A A Khalid reviews the floods, the polity and the dangers ahead.
The tragic Pakistan floods, are unprecedented in modern history, the UN recently announced it’s the worst humanitarian crisis in their history:
‘’ The United Nations says flooding in Pakistan is the biggest humanitarian crisis in its history.
The UN says the disaster has already affected more people than the 2004 tsunami and the recent earthquake in Haiti combined’’
The challenges then are unprecedented with now two major immediate to medium term concerns materialising. What these challenges have exposed is the weakness of the Pakistani State (regardless of which political party assumes office) and the fragile and under developed nature of civilian administration.
The first is the threat of disease and the second of food security, but the matter for grave concern is that the mobilisation of aid and relief has still been slow. However, the aforementioned threats seem the biggest challenges posed by the floods, as their effect and the needed response will span months. Continue reading
Faisal Naseem Chaudhry
The 18th Amendment case is likely to conclude soon and it is quite probable (courtesy of remarks of the Honourable Judges) that the SC may strike down a constitutional amendment finding it contrary to Independence of Judiciary; in other words finding it contrary to the ‘Basic Structure of the Constitution’.
Pasted below are some excerpts from a Five Member Bench Judgement of the SC delivered on 13 April 2005. The Judgement is known as Pakistan Lawyers Forum vs Federation of Pakistan and through this cluster of different petitions, the constitutionality of 17th Amendment was challenged before the SC. One of the grounds was that the 17th Amendment was violative of the Basic Structure of the constitution. As stated earlier, it was a Five Member bench and the then two members are still members of the Full Bench of today i.e. Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and Justice Javed Iqbal.
President Musharraf’s Uniform / Dual Office quite analogous to President Zardari’s Dual Office was also challenged in the same petition, and dismissed accordingly, but since that is not the subject today, so that part of SC’s wisdom as to how it handled that question in 2005 is ignored at this point of time to be discussed in future.
The five member bench in 2005 dismissed the petition and upheld the 17th Amendment. The court held that the Indian Doctrine of Basic Structure of the Constitution has never been accepted in Pakistan’s judicial history; and that the Court can strike down a Constitutional Provision only if it is not passed in accordance with the procedures provided by the Constitution itself. Once an amendment is passed, it is left to the wisdom of the Parliament which passed it to change it in future according to the aspirations of the people of Pakistan. Continue reading
For my mental health, I never watch Pakistani television, be it state run or the so-called ‘private’ channels. And if I am forced for whatever reason to put up with it for an hour or so, it is, and I am not exaggerating here, the most painful experience; an experience I find difficult to explain in language that is utterly unacceptable in any civilised society.
Personally, I am convinced that as soon as the media became independent in Pakistan, it has been a race to the bottom by these anchors and other personalities on T.V. And except for one or perhaps two voices of reason, majority of the talk show hosts in Pakistan are narrow minded, one dimensional, Zardari hating, Osama worshiping, illiterate gangsters who are determined to destroy logical and analytical thinking in Pakistan by constantly airing pro-Taliban and anti American views.
This madness has to stop.
Filed under disaster, Media
Courtesy New Statesman – Pakistan Special
The “villain” of Partition
“Jinnah Street in Chicago?!” I had every reason to be incredulous. Chicago was, after all, that most American of cities. But my Pakistani friends were right. Not only was there a Jinnah Street in the Devon area of the city, but the number of men and women wearing the traditional shalwar-kameez, the shops selling saris and sweetmeats, and the kebab houses made me feel as if I were in Karachi or Lahore. Pakistanis have even transformed the local pronunciation of Devon into the more Pakistani-sounding “Diwan”.
I was travelling the length and breadth of the United States to conduct fieldwork on the Muslims of America, and was therefore delighted not only to visit Jinnah Street, but to be welcomed there by Alderman Berny Stone, the Jewish politician who had initiated its naming. A gentle, frail and elderly man, Stone told me that he had more support among Muslim voters than among Jews.