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Posts Tagged ‘pakistan Political Parties’

Missing Persons: ISI, MI Counsel Says RAW And Mossad Involved

Posted by yourpakistan on March 20, 2012

The counsel for Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) and Military Intelligence (MI) has revealed in the Supreme Court that Indian spy agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and Israel’s Mossad are active in Pakistan. He was speaking during the hearing of the missing persons case.

He said that they were behind kidnappings in the country and were being helped by terrorist groups.
The chief justice asked the defence counsel if the agencies had any credible information of the involvement of RAW and Mossad, and why they did not take any against them. “We did not bar you from taking action against RAW and Mossad.”

Terming the intelligence agencies’ reply on Adiala missing persons unsatisfactory, the apex court on Friday took suo motu notice against the abduction of a boy who used to provide food at camps set up by the relatives of missing persons outside parliament.

A three judge-bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry directed Inspector General of Police Islamabad and Attorney General of Pakistan Maulvi Anwarul Haq to submit a report of the incident by March 17 and present the abductee before the court on March 19.

Addressing Maulvi Anwarul Haq and Raja Irshad, counsel for ISI and MI, the chief justice said that this time a man was abducted right under the nose of the federal government. Advocate Tariq Asad the counsel for missing persons told the court that Omar Mehmood Khan was picked up by the intelligence agencies because he used to serve the food to the families at the missing persons’ camp at D-Chowk (in front of the Parliament). Read the rest of this entry »


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A 1000-Word Novel

Posted by yourpakistan on March 7, 2012

“Humans plan and manipulate while Nature smiles at their short-sighted and fallibility.”

A Persian Proverb

Political historians say that it might have happened in the not very remote past in an impoverished South-Asian country plagued by scarcity and misfortunes, at the verge of an economic-political abyss. It might have been caused by the bad governance of a ruling elite obsessed by self-interest, political power and determined to preserve the decades-old political “status-quo.” It might have occurred because of the unjust power structure of a few ruling over a mass of humanity nearing 190 million – 95% of them suffering from humiliation, deprivations, extreme poverty, sickness, hunger and by a sense of betrayal by their own elected representatives.

By Dr. Haider Mehdi

Sakinah Bibi, 24, once a beautiful and vibrant young woman grabbed her two children aged 4 and 2 and jumped in front of a moving train. An hour later her husband hanged himself from a tree. This was the 14th suicide in the last two weeks. Sakinah, in her suicide note, said that she could not tolerate her children’s starvation any longer. Read the rest of this entry »

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Drone Attacks and Dubious Role of Pakistani Government

Posted by yourpakistan on December 6, 2011


Government of Pakistan is not playing its role in recording casualties in drone attacks while Pakistani security officials release false information to the media regarding victims of CIA’s drone attack in Pakistan. The Conflict Monitoring Center’s monthly report on drone attacks highlights contradictions in government’s public stance on drone attacks and its seriousness to record names and other identities of the victims of drone attacks. According to CMC’s findings there is a need to launch official investigation to find out why ‘anonymous’ security officials release details of every single drone attacks and why these officials overlook civilian casualties. The report says that at one occasion Pakistan’s Army Chief was condemning civilian casualties in drone attacks while same casualties were declared ’suspected militants’ by Pakistani security officials. The Conflict Monitoring Center keeps record of every single drone attack and issues monthly and annual reports on drone attacks. According to the data collected from mainstream national and international newspapers as well as from local newspapers of Peshawar, American Central Intelligence Agency has killed a maximum of 37 and minimum of 26 human beings inside Pakistan during the month of November 2011 with missiles fired from unmanned drone aircrafts. The CIA has carried out 4 drone attacks during the month which is half to the number of drone attacks in October 2011. Apart from two most wanted British militants, most of those killed were unknown human beings. Three out of these four attacks were carried out in North Waziristan while the only drone attack in South Waziristan reportedly targeted the basecamp of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). The attack on TTP’s basecamp was the deadliest attack of the month in which 18 suspected militants were killed on November 16, 2011. The CIA carried out three drone attacks on three consecutive days i.e. on 15, 16 and 17th of the month, while one drone attack was carried out on 3rd November. Nationwide protest was observed against drone attacks and US military incursions in Pakistan during the last week of the month. The CMC also states in its report that about 30 civilians were also killed in drone attacks in Somalia during the month of November 2011. Read the rest of this entry »

