Rising to Excellence in Various Careers
When Allah made humans the most superior of His creations, he instilled in them a lot of potential and strength. The more a person challenges himself, the more that potential comes forward.
As Robert Frost said, “I took the one [path] less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” Today, people take the easy path and they all follow each other. But nobody ever became great or did anything great by taking the easy path. If a person doesn’t have a larger than life outlook, regardless of his wealth or education, he will never achieve anything great. I’m saying this specifically for youth; those of you who will be great will be the ones who have the ability to dream big.
I have faith that Allah has given human beings enough potential that if they can dream it, they can do it. For example, I imagined myself holding the 1992 World Cup trophy long before we won it, I saw an empty field and I imagined Shaukat Khanum Cancer Hospital there, I saw an isolated area in Mianwali and imagined Namal University there. I also imagined that one day the nation of Pakistan would rise and defeat the status quo, that together we would liberate the democracy of Pakistan. For all these dreams, from cricket to the hospital to the university to politics, people criticized me and scrutinized my every move. But two things make a man successful. One is that he never compromises on his goals, only compromises for them. He never gives up, he never accepts defeat, and as long as he doesn’t accept defeat, there is no absolute failure. When you encounter setbacks, many times the fainthearted think that the objectives they have set are very high and need to be downscaled and when setbacks are encountered again and again, they just give up. A great man never accepts defeat. The second biggest quality of a great man is that he realizes his setbacks and has the analytical abilities to pinpoint where he went wrong. For example, I believe that there are very few people whose criticism I value and read. Apart from those few I skim the newspapers because technically, if I have gone through the experience of establishing a grass-root political party having no affiliation or family in government, I should have a better analytical capability instead of having to read newspapers and making decisions based on what other people say. The two qualities of success are these – one, you never accept defeat and second, you learn from your hard times, you pinpoint your mistakes and correct them.
Dealing with Disappointment
There are nights where all I do is think about how to deal with setbacks, where I went wrong, and how I will fix it. And if you talk about misery, there is loads of it. There was the decision of the Judicial Commission, we worked so hard for it and we believe we proved that the election was fraudulent. The findings of the Judicial Commission had 14 points and anywhere else in the world it would be impossible to declare such elections lawful. But here they said it was “largely lawful”. There is no such thing in law as “largely” lawful, either something is lawful or unlawful. It was miserable for me because I believed that this would be a very defining moment and if re-election were to happen, these people and their rigging would be questioned. And yet nobody was called into question and this is a crime. But then again, bad times come. I was very miserable about the Judicial Commission’s decision but eventually I wake up in the morning and I’m ready for a new day. My misery ends and I focus on how to change my strategy.
Decision Making Process
Many a time there are policies in place and decisions have to be based on them, so that’s very simple. Sometimes there are shades of gray, and that is when I consult. I strongly believe, and this is the beauty of the democratic process, that when you hold consultations you make better decisions. The War on Terror in Pakistan was initiated over a single telephone call. If at that time there had been a general democratic dispensation, this would never have happened. If the Parliament had been called into session, had consultations been held, we would never have gone on this suicidal path and gotten involved in someone else’s war. No Pakistani was involved in 9/11 but since the War on Terror, we have had 60 – 70 thousand of our people killed. We’re still facing repercussions of that decision in our society.
There have been very huge crises. For Shaukat Khanum Cancer Hospital, the crisis happened in 1997 when I contested in the elections for the very first time and PML(N) did a campaign against the hospital and all our donations dried up. I struggled a lot then, traveled all over the world to talk to Pakistanis and to get donations. 1997 was a very tough year.
Then financing the party was very tough. When the 2002 election ended, it took me 1 year to pay off the debt. In the end 2 million were still to be paid at which point I advised my brother-in-law about spread-betting and I told him that whatever extra money came in would go to PTI. I advised him for a 2-day cricket tournament and was able to pay off the remaining debt.
Biggest Problem in Pakistan
I think the most important problem of Pakistan is the justice system because it is a hurdle in the path to getting justice for a common man yet it protects the wealthy criminal. Simple example is in one parliamentary term is of five years, and it has been 2.5 years but Imran Khan, Jehangir Tareen, and Hamid Khan – who is the leader of one group of lawyers, haven’t been able to get justice for our constituencies even though we have proven that there has been rigging. And in this example all three are powerful people, just imagine what it’s like for the common man.
