Too Orwellian

Rao Anwar – who’s known for 444 encounters – just had an interview on Geo.

Just like Ehsan Ullah Ehsan – APS mastermind – once had an interview. Now free. Or escaped. Whatever.

Manzoor Pashteen cannot be interviewed. Of course. Too constitutional. Too controversial.

Ali Wazir – lost 17 family members in terrorism – cannot be interviewed. Or even freed. Too parliamentary.

APS parents cannot be interviewed. Or given justice. Too risky for the business.

Families of missing people cannot be interviewed. Or heard. Too irrelevant.

This is such a sad state of the state. It’s nothing less than Orwellian.

Even His Highness cannot be interviewed. Too high. High?

Those who spoke against atrocities, are with atrocities today. Those who were with atrocities, are against atrocities today. Only roles are reversed. Because political roles are reversed. Government is opposition and opposition is government. Ride. Reverse ride.

Though the master is same. She’s the government. She’s the opposition.

You – public at large – know this. And that. But can’t fight with your own brain. Too complicated.

With where we were in 1958, or 69, or 71, or 77, or the 90s, or 99, or the 2000s, or today; we haven’t moved an inch. Sometimes, the only way to emancipation looks like disobedience. Revolutionary disobedience.

Torturing the Tortured Souls

It depends.

Your democratic rights depend on the value you have within the state. State within a state, to be precise.

For example, you can march and sit and halt the capital, with the Supreme Court on your side. Or you can march, sit, and halt major roads for days and no one bothers.

Sometimes, you can march and create chaos and even kill a couple of people and in the end, you get cash. Rs.1000/- per scum was the rate back in 2017. Considering inflation and 15% increase in salary of “apne log’, it may be up to Rs.1700/- per scum.

Anyway, the point is ‘it depends’.

So, if you people are asking for your missing ones, but you tend to be from Balochistan, then the state doesn’t support you. Courts doesn’t support you. Political parties don’t support you. Even the constitution becomes numb and mute.

One party can ask for blood and bodies and still can participate in elections. Another can ask for constitutional rights and be banned. Treason can come in handy at any time.

For state, missing people is a source of spreading fear. Fear works in a lot of ways. Musharraf – who mainstreamed abductions – wrote in the preface of his book that people were sold to USA for bounties. According to him, shortly after 9/11, 369 out of 672 captured were handed over to the US. “We have earned bounties totaling millions of dollars”. His words. Not His Highness’s.

Well, whatever comes from the US goes some other way. Billions came when mujahedeens were being nurtured and then billions came again when the same mujahedeens were being killed; but fate of the country didn’t change. Fate of some men in uniform did change but the country didn’t. Some even had pizza while sipping blood.

Anyway, since then, extrajudicial abductions became a source of fear. Business of fear.

Then, when the noise became louder, missing people were transformed into mutilated dead bodies.

And then, when the noise became chaos, the families were beaten. Through the state police.

Very recently, Sindh police leashed themselves on people protesting for their missing loved ones. Females and children were also tortured and humiliated. The shamelessness was shameless. Bilawal didn’t speak. Maryam didn’t speak. Because now, they are in the cradle of blood. The cradle of bravery that upholds this security state as a highly insecure state.

We can’t even imagine.

People actually ask for dead bodies. People want to bury their loved ones. Imagine this. Our side of the ultimate pain is burying a loved one. The other side of the country takes burial as a luxury. A privilege.

I head about ‘missing people’ first time in 2005. Then I did a university project on this topic in 2007. I used to be the sole voice among friends and not-friends about this torture. Fast forward to today. Almost everyone talks about it and knows it. But nothing has changed. Nothing.

Because the one in question – who should have been charged and dragged by the collar – holds the power and budget of this country. That institution has a whole country under extrajudicial trial.

Again and again and again.

Same stories. Same words. Same feelings.

And nothing changes.

Adios. Until again. And again.

Budget 2022-23

Ok Herd!

Considering the ugly financial shape of the country, the budget 2022-23 is just fine. Or you can say its ugly; not uglier. Sounds better? Doesn’t matter.

Let’s start with the mighty military budget for the mighty military who stands as the citadel of Islam. Though succumbing to 5,000 TTP. But you don’t know the details of business. The business of blood. And bodies. And missing people.

I deviate. So, bear the deviations.