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Imran Khan’s PTI holds Rallies on Directions of Establishment: Sanaullah

Posted by yourpakistan on November 1, 2011

Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah alleged that Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan is holding sit-ins and rallies on the directions of the establishment, Express 24/7reported Tuesday.

Sanaullah made the claim while speaking to the media after addressing traders in a meeting in Faisalabad.

(Read: Intelligence agencies at PTI rally fight over turnout)

Responding to a question regarding Khan’s demand for politicians to declare their “actual” assets, he said that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) members have already done so.

While not dismissing reconciliation with their new rivals in the province, he said that the PML-N is ready to hold talks on a one point agenda – of removing the government and eradicating corruption – with PTI and other parties including Jamaat-i-Islami.

He also said that the PML-N may launch a long march after Eid, building upon their “Go Zardari go” anti-government protest.

(Read: PTI rally: Students exceed ISF expectations)

He informed the media that Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif will hold a historical public gathering in Faisalabad on November 20.

Earlier, Khan said that he could consider entering into a dialogue with PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif if he declared his complete assets.

(Read: The after-party: PML-N, PTI – the suggestive rhetoric begins)

The statements by both parties indicate accelerating intrigue in Pakistan politics – particularly in its largest province, the Punjab.

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To Save Pakistan, Check Its Failed Political Parties

Posted by yourpakistan on October 12, 2011

If Pakistani State fails to regulate these parties and ban those that rebel against the state, they will bring us down faster than any enemy can.

Ahmed Quraishi | The News International

Pakistani political parties are violent and criminal-minded. They are a glaring failure of Pakistani democracy. And yet they get a soft treatment from our civil society and media.

Three parties in power and several others in opposition have turned Pakistan’s largest city and economic hub into Beirut. Karachi is a strategic port and a rich city. It has been home to Pakistani innovation in business, culture and arts. But today it’s best and brightest are moving to Dubai, Malaysia and even Bangladesh as the city’s control, indeed the country’s control, passes from the hands of innovative Pakistanis to a bunch of violent, criminal-minded mediocre politicians.

Instead of introducing democracy to the country, our political parties want to control the city’s riches and its multiple revenue streams running into billions of rupees. They want to use the city to smuggle contraband into and outside the country. And to do so they are ready to kill Pakistanis by the thousands and pitch them along fake and manufactured linguistic divides. They are ready to bypass the Pakistani state and talk directly to foreign governments. For the right price, some of them are willing to guarantee safe passage to NATO and US military supplies from Karachi to Afghanistan. Stunningly, we have parties now that demand international intervention when their interests are threatened by other criminal parties.

Like a war zone, neighborhood streets in Karachi have ugly ‘security gates’ that help political parties control and repel competitors. An ugly culture of identifying people by what Pakistani language they speak has been firmly put in place. If not stopped, these failed parties will poison the entire country at a time when the nation suffers from an acute leadership deficit. What European country has this kind of democracy? If we can’t tailor our own political system, we better be good at aping someone else’s.

The verdict of the Supreme Court over the weekend on the criminal activities of Pakistani political parties, though welcome, is severely constrained and only scratches the surface. While successfully identifying the criminal parties, the verdict fails to diagnose the full extent of the problem. Karachi does not suffer from any ethnic problems. It is wrong to use the word ‘ethnic’ in the Pakistani context, where the nation is deeply intermixed in all respects. On the night of 14 August, our Independence Day, over five thousand of the city’s young and old residents, representing all stripes of Pakistanis, gathered in open air to recite the National Anthem and create a world record. Do these Pakistanis look linguistically-divided to you? Nearly seven decades after independence, Pakistanis are more intermarried and intermixed today than ever before. Many of them speak or understand several different Pakistani languages.

