‘Ousting PM instead of Parliament is the new khaki tactic’

By: Adnan Farooq

It goes without saying that the first thing which the Supreme Court will ask the next PM to do is to write the letter to the Swiss authorities. He will refuse too and the game continues

The Supreme Court’s verdict to disqualify Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gillani “is not a routine democratic change”, according to Ayesha Siddiqa. “In fact, it represents the new tactics of the military and its agencies,” she says.

Author of ‘Military Inc’, Ayesha Siddiqa is internationally known analyst on military and political affairs.

Commenting on the latest political developments in the country in an interview with the Viewpoint, she says: “Instead of ousting the entire Parliament, the military gets rid of prime ministers which has the same effect meaning a weak democracy. The judges seem to have become party to this”. Read on:

The opinion on Supreme Court’s verdict on Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gillani’s disqualification is divided. In general, the Opposition is hailing the verdict while the PPP and liberal circles are presenting it as a coup by other means. How do you assess the situation?

This is an intense political battle in which the Supreme Court is not neutral but a party as well. Look at the Supreme Court’s comparative behavior. There are times when it bails out murderers and looters but does not spare the ruling party in particular. Its wrath is mainly for the PPP and the chief judge seems to be making sure that he can ensure the PPP government’s ouster especially since he is now worried about his son being investigated.

Continue reading ‘Ousting PM instead of Parliament is the new khaki tactic’

Imran Khan Fails in Sindh

By: Zafar Imam

Contrary to many media reports influenced by Imran-o-Phobia, PTI Jalsa in Hyderabad was a plain failure.

Imran Khan – the emerging Tea Partier of Pakistan- held a public meeting (so-called Tsunami) in Hyderabad on 22 June, 2012 which was not more than a small tide. It ran-over to coast, smashed and died. Here I am writing an eye witness account, because I was present in the SRTC ground where it was held.

This event started very late, after 8 p.m. in evening. Before Imran Khan, PTI’s other main leaders took to stage to address the crowd. His was the last speech, which he delivered round about 9.00 pm.

There was a huge deployment of Police and rangers. Barbed wires covered most of the surrounding area. All the nearby shops and hotels were ordered to shut off their business. It felt like he is not a man opposing the Government, but a man enjoying all official protocols and security arrangements which normally an in-government politician would enjoy. SRTC ground is on the same road a few kilometers ahead where Hyderabad cantonment falls. All security arrangements, official level protocol and strategic location of the event near Hyderabad cantonment did not surprise me. Today every Tom, Dick and Harry down the street knows that he is the new found darling of Pakistani establishment.

Most of the crowd was hired. Yes, hired. They belonged to backward areas like Tharparkar and local Muzhiks of nearby towns, who were loaded into buses and driven to SRTC ground in Hyderabad. Anybody visiting the ground from backside would know this truth. Crowd was cunningly arranged in a manner that those belonging to city and looking well-dressed ‘Jazbaati Nojwans’ (angry young men) were programmed to be present in front rows, and those belonging to backward areas, seemingly hired, were programmed to sit in back benches. This sitting arrangement was designed to dodge rolling cameras, which would focus front rows most of the time and will show blurred image of backward rows, such that the ground would seem filled with crowd and cast an impression of ‘Tsunami. Most of the fans of PTI flocking into Imran Khan’s public gatherings are usually his cricket fans too. He had already achieved status of a cricket celebrity in Pakistan before entering politics. Till date, people know him more as a cricketer than a politician. This identity crisis is a challenge for Imran Khan which will ultimately give him tough time in upcoming elections.

As soon as Imran Khan started his speech, people became restless because they were only waiting to see him and by now they had seen him. Finish. They had not gone there to listen to his speech; but for fun. Anybody present in middle of the ground could easily take this feeling with him that people were not listening to him; instead they were talking loudly, crying and whistling. One could hardly listen to what he was saying.

Just after about 8 minutes of his speech, people were seen flocking out of the ground. Groups of 30, 40 people during his speech started to leave ground.

And why?

Because celebrity had finally appeared and it was worth nothing more than his mere appearance.

Within 15 to 20 minutes, ground was almost half empty! Ghosh! Imran Khan failed in Hyderabad. And Hyderabad is political and cultural center of Sindh. We could easily deduce that Imran Khan failed in Sindh. Just 20 minutes after he had started speech, ground was short of crowd and he had to complete his speech in haste. Quickly after that lights were shut off, SRTC ground and nearby roads fell dead silent. It ended so quickly, so rapidly. Hardly 5-8 thousand people were present in the ground against the claims of PTI.

