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Ministries: a review: by Dr Sania Nishtar  in The News, October 31, 2014

The writer is the president of the think tank Heartfile.

A special cabinet meeting has been scheduled for today (October 31) to conduct a performance review of all ministries, divisions and departments. In this context, I am offering some reflections from my tenure as federal minister in the interim government last year.


These reflections relate to the systemic constraints, which in my opinion, stand in the way of effective governance and hence hamper the government’s performance. The frame of reference is government ministries and the issues highlighted are of a long-standing systemic nature.


First, an objective assessment of performance is possible only when goals, time-bound outcome-based targets, and performance metrics have been pre-defined. None of these is the norm in ministries. Government functionaries usually do not have a clear sense of delivery with no clear terms of reference and measurable operational targets in the conte....... Read more

October 31, 2014   No Comments

Waiting for the other shoe: by M A Niazi  in The Nation, October 31, 2014

The writer is a veteran journalist and founding member as well as executive editor of The Nation.

Now that PAT chief Tahirul Qadri has called his sit-in off, the government, like the man who hears the lodger in the room above him drop one shoe and then the other before going to bed, has heard one shoe drop: he waits now, for the other shoe, i.e., PTI chief Imran Khan to make a similar announcement. He is adamant at the moment, but the government is hopeful. With PAT gone, the PTI may find itself swept away by state force. Before that inglorious end, it would be best if the PTI chief himself ends the sit-in.

However, the conditions of the sit-in so far show that the strategists of both sit-ins like to take matters to their ultimate conclusion. This reminds one of Imran Khan in his cricketing days, when he preferred a result to a draw. But did he prefer a loss? That is the distinction of cricket; that matches end in draws, though one-day cricket leads to results, even in ma....... Read more

October 31, 2014   No Comments

Deal or strategic change?: op-ed by Farooq Hameed Khan  in The Nation, October 31, 2014

The writer is a retired brigadier and a political/defence analyst and columnist.

From the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Dr Tahir ul Qadri’s changed tone and lack of aggression during the last few weeks or so of the inqilabi dharna, it was apparent that something unusual was cooking up. As his charged followers prepared for their 68th day in D- square, their leader gave sudden orders to pack up and go home.

The level to which Dr Qadri had raised his followers’ expectations was visible from the emotions of the shocked supporters as they left D square. While men seemed visibly upset and dejected, many women cried and gave solace to their companions. Those were certainly not victory hugs.

Shocked Pakistanis continue to ask why Dr Qadri called off the D square dharna. Did he strike a secret deal with the government? What was the quid pro quo for lifting the dangling sword from the Sharifs? Has the Model Town cause been compromised? Will the inqilabis’ sacrifi....... Read more

October 31, 2014   No Comments

High drama: Editorial  in The Express Tribune, October 31st, 2014

The theatrics that have been on since the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) announced the resignation of its representatives from the National Assembly and three provincial assemblies nearly two months ago continue. The 25 PTI MNAs who visited the speaker’s lounge on October 29 declined to meet Speaker Ayaz Sadiq individually, as he had sought. They asked instead that the speaker meet them collectively to verify their resignations. Since Mr Sadiq declined to do this, the strange state of impasse then continues. The speaker has now written to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) seeking its help in the matter. While this falls within the rules governing the National Assembly, which allow the speaker to seek assistance from any source, the ECP has made it clear that it will, realistically, not be able to offer much help.


This matter has lingered on for far too long. It needs to be resolved. The PTI itself, too, must be aware of this, with conjecture doing the rou....... Read more

October 31, 2014   No Comments

Lesson for the PTI: edit in daily times, October 31, 2014

The Supreme Court (SC) has dismissed all the three petitions seeking the annulment of the 2013 general elections on the grounds of rigging. According to the SC, it cannot entertain a petition based on mere allegations, unless there is proof that the 2013 general elections were rigged. The court opined that it is not the job of the SC to investigate allegations of rigging. On the issue of maintainability, the court stressed the importance of the election tribunals as the right forum to file such petitions. The petitioners, according to the court, also lacked locus standi to file the petitions, and unless the parliamentarians were made a party to the petition, since they would be the direct affectees of any decision given in the case, the petition could not be taken up.

