Hit and run
By Shakir Husain The News, May 17, 2010
Whenever people ask me about the funniest Asif Zardari joke I’ve ever heard, my response is always, “That he is the most successful president in the 63 year history of Pakistan.” I can picture readers cringing, noses wrinkling, and people asking to be passed the sick bag. What makes this nauseating sensation worse for most is that if you can get past the silly grin, the last name, the face – whatever your pet Asif Zardari peeve is, you will realise it’s true. Before you abandon this piece here to go and fire off a nasty email to me and the Editor, think about this rationally by removing the last name from the presidency, and just objectively look at what the man has achieved in the two years he has been in office.
Asif Zardari has spent more years in jail than any other politician in this country, has had millions of dollars spent on investing several dozen graft cases which have amounted to nothing concrete against him. Today, he controls the largest national political party in the country – the PPP. The man has dodged more silver bullets in the last two years than any other politician could even imagine. Asif Zardari has overseen the signing of the NFC Award, a feat unto itself. He has signed the18th Amendment to the Constitution defanging himself and any future president who feels like dismissing parliament. Asif Zardari has given provinces more of a share of the revenue they contribute to the federal government, which has always been a sticking point, and he has given the provinces the right to raise additional taxes and retain them. All sore points during Pakistan’s history. Continue reading
One of our friends recently wrote: “Two highly recommended books for those who wish to understand Pakistan: Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll and The Castle by Frank Kafka”.
This is not a cynical view of Pakistan. Pakistan is a country that is a conundrum wrapped within a puzzle inside an enigma. As the previous proxy state militia broke into different factions and is now fighting the state, the lines between friends and foes are blurred. ISI that used to formant proxy militias to further its causes in Kashmir and Afghanistan is now itself being attacked by its very own Frankenstein.
The previous masters of the Taliban are now either their prisoners or being killed by them. A case of Khalid Khwaja and Colonel Imam is a sad reflection of the evil of the religious extremism that is consuming itself due to the utter chaos that it represents.
Mr. Khwaja’s life was remarkable in itself for all the intrigues that were associated with him. Not many people have accused General Zia-ul-Haq for not fully implementing the Islamic Sharia in Pakistan. He was one of the accusers, and after promptly being dismissed by the General, Mr. Khwaja went on to play significant roles in assembling alliances against the PPP government of Ms. Benazir Bhutto. Taking on the causes of Jihadis, he managed to appear in the news on and off, even volunteering to take on the case of five Americans who were apprehended in Pakistan while allegedly looking to train for Jihad.
Filed under Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, Army, FATA, North-West Frontier Province, Pak Tea House, Pakistan, Taliban, Terrorism, USA, War On Terror
By Adnan Syed
It has been 30 years since Pakistan took the fateful steps of sponsoring the Jihad on a state level. The fight against the Russian aggression in Afghanistan was probably justified. It was a blatant attack on a sovereign nation by a teetering super power. However when Pakistan went on to label the fight as a state sponsored Jihad, flock of die hard Islamists started congregating in Pakistan to fight the godless communists. This was precisely the turning point in Pakistani history when all the internal confusion of Pakistan’s relationship with Islam translated into a thoughtless action by the state that still haunts us to this day.
We can blame General Zia-ul-Haq or Jamaat-e-Islami, or our dreaded indescribable “establishment” for pointing out the path of state sponsored armed Jihad. General Zia and his protégés have already begun feeling the stiff verdict that history has begun recording in its annals. Yet, the conflict was the physical manifestation of Pakistan’s unresolved relationship with Islam. This confusion was fully exploited by Al-Qaeda, Afghan-Jihad oriented splinter groups, and their affiliates in Pakistan. As an internally bankrupt USSR retreated from Afghanistan, the Jihad slowly turned towards the West, the infidels and the vague alliance of Yahood-o-Hunood (Jews and the Hindus).
Filed under Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, Army, Benazir Bhutto, Constitution, Democracy, FATA, Islamabad, Jinnah, Jinnah's Pakistan, Justice, Liberal Democratic Pakistan, Pakistan, psychology, Religion, secular Pakistan, state, strategy, Taliban, Terrorism
Dedicated to Hameed Gul and Nadeem Farooq Paracha
By Raza Habib Raja
The political spectrum in our country is polarized between two extremes: patriotic conservatives and the liberals. Both these extremes are often in complete conflict and accuse the other of naivety and even fanaticism. While conspiracy theories of the rightwing are well known, I have seen that liberals are not at all far behind and churn out their own conspiracy theories in which they try to absolve the PPP government of everything under the sun. Following are the “pearls” of wisdom uttered by both sides.
