Prison or PM House?

The attempts at reforming the NAB laws and other such related steps by the elected representatives are only aimed at saving their own skin as well as their stolen wealth.

By Imran Jan | February 2023

Pakistan’s politics reminds me of a Hollywood film called Speed. In the film, Keanu Reeves is on a bus in which a bomb is planted. If the speed of the bus goes below 50 mph, then it would explode and kill everyone on board. They continue to drive the bus not for hauling the passengers but rather for saving their lives.

In Pakistani politics, we grew up watching the crooked politicians turn this country into an absolute swamp. They remain in politics not to drain that swamp or to help people get their basic rights but rather to stay alive and stay out of prison. Because they know that the corruption they have done is enough to result in their lifetime conviction in any civilised society. They can only make a deal or twist the legislation that affects their fate while they are actively in politics. Just like a little while ago, the former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu knew full well that if he left politics and power, his fate would be that of a prison inmate. He was either PM housing bound or prison bound. There was no other choice for him. That is why he struggled very aggressively to remain in the office or strike some sort of a deal so that he could avoid the wrong government housing.

We in Pakistan have traditionally called it Muk-Muka politics or the politics of deal-making. The PDM alliance is a group of all the crooked politicians whose sole purpose in clinging to power is to stay out of trouble and avoid the countless corruption cases that are there against them. But anything is possible in a country like Pakistan, which is truly the land of opportunities where anything and everything is possible. Over here, a poor man cannot get a bag of flour to feed his family and will die in the effort. However, those with the right names and titles can have the doors of the highest judiciary open at midnight. Even courts are no guarantee to get justice or see the law win the day.

The attempts at reforming the NAB laws and other such related steps are not meant to guarantee the rights of the poor people or to help provide them with basic necessities such as food, shelter, and electricity. This is about saving their own skin and the stolen wealth. The just cause is just a cause, meant to make noise about and lay claims to. The real motive is rather the pursuit of happiness such as being able to drive luxury cars, wear luxury watches, put some sort of plastic on one’s face, buy newer and better noses, do chin jobs, buy expensive flats in foreign lands, have stolen cash be parked in Swiss accounts, and so forth. The result is the ultra-rich few and the starving many.

It is a vicious cycle. Corruption gives rise to more corruption. The days of just one TV channel are gone. Even the days of multiple TV channels are counted. This is the age of social media. The stolen wealth has a reserve kept separate for buying journalists and opinion makers so that while people’s tongues can’t be controlled anymore, why not control their minds and render their speech blunt. The spin doctors are able to make more money than real doctors. I’d advise young people not to become doctors like Pakistanis always do but rather become spin doctors. There is more money there.

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