Age of Darkness

In a free economy, the banks that invested trillions in risky mortgages and other fool’s gold, would have taken the hit. Instead, however, what happened is that the American taxpayers took the hit, paid the bill, and cleaned up their mess – and were condemned to suffer record unemployment, massive foreclosures, and the kind of despair that kills the soul.




by Humayun Gauhar


Everything they accused BCCI of but couldn’t prove has been done by western banks millions of times over – and more. The mindboggling criminality and plunder that is surfacing in Western banks makes BCCI look angelic. Why are they not being given a mercy killing and their executives sent to prison? Not amusing.

The time to make money is when there’s blood on the streets,” said Lord Rothschild. Fine for those who are that way inclined, but how to survive in times of madness?

Writing gets you nothing, except that it’s one elixir of the soul. It hardly puts food on the table unless you write a bestseller. I have, but it was someone else’s. So I became a businessman as a compulsion, for survival’s sake. Don’t get me wrong. Being your own boss is fun as long as you don’t become hostage to wealth, for that detracts from love of God.

I’ve seen as many ups and downs as anyone, though not as intense because I’m smalltime compared to the Rothschilds of Europe and Pakistan. Today, survival – or lack thereof – stares us in the face; another ‘down’ looms if we don’t keep our wits about us and learn to roll with the punches. What to do?

“Go into three things, young lady and gentleman,” is my answer – medicine, education and food and drink, but not of the bootlegging kind lest you attract suo moto notices. If any of these is your passion, as food and education are of mine, so much the better, for it’s like marrying the woman you love. If money is your passion no matter from what source earned, get into any branch of government or its institutions. If you are a mug, set up a newspaper, sell lower than its cost and then beg for advertisements to make up the deficit and erode your independence.

People can do without education or medicine – as the majority has been forever anyway – but never without food and water. Medicine I am not qualified to do. Thus it was that I started a school called FIRST some months ago and my new restaurant ‘Chand Tara’ is opening in Islamabad today. From part of their profits I hope to start affordable schools and food establishments for the less privileged if God gives me time.

If the luckier amongst us don’t help the less lucky, who will, for our governments certainly will not? You cannot fill stomachs on empty rhetoric and hollow promises signifying nothing but bombast and bluster. 

I say to those living abroad and want excitement that doesn’t strain the intellect, come to Pakistan. Those seeking intellectual excitement should also come to Pakistan to observe the lack of it, particularly amongst our rulers. You’ll get it by the sack load. There’s never a dull moment here.

If you have a sense of humour and don’t take the imposter called ‘life’ on earth more seriously than it should be, you will find much to amuse you. Nothing keeps one going better than a healthy sense of humour, especially in bad times.

Last week we talked of change. This week let’s talk of darkness. There are two kinds of darkness, mental and physical. Mental darkness begets physical darkness. Physical darkness in turn begets mental darkness. It’s a symbiotic relationship, each begetting and feeding off the other. Both beget lack of emancipation and retrogression. We call it ‘Jihalat’. 

The other day I heard the hypocritical lament that we lacked electricity because our governments hadn’t built enough dams. Where were you, Sir, when Musharraf wanted to build the Kalabagh Dam but your beloved political leaders of Sindh and KPK raised a storm, threatening to blow it up if they tried? You supported them, remember, even though it’s difficult to find anyone today who admits to it. Its always someone else’s fault, not our own. Until we own up to our own culpability, especially those amongst us who go as ‘educated’ we will never beat regression and darkness. Now you understand what the saying “As you sow so shall you reap” means?

Three provinces were dead against Kalabagh: the Pathans had been brainwashed that Nowshera would drown and Sindhis had been convinced that Punjab would ‘steal’ their water. Well, Nowshera drowned last year anyway while the Punjab has been doing fine without the dam’s water and feeding the rest of the country. None bothered to think what Punjab would do with so much water. Drown? It’s the electricity crisis stupid, and water is what we need most to generate it. Politicians made full capital out of it just to do Musharraf down and get another chance to misgovern and deprive us even more, totally unconcerned with the damage they were doing to their country in their sick pursuit of power. You have to draw the line when it comes to choosing between your own good and the greater good – but not those seeking power at any cost.

