Age of innocence

Mira Sethi  TFT Issue: 09 May 2014

Mira Sethi remembers a different Pakistan



Mira with her brother, Ali at their grandparents’ farm, 1992



In the immediate aftermath of the assassination of Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer in 2010 in Islamabad, his murderer Mumtaz Qadri, was showered with rose petals. Four years later, a mosque in the capital has been named after Qadri. A library has also been named after Osama bin Laden.

And so, lately, I have been asking myself a question: what will I tell my children about the kind of Pakistan I grew up in? My childhood was a buoyant, sunny time. Now I live in a country maddened by terror.

I grew up in a Pakistan where the news of someone being burgled, or kidnapped, turned the world upside down. When my uncle Shahid Sethi was kidnapped in 1997, it seemed like the most menacing thing in the world had come to pass. His kidnapper found his way into my nightmares, and his name into conversations, at age 9, about the state of crime in Lahore. Much to my family’s bewilderment, I once chose the kidnapper’s name in a game of “20 Questions.” I laughed very hard when they were unable to guess.

Now, kidnappings are so routine that it takes an assassination to get the blood going.

I grew up at a time when India and Pakistan were hyphenated in social and political discourse (remember “Indo-Pak”?) I argued with my Indian friends over the superiority of our cricket team, our national icons, even our GDP. These days analysts find “Af-Pak,” and its geo-strategic resonances, more useful.


The rivalry of my Indian friends first gave way to pity, and now articulates itself as sympathy. I suppose that’s comforting.

I grew up in a Pakistan where battle lines were clearly drawn. If you exposed corruption in government, the government threatened you, or tried to cajole you. You could lambast a maulvi on television without fearing for your life. In today’s Pakistan, Muslims are killing Christians, Wahabis are killing Ahmadis, Sunnis are killing Shias, Deobandis are killing Barelvis, Barelvis are killing ‘liberals.’ The Taliban are killing everyone: social workers, journalists, soldiers.

Kidnappings are so routine that it takes an assassination to get the blood going

I grew up in a Pakistan where Abbotabad was an exotic city where two of my coolest friends, Mussarat and Nadeem, went for their summer holidays. Now it is associated with the man who has posthumously been honored by a library, defined as a place full of books – objects that Malala Yousafzai reads in the safety of Birmingham. The man who helped find bin Laden rots in prison as punishment for helping the Americans locate the world’s most famous terrorist. Meanwhile, our military remains addicted to American largesse. How nice to hunt with the US, and run with an anti-American public you have helped create. Nice and simple.

I grew up in a Pakistan in which the word “secular” meant, quite simply, a system where church and state are separate. Today, “secular” is shorthand for those who are atheists, anti-Islam, anti-state, and therefore, traitors deserving of death. Violating the constitution doesn’t count as treasonous. But refuting the state agenda – an anti-India ideology generously marinated in Islamic nationalism – will get you killed.


Mira with her mother, Jugnu Mohsin in Swat, 1994

I grew up in a Pakistan where the walls of our house, and those surrounding it, were low—walls over which you could climb, and land on the soft cold grass. For the last decade, the walls have gone up. The walls keep going up.

I grew up in a Pakistan where I would go wobbling, on a bicycle, down the road, to buy chewing gum from the neighbourhood grocery store, Choice Inn (we pronounced it Choy Sin). Back then, men idled around the sidewalks, looking here and there. I never felt fear; I never felt an informed sense of dread. Now, I can’t walk on the same streets without a paranoid awareness of my surroundings.

Sorry, that’s a lie. Now I don’t walk on those streets.

I grew up going to school in a beige Suzuki FX. I remember watching the driver behind the steering wheel, his gold watch jangling on his wrist as he shifted the gear with two lean fingers. It seemed magical. We giggled on the seats at the back. For the last few years my family and I have been travelling in bullet-proof SUVs. The glass on the windows is so thick you don’t hear a sound when you knock, or pound, the glass, with your fists. The sensation of travelling in these cars is like being in the belly of a whale, watching the world float by.


Mira with Amna and Salmaan Taseer at Basant, Lahore, 1995

I grew up going to school with one other person in the car, Amma Kaneez. (At chhutti time, she would bring me rooh afza in a thermos tinkling with ice). Now we travel with a retinue of bodyguards, and when they leap off the van, guns in hand, to surround me, to protect me, I think: is my kameez too short? Are these jeans tight? Should I even be wearing jeans?

I grew up in a Pakistan where men in plain clothes barged into your home and “picked up” your father. At age 12, as I marched on the streets of Lahore’s Mall with my brother and mother, I knew my father would return. As I wrote in an article earlier this month, those were the good old days when the government picked you up and threw you in prison, but at least you got out alive. Now journalists are being shot at in broad daylight on busy thoroughfares.

