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Judge, jury, executioner: by SAAD RASOOL in the Nation, October 19, 2014

The writer is a lawyer based in Lahore. He has a Masters in Constitutional Law from Harvard Law School.
A perverse trend is sweeping through the socio-political culture of Pakistan. A trend that renders the entire system of justice nugatory, and entrusts select individuals (not institutions) to be the ‘judge, jury, and executioner’, despite constitutional and legal protections to the contrary.
Let me explain.
In an ongoing drama that has the entire nation entranced, day after day (at least four times a week), the airing of Mubashar Lucman’s ‘Kharra Sach’ singles out a few individuals, presents (allegedly) conclusive evidence of their corruption, holds them guilty in the ‘court of the people’, and forever taints their credibility, without any recourse to the due process of law.
Just to be clear: whether such individuals are in fact guilty of the alleged corruption is irrelevant for the purposes of this argument; what matters is that, without recours....... Read more

October 19, 2014   No Comments

Mutilating the constitution: by NADEEM M QURESHI in the Nation, October 19, 2014

The writer is a Chairman of Mustaqbil Pakistan.
The present Constitution of Pakistan was ratified in August 1973. In the years that have passed since then, it has suffered much abuse. That it remains today, mutilated as it is, the law of the land is due to the legitimacy of the parliament which ratified it. This parliament was the result of elections held in 1970 which are widely accepted as being the cleanest and fairest elections ever in Pakistan’s history. And it is the unanimous approval with which this parliament enacted the 1973 Constitution that has given it its longevity.
Since 1973, both civilian and military rulers have sought to modify it. Their motivation for doing so was to suit their needs, not the public interest.
The first person to tamper with it, ironically, was one of its main architects, the democratic Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. His second amendment to the Constitution in 1974 declared Ahmadis to be non-Muslims and inserted a definition ....... Read more

October 19, 2014   No Comments

The ideology-less Nawaz Sharif: op-ed by Mosharraf Zaidi in The News, October 19th, 2014

The writer is an analyst and commentator. www.mosharrafzaidi.com
The ideology-less Nawaz SharifSome people believe that in diverse democracies, ideology is an obstacle to growth and progress. This is because ideology, when adopted in places where it has no chance of being ubiquitously compelling, divides more than it unites, and therefore, prevents action. Like everything, the degree of problem that ideology represents is dependent on context. It represents a smaller order problem for established, mature and developed democracies like the United States, and a massive problem for underdeveloped, still-growing democracies like Pakistan.

In America, small cohorts of the population can, respectively, get riled up by Rachel Maddow on the one hand, and Sean Hannity on the other – but the ideological noise in the discourse doesn’t paralyse basic civic functionality for streets and neighbourhoods across the country.

In Pakistan, an ideological onslaught from, let’s sa....... Read more

October 19, 2014   No Comments

Pyramids of ego: by Adnan Randhawa in The News, October 19th, 2014

The writer is a lawyer.
The political crisis is heading towards its end. The tide of this crisis brought multitudes of dangers but many blessings in disguise will be left behind when it recedes. In national discourse, only national interests and not individuals matter; we have escaped major national loss, and even individuals have come out unharmed.

The only loss has been of the egos that stood higher than pyramids and have now been reduced to rubble. A few weeks of this political upheaval have taken the wind out of the sails of certain haughty institutions and individuals including Nawaz government, the establishment, Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri.

The Nawaz government, after getting its ‘heavy mandate’ got a swollen head. Musharraf’s illegitimate regime, the lessons learnt during exile, the ‘democratic’ experiences during the Zardari era – all seemed to have lost their effect. What transpired was the repetition of old ways of personal rule witnessed dur....... Read more

October 19, 2014   No Comments

The hour of trial: op-ed by Amir Zia in The News, Oct 20, 2014

The writer is editor The News, Karachi.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif may have succeeded in clinging to power for now against the backdrop of anti-government sit-ins in Islamabad and mammoth public rallies in the other major cities, but Pakistan’s political turmoil remains far from over. Rather, it is all set to aggravate.

The country’s fast drift towards intense political instability has now become a stark reality given the extreme and confrontationist positions the two squabbling sides have taken.

