with Musharraf. This has given a godsend opportunity to Nawaz Sharif not only to settle the scores with the generals but also to subdue the military in order to have a free-hand to deal with India, Afghanistan and the terrorists. This is evident from the fact that, at the expense of public interest, he has chosen to be the foreign minister and defense minister himself. This gives him an opportunity to flex his civilian muscle, a serious mistake which was first made by power-drunk Bhutto and then Sharif himself. The consequences in both the cases were disastrous.  No military in a country faced with external and internal threats can afford to be personal fiefdom of unscrupulous politicos.

Under the Constitution, trial under article 6 is to be initiated and concluded by none else but the federal government. The judiciary, however, is not prepared to take any chances. Setting aside the principle that in this particular case, the judges are aggrieved party themselves and they should demonstrate least interest as to how the government proceeds in the matter, it has in its infinite wisdom, decided to monitor the prosecution. Only yesterday, the honorable judges sought a step-by-step mechanism from the government for initiating high treason proceedings against Musharraf. It was very interesting to note that when attorney general informed the bench that the government would require a 30-day period to prepare a detailed mechanism, including who would investigate, who will prosecute, and who will be named as abettors in the treason case, the court observed that a one month period could not be granted because the government had in principle decided to proceed against those who had violated the Constitution. He said the mechanism should only seek to clarify how the process would be initiated and concluded.

The court has insisted time and again that only the act of November 3, 2007 constituted high-treason whereas Musharraf asserts that proceedings for this offense should start from 1999 when he actually abrogated the Constitution. The court is aware that the learned judges would be deemed as abettors and partners in the crime, if they were to prosecute Musharraf for his martial law.

The case has taken interesting turns. The top judges don’t want to dig the past which highlights their own role and want to focus on 2007 which made them jobless. In any case, this is evidently a case of conflict of interests. Their desire to monitor the prosecution proceedings and their interest to personally approve the procedure is, prima facie, a violation of principles of natural justice and would not augur well with judicial independence of Pakistan. This may have adverse consequences for the toddler called democracy, Pakistan-style.

 

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Welcome to Pakistan; a paradise for tax dodgers

14 Jun

taxThe cat is finally out of the bag and it has exposed the real face of ruling elite. The budget 2013-14 clearly shows that the rules are totally insensitive to tens of millions of those who voted them into power. They have a visible tilt for those who are rich and tax dodgers at the same time. Like in the past, the poor and the salaried class, who are already paying through their nose to keep the country going, will continue to be milked. The direct taxes have been levied on the salaried class and indirect taxes, as usual, have to be paid by the common man. The rich and beautiful of this country will continue to be having a good time at the cost of poor who will be pushed towards the wrong side of the poverty line.

Normally, the civilized societies keep a fine balance between the direct and indirect taxes. Direct Taxes are the taxes that are levied on the income of individuals or organizations. Income tax, corporate tax, inheritance tax are some instances of direct taxation. Income tax is the tax levied on individual income from various sources like salaries, investments, interest etc. Corporate tax is the tax paid by companies or firms on the incomes they earn. These taxes are paid by the rich.

The common man pays indirect taxes through various means. Indirect taxes are those paid by consumers when they buy goods and services. These include excise and customs duties. Customs duty is the charge levied when goods are imported into the country, and is paid by the importer or exporter. Excise duty is a levy paid by the manufacturer on items manufactured within the country. Usually, these charges are passed on to the consumer. Same is the case with Value-added Tax (VAT) and General Sales Tax (GST) but the experts classify it under direct taxes. For poor strata of the society, the indirect taxes constitute a large chunk of their income while it is less than fraction of the income and resources of the rich.

Generally, the direct taxes should exceed the indirect taxes in a poor country. But in the case of Pakistan, it has always been the other way round. In the budget just presented, direct taxes constitute just 38% of total tax revenue. The rich have been spared of their obligation to pay up. Without making contribution to the exchequer the money amassed by the rich will continue to be ill-gotten if not plundered from the hapless poor.