Total size of the federal budget is Rs.9,502 billion. How cheap! Of that, Rs.3,950 billion will simply go in debt payments. So, it’s like Rs.5,552 billion budget; hence prepared with deficit. Of that Rs.5,552 billion, Rs.1,523 billion is for military.

And that’s a lie.

Rs.1,523 billion is a direct military budget which does not include military pensions (of Rs.395 billion), import of military hardware, parade costs, nuclear program, and supplementary grants (which were Rs.110 billion 2021-22). So, concisely, it’s over Rs.2,200 billion.

This all is apart from business enterprises. Corn. DHAs. Roads. Cereals. Serials. Movies. MILBUS.

Interestingly – not so – military budget is the only budget that got increased.

Health budget got reduced from Rs.28.4 billion to Rs.19.6 billion.

Education budget got reduced from Rs.92 billion to Rs.90.5 billion.

Grant to HEC got reduced from Rs.65.3 billion to Rs.65 billion.

So, you may know, who owns this land and who runs the affairs. So, you may reflect deep inside. And think. And evolve. And become Shaheen of Iqbal. And fly. To new horizons. In new lands. Through immigrations. Or asylums. It’s a lose-lose. A loser here, a loser there. A first-class loser here, a third-class loser there.

Now before you lose the erection of goosebumps, its better we move ahead with the budget. 15% increase in salaries of government employees and merging of previous ad-hoc allowances would be a relief. PTI didn’t help government employees in last 3.5 (3 full and 1 interim) budgets.

But what about the rest?

For the poor, there is nothing to be honest. There will be Rs.2,000 per month for families and subsidized petrol and similar other dramatics but that would all be stinky. That would all be not for the poor. The needy will have to beg to attain these.

But for the rich, there are gifts. First, there is Rs.699 billion for subsidies. Obviously, these subsidies would go for big mafias and their businesses. Sugar, textile, roads, development, housing, etc. Subsidies are always for the elite. Remember that. You may get some pennies in the shower but nothing more.

A lot could have been done for the economy and the poor. For example:

  • Subsidies of all kinds could have been banned.
  • Non-feasible development projects in PSDP could have been dropped. With the current situation, PSDP should not have been more than Rs.400 billion.
  • All foreign funded projects could have been halted. Instantly.
  • Perks and privileges of bureaucrats, judges, and generals could have been slashed.
  • Military budget could have been halted. Military pension could have been merged in military budget with some slashes.
  • Import of new military equipment for one year could have been banned.
  • Travelling for meetings could be banned for one year.
  • Free electricity units could be stopped for all, including WAPDA employees.
  • Procurement of all kinds of vehicles (except ambulances and transport buses) could have been banned.

And one subsidy should have stayed. PETROL.

Whatever the popular opinion or economists are saying, this is the ugliest decision by the government so far. These additional Rs.60 per liter (with overall cost to reach 250 per liter) are going to hurt everyone. Everything is going to be expensive in coming days. This hyperinflation with stagflation is going to put a misery show.

If only fuel prices could have been managed, things could have been managed. But this didn’t happen. With the increase in fuel prices, transport of goods and FMCGs are going to increase. Electricity, as we are mostly dependent on IPPs, are going to increase as well. With that, production cost of everything is going to go up. Everything is going to go up, except public life.

One day salary from all the government and private sector employees from a certain grade and above could have deducted each month to handle this. More cuts could have been added in PSDP and ADPs to handle this. A lot could have been done. In the long-run, Pakistan definitely needs to plan to get out of IPPs and fuel-based energy production.

The times ahead are going to be bad. The whole working class is going to be pushed down. Middle class is not going to be the same middle class in the times to come.

Anyway. Who cares? Cigarettes are not taxed much. We can puff and exhale the inflation through lungs. It works. Always.  

Zafar Mirza wrote in Dawn on 03.06.2022 and proposed higher taxes on cigarettes to maintain some financial balance. He gave example of Philippines where taxes were imposed up to 1000% on cigarettes in 2012. Tax revenues from cigarettes grew from PHP 32 billion (2012) to PHP 106 billion (2017) with 3 million less smokers. And that revenue was used for health which enhanced from PHP 50 billion in 2013 to PHP 165 billion in 2019. How cool is smoking? Wonders!

