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  • Baba's Love or Burden? Panama Leaks and the Sharif Conondrum

    While a situation such as the Panama leaks and the political quagmire that the Sharifs find themselves embroiled in makes for great theater as well as learning, it also brings some interesting questions to mind.
    For example, let's put ourselves in the shoes of a Sharif-Nextgen (young Sharifs) for a moment.
    Would you want your father to stash away hundreds of millions of dollars to "secure your future" and to build a family empire even if that involved committing corruption, or looting and plundering wealth that did not belong to you?
    The situation that Sharif-Nextgens find themselves in, with their beloved father fighting not only for his political future but also for the "reputation and respect" gained over decades; is this a situation they take lightly, or would they give something; anything; to get out of it? The answer is obviously the latter.
    The level of stress and threat to their empire that they are feeling now is unprecedented, and the Sharifs would probably give a lot to get out of the ugly mess they are in. It is not a pretty picture at all.
    That being said, while Panama leaks have shown that Sharifs own off-shore companies and have acquired properties abroad, any allegations of corruption against them are unproven at this point. Hopefully there will be due and proper investigations in the future which will reveal whether or not they are guilty of corruption and/or money-laundering etc. 
    Just as the great Tipu Sultan once said "To live like a lion for a day is far better than to live like a jackal for a hundred years", there is no doubt that a single day of life lived with dignity and honor, and your head held up high, is far greater than hundred years of life lived in shame, remorse, and guilt.
    So, here is an open message for all present fathers and fathers of the future. 
    Bring up your kids with less, but 'halal', and gift to them qualities of honor, dignity, and integrity that will open up the great possibilities of life for them. Do not risk their personal integrity and future reputation by brining them up on tainted resources that have the curse of corruption attached to them.
    It is not a coincidence that many great leaders of present and past came from humble backgrounds. Hailing from a humble background keeps you honest. You learn to work hard and earn your progress instead of being handed thrones and positions of great honor. Wrapping your kids with abundant and ill-gotten resources and depriving them of living examples of honor, dignity, and hard work shrinks the great and legitimate possibilities of life for them. 
    They are more likely to live their lives with a narrow mindset, shying away and detached from the real people who undergo tough struggles to earn their way to the top. More than likely, they will always feel 'out of place' with respect to the truly great and worthy people around them. 
    Sometimes it's not about the kids as much as it's about a parent. There are situations where a never-ending pursuit of wealth and resources on part of parents is a result of their own addiction with wealth and power. It's not as much about 'securing' their kids' future but to keep churning the money-making-machine and the multiple income streams they spent years of their life to build. The parent's ego and their lust for wealth and power makes them feel compelled to focus more on building an empire than to understand what their children's needs really are.  
    They fail to ask themselves the question as to how much is enough? Do you need, let's say, a 5th home to ensure a financially safe future for your kids or would you trade that 5th home for better guidance and an extra 50 minutes of quality time with them? 
    In an ideal environment, inculcating strong moral and ethical values and providing kids with a great role model should take more precedence than providing them with a fourth, fifth, or sixth property and an extra million dollars stashed in some remote foreign account. 
    Ignore grooming your kids at your own peril and give them more of what they need and not more of what you want. 
    While any allegations of wrong-doing on part of Sharifs are yet to be proven, if you are a Sharif-Nextgen and your name appears in documents that are tied to allegations of corruption and money laundering, then your political future looks rather bleak.
    It may not be an overstatement that with Panama leaks furore in full swing, and with a threat of more evidence to come, we are witnessing the beginning of the end of the Sharif political dynasty. In the post-Panama Leaks era Sharif powerhouse will have an ever-diminishing leverage in Pakistani political landscape. Sometimes it's more a case of what's lost in the hearts and minds of the people than one's political skill and maneuverability. 
    Times are changing fast, and the informed masses of this rapidly evolving world appear less and less tolerant of repeat offenders of corruption whose dirty actions adversely impact their lifestyle. People are starting to see how this cycle works against them. 
    The naked truth is that any 'dirty' dollar sitting in a foreign bank account of a Pakistani politician was once a good dollar that could bolster Pakistan's economy and directly improve the life of the masses.
    As you watch the Panama Leaks unfold, be proud of your hard working father and go give him a hug. He may not be Nawaz Sharif the prime minister, but most likely he's a shareef person.
    And fathers, please be kind to your children. Give them little but give them 'halal', as tainted-wealth can only bring them 'zawal'.
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