Random Numbness II (June 2020)

Firdaus Aashiq warned that the virus can enter from “neechay se”. She advised to cover your mouth as well as your genitals.
Zartaj Gul defined the 19 points of Corona.
Asad Umar explained that we are at the lowest already. We can’t go any lower. Isn’t this hopeful?
Then came Riaz Fatyana. During the sugar crisis, he went against sugar, not the usual scapegoat of ‘mafia’. Now, he locusted in the National Assembly. ‘Eat Locust. Beat Corona’.
Sheikh Rasheed is selling 24 crore tickets. Haleem Adil is distributing funds among 29 billion people. Qureshi is busy fighting Tareen. Tareen is busy making money. Money is busy dipping. Fawad is busy spilling beans. Vawda is busy being an asshole.
And just when we thought the episode was over, came Prime Minister himself. He challenged the opposition to point out his any contradiction since March. March 2020. Not March 2010. He knows.
For instance, back in the not-sold-days, IK used to bash war on terror and our funded Jihad and collateral damage. He asked for trial of the terrorist Bin Laden. Then, during transactional-mode, he stopped giving opinions. Now, after-sales-service, he is back. With the oldest and strongest narrative. Shaheed.
Bin Laden is shaheed.
All those, who died fighting Bin Laden, were also shaheed.
Those who stood behind Bin Laden, shaheed.
Those who stood against Bin Laden, shaheed.
Kids who were killed in school, shaheed.
People who were bombed, shaheed.
Welcome. To the Windmill of Shaheeds.
We make and sell Shaheeds.
Yardstick of our ideology.
But not all that lost are shaheeds.
Rao Anwar is ghazi.
Ehsan Ullah Ehsan is ghazi.
Ertugrul is ghazi.
I deviated. Now back to Majlis-e-Shora!
Imagine, these folks – all these comedians – are making budget, policies, setting priorities and running the state. ‘Apparently’. We know there is another hierarchy of duffers who is running the state, actually, but yes, there are apologists who believe not them but them and them and democracy.
Where do such out-of-the-box ideas come from? Memes? WhatsApp jokes? Because these ideas are not in newspapers. Or scholarly articles. Or books.
Or maybe, when they can’t sleep in the night – not because of their ugliness but because of making less – they have profound thoughts. They concentrate. And then they get an epiphany.
What are the rationale ones doing? Getting fired probably. Mohammed Hanif. Ammar Ali Jan. Pervez Hoodhboy. Or being humiliated. Like Faez Isa.
This all looks like chaos. Everything falling apart. Right? Wrong.
Everything moving so fast, yet no progress. Like foreign funding case. Or Musharraf’s treason.
PIA, like Suparco, is all going down. With fake licenses of pilots, imagine the future of the airline. Death.
You dissent, you get fired. Literally too.
People go missing. Have you seen supporters of duffers and status quo gone missing? No. Specific ones only. Targeted ones. Only.
Doctors being threatened. From Quetta to Lahore.
Students being punished. Baton charged. Humiliated.
Censorship gagging you. Choking.
Yet, you have to survive. Like an insect. Regardless of all the ugly conditions.

Punjab’s Budget 2020

Budget is a little technical thing. Media usually is unable to understand it, and hence misguides the public. Even the bureaucrats, who give nods to the financial decisions, don’t get it. They have to be taught every time. Every single time.
 
And as soon as they get any ‘out-of-the-box’ question, the subordinates are fucked.
 
Will tell you a not-joke after the lecture.
 
The working class in the government sector is actually pathetic. 99% of the people are idiots. After cramming MCQ books and using contacts, they get the jobs. See the fall of PIA with one of the highest employee to aircraft ratio.
 
Same goes for NAB, FIA, etc. All these analysts and researchers working in NAB / FIA are unable to come with proofs against these political criminals. Why? Because they themselves are clueless. They don’t know how to see a book.
They don’t get the numbers.
 
Result: embarrassment in courts when NAB / FIA are unable to file references even after months.
 
Understanding monetary / budget games requires digging. Consistent digging. There are hundreds of projects in public sector which were allocated more funds than their approved costs (crossing the permissible sanctions), and even then the investigative organizations are unable to make a case.
 
Khair. Back to budget.
 
Lecture first:
 
Budget is divided into two parts. Development and Non-Development.
 
Non-Development is the usual non-technical shit; like salary and non-salary expenditures. You can call it regular budget too.
 
Development budget is about PSDP (federal level) or ADP (provincial level) development schemes which pass through different forums and feasibility steps before seeing the approval day. After which starts the release of funds and execution of the schemes. Establishment (schools, hospitals, roads, bridges, parks, etc.) of all government infrastructure falls under development.
 
Sahiwal power plant was a non-feasible power project by PML-N. Like Nandi Pur. Billions dusted.
 