Just look at the disparities of obligations and injustice of taxation measures. Daily Pakistan Today has presented some startling figures collected by NADRA last year which show only the tip of the iceberg. According to these figures:

  • There are 1.611 million people who frequently embark on international tours but do not pay a single penny as income tax.
  • About 584,730 Pakistanis have multiple accounts in domestic and multinational banks, but do not possess NTNs.
  • Over 56,000 people live in posh areas and more than 20,000 people own luxury cars, still pay no income tax.
  • There are 66,736 individual consumers who pay large utility bills, but no income tax.
  •  More than 13,000 people have licenses of both prohibited and non-prohibited weapons, but they do not possess an NTN.
  • There are 25,130 people who are engaged in lucrative professions like medicine, engineering, law and chartered accountancy, but they do not pay a single penny as income tax.
  • Nearly three million people possess a National Tax Number (NTN), but only 1.4 million of them filed income tax returns last year.

These figures, though do not present the comprehensive situation, clearly show that Pakistan is a paradise for tax-dodgers. While a clerk is made to cough up taxes from an income which does not give him a decent living, those who live a life of princes are all exempt. And those who call themselves business community are totally immune to cough up because they do not document their transactions. Currently, 70% of the economy is informal and remains out of tax net. Same is the case of filthy rich whose life style suggest they should contribute but they do not make any contribution.

The best course to mobilize the resources would be make NTN card a door-opener. It should be made compulsory to give NTN number for all occasions from the admission of children to buying cars and houses and for purchasing air-tickets. This will provide a treasure trove of potential taxpayers who are out of the tax net.

 

Auditor-General of Pakistan and the contempt of Federal Tax Ombudsman

12 Jun

FTO

Hussain Saqib

A ridiculous situation has emerged in Pakistan whereby holders of two constitutional offices, the Auditor-General (AGP) and the Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO), have locked horns over a trivial matter. The AGP had observed that the FTO was not entitled to claim a certain allowance meant for members of judiciary. The FTO, armed with the powers of punishing anybody for contempt of his office, took exception to it and issued a contempt notice under section 16 of the governing statute of his office. Not only that, the honorable FTO ordered the police to arrest AGP and produce him before the FTO.

Before we deliberate on the issue, let us look at section 16 of FTO Ordinance, 2000. Under this provision, the FTO shall have the same powers, mutatis mutandis, as the Supreme Court has to punish any person for its contempt who abuses, interferes with, impedes, imperils, or obstructs the process of the Federal Tax Ombudsman in any way or disobeys any order of the Federal Tax Ombudsman. These powers also includes to prosecute someone for contempt of the FTO who scandalizes the FTO or otherwise does anything which tends to bring the Federal Tax Ombudsman, Staff Members, nominees of the Office, or any person authorized by the Federal Tax Ombudsman in relation to his Office into hatred, ridicule or contempt. There is a proviso to this provision under which fair comments made in good faith and in public interest on the working of the Federal Tax Ombudsman or any Staff Member, or on the final report of the Federal Tax Ombudsman after the completion of the investigation shall not constitute contempt of the Federal Tax Ombudsman or his Office.

Obviously, these powers have been given to the FTO to ensure that he performs his functions without fear or favor. His core functions, according to preamble of the law, are to diagnose, investigate, redress and rectify any injustice done to a person through maladministration by functionaries administering tax laws. It seems that the objection of the AGP to the claim of FTO for a certain allowance does not come under scandalizing. The AGP, or the officer authorized by him, discharges his functions under the Constitution and his audit teams raise thousands of objections everyday which hardly draw the ire of concerned quarters as to use the powers unfairly given to them to perform their respective functions.

AGP and the FTO are two respectable constitutional offices irrespective of the fact who holds the office. Unfortunately, the media had successfully made the office of AGP controversial the day present incumbent, being the senior-most in his department was tipped to hold this office. Irrespective of his personal connections with the political leadership, the fact remains that he heads a highly respected constitutional office. To settle the score of his perceived nearness with the prime minister of the day, the entire office of AGP was scandalized and held in disrepute. He has to perform his functions without fear or favor. The best course of action would be to seek advice of the concerned quarters and settle the matter. As of today, the functionaries of the AGP office feel coerced and would be deprived of their right to work objectively.

