Original Articles

In the name of God, go. Let our next military saviour step in.

By Abdul Nishapuri

Friends of Taliban in Pakistani media are continuously and shamelessly suggesting that politicians are corrupt, and that democracy has failed to deliver good governance in Pakistan.

Here are two different perspectives on this topic: The first perspective is offered by Ansar Abbasi and Roedad Khan who suggest that in the interests of the country, President Asif Zardari must quit his position sooner than later.

The second perspective is offered by Nazir Naji who deconstructs the myth that politicians are corrupt whereas military dictators are the saviours of Pakistan.


In the name of God, go

Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Roedad Khan (The writer has been a key supporter of the military dictatorships of Generals Ayub, Yahya and Zia-ul-Haq.)

Some leaders sail with the wind until the decisive moment when their conscience and events propel them into the centre of the storm. Altaf Hussain’s fateful decision not to support Zardari on the infamous NRO issue was a masterly stroke in the game of politics. Otto von Bismarck famously said that political genius entailed hearing the hoofbeat of history and then rising to catch the galloping horseman by the coattails. This is what Altaf Bhai has done, to the surprise of friends and foes alike.

Altaf Bhai’s friendly advice to President Asif Zardari to sacrifice his exalted office for the sake of the country and democracy reminds me of the fateful “Norway Debate” in the House of Commons in May 1940. Britain was at war, facing the full might of Nazi Germany. In the backdrop of the dismal picture of failure and retreat which confronted the nation, L S Amery, MP, delivered the historic speech which led to the resignation of Prime Minister Chamberlain and elevation of Churchill as prime minister. “I cast prudence to the winds,” Amery wrote in his diary, “and ended full-out with my Cromwellian injunction to the government… ‘You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go.’ “

“I say solemnly,” Lloyd George who followed Amery, declared, “that the prime minister should give an example of sacrifice because there is nothing which can contribute more to victory in this war than that he should sacrifice his Seals of Office.” President Lyndon Johnson had won an enormous election victory and proposed civil rights legislations and Great Society. Less than three years later, broken by the Vietnam War, realising the nation no longer trusted him, and unable to appear in public, he announced he would not seek re-election. What is President Zardari going to do?

All presidents fall from their honeymoon highs, but no elected president in history has fallen this low this fast. All presidents are opposed, of course, and many are disliked; but few suffer widespread attacks on their personal integrity or veracity. President Zardari is one of those few. Zardari knows well the man responsible for the trouble he is in. He looks at him everyday while shaving.

Talking about despotic rulers, like himself, Mussolini said just before he faced the firing squad: “Have you ever seen a prudent, calculating dictator, they all become mad, they lose their equilibrium in the clouds, quivering ambitions and obsessions – and it is actually that mad passion which brought them to where they are.” Absolute power, unrestrained by law, must make people mad. Power is heady substance. How else can one explain Zardari’s erratic behaviour and his massive blunders?

Sometimes, once in a long while, you get a chance to serve your country. Today President Zardari is the Atlas on whose shoulders the state of Pakistan rests! Few people had been offered the opportunity that lay open to Mr Zardari. He blew it. No wonder, the country is gripped by fear and uncertainty. If Zardari remains in command of the ship of state, we will all go down like the Titanic.

At a time when the country is at war, Mr Zardari, the Supreme Commander, spends almost his entire existence in the confines of a bunker – which he seldom leaves these days. Mortally afraid of his own people and the sword of the NRO hanging over his head, he is more concerned about protecting himself and his power rather than protecting the country or the people of Pakistan.

Mr Zardari is so swathed in his inner circle that he has completely lost touch with the people and reality. He wanders around among small knots of persons who agree with him. His blunders are too obvious, his behaviour too erratic, his vision too blurred. He has painted himself into a corner.

A year after he captured the presidency, Zardari seems to have lost his “mandate of heaven.” At a time when leadership is desperately needed to cope with matters of vital importance to the very survival of the country, Pakistan is led by a president who lacks both credibility and integrity. What is worse, he seems oblivious to the realities of his awesome responsibilities and is only interested in perpetuating himself.

What is it that people really expected from their president in a national crisis? It is something that the national psyche needs. The people, especially those in the war zone, expect the occupant of the Presidency to share their suffering, to assure those trapped in the crossfire that they will survive; that they will get through it. He has to be a Chief Executive who is in command, who reacts promptly, who alleviates human suffering. Above all, he must inspire confidence and hope. And so, he has to be that larger-than-life figure, which Zardari is not. No president and no prime minister can govern from a bunker.