My friend the journalist Raza Rumi narrowly escaped an assassination attempt in Lahore in late March. He threw his body on the floor of his car, and the attackers, mistaking him for dead, finished off his driver. The night Raza was shot at, I went to a shaadi. I arrived late, at 1 am, to a house glittering with beautiful people. Shehrbano Taseer, the assassinated governor’s daughter, stood in a corner talking to friends. When I saw Bano, I broke down in her arms. “It’s so ugly,” I cried, surrounded by a few perplexed guests, and trees strung with fairy lights. Bano hugged me tightly, silently. A few weeks later, Bano and I were talking on the phone. She told me that she had been taken aback by my tears, because, she said, they reminded her of how numb she had become.

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Sixty people died in a building collapse in Chennai last fortnight. There is much more than the municipal incompetence that needs to be fixed to avoid such tragic incidents. This building was located on Porur lake, a water body that provides services like groundwater recharge and flood management to an otherwise water-starved city. If you care to ask the obvious question how construction was permitted on the wetland, you will get a not-so-obvious response. Wetlands are rarely recorded under municipal land laws, so nobody knows about them. Planners see only land, not water and greedy builders take over.

It is time we realised that a water body is not an ornamental luxury or a wasted land. A city’s lake is its lifeline. Take Chennai, located at the tail end of all rivers. It has spent a good part of the past two decades squabbling over rights to the Cauvery water, fighting with farmers over withdrawal of water from Veeranamlake and also depleting groundwater aquifers around the city to quench its own thirst.

Today it has two choices: desalinate seawater at a price difficult to recover from its citizens or harvest every drop of rain and hold it in lakes, ponds and underground tanks for use in the dry period.

It was also in this city that its then and current chief minister, J Jayalalithaa, had launched an aggressive rainwater harvesting drive. In 2001, it introduced bylaws that made rainwater harvesting structures mandatory in all multi-storey buildings. In 2003, it extended this provision to all buildings and then went about monitoring compliance. All this meant the people understood the value of rainwater. A study by Stanford University on the impact of the initiative found that where without any intervention only 9 per cent of the rainwater went back to the aquifer, with rainwater harvesting it could go up to 30 per cent. This showed up in the bottom line. In the worst months of drought of mid-2000, groundwater was available in many household wells and the tanker market was reduced to a third.

This result was even without optimising on the big potential of rainwater harvesting offered by lakes and ponds that act as sponges. Water experts record over 1,500 water bodies in the city and its vicinity. These are the real opportunity to secure water future. Unfortunately, in the next 10 years, government’s focus moved from the millions of little water collectors to implementing the one big solution of making seawater potable. It has set up two plants of 100 million litres per day, but it is struggling to pay for this water, which costs Rs 50-60 per kilolitre. As electricity costs go up, so does the cost of desalination. Chennai water utility MetroWater, till
recently the country’s only water agency with balanced books, is now finding itself in the red because of its expensive hardware for supply.

So Chennai needs to do what all cities must—undertake a detailed survey of the wetlands and then bring every water body and its catchment under legal protection. The Wetlands Conservation and Management Rules issued by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests and Climate Change are toothless and meaningless. What is needed is to ensure that city development rules include a comprehensive list of water bodies and their catchment. Any change of this land use should not be permitted. Even this will not be enough unless the city values the water this land gives.

The Central government should provide funds for water supply to only those cities that have brought their own water sources under protection. The cities must show they have optimised on local water potential before claiming access to water from far away sources. This will reduce the cost of supply. The city can invest the saved money in treating sewage,
which pollutes the lakes and ponds in the first place. It is this vicious cycle that needs to be broken.

The one water cycle cities need to ensure runs smoothly is where water turned into waste because of human use is converted back into water fit for human use.

Imran Khan & Election Reforms

January 18, 1937: Punjab Legislative Election. The Muslim League led by Muhammad Ali Jinnah and the National Unionist Party led by Sir Sikandar Hyat Khan. Poling began and continued for ten days. Jatts, Rajputs and Arains were told not to vote for Jinnah’s Muslim League.

Election results: Unionist Party, 98. Muslim League, 2 (Raja Ghazanfar Ali and Malik Barkat Ali). After the election, Raja Ghazanfar Ali joined the Unionist Party and the Muslim League was left with just one member. Imagine, Jatts, Rajputs and Arains managed to beat Jinnah’s Muslim League.

Election results from 1977, 1985, 1988, 1990, 1993, 1997 and 2002: Election data from constituencies in Faisalabad from elections held in 1977, 1985, 1988, 1990, 1993, 1997 and 2002 shows that all the winning candidates in all the seven elections were Jatts, Rajputs, Arains, Kharals or Baloch (original research done by Dr Mughees Ahmed in ‘Voting behaviour in rural and urban areas of Punjab’).

2008-2013: Almost all law-making undertaken by the National Assembly benefited or protected the president, the PM, governors, CMs, 342 members of the National Assembly, 104 senators or 714 members of the four provincial assemblies. Next to nothing for the voters.

Election results 2013: The PTI got 7,679,954 votes and won 35 seats – that converts to 219,427 votes per seat. The PML-N got 14,874,104 votes and won 166 seats – that converts to 89,603 votes per seat. The PTI bagged 16.92 percent of votes and won 35 seats whereas PML-N bagged 32.77 percent of votes and won 166 seats. And the PPP won 45 seats with 6,911,218 votes (less than the PTI’s).