Pakistanis are not divided on language. Failed political parties are dividing them. These parties have nothing to offer so they divide and kill. Our problems – establishing a prosperous country with good governance and basic services – have nothing to do with language or sect, except when these parties play up divisions over real issues. Except that these divisions, and the parties advocating them, will destroy the country faster than any enemy.

This is why Karachi and Pakistan are not beyond hope provided that the Pakistani State moves in swiftly to restrict these parties and ban those that rebel.

Who gave any political party the right to represent all Pakistanis who speak Pashto? Who gave a single political party the right to represent all Pakistanis who speak Urdu [national language spoken by nearly all Pakistanis]? Who says PPPP is supposed to represent Pakistanis who speak Sindhi or PMLN should be representative of Punjabi language? Last, who gave fugitive terrorists like Brahamdagh Bugti the right to represent all Pakistani Baloch?

The Pakistani State must seize back the right to represent all of its citizens. Educated Pakistanis, regardless of their spoken language at home, have been sidelined by failed and violent parties. Those are the people that should be brought forward by the State at the expense of failed parties and politicians.

Political parties are supposed to be incubators of leadership and produce a steady supply of capable new blood. The Supreme Court verdict has to reestablish this fact. Merely asking these parties to disband their terror wings is not enough.

No political party should be allowed to operate if its sole agenda is dividing Pakistanis on language or sect. Only national parties should exist with a clear mission statement. Parties should not be free to block streets and create public disorder. In March, during city government elections in one of Switzerland’s richest cities, Geneva, parties and candidates were only allowed to establish few neat and clean kiosks manned by a single volunteer. Swiss citizens interested in picking up pamphlets bearing candidates’ pictures and manifestos could so. Few were interested. You could have mistaken these kiosks for a cell phone ad campaign. No messy street demonstrations. No wild party flags and posters. And no direct contacts between our parties and foreign governments. Local TV channels relegated local political news to the third or fourth slots. Sports, cultural events and news relevant to improving people’s lives took precedence in TV coverage.

In short, banning terror wings is not enough. To stabilize Pakistan, correct the failed political parties first.

Column published by The News International. The newspaper’s rights are reserved.

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Pakistan: Quick Sand Of New Provinces

Posted by yourpakistan on August 16, 2011

By Air Commodore (Retd) Khalid Iqbal – Opinion Maker

This was the least suitable time for opening the Pandora’s Box regarding creation of new provinces; yet it has opened at a time when there is no worthwhile mass movement supporting the issue. If the process of creating new provinces gets triggered in an arbitrary way, no matter from where we may start and how we proceed, within a decade Pakistan will end up with a dozen plus provinces.

Issue of new provinces has become a hotly debated one. It has started with Punjab but may not begin or end there. While supporting the creation of new provinces may appear an easy way out for the politicians, it is going to be a difficult task to actually carve them out. Once the genie is out it will not be possible to force it back into the bottle. Like creation of new districts, addition of provinces would become a political appeasement tool in a run up to each election. At the end of the day, country is likely to end up having a provincial map very close to an existing administrative entity called ‘Division’.

There are several underlying factors that contribute to demanding new provinces. Ethnic identities within the provinces have become politicised and hence turned twitchy. Disproportionate allocation of resources within each province has created perception of deprivation in all the provinces.

Syndrome for more provinces is country wide. It is most intense in Khyber-Pukhtunkhwa; where it got jump started as a by-product of renaming of the province. Boards are put up in some areas of Khyber-Pukhtunkhwa calling such parts of the province as Hazara; it depicts a distinct feeling. People of Bahawalpur are quick to recall their ‘state’ era; ecstatic memories of yesteryears still fascinate them. Interestingly, overly politicised drive for Seraiki province is not supported by a worthwhile public movement.

