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Better the Devil You Know

by Feisal Naqvi

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Why I’m voting for Nawaz Sharif.

The standard argument of the bright young people drumming up votes for Imran Khan and his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party goes something like this: Asif Ali Zardari is a crook and so are the Sharif brothers, why waste your vote on people who are tried and tested failures? Khan is honest and he deserves a chance, they say.

I have no problem with the first half of the argument. The Pakistan Peoples Party-led government, which finished its five-year term in March, set new records for fecklessness. That is, for not giving a damn about the welfare of the nation. I hesitate to say that the PPP also set new records for corruption because there are countries out there over which we can still claim moral superiority. But I can say that I have never seen a collection of elected representatives who exhibited such open contempt for the welfare of the people they notionally represented. In years to come, people will talk of Zardari’s selection of Raja Pervaiz Ashraf to the prime minister’s slot in the same awed terms as Caligula’s decision to send his horse to the Roman senate.

What then about the Sharifs? Aren’t they also inveterate thieves? The answer: not quite.

Zulfiqar Balti

Zulfiqar Balti

Before I elaborate, let me first introduce a concept which Isaac Asimov called “The Relativity of Wrong.” Asimov’s point was fairly simple. People who think the earth is flat are wrong, and people who think the earth is round are also wrong. This is because while the earth is roughly spherical, it is actually flatter around the poles and therefore not perfectly round. At the same time, people who think the earth is flat and people who think the earth is round are not equally wrong. The flat-earthers are a hell of a lot wronger than the round-earthers. In other words, it is important to know not just whether a concept is wrong but how wrong it is.

Just like there is a relativity of wrongness, there is a relativity of crookedness. I hold no brief for the Sharifs, but so far as the last five years of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) government in the Punjab are concerned, their record is clean. I simply do not know of any major financial or corruption scandal involving the PMLN during this time. Yes, several of the projects on which former chief minister Shahbaz “Khaadim-e-Aala” Sharif lavished attention were economically dumb (the Sasti Roti scheme, for one), but there is a difference between dumb policies and policies designed only to enrich the policymakers.

Similarly, one can reasonably argue that the Metro Bus service is overpriced. At the same time, one also has to concede that Pakistan needs urban transport projects, that the Metro Bus project has been completed, and that it does function. The fact that this project could have been done better or cheaper should not take away from the simple truth that at least this project has been done, that it is beneficial.

Fine, say Khan’s Insafians, but can we not dream of something better? Why should we not aim for the stars; for an honest, competent, dedicated leadership; for a “New Pakistan,” and for a brighter future?

The problem is that while Khan certainly seems to have figured out how to hustle for votes, what he knows about governance can be fit onto a postage stamp—with space still left over for the PTI manifesto. Governance requires knowledge and experience. Khan has neither. Yes, I concede that he has the best of intentions, but, as they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

I agree wholeheartedly that the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital is a wonderful achievement. But there is a huge difference between setting up a hospital with a staff of less than 2,000 and running a government with more than 600,000 employees. (Public sector corporations employ millions more.) More importantly, Khan does not run Shaukat Khanum. That job is done by a professional chief executive who is advised by a board of governors. Prime ministerial responsibilities, on the other hand, cannot be delegated. Asking Khan to be the prime minster because he inspires people makes about as much sense as asking him to conduct surgeries because he inspires people.

Khan’s supporters have compared him to Ronald Reagan in an attempt to show that administrative inexperience does not preclude greatness. The comparison is inapt. When Reagan became president of the United States, he had already served two terms as governor of California and been active in politics for decades. In any event, Pakistan is not the U.S. In America, a new president gets to appoint his own (top-level) administration and his own cabinet. In Pakistan, a new prime minister is highly restricted in his cabinet choices and has essentially no choices when it comes to administrative appointments. Given Pakistan’s history as an “overdeveloped state,” there are only two choices when it comes to administration: either you control the bureaucracy, or else the bureaucracy controls you.

I am going to vote for the PMLN this time. That doesn’t mean I support all their policies, because I certainly don’t. My disagreements with the PMLN regarding their playing footsy with sectarian killers, their tendency to grovel before the Taliban, their antipathy toward local government, and their compulsion to centralize power are all a matter of record. Unfortunately, democracy means picking the least flawed option, not the perfect option. Right now, that least flawed option is the Noonies.

Five years ago I wrote a column in which I documented my very reluctant decision to vote for the PPP. The last two lines of that column read as follows: “This is your third time. For God’s sake, don’t f— it up.” Zardari chose not to take my advice. I certainly hope the Sharif brothers will.

Naqvi is a senior lawyer based in Lahore. For updates, follow him on Twitter.

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Waqas May 7, 2013 - 11:00 am

So Asimov wrote a book, and you went crazy. Nice.

Zar Aslam May 8, 2013 - 9:48 am

Lol! Spot on:).

umar May 8, 2013 - 1:01 pm

hahaha. crux of the matter.

malikSaab (@ASilentKnight) May 7, 2013 - 11:07 am

Hey einstein! I guess you haven’t heard about the saying that goes like

“doing the same thing over and over again, yet expecting a different result – stupidity”.

Mr. Nawaz Sharif has been in power 6 times already. SIX TIMES. Underline that…SIX TIMES. If his ‘experience’ is of investing money in flyovers and roads when electricity shortfall is the greatest systemic haemorrhage this economy is facing….then I salute both your and Mr. Sharif’s experience.


Happy voting!

bill May 7, 2013 - 11:22 am

I agree.

Wajahat Ali May 7, 2013 - 5:38 pm


Khizer Inayat May 8, 2013 - 12:31 pm


jahaaz May 7, 2013 - 11:17 am

No major corruption? Let me educate you. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63oi3gz7JFk

Tahir May 7, 2013 - 11:22 am

I dont knw about your logic but for most of the rational people logic says, that one should continue his or her search for better alternative and choose the best of the available options and even a 5 year old can tell you PML N is not the best option available at this moment or any other moments.