Shameless is the manner in which the Nawaz League is attacking Imran Khan’s free cancer hospital for the poor only to arrest his political ascent, caring not a whit that they are damaging a great national institution. If it falters what will cancer patients who cannot afford such expensive treatment do? Go and live in Raiwind with Nawaz Sharif’s honchos for doctors?

Why do people living in houses made of such thin glass unleash their character assassins on good people who have done sterling work? Don’t they realize that when the counterattack comes they will find nowhere to hide?

There’s no point in gloating that half of India lost electricity due to long-term stupidity. We are no less stupid for not admitting our flaws but pointing to the greater flaws of others, as if being less bad off is a great achievement. India has less electric generation capacity than its demand. We have more and still we have load shedding. Which is more stupid?

Corruption is not unique to Pakistan. It is everywhere. The difference is that when it comes to corruption damaging their own country they draw the line. Not our corrupt. They go the whole hog and let the devil take the hindmost. The devil does and we are left with nothing.

That is when countries, societies and economies collapse while the world moves on leaving idiots in the dustbin of history. What we do have is due to our own survivability, no thanks to our leaders.

It’s not just us. It’s happened to greedy western bankers too who crossed the line dividing self-aggrandizement from national damage. They took booty from a trusting, unsuspecting, gullible public that has been sold the confidence tricksters’ motto, “In banks we trust.” It now is: “In banks we distrust.”

Though the global economy has been stung and placed on the deathbed by these trickster-fraudster bankers, they have got away lightly. Why? Because heads of many central bankers and regulators are commercial bankers too – they came from banks and to banks they will return. Many knew what was going on, particularly the Governor of the Bank of England and the Chairman of the privately owned Federal Reserve, yet they kept mum.

These are people who drive us insane with their holier than thou attitude. And, yes, many public officials had their hands in the till too. They went so far in taking booty that they have brought the global financial system to collapse. Corruption is one thing, loot and plunder quite another. What our rulers and the West’s bankers, financial gurus and geniuses have done is loot and plunder.

Compare this to the forced closure of BCCI in 1991, a Muslim-owned bank run largely by Pakistanis. None of the charges leveled against it have been proved in 21 years. Virtually all the money has been recovered minus the huge amount taken by the liquidators. Conclusion:

BCCI was not bankrupt. Not one cent of money laundering has been proved: the spectacle of drugs money laundering they created in Miami was an immoral sting operation conducted by US Customs Intelligence. All they proved is what we already know, that nearly every man has a price. Great.

The inescapable conclusion has to be that the forced closure of BCCI was illegal, immoral and criminal. Someone should take those who deliberately misused their authority to forcibly close down a perfectly good bank to court. Not only did they murder a good institution, they caused depositors heartache, incredible losses to shareholders and deprived over 16,000 people of livelihood.

But why would they care for a Muslim bank with largely Muslim employees? In any case, after 9/11 it would have been obliterated anyway.

Everything they accused BCCI of but couldn’t prove has been done by western banks millions of times over – and more. The mindboggling criminality and plunder that is surfacing in Western banks makes BCCI look angelic. Why are they not being given a mercy killing and their executives sent to prison? Not amusing.

More from Humayun Gauhar on Wonders of Pakistan

1. Jihad and Anti-Jihad 2. The Worm Does Turn 3. Peace the only option 4.US Aid To Pakistan: Numbers Contradict American Statements 5. Decade of Destruction 6. Delusions of being Islamic
Humayun Gauhar is an accomplished writer. He comes on talk shows and is very forthright with his opinions. He is also the Editor in chief of Blue Chip Magazine. Contact him at humayun.gauhar786@gmail
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