The language of the interview is in Urdu/ Hindi.
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senator Raza Rabbani was in tears on Tuesday after voting in the upper house on the 21st Constitutional Amendment for setting up military courts in the country.
Rabbani said that he voted on the amendment against his own conscience. He further added that he had never felt more ashamed in his life.
“I have been in the Senate for more than 12 years, but have never been as ashamed as I am today and I cast my vote against my conscious,” said the PPP leader.
The senator said the vote that he had cast in support of the amendment was on the PPP’s behalf.
Rabbani had recently said that parliament has had the honour of not validating illegal acts of military dictators in the past, but was now “taking its last breath”.
He has been of the view that after the passage of the 21st Amendment bill, the constitution would no more remain “pure”.
Rabbani has been among the more prominent PPP leaders who have criticised the party’s decision to support the establishment of military courts.
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Hitting out at a greater role of the army in the country with the establishment of military courts, Rabbani said we have not learnt lessons from the past, referring to similar decisions taken in 1977 and 1998 resulting in the ouster of democratic regimes by martial law.
“We are going to repeat past mistakes. Today they are indicating civil courts have failed to deliver; tomorrow they might say political dispensation has also failed. They might say thank you very much, [now] pack your (politician’s) bags.”
He said the members of the upper house should tender their resignations.
“Article 245 has been invoked and provinces have been asked by interior minister to request army and now military courts are being set,” he lamented.
Talking about the constitutional amendment for the purpose of military courts, Rabbani said that “any amendment will hit at the basic structure of the Constitution.”
In reply, leader of the opposition Aitzaz Ahsan assured that “no constitutional right will be usurped,” though the guarantee should have come from the government.
Earlier, Senator Kalsoom Parveen from Balochistan National Party – Awami (BNP-A) said: “We have reservations and it should be clarified whether they will be used against politicians or terrorists.”
She also asked the authorities to give a clear definition of who exactly is a terrorist. Kazim Khan from the PPP said, “Whenever the PML-N has come to power, military courts have been set up. I would ask Nawaz Sharif not to go back to those [army] he had already left.”
Meanwhile, Nisar Muhammad from the ruling PML-N delivered an emotional speech asking all political forces to join hands, saying “we are all responsible for what happened in Peshawar.”
He said that “we have so far failed to identify our direction [in war against terrorism].”
Muhammad proposed that December 16 should be commemorated as a ‘day of mourning’ every year and the principal of Army Public School Peshawar be awarded a civil award for bravery.
GARHI KHUDA BAKHSH: Speaking at the Bhutto mausoleum to mark Benazir Bhutto’s death anniversary on Saturday, former president and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari vowed that the misuse of military courts will not be allowed. He said the PPP will only accept military courts when it is proven that they are not being used politically
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PESHAWAR: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Sherry Rehman said Wednesday that if anyone engaged in the apologist narrative when it comes to terrorism and terrorist attacks, they would be considered as terrorists and allies of the terrorists.
Time has come for a decision and anyone who presents justification for acts of terrorism will be regarded as a traitor.
“Whoever is a friend of the terrorists is a traitor,” Rehman said addressing media representatives in Peshawar.
LAHORE / ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-Chairperson and former president Asif Ali Zardari has said his party will not permit anyone to impose any ‘peculiar political or ideological agenda’ through brute force or under the pretext of religion or democracy.
“We reiterate that all power belongs to the people and they alone are empowered to bring about political change through ballot,” he said in a statement issued to media on Saturday at the occasion of the party’s 47th foundation day, which will be held on today (Sunday).
“While the threat of imposition of direct dictatorship may appear to have receded, we are not unmindful of the other forms of threats to democracy that rear their ugly heads from time to time.
Zardari said his party is also conscious of threats to democracy in the name of democracy itself and is determined to foil them.
“While the threat of imposition of direct dictatorship may appear to have receded, we are not unmindful of the other forms of threats to democracy that rear their ugly heads from time to time. The PPP is aware of such threats and is ready to fight against them,” he said.
PTI may be famous for it’s political rallies, but it was PPP that stunned the nation with its rally on Saturday. No matter whose numbers you want to believe, it is undeniable that the turnout was massive enough to put to bed silly questions about whether the party is ‘finished’. In fact, the question being asked today is whether or not Saturday’s rally – and more specifically Bilawal’s speech – marks a turning point in a national politics that has grown stale and disheartening for so many.
