Tag Archives: Election

Bernie Sanders Won the Debate, and Perhaps the Election, When He Defended Hillary Clinton

It was, without question, the climax of the debate. Hillary Clinton was defending herself against email allegations, when Bernie Sanders came to her rescue. In doing so, he not only demonstrated the decency that is the hallmark of his campaign, but also proved that he’s no ordinary politician.

Bernie Sanders doesn’t want to win the White House if it means losing his integrity. He’s willing to protect even his political rival if it’s in the name of justice.

This campaign cannot be about emails, but only Bernie Sanders was big enough to say that, on his competitor’s behalf.

Bernie Sanders: “What the Secretary said is right. And that is the American people are tired of hearing about your damn emails.”

Read more » Huffington Post
See more » http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brian-hanley/bernie-sanders-won-the-de_1_b_8290498.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000063

Election 2014: Death Knell of Strategic Depth?

Afghanistan has voted. And wow, what a lot of voting there was! Millions of Afghans turned out and voted in an election where a vote for anyone was a vote against Mullah Umar and his backers. Now it may be that the results will not be accepted, that the winners will fight each other or that the good feeling will evaporate as some future Taliban offensive shakes the state. But if the results are credible and are accepted, then it may well be (to quote journalist Tahir Mehdi) that April 5th 2014 will be to strategic depth what December 16th 1971 was to the two-nation theory.
Of course, one may then point out that the Two Nation theory has had a very healthy Zombie existence since 1971. But even the healthiest Zombie is still a Zombie. Dying is forever.

Read more » Brown Pundits
http://brownpundits.blogspot.ca/2014/04/election-2014-death-knell-of-strategic.html

REUTERS – Afghanistan’s surprises

By David Rohde

REUTERS – In a nation more associated with calamity than consensus, the initial results of Saturday’s Afghan presidential election are startling.

Despite Taliban threats to attack polling stations nationwide, the same percentage of Afghans turned out to vote – roughly 58 percent – as did Americans in the 2012 U.S. presidential race. Instead of collapsing, Afghan security forces effectively secured the vote.

And a leading candidate to replace Hamid Karzai is Ashraf Ghani, a former World Bank technocrat who has a PhD in cultural anthropology from Columbia University, a Lebanese Christian wife, and an acclaimed book and TED talk entitled “Fixing Failed States.”

“Relative to what we were expecting, it’s very hard to not conclude that this was a real defeat for the Taliban,” Andrew Wilder, an American expert on Afghanistan, said in a telephone interview from Kabul on Monday “And a very good day for the Afghan people.”

Two forces that have long destabilized the country – its political elite and its neighbors – could easily squander the initial success. Evidence of large-scale fraud could could undermine the legitimacy of the election and exacerbate long-running ethnic divides. And outside powers could continue to fund and arm the Taliban and disgruntled Afghan warlords, as they have for decades.

Read more » REUTERS
http://in.reuters.com/article/2014/04/08/afghanistan-election-analysis-idINDEEA370EP20140408

 

Afghan elections: As it happened

Millions of Afghans braved Taliban threats Saturday to vote for a successor to President Hamid Karzai in a landmark election held as US-led forces wind down their long intervention in the country.

Polling stations officially closed at 5:00 pm (1230 GMT), officials said, after a day without major security incidents. But voting was set to continue for some time as voters in line at polling stations would be allowed to cast their ballot, a senior official with the Independent Election Commission said.

Read more » DAWN
http://www.dawn.com/news/1097718

Altaf Hussain; Godfather of Karachi, resident of Edgware

Yesterday I called upon the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police to arrest a British citizen for incitement to murder. It is an open and shut case. You can watch his lips move on television, broadcast from London, in the wake of the controversial election count in the giant port city of Karachi, Pakistan. Hussain openly threatened the young democracy protesters agitating for a re-run of the election there that he would have them cut them down with swords.

No-one should think this mere rhetoric, Hussain is already convicted in Pakistan for multiple murder extortion organised crime and terrorist offences. That’s why he lives in Edgware. In fact he is chief suspect in over 100 murder cases, including in England in the murder of one of his own leading comrades.

Five years ago I gave a speech in Parliament asking why the then New Labour government was not only tolerating the presence in this country of a mafia style chief making regular broadcasts from London ordering crimes to be committed in a friendly country, but had actually given the Don a British passport!

The previous, Conservative, government had, I believed, refused citizenship to Altaf Hussain. New Labour as just one of many crimes against the people of the Muslim world thought differently and conveyed upon a convicted murderer all the rights of citizen upon him.

Continue reading Altaf Hussain; Godfather of Karachi, resident of Edgware

PPP downfall: Aitzaz Ahsan resigns from Senate

LAHORE: Senior Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) leader Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan announced his resignation from the Senate, reported Express News on Tuesday.