The situation can be termed as ridiculous to say the least. Imagine, if the AGP was also equipped with the powers to prosecute for contempt of his office. Moreover, objecting to drawl of certain allowance is something very personal to the holder of the office of FTO and objection to this does not, prima facie, constitute scandalizing or hatred or even ridicule of FTO as an institution. This is a sorry state of affairs and has to be addresses to mitigate the damages caused to two state institutions.

MQM and the Makers of Pakistan; myth and reality

18 May

Iqbal-Jinnah

Hussain Saqib

MQM, a political party of Pakistan founded on ethnic lines and known for violence and hate-mongering, is now claiming to be the representative of Urdu speaking migrants from undivided India and that its members are superior humans being children of “the makers of Pakistan”. In an effort to claim political mileage, it is driving further wedge between various ethnic groups living in the country. A similar claim led to break-up of Pakistan in 1971 when the Urdu-speaking migrants to East Pakistan tried to divide the society on the basis of ethnicity and the so-called superiority of their culture and language. This is being tried in Pakistan of today by an ethnic party who claim special treatment because their ancestors made Pakistan. This is being done out of sheer desperation because a new party, PTI, has emerged to challenge the grip of hate-mongers in the port city of Karachi.

This claim has brought the debate about creation of Pakistan into a sharp focus again with some critical questions; who made Pakistan and who gave sacrifices for its establishment?

It will be in order to bring some historical facts to attention of the readers of this page.

Pakistan came into being on August 15, 1947 to become homeland to millions of Muslims living in various parts of undivided India. Geographically, it comprised of the areas home to Muslims in majority. Its separation from the Hindu majority was aimed at sparing the Muslims from hegemonic atrocities and exploitation of Muslims at the hands of extremists Hindus in majority. The vision for Pakistan was presented by poet-philosopher, Iqbal from Sialkot in Punjab. He pursued for realize his dream of a separate homeland for Muslims in the Muslim-majority areas. The political party of Muslims deliberated on it and finally adopted Pakistan Resolution in 1940 in Lahore, the cultural capital of Punjab. The resolution was tabled by Lion of Bengal, Maulvi Fazle-Haq.

The elections of 1946 were a turning point for creation of Pakistan. The Sindh Assembly adopted a resolution to become a part of Pakistan and there was referendum in NWFP (KPK of today) and Balochistan which overwhelmingly supported Pakistan. Punjab and East Bengal had already voted in support of Pakistan. All India Muslim League, the political party which fought the battle to make Pakistan was founded in 1906 in Dhakka and its first president was Nawab Salimullah. Jinnah, the Father of the Nation who actually founded Pakistan was a Gujarati whose father had settled in Karachi. Pakistan’s first prime minister, Liaquat Ali Khan was born in Karnal (now in Haryana).

The community which bore the brunt of creation of Pakistan was Punjabi Muslims who were killed in hundreds of thousands while they were on their way to their new homeland. The Sikh violence was unleashed mostly in Punjab targeting Punjabi Muslims. According to historical data, a huge population exchange occurred between the two newly formed states in the aftermath of partition. About 14.5 million people crossed the borders, including 8,226,000 Muslims who came to Pakistan from India. About 5.5 million settled in Punjab and around 1.5 million settled in Sindh. Most of those migrants who settled in Punjab, Pakistan came from the neighboring Indian regions of PunjabHaryana and Himachal Pradesh while others were from Jammu and Kashmir and Rajasthan. On the other hand, most of those migrants who arrived in Sindh were primarily of Urdu-speaking background (termed the Muhajir people) and came from the northern and central urban centers of India, such as Uttar PradeshBihar,  and Madhya Pradesh. However a limited number of Muhajirs also arrived by air and on ships. Later in 1950s, the majority of Urdu speaking refugees who migrated after the independence were settled in the port city of Karachi in southern Sindh and in the metropolitan cities of Hyderabad, Sukkur, Nawabshah and Mirpurkhas. In addition, some Urdu-speakers settled in the cities of Punjab, mainly in Lahore, Multan, Bahawalpur and Rawalpindi. The number of migrants in Sindh was placed at over 540,000 of whom two-third were urban.