PPP didn’t trot out aging rock stars and sports celebrities to draw a crowd. What drew cheers from both jiyalas and critics alike was the substance of Bilawal’s speech.
Tens of thousands of Pakistanis have attended the first mass rally held by the son of murdered Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.
By Shahzeb Jillani, BBC News, Karachi, Sindh
Karachi has not seen such a huge PPP rally for years. The party is trying to show that it still has mass appeal, and can compete with other opposition politicians such as Imran Khan. It is, after all, a party that has fought military dictatorships in Pakistan time and again over the last four decades.
The word ‘jiyala‘ has come down to become an iconic term in the realm of Pakistan’s populist politics. Almost entirely associated (in this context) with diehard supporters and members of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).
So, who or what is a PPP jiyala and where did he or she appear from; and why can such people only be found among the PPP’s supporters, in spite of the fact that in the last two decades, almost all mainstream political parties have successfully adopted the antics of the country’s first ever purveyor of populist politics, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (the founder of the PPP).
But as a former PSF comrade of mine who quit politics altogether in 1990 recently told me, ‘No matter how much of a distance a jiyala would like to put between himself and the party, a jiyala will always remain a jiyala. It’s a spiritual state, as well as an existentialist dilemma.’
A jiyala is a PPP supporter who is bound to stick with the party or with the Bhutto family’s overriding claim over the leadership of the PPP no matter what state the party is in. He or she would defend it passionately, even fight on the streets and campuses for it, and there have also been cases in which jiyalas have died for the party.
Contrary to belief, especially among the party’s opponents, that jiyalas are ‘blind followers of the PPP ‘ who unquestionably nod at everything that is dished out to them by the party, the fact is that jiyalas have also been some of the harshest critics of the party that they so intensely love.
There have been a number of reported cases in which jiyalas have publicly confronted the party’s leadership over various issues. According to political economist and researcher, Haris Gazdar, the party’s traditional voters remain passive and almost impersonal to the fate of the party when it is in power, but become highly active when it is in the opposition or facing a challenge from the establishment or the opposition.
Of course, the traditional voters of the PPP that Gazdar was talking about – mainly the rural peasants, small farmers and folks from the urban working classes – are not all jiyalas, but this shift from going passive to active in the context of Gazdar’s initial findings is also reflective of the general jiyala mindset.
Jiyalas are at their most active and passionate when their party is in a political or existentialist crises.
My own experience as an active member of the PPP’s student-wing, the Peoples Students Federation (PSF), between 1984 and 1989, facilitated my understanding of the above-mentioned mindset associated with jiyalas.
My close interaction with the party’s leadership and support (in Karachi and the interior of Sindh), in the mid- and late 1980s, saw me being left rather baffled by the way many jiyalasswitched from being daring, impassioned and uncritical activists and street fighters during the reactionary Ziaul Haq dictatorship to becoming either disinterested or severely critical of the PPP leadership once the party was voted back into power in November 1988.
By Shaikh Aziz
The news of Z.A. Bhutto’s conviction shocked the PPP workers and supporters who hadn’t thought that Gen Zia would stoop so low. Though some violent protests took place in parts of Lahore and Sindh, the general law and order situation was not seriously affected as the government had taken measures to prevent the breaking out of any violence. For some reason the upper leadership of the party remained out of the scene, leaving the PPP workers directionless.
The military courts became over-active in handing down punishments of jail time and lashing. It was clear that the government wanted to send a message to the top PPP leadership that they could also be arrested in order to keep the administration working smoothly.
Two days after the judgment, on March 20, 1978, retired Gen Tikka Khan was arrested under martial law regulation No 33 for his involvement in political activities. Benazir Bhutto who was under house-arrest at her Karachi residence moved the Sindh government to arrange her meeting with her father at Lahore jail. The meeting was arranged for March 25.
The military regime cracks down on protests in the wake of Bhutto’s conviction
The PPP lawyers worked round the clock to prepare an appeal to be filed in the Supreme Court. Some PPP leaders were of the opinion that there was no need to file an appeal against the verdict; instead they wanted to approach the military government through friendly circles to settle the matter amicably. However, saner elements in the party prevailed and finally an appeal was filed in the Supreme Court on March 25.