The heightened political polarisation is likely to consume most of the government’s energy and attention in the coming weeks and months as it attempts to counter its rivals and tries to just remain afloat. That means that the ability and capacity of Sharif and his team to improve governance or concentrate on mid- to long-term policy measures vital to address pressing issues will reduce further. This will whip up public discontent and add to the opposition campaign vy....... Read more

October 19, 2014   No Comments

Changing political landscape: By Babar Sattar in Dawn, Oct 20, 2014

The writer is a lawyer.
AT the risk of gross generalisation, here is the takeaway from Multan’s by-election. One, ideological politics is dead. The left-right divide in terms of which we have analysed election prospects for the last four decades is no longer a useful analytical tool. Those whose political consciousness was shaped in the late ’60s and early ’70s by politics of left and right, liberalism and conservatism are now a minority. With an average national age of 23.5, the politicised youth of Pakistan that will decide the fortunes of political parties is non-ideological.

Two, the two-party system that emerged during the ’90s is undergoing a metamorphosis. PTI has emerged as the new mainstream party that is giving the traditional mainstream parties — PML-N and PPP — a run for their money. But the three-way contest in a non-ideological environment is more bad news for PPP than PML-N. The myth of the ’90s that the PPP voter stayed at home when unhappy as....... Read more

October 19, 2014   No Comments

Bilawal’s rally: Editorial in Dawn, October 20th, 2014

THE PPP rally in Karachi on Saturday demonstrated the party’s enduring appeal in Sindh and established that Bilawal Bhutto Zardari at least appears to understand the basic fault lines and the existential challenges the country faces today.To the party’s detractors, however, the memory of the disastrous governance between 2008 and 2013 is still far too fresh, and the Sindh provincial government’s ongoing problems of administration render the party a part of the problem rather than the solution a change-seeking electorate wants.Yet, whatever the pundits on both sides of the PPP divide may believe, there are certain realities that transcend wishful thinking.

For one, the PPP will command a winning vote bank in Sindh for the foreseeable future — unless a new political alternative appears which can appeal to the needs of the Sindh voter. But there is no sign of that political alternative appearing, and one or two PTI rallies will not change the situation.For another, the coun....... Read more

October 19, 2014   No Comments

The ways of the PPP: Editorial in The News, October 20th, 2014.

The PPP is at a crossroads and its leadership knows it. Its disastrous tenure in government left it bereft of support outside its home of rural Sindh. The PTI has displaced it as the second-largest party in Punjab, the province where elections are decided. And, so, in a desperate attempt at relevance, the PPP took a leaf out of the PTI book and staged a massive rally in Karachi. The numbers it was able to draw out were impressive – but street power has always been a speciality of the party. The fervour of its audience aside, the rally itself, and especially Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s speech, left one wondering what the PPP’s raison d’etre is. The criticisms Bilawal made of the PML-N government where all valid, from its neglect of southern Punjab to its inability to provide relief to the public. But all these complaints could just as easily be directed at the PPP and it had five years to achieve something, unlike the one year the PML-N has had so far. This has always been the prob....... Read more

October 19, 2014   No Comments

Ruling party eyes overhaul of federal, Punjab cabinets

By Abdul Manan in The Express Tribune, October 20th, 2014.
ISLAMABAD: The ruling Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) has decided to expand the federal cabinet as well as the Punjab cabinet, most probably by the end of the month of Muharram, The Express Tribune has learnt. The expansion will see some fresh faces from both the PML-N as well as some allied parties joining the federal and provincial cabinets.
The decision, according to sources, was taken in a series of brainstorming sessions of the ruling party this month. These sessions were attended by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his core ministers – Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Ishaq Dar, Khawaja Asif, Pervaiz Rashid and Ahsan Iqbal – Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and his son MNA Hamza Shahbaz. They also decided to take back additional portfolios from some of the incumbent federal ministers.
The expansion was expected last month but the move was deferred due to the volatile political situation in the country. ....... Read more

October 19, 2014   No Comments

Qadri demands national govt with ‘Ehtesab mandate’: The News Oct 20, 2014

By Asim Hussain & Faizan Bangash
LAHORE: Pakistan Awami Teheek (PAT) chief Tahirul Qadri and leaders of his allied parties on Sunday vowed to continue their political agitation till the ouster of the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

They asked their workers to make all-out preparations for defeating the Pakistan Muslim League-N and Pakistan People’s Party in the next elections.

Addressing a sizeable gathering at the Minar-e-Pakistan, the PAT chief, Dr Qadri, vowed to continue his struggle till the removal of the Nawaz government and formation of a national government with the mandate for conducting ruthless accountability before holding the next elections. He said even if an interim government was formed, it should be a national government and must not hold the elections without first conducting strict accountability of the past rulers.

He said: “If elections were imposed on the country, the PAT and allies would fully participate in them and....... Read more

October 19, 2014   No Comments