The Patriotic Brigade
1. We are patriots and love our motherland like hell. We are macho and believe in jingoism. Our favorite terms are: Islam; nationalism; traitors; baigharat liberals; strategic location; CIA; Mosad; RAW; corruption; and independent judiciary. Of course those who do not agree with us are traitors or liberal fanatics.
2. Liberalism is an anti patriotic philosophy and has the sole aim of westernization and thus weakening of Pakistan.
3. The entire world is united against Pakistan because we have the nuclear arsenal for “peaceful” purposes. Although critics say that it is a crude copy of Chinese technology (which itself is of low quality) but since our engineers copied it therefore it is our pride. Continue reading
Published in the Daily Times
Giving Credit Where it’s Due (Daily Times 04/26)
By Agha Haidar Raza
Pakistan recently had two major delegations visiting the US. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi led the first contingent under the auspices of a new ‘Strategic Dialogue’ with the US. In the second trip, Prime Minister Gilani led his team to President Obama’s first Nuclear Summit. Attended by over 47 heads of state, the summit was the largest gathering of world leaders to descend upon the US soil since the 1940s. Recognised as one of the world’s safe-keepers of a nuclear stockpile, Pakistan gained a nod of approval from the world’s seven nuclear bomb carriers.
I am unaware if many journalists or citizens in Pakistan read foreign newspapers, magazines or even blogs, but over the course of the nuclear summit, many international media outlets praised our country. From the words of admiration showered on Pakistan by President Obama for keeping its nuclear arsenal safe, to the positive role played by Prime Minister Gilani, it was our time to be in the limelight. Much attention was directed towards the professionalism of Army Chief General Parvez Kayani while the brilliant display of diplomacy carried out by Ambassador Husain Haqqani did not go unnoticed. Penned as a key ally of the US and taking the war to the very militants who threaten the fabric of our peace and security, Pakistan garnered much respect from the world community. Continue reading
Filed under Army, Benazir Bhutto, Constitution, Democracy, Economy, Egalitarian Pakistan, India, Islamabad, Jinnah's Pakistan, Judiciary, Kerry Lugar Bill, Liberal Democratic Pakistan, Pakistan, public policy, state, Taliban, Terrorism, USA, Yusuf Raza Gillani, Zardari
Daily Dawn Editorial, Published April 09, 2010
They’ve done it. Proving all the naysayers wrong, dismissing all the conspiracy theorists, rejecting all those who would be spoilers, the National Assembly of Pakistan has approved a constitution that for the first time in decades will have the broad support of the people’s elected representatives.
Such was the bonhomie in the house yesterday that regular watchers of parliament may have rubbed their eyes in disbelief: was that really Chaudhry Nisar, leader of the opposition, the PML-N attacker-in-chief, a seemingly perennially angry man, praising the PPP co-chairman, President Asif Ali Zardari? Yes, it was. It was that kind of a day. A historic day in Pakistan’s parliamentary history, one that the MNAs deserve a heartfelt thanks for.
Posted by Raza Rumi
What an incredible achievement by Pakistan’s politicians, comparable to the historic national consensus reached in 1973 under the leadership of Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto when Pakistan’s Islamic, Federal and democratic constitution was voted in. Now 37-years after that, Pakistan’s politicians have done the entire nation proud once again, this time under the leadership of President Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani, by adopting 18th Amendment to the same Constitution by the same or higher degree of consensus (when all political parties, small or big, provincial or national, bar none) have come together. These leaders have decided to do away the massive damage done to the constitution (and the national fabric) by military dictators over the years – by Zia and Musharraf. In one sweeping motion, with more than 100 changes in different articles of the constitution, most of the original spirit embodying the parliamentary and federal structure of the constitution is being restored. The biggest change is in granting of long-delayed provincial autonomy by abolishing the Concurrent List as was demanded by the smaller provinces and in renaming NWFP as Khyber Pakhtoonkhawa, thus restoring the Pakhtoon (or the Pathan) identity of the Frontier province after 250-years of its desecration begun by the British and perpetuated by Pakistan’s military-dominated establishment. The Concurrent List should have been abolished by 1983 under the 1973 Constitution but it took 27 additional years.
Congratulations to all. Pakistan would be a stronger, prosperous and more stable a country as a result of what happened today. Continue reading