HUMAYUN GAUHAR | 13 APRIL, 2016
Pakistan and the Panama Papers : Not as Stupid as He Looks, Eh?
How can one ignore the Panama Papers that expose the world’s elite? Though Pakistanis like all peoples think that their country is the centre of the universe, the Panama Papers are not specific to Pakistan or Nawaz Sharif or any foreign leader, not even Putin. What is interesting is that they are not specific to leaders of powerful countries who fashion the world. Only Iceland’s prime minister has been thrown under the bus because he and his country are irrelevant, but being western, it lends credibility to the exercise.
This is a worldwide leak with powerful backing of those worried about increasingly turbulent global politics. All these things had been known for years. Good that they have been exposed, but why now? To bring calm to the global turbulence that threatens to go out of hand by causing global chaos first in which leaders they are uncomfortable with will disappear as will old state boundaries, to refashion the world so that it fits nicely with the New World Order that they have so desperately been trying to redesign since the Cold War? Sure it will be good for countries like Pakistan for it will help rid them of rapacious people in many walks of life that have ruined their countries. But that’s just a by-product of the exercise. The prime product is global chaos that makes the global status into putty to be refashioned by the global milliner. It’s just a thought.
1. It’s not illegal to set up offshore, brass plate companies in tax havens. But since they can also be used to hide criminality and illegal wealth, why do the world’s designers allow tax havens? Because many of the world’s designers too are involved?
2. What matters is what you do in and with these companies. If your business or personal dealings are above board and you remain within the bounds of legality you can rightfully go to tax havens to escape criminal and destructive taxation regimes, taxes for which they don’t get commensurate return.
3. However, if you use your brass plate companies to launder and hide illegally gained wealth through contraband money, evaded tax or money embezzled from kickbacks and commissions, you are a criminal most vile and need to be wasted. That is why antennae start buzzing when important people are found to own off shore companies in which the money and wealth cannot be legally justified, especially if one cannot explain where the money came from, like one Nawaz Sharif, failed cricketer, failed businessman, failed ruler, highly successful plunderer. When it is broadcast all over the world it’s embarrassing for the citizens of the countries whose leaders are caught red handed, blood dripping from their daggers. It’s high treason to steal the public’s money, drive the treasury to bankruptcy and bury future generations in mountains of growing debt. Its infanticide of the unborn. It’s treason to barter away any country’s independence and sovereignty.
4. We have to differentiate money laundering from money hiding. While there is no excuse for corruption, money laundering and secreting money in tax haven countries, money hiding is done to conceal their legally earned money from ruthless national tax regimes. Why should they give half of their income earned with blood, sweat and sometimes tears to governments that only give wars, insecurity and frustration in return? Taxation in the UK is so unconscionably high that its laws force people to rush to tax havens. Governments have to take a good hard look at taxation systems so as not to chase people away from paying taxes. But what can one expect from governments whose leaders are champions of corruption and tax evasion themselves?
Pakistanis already knew all that is ‘revealed’ by the Panama Papers. The already knew or suspected that their Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and family, Benazir Bhutto and family, Asif Zardari and family, all their cronies, henchmen, judges, generals, bureaucrats, regulators, taxmen, banksters, businesspeople and what have you are heavily corrupt. To be sure Nawaz Sharif’s brother Shahbaz, chief minister Punjab for the time being, is also involved with a brass plate company under the name of one of his mothers’ in law. To be sure their henchmen, ministers and minions are involved too: their names will come out soon. For example, federal finance minister Ishaq Dar gave a written admission to British authorities detailing how he laundered money for the Brothers Sharif Inc. but is still at large. Didn’t the IMF, World Bank, the ADB, the USA, EU and others know that? Yet they gave loans to corrupt Zardari and Sharif governments that it will never be returned or how it will destroy the people of Pakistan. Or are they buying out Pakistan in tranches? Didn’t they know that brass plate companies hide illegal wealth or were they weaving a web in which to trap corrupt political rulers and their countries? Such institutions and the people running them are even more culpable than the Ishaq Dars of the world for they are enablers of corruption and thus deeply complicit, proving that it takes two to Tango. It also proves that despite the permanently goofy look on Nawaz Sharif’s face, he is not as stupid as he looks. He is sly like a fox, sly enough to make human shields of his children and put them in the line of fire. We are expected to believe that his equally goofy looking son is a super genius who by age 13 created four offshore companies worth $30 million and acquired four flats in Mayfair, London. Zardari is wily as a jackal, throwing his frontmen like Dr. Asim under the bus. Such people ought not to be allowed at large but locked up and the keys thrown away before they can do more damage. That others are involved too is the problem of their countries. Our problem is Nawaz Sharif and his buddy Asif Ali Zardari and their henchmen working under their Magna Carte the ‘Charter of Corruption’ originally called the ‘The Charter of Democracy’. This Magna Carta has taken Pakistan to bankruptcy, indebted it for generations and taken it to an NDE or near death experience.