Eesha Muneeb (@utopiamyopia) May 9, 2013 - 3:41 pm

Yes well said

Syed Raza Ali May 7, 2013 - 11:23 am

Naqvi sb is voting for sharifs for reasons best known to him, since the argument here does not hold much water. Sharifs serve the interest of a very small subset of population when they come to power. Besides all the economic indicators of punjab were dismal, hardly qualifying for another shot.

Shoaib May 7, 2013 - 11:33 am

I don’t think the PTI actually confuses Pakistan with a hospital, or a university. I believe the parallel Imran Khan draws between running an organization and a country is the importance of professionalism in achieving excellence. ‘Experienced’ parties like the PPP and PML-N are famously nepotistic, undemocratic and even criminal enterprises with notoriously poor records in providing effective governance.
The PTI is arguably the most democratic of the three parties, and the most passionate in its message. At its centre are experienced technocrats, people who have been successful outside of politics.
Is it completely inconceivable that their skills can’t be transferable? Does one have to be a career politician to be a ‘good’ politician? Pakistan’s history is chequered with examples that suggest the contrary.
Of note, perhaps, is that Imran Khan actually holds a degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from Oxford. Furthermore, Imran Khan is unlikely to micromanage the country’s affairs should he come into power, which is why he cries hoarse about the importance of a good, competent cabinet.
I suppose, though, that the PTI signals something different relative to the status quo which is why it appeals to me. To each his own, but I am convinced that the PTI is the better, more professional party which is why I intend to vote for them.

Ahmed May 8, 2013 - 10:24 am

Well said. I’m no PTI fanboy, yet just the fact that those in-charge at least have real degrees and are respected in their fields puts them above the rest of the parties. Besides, any damage they might do due to their inexperience would be temporary.

Even the damage done by PPP’s debauchery doesn’t last. Their aim is to amass as much wealth as they can within the usually little time they have in power and then disappear for a while.

The Sharif brothers, on the other hand, have a tendency to do lasting damage. Whether it’s by costly (over the long term) projects such as the Metro Bus or by letting militancy and extremism take hold in a once peaceful Punjab. They have also proven to be more dictatorial and nepotistic than even our dictators.

A J (@AJWALMINTON) May 7, 2013 - 11:36 am

Read the article. It was a school boy argument against the motion. I donot buy your idea. Nawaz Sharif is too dum to run a country. If with “HEAVY MANDATE”, he couldnot run the State, he will be a complete failure as before with split mandate.
My best argument against Nawaz Sharif is “I DONOT TRUST YOU”.

Atiq Rehman May 7, 2013 - 11:37 am

A little overpriced? No corruption in the Sasti roti scheme? wow, how cute
Also, does the author not realize that PMLN could have installed power generation in Punjab and chose not to?

Umer May 7, 2013 - 6:05 pm

I am not a PML-N supporter, but provinces do not have the authority without Federal’s approval on power related projects. They were systematically f-ed over by PPP of whom PML-N called themselves “ittehaadis”

Mohsin May 7, 2013 - 7:56 pm

So in case of bringing metro bus service which cost around 28 million rupees or billion they don’t need fed approval.

Zamar Nauman May 7, 2013 - 11:48 pm

Actually after the 18th ammendment Power generation is a solely Provincial sphere from 2010 onward. Provinces only have the power to authorise IPPs and even hydel projects on rivers and streams which encompass only their territory.
In fact the Punjab govt. defaulted on electricity payments twice after the 18th ammendment, after which the evil PPP govt. had to bail them out

Usman May 8, 2013 - 5:37 am

Umer kindly consult Article 157 of Constitution of Pakistan, That might clear the picture. Sir there is an amendment named as 18th amendment !!!

Hassan May 8, 2013 - 4:46 pm

You Sir, are wrong. Provincial governments were allowed to work on power projects. Get your facts straight.

Sajid May 9, 2013 - 3:45 am

Wrong… After the 18th amendment, all provinces have the authority “without federal government’s approval” to launch any power project.

Saira Hussain May 7, 2013 - 11:44 am

Sharif are where they are with the tax payers and laundered money. What experience did Obama and David Cameron have before running for office.

Omar Salman May 7, 2013 - 12:08 pm

I will be voting for PTI this time.

Having said that, I think this article gives the best reasons I have seen till now by any PML(N) supporter on why they are going for PML(N); though I don’t agree with quite a few points.

Omair Tariq May 7, 2013 - 12:17 pm

Well, I think your perspective of PMLN is totally biased. The way you have presented the so called facts are pretty much childish. Its like you are defending your point of view just because you have too. Let me rephrase what you have written, PPP is a corrupt govt. and you are choosing to vote PMLN because they are not corrupt but dumb, and you are not going to vote for PTI as they don’t have any experience in running this country.

The country whose very foundations of governing system and Infrastructure are WRONG in every bit of sense. Every elected party since Zia regime has done NOTHING to put that system and Infrastructure in its place. NOT a DAMN THING.
What do we see in PTI? We see a person with new perspective. A person who is not the product of our broken governing system and infrastructure. We see someone who can look at the issues of this system from a different point of view. And that very thing gives us hope.

Do you remember the report of CIA Analyst that there will be on Pakistan on the map of Earth after 2014. I truly believe that if PTI doesn’t win this election, that report will prove itself right.

Nasir May 7, 2013 - 12:40 pm

SIr I have a few questions for you, I hope you answer them in the light of your knowledge and not with the love of your political party.
Q you suggested in the article that what is wrong and what if wrong but justifiable, I ask you , if corruption is wrong? why is corruption by shariff half wrong?
Q Sir, very rightly said about dumb projects like sasti roti and other dumb projects as the ashiana scheme and all, and the biggest bluder was the Metro bus service, which no doubt is corruption but has a HUGE oppertunity cost, could have setup a power generation plant in that much money.
Q If khan saab has hustled vote through his devotion towards pakistan, havent the shariff brothers given free laptops? sir huslting is part of the game, im sure your not this naive?
Q has the Metro bus services completed its breakeven analysis? has it even reduced traffic in that area? I guess we all know the anser to that question?
Q Alternatively khadim e alla could have bulit a bullit train, i couldnt care less but he should know that he is not living in saudi anymore!! and pakistan is not a country where financing such blunders is easily possible.
Q havent the shariff brothers been sitting idle for the past 4 years, silently whispering love tunes in zardaris ears? your a columnist, i hoe youve read something about it in the past 4 years?