This the fundamental right in a democracy – to use your ballot to bring in or remove a government. When there is no sanctity of the ballot and you can’t get justice for it – there are 413 quotations out of which 80% were rejected on technical grounds – it shows that the system is skewed against the weak. If I have to point out only one thing I will say that Pakistan has a very flawed justice system. Everywhere it protects the strong criminals, and the weak are left defenseless.
A modern civilized society must have 2 things – One: it should be a just society and second it should have compassion; it should take care of its weaker segments. This is called “adal o insaaf” which is the basis of Shariah and which exists in Scandinavian countries but here it is the exact opposite.
Emergency Education & Feeding the Poor Today
Before anything else we need to fix the justice system in Pakistan. Rule of law is a pre-requisite to having a modern civilized society. When England became a world empire, they tried for the first time that under the Magna Carta the executives should be brought into law. After that, the French Revolution and the American Constitution did the same thing. They were moving towards constitutionalism and a rule of law. Here we started off from a very civilized society, khilafat-e-rashda was democratic, and after the fall of Baghdad in 1253, Muslim societies became monarchies and they moved to the opposite direction and our rule of law went downwards.
Rule of law is the basis of a civilized society, after which there is human development.
Societies develop when you invest in your human beings.They don’t develop with trains or metros. You invest in humans first, as the history of Asian Tigers shows – they all invested in education first and then with human capital achieved everything else.
Entrepreneurship – The Need of the Hour
A level playing field needs to be made in Pakistan, the government needs to plan for it. It needs a big five year plan in which the whole idea should be to facilitate the small and medium industry, and entrepreneurship. The small industrialist is always the backbone of the country and they need our support and an enabling environment. Unfortunately, in Pakistan the system is only in favor of the big powerful industry giants. They don’t give taxes, they manipulate the system, they’ve formed monopolies and the politicians are in line with these people. This corrupt class at the top doesn’t let the genuine entrepreneur come to the forefront. There is no support for these entrepreneurs from the government, no facilitation.
Similarly in agriculture, the government need to help the small farmers. Pakistan needs two things, corporatization of farms and cooperatives in farms. We need to gather small farmers and give them facilities for large-scale farming, marketing, buying and selling – the way China has done it. Small and medium industry should be helped and technical education should be focused on.
Promoting Entrepreneurship in Pakistan
Actually, in Pakistan there is a lot of initiative. There are a lot of innovators among us. Society doesn’t allow such people to come to the fore front so they need to have a lot of forward thinking and they somehow prosper despite the system. And when they go outside of Pakistan, they rise up very fast because the foreign system enables them and they don’t have any impediment in their way.
We need to provide targeted subsidies. Large-scale facilities need to be provided, the government needs to get involved. Look at Malaysia, today they are doing more than 80 billion dollars in electronics export because Mahathir Mohammad first started a cottage industry and then engaged in value-addition. You have to value-add on human beings and we must go into value-added and knowledge economy. Knowledge economy is the key.
Entrepreneurship in KPK
A lot of work is being done in IT in KPK and it’s all being done by the people themselves. But it’s not enough. It’s our first time in government and we have really big plans for the future.
Message for Entrepreneurs
Nobody ever succeeded in this world who was afraid of failing. Whoever did anything big in business or in the world had one quality – risk-taking, the ability to take big decisions. My ex-father-in-law had been bankrupt twice and became a billionaire twice because he was a great man, took big risks and made big decisions.
Pakistan has a lot of opportunities. You bring in a new idea and it will definitely prosper. We have made an international level university here, NAMAL, where degrees from Bradford University are awarded to students. Shaukat Khanum is an international standard hospital. And the one being constructed in Peshawar, will be the most state-of-the-art hospital in Pakistan. We can do everything here because there are a lot of opportunities but people must be resilient. You need to fight the system.
Ideas sell in Pakistan, quality sells in Pakistan. You get more profit in quality here than you get in other countries.