VIEW: Towards the ‘quartet’? —Imtiaz Alam
Enforcing the writ of the state in every nook and corner of Pakistan is General Kayani’s primary job that he must focus on rather than allowing it to dissipate at the hands of the so-called strategic assets turning against their benefactors due to their anti-state paradigm
By conceding a three-year-term to Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani thinks the continuity of the “quartet”, consisting of the president, prime minister, chief justice of Pakistan and the chief of army staff (COAS), has been secured till 2013. For the first time the office of the chief justice of Pakistan has been added to a quasi-constitutional power equation, which was known as a ‘troika’ in the 1990s — president, prime minister and the COAS. Contrary to the expectations of a non-Napoleonic conduct by an apparently apolitical COAS, every army chief who got an extension or out of turn promotion staged a coup, except General Musa Khan. The “quartet” may have the illusion of being secured, but what about democracy? Continue reading
Courtesy Foreign Policy Magazine
By Manzoor Ali
Wearing army fatigues and a red cap, Zaid Hamid is perhaps Pakistan’s best-known television personality. The strategic affairs expert, who coined the term ‘Hindu Zionist’ to describe the hypothetical Indian and Israeli nexus against Pakistan, has become a household name across the country for his conspiracy theories on economic terrorism and Indian-U.S.-Israeli plotting. His Facebook page currently has a following of 66,000, among them students of expensive schools and even pop singers and fashion designers. Whether it is explaining Taliban militancy, Pakistan’s ever-present electricity crisis, Blackwater’s involvement in planning terrorist attacks, or plans for the U.S. to take over Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, conspiracy theorists call the shots in Pakistan. Pakistan’s booming television industry, allowed to operate by ex-dictator Gen. Pervez Musharraf, helped lead to his downfall.
The country’s vibrant Urdu press, which outsells its English-language counterparts in most areas of the country, also helps shape public opinion, with its small army of retired military officers and civilian officials dominate the opinion pages to air their misgivings and concerns.
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