Ongoing ping-pong in Sindh between ‘Commissionerate’ and ‘Local Government’ systems has amply highlighted the de’facto division of Sindh on urban-rural lines; alongside equally strong sentiment to prevent it. FATA has also been mutely voicing for provincial status. Pushtun population of Baluchistan, which is around 50%, has traditionally been uncomfortable with the current demarcation of Baluchistan, and there have been talks about a separate entity.

With general elections only one and a half years away, there would be more demands for new provinces as political parties consider it a tool to gain popularity among the people. Weaker parties in each province are expected to play the new province card to fascinate the voters among minority ethnic groups; however, there could be a blowback effect as well, because opposition by the majority communities may gravely hurt the electoral tally of such parties. As of now, these demands are at the level of wish-lists, yet having the potential of setting in motion a process aimed at remapping all existing provinces.

Notwithstanding the pitfalls, country does need more provinces. Hence, it would be appropriate to make a virtue out of this necessity and accomplish this task in an orderly way so that it is a win-win situation for the entire nation. There is a need to take the holistic view of the matter and take into consideration its implications on vital issues like National Finance Commission Award, water sharing and economic viability of new entities in the context of 18th Constitutional Amendment. Provincial autonomy under the 18th Amendment is unprecedented; this one notch devolution needs to be carried forth to sub-provincial levels down to division and district. Unfortunately, every province tends to centralize the administrative, financial and political power in the hands of the chief ministers. It is ironic that local government system has flourished under military rulers and civilian administrations have traditionally been shy of holding local bodies’ elections.

It would be prudent to not to set any datelines for formulation of provinces until all implications have been adequately gauged and preventive measures are taken to contain the impact of negative fallouts. Political expediency should not be allowed to become the driving factor; otherwise fierce turf battles would start and at the end of day everyone would be bruised and would harbour the feeling of betrayal on one account or the other.

India created its first province on linguistic grounds. Telugu-speaking Andhra Pradesh came to existence in 1952. Under this precedence, a number of new states emerged on the Indian map in 1956. The process continued; India now has nearly two dozen states, while it inherited a single digit tally at the time of independence. Cultural commonalities should be duly considered while forming the provinces; however such elements should not be the sole criteria. Administrative and financial viability should be the underwriting raison d’être within which intrinsic cultural values may by adjusted. Linguistics would figure out again and again in the debates and there should be no obstructions in their way as some of the provinces may eventually emerge on this account provided they meet the remaining criteria as well. For example, since Seraiki is spoken in all four provinces in Pakistan, it would be a mockery of the process to create a province of 100 million people of Punjab in the name of Seraiki alone.

A lot of work remains to be done before the constitutional process could be triggered. Any jumping the gun approach would make creation of new provinces a pipe dream. Procedure for creating new provinces is circuitous and laborious because at a given time no political party or alliance is likely to muster two third majorities simultaneously in provincial assemblies and at the two houses of federal parliament. New provinces would entail addition in non-developmental expenditure, this would surely take care of problems of the people and promote harmonious relationship among different communities of the country. Additional administrative expenditure could be minimized by restricting the size of the provincial government and the bureaucracy.

Key political parties have differing perspectives on the issue, though none of them is publicly opposing the idea of having more provinces. Hence, a holistic approach embodying national consensus needs to be developed outside the provincial assemblies and the federal parliament before the constitutional process should be triggered as a formality. It indeed requires a much larger consensus among the competing mainstream political parties. Otherwise, no province would ever be formed and the entire nation may be subjected to a sort of emotional pressure cooker without a safety valve.

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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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Cleansing Pakistans Political Culture

Posted by yourpakistan on April 24, 2011

By Dr. Haider Mehdi –

The above verses of Bulleh Shah, the Punjabi saint Sufi poet, illustrate how the intrinsic substance of nature implicit in its conception cannot be altered no matter what we do. There is a quality of permanence in the essence, essentialness and gist in the constitution and character of every creation. This basic disposition and temperament in its lifecycle cannot be altered. Nature simply does not allow it. The offspring of crows can never turn out to be like swans. That is how nature works. 

