Hardly a few hours after the tragic crash of a PIA plane on May 22, 2020, Ghulam Sarwar Khan, the Minister of Civil Aviation, had begun to drop heavy hints, strongly suggesting as if the pilot was exclusively responsible for it. He kept rubbing in the same story while talking about the incident during a national assembly sitting three weeks ago.

To be fair to him, however, he deserves full acknowledgement for fulfilling the promise of presenting the initial report of the probe, related to this accident before the national assembly. The previous governments had surely been resorting to hush-hush tactics to make us forget and forgive, even about some very high profile and mind-boggling incidents of plane crashing.

But the report, he delivered during the Wednesday sitting, hardly revealed any thing new. Whatever he stated had already gone viral on our social media. It may sound pretty odd. Yet the fact remains that to hold the pilot exclusively responsible for the plane crash in Karachi, a US-based “expert” took a highly visible lead in narrative building via a series of videos, specifically designed for YouTube. That surely reminded one the influence of mega-firms, associated with manufacturing of the famous brands of passenger planes, with instinctive suspicions of a reporter.

A jack-of-all-trades kind of journalist is definitely not qualified to put valid sounding questions about the report, Sarwar Khan has presented in the house Wednesday. I will still not stop myself from reminding him that being the minister of Civil Aviation, he also represented a brand called PIA. He should have employed carefully drafted language to protect some its reputation.

Most ministers of the Imran government feel too proud for developing the capacity of speaking without a PARCHI (notes, talking points etc.). Sarwar Khan would hate to sound different and with absolute confidence of a self-taught “expert,” he kept bad mouthing PIA. Pilots of this airline remained the major target of his extempore ire.

For another time, he kept stressing that many of pilots in Pakistan, 262 out of around 800, were flying planes after acquiring “fake degrees” and license to fly by employing doubtful means. Lost in details remains the fact, however, that only four pilots, flying the PIA-run planes these days were still suspected in the given context.

The minister did not accuse the unfortunate pilot of the crashed plane for holding “spurious credentials”. But he clearly accused him of not focusing on fundamental SOPs you need to follow with utmost attention while getting close to landing on a runway.

The minister revealed that even too close to landing, he and the co-pilot kept worryingly talking about Corona; apparently, the Corona virus had also hit some people in their immediate families. The Pilot was also accused of behaving “over-confident” and alleged to have preferred to use the “manual mode” instead of timely activation of the auto-system, modern planes like the made-in-France Air Bus are equipped with. Some blame was also passed on the personnel managing the air control at the time of accident. We have to wait for the final report, though, to comprehend errors committed from their end.

 

Returning to general discussion on budgetary proposals, I have to report that Khawaja Saad Rafique did deliver a thought provoking speech Wednesday.

Contrary to his reputation of a street-hardened hawk, the student-activist-turned-high profile politician from Lahore kept pleading and beseeching for some kind of a grand reconciliation among all stakeholders of our highly polarized politics.

 

He kept stressing that Pakistan’s problems were fast converting to deep crises on multiple fronts. The economic slowdown was the main trigger of it. Then came COVID-19. As if the ongoing pandemic were not enough to baffle us, there is the growing menace of a possibly deadly attack of locusts as well.

 

With a deeply hurt heart, Khawaja Saad Rafique, who had also spent many months in NAB’s custody, continued to remind the government that it had adopted an either/or approach. It doesn’t want the opposition to play its legitimate role and is obsessed to “implicate” its vocal leaders in “false cases.”

 

Rafique had been a prominent minister in the previous PML-N government. Being an “insider” of the power games, he claimed to have developed the capacity of instantly smelling when a government appeared “crumbling.”

 

The Imran government, he pronounced with confidence, has entered the same stage. To prove the point, he referred to a recently gone viral interview of Fawad Chaudhry, a minister of the Imran government known for stating things in media by adopting an OTT approach. Similarly, he referred to speeches some weighty members of the PTI had delivered in the national assembly.

A few MNAs of the ruling party had also he surprised many with bad mouthing, while discussing the performance of Imran government during their appearances in popular talk shows of the electronic media.

 

Khawaja Sahib claimed that his accumulated experience of active politics and power games had forced him to conclude that Imran Khan was now feeling tired of running a government. “From heart of his hearts,” the PML-N leader announced, “he wants that someone else should replace him.”

 

After claiming this, Khawaja Saad Rafique turned taunting and teasing. Relishing the sadistic pleasure, he “assured” the PTI government that not one person in the opposition was even casually considering the idea of replacing Imran Khan from the Prime Minister’s Office by moving a vote of no confidence against him.

 

Our top ranking politicians strongly believe that “selectors” make or break governments in Pakistan. As if to address them, Khawaja Saad Rafique announced: “We are not available.” After expressing the PML-N’s reluctance for coming into power, in the given situation, he went on to forewarn that if the present conditions prevailed “no politician would want to end up as the prime minister, even an ordinary minister, in Pakistan after some months.”

 

Khawaja Saad Rafique definitely sounded as if expressing ominous thoughts before an indifferent audience. Hardly a minute before he took the floor, Murad Saeed, the youthful minister of communication, had consumed around 23 minutes to speak on a “point of personal explanation.”

 

Saeed is acknowledged as an unforgiving orator while speaking for the Imran government. That often provokes the opposition members to target him with vicious attacks. Abdul Qadir Patel of the PPP takes the lead in this context and frequently attempts to settle scores with him with loaded talk, often bordering the reckless use of innuendos.”

 

Murad Saeed claimed that PPP messengers had been approaching him privately to persuade him for being “soft and nice” to Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. He never indulged in attacks on the person of PPP Chairperson, but could not disregard the “disrespectful” language “he and his party continue to employ to malign and deride” Imran Khan.

 

The PML-N, on the other hand, does not want him to tell the world about how some of its “corrupt” members approached him. They wanted him to forget and forgive their moneymaking “crimes.”

 

Being a diehard loyalist of Imran Khan, he can’t compromise whenever it comes to combating corruption. Until his death, he would rather stay committed to the “mission,” Imran Khan had set for political workers like him.

 

The PPP benches felt extremely uncomfortable with his speech. Some of them wanted to respond through points of order. The Chair did not permit, for “points of orders were not allowed during the ongoing discussion” on budgetary proposals. Murad Saeed conveniently got away with delivering of a reputations-damaging speech.