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Pakistan’s Emerging Democracy or Hall of Shame

Posted by yourpakistan on September 5, 2014

PTI people & leadership protesting in front of Pakistan Parliament in Islamabad

By Mahboob A. Khawaja, PhD. / Opinion Maker

The nation’s capital is under siege for over two weeks. People want political change and justice to their grievances that is nowhere to be seen. The demonstrators are not hired agitators but real people standing for hard core moral principles and democratic values. Islamabad depicts chaos, extreme insecurity and frightening trend of political mismanagement and failed governance. PM Sharif was already on a life support system of his own making. Now, the oxygen tank is fast running out of the life maintaining system. Nawaz Sharif  has lost sense of direction and political maturity to see the mirror and to resign from the powerhouse gained by rigging the 2013 elections. Undoubtedly, Sharif lives in a matrix of lies. He does not have the courage to encounter a truthful statement. Informed Pakistani masses can tell the difference between the truth and a lie. The millions Freedom March to Islamabad is self-evident of this public awareness.

According to the DAWN news media report of 1st September, 3 political activists were killed and 450 demonstrators wounded by the police action. In a knowledge-based 21st century age of reason and people’s rights, the people are met by brutal force to change their thinking and motives for political change.

A reality check filters out the truth that Pakistan’s democracy faces formidable turbulent challenges even at its infancy without moving forward. When elections were held in May 2013, it signaled a glimpse of a proactive change-making impulse away from the four military coups’ previously consumed precious time and opportunities to bulldoze the imperatives of systematic political change to take roots on its own. Conscientious new generations of educated and intelligent Pakistanis look for hope and are desperate to evolve a system of institutionalized political change to ensure protection of human rights, freedom and dignity and respect for law and justice and a sustainable future. Not so, the traditional elite comprising of the old feudal lords and most being the by-products of military coups are tantamount to dispel any signs of freedom and human dignity out of the box. At stake is the integrity of Pakistan and its future under the old echelons of the few thugs and political conspirators.

Those who sabotaged the political change process include the Bhuttos, Zardari, Sharif and few infamous Generals producing the junk history. The so called politicians have stolen few adhesive labels from the contemporary history to claim political parties: The Muslim League (N), The Muslim League (Q) The Muslim League ( H), The PPP, The National Awami Party, The MQM and lot more. Analyzing critically, these turn out to be just titles, names and fake images carved out by individuals and small vested interest groups who could not find a place in people’s thoughts and inspiration for the good of Pakistan. Across the Pakistani public mind, they are no more than transitory migrating birds that come to grab political powers through intrigues and backdoor conspiracies and in some case with foreign powers keen to make Pakistan a satellite for their own strategic priorities. All rational calculations point out to a new people’s spirit and movement demanding peaceful political manifestation for the good of the country.

Pakistani nation faces many critical perils in its search for a peaceful democratic future. Read the rest of this entry »


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Pakistan Political Parties or Cults

Posted by yourpakistan on April 11, 2013

Pakistan Political Parties Cult

By Raja G Mujtaba

“Take counsel with them in the conduct of affairs; and when you are resolved, put your trust in Allah. Allah loves those that trust (in Him) . Al-Imran 159.

It’s the political doctrine that determines or establishes other cultures in a society, be it social, economic, educational or any other. If we study the various political systems in the world today every society is moulded and guided by the political systems that it adopts or follows. Some political systems are very repressive and some may be very liberal and yet there are a few that follow the centre of the road. The parties that run or establish these systems first of all adopt the system within itself. If the party that does not practice what it professes then it’s going to be a chaos. Today Pakistan is in a complete mess not knowing where to head; the following of all the parties is based on personality cults, not on the teachings of Islam. The Muslims had the best system that was based on equality and social justice, this was the basic reason that the Muslims governed the world but unfortunately today the very Muslim rulers are not prepared to adopt it.

Prophet Muhammad (SAW) used to consult his companions often on all the matters of the state and enforcement of sharia. He was ordained by Allah (SWT) to do so; why? Because, when the companions are consulted the implementation and acceptance becomes easier.

