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Why democracy needs time: by HASSAN JAVID in The Nation Aug 24, 2014

The writer is an assistant professor of political science at LUMS.

The charges against the current government are myriad. In addition to the allegations that it came to power on the basis of a rigged election, it stands accused of an inability to deal with the problems that Pakistan currently faces. The country’s electricity crisis remains unresolved, the economy is still anaemic, corruption is rampant, and the traditional networks of patronage politics and elite dominance remain in place. To make matters worse, the government appears to not have a comprehensive vision for tackling these issues, and has thus far displayed a worrying lack of interest in improving governance. As such, in the present juncture, there has been a re-emergence of a narrative that questions the value of continuing with the current democratic dispensation. It is argued that a democracy of this sort is one not worth having, and that it is better to simply start afresh, either with the dissolution of the....... Read more

August 24, 2014   No Comments

Dilemma of Barelvi politics: By Muhammad Amir Rana in Dawn, August 24th, 2014

The writer is a security analyst.

Irrespective of what Allama Tahirul Qadri is destined to achieve through his politics of agitation, he is injecting a sort of activism among disillusioned Barelvi religious organisations with a political orientation.

Most religio-political organisations subscribing to the Barelvi school of thought do not have organised structures and networks. Pirs, or custodians of shrines, and influential religious scholars constitute the local power centres and seek strength from the followers of their respective shrines.

They hesitate to pool their local political resources to form a mainstream party fearing it might compromise their authority. Also, they think it will curtail their bargaining position in local politics used to make alliances with mainstream political parties. Eventually, they tend to secure their local interests that are largely linked to maintaining their influence over their followers. Although they sometimes succeed in gett....... Read more

August 24, 2014   No Comments

Saving the PM?: By Farhan Bokhari in Dawn, August 24th, 2014

The writer is an Islamabad-based journalist.

As the political storm led by Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri continues in Islamabad, the illustrious members of Pakistan’s parliament have rallied behind Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, supporting his belief that his position cannot be up for grabs. But saving the prime minister may be far easier said than done.

Sharif appears convinced of Pakistan’s inevitable downhill journey if he is forced out eventually. However, with or without his survival in the face of the country’s increasingly troublesome and treacherous politics, Sharif’s future as a relevant member of the power structure may have been compromised.

Parliamentarians from both sides of the political divide are backing Sharif on the grounds of preventing a dangerous precedent where a mob forces out a democratically elected chief executive. What is there to stop a repeat of a similar episode in future, goes the argument.

Yet, while there is no doubt tha....... Read more

August 24, 2014   No Comments

Revolutionary charlatans : edit in The News, Aug 24, 2014

With speculation rife and uncertainty everywhere, statements coming from the military calling for sagacity and wisdom from all stakeholders, and for the current political crisis to be sorted out quickly, were interpreted in different ways. Most analysts saw this as a sign that the military wished to stay away from the fray and leave the messed-up affairs of politics to the government. The government itself assured a nervous public that the military was committed to upholding the constitution. Yet, quite a few others sensed in this a kind of warning at a time when every word, every phrase was being dissected and placed under the microscope. Even though there are drastic dissimilarities, some have found the situation reminiscent of the protests by the Pakistan National Alliance against Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, which too was spurred by such allegations. We all know the sorry end to that saga. The ISPR statement certainly acted to remind people of such possibilities. This, most likely, is the ....... Read more

August 24, 2014   No Comments

Policing The Police: edit in The Nation, Aug 24, 2014

The Punjab Police is a notorious institution; inept, behind the times and with its constables working primarily to generate petty bribes. The Model town incident confirmed a few other facts for us. Seeing that the ‘operation’ against Tahir-ul-Qadri commenced in tandem with the beginnings of his revolutionary intentions, it is safe to say that the actions of the police are dictated by the ruling party and not by its own operation procedures. The non-registration of a FIR against the government did nothing to dispel this belief either, and the narrative against the police was strengthened by the brutal and barbaric beatings of captured activists as well as indiscriminate shootings; all of which confirmed the idea that the police is an ill-trained, ill-managed, trigger happy force with little institutional accountability and little disconnect from politics.

