Far from perfect and with all its weaknesses, the democratic process is delivering. Pakistan cannot afford to give space to extremists and lose the war against extremism, … This is time for international community and liberal democratic Pakistanis to wake up
Ahmad Nadeem Gehla
Political leadership in Pakistan, is generally considered to be corrupt and inefficient. Although, perception is not entirely baseless, same is widely fed to public by establishment friendly intellectuals in electronic and print media. With democratic collation government in Islamabad, we have witnessed a new trend in political culture. Since, terrorism has become an unwanted curse, we have to live with, Minister for Interior Rehman Malik and brave leader of Khyber Pakhtunkhawa Mian Iftikhar made their presence felt, at incidents of terrorism and while facing media to gather popular support against extremists. Former Mayor of Karachi Mustafa Kamal and Chief Minister Punjab, Mian Shahbaz Sharif have actively been approaching the effected families in terrorism incident and cases of natural calamities.
The critics of culture of political activism, claim it to be an ‘eye wash’ and cover-up for government inefficacy and lack of planning and same can not be entirely brushed away. At the same time one must remember that government can not function effectively in absence of functional and efficient institutions. Thanks to dictatorships, institutions of state are broken, inefficient or even altogether absent . Political activism is becoming intense in presence of hostile media. For sake of adding ‘spice’, anchorpersons of TV talk show would gather political opponents and make them accuse each other of being responsible for everything ranging from climate change to natural disasters. Although some groups sympathetic to extremists have been using same medium and approach to confuse public but has not been able to create a space for their violent ideology in masses.
War of words turned in to a competition between Minister for Law, Babar Awan and Present Chief Justice of Punjab Khawja Muhammad Sharif making visits of Bar Associations. Although some sections of media accused this activity as ‘trading’ of lawyers sympathies’, fact remains that many Bar Associations were first time able to get basic amenities like public wash-rooms. Even Mian Nawaz Sharif had to call the terrorism victims of Ahmadi community as ‘brother Pakistani’s’ inviting criticism of extremist groups in order to to counter the visits of Governor Taseer and Rehman Maliks. The current floods has turned this ‘political activism’ in to a positive competition. Mr Nawaz Sharif accused President of leaving the country at time of natural disaster while touring flood victims which fuelled the presence of Prime Minister and his party leaders in effected areas.
On direction of their leadership, the members of Parliament, never accessible to their voters in past, are participating in rescue and relief efforts. President faced sharp criticism for his overseas visit while his daughter Bakhtawar Bhutto, was quick to launched a donation campaign, attracting a huge response from youth, collecting rupees five million in first hour of its launch. The major political parties are trying to reach more areas in order to earn a favourable public image. It would be premature to judge their sincerity and effectiveness but at the same, this is a beginning of new culture which can only grow in democratic environment. Those doing photo sessions, would ultimately be eliminated in next polls and those making a sincere effort would be rewarded duly by people. Continue reading
Oh Great Khadim-e-Ala, Khadim-e-Punjab where are you? Why are you silent? From Dawn Frontpage today:
Govt silence sounds death knell for Faisalabad Ahmedis
By Nasir Jamal
Saturday, 17 Apr, 2010
LAHORE, April 16: It is no longer just a doorbell for Mohammad Iqbal and his family; instead it has a ring of alarm about it. As a boy goes to answer the call the other inhabitants form a line of defence behind him should the visitor turn out to be an unwelcome one. Usually the door stays shut until the visitor’s identity is established and his intent known.
It’s been like this since March 8 when four men kidnapped Iqbal’s teenage son Bilal and nephew Shiraz from Iqbal’s home in Madina Town, a middle class locality in Faisalabad, after robbing the household. The kidnappers told the boys later that their family had been targeted because of their Ahmedi faith. Continue reading
The recent national backlash against his statement on Taliban should be an eye-opener for Shahbaz Sharif, who really ought to be above such rightwing pandering. Not long ago, I saw him speak in person on his vision of Punjab and I wonder how this statement gels with his vision for Punjab. Does he want Punjab to be labelled a pro-taliban, pro-terrorist hub? What is more is that by asking the Taliban to spare Punjab, Shahbaz Sharif has inadvertently stabbed all the Pakistanis fighting a dire battle against the Taliban from Khyber to Karachi. He has also strengthened those who accuse PML-N and the Punjab of fostering pro-fundamentalist tendencies. Continue reading
Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has promised to bury the current system and bring in its place the system of the Holy Prophet PBUH.
This is a highly misleading statement but one which needs to be discussed in detail so that we may stop this mockery of our religion.
References to revered religious figures and their principles is a common technique. Jesus Christ is invoked as the prophet of love and religion by all of the west.
Thomas Jefferson is said to have written a book on the principles and teachings of Jesus Christ. In India Mohandas Gandhi invoked the name of Rama for Ram Rajya which was supposed to mean “just rule”.
Similarly during the Pakistan movement Jinnah invoked on occasion Islamic principles of equality, fraternity and justice to convince his followers that modern democracy was intrinsic to Islam.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was a remarkable figure and clearly the most influential figure in history. His immutable principles were honesty, integrity and sincerity of purpose. The immutable principle of Islam was social justice. These are principles that are as useful today as they were in any time in human history.
It is disturbing however when Shahbaz Sharif, the brother of Nawaz Sharif speaks of burying the current system and replacing it with the system brought 1400 years ago. The truth is that Islam’s immutable principles cannot be limited to a system. Essential Islamic principles regulate individuals who then are free to form systems suited to their time. Given the sordid history of the 15th Amendment, Shahbaz Sharif is well advised to stay away from this confusion vis a vis system and principles. Even in the period of the rightly guided Caliphate, the system was fluid, changing its shape according to times which is why each succession/election was through a different method.
So what does “system” denote and more importtantly what is it that people really mean when they speak of an Islamic system? The masses mean an egalitarian classless society based on social justice. Therefore the political system need not be buried, it is the rigid class system which stands in the way of the true lessons of Islam.
By Ardeshir Cowasjee Dawn, 06 Dec, 2009
The planet we live on is insignificant in the universal scheme, and parts of it will always be ruled over largely by the ignorant and those who are significant only because of their capability to do immense damage. They heed neither the elements nor the environment.
There is of course the rare bird. Queen Anne of England once asked an honest courtier what the cost would be were she to include London’s Green Park within the precincts of her palace. She was told: ‘A monarchy, Madam, a monarchy.’ We in Pakistan are now fortunate to have a chief justice of our country who can hear and heed trees and who understands the environment. Continue reading
Here are two fairly commonplace, albeit not random, news items from two leading English dailies, and a letter to the editor:
1. The News November November 19, 2009
Taliban did not attack GHQ: JI chief
Rally denounces ‘US interference’ in Pakistan’s affairs
By Muhammad Anis
ISLAMABAD: The Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Central Amir, Syed Munawwar Hasan, on Wednesday claimed that the Taliban had not attacked the GHQ rather India and the United States were behind the attack. Continue reading
By Yasser Latif Hamdani
I am not a Marxist of any kind. Far from it. However I have the greatest respect for Marx and his singular contribution to humanity. I also respect Lenin and the architects of the Bolshevik Revolution. Continue reading