Bulleh Shah’s reminder that bitter water wells cannot be turned into sweet wells is not only an element of passionate poetic assertion to human emotions; in fact, it is an impassionate appeal to human reason based on a matter of fact objectivity observed in nature’s organic and genetic systemic processes. What goes for all other elements in this universe’s existence is also true of human nature. The majority of people do not change much in their entire lifetime and the possibility of a complete turnaround in anyone’s behavior is remote.

My conceptual point here is that, metaphorically speaking, Bulleh Shah’s above-quoted verses perfectly apply to Pakistan’s contemporary political culture; the reform from within our present political system and its ailing political leadership is as remote a possibility as a crow becoming a swan. The reasons for this impossibility are quite obvious: Our political leadership presently, and in the last 6 decades, has been so colonial-like, so backward and reactionary, so self-promoting and egocentric, so non-visionary and unimaginative, and solely possessed by a mindset that is a one-dimensional focus on treating politics as a crafty means to seek and hold power – even at the cost of national survival and our future existence as a nation. They are completely blind and insensate to our socio-political realities, they do not understand the concept of social cohesion and a social contract between the governed and the governors as a means to bring all Pakistanis together across the country so that people can resolve all of their problems including economic deprivations, provincial and sectarian issues, the question of terrorism and an end to the so-called war on terror imposed on this nation from the outside. Our ruling elite is incapable of understanding that people of this nation can establish a civil state with the rule of law and can restore peace and prosperity to this nation.

On a daily basis, our ruling “Mafia” invokes the threat of terrorism as an attempt to continue to cling to power as if they are the only ones capable of bringing stability and tackling terrorism. It would be foolish for the nation to believe their lies – in fact, the ruling elite themselves have been instrumental in bringing terrorism to this country and in continuing this war on its destructive path. All of this must stop now—before it’s too late and we are doomed to face an uncertain future.

What needs to be done to save this nation from imminent ultimate destruction at the hands of its contemporary political leadership? Our only recourse to the resolution of our national problematics and dilemmas now are the midterm elections and constituting an independent Election Commission. This will be the most important factor in the process of the democratization of this nation.

Let us be clear as to what a democratic structure entails: Democracy is not the rule of the majority – it is a system in which the majority of people take part in political, social, and economic decision-making. Majority rule and the majority of people taking part in national policy-making processes are two different things. Let me illustrate the point here: Suppose in an election, Candidate A receives 45% of the public votes, B receives 30 % and C and D receive 15% and 10% respectively. Be mindful here now; If candidate A is declared a winner, representing only 45% of the voters, then 55% of the people go unrepresented – and that is entirely contradictory to the principles of representation in a democratic system. Based on the present political system, the well-entrenched political class, from which comes the political leadership of this country, has been exploiting democracy to its own advantage. The feudal lords, the “gaddi-nasheens,” the industrial autocrats, the military-civilian mafia, the ever- turned around “lotahs” have seized upon the political process for far too long. This entire election procedure needs to be altered now.

The future Election Commission of Pakistan will have to devise and structure and alternative election process to ensure that the majority opinion is represented at all levels of elections in the country (majority opinion as opposed to simply majority rule). To do this, the EC will have to change the entire set of rules for a candidate to win an election; when a candidate does not acquire an absolute majority (let us say set at 70% of the votes) a second round and a third round of voting will have to be conducted until a candidate is able to inspire confidence in voters who are willing to change their voting loyalties. This will entail hard work, clearly laid-out political platforms, and an extended evaluation and assessment of the candidates’ personalities, their political views, problem-resolution strategies, and above all, a longer period of time for the public to do this close and seriously-focused scrutiny.
Indeed, such a democratic election process will be time-consuming and costly. But this is the only method by which the traditional political leadership can be challenged in the public arena, and their six-decade-old monopoly on political and economic power can be eliminated by people’s democratic participation and will.