He had some very strong advisors in the persons of Amir Hamza, his uncle, Abu Bakr Siddique, Omar bin Khattab, Usman Ghani, Ali bin Abu Talib and many more names that can be mentioned. If a Prophet who had all the support of Allah, who could never go wrong, felt the need to consult his companions then how on earth can the pigmies of the leadership run their affairs without any solid consultation?

It is evidently clear that consultation is a must and no decision of an individual can be enforced upon others without their consent which has not been discussed with them. It’s only the cult leaders who take decisions in isolation and their followers have been blinded who have no choice but to accept. Read the rest of this entry »

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Pakistan: Children of a Lesser Evil

Posted by yourpakistan on March 3, 2013

Pakistani Politicians

By Humayun Gauhar -Opinion Maker

Once again, Pakistan is being sacrificed at the altar of elections that don’t dispense democracy but ‘predatorocracy’ in which the system leaves the oppressed no choice but to elect their oppressors, the prey its predator. That’s the long and short of it. Now this predatory system is at flashpoint. Once again the danger is that it could bring the country to flashpoint too, just as it did after the 1970 elections. Thus we are trapped between two evils – hold elections and we have had it; don’t hold elections and we have had it. The people have to choose between the rock of one predatory party and the hard place of another. Elections can cause chaos; delay anarchy. We are in a difficulty, to put it mildly.

Wiseacres say that people get the governments they deserve. A genius proclaimed on TV that until the people improve and correct themselves their leadership would not improve either. How, in a country where the lowest priority is given to the human condition beyond politicians uttering syrupy statements that they don’t mean and forget the moment they are elected. It makes one want to puke. How, where a pittance is spent on education, where government schools are housed in chicken farms without clean drinking water or toilets, where headmistress force girl students to massage their legs and feet and if they don’t do it properly they are beaten on their hands with a big fat baton? How when the ‘education’ that is imparted is outdated and dysfunctional and the ‘teachers’ themselves need education. This while a chief minister doles out cheap laptops not to educate children but to get votes. It’s all about votes, votes and more votes by creating optics, optics and more meaningless optics. It’s pathetic many times over.

“As elections get nearer I’m still not sure that they will be held on time because of the frenzy of bloodletting that is feared, not against the system but myriad groups killing one another at greater pace. There could be an orgy of blood. But that too is part of the evolutionary process so let us learn our lessons. It matters not a whit who the caretaker prime minister is or who the chief ministers, though I am not so sure that they will all come out of it with their reputations enhanced.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Pakistan: New Elections New Principles

Posted by yourpakistan on February 28, 2013

PML-N & JUI 2013 Pakistan Election Alliance

Race is set for new political romances, bedfellows, greener pastures:

By MAK Lodhi – Opinion Maker

More surprises are in the winds than on the ground as the elected and ‘electable’ representatives of people, prospective and potential candidates make for greener pastures in Election 2013, giving a lurch to the coalition ship, which has already been perforated at more than one point.

Maulana Fazl-ur Rehman, the JUI-F leader of all weathers, has made a fine move by calling at the palatial residences of Mian Nawaz Sharif and Mian Shahbaz Sharif at Raiwind Road, Lahore (renamed Jatti-Umra after their ancestral small house in East Punjab).

The PML-N, which happens to be the second biggest political party by its strength and numbers, has at long last come out of reclusive political isolation and launched an ‘open-door’ policy. Several elected representatives from the ruling party have already joined it.

More surprises are in the winds than on the ground as the elected and ‘electable’ representatives of people, prospective and potential candidates make for greener pastures in Election 2013, giving a lurch to the coalition ship, which has already been perforated at more than one point. – See more at: Read the rest of this entry »

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The Magic Wand

Posted by yourpakistan on February 24, 2013

Pakistan Magic Wand

 By Humayun Gauhar

It was most uncharacteristic of former Finance Minister Hafeez Shaikh to resign at the cusp of maybe elections. Speculation became rife. He is not the type to abandon ship about to reach port. His bosses like him. Conclusion: he must be the ruling party’s nominee for caretaker prime minister. For once, speculation is not off the mark.  But as the hackneyed adage goes, “There’s many a slip between the cup and the lip.”

