The recent decision of the Supreme Court to order closure of a multinational food chain restaurant in Islamabad is path-breaking
It has become a cliché to praise the Supreme Court of Pakistan these days. Clichéd, because many partisan agendas find resonance within the all-embracing spectrum of judicial activism. Those who have been critical of judges turning into activists must rethink their misgivings. While the dangers of such blanket approval of the workings of a state institution are apparent, it is still a welcome change in a country known for its culture of impunity. This is why the recent decision of the mighty Supreme Court to have ordered the closure of a multinational food chain restaurant in Islamabad’s ill-designed public park is path-breaking.
First of all, the fact that a municipal matter reached an overburdened superior court speaks much about the dysfunctional executive that manages our lives. That the court had the wisdom to uphold the rights of ordinary Islamabadites marks a new beginning which, if taken to its logical end, would mean that all public spaces in Pakistan should come under intense judicial scrutiny. Lastly, the court’s effort to enforce accountability could very well turn out to be a new beginning in our murky public affairs.
Effective municipal management requires that we revisit the urban governance frameworks that are now outdated to handle the population growth, changed needs of the population and dwindling state capacity to enforce regulations. Notwithstanding that Islamabad is fifteen kilometres away from the real Pakistan, the management practices are no different from the rest of the country. Essentially, the Islamabad saga reveals a case of serious governance failure. Continue reading
This story is from the Time Magazine datelined Christmas Day 1964. It sheds interesting light on how far back this game of the security establishment conjuring up images of US-India collusion go. Ayub Khan actually accused Fatima Jinnah of being pro-Indian and pro-American. Oldest trick in the security establishment’s book. -YLH
“They call her the Mother of the Nation,” sniffed Pakistan’s President Mohammed Ayub Khan. “Then she should at least behave like a mother.” What upset Ayub was that Fatima Jinnah looked so good in pants. The more she upbraided Ayub, the louder Pakistanis cheered the frail figure in her shalwar (baggy white silk trousers). By last week, with Pakistan’s first presidential election only a fortnight away, opposition to Ayub had reached a pitch unequaled in his six years of autocratic rule. Continue reading
Pakistani women agitator asks for abolition of women's wings
From Morung Express
By Pippa Virdee
A generation of Pakistani women striving to affirm their rights in the public sphere can draw on a rich history to which education is central
Many of the conflicts and crises that today affect Pakistan seem to have the experience of women at their heart. The images of the punitive flogging of a young woman in the newly Talibanised region of Swat are but one especially vivid symbol of the degrading treatment that women can face. Yet such depictions can also mislead, in that the history of the lands that became Pakistan also contain many examples of women’s participation in civic and public life in search of their own and their country’s betterment. Continue reading