After announcing his resignation from the senate, Aitzaz Ahsan said that the resignation should be accepted and the rest of the decisions were in the hands of the party.

Aitzaz Ahsan’s wife, Bushra Aitzaz contested and lost elections from the NA-124 constituency against Rohale Asghar, a candidate from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

According to Aitzaz Ahsan, voting results were bizarre as some polling stations had recorded a 150% voter turnout.

Results given by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) should be reviewed, he added.

Wattoo resigns

Similarly Mian Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo, president of PPP’s central Punjab chapter submitted a letter of resignation to Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, accepting failure in delivering his duties.

In the letter addressed to Bilawal, Wattoo listed the problems of water and electricity scarcity, economic instability and media trials as the reasons for defeat.

Other PPP resignations

Sherry Rehman also resigned from her post as the Ambassador the US in a letter to the caretaker Prime Minister Mir Hazar Khan Khoso on Tuesday.

Continue reading PPP downfall: Aitzaz Ahsan resigns from Senate

PAKISTAN – The poeple have spoken!

When you ask “why are the majority of Muslims silent against terrorism? Look at the masses voting in Pakistan today despite Taliban bombs going off at polling booths.” So many women and youth out there at the booths. Women who stood for their right to vote against armed, masked men. Despite all the threats the turnout has been awesome. Awesome job Pakistan!! The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is reporting that estimated 50% – 60% voter turnout across the country. The huge voter turnout was a kind of truimph of modern, secular democracy over and defeat of medieval-o-Fascism represented by barbaric Talibans and Jihadists. Second, success of a single mainstream party to obtain a near majority seats of the Federal Parliament would be good for the political stability of the country. Let no analyst, expert or pundit say there’s no hope for democracy in Pakistan. The people have spoken!

Courtesy: Adopted from Social Media (Pk e-geoups + Facebook + Twitter + DailyMotion)

Ominous signs

By I.A Rehman

THE day after tomorrow the people of Pakistan are likely to learn once again, among other things, the futility of efforts to establish a democratic order without efficient, democratic party apparatuses.

The party that is to suffer the most for lacking an effective party machine is the PPP. Its capacity to avoid learning from past debacles, that were caused or at least accentuated by the non-availability of dedicated party workers, is truly phenomenal. It used to discount the role of an organised party structure by describing itself as a movement. It can no longer claim that title because no charismatic leader is visible to whom the masses can swear allegiance.

In fact, fully evident are the disastrous consequences of destroying party activists by allotting them sinecures in government or allowing them the privilege of chaperoning ministers or being photographed with them. That is why bets are being offered on the size of its losses instead of the chances of its success.

Even the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), that is currently riding high on a wave of popularity, may rue its lack of seasoned party workers in sufficient numbers. The young men and women who have just joined the party are no doubt full of enthusiasm but they need time to establish their credentials within their communities.

The party looks set to make a handsome haul of seats on polling day but its tally could be bigger if the space between the leader and the voters had a larger and more distinguished and active population.

Among the parties that are expected to do better than before the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) attracts attention. Its workers are constantly in touch with the electorate thanks to its strong following among prayer leaders at mosques and madressah teachers and controllers. However, the party may face some difficulty as a result of its cadres’ change of roles from khuddam-ud-din to armed extremists, and the streak of arrogance the party leader’s fatwa business betrays.

The party that can do with a narrow cadre base is, of course, the PML-N, because it represents the interests of the class that has been wallowing in riches since the days when Ziaul Haq boosted Punjab’s economy with huge financial transfers.

Moreover, the party can attract travellers from one platform to another because it offers security from militants as well as the privilege of closeness to the custodians of Nazariya-i-Pakistan and certified patriots. Still, it has reason to be wary of the challenge from the PTI.

Far more important than the fate of political parties in the election is the question as to what lies ahead for the country and its luckless people. Chances are that whoever the winners on Saturday may be democracy is unlikely to be amongst them After making allowances for the challenges electoral arithmetic presents, one may say that the provinces look set to go their different ways. It might be difficult to deny the PML-N a majority in the Punjab Assembly but elsewhere we may see strange experiments in coalition-making.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa we may have a coalition between the PPP, the JUI-F and the Awami National Party or a JUI-F–PML-N coalition, assuming that the PTI remains true to its decision against joining any alliance. Balochistan may have a choice between an alliance of the JUI-F, the PML-N and the Balochistan National Party-Mengal or one between the JUI-F, the PML-N and the Pakhthunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP).