Rana Rizwan Hussain May 7, 2013 - 12:40 pm

I see Mr. Naqvi is a “senior lawyer”. My advice is that being a lawyer he should try to promote justice through his opinion and nothing else. While speaking about knowledge and experience Mr. Naqvi says that Khan has neither of two, excuse me, if I were at his place I would think hundred times before making such a statement. A lawyer has to strictly justify what he says. Second, the thrust of Naqvi’s argument is that Khan delegated the responsibilities at Shaukat Khanam but he won’t be able to do the same after becoming Prime Minister. I wish all these supporters of N League come out of their Monarchical mindset and understand that the democracy is a system where writ of the people prevails. Prime Minister and Chief Ministers have their Cabinets to delegate the functions of the Government and they act according to the advice of the legislature. For this purpose I would like to refer Mr. Naqvi to the Rules of Business, 1973, which a lawyer must be familiar with. We know that in the recent most era Mian Shabaz Sharif preferred to keep a large number of Ministries with him along with Chief Ministership for maintaining his authoritarian rule in Punjab but that won’t be the case when Mr. Khan comes to power and conduct of elections in PTI is its demonstration before hand.

AH May 8, 2013 - 12:08 pm

Anything with “lawyer” in it is now tainted after the way our so called judiciary has acted in the last 5-6 years. “justice” is now synonymous with serving the interests of a demented few. From top to bottom, they have proven to be the most unjust. A thief justice who takes action against a slap yet releases known terrorists and criminals. Lawyers who abuse citizens and policemen and get awaay with it. Pathetic.

Zamar Nauman May 7, 2013 - 12:43 pm

We have been playing the game for the lesser evil for decades, and it hasn’t gotten us anywhere. And i dont see any reason the Sharifs would follow your advice this time around

S. Shaikh May 7, 2013 - 12:54 pm

Good decision, well explained.
PMLN also has a history of delivering on its promises, They have promised all the right things in their manifesto. If they can deliver half of what they promise during the next 5 years, Pakistan will change forever.

Zamar Nauman May 7, 2013 - 5:05 pm

I’m sorry, it seems to me that you said that the PMLN has promised the right things in their manifesto. How is a bullet train a right thing in the existing circumstances.
As an example of right things i would like to point out the 1122 service in punjab which creates over 2,000 jobs every year (a total of 60,000 to date) which is 600 times more than the jobs created by the metro bus line. and at 25% of the cost. It serves the whole of punjab not just a 27 km stretch in one city. and ….. it does not involve paying tax money to turkish companies as royalty.

Hassan Aftab May 8, 2013 - 6:23 pm

When the motorway was constructed, the general view was that it was waste of valuable funds and that it will be underutilized. One heard similar comments about the metro. Both the projects proved to be immensely useful. With regard to bullet train, you cannot go wrong investing in infrastructure.

Ahmed (@AZKhawaja) May 7, 2013 - 2:04 pm

If the PTI had made some genuine efforts to build alliances and forge key partnerships in areas where they did not have a voter presence then they would have been worth a shot, but their campaign simply smacks of arrogance and foolhardiness.

In the end they are simply strengthening the likes of PPP in Punjab and MQM in Karachi. This is not politics, it is lunacy.

PMLN have acknowledged their weak points and addressed them, and as already pointed out in the article have done a relatively good job in Punjab, so they are certainly the best bet going forward.

Good piece, and yes I will be voting for PMLN as well in the upcoming general elections.

Haider May 7, 2013 - 2:13 pm

I would humbly ask the author to tell me if 5 years from now, 1 million new kids have laptops, Karachi, Pindi have metro buses and we all have solar lamps coming out the wazzoo. Does that have any impact on our court-kucheri system, on the police, patwari, Will our Members of assembly,army and beauracracy cease to be dharti ke khuda? , will we have an independent state bank? will we have a government that does not run on a fiscal deficit? will we have a foreign policy that was designed for this earth instead of the fictional planet of Hindooyahoodistan?. Will IK do any of these things? i don’t know, but at least he has a glimmer of recognition that Pakistan has very real problems, that no amount of bribing the public is going to solve.

Also if we are voting on the existing criteria my vote goes to PPP, because at least they bribe people who need it, in ways that is helpfull to them (BISP,increasing agricultural support price and extra trillion rupees has flowed into the rural econ in the last five years, consequently, we are seeing motorcycle sales and FMCG goods soaring at the village level, to the extent that uni lever is deslisting from the KSE)You see the idea that the PPP government made money in the last 5 years doesn’t bother me as much the brazen way that they did it in. They basically showed everyone in Pakistan that the state is a figment of our collective imaginations, institutions are top down fiefdoms.

The biggest reason to not vote Noon is because they do not seem to realize that the status quo is completely untenable, and if our kashti keeps sailing in the manner, we will not have an election 2017. Pakistan needs urban transport projects, and education, yet these guys put on self serving bandages. Project requires tender worth billions of rupees (Danish schools and metro) lets finish post haste but teacher training has no possibility for making a cut so nothing gets done on that, sasti roti gets done but nothing gets done on food security in Punjab. Thats why they hate the local government, because if the nazim is building all the roads (and pocketing all the associated goodies) what are the two Ganja’s, plus the budding sociopath plus Maryam Nawaz going to do? God forbid they have to focus on law making and strategic planning. How many times did Shahbaz Sharif go to the Punjab Assembly? I’m voting for members of assemblies not Mughal Kings, and if experience is what these guys are offering, then thanks but no thanks.

Then on top of all this they exploit the fact that our population is illiterate and lie brazenly, lets make a big deal of the transparency international report, which does not include sasti roti and is also just certifying that PPRA rules were followed, but was there a financial audit? Shahbaz is going around screaming about Michael Berber but why did we need to wait till 2011 for someone to come from England to tell us that our education system is broken, why do we need DFID to provide funds to fix enrollment rates at our school. All the positives you have highlighted took place in the last 25-20 months what was the punjab government doing before then?

