The days we have marked for celebrations,
The rest in forgetfulness, we don’t explore
The splendour of Universe as it bestowed
The famous gift of language and rhythm Continue reading
Category Archives: Politics
The days we have marked for celebrations,
The Big Apple was set on fire by the revolutionary speech of our former President Musharraf. Mr. Musharraf has been at the offensive firing salvos at his arch rival, former PM, Nawaz Sharif at any place, he is able to attract a crowd.
Barely less than 2 years after his resignation, Mr. Musharraf thinks that Pakistan is in deep slumber. Musharraf Sahib rubbished the idea of facing any courts on his return to Pakistan. By the way, NS Sahib wants to try Mr. Musharraf for violating the constitution and declaring the “phony emergency.” Mush Sahib was defiant, and felt that NS will never be able to reach the level of Premier ship, hence the trial was completely out of question. Read these lines very carefully, as there seems to be a tacit admission of guilt here. Continue reading
Raza Rumi is a writer and policy expert based in Lahore. He blogs at http://razarumi.com. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
A natural disaster, largely unavoidable, has provided a glorious opportunity to all those who have been hankering to reverse Pakistan’s fragile transition from an authoritarian to quasi-democratic rule. There is hardly a new script for the much-touted change and its proponents are using the same old tricks out of their worn out hats to prepare for a rollback of the democratic process. Therefore, the intense rumour-mongering, which has gripped Pakistani psyche over the last fortnight, is a tried and tested success formula: create the perception of change and then turn it into reality.
Even though Pakistan’s military remains unwilling to intervene, regime-change seems to be the flavour of the month. Ironically, this time large sections of the electronic media are hyperactive participants in the process, which is most likely going to push the country towards another man-made disaster. It is appalling to note that TV talk shows are focusing on extra-constitutional remedies. For instance, a Mr-Know-It-All anchor, whose acrobatics are well-known, posed a question to his (utterly uninspiring) guests to discuss the merits and demerits of the Bangladesh model and the so-called ‘General Kakar formula’. While the responses of the guests were entirely predictable, the most shocking response came from none other than former minister and Senator Iqbal Haider who has been a dyed-in-wool democrat. He confidently and at times vociferously advocated the “General Kakar formula” which essentially relates to the intervention by the army chief in a situation where a political deadlock emerges. One had always sympathised with this reputed lawyer’s position on the problems with the way his former political party – the PPP – was led and managed but to hear pleas for an extra-constitutional intervention was shocking to say the least. Continue reading
D. Asghar’s latest post for PTH:
Lately in many discussions, about various events which have unfolded in Pakistan, it appears that Pakistanis in or outside Pakistan, find only one person responsible, its President Asif Ali Zardari. To clarify, I reside in the US, have no affiliation with him or PPP. As a teenager, when I was in Pakistan, I admired ZAB, but according to my analysis, the ideals of PPP died along with ZAB on the ill fated day of, April 04, 1979. Even late BB, failed to impress me as she made some huge blunders, and used ZAB’s name to advance her political career. There is no denying of this fact, that till this day PPP, uses ZAB and now BB as well to tap into the vote banks. It is the sheer charisma of ZAB, which still resonates with the masses.
Getting back to our infamous President, the blogospheres are on fire chastising him for almost any and everything. Whether it is the bomb blasts, floods, mob lynching or cricket betting scandal, he seems to be the target of everyone’s scorn. Undoubtedly, AAZ has a questionable past and his actions subsequent to taking the oath are definitely worthy of criticism, but definitely not worthy of any military intervention. Continue reading
Ali Abbas, PTH’s new author has contributed this thoughtful piece with a sanguine conclusion – “This burden of existence lies on the state’s shoulders, whether we like it or not”
For all its shortcomings and its stunted political development, the Pakistani state has been faced with multiple challenges over the last ten years. Each of these challenges have highlighted its weaknesses, wrenched out a response and provided a vital prod in the ‘right’ direction.
After the takeover of government, Musharraf’s media reforms not only brought national focus on the lack of an independent media in the country, but triggered a decade of development for the media industry which has been unprecedented in the history of the country. A maturing of this phenomenon is the criticism that this free media is now receiving on issues ranging from reporting ethos to nonpartisanship, vital input in the feedback loop which is a pre-requisite for improvement. In 2007, the Lawyers Movement in turn focused our attention on the previous impotence of the judiciary, its previous acquiescence of the orders of military dictators, and its own weaknesses in the light of its role in maintaining the authoritarian status quo and its frail support of democracy. In Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, the nation hailed the torch-bearer of a powerful and independent judiciary which could play a more effective role in maintaining democratic checks and balances on the legislative and the executive. Even though we were placing our absolute trust again in persons instead of offices, in personalities instead of institutions, the nation finally appeared to have crossed a significant obstacle to stability. It is now that the nation looks towards the mounds of pending cases, and the provision – or the lack of – speedy justice to the masses that a dialectic has been initiated which we can only hope will lead to the development and maturing of the judiciary as an institution. Continue reading
By Raza Habib Raja
The statement issued by MQM chief, Altaf Hussein, calling for Army’s intervention to “correct” the corrupt politicians has stirred the political landscape. Mind you MQM is not a very popular party outside Karachi and Hyderabad and yet presently his statement is getting nods of approval from various quarters particularly from the middleclass. Since most of the people do not want to be branded as “undemocratic” therefore approval is subtle at times but you can still see that it is there. Most interestingly majority of the middleclass people I have talked to, particularly from Punjab say that they are actually reviewing their previously bad opinion of MQM!!
Right now the affluent middleclass is again at the forefront demanding implicitly and at time vocally that democracy should be purged. Of course the liberal side opposes it and should oppose it but at the same time most of the “defense” from the liberal quarters does not go beyond name calling and allegations. For example a typical response would be to brand middleclass as bigoted and authoritarian with naïve understanding of geopolitical culture. Moreover, standard references to disrespect of “unwashed’ masses would be made. And of course this is supplemented by terms like drawing room gossip, reactionary , chattering classes etc.
Defense of democracy has to be realistic and not based on lauding passionate speeches about unwashed masses particularly when politicians apparently care little themselves about the masses. The central thrust should be to present first a convincing case as to why democracy is a better option compared to armed dictatorship and frankly a very strong case based on historical evidence exists despite chequered history of democratic regimes. And yes admit the shortcomings of the politicians also as weaknesses of politicians are not necessarily weaknesses of the entire political system.