As for the reform of our present political culture from within, it is an illusion to imagine that such a thing can happen. Indeed, it is an absurdity of thoughtless political imagination that internal reform can be accomplished by the political elite that have themselves time and again betrayed this nation’s democratic ideals and aspirations. This nation’s elections have been hijacked before and the present political leadership will continue to steal from this nation, including elections, as long as we, the people, do not stand together to confront them. That is what the Egyptian masses did at Tahrir Square in Cairo last January – at least in its first phase of demonstrating people’s democratic power.

Our entire contemporary political leadership lacks the moral integrity and courage to withstand an internal revolutionary process to reform itself from within. On second thought, I believe they are incapable and helpless – as Bulleh Shah pointed out:

Koray khoo na mithe hondhay Bahu
Tohray sau mon khund paviyai hu!

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Pakistan’s Fatal Dependence On United States

Posted by yourpakistan on March 14, 2011

DR. SHIREEN M. MAZARI | Banned Column

Z. A. Bhutto wrote The Myth of Independence in the late sixties and it shaped my perspective on the Pakistan-US relationship. A return to the book shows its continuing relevance today since we find ourselves trapped again in the psychological grip of a unidimensional US-centric approach to external policy that Bhutto warned against.

“American Policy To Bring Pakistan Under Indian Hegemony” goes the title of one chapter and it rings so true today. What has altered is that the stakes are more fatal because today our leaders are propagating a myth of dependency on the US that is literally deathly. It is preventing us from creating a favourable operational environment in which to tackle our home-grown demons of militancy and terrorism more effectively. Some “liberal” friends like Ayaz Amir have finally acknowledged and written about the need to delink ourselves of the failed US imperialist venture in Afghanistan.


However, we first need to rid ourselves of this myth of US dependency that some have been propagating to justify our seeming helplessness before Washington’s diktat. Not being an economist, my focus is on one part of the dependency syndrome – the military one.

However, even as a layperson it is rather apparent that if some of our Pakistani elite can hold millions in property and bank accounts abroad, much of it ill-gotten, then there is sufficient national wealth and resource for development, if corruption was weeded out and the stolen wealth brought back. Again, if only those who should be paying taxes actually paid them, including our political and business elite plus all those professionals whose incomes are not taxed at source, we would generate national revenues. Also it is certainly time to rationalise the tax in the agricultural sector so that it is based on income rather than holdings.

As for US aid, there is always a cost and when we are bandying about figures we should also look at the costs of the present alliance in terms of civilian and military deaths and injuries, displacement of people, markets lost and industries destroyed after we became a frontline state for the US-led “war on terror” which effectively has created increasing terror within Pakistan. One calculation for US aid from 1950 to 2010, is $ 22.87 billion, while losses to Pakistan for the same period have been calculated at $ 60 billion. Many economists have done far more extensive cost-benefit analyses – but don’t expect much from the set of economists presently running our affairs courtesy the IMF with their own vested US interests. The bottom line is that we have allowed ourselves to be dragged into a falsely created dependency on US aid, by vested interests, which has little to do with national needs such as greater access to markets.

The situation is even more farcical in the military field. Much is being made of the Pakistan army general who has spoken in support of the drone attacks. But why the surprise? The US has always maintained that the Pakistan government, including the military, has been complicit in the drone policy from the start. As for this myth that our military is dependent on US assistance, this needs to be exposed. Since 1967, when the US cut off military supplies and spares to Pakistan formally, the Pakistan military has moved towards indigenous production as well as acquisition of major weapon systems from alternate sources. As a result, there is now not only an indigenous conventional capability, but also missile capability with the Hatf series now solid fuelled. The Army’s tanks, APCs and other conventional weapons have no US component. We got some helicopters during the Zia dictatorship, but then they had to be grounded when their sensitive rotors caught dust and US spares were not forthcoming. Now again we have some US weapons systems for the Army in support of the counter terrorism “war” but these are not essential for our offensive strategies. As for fighting terrorism, even the US is now reluctantly conceding that a military-centric approach is wrong and only creates more space for the militants.