The best outcome would be for Hafeez Shaikh as consensus candidate, else it would go to a multi-party parliamentary committee. If no consensus is formed there, names from the leaders of the House and the opposition go to the Election Commission for final decision. The EC is likely to select Shaikh, but you never know.

Whoever the caretaker PM is, if he is there only for 90 days his task sounds simple: to hold clean elections. But herein lies the rub, for the task is not so simple, not in a country riven by turmoil. There is so much bloodletting in large swathes of Pakistan that peaceful elections seem a pipedream. Then, our demographic profile is outdated because a population census was not held in 2008. How can you hold elections when you don’t even know how many people you have, their ages and addresses, the gender balance etcetera? Without a census you cannot delimit constituencies and create new ones to accommodate a larger population. Without up-to-date representation elections would be partially invalid ab initio.

Given this problem accompanied by political and economic turmoil and the urgent need for a fresh IMF programme that won’t come without a stable and sensible government, speculation is also rife that the caretaker might get a judicial extension to first undertake fast track reforms. The task then becomes even less simple. In that case Hafeez Shaikh is the best of the names being bandied about. He is young, honest, God fearing, humble, highly educated, well regarded in the international financial and diplomatic communities, understands both types of government, a consensus builder and peacemaker who likes to take everyone along because he doesn’t have an out of control ego. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by yourpakistan on February 12, 2013

Black Hole

By Brig Samson S Sharaf – Opinion Maker

By the time Pakistan’s present Parliament hangs its gloves, the economy will be in a tailspin. Barring untoward incidents that may cause a delay in the forthcoming election schedules, the presentation of the financial budget 2012-13 will be left to a new care taker government, in all probability an extension of the economic team already in place. Deprived of time and on-job expertise, it will be an uphill assignment to make major readjustments to an economy already melted and sunk.

The Debt Trap

The first challenge for the caretakers and the new government that comes to power after the elections will be the debt trap. Debt mismanagement by the present government during its tenure needs to be marked with five black stars. From 2008 to 2012, Pakistan’s total debt has jumped from Rs 6,037 billion to Rs. 12,002 Billion, a walloping 108% nearly doubling all that Pakistan borrowed in 61 years. This unprecedented borrowing was cleverly folded into the misleading term of Debt-GDP Ratio.

The government borrowed recklessly from external sources only to waste away into a completely mismanaged and corrupt system The benefits of this inflow could not be passed on to the people. External borrowing increased from Rs. 2,762 billion in the first 61 years to Rs. 4,364 billion in the past four years, an increase of 65%. As a departure from its Debt-GDP Ratio mantra adopted in the past, the government now appears to point realistically towards revenue generation capacity, forex reserves and export earnings. Given that Pakistani currency in the same period has shed 31 rupee against the dollar, this amount will continue to rise. As an option the government will borrow to pay loans. Another option would be to increase Pakistan’s exports and drastically cut out the import bills. In view of the recession, energy crisis, high cost of transportation and a big part of value added exports shifted to other countries, this is impossible unless the environments improve over successive years. Read the rest of this entry »

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Time to Correct our Political Aberrations

Posted by yourpakistan on July 19, 2012

March 1979, General Zia ul Haque directed his Corps Commanders to ascertain the likely reaction of the officers and the troops, if Bhutto was hanged, as per Supreme Court’s verdict. I was commanding 14 Division at Okara and was called for the meeting at Multan. Giving my views on the subject, I said:

By General Mirza Aslam Beg

“Hanging of Bhutto would be an unwise act, which could cause very serious “political aberrations”, difficult to correct. He better be sent into exile, to buy his time. As regards the reaction of my troops, I am not sure, because facing the violent mob would be my company and battalion commanders, and it would be difficult for them to shoot at their own kith and kin, as it had happened in 1977, at Lahore. My troops are trained to fight the enemy and not their own people.”