Conclusion: Pakistan’s electoral system is deeply, deeply flawed. Perhaps, not massively rigged but deeply flawed.

Suggested election reforms: The first-past-the-post (FPTP) electoral system with single member legislative districts must be reformed. The International Crisis Group’s recommendations: A neutral caretaker. Immediate posting of election results. Establish permanent polling stations. Timely disposition of petitions. Pildat’s recommendations: The Election Commission should ensure strict compliance of laws. Independence of polling staff. Training of returning officers. Training of polling agents. Regulating spending by candidates.

The PTI’s two choices: Go to the Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reforms or build up public pressure for reforms through marches, rallies, sit-ins, picketing etc.

Reform dilemma: Genuine election reforms would mean potential losers and potential gainers. The rule of thumb is that as long as potential losers are also the principal decision makers they will not let reforms through. What that means is that, in all probability, the Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reforms will not let genuine reforms through.

History of reforms: Holders of power and privileges, around the world, have never in history accepted reforms in absence of overwhelming public demand for reforms. Pakistani elections have remained deeply, deeply flawed because there has never been a strong enough demand for reforms. No demand, no supply.

Democracy has a body and a soul. We have the body – which is elections – but the soul – welfare of the voters – is missing. To be certain, Pakistanis are going nowhere without election reforms. And unless there is formidable public demand for election reforms, there shall be no supply.

The writer is a columnist based in Islamabad. Email:

Twitter: @saleemfarrukh

America Broke Iraq: Three Lessons for Washington

by Kishore Mahbubani

July 1, 2014 — Colin Powell put it clearly and succinctly: “If you break it, you own it.” America broke Iraq. America owns Iraq. This is how the rest of the world sees it. This is also why the world is mystified by the current Obama-Cheney debate. Both these camps are saying, “You did it.” Actually both the camps should say, “We did it.”

The tragedy about this divisive debate is that America is missing a great opportunity to reflect on a big and fundamental question: why is America so bad at the simple task of invading and occupying countries? Surely, the American invasion and occupation of Iraq will go down in history as one of the most botched operations of its kind. America spent $4 trillion, lost thousands of American lives and millions of Iraqi lives, and at the end of the day, achieved nothing. Since the failure was so catastrophic, why not at least try to learn some valuable lessons from it? There are at least three lessons that scream for attention.

The first lesson is the folly of good intentions. Let’s be clear about one thing: Americans are not evil people. They do not conquer countries to rape, pillage and loot. Instead, they conquer countries to help the people. President George W. Bush’s goal was to set up a stable, functioning Iraqi democracy, not to set up an American colony in perpetuity. The British colonial rulers of Iraq in the early twentieth century would have been totally mystified by these good intentions. And they would have been even more flummoxed by the methods used to achieve these good intentions. For example, the British would preserve local institutions, not destroy them.

The last successful American occupation was the occupation of Japan. MacArthur wisely preserved Japanese institutions—including Emperor Hirohito, despite his role in the war. By contrast, America destroyed both Saddam’s army and his Ba’ath party at the beginning, thereby condemning the occupation to failure. Some Americans believed they could manage Iraq because American governance was inherently superior. Paul Bremer assumed he could rule Iraq effortlessly with his big boots, without ever being aware that his big boots were culturally offensive.

This American trait of supreme self-confidence in running other societies is not new. When I lived in Phnom Penh in 1973-74 forty years ago, I witnessed firsthand how a young, inexperienced American diplomat would walk into the offices of the Cambodian Economic Minister and give him daily instructions from Washington, DC on how to run the Cambodian economy. What was the result of this? The Cambodian leaders felt powerless to govern their own society. There is a paradox here. One strength of American culture is that it empowers people. But when America takes over another society, it disempowers it. This happened in Iraq, too. So after the disastrous management of Cambodia and South Vietnam and of Afghanistan and Iraq, Americans should absorb one painful lesson: because Americans are full of good intentions, they are incapable of occupying other countries. America should get out of this business completely. Even the UN does a better job of managing countries in transition.

The second lesson is to avoid overreliance on the American military. Obama said it well: “Just because we have the best hammer, does not mean that every problem is a nail.” Future historians of the American century will spend a lot of time scratching their leads over a difficult conundrum: how did the relatively peaceful people of America become so trigger-happy in their external adventures?

The simple lesson of Iraq and Afghanistan and of Cambodia and South Vietnam is that guns alone do not work. This is why the recent American debate about Syria is so bewildering. Both sides were debating one question—to bomb or not to bomb Syria? But bombing would have solved nothing. And it was equally unwise for America to make a unilateral announcement on August 18, 2011 that “Assad must go”. Almost three years later, he is still in office.

All debates in America inevitably become black and white. Assad is black. His opponents must be white. Therefore, kill the bad guys—this appears to be the only solution. In many parts of the Middle East the choice is between black and black (or, more accurately, between various shades of grey). To bring “peace”, America will have to learn to deal with and shake hands with people who are not American boy scouts.

