Exciting times…country on the move

Islamabad diary

By Ayaz Amir

Wordsworth would be a bit of an exaggeration: “Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive”…. But short of that, it’s an exciting time to be a Pakistani. Six months ago this seemed a dead country, beyond hope or redemption, the Sharifs in power, with little to offer beyond bizarre schemes of Margalla Hill tunnels and fast trains to Murree and Muzaffarabad. The opposition too seemed dead and politics looked no better than a doormat.

This was six months ago. It’s all so different now, the country shaken out of its somnolence and rocking to a new beat, rallies drawing record crowds and the Sharifs looking more dazed and clueless than ever, confined to their palaces and haunted by that cry which has caught on so much, “Go Nawaz Go”.

The important thing, however, is that something is happening in Pakistan. Things are not dead; the water is not stagnant. Old skin is being shed, a new light, even if flickering, can be espied on the mountains…this in a country where nothing good was ever expected to happen.

All this has happened without the least bit of violence or mayhem. For the most part, except for the stampede in the Multan stadium, the rallies and marches have been disciplined and orderly affairs, great enthusiasm on display but no disorder. The number of women attending these rallies has been amazing…young and old, housewives and school and college girls and no badtameezi, none whatsoever. If for nothing else, the rallies would be worth it for this reason alone, the way they have drawn women into the political arena and pulled the middle classes from their drawing rooms.

Continue reading Exciting times…country on the move

More threats from India over cross-border crisis

By Dawn.com | Reuters

NEW DELHI: India warned Pakistan on Tuesday of more “pain” if it continued to violate a ceasefire on their disputed border in Kashmir and said it was up to Islamabad to create the conditions for a resumption of peace talks.

The two sides exchanged mortars and intense gunfire this month, killing at least 20 civilians and wounding dozens in the worst violation to date of a 2003 ceasefire. While the firing has abated, tension remains high along a 200-km (125-mile) stretch of the border dividing the nuclear-armed rivals.

“Our conventional strength is far more than theirs. So if they persist with this, they’ll feel the pain of this adventurism,” Indian Defence Minister Arun Jaitley told NDTV in an interview.

Read more » DAWN
http://www.dawn.com/news/1139420

Pakistan politics: The mythical feudal and the real elite

By Adnan Rasool

Reality is always hard to stomach. In the age of inflated self-worth and significance, societies start having delusions of grandeur. But when the delusions are questioned, the society either goes into denial or starts spinning a new narrative.

For the last two years, our people have been going through a process where there was initially a denial of the harsh realities of Pakistan, and then the passionate spinning of a false narrative. This narrative initially blamed the system, then blamed the government and now blames everyone for everything.

Too much time has been spent criticising this false narrative that many believe to be the truth. What has been ignored are the basic set of realities that Pakistan continues to face.

To start with, as much as I hate saying this, politics in Pakistan is not for the voter to decide.

Pakistan is a case of elite adjustment. It has never been a case where the voter will decide anything; the voters are simply not a significant enough part of the equation to leverage the situation.

Also read: ‘The real struggle in Pakistan is between the elite and the poor’

The form of governance does not matter either; be it a dictatorship or autocratic democracy, the political situation is a result of elite adjustment.

Read more » DAWN
http://www.dawn.com/news/1139412