Peshawar BRT is a tangible picture of PTI’s vision.
 
IPPs by PPP is a never ending curse on Pakistan’s financial instability.
 
Development budget is further divided into ‘Capital’ (which is related to civil work / brick and mortar) and ‘Revenue’ (equipment / items). PAS / DMG officers spend almost their entire lives dealing with these projects from tehsil level (being Assistant Commissioners) to provincial level (being Secretaries of different departments).
 
Above paragraph was the pre-requisite for that not-joke.
 
Once upon a time, a PAS / DMG officer of Grade-21 was being briefed about the development projects. He was unable to get anything. Even the difference between ‘capital’ and ‘revenue’. In the end, his subordinate briefed like that, “Sir yeh jo eento or bajri se banta hai na, wo ‘capital’ hota hai. Or jo kamre ke andar samaan para hota hai na, wo ‘revneue’ hota hai.”
 
Now that was a Grade-21 guy. Imagine what he had been doing being AC, DC, Commissioner, etc. No wonder we are where we are.
 
Anyway, wherever we are, here we are. With PTI’s 2nd provincial budget in Punjab, a little digging can help where we are leading. First, take the pandemic as constant. And let’s take only 1 example. Most relevant one. HEALTH:
 
In FY 2019-20, development budget of Health was Rs.45.500 billion.
For FY 2020-21, development budget of Health is Rs.33.612 billion.
 
This is a budget cut of Rs.11.888 billion in health sector. Remember: Covid-19. Pandemic. And all the media campaign of the government regarding their focus. No lockdown. Ok, fine. Not fine though. But this is nothing more than cruel intentions.
 
End of lecture for today. Save this one. It can be a source of less humiliation for you, if you are unlucky to become a bureaucrat. Someday. Somehow.
 
P.S. a couple of things:
1. A celebrity committed suicide 2 days back. Got a twitter trend. A sister of two missing brothers from Balochistan committed suicide 2 days back too. Nothing happened.
2. In the previous post, not a single figure was wrong. I sit corrected.
3. If you claim that a ‘number / fact’ was wrong, at least try to provide the correct ‘number’.
4. A couple of days back, a lady called me ‘bastard’. I don’t mind that. But I do mind when you copy-paste my posts lady!

Budget 2020

Dear herd!

Budget 2020 is simply like this:
Education: Rs.4 billions
Health: Rs.20 billions
Defence: Rs.1402 billions

I know. Education and Health are mainly under provinces (18th Amendment) and will get allocations through provincial budgets as well.

But dear Vawda-kinda! This Rs.1402 billion doesn’t include military pensions (Rs.369 billion which is 79% of federal government’s total pension bill). Major weaponry procurement. Mega projects under FWO. Security enhancement (Rs.45 billion last year). Or businesses. Their revenues. Plots. Potential DHAs.

And supplementary grants? Like the one which they got a month back of Rs.1.66 billion for a surveillance project.

And how many supplementary grants?

There is another calculation which I leave to you: subtract debt programmes from the total federal budget, and then calculate how much is allocated to defence (%age) vs rest of the country – considering we are fighting a pandemic.

Anyway, don’t bother.
But don’t be ill-informed.
And don’t defend the defenders for God sake.

We saw our PM cry every other day for the poor on TV. As he had no strategy or plan to tackle the virus, he offered us crocodiles tears. Regularly. And then his team presented a budget – shamelessly – wherein every single component related to the poor has been robbed.

After him comes Gill. Then Chauhan. Then Rashid. Then the other Rashid. Then Mirza. Then another. Another. Another. And the whole day is spent in press conferences with exactly the same rhetoric.
Blaming past.
Blaming virus.
Blaming opponents.
Blaming media.
Blaming people.

‘Mafia’ is the new scapegoat.
Who is behind medicine and drugs price hike? Mafia.
Who is behind sugar prices? Mafia.
Who is behind wheat crisis? Mafia.
Who is behind petrol crisis? Mafia.

Who is behind your seat Mr. Prime Minister? Mafia.

Rarely you see doctors on TV. They are not included in committees to handle the virus. They are not allowed to speak publicly. Their voice is completely missing. And the budget too – criminally – has ignored doctors and their advice.

This isn’t war. In fact, there is no war around the world at the moment. The whole world is tackling the same crises and doing its best to prevent it.

And here, in the land of pure, the budget has been prepared based on the same old two nation theory. Diamonds for me. Nickels for you.

Sadly – and honestly – blaming Khan or PTI is foolish too. They aren’t ever in power.
Just like their predecessors.
And their predecessors.
And their predecessors.

Random Numbness (April 2020)

No more Khalil ur Rehman Qamar vomiting on TV. But it doesn’t mean shit doesn’t exist anymore. It does. Only we have some other problems.