When i look around the campaign landscape the only person who seems to be talking with a sense of urgency, the only person who realizes that status quo is a one way ticket to hell is Imran Khan and that is why despite him being a stupid, naive, inexperienced Taliban sympathizer, Ahmadi hater, Zionist supporter and Gambler. I will, nontheless, be voting for him.

Guest May 7, 2013 - 3:22 pm

Extremely well put – because its heartfelt and makes logical sense at the same time. Thank you

Zahra May 7, 2013 - 2:32 pm

He was paid by PPP last time to write a article regarding his ‘reluctant vote’ for the party and this time this piece of s— has been funded by PML-N.

Osman Siddiqi May 7, 2013 - 3:07 pm

Do you have any idea how many businesses were shut down to accommodate the metro bus line’s development? How do you even begin to define ‘beneficial’?

The metro bus line was a 6 month project to ‘show’ that the PML-N gives a damn about the people. A stunt that has left it’s unaesthetic mark on Lahore.

Staying in power does enrich the policymakers. It allows them to cater policies that can be sold to the masses as egalitarian and for welfare and simultaneously allows policies favorable towards their own needs. PML-N has pushed a full free market agenda which only begins to make sense when your businesses are functioning in the highest order. Sure other businesses will benefit, but it is not concerned with creating an environment to nurture other homegrown businesses that need support.

Imran Khan seems to simply promote radical changes with no understanding of long term consequences or implementation hurdles. In effect, I find your arguments loose and driven by agenda rather than reason. But, what I do find agreeable is the title of your article.

zaheer May 7, 2013 - 3:07 pm

for PMLN 6 time in power in a biggest fellacy..he was elected prime minister in 1990 his govt was dimissed by GIK with in 2 yearswho was a recommended candidate from army he restored by supreme court but army chief took resignation of both president and prime minister, then he was elected again in 1997 with heavy mandate but thrown out by an army chief within 2 years…. the third time his brother became chief minister in 2008 and he delivered, law and order and development are better than other provinces

Eventsgeek May 7, 2013 - 3:22 pm

Wait, who wrote this? Oh Faisel Naqvi! No comments.

Sara Qadeer (@SaraQadeer) May 7, 2013 - 3:25 pm

There is no such thing as a reluctant vote. A vote is a vote. If you vote you agree, if you don’t you disagree. There is no middle ground.

Hassan May 7, 2013 - 3:29 pm

A wise enemy is better than a dumb Nawaz.

Jabran May 7, 2013 - 3:30 pm

So you recommended Zardari not to f- it up all again? And now you are voting for PML-N and expecting them also not NOT f- it up again? I cannot stop you from voting for PML-N, nor do I want to, but I just want you to think for a moment about what you wrote 5 years ago and what you have written now. Basically, you haven’t learnt anything.

Eesha Muneeb (@utopiamyopia) May 9, 2013 - 3:49 pm

Exactly what I was thinking

Anum Jaffry May 7, 2013 - 3:48 pm

Very disappointing write-up or rather analysis coming from a senior lawyer. Wish we could get our facts regarding politics straight before making the decision whom to vote for.

Nasir Hamid May 7, 2013 - 3:57 pm

Lol u voted for Zardari before and now are gonna make the same mistake with Nawaz . Learn from ur mistakes.

Fahad Arshad May 7, 2013 - 4:07 pm

wow. 2 in 2 for nonsensical PMLN yes-men articles on NewsweekPak today. *Right clicks the NWP button from the bookmark link’s toolbar, clicks ‘delete’, right clicks the recycle bin clicks ‘delete’, formats the computer completely, goes to the junkyard for compression, fedex’s it to the Newsweek Pak office, as a souvenir of readership*

Zamar Nauman May 7, 2013 - 5:08 pm

I agree, first the newsweek website kept running the “Imran Khan’s House divided” article for ages even after the ticket distribution problems were sorted out and now this. What happened to good old fashioned unbiased journalism

Osama May 7, 2013 - 4:16 pm

So your argument is that Imran Khan uses a professional Chief executive to run Shaukat Khanam while Nawaz runs his business empire single handedly without any professional help?… Sorry but i lost my interest right there.

A. Lodhi May 7, 2013 - 4:20 pm

The author is a resident of Lahore, so I won’t blame him if he votes for PML(N) since a lion share of development budget was spent in Lahore. I would urge him, though, to travel on the roads of Bahawalnagar, Bahawalpur and Lodhran where I grew up and see for himself what it means to live in other parts of the province, just for the sake of better judgement and law of equality of opportunity for all humans.

Waqar May 7, 2013 - 4:54 pm

mere comment karnay ki noabat hi nai huee… hahahha…. everyone took good care of him 😉

Oye May 7, 2013 - 5:20 pm

Mr. Naqvi please enjoy the upcoming wedding. Writing biased articles with subtlety is not for you.

Hasan May 7, 2013 - 5:22 pm

I believe if one knows the devil he should avoid it, guess I am wrong!

ahmed Nawaz May 7, 2013 - 5:28 pm

You opted to vote for PPPP so I have a fair idea regarding your farsightedness (since you didn’t realise that by voting PPPP who would take charge of the presidency)! So my friend I don’t blame you for voting for PMLN this time!

raza May 7, 2013 - 5:32 pm

With due respect to anyone who agrees with Mr Naqvi, but this has to be one of the most absurd things, I have ever heard in my life “and I have heard many” Based on your logic no one should ever form a new Political Party in Pakistan or youngster should never form their own companies and come up with new ideas as irrespective of how good they might be, people would only elect or buy products from known devils.
Try implementing this same approach in your daily life and see if the answer is the same. When you choose a husband for your daughter would marry her off to a known Devil, would you hire someone to work in your company or home who was a known devil, so if you wont in those instances, why would allow for a known DEVIL to run your Mother Country Pakistan??

haris May 7, 2013 - 5:33 pm

this guy is a dumbs. never heard such childish and immature views from someone who is actually no one.

Saad May 7, 2013 - 5:47 pm

Naqvi! I agree with you. My reasons for voting for PML N are not much different from you except that I have one more reason. The real contest is between the major parties i.e PPP and PML N. If anyone who votes for PTI, he/she will be in fact voting for PPP by default and that thought scares me. PTI cannot come in power. At most they will cut votes of PML N and then we will see PPP again. The choice is between two devils. My advice to everyone is to choose the lesser evil. Rest is everyone’s choice.