Sindh is different; it has no room for such neo-conservative Pakistani patriotic chauvinism.

Observations before Jalsa

Before this event I had visited nearby areas of SRTC ground at daytime. I snapped some photographs and talked to people to know how they’ll respond to Imran Khan’s Jalsa at night?

In nearby streets and neighborhood where wall posters were affixed and banners were hanged, people showed a silent dissent with Imran Khan. I knew it from torn wall posters and banners in nearby areas. Clearly, people did not want him here. Generally in Sindh, people leave political posters, wallpapers and banners hanged wherever they are. This was a clear message that people already recognize him as a phantom of establishment.

This so-called ‘Tsunami’ was a failed scene of a small tide dying away. Sindh is more politically aware in this regard because it knows who is for them and who is not for them. It recognizes Talibans in guise of Imran Khan; it knows who is who and what is what. Neo-conservative, revivalist, patriotic chauvinist brand of politics has to face very tough time in Sindh.

Courtesy: http://zafarimam.wordpress.com/2012/06/23/imran-khan-fails-in-sindh/

Deal that caused 4.8 bn loss ex-DG ISI

Deal that caused Rs4.8 bn loss Lt-Gen Javed Qazi passes the buck to ex-finance minister

By: Rauf Klasra

ISLAMABAD: Former Railways Minister and ex-DG ISI Lt Gen Javed Ashraf Qazi had tried to shift his responsibility to former Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz in a multi-billion rupee scam of leasing out 141 acres of prime land of Pakistan Railways (PR) in the heart of Lahore to a Malaysian firm (Royal Palm & Golf club).

Continue reading Deal that caused 4.8 bn loss ex-DG ISI

Load shedding in America!

Rolling Blackouts: a Black Eye For Texas?

By Dave Fehling

There’s fear in Austin over what could happen if the state runs short of electricity and has to use rolling blackouts to keep the statewide electrical grid from collapsing.

The fear is for the state’s image.

At a meeting of the Texas Public Utility Commission (PUC) June 13th, Chairman Donna Nelson expressed concern that pleas to the public to conserve electricity during the late afternoon when demand is greatest might also send a message that Texas was running out of power and therefore was no place you’d want to do business. ….

Read more » State Impact

http://stateimpact.npr.org/texas/2012/06/27/rolling-blackouts-a-black-eye-for-texas/

Everything you always wanted to know about Jinns..

By: Omar Ali

Musharraf Farooqi has a great article up at Lapham’s quarterly about Jinns and their various proclivities. A must read.

“ ….Encounters between the parties were not uncommon. One trait commonly ascribed to jinn is the desire to copulate with humans. Male jinn liked it so much that sometimes they would try and surreptitiously join in during sex between human men and women. One man witnessed his wife’s vagina emitting flames from a jinn making congress with her while she slept. And such interspecies unions bore fruit. When a child was born from a coupling between humans and jinn, it was termed khunnas. One born from a union between humans and demons was called amluq. Humans were less likely to pursue jinn, however, particularly females, as they were reputed to have violent tempers. One man who had married a jinn female received a good thrashing with a camel bone at her hands before she left him…”

Musharraf Ali Farooqi has also translated Dastan Amir Hamza into English (its a very good translation, btw, I have it and its tremendous fun to read in the toilet). He has also started on Tilsim e Hoshruba. (he also wrote a novel recently that I have not yet read).

Aamer Ahmed Khan (who replaced Mohammed Hanif as head of BBC Urdu)  tried to start a series of Tilsim E Hoshruba comics in Lahore, but these ideas seem to whither and die in Pakistan. After the “Islamic welfare state” deal is finally done with, maybe some remaining people  will rediscover the real treasures of medieval Islamicate culture (Jinns, Arabian Nights, Tilsim e Hoshruba) and make comics and video games and movies out of them in the land of the Indus man (for now, it seems they do it best once they get out); all sorts of creative possibilities exist…

My theory is that all these creative possibilities tend to get overwhelmed in Pakistan (the actual Pakistan, not the imaginary one..hint hint, wink wink) because we need Jinns to produce literal rather than metaphorical electricity.

Continue reading Everything you always wanted to know about Jinns..