All this leads to the obvious third lesson: strengthen American diplomacy. Let me start with one painful fact obvious to many in the rest of the world: American diplomacy has deteriorated. In my thirty-three-year career with the Singapore Foreign Service from 1971-2004, I witnessed this firsthand. The reasons for deterioration are obvious. Organizations attract young talent when they can promise the best jobs at the end of their hardworking and dedicated careers. But if all that a young American diplomat can aspire to after three decades of service is to be the Ambassador to Ouagadougou or Kabul (with London and Paris being completely out of the equation), why stay on?

One counterargument I have heard is that the strong American private sector makes up for the weak public sector. A weak State Department, for example, is compensated by strong think tanks. This is true, but it creates a deeper mystery: how can America have the best strategic think tanks and strategic thinkers and yet have the worst strategic thinking in invading and occupying other countries?

So this is the time for Americans to have the obvious epiphany: America should get out of the business of invasion and occupation. Four decades of failure have provided enough evidence to prove that the American people are far too good to do this job.

Kishore Mahbubani is Dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, NUS, and author of The Great Convergence: Asia, the West, and the Logic of One World, which was listed by the Financial Times in its ‘Books of the Year’ list, 2013.




Why Indian Muslims Must Support PM Modi?M

by Syed Ata Hasnain

A roller coaster of an election has led to a result exceeding people’s expectations. For India’s Muslim population, the largest minority in the world, it is more of a shock. Their worst fears have come true, especially those who view Indian politics from a narrow prism of ideology and faith. The BJP, the supposed ultra nationalist, right wing, anti-Muslim party, will rule India with a majority of its own. This was unimaginable a couple of years ago when the common refrain was the assumption that the BJP could never go beyond the Hindi heartland and, therefore, could never secure its own majority.

The Indian Muslims, confused as they are, by the plethora of political parties that woo them and treat them as a vote bank, were so thunder struck by the electoral results that an ominous silence marked most of their gatherings. There are a few things that the Indian Muslims must keep in mind. First, that they are Indians by choice and, therefore, enjoy the fruits of India’s democratic success and stability unlike so many others in the neighbourhood who share their faith. Secondly, the Indian political system has matured over 65 years, as has the electorate. The appeal of narrow issues such as faith and ideology does not matter as much as the attraction of social and economic progress. This inevitably happens in multi-faith and multi-cultural societies where the initial gains of nationhood are selfishly acquired. As systems mature the common goals and the common good are realised.

The initial sulk by the Indian Muslims after Independence was a result of their lack of confidence in their own decision and the initial euphoria in Pakistan about a land dedicated to the subcontinent’s Muslims.

The euphoria diluted over a period of time and today the psyche of an average Pakistani is reflected in Mahwash Badar’s bold article – ‘Jinnah made a Mistake and I am Ashamed of being a Pakistani’ recently published in a prominent Pakistani blog. She writes: “What analogy do I draw to represent the utter misery that is being a Pakistani in this super-power dominated world?”

No one puts labels on Indian Muslims when they travel internationally and no one profiles them in the manner which Ms Badar describes her countrymen. A prominent US Air Force General once in a discussion with me online stated: “What, 175 million Muslims and not one with Al Qaida!”

It was difficult for him to understand this. The Indian Muslims have rarely looked upon themselves in this light because not many leaders have ever cared to explain to them the distinct advantages of their Indian label.

There have been aberrations in the journey since Partition as would be in any aspiring and dynamic nation. There have also been many success stories which have helped cement their place in society. They have won adulation for winning the highest military gallantry awards, given Presidents, Vice Presidents and Service Chiefs to the nation, achieved the highest honours for scientific and cultural activities and worn their patriotism proudly. Why should they then be thunder struck by the simple change of government which has been elected with many a vote from within their ranks?

Mercifully, within a few days of the electoral results the hushed whispers have started emerging as voices of assent; heads have started nodding and Indian Muslims are       re-emerging from their self-induced perception of doom.

Much of it is driven by aspirations of youth who had the courage to vote with their minds but also much of it is being driven by people who were opposed to Narendra Modi but now see in him as their collective hope for the future.


Some introspection is leading to the deduction that it is scientific temper, education, power of investigation and living by rationale which will militate against the status-quoist attitude with which the community has lived for long.

They have to be led into believing that as a patriotic, non-radicalised, proud segment of the Indian society, they hold out a beacon to the rest of the Islamic world. This is what the leaders of the Muslim society need to dwell on.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s victory signifies one of the most historic changes in world history. This has been the largest electoral process ever to have taken place with a system to monitor fairness and strict electoral norms.

Not many are absorbing the fact that after 30 years stability has returned to India. Indians had forgotten the meaning of stability and have now to get used to it. That India could achieve high growth despite coalitions in power should encourage all Indians about the positives which augur for the future.