Eesha Muneeb (@utopiamyopia) May 9, 2013 - 3:52 pm

Saad if you are not voting for PTI simply because you are afraid to hope that it is too good to come true, well no one can stop you from exercising your right. I will vote for PTI so at least I can say I gave it a shot. This once only. Then if nothing happens I will step back and let the feudal game continue as it has since 1948

Jabran May 9, 2013 - 4:25 pm

So you are saying we should not vote PTI because that will weaken PML-N and make PPP stronger? What a pathetic argument. I would rather risk PPP for the next years than vote PML-N on the basis of this stupid argument.
And if PML-N is so convinved that PTI will damage its vote bank and in turn help PPP, why don’t they join PTI? Then PTI will not only be easily able to come into power but will single handedly cripple the PPP as well. But the problem is PML-N at the moment has no moral justification or right to join hands with PTI. PTI is too good a party to trust or accept them.

Nabeel Ahmad May 7, 2013 - 6:13 pm Reply
Umer Jamil May 7, 2013 - 6:15 pm

Last chance to save Pakistan Vote PTI convince every one to come out who never ever voted as This time Pakistan need them . W can’t live in corrupt system where one corrupt is giving cover to other corrupt. We have option of choosing between less corrupt and a honest man this is the first time in history we ever got an option of honest man Make it count as this time will never come back..

Basit May 7, 2013 - 6:15 pm

Really!!! this guys a senior lawyer???? no wonder the justice system…. my ‘dear friend’, lets first be clear what a leader should be, what characteristics and qualities should he possess. Its your vote not charity that you end up giving all the time to first PPP and then to this baffoon whose wont even know the spelling of asimov…

imran May 7, 2013 - 6:17 pm

pmln are vengeful,please note.salman taseer had to provide gas to town adjacent to lahore,cos they elected PPP candidate;pmln may be better for punjabis,but they have lost national hue;don’t u remember SS begging TTP ,not to attack punjab,but do it anywhere else.i decided there &then;vote for pmln ,over my dead body

Khaula May 7, 2013 - 6:28 pm

It’s hard to take seriously any argument coming from someone who actually believed Zardari-led PPP government could prove beneficial for Pakistan.

Asghar May 7, 2013 - 6:45 pm

Err…right. So-if someone is inexperienced, they shouldnt be given a chance? Hahahahahah. How do new people enter into the new arena, Mr. Faisal? Or we just let these industrialiast families keep ruling over us till they drop our country into a pit?

Abdullah May 7, 2013 - 7:02 pm

Mr Asghar you don’t give a new entrant a CEOs job! An entry level job is what he is given. See the picture? Oh I’m sorry you are just an emotional, impressionable PTi fan who can just say Jiyeeee Imran (Jiye Bhutto style) and forget about rationale

Zamar Nauman May 7, 2013 - 11:41 pm

Actually while filling positions for CEOs of companies going through tough times, it is preferred to hire outsiders or new blood, which is free from the taint of the dysfunctional management, Byt Hey thats just sound business theory based on tons of research. your rhetoric sounds much more rational

CEO May 9, 2013 - 4:13 am

@Abdullah I guess you haven’t heard of Zuckerberg and the 20-something CEOs worth billions who created their own ‘job’, and the jobs of thousands in the process?

Ammar May 7, 2013 - 7:01 pm

how can you say this have and Nawaz and Bhutto and Muhammad Ali Jinnah were born with experience?….. is that what you say when you apply for a job ina company? does no company hire you because you have no experience! what a dumb essay….. you are blindfolded my friend!

Ali Zia May 7, 2013 - 7:08 pm

I agree to the writers notion. Give credit where credit is due. However, you must realise that you have a leader in your midst that has stirred up a natural revolution in your country. And natural revolutions are always a rare occurrence in a nation-state world controlled by a super power. It is surprising how IK has moved himself within the country. Ofcourse i would say he has support of the intelligence, however, i believe there to be no collusion between the two (which is purely my gut but is irrelevant regardless). A revolution chooses a leader: a leader does not choose revolution. Hence my support to IK. Now the flipside. I’ve always liked the Sharif brothers and their history is near almost clean which is a commendable achievement no doubt. However, it is a shared trait with the Khan. You judge a leader by his intentions of glory wealth and wisdom. The Sharifs and Ik both are inclined towards glory. However, I would say if they were to choose wealth over wisdom, IK would choose wisdom whereas the Sharifs would do the opposite (again thats besides the point so i wont elucidate). Now the if both are trustworthy, the second test would be of ability. Thats where the Sharifs take a back seat and IK shines. The Sharif methods are orthodox and, even though, he are businessman at heart, his foreign policy is naive which is more of a need of the moment. His projects would always concentrate on infrastructure that require the minimal effort and resource to sustain (roads buses etc). If you give me the example of the hospital they setup, please think twice as the comparison with IK there would just bring shame to your argument. IK dares to challenge himself on projects for welfare (which is also a valid and important argument that he supports welfare but it comes later in the hierarchy of arguments). Again, an argument of the nuclear tests is flawed as it wasnt PML Ns brainchild. He was just the right person at the right time. Now I come to IK. Firstly, with all the jahalat of Pakistan in mind, he wins my vote not because of his academic portfolio but because hes an intellectual. An idealist yes but this attitude is equalled by his consistency and dedication. Now back to the article. The writer argues that IKs governance skills are not tested at state level. In my opinion, that argument is just as naive. That argument suggests that because i have had porridge before in breakfast, fruits may not be a staple diet! In a “democratic” state where elections have a cycle of 4 years, you cannot stick to one person unless exceptional which i would say the Sharifs are far from, without any bias. The criteria of experience is flawed at state level. Read george w bush for another argument. And another, none of the other two terms already served by the Sharifs were actually completed. My vote goes to PPP if that was the criteria! IK has been portrayed by the writer as a gamble and mr. naqvi states that he would not gamble. I say IK is a logical choice and I parallel (infact supersede) his abilities with the Sharifs. He is the Sharifs and a lot more. The cherry of the cake in my argument is this : Hazrat Ali once said “…if you want to judge ones character, give him power…” This saying does not differentiate between power at management level or power at state level and looks at leadership as a transferrable skill. I would now compare the two. Sharifs have been strong, loyal and trustworthy. IK? He has been all of the former plus he made an institution of perpetual motion and seperated himself from it???!!!! That my friend is far from commendable. That is legend. The aura of IK is (in my opinion) parallel to that of ernesto che guevara at the moment.