The PAF may feel it has a greater dependency on the US in terms of acquiring F-16s but here also we have developed alternatives with Chinese assistance such as the JF-17, the A5 (close support), F-7P (interceptor fighter) and the various Mirage 3 and 5 platforms, purchased from France and Australia but now totally updated with advanced Italian avionics packages. Certainly the F-16s add to the strength of the PAF but for decades we maintained a credible air force without US components. Also F-16s come at a high cost – both financial and political as we learned the last time we paid for F-16s but eventually got wheat and soya beans instead. Our air-launched cruise missiles also have no US dependency factor. As for the Navy, the main offensive weapon system is the submarine and the subs are French in origin but we are in the process of acquiring indigenous capability.

Even in terms of training, given the disastrous record of the US in fighting asymmetric conflicts from Vietnam to Afghanistan, we hardly need their trainers.

Also, unlike a domestic production industry which has hi-tech spin-offs for the civilian sector, importing US weaponry creates an artificial dependency with no local spin-offs. So why is this myth of military dependency being propagated? By vested interests including amongst the military and lobbyists and defence contractors.


If there is a dependency at all, it is a psychological one which is preventing us from extricating ourselves from the US deathly embrace. Bhutto referred not only to Pakistan’s first military dictator Ayub loyally stating to the US Congress (1961) that Pakistan was the only country in Asia where US forces “could land at any moment for the defence of the ‘free world’”; but also to the U2 incident where the US itself was being ambiguous but Ayub admitted that the aircraft took off from Pakistan! Are our military and civilian power holders any different today?

This column was not published by Pakistan’s Express Tribune, presumably for criticizing United States. Reach Dr. Mazari at


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What will the Next Government in Islamabad Look’s Like

Posted by yourpakistan on January 3, 2011

Published in Pakistan Patriot

Premier Gilani will be left with the support of only 160 members — 12 less than the required number to maintain his position as leader of the National Assembly in the 342-member lower house.

The PPP has only 125 seats of its own in a house of 342. The MQMs decision to sit on the opposition benches in parliament, leaves PM Yousuf Raza Gilani as Leader of the House without a majority. JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman has asked President Asif Zardari to replace Mr Gilani with another PPP leader.

The Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly and PML-N Chaudhry Nisar has declared that his party would not support PPPs ‘corrupt’ set-up. Mr. Zardari is camped out in Karachi hopeful that the MQM would come back to the coalition. The PML-Q, with over 50 seats in the Lower House, can help the government stay afloat even if all other allies of the PPP leave the treasury benches and decide to sit in the opposition.

The MQM sees itself as a King Maker. Today they can surely exact the price from the PPP. The PPP led coalition government is now hanging by a thin thread. The PPP did not acquiesce to the demands of the MQM for the removal of the Sindh Home Minister Dr Zulfiqar Mirza and the Urban Sindhis wanted the interior ministry of Sindh. Mr. Zardari camped out in Karachi was unable to give in to the demands of the MQM. The MQM’s Damocles sword is hanging over the government of Mr. Gilani. The MQM’s decision puts moral pressure upon the Prime Minister to seek a vote of confidence. At present the Premier has no justification continue as the Prime Minister.

The government’s missteps have created a crisis for Mr. Zardari and the PPP. The coalition government finds itself in a precarious situation. As a minority government it can last on the goodwill of the opposition. Henceforth Mr Gilani will not be able to weather the storm of a No-Confidence motion. In fact as of Monday the opposition will have votes than the government in power.

The downfall of the compliant government in Islamabad will have regional and international repercussions. A coalition led by the PMLN, PMLQ will inherently be more nationalistic and would not tolerate drone bombings and open access to the CIA in Pakistan

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