The electoral rhetoric is over. Wishful thinking among India’s adversaries would involve the anticipation of large-scale subjugation and wilful acts against the minorities resulting in increased antipathy and turbulence in society. Triggers may be planned to force the minorities to perceive danger to their safe existence.


However, a government which has won a single-party majority and commands a huge majority as a coalition will inevitably leave behind rhetoric of the electoral process. Governance is too serious a matter to allow it to be mired in political criticism and minority bashing. Narendra Modi’s emergence should send that clear message to the Indian Muslims. This is the moment to seize, unshackled from vote banks. Even if they have voted for other parties that was their democratic right; it does not prevent them from now strengthening the hands of the most stable government in India’s recent history.


On the part of the new government no one doubts its intent of taking united India to the next level. It has received not only a thunderous approval from the electorate but also an acceptance by an international consensus that this is the best thing which could happen to India.

Leaders who are decisive, clear-headed and resolute rarely take decisions against the run of progress and Prime Minister Narendra Modi appears to fit that bill quite appropriately. Perhaps the 21st century will still be the Indian century and the chance of giving it that label in letter and spirit has arrived.


The Indian Muslims must not miss the bus, in fact they should get into it lock, stock and barrel.


The writer retired recently as a Lieut-General, having commanded 15 Corps in Srinagar

Vibhuti: How and Where Should We Apply It

VibhutiYogi and mystic, Sadhguru, looks at the methods of preparing vibhuti, how it should be used and where it must be applied on the body.

Sadhguru: There are many aspects to the usage of vibhuti or sacred ash. First of all, it is a great medium to transfer or transmit energy, and it has an ability to help direct and control the energy body. Apart from that, there is a symbolic significance to applying it on the body. It is a constant reminder of the mortal nature of life – it is like you are always wearing mortality on your body.

Normally, yogis use the ash that they pick up from the cremation grounds. If this ash cannot be used, the next alternative is to use cow dung. There are other substances used but the basic material, the body of it, is cow dung. If even this ash cannot be used, the next alternative is to make it of rice husk. This is indicative that the body is not the core substance, it is just the husk.

Why do we use sacred ash?

Unfortunately, in many places it has become a scandalous business where they are just giving a certain white rock powder as sacred ash. But if it is properly prepared and you know where and how to apply it, sacred ash makes you much more receptive; and the place where you apply it on your body becomes more sensitive and goes towards the higher nature. So, before you step out of the house in the morning, you apply sacred ash at certain points to receive the divine around you, not the devil. Depending on which aspect of you is receptive at that moment, you can receive life in different ways and from various dimensions of who you are. You must have observed this – at one time, you saw something and experienced it in a certain way. Some other time, you saw the same thing and experienced it in a totally different way. The way you receive life makes the difference. So, you want the higher aspects of you to be receptive, not the lower.

You apply sacred ash at certain points to receive the divine around you, not the devil

Within your physical body, there are seven basic centers representing seven dimensions of experiencing life. These centers are known as chakras. A chakra is a certain meeting point within the energy system. These chakras are not physical, they are of a subtle nature. One can experientially know these chakras, but if you cut the body and see, you will not find any chakra. As you move into higher levels of intensity, naturally the energies will rise from one chakra to another. If you receive life from the higher chakras, the same situation will be different for you than if you receive life from the lower chakras.

How should we apply sacred ash?

Traditionally, vibhuti is taken between your thumb and your ring finger – you don’t have to pick up a lot of it, just a little bit – and applied between the eyebrows, known as the agna chakra, at the pit of the throat known as the vishuddhi chakra, and in the center of the chest where the ribcage meets, known as the anahata chakra. It used to be common knowledge in India that you must apply it at these points. The reason why these particular points have been specified is because sacred ash makes them more sensitive.

This is a very deep science, but today, without understanding the science behind it, we simply apply it like a stripe on the forehead

Vibhuti is usually applied at the anahata so that you receive life as love. It is applied at the vishuddhi so that you receive life as power; power does not mean just physical or mental power, there are so many ways in which a human being can be powerful. The idea is to make the life energies very strong and powerful so that your very presence has an influence on life around you – you don’t have to speak or act – if you simply sit, you influence the situation around you. This kind of power can be developed within a human being. Vibhuti is applied at the agna so that you receive life as knowledge.

This is a very deep science, but today, without understanding the science behind it, we simply apply it like a stripe on the forehead. The one who has stripes one way does not agree with the one who has the stripes another way – this is stupidity. Vibhuti is not something that Shiva gave, or this or that god gave. This is not a question of belief. In Indian culture, it has been looked at deeply as a tool for a person’s growth. Properly prepared sacred ash has a different vibrancy. There is a need to revive and make use of the science behind this.

Editor’s Note: Vibuthi from Isha is prepared with great care and energized for maximum benefit. It can be purchased at Isha Shoppe.

Nawaz Sharif: The Rise & Rise of the PM

After that Nawaz Sharif had completed his education, in the 3rd division in B.A from Govt College, Lahore as he got admission in Govt College Lahore, on recommendations, and he used to be called in the class as “Kuggoo’ because he never used to participate in the class nor replied to any question he has ever been asked by the lecturer, told by his class mates.