The latter arrangement, or any other combination that leaves the Baloch nationalists or the PkMAP or both out, will be born with a hole in its heart. Sindh’s future will depend on the extent of the damage the PML-N and the 10-party alliance in Sindh can cause to the PPP and the harm the PML-N and religious parties can do to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) in urban Sindh. If the losses to the two parties are bearable, a PPP-MQM coalition may come on top. If the PML-N and the 10-party alliance finally get a majority, stability may elude Sindh for quite some time.

As regards the centre, democratic opinion will be satisfied if any party gets a majority of the seats or comes close to that mark. One does not know whether the establishment will let the front-running PML-N have that honour and to what extent Imran Khan will be able to realise his dream of making a clean sweep, but in any case the state is likely to tilt further towards a theocratic dispensation.

This will be due partly to the outgoing government’s failure to sustain the people’s trust in a left-of-centre platform and partly to a campaign by some judicial authorities and the babus of the Election Commission of Pakistan to foster religiosity.

The implications of this shift are going to cause serious problems, at least in the short run. The pressure for making up with the militant extremists, on their terms, will increase and they will increase their pressure for helping the Taliban regain control of Afghanistan, for delaying the process of normalisation with India, and for moving further away from the US. The zealots in the legislature, the judiciary and the media will be emboldened to pursue Zia’s agenda to establish a religious oligarchy.

Continue reading Ominous signs

VEERU KOHLI: FROM BONDED LABOURER TO ELECTION HOPEFUL

By Hasan Mansoor

Veeru managed to engineer a dramatic escape from her landlord, and is now, astonishingly, running for provincial assembly seat PS-50 in Hyderabad, Sindh.

HYDERABAD: Veeru Kohli was born to a landless Hari. From birth to now, her journey has been a tumultuous one – Veeru was married off to a family bonded to their landlord, managed to engineer a dramatic escape along with her relatives, and is now, astonishingly, running for provincial assembly seat PS-50 in Hyderabad, Sindh.

On the top of her election agenda is to end bonded slavery everywhere – a cause close to her heart considering her past. Veeru lived in a small hut in the Hoosri neighbourhood of Hyderabad, along with her family of agricultural workers. Wearing a traditional ghaghra and an armful of bangles like every other Kohli woman, the 47-year-old has come a long way, she explains.

The activist, who now works tirelessly to get prisoners freed from private jails, was born to a landless Hari, a member of the scheduled Hindu caste, in Allahdino Shah village in the tiny town of Jhudo. At the age of 16, she was married into a family bound to a landlord because of a loan that was never settled.

Veeru was unable to understand why their loan continued to increase despite the fact that the family’s earnings were constantly adjusted with the landlord. Yet, she says, her ‘benefactor’ was far better than some others.

After 17 years, the family took a loan from relatives better off than themselves, and they moved on. They got a job with another landowner in Umerkot. The family had migrated with big dreams, but the man turned out to be a tyrant, and their dream turned into a nightmare.

Courtesy: DAWN
http://dawn.com/2013/04/10/veeru-kohli-from-bonded-labourer-to-election-hopeful/

‘They want me dead!’ Venezuelan president claims US murder plot

Acting Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro believes there is a US plot to assassinate him during his election campaign. He called on his followers to be “vigilant” and warned conspirators want to prevent his victory in next week’s election.

Presidential candidate Maduro pointed the finger at the former US Ambassador to Venezuela Otto Reich and the ex-ambassador to the Organization of American States, Roger Noriega, outing them as the driving force behind the conspiracy.

Their goal is to kill me,” said Maduro on Saturday during an electoral campaign speech in the northern state of Bolivar. He called on his supporters to be on maximum alert, warning that the object of the plot was to increase the homicide rate in cities across Venezuela and cause a blackout ahead of the elections.

“Roger Noriega and Otto Reich are involved, as well as the Salvadorian far right that has contracted hit men,” announced Maduro during his speech. He stressed that they wanted him dead because “they know they cannot beat me in fair elections.” …

Read more » http://rt.com/news/venezuela-maduro-murder-plot-457/

ECP urged to shun ‘dictatorial-era’ tactics

KARACHI: Members of the public, civil society, professional bodies and trade unions have expressed their strong disapproval of the tactics being used to push the election process in a certain direction, demanding that no attempt be made by any quarter to vitiate the atmosphere that can lead to subverting the will of the people as the upcoming elections are of crucial importance to the future of the country.