However, with Shahbaz Sharif distancing himself from the police in the aftermath of the incident, there is a rather unplan....... Read more

August 24, 2014   No Comments

Above The Law : edit in The Nation, Aug 24, 2014

On Friday, Information Minister Pervez Rashid filed a petition in the Lahore High Court (LHC) challenging the orders given by a Session court in Lahore. On 17 August, a Session court judge had ordered the SHO of Faisal Town Police Station to register a FIR against 21 persons from Punjab Police and PML-N, including PM Nawaz Sharif and Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif, over the June 17 Model Town incident, which left at least 12 Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) supporters dead and several injured. Now, the accused are well within their rights to challenge the Session court’s decision. The law permits them. What the law does not allow them to do is defy specific court orders simply because they disapprove of them. That is exactly what has been happening at the Faisal Town Police Station, and there should be no doubt that the PML-N has everything to do with it.

For a good six days, the Session court verdict remained unchallenged. What that means is that the SHO was bound by law to register th....... Read more

August 24, 2014   No Comments

The media noise : Editorial in Dawn, August 24th, 2014

It may be a sign of progress considering that the last time a government was under prolonged siege in the country, criticism lacked the intensity and urgency of today.

In fact, the intense media coverage of the current political situation involving the two sit-ins in Islamabad has resulted in the observation that all that was required to thwart a revolution was to switch off the television channels.

There are also complaints by people — not the politicians concerned — of partisanship by the media, thus relegating sensationalism to the status of a far lesser evil in the current discourse. There are news anchors who are accused of instigation and provocation, while some anchors make no secret of their presence among the protesters — as protesters.

In the now-forgotten past, journalists would scoff when they were accused by anyone of pushing an agenda. Today, a journalist walking around without an agenda could invite suspicion about his or her motives.

No....... Read more

August 24, 2014   No Comments

Zardari, Nawaz meeting makes PPP policy clear in present crisis: The News, Aug 24, 2014

ISLAMABAD: The pronounced outcome of former President and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chief Asif Ali Zardari’s meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will help clear the ambiguity and confusion being spread by some of the former’s lieutenants about the party policy in the prevailing crisis, writes Tariq Butt.

Meanwhile, Zardari emerged as the weighty reconciliatory voice, stressing supremacy of Parliament and the Constitution, in the current critical milieu. “We did not boycott the National Assembly although [when elections were stolen] we had just 17 seats. Similarly, Al-Gore did not go for agitation although he had won election but was not made US president,” he said giving a clear message to the PTI not to leave the assemblies.

There was “no third umpire” in his view. “We all [politicians] are umpires. We don’t want mattes go to that extent. Politicians will find a solution. No [provincial] government should challenge the federal administration throu....... Read more

August 24, 2014   No Comments

Chaudhrys refuse to budge on demands: The Nation, Aug 24, 2014


LAHORE – Former president and PPP de facto chief, Asif Ali Zardari who is known among the political circles as master of reconciliation met with the PML-Q top leadership on Saturday to reverse at least Inqlab March but failed to get an assurance from Chaudhrys of Gujrat for convincing Dr Tahirul Qadri to withdraw the same under a workable political deal.

The PML-Q high command told the PPP leader that no talks could prove fruitful until the resignation of the ruling family and registration of FIR against the accused of Model Town tragedy.

PML-Q, which was a former coalition partner of the PPP, is believed to be the policy-making force of Dr Tahirul Qadri’s Inqlab March plans and strategy.  The ruling party which is facing the siege of PTI and PAT in the federal capital has failed to get a bailout even by involving the master of reconciliation, Asif Ali Zardari.

It is now nine days that the PML-N, despite employing di....... Read more

August 24, 2014   No Comments

PPP top boss visits Mansoora after 37-year gap: Daily Times, Aug 24, 2014

LAHORE – Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari has met Jamaat-e-Islami chief Sirajul Haq here on Saturday while this is the first visit of a PPP chief to Mansoora in the past 37 years.

Current political crisis has brought all major political parties close to each other. The continuation of democracy has forced all politicians to join hands. After PPP founding chairman Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, this is the first visit of top PPP leader to Mansoora in the past 37 years.

Opposition Leader in National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah, former Interior Affairs minister Rehman Malik, Senator Raza Rabbani and Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan were also accompanied their party co-chairman. During the meeting, views were exchanged between the PPP and Jamaat leadership on current political crisis.

Both the sides agreed upon making efforts to preserve democracy in the state and to find a peaceful solution to the crisis. Zardari praised efforts of the Jamaat leader in reso....... Read more

August 24, 2014   No Comments