His father Mian Muhammad Sharif started him in the business. However, this proved a disaster. As a second option Mian Muhammad Sharif set him up with Pakistani actor Saeed Khan Rangeela to get him into acting (something which Nawaz Sharif wanted). A few days later Saeed Khan Rangeela sent his regrets to Mian Muhammad Sharif saying that his son was too dumb for acting and movie industry. Mian Muhammad Sharif then hired cricket coaches to train his son for cricket, but his physical fitness was too low for the sport. It is rumored that by mid-day on his first day at training Nawaz Sharif threw the bat down and left the stadium s

As a last resort he paid General Ghulam Jilani Khan a considerable sum of money to introduce Nawaz Sharif to General Zia-ul-Haq recommending him for a political post, who in turn made Nawaz Sharif the Finance Minister of Punjab.

( Gen. Gilani was not offered money, in fact he had been presented a ‘White Palace’ made on a 4-kanal corner plot in Lahore Cant and it was worth Rs. 4 crores then, a s said. It was just beautiful with Victorian style round porch with a running fountain in the center. But Mian Sharif, being business man, recovered many ’4 crores’ out of the son’s post of Finance Minister of Punjab, and it was sure that Nawaz Sharif would not be able to write his designation with correct spellings.

However, this was the day when the street thugs of Mohni Road had stepped on to becoming the national thugs of Pakistan.


The day Nawaz Sharif had become Finance Minister, the entire family’s earnings were few million rupees and had only one re-rolling mill. From there they went on to: Ittefaq Sugar Mills was set up in 1982, Brothers steel in 1983, Brother’s Textile Mills in 1986, Brothers Sugar Mills Ltd in 1986, Ittefaq Textile units in 2-3 in 1987, Khalid Siraj Textile Mills in 1988, Ramzan Buksh Textiles in 1987, Farooq Barkat (pvt) Ltd in 1985. (All on loans from the government as Ziaul Haq used to approve all of his loans requests and also request of writing off loans. That is why when PPP Govt.took-over and the written off loans were calculated by the first Public Accounts Committee, there were two persons at the top i.e. Choudhy brothers, 22 billions, and Mian Sharif 21 billion, all written off by Ziaul Haq. It is still on record in PAC Report of 1989.) By the time of Zia ul Haq’s fateful plane crashed, Mian Muhammad Sharif’s family was earning a net profit of US$ 3 million, up from a few million rupees. By the end of the decade their net assets were worth more than 6 billion rupees, according to their own admission, nearly US$ 350 million at the time. But this turned out to be small-change when Nawaz Sharif became the Prime Minister.

When Nawaz Sharif became prime minister, the group took a decision to secure project loans from the foreign banks and only working capital was taken from the nationalized commercial banks. The project financing from foreign banks was ostensibly secured against the foreign currency deposits, a number of which were held in benamee accounts, as repeatedly claimed by Interior Minister Naseer Ullah Babar at his press conferences. In 1992 Salman Taseer released an account of Nawaz Sharif’s corruption stating that the family had taken loans of up to 12 billion rupees, which were never paid back. On March 2, 1994, Khalid Siraj, a cousin of Nawaz Sharif claimed that the assets of the seven brothers were valued at Rs 21 billion.

These were the accounts of profits and companies which were openly known to public. However, the family kept their side business going all the while – the gambling dens and heroin control in Lahore – and along with their industry the side business also mushroomed.

During the Afghan-Soviet War Nawaz Sharif’s cousin and brother-in-law, Sohail Zia Butt started working under the drug baron Mirza Iqbal Beg, then Pakistan’s second biggest drug lord after Ayub Afridi. Mian Muhammad Sharif and his sons had a permanent share in his gambling and heroin business. In 1990 Suhail Butt won a seat on the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad ticket in the Punjab Assembly. It was through Sohail Butt’s association that Nawaz Sharif became a close associate of Mirza Iqbal Beg. It was through him that Nawaz Sharif became benami owner of many of the privatized government entities, such as Muslim Commercial Bank. Sohail Zia Butt other than getting involved in the drug business made billions in the co-operative societies’ collapse, mainly through the National Industrial Credit and Finance Corporation. It was Nawaz Sharif’s share in his cousin’s drug business which he used to buy off the generals thereby delaying the inevitable dismissal of his government.

In 1995 when Mirza Iqbal Beg was imprisoned, Sohail Zia Butt took over his drug empire. It was at this time that he became one of the biggest drug and crime bosses in Pakistan and was nicknamed the “King of Heera Mandi” and at one time all six underworld gangs of Lahore were working under him.


By 1995 family’s declared annual profits from industrial units had increased 1500% from US$ 30 million to staggering US$ 400 million.


This is the short version of how in mere 15 years small street thugs running gambling dens became leaders of a country running narcotics, underworld and smuggling empires, untouched by everyone.
Farhan Investigative Report

The following is an excellent programme exposing some of the corruption conducted by Nawaz Sharif by the host of DM Digital, Farhan Aslam, who also used to work for ARY Digital a few years ago.
The report has been divided into six segments. I will offer a short summary of the discussion, followed by the clips themselves.