Muhammed Ali Jabar May 7, 2013 - 7:18 pm

What do you expect from a “Lawyer” living in “Lahore”? I am amazed at his counter arguments to cover up for the sharifs. If this is what “Experienced” people will continue to bring to our country, I rather be immature.

HC May 7, 2013 - 8:48 pm

clearly you didn’t get the memo. you would rather vote for lying, cheating, bank defaulting, NRO benefitting, fake degree holding, money laundering politicians, rather than an honest man trying to make a change. its people like you afraid to change the status quo as much to blame for the current situation of the country as the thieves who’ve led us here. this nation doesn’t deserve to be saved if the majority of people think like you. you’re obviously not principled enough to recognise an honest man trying to make a difference, and you would rather compromise the future of the nation for what? for a perceived alleged lack of experience and know how of a PPE oxford educated man. oh the irony. shame on you

SY May 7, 2013 - 9:08 pm

Here is a quote from the political theorist Machiavelli, which sums up the authors decision:

“It ought to be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. Because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions, and lukewarm defenders in those who may do well under the new. This coolness arises partly from fear of the opponents, who have the laws on their side, and partly from the incredulity of men, who do not readily believe in new things until they have had a long experience of them.”

Now on to the issue of governance and postage stamps – effective governance is quite simple. When there is a problem you fix it. That is all Imran needs to do and yes it can fit on a postage stamp.

Mahmood T. May 8, 2013 - 1:04 am

This Article is a joke. Yes yes, your writing skills are good, but wtf have you written. Did you actually write the article and read it afterwards?

Comparing the political situation with Isaac Asimov’s theory, is the biggest LOL I had this year, I wish I could personally thank you for that.

“so far as the last five years of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) government in the Punjab are concerned, their record is clean” – ‘My friend’ there are different types of corruption existing in this world, if someone is not financially corrupt does not exonerate them from the charges of corruption. These people are power hungry class A morons. Everything they do is to get votes, if something is needed to be done which will not come to the public’s attention, they simply ignore it, no matter how important it is. I see this as a form of corruption, people we elect into power who take advantage of the money entrusted to them by us so they can increase their own popularity. WTF is up with that? Do you really think the laptop scheme was a good thing? You can classify it as a dumb thing, but this was deliberately done to get votes. Do you know how much money was spent on these laptops? 230 million fucking dollars. Do you know what good could be done with this amount of money? Do you really think people had a pressing need for laptops? YOU TWIT!

Politicians make mistakes, they are human after all. But in no way does it make it OK for these people to take advantage of the people of this country. They have been in power SIX TIMES! FFS! You can count their accomplishments on your fingers, can you believe it? Been in power SIX time and a handful of stuff to show for it and the funny thing is that they keep boasting these handful of accomplishments, things they did over 2 decades ago. Don’t you think it’s time they did something new? In no way do I count the metro bus project as an accomplishment, I count it as stunt to get votes and don’t get me started on the money spent on it.

On the topic of IK’s inexperience and Sharif’s vast expertise, i’m going to leave it as it is. This is the most ridiculous argument I hear when talking to PML-N supporters. Have you seen the PTI policies and plans for when they come into government? Go to their website, everything is available online. No political party is this prepared and organized, so fuck you for saying IK is inexperienced. All PML-N and PPP do is make a few promises and never explain how to it will be done, they get elected and forget all about it. Lately Nawaz has been saying he will start the “bullet train” in Pakistan. I think the moron doesn’t know that there is no train known as a “bullet train” it is just something said in the movies for very fast trains.

What about the friendly opposition they played with Zardari? is that forgivable? Do you think they won’t partner up with him again so they can form the government? They knew and know what Zardari was like, better than us normal folk, but they still made a deal with him.

I hate people like you, you don’t see the bigger picture and you don’t want change. I know people like you, you belong to upper middle or upper class, even though you’re affected by what happens in this country however it’s a fraction to how much people under you suffer. If IK comes into power, you will lose the benefits you get because of the current status of our country. You’ll have to stand in lines like the rest of us, obey the rules and suffer the consequences for your actions equal to that of any other person. No more preferential treatment, this is what you are actually scared of.

Adnan Khan May 8, 2013 - 10:02 am

You don’t know about the billions of dollars that the Sharif Bros have managed to squirrel away outside the country, to which their own party leader, Ishaq Dar, has signed a confessional to.

A lot of wasteful words from an ignorant coward, who, according to Einstein fits the definition of madness.

“Madness, is repeating the same thing and expecting a different result”.

Haider May 8, 2013 - 10:48 am

Me again, I doubt the author is still reading the comments given the amount of opprobrium being dumped on him. But i wanted to add another thought, instead of focusing on experience you should have written about the role of the army and PML N’s stance on civil military relations, no ones been as outspoken on the subject as the NOON league and it could very well be argued that is the most pressing structural issue facing Pakistan today.

Zee May 8, 2013 - 10:52 am

So what I gather from this article is that you only are rejecting IK on the basis that he has never been in power before. It’s like a person being rejected a visa just because he hasn’t visited that country before. Unless you don’t let him how will he ever prove himself.
I ask you, what particularly good has the others who for you are all experienced ever done. You are willing to handover the leach of the country to a satan just because he’s been in power before.
If you would’ve researched a little you would’ve found how millions were literally “lootofied” in the sassti rotti sceme. How the mill owners set up small factories over night and made millions. PMLN is smart, they are the masters of indirect kickbacks / corruption.

Eesha Muneeb (@utopiamyopia) May 9, 2013 - 3:40 pm

That is a very good analogy. Thanks for putting it so simply!