The Corps Commander lost his cool, called-off the meeting, and directed his Chief of Staff, Brigadier (now General) Hamid Gul: “I do not want this officer in my formation. Connect me to the Chief and I will have him removed from command,” Brigadier Hamid Gul pleaded: “Sir, you asked for General Beg’s opinion and he gave his candid views. Removing him from command, may not be appropriate at this moment. You may like to apprise the Chief and let him decide.” The Corps Commander paused for a while and said “OK put up the report.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Pakistan: Price of Freedom & Treacherous Elite

Posted by yourpakistan on March 26, 2012

Coming from a family which migrated from Indian East Punjab into Pakistan in 1947, Pakistan day on 23rd of March every year use to be heavy and saddening for my late mother. She and her family paid the highest and ultimate price for Pakistan by sacrificing her father (my grandfather a respectable businessman) and his five brothers. My mother never saw her father as she was born after his martyrdom. My 1 ½ year’s old aunt was shot and injured during this exodus 1947 from India to newly born Pakistan. We never saw our maternal grandfather (nana) so we use to call father of the nation Qauid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah nana Jee.

By Dr Shahid Qureshi 

The brutal murder of my younger brother and The London Post journalist Faisal Qureshi in October 2011, by terrorists in Lahore is again a signal for people that Pakistan has not yet got it freedom? Pakistan needs to fight another war of independence from within. These national days used to be heavy for my late mother. My father had his own story of forced migration from India to tell.

My family and other millions were forced to become refugees (Mohajirs) in Pakistan. So becoming a refugee is not a matter of choice but need. People don’t become refugees for fun. Pakistan has approximately 4 million refugees and IDPs (internally displaced persons) as a result of two Afghan wars and treacherous behaviors of Pakistani leaders.

People are different around the world and Punjabis generally and Lahorees especially are known to be very empathetic, passionate and always stood by the down trodden, underdogs and victims of oppression. That is why Lahorees are known as ‘zinda dilan Lahore’ live hearted people of Lahore’. British were very careful and particular in learning about the local people and that was one of the reason they were able to run such a big empire from a small island for over two centuries. All most half of the Royal Indian British Army was from four districts of undivided Punjab of British India. There must be something in the people of these districts? Read the rest of this entry »

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Corrupt politicians supporting each other to rule Pakistan: Imran Khan

Posted by yourpakistan on October 18, 2011

Chairman Pakistan Tehrik Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan has said that political mafia has occupied the rule in the country for last the six decades and corrupt politicians support each others rule in hard times. Speaking at a book launching ceremony here in New York, Imran Khan said that political leadership of the country has same agenda of divide and rule and leaders of all the political parties unite when they feel any threat to their rule.

It’s worth mentioning that book “Imran Khan Pakistan” is authorized by a PTI supporter in which he has highlighted the personality of the party chairman and his agenda and suggestions to drag the country out of prevailing crises including terrorism, economic stability and power crisis. Imran said that in ongoing circumstance we needed a democratic government which has ability to eradicate corruption from state institutions and give relief to common man by assuring provision of instant and inexpensive justice.

He lauded the services of judiciary in putting the state institutions on right path. “I pay tributes to Supreme Court (SC) for its services and entire nation was proud of the apex court.” The PTI chairman said that he was not follower of Secularism or Gandhi. However,he said that all the religions preach love and respect for humanity and patience towards followers of other religions.

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Reclaiming Our Pakistan

Posted by yourpakistan on May 10, 2011

No Pakistani was involved in 9/11 but the Pakistani state entangled itself in someone else’s war and weaved a web of deceit for its people. We could have helped US get to al-Qaeda terrorists in Afghanistan, but this did not require handing over Pakistan to CIA.

By Imran Khan (Chairman PTI)

Today the Pakistani state – that is its government and security structures – stands exposed as never before in front of its own people as well as the world.