Brief summary

Nawaz Sharif’s only agenda was to make money. In order to achieve this goal, he formed/changed laws and policies for his personal benefit and expanded his business empire by misusing his authority as Prime Minister. Interestingly enough and ironically, the PPP played a major role in exposing the corruption of Nawaz Sharif and his family. The Jamaat-e-Islami had also leveled a number of corruption allegations upon Nawaz Sharif. As we know, later Sharif and his cronies also played a role in exposing the corruption of Benazir Bhutto and her PPP. In other words, both Sharif and Bhutto have been busy over the years actively accusing each other of committing corruption.

Nawaz Sharif is widely acknowledged to be a highly incompetent person, with a low mediocre IQ. level. The brain behind him was that of his late “Abba Jee” (‘daddy’) – the mastermind and the main decision maker behind the scene.


In order to consolidate and attain more power, N. Sharif attacked every individual and institutions he felt could get in the way challenge his authority. In order to get rid of the then Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, who was despised by Sharif, the later created divisions among the judges to make life difficult for the Chief Justice. A group of judges refused to acknowledge Shah as the Chief Justice and things got so bad that a number of junior judges put hurdles in the way of the Chief Justice in order to make it difficult for him to carry out his duties. Eventually, Sharif ordered his thugs to attack the Supreme Court in order to prevent the Chief Justice from giving a ruling against him.


The police did nothing to stop Sharif’s thugs as they attacked and entered the Supreme Court. The judges inside the building barely managed to escape. The thugs, led by Sajjad Naseem and Mushtaq Tahir, Nawaz Sharif’s political secretaries, entered the court chanting anti-Sajjad slogans and destroyed the furniture.

Next, consider Nawaz Sharif’s relationship with the press and media. Two examples will suffice. On 8th May 1999, Najam Sethi, a prominent journalist of Pakistan, was arrested by the police on the orders of Sharif. Sethi has committed the crime of annoying Nawaz Sharif by writing a critical essay against him. The police broke into Sethi’s house at around 2 am and beat him up in his bedroom in front of his wife, after which he was transported off to a secret location. The police trashed Sethi’s house, broke the furniture and beat him up quite bad. Sethi was only released after a lot of international pressure had built up against Sharif. Sharif also demanded the Jang Group to get rid of all the journalists who were critical of him. To achieve this goal, Sharif and his cronies used a variety of legal and illegal means to pressure the Jang Group into compliance.

There is probably no institution in Pakistan which Nawaz Sharif did not aggressively confront in order make them comply to his wishes. Besides picking on a fight with the President, the Judiciary and the already restricted/limited media, Sharif also decided to have a confrontation with the army, the only viable institution left in Pakistan. Chief of Army Staff, General Jehangir Karamat, and Nawaz Sharif had a conflict over an issue pertaining to the national security council and both entered into a heated discussion, after which Gen. Karamat had to offer his resignation. Jehangir Karamat thus became the first Chief of Army Staff in the history of Pakistan to have left the army in this prematurely in this manner.

One by one all challenges and potential obstacles were removed from the way by Nawaz Sharif. Ghulam Ishaq Khan, Farooq Leghari, Sajjad Ali Shah, and Jehangir Karamat, as well as others, were all removed from the scene by Sharif.


After the removal of Jehangir Karamat, Sharif appointed Pervaiz Musharraf as the Chief of Army Staff. Some analysts at the time said that Sharif made this decision thinking that Pervaiz Musharraf was an Urdu speaker and did not belong to a Punjabi army family, thus very unlikely to be a threat to Sharif.

Things became sour between Sharif and Musharraf during the Kargil episode. Later, once a relative of Sharif was removed from the army by Musharraf, that was the final nail in the coffin. Sharif then decided to take his revenge and replace Gen. Musharraf with a fellow of his liking who would be controllable (the head of the ISI. at the time).


Farhan Aslam also comments upon the ill-advised economic decisions of Sharif which made Pakistan’s situation from bad to worse. Moreover, he comments upon the Sharif family’s personal business empire and how it grew exponentially through questionable means.


Ramfal Can Help You Fight Cancer

Ramfal“10000 times stronger killer of CANCER than Chemo”.. do share it.. can save many lives, fill up hopes and build confidence in the patients…

The Sour Sop or the fruit from the graviola tree is a miraculous natural cancer cell killer 10,000 times stronger than Chemo.

Why are we not aware of this? Its because some big corporation want to make back their money spent on years of research by trying to make a synthetic version of it for sale.

So, since you know it now you can help a friend in need by letting him know or just drink some sour sop juice yourself as prevention from time to time. The taste is not bad after all. It’s completely natural and definitely has no side effects. If you have the space, plant one in your garden.
The other parts of the tree are also useful.

The next time you have a fruit juice, ask for a sour sop.

How many people died in vain while this billion-dollar drug maker concealed the secret of the miraculous Graviola tree?