The statement issued on Thursday has been endorsed by I.A. Rehman of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Mohammad Tahseen of the South Asia Partnership Pakistan, Karamat Ali of the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research, Suleman Abro of the Sindh Agriculture Forestry Workers’ Coordination Organisation, Naseer Memon of the Strengthening Participatory Organisation, Jami Chandio of the Centre for Peace and Civil Society, Dr Tipu Sultan of the Pakistan Medical Association, Dr Manzoor Awan of the Sungi Development Foundation, Samson Salamat of the Centre for Human Rights Education, Farhat Parveen and Mir Zulfiqar of NOW Communities, Uzma Noorani of the Women’s Action Forum, Zahida Detho of the Sindh Rural Partners Organisation, Javed Qazi of the Forum for Secular Pakistan, Nasir Mansoor of the National Trade Unions Federation, Saeed Baloch of the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum, Dr Kaiser Bengali, Dr A.H. Nayyar of the Pakistan Peace Coalition, B.M. Kutty, Zulfiqar Halepoto and others.

“We express particular concern at the process of scrutiny of the candidates by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), which amounts to Zia-era vigilantism and a disguised return to the ‘accountability before elections’ mantra. This whole exercise smells of mala fide intentions,” the statement read.

Continue reading ECP urged to shun ‘dictatorial-era’ tactics

Pakistani youth ‘cool on democracy’

 

More than half of those surveyed said democracy had not been good for them or the country

More Pakistani youth would prefer Islamic law or military rule than democracy, a survey suggests.

More than half of 5,000 18-29 year-old Pakistanis polled said democracy had not been good for them or the country.

Some 94% said Pakistan was going in the wrong direction, up from 50% in 2007, the British Council survey found.

Almost a third of registered voters in Pakistan are under 30 years old, and are expected to play a big part in a general election due in May.

When asked to pick the best political system, both Sharia and military rule were favoured over democracy.

The survey points towards a pessimistic generation, disenchanted with democracy after five years of civilian rule, says the BBC’s Orla Guerin in Islamabad.

Most of those surveyed had more faith in the army than any other institution.

Approval ratings for the military were about 70% compared with just 13% for the government.

Continue reading Pakistani youth ‘cool on democracy’

Bilawal leaves Pakistan, not to lead PPP election campaign: officials

ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari will not be leading the party’s election campaign as party officials confirmed his departure for Dubai on Tuesday, days before the party launches its official campaign on April 4.

Speaking to Dawn.com, PPP leader Sharmila Farooqi confirmed that Bilawal had departed for Dubai. She also confirmed that the young Bhutto would not be ‘physically’ taking part in the party’s election campaign; however, she cited “security concerns” as the reason behind the decision.

The news comes as the Press Trust of India reported that the PPP chairman had left after an argument with his father, President Asif Ali Zardari.

Continue reading Bilawal leaves Pakistan, not to lead PPP election campaign: officials

Imran Khan, PTI leaders Alliance with Tahirul Qadri

PTI leaders, Tahirul Qadri hold talks over reconstitution of ECP

By Ema Anis

LAHORE: Top leaders of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) met Minhajul Quran International (MQI) chief Dr Tahirul Qadri in Lahore on Wednesday to discuss their reservations over the current Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

PTI president Makhdoom Javed Hashmi told the media that the reservations were only discussed during the meeting, but the final decision will be taken by his party regarding the petition being filed in the Supreme Court by Qadri for the reconstitution of the election commission.

PTI vice chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that a transparent ECP is crucial for the upcoming elections, “but the government claims that it cannot dissolve the election commission as it is against Article 209”. ….

Courtesy: The Express Tribune
http://tribune.com.pk/story/503384/pti-leaders-tahirul-qadri-hold-talks-over-reconstitution-of-ecp/

200-yard house in Karachi has 639 registered voters

The apex court had said that over 40 million votes were found to be bogus. The court was informed that 37 million fake votes were cast in previous elections.

By Hassan Siddiqui

Karachi: While measures are being taken in Karachi to purge voter-lists of bogus members, a 200-yard house located in a posh locality in the city has been found to have 639 voters registered to it, reported local correspondent of British web-site The News Tribe.

The single storey residency located in block 2 of PECHS area is known as ‘Kashana-e-Zaheer’ and cannot house more than three families at a time. Half of these bogus voters are women while 333 among them men.

The said house is located in the NA 251 constituency, which is considered stronghold of the province’s second largest political party MQM.

In the previous elections, Waseem Akhtar and Raza Haroon of the same party were elected member National Assembly and member provincial assembly respectively.

Continue reading 200-yard house in Karachi has 639 registered voters

Sindh is changing; effects to be visible during polls: Ayaz Palijo

KARACHI: Awami Tehreek President Ayaz Latif Palijo has claimed that Sindh is changing and the effects of this change will be visible during the upcoming general election in the country. He feels the National Assembly should have at least 1,000 seats so that people from poor and middle class segments of society could also contest the elections.

He believes the PPP-led government may hand over charge to anyone to prolong its rule. He regrets that the government has not implemented even a single part of the Supreme Court verdict on the Karachi law and order situation.

