Beena Sarwar (IPS)
Barely a year after being elected, the Pakistan government faces a political storm involving a street agitation spearheaded by lawyers and opposition political parties allied with religious parties.
Lurking on the sidelines is an army unused to civilian command even as religious militants create havoc around the country.
None of this is new to Pakistan but many find it all the more painful given the hopes built up by last year’s general elections. On Feb 18, 2009, Pakistani voters overwhelmingly supported non-religious parties and rejected those that had been propped up by the army. Continue reading
We have heard of too many problems, challenges and crises. Here are a set of credible and do-able solutions by Shaheryar Azhar. Only if someone is listening. Raza Rumi
In an eternal echo reminiscent of Pakistan’s genesis, we have repeatedly abandoned our personal responsibility in addressing our fundamental issues of nationhood and governance at critical junctures of our history. Do we always need a foreign power to yank us out of our fantasies into reality and thus come to our so-called rescue?
Long before America mid-wived the famous or infamous (depending on your point of view) deal between General Musharraf and PPP Chairperson Benazir Bhuto, this moderator and some others had argued repeatedly on the following lines: “It does not take a rocket scientist to figure it out that if the largest political party (PPP) and the most powerful national institution (Army) can not see eye-to-eye on the most pressing issues, Pakistan can never be stable”. And yet, it took two years of painful negotiation with a lot of hand holding by America, Britain, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi for what? For Pakistan to resolve its domestic issue of internal transfer of power with the help of foreign friends. Can anything be more embarrassing than that? Once is fine, twice is too many and thrice must be curtains for any self-respecting nation! Continue reading
We have removed the earlier cartoon borrowed from the internet. We had used it in jest and posted it simply that it was funny. However, it seemed to have conveyed wrong signals and by no means we wanted to offend Imran Khan or his supporters. Therefore, it has been removed for we do not want the animated discussion to digress. PTH apologises for this oversight – after all we the Pakistanis can be extremely ‘sensitive’ about cartoons. This cultural trait needs to be explored and merits a separate post. Raza Rumi (ed.)
People rally behind politicians who stand up for national honor, but in rare cases, phony politicians fail to win support from masses. In the process, heroes lose respect, and turn followers into adversaries. Take for example Imran Khan, a national hero so many of us grew up worshiping, but sadly, now we are witnessing him go insane, publicly. For example, addressing the Pindi Bar Association on Saturday, Imran spewed incredible hate for everyone who believes in modernity, tolerance, and progress. This is just pathetic because Imran’s hatred for the Western world has reached alarming level and no human being can be objective, or fair, if he or she becomes this insane. When Imran Khan launched his political party, it was believed that Imran intends to build on his good work which started with his cancer hospital. He said all the right things, promised reform, even threatened revolution to bring about a change in a system which he alleged was corrupt. But nothing pawned out and in the end, Imran himself changed, and his promise to be honest and upright vanished, just like Imran’s ability to differentiate between right and wrong. Today, Imran hufs & pufs about independent judiciary, but think about this irony for a second; those who have been fighting for democracy since 1977, those who have been imprisoned for decades, those who lost jobs, families, savings, futures and hopes are being lectured by Imran Khan, a failed politician, a failed husband, a failed father, and a failed moral cop who never even lifted a finger to protest Zia’s brutal Martial Continue reading
Isa Daudpota writing for The Friday Times (current issue)
On the rare occasions when courage and perseverance triumph in the face of tragedy and overwhelming odds, the occasion revives your faith in humanity. In the face of such heroic successes, lesser mortals are encouraged to excel in our own small ways. The media should therefore regularly highlight such stories to help reduce our national depression.
The bitter seed of one such heart-warming story was planted in 2002. I have just learnt that Mukhtar Mai, a Pakistani rape victim who waged a legal battle against her attackers and the justice system that sanctioned the crime, will be the subject of a feature Hollywood film. Funding is partly through ARY Digital, an independent Pakistani TV network, which will show this controversial movie nationally. Continue reading
I am appalled by the recent events that have yet again stirred instability and uncertainty into Pakistani politics. Those of us who voted in last year’s elections expected that the political leaders and Pakistan’s political elites would learn a lesson from our unfortunate history.
We also expected the lawyers’ movement, headed by men of extraordinary calibre, to display sagacity and vision and contribute to the consolidation of a democratic culture. However, what we witnessed was a complete rejection of the Feb 18 polls by the leading lights of the movement, and a few other naïve political actors. When the electorate voted in large numbers and returned the two mainstream political parties to the parliament, the lawyers, instead of accepting that they were wrong to boycott elections, insisted on their narrow and bourgeois interpretation of the term “rule of law.” Continue reading
by Imaduddin Ahmed
I always wanted to help Pakistan develop.
By Yasser Latif Hamdani
It is important that we, as a nation, don’t forget history- especially that which is etched in our recent memory. 10 years ago Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif was firmly ensconced as the Prime Minister of this Republic with a 2/3rds majority – largest ever accorded to any political leader in this country. He overplayed his hand and was ultimately ousted by the Army. He had acted against the Army only after having decisively tackled the presidency and then the judiciary. His actions against the judiciary should be of special interest especially the infamous assault on the Supreme Court building which looked to many at the time as nothing less than the storming of Bastille itself. After all since 1955, the Supreme Court (or Federal Court as it was called in 1955) has taken wrong turns after wrong turns and here you finally had an elected parliamentary leader with an overwhelming mandate taking his revenge. It seems that our memory is extremely short because today the same leader has emerged as a champion of the independence of judiciary.
The Lawyers’ Movement is probably the most important movement in our political history as an independent nation. It is certainly more aware and purposefully aimed than its 1967-1968 predecessor. What the Lawyers’ Movement stands for is not partisan agenda. It is a transcendental national movement in so much as it comprises people of divergent views and ideas about this country and how it should be run. There is in this movement liberals, conservatives, modernists, traditionalists, capitalists, socialists, secularists and Islamists who have come together on one focal and very secular point: Pakistan ought to be run by a constitutional process and that constitutional process should be safeguarded through a fierce independence of judiciary. Beyond that, there may not be any unity – but it is this unanimity (the kind of unanimity the erstwhile Pakistan found in 1965 when all parties came together to back Fatima Jinnah) that keeps this bunch together. No one can deny the enormous contribution this movement has made in ousting General Musharraf and sending the army back to the barracks. Continue reading