Pakistan 2020: Opposition Waiting To Be ‘Selected’ & A Compromised Media
In a Machiavellian attempt to ensure the safety and security of his government, Prime Minister Imran Khan has sacrificed his principles of accountability and rejected the resignation of Lt Gen (R) Asim Bajwa who will continue to serve as SAPM on Information as well as the Chairman of the CPEC Authority.
Meanwhile, an SECP employee who is alleged to have provided information regarding corruption was reportedly kidnapped from the federal capital, sending a loud message to everyone who still believed in PTI’s vision for accountability.
This level of selective accountability is unprecedented where serious allegations of corruption to the tune of tens of millions of dollars are rejected based on a 4 page personal document which other than spelling and grammatical mistakes but also inadequately answers how the family members of a retired general grew the cumulative assets of their companies to over $60 million with an investment of barely 1% of that amount.
Shortly before submitting his asset declaration, Mr Bajwa’s wife ostensibly disinvested from the Bajco group. However, when Mr Bajwa was asked where did that money go after it was disinvested, the honorable retired general found it wise to cut the call rather than answer a simple yet difficult question.
Gen Bajwa has the mandate to head CPEC worth around $60 billion. It is unclear how the Chinese will react as they are known for their extreme intolerance of corruption.
It is bizarre that while we are yet to get a wholesome response by Gen (r) Bajwa, allegations of conspiring against the country in collusion with a hostile intelligence agency have already been made against the investigative reporter who did a story on the unexplained wealth of Mr Bajwa’s family.
The core voter of PTI might be wondering what happened to the mantra of accountability.
The Prime Minister chooses to feign ignorance over the mega corruption scandals which have undermined his government, on enforced disappearances and shrinking media freedoms, the world notices when Pakistan falters to clean its mess.
There is little doubt that without the support of the military establishment, it is almost impossible to govern Pakistan. This is what shapes the political wisdom of Imran Khan’s refusal to accept Mr Bajwa’s resignation. At the same time, it also exposes PM Khan’s weakness, as if his government is on a ventilator and the plug can be pulled any time.
The silence and cowardice of the opposition as well as the mainstream media on the scandal aptly reflects Pakistan’s current predicament.
While a democratically elected prime minister can be disqualified for not declaring a salary as a receivable and removed from power, a retired general’s simplistic explanation is considered satisfactory enough to justify assets and investments in various countries and diverse sectors.
No one has the courage to call a spade a spade. In fact the so-called representatives of the people are waiting in line for their turn to be ‘selected’.