Continue reading Sindh is changing; effects to be visible during polls: Ayaz Palijo

Urdu speaking Sindhis also reject the controversial & apartheid Sindh local govt. law

Dr. S. Akhtar Ehtisham, a veteran progressive activists, intellectual & writer rejects “splgo.”

By: Dr. S. Akhtar Ehtisham

…. What is happening is truly tragic and I do not believe it even helps ‘Mohajirs’. It helps MQM fascist ranks and is aimed at garnering Mohajir vote for PPP which is facing a great challenge from Imran aka Taliban Khan.

I was in Sindh when MQM was launched. Altaf met G.M. Syed many times. An understanding was reportedly reached, but was vetoed by Zia, whose creation MQM was. .’Nationalist’ Sindhis and MQM wallahs opposed it too. I was told this by Zaidi Sahib, the political guru of Altaf.-forget the first name, it may have been Ijlal. Altaf also met Pir Pagara, but that is neither here or there.

Fahmida Riaz, an intellectual, writer & poet rejects “splgo.’

When Mohajirs fled India, they were heartily welcomed by Sindhis. My uncle, a member of the communist party, worked as a teacher in Jacobabad. He was a poet too and sported the title Jacobabadi. My other uncle worked in railways and worked in villages like Haibat Shaheed.

In the early years mohajirs and Sindhis had started intermarrying.

But Pakistan was ruled by the Mohajir-Punjabi civil servants (out of 83, one Bengali and no Pathan, Baluch or Sindhi. 82 nearly equally divided between Punjabis and Mohajirs) developed a love-hate relationship and looked down upon every one else-Bengali/Baloch/Pathan and Sindhi. Mind you ordinary Punjabis and mohajirs were in nearly as bad a shape as the others.

It is an impasse. The only way out is for Sindhis, other ethnicities and Mohajirs to get together.

I understand Mohjirs are not in actual numerical majority in Karachi or Hyderabad. A considerable number of people hate MQM. They together with Sindhis, Pashtoons and Baluchs may be able to outvote Altaf followers.

A United Front would have to be launched.

There is a problem though. Sindhis would find it hard to oppose PPP and it requires political sophistication to support one party in general elections and another in local ones.

About the Author – Dr. S. Akhtar Ehtisham is a veteran progressive activists & intellectual who was one of the members of the University of Karachi Students who participated in the meeting of NSF in Karachi, Sindh in 1955 when the process of takeover of NSF by progressive students started. Later he moved to Dow Medical College and participated actively in left-wing students’ politics. He is also author of a book titled “A medical Doctor Looks at Life on Three Continents”

Courtesy: Pakistani e-lists/ e-groups, 21 Oct. 2012

Call to elect Dalits representation in parliament

Call to elect scheduled caste people

UMERKOT, Oct 13: Representatives of minorities and civil society have called for giving scheduled caste people representation in parliament and putting in place an inexpensive election system to ensure election of honest persons, good governance and religious harmony in the country.

They were speaking at a consultative workshop organised by the Forum for Human Rights Pakistan in collaboration with the Centre for Peace and Development here on Saturday.

Mirchand Sahjani and Popat Kolhi of the Bheel Intellectual Forum said that members of minority communities had no representation in the assembly and those who were elected to reserved seats for minorities had no interest in resolving people’s problems because the seats were sold to the highest bidders. They did not feel themselves answerable to people because they did not have any constituency or the electorate, they said.

HANDS activists Bansi Malhi and Sawai Malhi denied discrimination of non-Muslims by Muslims but said the country’s constitution was discriminatory towards minorities as it did not allow any non-Muslim to become president, prime minister and Chief of Army Staff.

Hindus and Muslims lived in perfect harmony in Umerkot and Tharparkar, Sindh and they attended one another’s weddings and religious festivals. In fact, upper-caste Hindus looked down upon scheduled caste Hindus and poor Muslims, they said.

Continue reading Call to elect Dalits representation in parliament

ELECTION OF THE WORLD SINDHI CONGRESS EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE AND OFFICE BEARERS FOR 2010-2012

LONDON: October 13th, 2012, World Sindhi Congress conducted the elections of its Executive

Committee for 2012-14. Mr. Bharat Dadlani of UK was the Election Commissioner and coordinated the election activities. The new Executive Committee comprises of 15 members: Ambreen Hisbani , Ali Memon, Gul Sanai, Hidayat Bhutto, Farhan Kaghzi , Mansoor Samo, RubinaShaikh, Lakhu Luhano, Saghir Shaikh, Abdul Rehman Kakepoto, Umed Laghari, Asif Panwhar, Sattar Zangejo, Hafeezan Wadhio, and Sultan Mahar.