The Urdu-speaking minority which had the advantage of being better educated entrenched themselves in civil services and media. They worked hard to strengthen the perception that they alone were makers of Pakistan insulting the collective mandate of Punjab, East Bengal, Sindh, NWFP and Balochistan and the sacrifices of millions who lost their lives and belongings in Punjab. Their claim that they are descendants of the makers of Pakistan is only laughable in the face of historical facts.

In late 70s, Pakistan Television, the only channel of those days, serialized a drama Manzil, based on a novel Tahira written by Inyatullah. The story of the novel revolved around Punjabi families who struggled for creation of Pakistan and suffered hugely. Munno Bhai, who wrote the script disassociated himself from the production because he was under pressure not to highlight the sacrifices of Punjabis. The story was distorted by the newly hired writer. So much was the influence of Urdu-speaking media people.

While Urdu-speaking Muslims did play their role and offered supreme sacrifices, it would be a travesty of history to claim immunity from law on hate mongering and terrorism in the name of noble and great Urdu-speaking leaders of Pakistan Movement. It is an insult to their greatness.

Elections-2013; don’t shrug off rigging allegations

13 May

rigPakistan’s Elections 2013 were unique in all respects; the youth was enthusiastic to the scale not seen heretofore, voters were very much committed to cast their votes without contestants’ logistical support and there was a festive mood all around. The polls were fun with families very much a part of the festivities. The spirit of changing the fate through ballot was no doubt infused by Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf. A new political culture has taken over where rallies were held and votes cast in relative peace and calm. Everyone was politically motivated to use his force of ballot to make a new Pakistan.

Pakistan’s history is replete with ugly incidents of violence by the goons of political parties in rallies and at polling stations. This did not happen exactly like the past for the violence was perpetrated by the terrorists opposed to democracy and not the parties. There was no wide-spread rigging like the one witnessed in 1977 and afterwards. The Election Commission (ECP) had made fool-proof arrangements for the voters to locate their polling stations without much hassle, via mobile text service. There was a Code of Conduct and the watchful media.

The elections have thrown up a mandate of sorts; PML (N) in Center and Punjab, PTI in violence-ridden KPK, PPPP in Sindh and a hotchpotch of various parties in Balochistan. All the parties in power till March 2013 were routed. The voters spoke loudly.

However, the party holding power in Karachi consider responsible for all the violence in that city has continued to hold its grip on the city. And this has happened through the power of muscles and not the ballot as it is generally perceived by a cross-section of voters. There are complaints of wide rigging in order to keep the city under the thumb of one party.

The allegations may or may not be correct but there are some interesting incidents; the polling at nearly all constituencies could not start before noon, one candidate a convert from PPPP to MQM got record 170,000 votes in a period of three hours’ polling and the when the affected parties staged a protest rally next day, the chief of MQM threated violence and secessions if his party’s “mandate” was challenged. These very facts alone make the integrity of the entire polling exercise in Karachi very questionable. The MQM chief’s reaction shows that everything was not normal; there was some game being played somewhere. The protest rally against MQM electoral victory is significant in the sense that no party in Karachi had the courage to challenge the party in the past, and if this was being done now, it was the real change.

Anything said about the city of Karachi would never sound exaggeration to those who have been living under fear in that city. The TV footages only substantiate what people think of who is the boss in that city.

The complaints of rigging in Lahore also should be taken seriously if the transparency of electoral exercise is to be ensured. The complaints are generally about a constituency where one of the stalwarts of the winning party has won the election. There will be no harm to investigate.

Remember, PTI has emerged as a force to reckon with, it is a breath of fresh air in the stinking air of Pakistani politics. This is the party which has given hope to millions. It has mobilized voters to exercise their right. If the truth is not brought out and those millions disappointed, it will cost the system very dearly.

Supreme Court; Pakistan’s emerging power center

5 May

SCPakistan’s balance of political power is shifting; the armed forces which once reigned with the aid and assistance of the establishment are on the retreat. The politicians due to their sheer incompetence, greed, lack of scruples and hereditary succession have never been able to deliver. The vacuum of leadership is naturally filled by Pakistan’s apex judiciary with the help of media and the legal fraternity. These are the two institutions to which the present judiciary owes its restoration and its power.