As the foreign minister in Ayub Khan’s government and later as the prime minister, Bhutto had developed friendships with a number of world leaders, especially in the Third World and the Arab countries. Now facing a death sentence he hoped they could prevail upon Gen Zia to spare his life. While messages from world leaders were coming in calling for a pardon for Bhutto, Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi’s envoy, Abdul Ali Ubaidi, called on Gen Zia and conveyed to him a message from his president. Zia told him that at this stage the matter was pending with the highest court and he did not want to interfere in it.
While meeting foreign leaders Gen Zia always made sure that the meeting took place without any aide. It was, therefore, impossible to make out what the contents of the talks were and what transpired, leaving the people guessing.
Relieved of a major task of handling Bhutto which was now being done by the courts, Gen Zia focused his attention on strengthening his position politically. However he camouflaged his attempts in such a manner that he could not be blamed for being too ambitious. In this regard he was equally helped by some political leaders. He also began studying the lives and working styles of eminent dictators, like Napoleon Bonaparte, Adolf Hitler, Marshal Tito and Mussolini, who stayed in power for many years without being challenged by the people. He apparently wanted to learn how these dictators managed to retain power for so long. He also used to engage some of his associates in debates on what style of governanvce would work in Pakistan.
While messages from world leaders were coming in calling for a pardon for Bhutto, Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi’s envoy, Abdul Ali Ubaidi, called on Gen Zia and conveyed to him a message from his president. Zia told him that at this stage the matter was pending with the highest court and he did not want to interfere in it.
During this time it appeared that the Pakistan National Alliance (PNA) was heading towards a break-up; Asghar Khan and Maulana Noorani had already parted ways. After the overthrow of Bhutto’s government, the PNA had decided to keep away from any interim arrangement offered by the military government. They remembered the performance of the Advisory Council Gen Zia had formed on Jan 14 to run the affairs of the government. Though the task of the council was to help in handling state affairs, Gen Zia himself supervised everything which negated the purpose of the council.
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader and Senator Raza Rabbani has warned of serious consequences if the current system is derailed.
Expressing his concerns in the Senate Monday, Senator Raza Rabbani said this time the federation is facing threats and not the constitution.
He said that media is a watchdog and that it is not acceptable to put curbs on any news channel. The days are gone when media was restricted, he added.
He said that the time has come for the democratic forces to find reasons as to why the situation is being deteriorated.
Addressing the Senate, Senator Saeed Ghani said that the nation is being misled by bring people on the streets. He questioned as to why the matter of Geo’s morning show is not resolved yet even after the channel’s apology.
He further said that he can not support curbs on media channels over the wish of one political party.
KARACHI, March 21: Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Patron-In-Chief, Pakistan Peoples Party has strongly condemned the brutal killings of Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM) leader Maqsood Qureshi and a worker in Naushehro Feroz.
In a press statement, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said inhuman act of burning the bodies of JSQM leader was the most heinous crime stressing that those committed it must not go scot-free at any cost.
He asked for thorough probe into the incident and fact-finding as PPP, being a democratic party, would never allow such incidents under any circumstances.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari expressed sympathy to the family of JSQM leader and workers and asked the people to remain calm and assured full support to the bereaved family.
KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly has unanimously passed a resolution which calls for making DNA tests mandatory in rape cases. The resolution was tabled by PPP MPA Sharmila Farooqi.
As per the resolution, DNA tests should be mandatory in all rape cases, the costs of which should be supported by the Sindh government.
The resolution comes in the wake of controversial recomendation by the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) last month which had attracted a great deal of criticism from women rights organisations.
The CII had recommended that DNA should not be included as a primary evidence with regard to rape cases.
They held the view that Islam has set procedures to determine cases of rape and said Islamic procedure should be adopted during investigation.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) had called the CII declaration “regressive, unfortunate and unkind to rape victims.”
The HRCP also called on the new government for an urgent reconstitution of the CII.
A number a civil society groups have called for the CII to be abolished in the ‘larger interest of a progressive and tolerant society’.
By Maxine Wally
A former Pakistani Prime Minister’s son was kidnapped Thursday, as attacks mount in lieu of the country’s upcoming elections.
Yusuf Raza Gilani, member of the Pakistan People’s Party, was headed for a small political gathering in the city of Multan, when his son, Ali Haider Gilani, was kidnapped by gunmen, according to Reuters.
His brother Musa, harrowed and outraged, appeared on a local television station in a short interview.
“If we don’t get my brother by this evening, I will not let the elections happen in my area,” he said.