Never before, since 1971, has the Pakistani nation felt so defenceless and so full of anger and shame. Yet the disastrous outcome for all of us to see today was the natural outcome of self-serving policies pursued by a dictator and subsequently by a US-manufactured and NRO-sanctioned leadership. Policies based on lies and propaganda were inevitably going to end in humiliation and disgrace not just for the leadership of the country but for every living Pakistani. That is what finally happened when the US invaded Pakistani airspace and carried out its operation against Osama bin Laden, unhindered and undetected by the seventh most powerful nuclear armed military in the world.

The US had always stated that in case they had actionable intelligence on a high value target, they would take unilateral military action. Why was this strategic US policy decision that directly impaired our security and sovereignty not made a bone of contention in any strategic dialogue? Similarly, the US has stated that in case of any terrorist attack on US mainland, all options would be on the table. Why has our government never sought the revision of this policy conditional to our cooperation to protect Pakistan from a massive military retaliation in case of a terrorist attack against the US mainland is linked to Pakistan?

By fighting a US-led war and hypocritically telling the people of Pakistan that it was their war, the state of Pakistan lied shamelessly. After all, Al-Qaeda was all in Afghanistan, until the US attacks on Tora Bora left an exit route for them to escape. Even more critical, no Pakistani was involved in the 9/11 attacks. But in the aftermath of 9/11 the Pakistani leadership weaved a web of deceit for its people.

Certainly Pakistan should have helped the US get the 9/11 terrorists and their organisation but this did not require handing over the country to the US, allowing the CIA to set up a parallel intelligence network across Pakistan seriously undermining our internal security and indulging in the renditions of Pakistanis to the US. As Clive Smith of Reprieve has pointed out, 90% of those handed over to the US turned out to be innocent; the case of Mullah Zaeef, the Taliban ambassador to Pakistan and a serving diplomat, was just one such case, where Pakistan also violated its commitments under the Geneva Convention.

To our everlasting shame, after three years at Guantanamo, Mullah Zaeef was found innocent.

Using fear as a weapon and having trapped the country into deception and deceit on the US behest, the Pakistani state sent its forces into Waziristan while the US pounded FATA with drone attacks, killing thousands of civilians. It was hardly surprising to find a full-blown tribal rebellion and the Pakistani Taliban as a result of these erroneous military-centric policies. Lies continued to be fed to the Pakistani people on the casualties of the drone attacks. Much before the killing of the tribal jirga in March, a drone attack in September 2004 killed 70 people while another 40 were killed the next day during the funerals being held for the earlier victims.

With no substantiation, incumbent Interior Minister Rehman Malik has declared that all those killed by CIA drones were ‘militants’ when the Member of National Assembly from South Waziristan had declared that if even one of the victims was a foreign militant he would resign!

Who can forget the 2006 drone attack in Bajaur which targeted a Madrassah and of the 80 killed, 60 were children? Three days later, a relative of one of the victims committed a suicide attack on soldiers in Malakand killing 50. By far the biggest lie was that Pakistan Army was fighting an ideological Taliban rather than 90% of militants being our own tribal people. There was another blatant lie emanating from a Pakistani general that drone attacks always kill militants. There is no way of ascertaining who has been killed. There is no DNA test conducted as people are just blown into pieces. Drone strikes constitute not only a blatant breach of Pakistan’s sovereignty, but it is also a grave violation of the international humanitarian laws where the US acts as the judge, jury and the executioner – all put into one – killing suspects’ wives and children.

The drone strikes have created more hatred against the Americans than any other single thing. According to those who attended the sit-in against CIA drones, the rationale was that every one killed out of ten may be a militant. The others are innocent citizens who have nothing to do with any terrorist activity. The New America Foundation Survey that was conducted aboput six months ago has reiterated that more than 80% traibal people oppose the drone strikes as they believe that these attacks mostly kill innocent people.

So why did the Pakistani state accept such a suicidal policy under US pressure?