Technically speaking, the Supreme Court of Pakistan is the highest court of the country having appellate, declaratory and advisory jurisdiction. It is one of the three pillars of the State others being Legislature, the law-making institution and the Executive, the institution responsible for delivering services to the people. With the passage of time, the roles of the three institutions have been so corrupted that the concept of separation of powers given in the Constitution has become irrelevant and the lines drawn between the roles and functions of the three institutions has blurred.

The members of legislature are no more enthusiastic about making laws to improve the lot of common man. They are more interested in their share of development funds in hundreds of millions. Pakistan is probably the only country where the entire outlay on development is distributed amongst the legislators. They use their share for “development” and “uplift” of their respective constituencies. Another role they perform is sitting on the standing committees, technically for legislative oversight of government departments. The only oversight they pursue vigorously, of course through blackmailing the senior bureaucracy, is recruitment of their constituents by the ministries under their oversight in violation of all rules of merit. The first source of corrupt practices, thus, is the legislative bodies.

The Executive branch is no better than the Legislature.  It is the placement bureau for providing cushy jobs to cronies in government corporations and deciding on major contracts. This branch is headed by the prime minister and an army of cabinet minister, both senior and junior, and a bunch of parliamentary secretaries. Under the political dispensation, it has always failed in management of economy. The burden of debt that each successive government leaves behind is phenomenal. It utterly fails in delivering services, providing security and managing the foreign relations. Major reason behind the failure of political government is that there is no criterion for selecting the ministers. No minister has adequate knowledge of the affairs of a ministry he is supposed to guide and lead.

Historically, the corrective action was always taken by the establishment comprising armed forces, intelligence agencies, bureaucracy and the judiciary. With the advent of the era of terrorism, the armed forces are busy fighting the terrorists and fighting for their own image. The terrorists have somehow successfully divided the nation into pro and anti-terrorism factions depriving the country of any opportunity to form a consensus to fight the menace of terrorism.

This leaves the field open to some other institution to fill in the leadership vacuum. Pakistan’s apex judiciary has assumed the role of savior of the last resort without much difficulty. The judiciary which had always provided constitutional justifications for military takeover have finally decided to take over the reign of civilian power themselves.

The judiciary, particularly the subordinate judiciary is known for massive corruption. To correct the image, the apex judiciary picks up high-profile cases and rules the roost with the help of the media which now claims to be the fourth pillar of the state. Its image is built by a section of media and its writ is established through hooliganism of lawyers.  Lawyers gang up on almost everything and turned into gangsters every time their interests, genuine or otherwise come under threat. An eye-opening report of the Washington Post clearly shows how these self-proclaimed custodians of rule of law take law into their own hands. Their hooliganism conveniently escapes the notice of the activist apex court that tends to take notice of almost everything happening under the sky.

The courts and particularly a large section of legal fraternity, have pronounced sympathies for the insurgents and terrorists. This is where the differences between the court and the government of Musharraf started to grow. Every terrorist invariably gets released by the courts, even those in the custody of intelligence agencies for interrogation. The court’s insistence to follow the due process of law for separatists and terrorists has given it a commanding position over the establishment. The assassin who killed Punjab Governor Taseer was garlanded by the legal fraternity including some of the senior pro-Taliban lawyers who were subsequently elevated to judicial offices.

The real issue is that while every institution of the State is subject to some sort of accountability, the apex courts have no effective mechanism in place to keep an eye on the judges. The accountability institution of superior judiciary is the Supreme Judicial Council as given in the Constitution. Even this body was made irrelevant by the apex court itself when its chief judge was to appear before the Council in 2007. It was then made as a power tussle between the Executive and the Judiciary and the top judges ruled the Council to stop its proceedings.

The power tussle started when the court tried to establish its supremacy through judicial activism in cases like missing persons and privatization of Steel Mills in 2007. According to Black’s Law Dictionary  judicial activism is a “philosophy of judicial decision-making whereby judges allow their personal views about public policy, among other factors, to guide their decisions.” Political science professor Bradley Canon has posited six dimensions along which judges may be perceived as activist:  majoritarianism, interpretive stability, interpretive fidelity, substance/democratic process, specificity of policy, and availability of an alternate policymaker. David Strauss has argued that judicial activism can be narrowly defined as one or more of three possible actions: overturning laws as unconstitutional, overturning judicial precedent, and ruling against a preferred interpretation of the constitution.