Leader of the Pakistani Taliban Hakimulla Mehsud sent a letter to the party’s spokesperson detailing plans for suicide blasts and bombings at the polls in each of the country’s four provinces, scheduled for voting day, Saturday.
The Taliban have killed over 100 party workers and civilians since the beginning of April, attacking any political affiliates of secular-leaning parties that threaten the militant group. They have deigned the elections as “un-Islamic” and said they will carry out a series of attacks to cripple the elections in any way they can.
“We don’t accept the system of infidels which is called democracy,” Mehsud claimed in the letter dated May 1.
Taliban spokesperson Ihsanullah Ihsan told Reuters that they were not responsible for the kidnapping, despite details given in the aforementioned letter.
ISLAMABAD: Lawmakers in the Upper House of the Parliament Thursday demanded action against former President General (retd) Pervez Musharraf for his crimes against constitution, democracy, political leadership and the nation.
They also demanded from the caretaker interior minister to inform the House how he escaped from the court to his residence and “why a former General could not be arrested if the elected prime ministers of the country can be sent to jails.”
Speaking on points of order, the senators claimed that double standard existed in the country in violation of the Constitution which considers every Pakistani equal before the law.
“We have been talking of the rule of law and independence of judiciary. But, today we have seen that it is easy to send an elected prime minister to jail but a former General and military dictator cannot be arrested,” remarked senior PPPP Senator Raza Rabbani.
“In Pervez Musharraf’s case it is test of time. When the court had ordered to arrest him, then why he was not arrested. It’s a question mark,” Rabbani added.
He charged Pervez Musharraf of involvement in the abetment of killing of Benazir Bhutto and Nawab Akbar Bugti, abrogating the constitution and house arresting the judges of superior judiciary.
“Musharraf is a usurper who twice abrogated the Constitution. He was announced to be arrested but he safely fled in connivance with state institutions. The caretaker government was responsible to arrest him and the interior minister should inform the House why the government had not fulfilled its obligations,” Rabbani said.
PPPP Senator Farhatullah Babar said he does not hold caretaker government responsible for his escape. “I have been looking the state apparatus very closely. There are two laws and double standards in the country. If we could not mend it over the time how we can hold the caretakers responsible for these double standards.”
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.
By Dr. Ahmed H. Makhdoom
For peanuts these savage sold the beautiful Twin Islands (Dingi and Bhandar (Bodha Island) of glorious Sindh to the Colonialists builder mafia! These Twin Islands were like ‘tiny babies’ in the lap of Mother Sindh, since centuries, which the noble Mother fed, cared for and preserved dear and near to her heart since times immemorial!
And, who are the perpetrators of this heinous crime, this shameless sale-out of Sindh, this perjury against the children of Mother Sindh, this criminal treachery against the Cradle of Civilization, Sindh, this apostasy against sacred Sindh, this back-stabbing and deception on the sanctimonious SOUL of Marvelous, Magnificent and Magnanimous Sindh! Yes, who are these perjures sinners, these perverted criminals who had sold their Mother for pittance?
Woebegone! These are the so-called ‘sons,’ the children of the vary mother that they have so obscenely SOLD in the market!
Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, March 14, 2013.
By Naseer Memon
Impregnated with ethnic strife, the Sindh Peoples Local Government Act (SPLGA) created an unprecedented anti-PPP sentiment in its stronghold, Sindh. Proceedings of the Supreme Court, hearing a petition seeking annulment of the law, were indicative of an inclement outcome for the government. The recent experience of by-elections also sent waves of consternation in the ruling camp as its candidates faced pillories from opponents and disgruntled masses on the same law. All these factors constrained the PPP to cajole its ally to rescind the politically incendiary law. The belated adieu by the MQM to the government is viewed as an overtly cosmetic move under a premeditated script. On the day that acting governor of Sindh, Nisar Ahmed Khuhro, signed to repeal the SPLGA, the Karachi Stock Exchange recorded bonanza business — unimaginable if it was not a mock war between the two parties. Nevertheless, the interment of a divisive law averted a lurking ethnic frenzy in the province, already mired with unremitting violence, especially in Karachi.