The New EC elected the office bearers as follows:

Chairman: Dr. Lakhu Luhano, Senior Vice Chairperson: Farhan Kaghzi, Vice Chairman: Sattar

Zangejo, Secretary General: Dr. Rubina Shaikh, Deputy Secretary General: Gul Sanai, Finance

Secretary: Ambreen Hisbani, Information Secretary: Ali Memon, Cultural Secretary: Hafeezan

Wadhio.

The New EC also elected the Chapter Organizers as follows:

UK and Europe: Hidayat Bhutto, USA: Mansoor Samo, and Canada: Asif Panwhar

In addition, EC has formed following Organizing Committees for WSC Chapters:

UK and Europe: Hidayat Bhutto, Jabir Shar, Sikandar Khaskeli, Sanjay Ahuja, Sadiq Bhambhro, Dr Mumtaz Bughio, and Vishnu Jairamani

USA: Mansoor Samo, Malik Dino Shaikh, Zubair Bhambhro, Saghir Shaikh, Mahboob Dahani, and Umed Laghari.

Canada: Asif Panhwar and Siraj Makhdoom

The new Office bearers will be taking oath at the WSC Annual Conference held on October 13th, 2012 in London.

Raja Pervez Ashraf declared new Pakistani PM

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) candidate Raja Parvez Asharaf has been elected as the 25th Prime Minister of Pakistan.

Ashraf, a unanimously agreed candidate of the PPP and its coalition partners, received 211 votes while Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) candidate Sardar Mehtab Abbasi received 89 votes.

President Asif Ali Zardari congratulated Ashraf on his success and said ” Ashraf’s election as PM is an indication of the nation’s confidence in democracy.” ….

Read more » DAWN.COM

Gilani cannot be disqualified under Article 63: Speaker National Assembly

Speaker National Assembly Dr Fehmida Mirza, finalising her decision in Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s contempt case, said that Gilani cannot be disqualified under Article 63(1)(g) of the Constitution, Express News reported on Thursday.

The speaker said that according to Article 63 of the Constitution, the question of the prime minister’s qualification “does not arise”. She has also decided against forwarding the Supreme Court’s reference to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

Quoting the Supreme Court’s order in her 11-point long ruling, Mirza wrote, “no specific charge regarding the propagation of any opinion or acting in any manner against the independence of the judiciary or defaming or ridiculing the judiciary as contemplated under Article 63 (1) (g) has been framed.”

She added: “I am of the view that the charges against Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani are not relatable to the grounds mentioned in paragraph (g) or (h) of clause (1) of Article 63, therefore, no question of disqualification of Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani from being a member arises under clause (2) of Article 63 of the Constitution.”

Sources affiliated with Express News revealed that Dr Mirza said the Supreme Court did not raise the issue of Gilani’s disqualification when it announced the verdict in the contempt case, hence there was no need to send the reference against Gilani to the ECP.

Dr Mirza consulted law experts including Aitzaz Ahsan, Fakhruddin G, Asma Jahangir and Justice (retd) Sajjad Ali for the decision, which she dictated to the secretary national assembly.

Continue reading Gilani cannot be disqualified under Article 63: Speaker National Assembly

And we were told by the Pakistani media that everyone hates PPP! But PPP candidate wins Multan by-election

Kaira applauds PPP candidate on winning Multan by-poll

By: APP

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira on Thursday congratulated PPP candidate Usman Bhatti on winning by election in PP-194 in Multan.

Speaking to Pakistan Television (PTV), he said that reposing full confidence in the Pakistan People’s Party’s (PPP) candidate is a good gesture by people of South Punjab.

Party’s candidate Usman Bhatti won the bye elections in PP-194 defeating his political rival Moeenuddin Riaz Qureshi of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N.) ….

Read more » DAWN.COM

The bloody civilians and the almighty generals

Baaghi: Caviar to the general – By Marvi Sirmed

Even if the agencies in other countries play this ‘august’ role of interrupting the democratic process in their countries, does it justify ISI’s doling out money to keep a certain political party of the people’s choice out of government?

“Tacitly registering his concern over the debate in the media on the role of the army and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Kayani on Wednesday said, ‘The national institutions should not be undermined’”, said a news item in an English language daily newspaper on March 15. What merited this royal annoyance was open to discussion in the media about the re-eruption of a long simmering ‘Mehrangate’ that should be best described as ISI-gate. According to this case, some Rs 140 million had been doled out to politicians to rig the elections in 1990. The rest of the money out of Rs 350 million, as claimed by one Younas Habib, Zonal Manager of Habib Bank at that time, who was allegedly asked by the ISI to generate these funds, eventually went to the coffers of ISI and its officials and General Aslam Beg, the then army chief.

