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Imran knew 2014 poll plan for a year: by Waseem Abbasi in The News, September 01, 2014

ISLAMABAD: After shocking revelations of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf (PTI) President Javaid Hashmi, more voices are emerging from the party to indicate that PTI chairman Imran Khan was following a well scripted plan, chalked out as early as last year to oust Nawaz Sharif’s government.

Party insiders told The News that the plan was partially conveyed to a parliamentary party meeting held at Imran Khan’s residence at Bani Gala three months after May 11, 2013 elections. “The meeting of PTI parliamentarians were told by the Chairman (Imran Khan) to prepare for the elections in 2014 as the Nawaz government will not last more than a year,” said the party MNA from Karak, Nasir Khan Khattak.

Referring to the meeting held soon after the UK visit of the PTI Chairman after 2013 polls, Khattak said the party MNAs were directed to go to their constituencies as next elections will be held in 2014. “We did not take this advice very seriously at that time but current developments ....... Read more

September 2, 2014   No Comments

The writer is an Islamabad based freelance columnist.

The burden of history: op-ed by Marvi Sirmed in The Nation, Sept 2, 2014

The past politics of Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PMLN) have been far from ethical or principled. We grew up with images of Mian Nawaz Sharif as the trusted man of a dictator who was later exposed to be working with “individuals from the ISI” to forge an election alliance of almost all political forces just to erase the Pakistan Peoples Party (Mehran Gate). Then, to name another, there was a Hudaibiya Paper Mills Corruption Scandal.

In the politics of the 1990s, PMLN was seen to be involved with the deep state for not only deposing PPP governments but also forging cases of corruption against its leaders (it was admitted by the now-Defence-Minister in the National Assembly in 2005). This is not to say of course, that the PPP was never involved in corruption.

It was much before the last PPP government that we found the PMLN using abusive language against Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto in publi....... Read more

September 2, 2014   No Comments

They all did this to Pakistan: by Mosharraf Zaidi in The News, Sept 2, 2014

The writer is an analyst and commentator.

The Red Zone is still thick with tear gas. There are no fewer than 500 people injured in Poly Clinic and PIMS. Worst of all, at least three people have died from injuries sustained during the storming of the parliament and PM House, directed by Imran Khan and Tahir ul Qadri. SSP Asmat Junejo, a valiant son of Pakistan, sits in hospital, broken and bruised from the brutality he endured at the hands of Qadri and Khan’s hordes of junooni supporters. What a royal mess.

The polarisation of the discourse is now so stark and deep, and people’s nerves are so exhausted that little is left in the tank for a reasoned argument or debate. Emotions are not only the primary informant of the proclamations of bored teenagers, but even of the most mature and erudite adults among us. Vileness grows in us all, but it is oxygenated by desperation. Accusations and abuse are the refuge of desperate people.

Pakistanis, desperate to live in....... Read more

September 2, 2014   No Comments

The inevitable postponed, not averted: By Ayaz Amir in The News, Sept 2, 2014

If the bugles had been sounded on Sunday evening when the corps commanders met, and if what is now an apology of a government had been given its marching orders, no one would have been surprised. A country living on the edge for weeks had been brought to expect this.

But the generals perhaps were playing a waiting game. Perhaps they wanted to give what has now been reduced to a shambles of a government some more rope – to compound the long list of its follies and commit some more blunders. Or perhaps the generals yet had to pluck up the nerve to deliver the fatal blow, the coup de grace, to put Nawaz Sharif and his sorry lot out of their extended misery.

Whatever the reason, the generals delivered just a warning shot …calling upon this waning shadow of a mandate to desist from the use of force and waste no time in finding a political solution to its problems. This advice is rich with irony for it amounts to asking a patient in intensive care to be up and about and per....... Read more

September 2, 2014   No Comments

Revolution comes to PTV: edit in The News, Sept 2, 2014

As if storming the PM House and assaulting journalists was not bad enough, the ‘leopards and tigers’ of the two dharnas attacked the headquarters of PTV on Monday. Armed with clubs they destroyed equipment, vandalised the building and left staffers traumatised. That they had the technical ability to take PTV off the air would hint at the attack being planned in advance rather than a random outbreak of anger. It took the deployment of Rangers and then the army to clear the building and get the station running again. This is an unprecedented event which appeared to have been staged mainly by supporters of Tahirul Qadri, who had praised the hooliganism before he started lying. Some reports suggest PTI activists also followed the hoard in. Since then both the leaders have denied, in somewhat contradictory terms, that their people were involved. Qadri has said the ‘Awam’, in other words ordinary people, broke in. Why they should do so he did not explain. Imran first insisted that no....... Read more