This tree is low and is called graviola ! in Brazi l, guanabana in Spanish and has the uninspiring name “soursop” in English. The fruit is very large and the subacid sweet white pulp is eaten out of hand or, more commonly, used to make fruit drinks, sherbets and such.

The principal interest in this plant is because of its strong anti-cancer effects. Although it is effective for a number of medical conditions, it is its anti tumor effect that is of most interest. This plant is a proven cancer remedy for cancers of all types.

Besides being a cancer remedy, graviola is a broad spectrum antimicrobial agent for both bacterial and fungal infections, is effective against internal parasites and worms, lowers high blood pressure and is used for depression, stress and nervous disorders.

If there ever was a single example that makes it dramatically clear why the existence of Health Sciences Institute is so vital to Americans like you, it’s the incredible story behind the Graviola tree..

The truth is stunningly simple: Deep within the Amazon Rainforest grows a tree that could literally revolutionize what you, your doctor, and the rest of the world thinks about cancer treatment and chances of survival. The future has never looked more promising.

Research shows that with extracts from this miraculous tree it now may be possible to:
* Attack cancer safely and effectively with an all-natural therapy that does not cause extreme nausea, weight loss and hair loss
* Protect your immune system and avoid deadly infections
* Feel stronger and healthier throughout the course of the treatment
* Boost your energy and improve your outlook on life

The source of this information is just as stunning: It comes from one of America ‘s largest drug manufacturers, th! e fruit of over 20 laboratory tests conducted since the 1970′s! What those tests revealed was nothing short of mind numbing… Extracts from the tree were shown to:

* Effectively target and kill malignant cells in 12 types of cancer, including colon, breast, prostate, lung and pancreatic cancer..
* The tree compounds proved to be up to 10,000 times stronger in slowing the growth of cancer cells than Adriamycin, a commonly used chemotherapeutic drug!
* What’s more, unlike chemotherapy, the compound extracted from the Graviola tree selectivelyhunts
down and kills only cancer cells.. It does not harm healthy cells!

The amazing anti-cancer properties of the Graviola tree have been extensively researched–so why haven’t you heard anything about it? If Graviola extract is

One of America ‘s biggest billion-dollar drug makers began a search for a cancer cure and their research centered on Graviola, a legendary healing tree from the Amazon Rainforest.

Various parts of the Graviola tree–including the bark, leaves, roots, fruit and fruit-seeds–have been used for centuries by medicine men and native Indi! ans in S outh America to treat heart disease, asthma, liver problems and arthritis. Going on very little documented scientific evidence, the company poured money and resources into testing the tree’s anti-cancerous properties–and were shocked by the results. Graviola proved itself to be a cancer-killing dynamo.
But that’s where the Graviola story nearly ended.

The company had one huge problem with the Graviola tree–it’s completely natural, and so, under federal law, not patentable. There’s no way to make serious profits from it.

It turns out the drug company invested nearly seven years trying to synthesize two of the Graviola tree’s most powerful anti-cancer ingredients. If they could isolate and produce man-made clones of what makes the Graviola so potent, they’d be able to patent it and make their money back. Alas, they hit a brick wall. The original simply could not be replicated. There was no way the company could protect its profits–or even make back the millions it poured into research.

As the dream of huge profits evaporated, their testing on Graviola came to a screeching halt. Even worse, the company shelved the entire project and chose not to publish the findings of its research!

Luckily, however, there was one scientist from the Graviola research team whose conscience wouldn’t let him see such atrocity committed. Risking his career, he contacted a company that’s dedicated to harvesting medical plants from the Amazon Rainforest and blew the whistle.

Miracle unleashed
When researchers at the Health Sciences Institute were alerted to the news of Graviola,! they be gan tracking the research done on the cancer-killing tree. Evidence of the astounding effectiveness of Graviola–and its shocking cover-up–came in fast and furious….

….The National Cancer Institute performed the first scientific research in 1976. The results showed that Graviola’s “leaves and stems were found effective in attacking and destroying malignant cells.” Inexplicably, the results were published in an internal report and never released to the public…

….Since 1976, Graviola has proven to be an immensely potent cancer killer in 20 independent laboratory tests, yet no double-blind clinical trials–the typical benchmark mainstream doctors and journals use to judge a treatment’s value–were ever initiated….

….A study published in the Journal of Natural Products, following a recent study conducted at Catholic University of South Korea stated that one chemical in Graviola was found to selectively kill colon cancer cells at “10,000 times the potency of (the commonly used chemotherapy drug) Adriamycin…”

….The most significant part of the Catholic University of South Korea report is that Graviola was shown to selectively target the cancer cells, leaving healthy cells untouched. Unlike chemotherapy, which indiscriminately targets all actively reproducing cells (such as stomach and hair cells), causing the often devastating side effects of nausea and hair loss in cancer patients.

…A study at Purdue University recently found that leaves from the Graviola tree killed cancer cells among six human cell lines and were especially effective against prostate, pancreatic and lung cancers Seven years of silence broken–it’s finally here!!!



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