Category Archives: dynasties

Book Review: Premier Gillani’s Urdu Memoirs

by Bradistan

Published biographies on the book shelves while the writer is still in  Political office is a risky strategy. In case of Obama it paid huge dividends financially and politically and in case of Musharraf it caused embarrassment and innuendos. Premier Gillani’s book is like the gossip from an old friend who has attained position of authority and pays you a surprise visit.

I revisited the idea of writing this review after the imposition of governor rule in Punjab and disqualification of Sharif bothers known to be personal friends of Premier Gillani and political rivals of President Zardari. Now Premier Gillani is again flying too close to the wind for reports of his alleged differences with his party chairman, fellow ex-prisoner and current President of Pakistan Mr Asif Ali Zardari.

The Background of the Memoirs:

As the name suggests “Cry of Joseph from the Bottom of Pit” was written during his five year incarceration for trumped up corruption charges designed to keep him quiet and inactive against a military dictator or change his loyalty and betray PPP which he refused. Premier Gillani, to his credit, put his personal grievances aside and worked under the same president for six months. This statement Continue reading


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Filed under Activism, Army, Benazir Bhutto, Books, Democracy, dynasties, India, Islam, Islamabad, journalism, Media, New Writers, Politics, south asia, Taliban, Terrorism, Urdu

Imran Obama Debate

Imran Khan -Pakistan's cricketer-turned-politician

Imran Khan -Pakistan's cricketer-turned-politician

The Imran-Obama Debate: Yes we can.

 By Bradistan Calling


The election of Barak Hussein Obama, the first Black President of United States of America, has started interesting debates all over the world. In Britain the search is on, for a “first Asian or Muslim prime minister”, although all the indicators and the analysis of the political hierarchy tells us that it might be another half a century before such a election becomes a possibility. Continue reading


Filed under Activism, Colonialism, cricket, Democracy, dynasties, human rights, India, Islam, Islamism, Justice, lawyers movement, Left, minorities, North-West Frontier Province, Pakistan, Politics, Punjabi, Religion, south asia, Sufism, Taliban, Terrorism, USA, Women, youth

Remembering Bibi

by Raza Rumi

It was only yesterday that we were mourning for the loss of an icon of our times. The much loved, and passionately hated Benazir Bhutto whose tragic murder in broad daylight was the greatest metaphor of what Pakistan has turned into: a jungle of history, ethnicity and extremism. Little wonder that Bhutto’s worst enemies cried and lamented the loss of a federal politician whose life and times were as unique as her name. The populist slogan – charon soobon ki zanjeer (the chain of the four provinces, literally) could not have been truer than the most tested of axioms. As if her death were not enough, the state response was even more brutal. Why did she participate in public rallies? On that fateful day of December 27, 2007, why did she invite death by sticking her neck out – literally and metaphorically? This was tragedy compounded by invective and betrayal. After all, had she not received a tacit understanding from the then military President, General Pervez Musharraf?

The official machinery then went to work in a super-efficient frenzy. Within hours, the murder scene had been washed away, right opposite the Liaqat Bagh in Rawalpindi where Pakistan’s first Prime Minister, Liaquat Ali Khan, was also shot dead. If anything history repeated itself with a bang – only to restate that Pakistani Prime Ministers are dispensable accessories of the power game. The misogynistic thirst for blood-letting once quenched, patriarchy dictated that the autopsy of a woman became an issue of honour, confusion and violation of the law. How telling, that the laws of the land remain subservient to the imperatives of culture and tradition. Continue reading


Filed under Benazir Bhutto, Democracy, dynasties, Media, Pakistan, Politics, public policy, Sindh, south asia, state, Terrorism, violence

The risk of demonising Zardari

By Mosharraf Zaidi

It is not difficult to understand why there is a thick tension in the air as Pakistan prepares for a Zardari presidency. For two decades now Asif Ali Zardari has been the object of establishment, middle class and educated elite contempt. Just because the educated liberals and urban conservatives in Pakistan don’t like Mr Zardari, doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be president. Pakistanis have a habit of personifying national failure in the shape of individuals. It is time to ditch old habits, and embrace democracy.

Within the tradition of personifying national failure, General Ziaul Haq is perhaps the favourite of the English-language babus. It is amazing how Zia single handedly created religious fanaticism, turned the country into Ronald Reagan’s hand-maiden and gave rise to all the evil that lurks in Tora Bora and straddles the Durand Line. If Zia is at the top of the list, Zulfi Bhutto is a not too distant second. The most recent addition to the arsenal of both liberals and conservatives is of course the recently retired and resigned Pervez Musharraf. In many ways he trumps both Bhutto and Zia in villainous magnitude – combining the supposed institutional appetite for fanaticism, with his personal appetite for the finer things in life. Now, the knives are sharpening and September 6 is almost upon us. If and when Mr Zardari finally does take office, many Pakistanis will cringe, and weep and turn off the television in disgust.