September 2, 2014   No Comments

Truth or dare: edit in The News, Sept 2, 2014

The entire crisis we find ourselves embroiled in began with a quest to seek out the truth – going by the claims made by Imran Khan about election rigging. But along the way we have run into a labyrinth of deception and conspiracy, where it is hard to believe the PTI chairman’s repeated claim that he never lies. His party’s president, Javed Hashmi, in a startling set of revelations and allegations has said that he most certainly does and, beyond this, has been working on a devious plan allegedly involving, or seeking to involve, both the army and the judiciary and aiming to bring down the present government and pave the way for a new election in late August or September. Hashmi, whose differences with Imran have been deepening, expressed his ire over actions against institutions such as parliament. He took no names in his fiery media talk on Monday – but the insinuations were clear, stating Imran had told the party core committee about the plan and expected cooperation from the ....... Read more

September 2, 2014   No Comments

Rock and a hard place: Editorial in Dawn, September 2nd, 2014

Reprehensible as it is, the reason why the police turned their ire on journalists as Islamabad’s Constitution Avenue descended into chaos over the weekend is not hard to understand. Amid stone-pelting, tear-gassing and with a baton-charge under way, the knowledge that footage of these scenes would shortly be splashed across television screens across the country would sit like a canker. Pakistan’s police aren’t averse to using brutal methods when they feel the situation requires it, and few would welcome incontrovertible proof of it. One cameraman says that he heard someone shout “beat up the media people”, and he was thereafter chased down and beaten severely. All in all, at least 28 media persons were beaten up and injured, several despite having identified themselves with their press cards.

This episode is a sad reminder that journalists in Pakistan face a unique set of challenges while executing their jobs; the norms that have been developed to protect men and women....... Read more

September 2, 2014   No Comments

Burning the house down in protest : edit in Express Tribune, Sept 2, 2014

In 1968, the United States military, as part of the infamous Tet Offensive, heavily bombarded a town in Vietnam called Ben Tre. There were heavy civilian casualties and an estimated 550 people were killed and another 1,200 were wounded. What distinguished this battle from others in the Vietnam War was a quote from an anonymous US soldier about the offensive: “We had to destroy the village in order to save it.” While that quote may since have become disputed, it does appear to accurately reflect the attitude of the protestors in Islamabad about Pakistan: if they are not allowed to “save” the country as they deem fit, they are willing to destroy it.

The damage done to Pakistan’s fragile democratic transition by Imran Khan’s PTI and Tahirul Qadri’s PAT has by now been well documented and lamented by the few responsible sections of the press remaining in the country. What is less understood or appreciated, however, is the extent to which this protest movement has damag....... Read more

September 2, 2014   No Comments

Dictator Imran?: edit in The Nation, Sept 2, 2014

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf spent quite a lot of time talking up its democratic and revolutionary party structure before the elections. It was hailed as a party that holds inter-party elections, takes decisions based on comprehensive meetings, and involves all stakeholders in its deliberations; a model party for a new Pakistan. Yet the party’s elected President, Javed Hashmi, has unleashed a deluge of accusations against the Chairman which cast serious doubts on these cherished notions. The party that is crusading against the Sharif ‘monarchy’ is looking increasingly like Imran Khan’s personal fiefdom.

‘I don’t take dictations from anybody and Mr. Hashmi knows it,’ thundered Imran Khan as he announced that Mr Hashmi is part of the party no more. It would appear he doesn’t take non-aggressive dictation (also known as advice or dissent) from his party members either. This comes on the back of the report that three MNAs have been kicked out of the party for hesitating ....... Read more

September 2, 2014   No Comments

Out Of Line: edit in The Nation, Sept 2, 2014

Perhaps the most distressing aspect of this ongoing political turmoil is that it has brought the armed forces back on the political forefront. They stand now where they do not belong, and they’re saying things which do not suit their constitutional position. The Corps Commanders Conference on Sunday was convened to discuss the ongoing political crisis. While the generals deliberated behind closed doors, the rest of the country waited anxiously. Let’s stop here for a moment and ask ourselves: why were we afraid that they might come out and announce everyone’s going home, including the Prime Minister? Is it because of history alone or does it have something to do with how the military is currently behaving? Hours later, the meeting was over and a perplexing press statement was released.

Other than “reaffirming support to democracy”, it expressed serious concerns over the “violent turn” the ongoing crisis had taken, “resulting in large scale injuries and loss of liv....... Read more

September 2, 2014   No Comments