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The limits of populism; by Zahid Hussain  in Dawn, November 26th, 2014

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The writer is an author and journalist.

THE crowd at his rallies keeps getting bigger and Imran Khan’s tenor angrier and harsher. He keeps the audience enthralled by his relentless attack on the government that has failed to deliver. There is surely a groundswell of public support for the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) revealing a rising populist backlash against a dormant and a self-serving system. The party is seen as a catalyst for change despite chips of the old block sharing the stage with the harbinger of ‘Naya Pakistan’.

 

Imran Khan is all poised to launch what he describes as the “final war”. He says he has reached the threshold of his patience and that he cannot wait any longer. He has set Nov 30 as D-Day for the storming of the citadel. This will be his second attempt over the last three months to force the government to surrender.

 

His confidence seems to have been bolstered by the huge p....... Read more

November 26, 2014   No Comments

The war of nerves: by M Ziauddin  in The Express Tribune, November 26th, 2014.

The writer served as Executive Editor of The Express Tribune from 2009 to 2014

With Imran Khan’s November 30 deadline for the acceptance of his demands only days away, the war of nerves that had erupted between him and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on August 14 has now entered a fiercer phase. Imran has threatened to make it impossible for the PML-N government to function if it tries to forcibly disrupt his protest rally. The PML-N government, on its part, has also been issuing equally provocative statements. The purpose of indulging in such inflammatory exchanges against each other on a daily basis clearly appears to be aimed at forcing the other side to commit a political blunder or two.

 

Indeed, the PML-N government would find itself in a dire political soup if on D-day, it tried to use strong-arm tactics to disperse a democratically legitimate opposition protest rally. Likewise, Imran, on his part, would suffer a serious political setback if he failed to ....... Read more

November 26, 2014   No Comments

The war of nerves: by M Ziauddin  in The Express Tribune, November 26th, 2014.

The writer served as Executive Editor of The Express Tribune from 2009 to 2014

With Imran Khan’s November 30 deadline for the acceptance of his demands only days away, the war of nerves that had erupted between him and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on August 14 has now entered a fiercer phase. Imran has threatened to make it impossible for the PML-N government to function if it tries to forcibly disrupt his protest rally. The PML-N government, on its part, has also been issuing equally provocative statements. The purpose of indulging in such inflammatory exchanges against each other on a daily basis clearly appears to be aimed at forcing the other side to commit a political blunder or two.

 

Indeed, the PML-N government would find itself in a dire political soup if on D-day, it tried to use strong-arm tactics to disperse a democratically legitimate opposition protest rally. Likewise, Imran, on his part, would suffer a serious political setback if he failed to ....... Read more

November 26, 2014   No Comments

In the land of the Bhuttos: by Sikandar Ali Hullio in The News,  November 26, 2014

The writer is an anthropologist and freelance analyst based in Islamabad.

Imran Khan seems to be switching to the reset mode of his politics, as far as his Sindh chapter is concerned. He is neutralising his stance, gradually. He is also attempting to convert his failure into success, by mobilising the masses via huge gatherings across Punjab. And now his much ‘tsunami’ has also hit the shores of the home ground of the PPP near Larkana.

Largely considered an alien player, the PTI has been an urban political phenomenon. It is now – for the first time – entering the tough, tortuous pitches of rural Sindh.

Khan had earlier focused solely on Karachi – leaving the rest of Sindh unattended, which needed similar full coverage and concentration. With this, the full match is about to start – all other national, regional players are at the same political stadium – to get Khan’s wicket, who is hell-bent to run everyone out. Here, Sindh becomes another battlegro....... Read more

November 26, 2014   No Comments

Health Services Emergency: edit in The Nation, Nov 26, 2014

The Supreme Court (SC) has taken notice of the deaths of 22 infants in Sargodha’s District Headquarters (DHQ) Teaching hospital during the last one week, and sought a report from Punjab Health Department to be submitted within 48 hours. The three-member investigation committee formed by Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has submitted its report, which finds Medial Superintendent Iqbal Sami responsible for negligent medical treatment – a charge that has been denied as it is yet to be ascertained whether the deaths were in fact caused by negligence and lack of facilities.