These are critical days in Pakistan. Isn’t it a great tragedy that at a time like this there is a loveless relationship between the rulers and the ruled? There is no steady hand on the tiller of government. The survival of the country, its sovereignty, its stunted democracy, its hard-won independent judiciary, all are on the line. Tragically, in our political life, we prefer to wait until things reach the emergency room. Each man feels what is wrong, and knows what is required to be done, but none has the will or the courage or the energy needed to speak up and say enough is enough. All have lofty ideals, hopes, aspirations, desires, which produce no visible or durable results, like old men’s passions ending in impotence.

“Fortune is a fickle courtesan,” Napoleon said on the eve of the battle of Borodino. “I have always said so and now I am beginning to experience it.” When I watched Zardari a few days ago on TV, he was visibly undergoing a similar experience and looked like the captain of a sinking ship, the wind of defeat in his hair. How fortunes fluctuate! The calendar says Zardari will be around for another four years, but the writing on the wall shows the party is almost over.

For Mr Zardari, the accidental president of Pakistan, the moment of truth has arrived. His presidency is collapsing all around us; the wolf is at the door.

The presidency is more than an honour, it is more than an office. It is a charge to keep. Asif Zardari’s sudden ascension to presidency caused panic among the people. Thrown there by accident, he is grotesquely unsuited for his position. Henry Adams once wrote that the essence of leadership in the presidency is “a helm to grasp, a course to steer, a port to seek.” President Zardari grasped the helm more then a year ago but the country still doesn’t know whether he has an inner compass, or a course to steer or a port to seek. It is now abundantly clear that he is not worthy of the trust placed in him by his people. He carries a serious baggage, dogged for years by charges of corruption until they were abruptly dropped under the NRO, which he tried to get validated through the Parliament but failed. No democrat should come to power through such an array of backroom machinations, deals with Generals or foreign powers. No wonder, too many people reject Zardari’s political legitimacy.

The Zardari aura is crumbling. His star is already burning out, but he will stop at nothing to keep his lock on power.

The writer is a former federal secretary. Email: roedad@comsats.net.pk, www.roedadkhan.com (The News)


Ansar Abbasi:

Nazir Naji

About the author

Abdul Nishapuri


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  • Roedad Khan [Mehran Bank Scandal/Former Secretary Interior and he was right hand man of General Yahya Khan]

    Petition of Air Marshal [Retd] still pending in SC for the crime committed with the help of Pakistan's Public Money, one of the Criminal was Roedad Khan:


    Nawaz opened up by congratulating Kamran on his Mehrangate exposures which had recently appeared in the press, asking how the inquiry was progressing, and giving his own views. They exchanged information, each believing the other was being informed. They talked about how COAS Aslam Beg (sporter of shades in the shade) managed to get Rs 14 crore (140 million) from Yunis Habib, then of Habib Bank. This was deposited in the 'Survey Section 202' account of Military Intelligence (then headed by Major-General Javed Ashraf Kazi). From there Rs 6 crore was paid to President Ghulam Ishaq Khan's election cellmates (General Rafaqat, Roedad Khan, Ijlal Hyder Zaidi, etc.), and Rs 8 crore transferred to the ISI account. After lunch, Nawaz brought up the subject of how Aslam Beg early in 1991 had sought a meeting with him (then prime minister) to which he brought Major-General Asad Durrani, chief of the ISI. They told him that funds for vital on-going covert operations (not identified by Nawaz) were drying up, how they had a foolproof plan to generate money by dealing in drugs. They asked for his permission to associate themselves with the drug trade, assuring him of full secrecy and no chance of any trail leading back to them. We never learn from history By Ardeshir Cowasjee dated 21 July 2002 Sunday 10 Jamadi-ul-Awwal 1423 http://www.dawn.com/weekly/cowas/20020721.htm


  • Why didn't Roedad Khan sued Daily Dawn.

    Now, my friend Roedad Khan, perpetual bureaucrat steeped in the art of bureaucracy, yet again ready to serve his country, has reacted in a letter printed in this newspaper on July 26. Apparently, his innocence has been injured. He denies having had any connection with those in President Ghulam Ishaq's secretariat who were paid to 'fix' the 1991 elections. He has, however, said that though he does not wish “to comment on the substance of the matter,” he “will do so at the appropriate time,” which, hopefully, will be soon. His secretariat colleague, General Rafaqat, is listed as having accepted ISI funds to do the job. So it should seem unlikely that the other secretariat members such as Roedad Khan, Ijlal Zaidi and Chaudhry Shaukat would not be in the know. (Oddly enough, when last month President General Pervez Musharraf met a band of 'intellectuals' with whom to discuss the coming elections, the strategy to be adopted, and the constitutional amendments, these four retired members of Ghulam Ishaq's special assignment cell were amongst those summoned.) We never learn from history-3
    By Ardeshir Cowasjee 11 August 2002 Sunday 01 Jamadi-us-Saani 1423 http://www.dawn.com/weekly/cowas/20020811.htm

  • Roedad Khan loves Martial Law


    “A year later, I was relocated and posted to Peshawar where I met Morarji Desai, finance minister of India. He was visiting Pakistan as a guest of the government. On arrival in Peshawar, Morarji expressed a desire to pay a courtesy call on Abdul Ghaffar Khan. I was asked to make necessary arrangements and escort him to Utmanzai.

