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The piety of politicians: S Iftikhar Murshed in the News, July 27

The writer is the publisher of Criterion Quarterly.

Pakistan is at war but its all-powerful prime minister, Mian Nawaz Sharif, is nowhere around. Last Sunday he flew off to Saudi Arabia where he and his family will spend the last days of Ramazan in prayer, contemplation and long vigils at Islam’s holiest places. Such piety, though undoubtedly soul-enriching, is nevertheless supererogatory and not a religious obligation. One hopes that the prime minister has travelled to the holy land at his own cost and the expenditure will not be defrayed from the national exchequer.

This brings to mind events in the country last year. Nawaz Sharif was sworn in for an unprecedented third prime ministerial term on June 5, 2013 amid hopes that this would be the curtain raiser for enduring peace, stability and self-sustaining economic growth. But it took him less than five weeks to spark a political crisis.

On a petition submitted by the PML-N leadership, the Supreme Court advanced....... Read more

July 27, 2014   No Comments

Key questions someone must answer before Aug 14

By Shaheen Sehbai  in the News, July 27

DUBAI: The unfortunate decision of the PML-N government to invoke Article 245 of the Constitution for Islamabad has put all national institutions on test and could lead to unforeseen and possibly disastrous consequences.

So many questions remain unanswered that, between now and Aug 14 when the PTI long march reaches Islamabad, someone has to clearly explain what will happen.

Who will be in charge? How will things be controlled? What and where would the red lines be drawn? What orders would be given if these red lines were crossed? What if one or more Model Town episode is repeated?

A person who should know, Lt Gen (retd) Hameed Gul, said on TV that in any given situation where there is confrontation between anyone trying to violate the law under Article 245, a civilian magistrate present on the spot will order the army to take whatever action is needed.

If that were the case then is this a situation when the ar....... Read more

July 27, 2014   No Comments

A new Kayani moment?: By Cyril Almeida in Dawn, July 27th, 2014

The writer is a member of staff.

STOP the press. It’s official. The PML-N is committing political suicide. Nawaz and co are back — the original, unreconstructed Nawaz and co — and they’re dying to get kicked out.

You can even start cueing the jokes now.

Why is Nawaz already in Saudi? Because this time he didn’t want to be bundled out in a hurry.

Why did Nawaz fly commercial to Saudi? Because he only needed a one-way ticket.

The PML-N doesn’t need an opposition. It doesn’t need an opponent. It doesn’t even need an aspiring PM or a would-be uniformed saviour to pile on the pressure.

Obsessed with politics, clumsy with security, it’s a horror show of quite stunning proportions.

No, the PML-N will screw things up for itself all by itself, thank you very much.

Here’s the state of the play. The PTI is going for broke; it wants power. Imran wants to be PM and won’t rest until he is. Democracy be damned.

The b....... Read more

July 27, 2014   No Comments

Justice denied: edit in the Nation, July 27, 2014

Over a year has passed since 3000 people looted and torched Joseph Colony, a Christian community in Lahore, over suspicion of blasphemy allegedly committed by a single inhabitant, while the police stood by and watched. Sawan Masih, the man the mob was after, was sentenced to death in a Sessions Court on the basis of the blasphemy charge. The government condemned the incident, promised compensation of Rs. 500,000 per family, and moved on. 190 families lost everything but their lives in a single instant, and even after a year, 30 families have not been compensated.

The orchestration of blatant vandalism, and Sawan Masih’s “guilt” alongside it, were established on the basis of hearsay. Sawan Masih’s lawyer will appeal his case all the way to the Supreme Court, but it won’t make a difference. Even if the allegations are proved baseless, his life will be under constant threat from people like those in the mob who destroyed the lives of the inhabitants of Joseph Colony........ Read more

July 27, 2014   No Comments

Stability hinges on good governance : edit in The Frontier Post July 27, 2014

The nation has been listening to the concerns of the politicians that hidden hands are at work to destabilize the government, or unconstitutional means could be employed to send the government packing home. The government appears to be nervous from the calls of Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri for long march and revolution respectively. Some commentriat and politicos say that military establishment is behind them, but there is not even an iota of truth in such discourse. However, as a counter measure, the government has invoked Article 245 of the Constitution, and military would be posted in Islamabad from 1st August for three months. The problem is that the ruling party had made promises about improvement in load shedding, bringing relief to the masses but prices of essential items and electricity tariff have broken the back of the common man. In other words, the government has not been able to deliver, or show semblance of the direction that people’s problems would be addressed. It....... Read more

July 27, 2014   No Comments

Electoral reforms: Editorial in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2014.

