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Straight Talk - The art of Nura-Kushti.

(The Nation, Sunday, 23rd October, 2011) The term, Nura-Kushti, originates from the Persian word for kushti, in which wrestlers or Pehalwans, clad in tight-fitting langots, enter the arena and wrestle with each other, until one of them is the victor. To make the game exciting, the near-naked bodies of the wrestlers are covered with oil before they enter the arena, in order to make them slippery and enable them to slip out of the grip of their opponents. In the west, this sport is commonly known as a Tug of War and involves two teams of ablebodied men or women, who test their strength against each other, by trying to pull their opponents across a marked spot. These evasive and delaying tactics are also known as stone-walling. The Americans use it to stone-wall us, when we demand an end to the drone attacks. While our government uses the same tactic, when Uncle Sam demands us to Do More in the war against terror. And so the charade goes on. Over the years, this ancient and noble sport has been cleverly adopted by our governments and its departments, to frustrate and avoid divulging any information to the public or the courts, that may be used against them or hold them accountable for any corruption or the misuse of their powers. The sport was extensively used in the late 90s by the Karachi Building Control Authority, to divulge any information that could be used as evidence against their officers or their department in a court of law. KBCA would repeatedly provide wrong or misleading information to frustrate the public and the courts, in order to create confusion and delays. As such, cases that were filed against KBCA for violation of building laws, commercialization of open spaces, parks, or amenity plots, would be dragged through courts for lack of evidence or proper information for years, while the building mafia would be able to obtain stay orders from the courts and merrily continue their illegal construction without fear of punishment. It is not easy to acquire a Doctorate in this ancient sport just by dedication to the sport or by hard work. You have to be selected or nominated by your peers or well-wishers and the selection is based on being an expert spin master, streetwise and have the strength to listen to taunts, character assassinations and criticism. As such, there are only a handful of these Master Trainers, who have been honored with these rare Doctorate Degrees from selected Universities. The present government has been fortunate enough to acquire some of these highly qualified Doctors, who are experts in the art of Nura-Kushti and has appointed them as advisors and ministers in its cabinet. As such, any time the government is pushed into a corner or a no win situation, these Doctors spring into action and create confusion and delays in any attempt to hold the government answerable. The one major success that this government has achieved is, to use the complex art of NuraKushti to the maximum, in order to create controversies and delays in the various Supreme Court hearings on corruption and mismanagement, through a series of maneuvers and evasive actions.

From day one, our present leaders have used this ancient art to suit their political agenda and thwart and frustrate any move by the opposition or the Supreme Court of Pakistan, to hold the government accountable. This ancient sport has now become a powerful tool for, both, the government and the opposition, to gain popularity and grab power. The most glaring of these N-K cases is the appointment of the NAB Chairman. The issue has become a major bone of contention between the government, the Supreme Court of Pakistan and the opposition for the last one year, during which, numerous NAB Chairman have been appointed, but rejected by the SC and the opposition, for one reason or the other. The SC had directed the government to appoint a person of impartial character to this important post, after consultation with the opposition, but had failed to do so. The recent appointment of Admiral Fasih Bokhari, a retired Chief of Naval Staff, a capable man of integrity, with firm, fair and impartial dispensation for all, as the new chief of NAB, but even this appointment has become controversial. The appointment is being challenged by the opposition leader, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, as the government did not consult him, which it is required to do, under the 18th Amendment to the constitution. The same Nura-Kushti between the SC, the opposition and the government is also being played out in other cases relating to corruption, mismanagement and the killings in Karachi, with an attempt to frustrate justice and the rule of law. All suggestions and recommendations submitted by the Apex Court to the government, in order to improve its system of governance and eradicate corruption, have been completely ignored by our leaders or have become victims of the sport. Our national assets like Pakistan Steel Mills, PIA, the railways, the power sector, etc., have been bankrupted and are on the verge of collapse, due to corruption and mismanagement and instead of taking corrective steps, the government has deliberately continued with its controversial policies. And in the process, the writ of the SC of Pakistan has been eroded and challenged, thus embarrassing the Hon. CJP. As such, it is time for the Honorable Court to take a stand and hold the government accountable for contempt of court and its sins of omission and commission. The SC of Pakistan must set an example, by punishing one senior minister, bureaucrat or police officer for corruption or dereliction of duty, according to the laws of the country and reestablish its writ. The country and its citizens have now reached a tipping point and the Supreme Court of Pakistan must not succumb to the system and the socio-political pressures. The Apex Court must take prompt and decisive action, otherwise there is a risk that the situation could spin out of control, with a total breakdown of law and order and the country descending into chaos and anarchy. Hamid Maker. (Email:

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