Continue reading The bloody civilians and the almighty generals

“Shameful indeed” PPP candidate Waheeda Shah slaps polling staff

Watch PPP candidate Waheeda Shah is physically abusing polling staff and she is slapping the presiding officers. Waheeda Shah is just the repeat of power hungry politicans!! She doesn’t deserve to be graded as”Sane” and MPA! Why the election commission is waiting for to take action against her. She doesn’t deserve to be a representative of the people. Her act is most uncivilized and she has ashamed not only Sindhis but entire Pakistan. We hope that the PPP government and PPP high command takes a serious notice of her action.The language of the report is urdu (Hindi).

Courtesy: Geo Tv » YouTube

‘Restraint’ must follow ‘activism’

By Khaled Ahmed

Expansion of judicial power is welcome, but one must not forget that there is also such a thing as judicial excess

On 30 February 2012, the Supreme Court (SC) has allowed former Pakistani ambassador to US Husain Haqqani to travel abroad after an important witness in the ‘memo’ case finally refused to present himself at the judicial commission set up by the Court. This is the first sign of gradual erosion of the charges that were finally to target President Zardari as the originator of ‘treason’ against the Pakistan Army through an American businessman, Mansoor Ijaz.

Analysts believe the Court has been let down by the other parties interested in crucifying the PPP leader and sending the PPP government packing before its term. Nawaz Sharif may have stitched up a deal with Zardari over the timing of next general election; and the Army may have been appeased through Zardari’s sacrifice of Husain Haqqani as burnt offering to the generals. At the time of writing, Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan was defending Prime Minister Gilani against a charge of contempt and persuading the honourable Court to relent and be satisfied with a belated letter to the Swiss authorities.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan is hearing two cases – and a third one is coming up later in the month – that threaten to expose it to lack of judicial restraint. At home, internecine politics and the besiegement of the ruling party give it the ballast with which it can keep going if it wants. But the lawyers’ movement – which deluded it into feeling that it was backed by ‘the nation’ rather than the Constitutionis split at the top, the vanguard of its leaders now skeptical of its steamrollering activism. Internationally too it is now facing isolation.

On January 25, 2012, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) expressed its concern over the convening of the inquiry commission for the memo affair, saying ‘there are legitimate concerns‘ that, by neglecting the rights of the ex-ambassador Husain Haqqani, the Court ‘may have overstepped its constitutional authority and that this action could undermine the ongoing Parliamentary inquiry. The ICJ supported the ousted Supreme Court and consistently accepted its activism in a national environment of extreme dereliction and corruption in state institutions topped by the incumbent executive.

Sitting inside Pakistan and bristling over country’s eroding sovereignty, it is easy to be isolationist and ignore the ICJ warning. Those among the top lawyers – Asma Jahangir, Munir A Malik, Ali Ahmad Kurd, Aitzaz Ahsan – who have decided to caution judicial restraint after a bout of activism so intense it looked like revenge, are being cursed by the mainly conservative and bucolic (mufassil) lawyers’ community as well as the media clearly bent on getting rid of a largely dysfunctional PPP government.

The ‘national consensus’ is chiding the Supreme Court to review just anything under the sun as the forum of last resort. There is no forum higher than the Supreme Court if you feel aggrieved. Except that the Court takes an objective view of its authority and a realistic view of the fallibilities of a third world state cut to pieces by terrorism. It is more difficult to convict a known terrorist in Pakistan than the sitting prime minister.

Continue reading ‘Restraint’ must follow ‘activism’

Panetta Sets End to Afghan Combat Role for U.S. in 2013

By ELISABETH BUMILLER

BRUSSELS — In a major milestone toward ending a decade of war in Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said on Wednesday that American forces would step back from a combat role there as early as mid-2013, more than a year before all American troops are scheduled to come home.

Mr. Panetta cast the decision as an orderly step in a withdrawal process long planned by the United States and its allies, but his comments were the first time that the United States had put a date on stepping back from its central role in the war. The defense secretary’s words reflected the Obama administration’s eagerness to bring to a close the second of two grinding ground wars it inherited from the Bush administration.

Promising the end of the American combat mission in Afghanistan next year would also give Mr. Obama a certain applause line in his re-election stump speech this year. ….

Read more » The New York Times

Court Revives Investigation on ISI Money for Politicians

By Nafisa Hoodbhoy

(Includes ATDT Excerpt on Backdrop for Asghar Khan’s Petition)

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Monday fixed February 29 to hear the petition filed by Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Asghar Khan 16 years ago pertaining to Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) distributing money among politicians.

Meanwhile, the former ISI chief Gen. (Retd) Durrani submitted an affidavit confirming the accusation.

The petition has called upon the apex court to punish the politicians and political groups who have been receiving pots of money from the agency.