The holding of free, fair and transparent elections in Pakistan is still something of a dream. The previous election, according to most of the external election monitors, was one of the more honest that has been held, and although there were clear instances of rigging of results in the big picture, they were not enough to affect the overall outcome. The outcry over the tallying in a handful of seats occupies a disproportionate amount of time and misdirected political energy, but it is fair to say that our electoral system is long overdue for an overhaul. A task that is fraught with difficulties and pitfalls, not the least being that there are many who would not wish for a system where it was more difficult to stuff ballot boxes and where they would have to conduct electoral business honestly and transparently.

The National Assembly speaker on July 25 notified the names of a 33-member electoral reform committee, having received the list of senators who were nominated by the Upper....... Read more

July 27, 2014   No Comments

Time for talks with govt over, says PTI: By Khawar Ghumman in Dawn, July 27th, 2014

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf made it clear on Saturday that time for talks with the government to find a common ground on its demands for electoral reforms and audit of election results was over. The party said it would go ahead with its march slated for Aug 14 with “full force”.

At the same time the PTI core committee also warned the government against invoking Article 245, arguing that using the army for political purposes was dangerous and if the decision was not reversed, the party reserved the right to challenge it in the Supreme Court.

“Now the time for such approaches is over. The core committee concluded that now the decisions will be made after the arrival of the Azadi March in Islamabad on Aug 14,” the PTI declared after a meeting, presided over by Imran Khan.

Talking to Dawn, a member of the PTI core committee said till now a few people in the party were in favour of talks with the government, instead of going ahead with the long march....... Read more

July 27, 2014   No Comments

Government decides to have direct talks with PTI

Islamabad- Government has decided to enter into direct talks with Pakistan Tehreek-e- Insaf (PTI).

The government negotiating team will be set up  under interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan with senator Ishaq Dar, Khawaja Saad Rafiq, Pervez Rashid and Raja Zafar ul Haq its other  members. Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) Sardar Mehtab Abbasi will assist the team. Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Amir Seraj ul Haq will also be contacted in this respect.

PML-N leadership, after prolonged consultations, reached the decision that all the democratic options be adopted for holding talks with Imran Khan at political level. Pursuing the option of negotiations with Imran Khan does not mean weakness on the part of government but the government wants the matters are  sorted out through reconciliation. If PTI nods no to the talks then a high level meeting of PML-N will take place under Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to evolve strategy with reference to Azadi March. On the other hand PML-Q ....... Read more

July 27, 2014   No Comments

Policies of Musharraf must be revoked: Sirajul Haq

PESHAWAR- Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) leader Sirajul Haq said the policies of former military ruler Pervez Musharraf’s time, are still working in the country.

The JI chief said the state of instability in the tribal belt was a repercussion of Musharraf’s erroneous policy, which was still prevalent in the country.

Siraj distributed Eid packages in Peshawar among the displaced civilian population of the North Waziristan military operation. The JI chief recommended that instead of making displaced people wait in long queues for aid, the officials concerned should ensure their speedy return.

On the subject of the ongoing Israeli assault on Gaza, Siraj said that Israel should be expelled from the United Nations.http://www.nation.com.pk/national/26-Jul-2014/policies-of-musharraf-must-be-revoked-sirajul-haq

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July 27, 2014   No Comments

Nawaz, Shahbaz, Imran pose serious threats: reveals IM

ISLAMABAD- Interior Ministry’s sources on Saturday claimed for receiving reports that important political figures including Chairman Imran Khan are at the top on the hit list of militants.
A private TV channel reported that reports received by intelligence agencies disclosed that national political leadership poses serious threats from terrorists.
Keeping the threats in view, Imran Khan, Prime Minister Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif and Chief Minister Shahbaz Sahrif are advised to remain cautious by limiting their movement and activities.
Rallies in federal capital, Islamabad and provincial capitals are reported to be targeted and guidelines for security arrangements have been issued in this regard, said sources.

Nawaz, Shahbaz, Imran pose serious threats: reveals....... Read more

July 27, 2014   No Comments