    On the way to Utmanzai, Morarji asked me how the freedom-loving Pukhtuns had reacted to the imposition of Martial Law. This triggered a lively discussion. “Was it for this?, Morarji asked, “that your people fought so tenaciously? You thought you had found freedom on August 14, 1947. But hasn’t it turned out to be another kind of slavery? Were all Mr. Jinnah’s brave words and deeds to end in this? Don’t you feel cheated and betrayed? I feel sorry for you. Your future looks very grim to me?.

    “Until recently, we were all Indians?, I replied. “We are as good and as bad as Indians are. We all share the same weaknesses. You are not much better than us. We have martial law today. You will have it tomorrow??

    Morarji reacted sharply: “No general dare impose martial law in India?, he retorted. “And if he does, Morarji will be the first to face the Indian bullet?. On this grim note, the conversation ended. We had reached Utmanzai.

    Conversation with Morarji Desai By Roedad Khan

    June 3, 2002 Monday Rabi-ul-Awwal 21,1423

  • Ayaz Amir on Roedad Khan [Secretary General Interior during General Zia's Martial Law]

    Getting on with life Ayaz Amir 07 August 1999 [Courtesy: Daily Dawn Wire Serice]


    It is a strange country indeed where a ghost from the past such as Roedad Khan should emerge from the mists to preach, of all things,
    a revolution. Every despotic regime in recent memory he faithfully served. The burden of the infamies then gathered by the country he
    valiantly bore but the infamy of Kargil has cut him to the quick and made him write a frenzied piece in the News with gems such as this: “What a terrible burden of guilt our rulers bear. One day this treachery shall be avenged and out of all this would come the politics of the future.” He goes on to ask, “Who will light a candle in the gloom of our morale?” The answer should be obvious: another Zia-ul-Haq with Roedad Khan as his secretary-general of the interior.

    An invaluable insight into the intellectual calibre of our governing classes is afforded by the spate of memoirs to have come out in recent years. While not a few of them are badly written, virtually all of them are self-serving, making their writers out to be infallible individuals who held aloft the banner of rectitude while everything around them was collapsing. In some cases, it is true, these writings are a useful addition to the historical record but the reader who might be looking for any traces of grace, modesty or humanity in them is likely to be disappointed. If such be the state of the brightest and heaviest stars in the
    national firmament, of what account are Nawaz Sharif's reputed limitations? He has been false to no one, least of all to the masses who put their trust in him. The foolishness was that of the masses if they saw wonders in him which never existed.

    Endlessly restless and therefore flitting from here to there, fascinated with gewgaws and gimmicks, believing that somewhere through the woods lies a golden short-cut which if discovered would turn the burden of governance into a perpetual holiday, are vintage Nawaz Sharif traits which at least the members of Pakistan's permanent politburo (Roedad Khan being an erstwhile member of this club) should have fully known when they went about creating him as a counter-weight to Benazir Bhutto. But they were blinded by their prejudices, hating Benazir more for being her father's daughter and less for her presumed failings.

  • Roedad Khan and A MISSING JUDGE.

    The fact is that Mr Roedad Khan served as a loyal civil servant three chief martial law administrators: Field Marshal Ayub Khan, Gen Yahya Khan and Gen Ziaul Haq. Why did he not have the courage to say then, what he says now?

    The Missing Judge By Fakir S. Ayazuddin
    The Nation, June 27, 2008

    While all Pakistan is trying to liberate the judiciary, with long marches and threats of dharnas, an old gentleman was seen on a private TV channel crying, for his bail had just been approved though he was not yet released.

    He had served 22 years in various jails in Pakistan, with no charges framed nor any trial. He was moved around the country and there were no records on him. He was not a bearded fundo or Taliban. He was not a murderer, terrorist, nor a spy, nor a Baloch activist. He was Dr Ghulam Mustafa Ismail Qazi, a former ad-hoc judge of the Lahore High Court and also the husband of an army captain, Dr Mubarika, who was killed in Siachen 18 years ago (published in a local English daily, June 13, 2008), a serving judge of the Lahore High Court no less, when he was picked up, and put away for 22 years. The signature on his detention order shown on TV was authorised by Roedad Khan Federal Secretary of Interior, and had been missing for 22 years. (The same fellow who is a regular on TV talk shows and spouts holier than thou messages on TV conveniently forgetting his role in the Missing judge case).