 

Of course, Mr Sami can be blamed for it all. He can be locked up for the rest of his life or even hanged in public; made to pay for the deaths of 22 infants one way or the other. But who will step forward to share the blame? Who ought to be in jail for the lack of facilities and staff at the hospital? Does the Punjab government take any responsibility for the tragedy? Perhaps someone ought to form a....... Read more

November 26, 2014   No Comments

The CEC problem: edit  in The News,  November 26, 2014

More than a year has passed since Fakhruddin Ebrahim stepped down as chief election commissioner and the government, as with so many other posts, has allowed one caretaker after the other to look after the role without appointing a permanent replacement. Finally, after issuing many deadlines that have been ignored, the Supreme Court seems to have had enough. It has given the government till December 1 to choose a new CEC and said it will withdraw Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali as the acting CEC by December 5 – come what may. Furthermore, the court has reserved the right to summon the prime minister and the leader of the opposition should another deadline end up being flouted. The government’s excuse for failing to appoint a CEC – that opposition leader Khursheed Shah was out of the country – is laughable in this age of modern communications. The problem seems to be that the government had set its heart on choosing former Supreme Court chief justice Tassaduq Jillani to the post but....... Read more

November 26, 2014   No Comments

CEC conundrum: edit in daily times, nov 26, 2014

Finally running out of patience with the much delayed process of appointing a regular Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), the Supreme Court (SC) on Monday refused to give any more extensions to agree on the matter. The SC bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Nasirul Mulk only acceded to Attorney General (AG) Salman Butt’s plea on the circumstance that Prime Minister (PM) Nawaz Sharif was in Kathmandu for the SAARC summit and the Leader of the Opposition, Syed Khursheed Shah, was in London for medical treatment by giving the authorities till December 1 to complete the task. The PM and the Leader of the Opposition are the two constitutional consultees in the matter. They are expected to agree on names to be forwarded to the parliamentary committee that endorses one of the nominees for the post. Failure to meet the last and final deadline of December 1, the CJP observed, would result in the acting CEC, Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali of the SC, being withdrawn on December ....... Read more

November 26, 2014   No Comments

Eternally vacant: Editorial  in The Express Tribune, November 26th, 2014.

There are some jobs in Pakistan that appear impossible to fill, and there are equally some jobs that nobody seems keen to put themselves forward for either. One such is the permanent head of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). The post fell vacant the day after the election in 2013 and has been held by a selection of temporary and stop-gap post-holders ever since. The matter has now gone down to the wire and the Chief Justice of Pakistan has withdrawn an apex Court judge, who had been acting as an interim election commissioner, with effect from December 5. The government has been told to name a permanent head of the ECP before December 5 — and on current form, that does not look likely.

 

There is a cross-party consultation process attached to the making of the appointment, which theoretically allows the development of cross-party consensus relative to one of the most sensitive posts in the country. The post itself has become ‘sensitive’ as the oppositio....... Read more

November 26, 2014   No Comments

The sectarian volcano: Editorial  in Dawn, November 26th, 2014

 

Combating sectarian violence has become a major security headache for a number of Muslim-majority states, including Pakistan.As acclaimed Iranian-American scholar Vali Reza Nasr told a gathering in Karachi recently, sectarianism today is the most important dynamic in the Muslim world. Indeed, states like Iraq, Syria and Yemen are collapsing under the weight of protracted sectarian conflict. Unfortunately, the differences have gone beyond the realm of theological debate and now revolve around the distribution of power. Though perhaps not to the same degree as the Middle East’s hotspots, Pakistan has nevertheless also been significantly brutalised by sectarian warriors active in all regions of this country.Many of these forces, mostly created and nurtured in Ziaul Haq’s Pakistan to counter the influence of a revolutionary and unambiguously Shia Iran, have today become uncontrollable and are on ‘autopilot’. As fears grew of the ‘export’ of the Iranian revolution ....... Read more

November 26, 2014   No Comments

Tariq Pervez likely to be next CEC: by Sajid Zia in The Nation, Nov 26, 2014

LAHORE – There are bright prospects that the name of former judge of the Supreme Court, Tariq Pervez Khan, will be finalised for the appointment of chief election commissioner after two main consensus figures have refused to accept the office while there are reservations about the names of others.

 

Reliable sources in the official quarters say the name of former Peshawar High Court chief justice who was later elevated to the Supreme Court is gaining weight both on the government and the Opposition side. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Leader of Opposition Khursheed Shah are out of the country at the moment, but names for this slot are being considered through Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, the sources said, adding Dar is in contact with the parliamentary parties and is discussing the matter with the leader of the opposition on behalf of the PM.

 

The sources say among the present names Justice Tariq commands acceptance from all sides although v....... Read more

November 26, 2014   No Comments