So, cheer up. We have all the wrong priorities. As always. Because here, elites serve elites. The government is elite. Bureaucracy is elite. Military is elite. Landlords are elite.  The problem is, they are so dumb and even then, they manage to fool the public. May be public is even dumber?

Government is predicting inflation of 13-14%. It’s going to be double than that. For sure. And with that inflation in cards, mini budget is sure to come up soon. This budget may be considered as a tentative budget.

That’s all for federal budget. You can cherry-pick to take sides. Can blame it on PTI for the mess of 3.5 years. Or can blame PMLN for the mess of 2 months. Or you can blame the actual culprits. Wherever your cherry-picking takes you.

Punjab tried to present the provincial budget yesterday but failed. There was no finance minister but then there was but then there wasn’t. It was a chaos. One good thing about development of Punjab (ADP 2022-23) is that they said no to DDP-II. Initially, there were talks to bless the parliamentarians, just like what PTI did in 2021-22, but then it was discarded. DDP was a crime. And its price would be paid by taxpayers for years to come.

Times are tough. There is a war which is causing fuel hike and wheat scarcity. Fine.

But our story is different. We always have a war inside. Military keeps on putting jokers and things get uglier. This time, military itself got exposed – thank goodness – and now everyone is running naked in the street. The one ruling, the one thrown out, and the one waiting; all are military stooges. Puppets. Waiting for their turn to oblige the masters. Everyone trying to go one step ahead of the predecessors to please the masters. Just like what the Cartoon Prime Minister did with new powers to ISI regarding appointments and promotions of public officer holders.

When you get all this, and you face the heat of inflation, and all the mess around; do remember to point at the right direction. Who did that to you?

That’s all. You must prepare yourself. Brace for impact.

TTP. Again!

Total TTP strength is roughly 5k. They have killed tens of thousands since 2007. 79,999? Who knows? They caused damages in billions.

Yet, they live. And are loved sometimes. A lot of times.

Because we love blood. On hands. In streets. Mud on face. Such disgrace. Kicking our arse all over the place.

We are in a complicated relationship status.
Trying to mend ways.
In talks. In negotiations.
Missing Ehsan Ullah Ehsan?

Here goes the nukes. In your arse. Orgasmic? Nationalism is orgasmic. It gives you nothing – except a release – and takes everything from you.

With a standing army of roughly 650k, it’s the 5k that are dictating the narrative. Without taking a budget. Or pensions. They just set their price with blood. APS massacre is their top achievement. Disgrace!

The whole system is farce. An illusion. Everyone is for leverage. Look!

When PTI was in power, Maryam Nawaz used to go and cry with families of missing people. She promised promises.

Now PMLN is in power, Shireen Mazari is actively running her ex-ministry of human rights. She is talking about missing people and military atrocities.

Liars. Hypocrites. Arseholes.

Even when they speak, they speak for themselves. They speak to get a higher rating. In front of GHQ. To be selected again.

Meanwhile, you sit with all of them. You cry on their shoulders. You become emotional.

Just when you should aim for their collars, you rest on their shoulders. Your fault!

I ain’t for violence. Never been. But I would opt to be Maximilien Robespierre any day, even when I know that Napoleon will rule within 10 years and the state will become fascist yet again. That’s not the point.

Or, let’s say, better to reign in hell than to serve in heaven. Because it’s not your heaven. Never been.

Until then, 5k will dictate 650k. The largest province will suffer with violence of 650k. 650k will always surrender to foreign powers and will oppress the internal 220 million. With or without puppets.

Religious Supremacy in India

Mocking of religion – any religion – is wrong and disgusting. Critic of religion is fine (people may disagree with that too) but mocking and insulting is not.

Even if you are atheist or agnostic, religion cannot be made fun of as sentiments of millions and billions are attached to it.

India – under Modi and BJP – is into the dirty business of one religion’s supremacy, which never is achieved. Different religions tried to win the world at different times, but none remained to rule forever. Times change. And, obviously, religion is not to rule.

Again: religion is not to rule.

Religion is not to create fear, chaos, violence, or hate. If it does, then you are being played in the wrong hands. India being one ugly example at the moment.

The disrespect of Prophet Muhammad PBUH is wrong. There was no need for Nupur Sharma to fall that low for some rating. It’s not about India losing business from Arab countries or the international backlash they are facing, it is about 220 million Muslims of India, who have been disowned. Again and again.  