Various politicians had demanded the petition to be heard.

Air Marshal (retd) Asghar Khan, in 1996, wrote a letter to then chief justice Nasim Hasan Shah against former army chief Mirza Aslam Baig, former ISI chief Lt-General (retd) Asad Durrani and Younis Habib of Habib and Mehran Banks, relating to the disbursement of public money and its misuse for political purposes.

Aboard the Democracy Train Excerpt (P. 27)

Elections Were the Tip of the Iceberg

As a guest of the interim Prime Minister Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi, I had witnessed how state funds and propaganda were used to defeat Benazir. But I was still an onlooker, without inside knowledge of what had transpired in the inner circles. Then still an inexperienced reporter, I couldn’t guess how the establishment defeated the PPP, which, right or wrong, had the support of the masses.

In 1996, some clues emerged. Retired Air Marshal Asghar Khan filed a case in the Supreme Court, alleging that the powerful secret service wing of the army – the ISI – had rigged the 1990 election. Based on Asghar Khan’s petition, former ISI chief, Lt. Gen. Asad Durrani took the stand in the Supreme Court and provided an affidavit that the army had indeed distributed Pkr 140 million (USD 1.6 million) to anti-PPP candidates, only a few months before the October 1990 election.

The anti-PPP candidates banded in the IJI comprised feudal, Islamic and ethnic parties that resolutely opposed Benazir’s populist rule. Subsequently, we learnt that the care-taker President Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi, who had stayed mum while Chip probed him – had actually taken PKR 5 million (USD 59,000) from the ISI. Meanwhile, Nawaz Sharif – who was ushered in by the military to succeed Benazir as prime minister – was revealed to have received PKR 3.5 million (USD 41,000) from the spy agencies.

Apparently, the army was so scared that Benazir would be elected back into power that their IJI coalition distributed state funds among various interest groups to prevent her return.

As I covered national politics, Asghar Khan talked to me in earnest, as though I was a player rather than a reporter. Then in coalition with the PPP, he told me that Benazir and Nawaz ought to unite to repeal Article 58-2(b). This was the constitutional clause introduced by Gen. Zia ul Haq that allowed presidents like Ghulam Ishaq Khan to dissolve the assembly.

Although, I shared Asghar Khan’s desire for principled politics, it surprised me that he seemed clueless about Benazir’s approach of doing whatever it took to return to power.

Courtesy: Aboard The Democracy Train

http://www.aboardthedemocracytrain.com/court-revives-investigation-on-isi-money-for-politicians

Who prepared the Memo, Mansoor Ijaz now implicates Gen Jehangir Karamat & Gen Mahmud Durrani also

Exclusive: Ijaz told Jones three people prepared the “Memogate” document

By Josh Rogin

Mansoor Ijaz, the main figure in the “Memogate” scandal that is rocking the highest levels of the Pakistani political establishment, told his U.S. go-between Gen. Jim Jones in a private e-mail that there were three people who “prepared” the now-infamous memo, not just former Pakistani Ambassador to Washington Husain Haqqani.

Continue reading Who prepared the Memo, Mansoor Ijaz now implicates Gen Jehangir Karamat & Gen Mahmud Durrani also

Charged lawyers shout down Gilani, Khosa, force retreat from LBA event

By Abdul Manan

Excerpt;

LAHORE: The Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani, on Saturday was prepared to refute allegations that the incumbent Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) led coalition government did not respect all institutions. What he did not expect was that his stage, the annual dinner of the Lahore Bar Association (LBA), would be usurped by anti-government slogans from a charged lawyers community. …

…. Shortly after the announcement, Gilani vacated the podium and proceeded to exit the building. When Governor Khosa took the rostrum, the lawyers intensified their chants against him. Khosa tried his level best to deliver his speech despite the ruckus, but slogans of “Chief Tere Jaan Nisar Beshumar, Beshumar” (Chief Justice you have innumerable loyalists) forced him to cut short his speech.

The Lahore Bar Association, LBA President Shehzad Hassan Sheikh and Peoples Lawyers Forum Punjab President, Khurram Latif Khan Khosa were also present at the event.

At the end lawyers danced along with a hired dancer to melodies of Sheela Ke Jawani.

Read more » The Express Tribune

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Pakistan: Now or Never?

Pakistan’s political crisis

By Reuters

Excerpt;

Never in the history of Pakistan has a democratically elected civilian government served out its full term and then been replaced by another one, also through democratic elections. It is that context that makes the latest political crisis in Pakistan so important. ….

…. The army itself has shown no inclination to run the country directly, and it already controls the issues that matter most to it – foreign and security policy. It has barely disguised its frustration with Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari — who also leads the PPP ….

Read more » REUTERS