Khizer Inayat May 8, 2013 - 12:34 pm

Total Wrong idealogy and full of false comparisons. PTI will sweep. We are dreamers !

Iffi May 8, 2013 - 12:42 pm

written by a 5 year old 🙂

farmerdr May 8, 2013 - 1:01 pm

PMLN is proven to be regressive and corrupt, PPP is proven to be more corrupt but progressive, MQM is simply vicious, PTI is the newcomer thought to be regressive but not corrupt. I would like to see PTI pairing with PPP, this could potentially be a good combination for a coalition governing this long suffering country.
The men in uniform will retain Rehman Malik and Shah Mahmood even if they lose Ch. Nisar.

Sameer Siddiqui May 8, 2013 - 2:52 pm

No major corruption…..please bro read newspapers and update yourself….distributing laptops raises questions plus a case also recorded of buying laptops with extra ordinary prices and they say “its for the welfare of the students” secondly the METRO BUSES…wow all the people of Punjab require buses and roads apart from the food shortage (sugar, wheat if you remember), electricity, water and last but not least the gas supply…failure to provide the essential part of life you still argue on how good is PML-N is … wake up open your eyes and see the reality…its better to have a change in our country and in our lives and ya one more thing QARZ UTARO MULK SAWARO remember anything now ???

And please managing 2000 people or 600,000 people this shouldn’t be concern of yours as you have a blind eye on everything for Sharif brothers….

Lastly I wanna advice you to be practical rather than wasting time of yours and discussing your non realistic ideology on a public form.

nabeel135Nabeel Ahmed May 8, 2013 - 6:11 pm

You talked about experience and knowledge needed for governance. I don’t think that an “experienced and full of knowledge” leader start such economically dumped projects for attention so to be called as “Khadim-e-Alaa”. Governance is all about managing the institutes and to strengthen them. Khuda esay tajarbay say bachay… :):) We are living in a country which has both financial and energy constraints. Instead of giving Laptops, he the “Khadim-e-Alaa” could have develop our IT industry. So, the laptops are used at their best worked places not to be used to watch movies or Hamsafar during load shedding. I know many IT graduates just earning Rs. 8000 just because there is no developed IT industry backed by the Govt. Leaders should have priorities, because what they spent in projects is not their money. It comes from a pocket of our poor countrymen which our great leaders don’t even bother to give. Better check our Parliament’s previous record and better to check the records of “Khadim-e-Alaa”.

AMT May 8, 2013 - 8:26 pm

Sir ur vote for PPP went useless last time.(Considering u r based in urban lahore where PML-N won all seats). Your vote may well go useless this time too!

Rabia May 8, 2013 - 9:35 pm


Saad May 8, 2013 - 9:51 pm

Just a single thing on flyovers
Anybody living in lahore go ask them how much time it took them to travel between thokar and defence before these flyover and overhead bridge stuff, i am not a lahori but frequently travel there it almost took me an hour to travel and it even took ages sometimes to bypass kalma chowk.
I had been to lahore some few weeks back and the traffic flow was too smooth. It was kind of necessity.
And the metro buses, no doubt the money spend on the project was too much but if have been on metro bus from shahdra to gajumata (last stop) then u can observe that not even a single seat goes free on the route. Thing about that public who travels on them and with this project u can save resouces like fuel which was going waste before on gas diesel an other transport.

Sharbat May 9, 2013 - 12:36 am

What kind of experience is it which leads you to such dumb policies ? Laptops, sasti roti, danish schools, is that what you get after 25years of experience ? A good governance is a governance that knows a country’s priorities. The metro bus was essential, but not a priority and that, my boy, proofs the lack of pertinence in PML-N’s policies.

Anyway, I couldn’t agree more on the fact we have to choose the least flawed option. And a party that still makes dumb policies after 25 of experience is as dangerous for Pakistan as PPP was. Why would I deliberately elect a dumb leadership ? The situation is too critical for that. If there’s finally a hope, a credible third option, why would I ignore it only because I might be sceptical in front of an apparently competent and promising, but still unexperienced, party ? That would be dumb too.

Mohammad Umar Farooq May 9, 2013 - 1:31 am

This is such a weak arguement, that I don’t know whether to take it seriously or be really saddened at the level of thought ur showing.

What point did the author make? – That PML-N didn’t do major corruption… That’s it? They didn’t steal, so that’s a positive? You don’t expect any positive developments in your institutions, you’re happy with a couple of gimmicks a random road(s) or hospital ?

Have you ever heard of a major leader in a respectable country boast that s/he built a road or developed a missile? No they talk about the state of the economy, the increase or decrease in GDP, foreign relations – that’s what you judge leaders on…. and the Shariff’s have consistently been the worst at Economic policies, foreign relations, and the development of local instutions.

Khan has set up institutions – two of the best in the country. (A Cancer hospital treating patients for free in a 3rd world country – unheard of in the world) Its an insight into his manegerial skills – something Nawaz has never shown….

Relative Crookedness? – Are you serious…. would leaders like Jinnah or Ghandi ever use such a sorry excuse, like relative crookedness? Please, don’t link nonsense like this.

shehbaz May 9, 2013 - 5:18 am

Disappointing. Extremely disappointing. Not even a single point is a valid argument. No use even saying anything to you sir. Waste of time.

Saleem May 9, 2013 - 11:30 am

Very disappointing and childish write-up. If all organizations apply the same argument of “experience” than no youth will ever get employed no matter how educated he or she is. If “Mr.Raja Rental” can become prime minister and umpteen other illiterates (fake degree holders) become so-called ministers, what is wrong with Mr. Imran Khan becoming an elected Prime Minister. What relevant experience Mr. Zardari has before becoming president not counting ofcource his “valued” experience in wheeling dealing. In the present day Pakistan, Imran Khan is the only hope people of this wonderful country has. I appeal to all my fellow country man to vote for Tehrik-e-Insaf candidates. In the words of Imran, “vote for the ideology”. I wish he gets well soon and be ready to lead this nation which is full of resources (natural, human you name it) but desparately requires an honest leadership….Long live Pakistan

Eesha Muneeb (@utopiamyopia) May 9, 2013 - 12:11 pm

Hey so last time you wrote an article and Surprise Surprise! Zardari decided not to follow your advice. Hmm, now you are doing the same thing for PMLN and expecting what – some magical reversal of intentions?