Reuters – Alleged Mumbai plotter confirms Pakistan involved: India

By D. Jose, THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, India

(Reuters) – India said on Wednesday that a man arrested on suspicion of helping plot the 2008 Mumbai attacks had “confirmed” during interrogation that Pakistan was involved.

India has repeatedly accused its neighbor and arch rival of some degree of involvement in the attacks on its financial capital that killed 166 people and of acting too slowly in arresting those responsible.

Continue reading Reuters – Alleged Mumbai plotter confirms Pakistan involved: India

The shadow of Zia (dictator’s ghost) still looms large over the Parliament

Rights activist and former Supreme Court Bar Association president Asma Jahangir.

Constitutional trap

By: Asma Jahangir

THE shadow of Zia still looms large over our political scene. Several parliaments and parliamentary committees have tried to exorcise this dictator’s ghost from the constitution but they never succeeded in rectifying all the ills. The current parliament is no different.

The committee drafting the 18th Amendment was urged time and again to do away with Zia’s crafty law that allows the disqualification of members of parliament. And now the PPP faces the consequences of its own omission as its prime minister is threatened with disqualification due to the Supreme Court judgment in the contempt case.

The SC has not convicted Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani for obstructing the administration of justice but for ridiculing the judiciary. The court has been able to do this because of the law introduced by Zia. Article 63(g) is open-ended and can end up being used by the judiciary to persecute the politicians.

The law disqualifies anyone who has been convicted for “propagating any opinion or acting in any manner prejudicial to the ideology of Pakistan, or the sovereignty, integrity or security of Pakistan, or independence of the judiciary of Pakistan, or which defames or brings into ridicule the judiciary or the Armed Forces of Pakistan…”

Very few would dispute that this article is problematic.

Continue reading The shadow of Zia (dictator’s ghost) still looms large over the Parliament

Armed men shoot at the offices of Pakistan’s Aaj TV

New York, June 25, 2012–The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns today’s attack on the offices of a Pakistani television outlet and calls on authorities to immediately investigate the attack and bring the perpetrators to justice.

At least four gunmen on motorcycles shot at the front of the Aaj TV building in Karachi at about 9 p.m., injuring two guards outside the station, the station’s staff members told CPJ. Aaj TV is a private Urdu-language outlet that covers domestic and international news. The guards are being treated at a local hospital, an Aaj staff member said.

Ehsanullah Ehsan, a spokesman for the Tehrik-e-Taliban, told Agence France-Presse that his group claimed responsibility because it was angered that it did not receive the same amount of coverage as that given the government or army. The group also said that the attacks would continue if the outlet’s coverage did not change, Aaj reported.

Aaj reported that President Asif Ali Zardari and newly appointed Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf condemned the attack and said that the perpetrators should be brought to justice as soon as possible. Qaim Ali Shah, the Pakistani chief minister, has ordered an investigation and said the Aaj TV offices will be given protection, the report said.

“This brazen attack illustrates how the Pakistani press is under fire from all sides and for all manner of reasons,” said Bob Dietz, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “Authorities need to do more than promise an investigation–they need to enforce the law to ensure that the flow of information is not dictated by violent forces.”

Wajahat Khan, a senior anchor at the outlet, told CPJ that the staff was very concerned about the health of the guards, but doesn’t intend to alter its coverage.

Pakistan has ranked as the most dangerous country in the world for journalists in 2010 and 2011, according to CPJ research. Last month, two journalists were killed, two others shot and wounded, and another attacked in police custody, CPJ research shows.

Courtesy: The Committee to Protect Journalists

The Washington Post – Pakistan’s Supreme Court sets collision course with new prime minister

By Richard Leiby

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan–Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Wednesday demanded that the nation’s brand-new prime minister follow an order to reopen a long-dormant corruption case against President Asif Ali Zardari, setting up the likelihood of a continuing constitutional crisis.

The court last week disqualified from office Yousuf Raza Gilani, Pakistan’s longest-serving prime minister, whom it convicted of contempt in April because Gilani refused to follow the same order.

The ruling party replaced Gilani with a former federal energy chief, Raja Pervez Ashraf, who has already indicated he will not comply with the order and who faces his own set of corruption charges in a separate case before the high court.

Some political and legal observers have accused the court, headed by populist, corruption-battling chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, of working to destabilize an already-shaky civilian government. Ashraf and his predecessor maintain that the constitution grants the president immunity from prosecution, but the court has consistently ruled otherwise, saying no one is above the law. …..

Read more » The Washington Post