Freedom of speech has its limitations. Every freedom has limitations. And must have. You may dance to music all night, but your neighbor must not be disturbed by the noise. Your music is his / her noise.

Lastly, for the oppressed side: learn to ignore. You cannot shut every mouth in the world. Your religion has survived and will survive. Remember to practice as it was practiced by the Prophet Muhammad PBUH Himself.

Be civil and exemplary.

Useless Deterrence

You have nuclear bombs. But no electricity. And water scarcity. And 25 million out-of-school kids. And health in crises of its own.

I Deviated. Let me come again:

You have nuclear bombs. Which means, you have nuclear deterrence.

Still, you have new idiotic projects of new missiles every year. New strikes. New this and that. Useless. You have deterrence already. Why are you wasting funds in billions on useless gimmicks?

In short-term at least, you don’t need parades, new missiles, new jets, new weapons, and a lot of non-military stuff. But you do. You keep on enhancing. And all this doesn’t include the commercial MILBUS that the state has no power to interfere. Yet, the defense isn’t satisfied.  

You have nuclear bombs. You have the deterrence already. There is no threat of war. Halt further till the economy stands. But no. If. But. Nothing personal. Strictly business.

Last year, it was Rs.1,402 billion – excluding Rs.369 billion military pensions. This also doesn’t include anything that FWO earns from national projects or the MILBUS conglomerate of value up to $50 billion.

“What are you talking about lad!”

That we have nuclear bombs yet…

“This is not your domain.”

It is us, the civilians, who are…

“Stay idiot. Stay foolish.”

You are in no position to…

“Hit snooze!”

I decline.

“Now! That’s an order!”


“You are dis… miss… ing…”  

60-up Fuel

30 more. 60 in quick days. Petrol is taking a hike and no one’s giving a damn. Damn!

No relief for the poor. Nothing. But stories of bankruptcy and all the irrelevant shit that has nothing to do with you – continue.

Yet no one’s going bankrupt except those who are already bankrupt.

Make things tough. Make the law tough with books and jargons so people may have to hire lawyers for simple cases. Educated people walking and standing behind un-educated lawyers. A common sight.

The same goes for the budget and economy. This rating, that index. Blah blah numbers. Jargons. Trends. Percentages. Crashing down. It all falls down.

Dollar rate doesn’t concern the poor. The same goes for the stock market. They don’t want you to give billions of rupees in reliefs and bailouts to sugar, land, textile, and other mafias. That new missile and new weaponry system is not for the poor. Just like the DHA or Bahria or new Lahore City.

But the budget goes the elite way. Like bailouts. And reliefs. The poor go to the petrol pump to curse his own misery of existence in a relatively non-existent land.

The house of cards is standing on an already broken backbone of the poor. Inflation – already hitting badly – will shoot further. Transportation will become pretty expensive. So will the non-existent electricity. Everything is going to be expensive.

The budget is not going to give a raise to the middle or salaried class. They will give some relief. So you may know. Your worthless class. Your subconscious may further fall down. Like everything.

Even His Highness is broke. Imagine! Don’t!

Cut down perks of all kinds (fuel, drivers, more than 1 vehicles, etc.) for bureaucrats, judges and the whole establishment.

Ban travelling for all government meetings across the country. Meetings should be online.

Ban free electricity or units for everyone, including WAPDA employees.

Ban procurement of staff vehicles.

Cut down wasted budget on military.

Ask the military to handle military pensions through their billion-dollars MILBUS empire.

Stop subsidies and bailout packages of any kind in all industries.

Cut down non-feasible development projects in all sectors of both PSDP and ADPs.

Stop all the foreign funded projects. Instantly.

And fix the maximum salary too. There must be maximum wage like minimum wage, at least in the government where non-consultable consultants are hired on millions.

But no. The cuts will be on education and health first. Then on development for the poor. Then on water. And all the basic things.

Not all but only some of the above mentioned steps can resolve things. Particularly, military related expenditures. Burden for nothing but burden.

The clown PM and his whole cabinet and the whole system is up to nothing. PMLN had no homework. No presitge. Nothing. Apparently, everything is up to the known-unknowns. But the time shall write who signed the cruel orders in already oppressed times.

And expecting out-of-the-box solutions from PMLN – or anyone to be honest – is stupidity in itself.

O’ my dearly robbed poor fellows! Don’t worry. You are fucked-up anyway. Here and hereafter.