According to legal experts, the SC should not have been involved in political matters and it was a wrong step by the petitioners to knock at the doors of the SC. However, by dismissing the petitions the court has c....... Read more

October 31, 2014   No Comments

Politics of resignation:  Editorial  in Dawn, October 31st, 2014

ON Wednesday, as most — though, tellingly, not all — PTI MNAs went to parliament to confirm their resignations, Asad Umar joked on Twitter that it was more difficult to resign than to get elected. While there are some obvious punchlines in the cat-and-mouse game between the PTI MNAs and Speaker of the National Assembly Ayaz Sadiq, the issue of PTI resignations remains a serious and complex matter.To be sure, there are no real legal or constitutional impediments to resigning from parliament — anyone who wants to resign can and should be able to do so. The matter is purely political: for several reasons, the PML-N, and possibly the speaker in particular, would rather the PTI not resign from parliament.For one, a National Assembly without the party that garnered the second highest votes in the May 2013 general election would lose some of its claim to completeness and representativeness. For another, a spate of by-elections nationally would allow the PTI, even if it only backs so-cal....... Read more

October 31, 2014   No Comments

Beyond rational analysis?: edit in daily times, October 31, 2014

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) continues showing signs of fracturing as legislators prevaricate in the process of resigning from the National Assembly (NA). On Wednesday, 25 PTI Members of the National Assembly (MNAs) appeared in parliament to confirm their resignations in person to Speaker Ayaz Sadiq but were refused to meet him individually as required by the NA rules of procedure. Instead they demanded he meet them collectively in the NA lounge. The PTI said that it was not allowing its legislators to meet the Speaker individually lest some of them decided to “change their loyalty”. One PTI MNA told journalists: “The number of MNAs opposing resignation from the NA is increasing.” A group of PTI MNAs has said that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Assembly must be dissolved in line with the party’s stated policy if they are expected to hand in their resignations, while three have simply refused to resign. Around 20 provincial PTI legislators are reportedly reluctant to hand ....... Read more

October 31, 2014   No Comments

The PTI circus: edit  in the News,  October 31, 2014

The PTI may have a flair for drama but possesses precious little regard for democratic norms. Ever since Imran Khan announced that all his MNAs would resign from the National Assembly, Speaker Ayaz Sadiq has made clear that each MNA would have to confirm their intention to vacate their seats alone and in person. The thinking behind this is that the MNAs may have been pressurised to resign by Imran against their will. There is some reason to believe this may be the case since only 25 of the party’s 33 legislators showed up at the National Assembly, with one member being sick and Imran himself staying away. This means at least six PTI MNAs may not wish to resign and there are reports that a total of 15 want to retain their seats and had been assured by Shah Mehmood Qureshi that there would be no resignations handed in. Whether those reports are true or not, it is undeniable that the MNAs were there to provoke further controversy rather than follow the speaker’s rules. They showed up ....... Read more

October 31, 2014   No Comments

Will we de-radicalise?: edit in daily times, October 31, 2014

The bloodthirsty Mumtaz Qadri appears to be on a lifelong mission to turn the country into a nation of pious murderers. An inquiry report has revealed shocking facts regarding the shooting in Adiala Jail earlier this month that left one blasphemy accused dead and another wounded. The prison guard who shot the blasphemy accused Muhammad Asghar, a mentally ill 70-year-old Briton, it turns out got his spiritual training from the murderer of Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer. The guard had spent two weeks deployed on duty to watch over Mumtaz Qadri in confinement, during which the latter corrupted his mind with his extremist indoctrination and incited him to kill Muhammad Asghar. The report also suggests that Qadri enjoys a venerable status within the prison in the eyes of the staff and other inmates. Moreover, he had two other guards lined up for carrying out similar assassinations. How much our security forces have been radicalised should be evident by now as almost every violent incursion ....... Read more

October 31, 2014   No Comments

CEC appointment: Supreme Court rebuffs Khursheed Shah’s plea

By Hasnaat Malik in The Express Tribune, October 31st, 2014.

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday turned down opposition leader Khursheed Shah’s appeal for more time to finalise the appointment of a permanent chief election commissioner (CEC) – a post that has been vacant for over a year now.


A three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Nasirul Mulk, also directed the prime minister to appoint the new poll chief by November 13 after completing the required consultations.


Issuing a stern warning earlier this month, the court gave the federal government two weeks to appoint a permanent head of the top poll supervisory body, or else it would withdraw its judge, Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, who is currently serving as the acting election commission chief.


During the hearing on Thursday, Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan, who was representing the opposition leader, had sought ....... Read more

October 31, 2014   No Comments