    We never learn from history – 3By Ardeshir Cowasjee 17 August 2002 http://www.lib.virginia.edu/area-studies/SouthAsia/SAserials/Dawn/2002/aug172002.html

    Now, my friend Roedad Khan, perpetual bureaucrat steeped in the art of bureaucracy, yet again ready to serve his country, has reacted in a letter printed in this newspaper on July 26. Apparently, his innocence has been injured. He denies having had any connection with those in President Ghulam Ishaq's secretariat who were paid to 'fix' the 1991 elections. He has, however, said that though he does not wish “to comment on the substance of the matter,” he “will do so at the appropriate time,” which, hopefully, will be soon. His secretariat colleague, General Rafaqat, is listed as having accepted ISI funds to do the job. So it should seem unlikely that the other secretariat members such as Roedad Khan, Ijlal Zaidi and Chaudhry Shaukat would not be in the know. (Oddly enough, when last month President General Pervez Musharraf met a band of 'intellectuals' with whom to discuss the coming elections, the strategy to be adopted, and the constitutional amendments, these four retired members of Ghulam Ishaq's special assignment cell were amongst those summoned.)

  • Shaheen Sehbai on Roedad Khan [yet Roedad and Shaheen Sehbai have the audacity to share the same newspaper i.e. The News International, as a Columnist and as a Group Editor]

    A view from America: By Shaheen Sehbai Comment: Shaheen Sehbai is back in the media with a bang.

    Friday club nausea: A view from America By Shaheen Sehbai The writer is a senior Washington-based Pakistani journalist

    How should a Pakistani, living in a foreign land, away from the country for years, view, analyse and react to the mainstream press articles and website rants of a well-informed insider of the Pakistani establishment? Is this frustration of an almost senile angry old man? Is this because he has been kept away from the corridors of power by military masters similar to those he has been serving for decades? Is this a belated feeling of guilt after enjoying, and mostly misusing, decades of unchecked and uninterrupted administrative and political power? Or are these the anguished cries of a genuinely concerned citizen who cannot see his country get buried into the dustbin of shame and ignominy?

    Yes I am talking about the recent articles of Roedad Khan, the super-bureaucrat who proudly claims on his website that during his service he got to know two prime ministers Benazir and Nawaz Sharif and six presidents — Ayub Khan, Yahya Khan, ZA Bhutto, Ziaul Haq, Ghulam Ishaq Khan and Farooq Leghari — in varying measure.

    “They all displayed vast differences in personality, character and style. Each one of them has directly or indirectly contributed to our generation's anguish and sense of betrayal, our loss of confidence in our rulers, in our country, in our future, in ourselves and the souring of the dream of Pakistan. Every now and then, I put pen to paper and unburden myself of the things that weigh upon my spirit: the sense of being in a blind alley, the perception of our collective guilt, the knowledge of all that has been irrevocably lost,” he states recalling those he served.

    At another place on the same website, under the title of “Friday Club”, Mr Khan reveals the company he keeps every Friday in Islamabad at his residence. “This is an informal, social gathering of about 20 persons, mostly retired civil servants, all united by a common interest in current affairs, meeting every Friday, for intellectual stimulation and catharsis, without a fixed agenda at 10:30 am at the residence of Mr Roedad Khan, who acts as host and coordinator. Its origin goes back to the mid 1970s when 'club members' used to meet every Friday at Zubaida Agha's residence. Altaf Gauhar, Ejaz Naik and Roedad Khan formed the nucleus. Others joined the club later.

    He claims the members of the Friday club now include retired governors, foreign ministers, air marshals, federal secretaries, ambassadors, educationists, poets and columnists. No papers are read and no speeches are delivered. No minutes are recorded and no record is kept. Discussions are uninhibited, free, frank, animated, and end up as brainstorming sessions. According to him these meetings last for about four hours.

    Among other points on his long CV since he joined the civil service in 1949, the year of my birth, Roedad Khan can boast of several important appointments, including those of chief secretary, Sindh; secretary, ministry of interior; secretary general, ministry of interior; federal minister in charge of accountability; and advisor to the prime minister on accountability.


  • The worst part is that Ansar Abbasi has chosen to title his column after a verse of Faiz, he surely would be turning in his grave after this blatant abuse of his work.