It seems that the Independent Power Plants have a special mechanism through which they keep collecting 100 billion rupees every year, and still the debt owed to them keeps mounting. When asked about this puzzle, knowledgeable people shrug their shoulders, and refer to sovereign guarantees signed to ensure the establishment of these plants. No one would have come forward with their investment otherwise. Pocketing 100 billion rupees every year (roughly equivalent to one billion dollar) must surely be a strong incentive to put up with a power plant — especially if it didn’t produce a single watt of power during the year. The money would still be paid to you regardless. Seeing this situation, I have started to yearn for the good old days when the IPP chiefs would be dealt with an iron hand. There would be serious repercussions on their failure to deliver. Now, the IPPs get paid without adding any electricity to the national grid and the authorities concerned seem content paying for these ghost kilowatts. The situation is quite similar to the mountains of butter and lakes of milk ‘produced’ by the farmers of United Kingdom in the 1970s. The Sharifs’ formula is to neutralise all institutions to prevent any resistance against their misrule. And it seems as if all the cogs of the government are now working in the Sharif mode The list of IPPs reads like a who’s who of the rich, so much so that the whole affair appears to be a scam by the well-heeled to make themselves richer. These 20 owners are racking up two hundred billion rupees a year. In the good old days, the powers-that-be would have been moved into action by now. For 10 years now, the word circular debt would not even be mentioned lest it invoked the wrath of the security establishment. Like communism, circular debt would be spoken of in hushed whispers. And now we’re back to a situation where billions are being gouged up every six months. And this brings us to the success of Nawaz Sharif in neutralising the powers-that-be. The PML-N government is currently the number one monster. Its poor governance has negatively impacted all key state institutions as well as the country’s financial sector. Pakistanis have been left wondering how to save the situation from the Sharifs. All avenues of relief seem to have effectively been blocked. Nawaz Sharif’s actions have led to a situation where there is a venomous dislike among the public for any Sharif, and the ‘go Nawaz go’ chant follows them all the way to the streets of London, even at major airports of the world. Pakistanis are very good at picking a tune, and they have made this slogan into a memorable chant. It will be a long time before this tune is forgotten. In office, Nawaz Sharif behaved like an errant king. He could not deliver on the duties of a democratic ruler. Cabinet meetings seemed beneath him. His government destroyed the PIA by doling out landing rights to the favoured few, at a huge cost to the national carrier. A Foreign Minister was not appointed. Why? One can understand Zulfikar Ali Bhutto keeping the ministry alongside the premiership. But it’s beyond comprehension why Nawaz Sharif would do so. There was a time when he would carry crib sheets to meetings at international capitals. Pakistan deserves more educated leaders. Can an imbecile Prime Minister be trusted with his finger on the nuclear button? In 1999, Nawaz Sharif allegedly ordered the hijacking of his own country’s aircraft mid-flight from Sri Lanka. The Supreme Court of Pakistan was attacked by hooligans when he was in office. And wasn’t Kargil one of Sharif’s misadventures where he had to run crying to Bill Clinton? It’s about time the task of leadership of Pakistan is treated with the reverence it deserves. Fortunately for Pakistan Nawaz Sharif isn’t known for his intelligence. And this will be the reason for the failure of his misadventures. Wise men have often said that “truly lucky is the man whose enemies are stupid”. The Sharifs’ formula is to neutralise all institutions to prevent any resistance against their misrule. And it seems as if all the cogs of the government are now working in the Sharif mode. It seems as if the country is being handed over to a collection of fascists, with a one-point agenda to establish a one-man’s rule. The PML-N has simply ignored all directives of the Supreme Court as if it carries no authority. The charges against the Sharif are of extremely grievous nature. But the legal system is so deeply flawed that at every level the executive can be challenged those who chose to defy the law. The country is faced a situation of anarchy, with the PML-N government armed to the teeth, and Nawaz Sharif spoiling for fight. He is adamant that as he was the elected Prime Minister, he still has the right to consider himself above the law. This thinking is fallacious and dangerous. It could lead Nawaz Sharif to once again harbour wishes to declare himself as the Amirul Momineen. The writer is a senior analyst Published in Daily Times, September 29th 2017.