Firstly, there is this virus. Supreme Court is trying their best to control the pandemic. Forgetting that they themselves are endemic.

Then, we have this sugar crisis. Tareen’s sugar levels is high as IK – well, not IK – made the report public. Now Tareen is running here and there, looking for some Musharraf-kinda-daddy. ‘Sugar daddy’ looking for daddy. What luck!

Meanwhile Saad rafique met Pervaiz Elahi. Yes, the same ‘daaku’. In ten years, PML-Q desperately wanted to hangout with PML-N, but they were not needed before. Now political frustration has paved the way for the two ugly ducklings. This is precisely where Zia’s DNA meets Musharraf’s DNA.

And Vawda is back again. Without a boot this time. If coronavirus had a face…

Even religious scholars and mullahs are providing comedy. Yeh to ho ga. When their businesses will be closed, they will be frustrated. And in frustration, they will provide content.

Anyway, with all the fuss, comedy remained intact. IK says something. Sindh goes the other way. Punjab follows Sindh after a day or two. Then KPK follows Punjab. Then Federal endorses everything with ifs and buts. And then comes sugar and wheat report.

Government has issued vague notifications and has directed Commissioners / Deputy Commissioners to resolve the confusions. Well, the bureaucrats rarely handle straight guidelines, and here they are asked to use their minds. Embrace yourself!

There is much ado about nothing. Lockdown is here. It’s not curfew. Yes, you can open your shop. No, not you. You. I mean you, not you. Who?

But don’t blame them.

We got these laws, courts, bureaucracy and military from colonialism. Ranks and designations and hierarchies and grades are exactly the colonial way. In exactly the same offices they made during colonial era. With exactly the same mindset sucking the system.

Majority of our laws and penal codes – including 144 – are from colonial era. The exact same system is lynching the public the exact same way.

Only the elite natives replaced the gora sahibs.

That’s why our history, throughout the decades, is same. Same ink accusing the same class of the same mind.

Jalianwala Bagh before partition.
Babrra massacre after partition.

Manto wrote before and after 1947. And he wrote exactly the same stories.
Stories of atrocities.
Stories of lawlessness.
Stories of corruption.
Stories of fanaticism.
Stories of men. Men of lust.

The only difference is what he wrote as derogatory has become itself a writer with endless scripts and dramas. But we have other problems for now.

Post-Virus World Order

Un-globalization in process.

How many companies will adopt work-from-home model when this will be over? Isn’t it less costly?

How many people will re-shape their work-family balance?

Will the business and strategy books keep on teaching “globalization” like before?

Will China remain the production hub of the whole world?

Will the nations keep on buying weapons to build on arsenals or will healthcare get some light?

Will healthcare be adopted back by the government, as it was being privatized and outsourced in most of the countries?

Will there be Hajj this year?

Will secularism / liberalism see a boom or will the world keep moving towards populism / conservatism?

Will science be considered as important as orthodox beliefs?

Will the neighborhood life resume as before?

Will we have more divorces or more babies?

There are so many questions. We don’t even know how many will perish before a virus-free world sees the daylight. But who cares?

We deserve this.

First of all, this debate of science vs. religion will never end. It is as ruthless today as it was when Galileo said that the earth is a ‘globe’. One side can claim that science has failed to prevent the world from this invisible virus. And the same can be said for the other side.

Exactly same arguments can be thrown on both sides of the pole.

The question is, why is this even polarized. For me, it is exactly the same side of a single being.

Anyway,

We deserve this.

With bloods on our hand, we deserve this.

When kids were being killed in Yemen through drones, we didn’t record resistance. We took Sunni / Shia split sides. We defended our troops and blamed others.

When Afghanistan was being bombarded – with Jihad and without Jihad – we played dollar-based-politics. While counting dead bodies, we never shuddered and continued counting dollars.

When Rohingya were undergoing ethnic cleansing, the world watched it as silent spectators watching a horror movie.

When Syrian refugees were drowning in the water, we cried, wiped our tears, and went on to buy products of the same people who pointed guns at the refugees.

When kids were being raped and murdered, we were unable to make policies to tackle the situation. Now, see, kids are safe. Or maybe not?

We never thought of the consequences of our consumerism.
We never changed our lifestyle. Because we never had an ideology.
We never had conscientiousness.

We deserve this.

With arsenals rising, missiles getting bigger, drones getting smaller and jets getting swifter, poor people became poorer.

Those who were unable to be fed, were bombarded.
For narratives. Ideologies. Politics. Business. Religions.

We deserve this.

So, here we are.

I hope we will learn a lesson.
I hope it will be classless and ruthless.
I hope it will be liberal and secular in selection and conservative and fundamentalist in implementation.
As we have been for centuries.

Because, we deserve this.

And I hope and pray this virus will spare kids.
Because the next generation is the only hope this world has.