In the presence of this law, the next general elections could have been a nightmare for the PPP in Sindh. Although the opposition has been disarmed of its would-be most popular slogan of divisive law, the lacklustre performance of the PPP during the past five years has sufficiently exasperated its voters. Rampant corruption, brazen violation of merit in postings and transfers, displacement of several million flood affectees, substandard quality of social sector services, ubiquitous lawlessness, shabby infrastructure and scruffy towns can provide ample ammunition for the election campaign of opposition parties. For the PPP, the past platitude of victimisation and martyrdom of the Bhuttos has lost its lustre to fascinate the masses this time. Portending this ominous fact, the party has embarked upon a medley of actions, including cajoling feudal lords in Sindh.
By: Zulfiqar Halepoto
Yesterday write several drafts to condemn PPPs anti-Sindh decision but erased all- Reason? – I thought my words of condemnation are too little to address these traitors (GHADDARS). …..
Courtesy: ZH’s facebook wall
By Manzoor Shaikh
At least 37 people were killed in two explosions in Pakistan’s largest city of Karachi on Sunday. Eye witnesses and medics say over 60 people have been injured, many of them are in critical condition.
The explosions took place near a mosque in Abbas Town on Karachi’s Abul Hassan Isphahani Road in the evening.
The locality is inhibited by Shiite Muslims and is located on Pakistan’s one of major highways –Super Highway, connecting Karachi’s port with rest of the country.
The area is flanked by Sohrab Goth, yet another locality inhibited by ethnic Afghans, of them most are Afghan refugees who have made Karachi their permanent home and are one of major players in Pakistan’s sectarian tensions. They are now considered to be illegal immigrants in the city by locals.
Pakistan’s apex court has recently ruled to take action against the illegal immigrants but to no anvil as the civilian government is said to be impotent to take action on the issues that Pakistan’s strong military establishment believes are connected to the country’s national security.
The military is adamant not to take action against the outfits it made and trained to play games in the region especially in Indian- held J&K and Afghanistan.
Now, the military is in war against its local Taliban in north of the country believably on the pressure of the US. Hundreds of soldiers have lost their lives but it still stands far from taking a final action against such groups.
Most of the political parties including the religious political parties of the country support opening talks with the Pakistani Taliban and some are in alliance with them especially in Pakistan’s largest province of Punjab.
Pakistan’s most popular party at the moment—the PML – N—is in electoral alliance with the extremist militant groups which it released huge funds to establish religious seminaries in the province.
Pakistan’s ruling coalition believed to be secular is marred by its bad governance and most of its leaders are facing allegations of taking kickbacks and commissions. It has succeeded to complete its tenure in power through dirty political games. It is facing credibility crisis in its home province of Sindh where its opponents have announced to forge a huge alliance to challenge its support in the upcoming elections due this year.
By Amar Sindu
Today is February 24. Last year, on the same date, Rinkle was picked up from her house. Her house was left in a state that suggested that a burglary had occurred and valuables were stolen. Her dupatta and her chappals were left lying on the doorstep.
When she was first presented in a court in Mirpur Mathelo, she requested to be returned to her parents. The court, instead of listening to her, replied that she ‘was confused’ and therefore, should spend time reconsidering the predicament and handed her back to her abductors. It was as if the court was confused itself.
She was presented in court again on Feb 28, where, in her statement, she recited the kalma and became ‘Faryal Bibi’ from Rinkle. The entire process took less than 10 minutes. Her conversion to Islam was greeted by aerial firing by her captors who had brought her to court surrounded by armed guards. This was a new victory for them.
‘Faryal Bibi’ was then taken to Dargah Bharchondi’s seat-bearer and PPP’s Mian Mithu, while the gunfire echoed across the town. She was his guest and was taken to and from court surrounded by his guards. Actually, this victory was not the only feather in the dargah’s cap. The dargah’s deeds, ranging from the Manzalgah mosque that became famous for its role during the pre-Partition communal riots in Sindh to the assassination of the singer Bhagat Kunwar Ram of the Hindu faith, were oft repeated. The dargah commonly converted non-Muslims to Islam before the Partition and this exercise continues steadily today.
Sindhi Association of North America (SANA) being largest and democratic organization of Sindhi Diaspora has strongly condemned the threats to the integrity of Sindh by MQM chief Altaf Hussain. SANA termed the threats by MQM chief as very dangerous and divisive and warned that such biased, parochial and antagonistic politics may result in bloodshed in Sindh. Sindh is a historic entity and the people will never allow it to be partitioned or divided.
MQM supported by various power brokers has caused reign of unabated violence, destruction and irreversible damage to economic activity in Sindh, and continued anti Sindh policies with the unconditional support of current government.