Saad May 9, 2013 - 5:33 pm

What maturity Nawaz Sharif has shown in the past, that inspires you?
Khan has no agenda, people claim…and those who had manifestos had nothing commendable except laying concrete tracks.

Y, Shaikh May 9, 2013 - 6:28 pm

The Author should retire from being a lawyer because he clearly has no idea what the truth is..

satti May 10, 2013 - 1:34 am

My suggestion to all PTI jiyalas, please have a look at the candidates from PTI, more then 70 % are those opportunists who could not win last elections of 2008/2002, or those who were denied tickets from PML(N) and PPP. Imran Khan is a good leader with good ideology, but did you see those three faces (Khursheed Kasuri, Shah Mehmood Qurashi, and Javed Hashmi, PTI no 2,3,4) representing PTI once he met that tragic accident. Also Shakih Rasheed, and Chudary Ghulam Sarwar and Jhangir Tarren, and Ishaq Khaqwani and so on…… If this is the kind of change then “BETTER LUCK NEXT TIME”. I m not voting for this kind of ‘MakeShift change’ where the MNAs are same old opportunists who keep changing their ideology and parties to fool people in every election.

Jabran May 10, 2013 - 11:08 am

At worst, it makes us as bad as those voting for PML-N and PPP. And if you are right the givernment will be, at worst, as bad as those of PML-N and PPP. It is not the ‘change’ that most of PTI jiyalas are voting for. It is actually the ‘hope of change’ that we are after. We do not have any expectations from the PTI MNAs, we only have expectations from one man who has shown he can do what he promises,and whom we know is not corrupted.

PML-N does not offer any change. They talk about building roads and giving jobs. They don’t tell why they want to do that. They don’t tell how they will do that.

PPP does not offer any change. Have you watched the ‘Jhoot series’ on PTV? That is actually the election campaign of PPP!

As with all PTI people, I will NOT ask you to vote for Imran Khan. I just ask you to realize that your vote is important and it should be ‘utilised, wven if the hope is 0.1%.’

The change that Imran Khan says is already there is the change that youngsters are going to vote this time. And people like you are me are talking about party policies(eventhough the leaders of other parties are reluctant to debate on that with our leader, pathetic really.) There are even people who want to vote but cannot because they are not 18.That is the change my friend 🙂 There is no ‘makshift change’. There is real ‘change’. Tabdeeli a nahirahi, tabdeeli aa gayi he 🙂

Samia May 11, 2013 - 9:55 am

You r right that there r lot of faces in PTI who came from other parties,but I believe when one learn from their own mistakes they never unlearn that.also everybody needs a second chance.when the top leader of the party is clean we have all the rights to hope and think positive for that party.we don’t say that Imran will make all the decisions 100 percent correctly ,end of the day he is a human being also but knowingly he would never do or let anybody do wrong things.we believe him now and always in sha Allah..

Ambreen May 10, 2013 - 9:49 am

You are talking crap. People like u are responsible for the current state of the country. When you accept your vote is flawed and wrong why do it just to be ‘safe’? Sometimes you need to show courage and vote for a change so our country can move forward, not be trapped in the past. God will help you make the right decision. Sharif wasn’t born from his mother’s womb as an expert ruler. He had his first time and learnt the job. Khan will do the same. #NayaPakistan Vote Imran Khan!

Samia May 10, 2013 - 6:03 pm

What experience nawaz sharif had when he was chosen by zia ul haq.answer to this question is enough to answer your ridiculous point.imran is technically more reliable,and we are ready to accept his noncurrupt experiments
of governance .

sas May 10, 2013 - 10:00 pm

Perhaps the most idiotic argument I’ve heard in a while. Congratulate yourself. “Madness is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.

Need I say more?

Sarah May 11, 2013 - 11:19 pm

One of the arguments made by the writer is that Khan doesn’t have experience nor knowledge of governance. How did any of the current political party leaders gain experience? By entering politics even when they had none. Bhutto was a feudal lord and unless that background is considered equivalent to preparing you for being a politician, he didn’t have any formal training either. Making a comparison with Reagan from a totally different system and country is useless here. Comparisons should be made with the Sharif brothers, ZA Bhutto, and other Pakistani political leaders who entered politics with no political experience. This article seems to suggest that as long as the statesman is coming from a feudal or industrialist background, as long as he is born into riches, he doesn’t need any other training. However, one who is not coming from such a background (i.e., Khan) will now be stamped as untrained and inexperienced and incapable of entering and handling politics.

A second argument made by the author is how little corruption PML-N committed this time. This point just needs to be more researched. There is definitely some contradiction in owning steel mills and creating needless steel overhead bridges with taxpayers’ money. Shahbaz Sharif created many such structures (each one costing 1 crore) where they weren’t needed. And isn’t it a bit too transparent when they start building “roads” just a few months prior to elections? Just because they build some in an effort to “show” people that they are doing work, doesn’t mean that people should be satisfied with this level of governance and performance. People should demand better governance from their political leaders. How long is PML-N going to get votes because they constructed the “Motorway”? Another hurried response by PML-N in face of PTI’s rising popularity was handing out expensive laptops to students. Yes, just handing out a one-time gift to students without creating any deeper infrastructure for government schools is not only dumb, it is intentionally reckless. Such short-term policies can no longer be looked as ‘dumb’ and be forgiven. These policies were only enacted to gain quick popularity with the youth – the one section of the population that Khan first gained popularity with. It was a transparent attempt to swing votes away from Khan. These policies, and many other, are not just dumb. They are intentionally short-term and transparent; they are only designed for gaining quick votes from people who are willing to be fooled by short-term goals. Honestly, let’s raise our standards. Let’s not quote a “motorway” as being the reason for the political party we choose to vote for. Let’s look out for long-term systemic changes that can be brought to Pakistani institutions. This is the only way we can revive our economy, deal with the energy crisis and with myriad other problems on Pakistan’s plate right now.


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