This was something which the governments were not used to. Governments normally view that  judicial activism usurps the power of the elected branches of government or appointed agencies, damaging the rule of law and democracy. Defenders of judicial activism say that in many cases it is a legitimate form of judicial review, and that the interpretation of the law must change with changing times.

In order to assert its authority, the court started taking suo moto notices and in some cases gave land mark decisions which strengthened the confidence of citizens in the court. Suo moto, according to legal dictionary, generally refers to a situation wherein a judge acts without request by either party to the action before the court. Under normal proceedings before a court, a judge’s role is to direct the proceedings and act on motions filed. When a party to a court case wants the judge to rule on an issue or make a decision regarding something pertinent to the case, he files a motion with the court. The opposing party then has an opportunity to respond to the motion before the judge rules on it. In some cases, a judge acts suo moto, meaning without one of the parties’ asking her to do so. One common example of when a judge may act in this way is when she decides that she does not have personal or subject matter jurisdiction over the case before him or her. In other words, the judge decides that she does not have the legal authority to preside over the case. In that case, the judge may make a motion, without either party asking him or her to do so, moving the case to another jurisdiction or dismissing the case for lack of jurisdiction.

The court has virtually taken over the business of governance itself due to incompetent and greedy public representatives. It has undoubtedly provided relief to countless and has challenged the hegemony of power centers. In the process, it is becoming a power center itself. But without a defined scope of activism and a proper mechanism of accountability, the court is headed on a dangerous trajectory. The lack of notice of lawyers’ hooliganism and conclusion of the case of Arsalan Iftikhar in a non-transparent manner suggest that the court needs to tread very carefully.

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Let’s not forget those who died for an ungrateful nation

30 Apr

martyrsThe terrorists of TTP and BLA, aided and funded by international establishment are fighting the state to achieve strategic objectives of international players to destabilize Pakistan. The foot soldiers of these outfits are fighting under the illusion that in the case of victory, they will be in power. But those who are fighting these terrorists for the State of Pakistan are laying down their precious lives neither for power nor for money. They are offering the supreme sacrifices to defend the motherland. It was in in Swat, Waziristan, Balochistan and others areas yesterday; today it is Tirah valley which is the latest safe haven of anti-Pakistan terrorists. Martyrs include the officers and men of regular army, para-military forces and brave sons of the valley. Those who have stashed billions to invest in the elections seem to be oblivious of what is going on in the backyard of Peshawar. The current fight with the Taliban going on in Tirah is one of the fiercest battles.

It was the right time to highlight and eulogize the sacrifices of young soldiers who are dying in big numbers to keep the evil away from Peshawar so that our political jokers can continue their election campaign in peace. These jokers, totally unconcerned about the loss of lives in last five years suddenly realized to appease TTP through negotiations. They only wanted their election rallies to be peaceful. They extended olive branch to the terrorists who refused to disarm as a pre-requisite to peace talks. Their virtual surrender to the enemies of the State has paid off so far because the terrorists have declared spare their election rallies, the roadshows for the next round of loot and plunder.

Why is it that precious lives of young men are being lost to keep the likes of Bilawal, Moonis, Hamza and others safe to continue another bout of loot and plunder after a peaceful election? Do these scions of political families not owe any obligation to this nation? Why can’t one or all of them visit the field of battle, of course in secure motorcades, to raise the morale of those who have put their lives in danger? Those whom a former premier had described in contempt as “naukri pesha” (wage earners). All of them are dying to somehow make friends with the enemies of this nation.

And they have changed the definition of martyrdom; for them the martyrs are those who are killed during struggle for power. They want us to forget the real martyrs.

Lest we forget, it is the Martyrs’ Day to pay homage to those who fought and died for nothing. Their sacrifices will go waste if this nation does not unite against the enemies. As for politicians, they will leave no stone unturned to appease these enemies. They have their own political interests, far away from the national interests.