Continue reading


Filed under Democracy, dynasties, Elections, Pakistan, Politics

Patti Smith’s Tribute to Benazir Bhutto

by Shaheryar Ali

“My Politics is mingled with poetry and Romance”

“I have learned politics from Rivers”

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto

I am daughter of Indus, I am daughter of Taxila, I am an heir of this 5000 years old civilization

Benazir Bhutto

“Mein Baghi hoon, Mein Baghi hoon”, “I am a Rebel”

Benazir Bhutto [reciting a poem to millions who came to greet her at Lahore in 86]

Bhuttos were strange people, they became myths in their lives, like the Nehrus, Allendes, Nasirs, Arafats, they were the most loved people of their times. They became the symbol of resistance, their politics merged with folk lore, with music and poetry.

Benazir was perhaps last of this creed of politicians. Every one was angry with her for letting down her father’s socialist policies. No one understood her tragedy, this was the tragedy of the epoch in which she lived. This was the tragedy of Yasser Arafat, this was the tragedy of Hafiz Al Asad. She lived in the epoch of defeat. She lived in the epoch where the Capitalism snuffed out the Revolution of 1917. The dream was dead and the revolutionaries were without history, ideology and support.

In the single day the prophets of “modernism” and “progress” became”outdated” and “relics of the past”. It was this historic compulsion that made gods like Yasir Arafat irrelevant.

What was Benazir’s greatest achievement, she defeated this epoch. She refused to become “irrelevant”. She never led a revolution in Pakistan, but she never allowed reaction to take over either. When Hamas took over Palestine and Hizbollah conquered Lebanon, Bhutto and her party kept the hope alive in Pakistan no matter how weak it was , for the progressive politics. Jamate Islami lost the best opportunity it ever had to take over Pakistan by popularism after 9/11. The slogans of “Al Jihad Al Jihad” were checked by “Roti Kapra aur Makan”.

When she was killed, we understood who she was: ritualistic chest beating started in Skardu and spread to Karachi, the grief and reaction was unprecedented, from small villages and goths poetry emerged, from Jam pur, Bhakkhar, Ghotki, Chagi, Qalat, Waziristan, not the professional poets, but the folk poets, the poets who had sung the songs of 68-69. From Morocco to Korea, From Poland to Congo, From Brazil to Bulgaria creative responses emerged, poetry, music, painting cartoons.

Patti Smith , is also one of those strange people. She is called grandmother of the punk rock”. The western Pop, punk, rock, metal are very political movements, linked with resistence and people politics and peace. This is again the politics mingled with music and romance. Patti Smith delievered an improvised tribute to Benazir Bhutto in New York.

Patti Smith is inducted into the “Rock n Roll hall of fame” and is named a “commander” of “Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” by Ministry of Culture, France.

Here is the poem by her: Continue reading


Filed under Benazir Bhutto, culture, Democracy, dynasties, History, Music, Pakistan, Politics

The canonisation deification of Shaheed Mohtarma. (About bloody time, if you arks me!)

an unsponsored panegyric by kinkminos

The following item appeared [undated as usual] on the online version of The News:

The PPP finally nominated Makhdoom Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani for the prime ministerial slot…. [The] announcement… was made on behalf of Asif Ali Zardari by party spokesman Farhatullah Babar before the media outside the Zardari House. The statement read: “I have great pleasure in calling upon Makhdoom Yousuf Raza Gilani in the name of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto to accept the heavy responsibility and lead the coalition government and the nation to greater heights and a glorious future and Makhdoom Yousuf Raza Gilani is not afraid to lead and he knows the way.”

What struck me as odd was the invocation. Until Continue reading


Filed under Benazir Bhutto, Democracy, dynasties, Politics

Open letter to Fatima Bhutto

This eloquent piece by Nighat Said Khan*, published by the Friday Times, is a reminder for the bright and ambitious Fatima Bhutto that she should get her politics sorted out before she ventures to settle intra-family scores in the public domain. I have also noted that the upper middle classes of Pakistan have given huge attention to Fatima’s recent invective against her late “Adi”. Fatima is surely a budding literary talent but her politics alas falls short of historical consciousness and betrays a lack of understanding of the nuances of Pakistan’s homegrown struggle for democracy.

In her earnest attempts to say the right thing, Fatima not only negates herself but also reinforces the Pakistani establishment’s long held biases against the murdered Bhuttos. The two Bhuttos – father and daughter – were no saints nor the best of administrators. However, they represented a threat to the status quo as Nighat mentions and thereby personified the struggle for democracy.

If Fatima does not believe in heirs or dynasties then why is her immediate family doing political business in the name of late Murtaza Bhutto. And why above all she plays the Bhutto card with such ease and aplomb.

Perhaps good advice from Fatima, like charity, should begin at home.

Two quotes from this excellent piece deserve attention:

But the detractors, the middle class, urban progressives, intellectuals, academicians, “left” activists and “left” pretenders who add to this, “they didn’t do anything” refrain, are to my mind either unable to understand liberal bourgeois democracy or are unable to see reform for what it is – a slow, laborious, tedious and frustrating process. I don’t expect mainstream politicians to bring revolutions.

And you, Fatima, is not the media and political and social circles focusing on you only because you are a Bhutto? Surely every young Pakistani professional woman is not being interviewed by the London Times and the Guardian? Do you also not play the Bhutto card every time you accept or court celebrity status? Do you not already have an edge that you have not earned?

We are publishing the full text of this letter for those who may not have seen the print version. Continue reading


Filed under dynasties, Pakistan, Politics