Can we recover from the plunder of the land and its people? We can, provided we take immediate measures. If other countries can recover from the ravages of world wars, why can’t we? Remember what Mao said: “Power flows through the barrel of a gun”; remember what I said: “Change comes at the point of a sword” provided gun and sword are held by the long-suffering masses. If the organized army joins them as it did in Iran it will come quicker and less painfully. Having practiced crowd mobilization two years ago, this is where Imran Khan comes in again for the real match.
So bad is the situation that post-Nawaz our concocted financial figures will have to be revised and our true pathetic state exposed, which will make Pakistan un-bankable. Concocted is worse than fudged because it is total fabrication and fiction in which the multilateral agencies are deeply complicit. Fudged can be un-fudged; concocted cannot be un-concocted. Our government’s partners in crime, the IMF and other multilateral institutions, have been criminally giving Pakistan’s fabricated economic performance a clean chit so that they could lend it more to totally enslave it for their masters who are the same as our masters.
Our ‘relevance’ is our unfortunate geo-strategic position that is very important to the alpha males of the world. Pakistan in bondage is a chained slave programmed to do the alpha male’s bidding without regard to the wellbeing of his territory or his herd of humans apes. We have dug this hole for ourselves in the last eight years with the return of what we think is democracy but is actually a weapon of the global alpha male to reduce us to a malleable, mentally enslaved people to keep the country in bondage. That suits our corrupt rulers just fine, for they don’t give a fig for Pakistan and its people. It doesn’t bother them that despite their exhibition of hypocritical piety they will land in hell first in this world (they have visited it before) and then in the next. Horrible will be their fate, so horrible that it beggars description. God is All Knowing, All Seeing and is the final judge of not just our deeds but more importantly our intent behind them. What will corrupt rulers who have violated the trust given to them by God’s vicegerents do in the Court of the Almighty when their skins, tongues, eyes, ears and senses bear witness as to what they did? Beg for ‘nihari’ from Heera Mandi in beloved Lahore? What will their henchmen, enablers and protectors do? What will those millions do who supported them and voted for them? They will beg God to give them another chance but they cannot avoid the rightful fate that awaits them.
Our immediate task is to get rid of such rulers across the board before they can do more fatal damage to the country, but how? There are many ways to skin a cat:
1. Best is for Nawaz Sharif, his brother and their henchmen to resign and save us the bother. But only at the point of a sword, as he did the first time.
2. His own party should throw him out as its leader. Loss of the prime minister’s office will follow automatically. The Conservative Party did that to its long-serving and powerful Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. But they are Sharif has attack dogs, not thinking politicians in his party.
3. Parliament can remove Nawaz Sharif through a no-confidence motion, but it is stuffed with unqualified stooges the majority itself corrupt to the core, paralyzed, unlikely to remove their benefactor, for they will sink with him. They can go against their gods-on-earth at the point of a sword though.
4. The Supreme Court removed a prime minister from office not so long ago. Any citizen can move the Supreme Court. But some judges are also named in the Panama Papers and the judiciary has little respect or credibility. They will do it only at the point of a sword.
5. The Election Commission can grow some shame and de-notify the elections of the Brothers Sharif. Or, best of all, declare the May 2013 election null and void. But only at the point of a sword.
6. The people, if they too have grown any shame, can rise. Revolution could follow anarchy. But how can you honestly expect those who have repeatedly voted for the likes of Nawaz, Benazir, Zardari, Altaf Hussain and others to have shame? That is why they reap what they sow. They will change only at the point of a pen.
7. It is situations like this that force the army’s hand. If all else fails the army will have no option but to remove this government and suspend the constitution till a workable one is forged.
Fate has presented us with the best opportunity to improve the constitution and its systems, break our chains of mental colonization and move ahead. Best to form a civilian government of specialists (not easy to find enough with most everyone polluted) who can first stop Pakistan from falling off the abyss, then pull it back to safety and then put it on the right track. Give them as much time as it takes to do it properly. There is no law of God that elections must be held in a given period of time. Doing things in haste always makes waste.
More likely, nothing will happen. The hullabaloo will last only till the next crisis when this one will be forgotten. In a flight of creative originality Nawaz Sharif said he would set up yet another judicial commission. Imran Khan wants a forensic audit. Does he know how long a forensic audit of this magnitude takes? Some clapped out multinational bozo must have put this fancy phrase on his tongue. As to judicial commission, what happened to the old ones? Did they make any difference? Not a jot.
Most likely, nothing will change for the people. They may get a new government, but not a better one. The situation is so fraught that something has to give. The kettle is so full of steam that it has to burst. Uncontrolled, it could lead to worse. Controlled, it could lead to milk and honey.