Pakistan’s ruling elite – civil and military – since the sixties have sought US crutches for prolonging their hold on power at the cost of building state institutions and our economy. Instead of investing in education and social reforms they have taken shortcuts at the expense of the Pakistani people, seeking US dollars whenever the opportunity presented itself to sustain its corrupt and extravagant lifestyle as well as inept governance. The same rentier class obliged the US during the Gen. Zia’s period to resist the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan with the help of the CIA by creating and funding several militant groups. The one time heroes of the West turned villains after 9/11, our leaders also changed their colours and with their new found passion to be portrayed as liberals and bulwarks against Islamic extremism. Their latest mantra of liberalism was music to Western powers who were willing to ally with every scoundrel and thug as long as they danced to their tunes. Most disgracefully, by seeking to make themselves indispensable to the West, our rulers have played a major role in creating the misperception abroad that Pakistan is a haven for radical Islam, despite the reality that every election has shown the religious parties to be marginal in the politics of the country.

Meanwhile, fear has been used as a weapon on the Pakistani people: fear of US military action against them; fear of an economic collapse; and most damaging, fear of the country being overrun by militants and extremists. As a result, while the wealth of the rulers continues to multiply, the country has faced $ 68 b in losses over the last decade, as well as 35,000 dead and a national debt that has doubled in three years from Rs. 5 to $10 trillion. Add to this the displaced people from FATA where the population of 6 million has seen its lives devastated and traumatised, and the disaster visited upon Pakistan becomes clearer. And, yet we are not trusted by our so called western allies who are pointing accusatory fingers at us as harbourers of terrorists. Typically, President Zardari had declared at a FoDP meeting in Japan (2009) that “we are fighting to save the world” and then demanded dollars; but in reality it is Pakistan that needs to be saved from its rulers and their lies and corruption.

Way Forward

There is only one way forward for Pakistan today. The NRO-sponsored leaders came to power through fraudulent elections as the Election Commission has now made public that out of 80 million registered voters, 37 million were bogus and 35 million unregistered in the last elections. This government must resign or made to resign through public pressure so that fair and free elections can be held under an independent Election Commission and NADRA based electoral rolls.

Reforms must be instituted. An austerity drive must be in place to stop the shameful extravagance of the rulers. A democratic government needs to own its war on terror based on indigenously-formulated policies. Most significantly, a democratic government must take responsibility for all acts of terror in its country. The more our military and political leadership is seen as a mercenary of the US, the more it increases the radicalisation, extremism and terrorism within Pakistan. Whenever Al Qaeda and the Taliban announce Jihad against the US, they also announce it against US agents – meaning the Pakistani state. This undermines the Pakistan military’s ability to fight militancy effectively. The US should be told categorically that no help or aid is required from it and that the Pakistani state cannot be America’s hired gun anymore. The tribals, who have never been involved in terrorism, need to be co-opted into a national policy to fight and isolate the real terrorists.

Rule of Law is critical and all militant groups, private armies and other non-state actors carrying arms must be disarmed. There can be no exceptions to this rule.

Corruption can only be tackled through an independent accountability process involving auditors and lawyers while tax collection needs to be widened by withdrawing all exemptions so that the rich can be taxed. A most important aberration that needs to be tackled is illiteracy. An education emergency must be declared and one uniform educational system needs to be put in place as a soon as feasible for the whole country.

These problems and their solutions are totally doable but only by a credible and democratic government that has the capacity to mobilize the people and indigenous resources. Perhaps the crossroad that Pakistan has been pushed to at present can be a blessing in disguise. At a time when the whole Osama operation has exposed the Pakistan state and its duplicity internally and externally, with overseas Pakistanis suffering an extreme reaction especially in the United States, Pakistanis can choose to rid themselves of this complicit and disgraced leadership. This is the time for a national revival through restoration of national dignity and sovereignty.

Today Pakistan has no other choice.

Imran Khan is Chairman, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf [Pakistan Movement for Justice]. This opinion was published in The News International.

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