The large majority of the people in Sindh have rejected the new local government system in Sindh introduced at the behest of MQM. Sindh Peoples Local Government Act, SPLGA, is discriminatory and divisive in nature and will create permanent acrimony among various sections of the population in Sindh.
We stand in solidarity with people of Sindh who have rejected Sindh People Local Government Act 2012.
SANA called upon the MQM to desist from destructive and divisive politics and try to reach a consensus on a workable local government system in the province acceptable to all the sections of the society. That will bring all the people of the province together and will be beneficial for the progress, development and peace.
SANA draws attention of people of Sindh, especially Sindh-Loving Urdus peaking Sindhis to reject once for all the narrow minded and myopic views of MQM and standby the philosophy of love, peace and nonviolence which is deeply embedded in consciousness of Sindhi people.
SANA also demands representatives sitting in legislature of Sindh Assembly to work toward undoing of SPLGA and bring forward a bill that is representative of demands and needs of people of Sindh. The subject bill should be equitable across the board and should aim at making civic life better for all people
SANA urged the world community not to support any moves by MQM to divide Sindh, the heir to the great Indus Valley Civilization as such attempts would destabilize the already volatile region.
By: Malik Siraj Akbar, Editor in Chief, ‘The Baloch Hal’
A Pakistani Muslim scholar with Canadian nationality has announced to transform Islamabad into “the world’s biggest Tahrir Square” on January 14th ahead of this year’s upcoming general elections. Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri, a cogent public speaker, has made an abrupt but a robust comeback in Pakistan’s politics after spending nearly five years in Canada. Qadri, previously an unpopular politician but still a cleric with a large following of religious disciples, is asking for electoral reforms prior to the next polls.
There are two fundamental problems with Qadri’s demand.
First, he has given an absolutely unrealistic ultimatum of mere two weeks to the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (P.P.P.) to carry out vague electoral reforms, for example to ensure the election of ‘honest people’ to the parliament. In order to conduct these reforms, Dr. Qadri, while citing the Article 254 of the Pakistani constitution, justifies the postponement of the general elections which are expected to take place in May. The mainstream political parties, such as the P.P.P. and the Pakistan Muslim League of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, want to go for elections without any interruptions soon after the completion of the current term of the parliament because they oppose any kind of derailment of the democratic process.
Second, Dr. Qadri is asking for representation for the powerful Pakistani military and the politically active judiciary in the interim government, a demand that clearly clashes with the very spirit of democracy.
by Adnan Khalid Rasool
Based on the political events of the last 10 days, one of the most commonly asked questions in Pakistan is:
‘What is going on?’
As in what is going with the whole Qadri parade, what is up with Bilawal’s launch, and generally what on earth is going on in Pakistan?
Simply put, there are two sides going up against each other and all of these events, or whatever you want to call them, are just parts of that.
Who are these sides and what are they after?
One side to all this is the establishment.
For the last five years, the establishment has played one hand after another against a democratically elected government but failed, as for once, the largest opposition parties refused to play along with them. So a year ago, they launched their own horse in the race who initially did very well but later fizzled out like most of the establishment’s schemes.
The establishment learnt from this failed experiment and went back to the drawing board and came up with Tahirul Qadri. Tahirul Qadri, already having played a pawn multiple times in the establishment’s miscalculated moves, jumped right back on the horse and rode in promising to change the system. But as is the case with most of the establishment’s experiments, he came, he saw and he backed off from what he said.
So one side to this fight is these guys, but why are they doing this?
The answer to that is actually very simple but not very commonly discussed.
What the establishment is after is something dubbed as the ‘Bangladesh formula’. For years, our army and their army have been messing around in politics without much success. No matter how many times they took over, they were always kicked out eventually and in this process they ended up earning a bad name. But about four years ago, the Bangladeshi army finally cracked the code to solve this complicated riddle. The play was that the army does not get involved; instead a caretaker government needs to be formed that would include all branches of the state including judiciary and the military.
This way the army would get a seat on the table, but it would not be the bad guy as the caretaker government would make it a ‘joint effort’. And just to make things more ‘legitimate’, smaller insignificant parties would be invited to become part of the caretaker setup. That would then decide the rules for elections which would be delayed from their actual date as the new structures being designed just happen to take about two years to complete.
By: Andrei Volodin, specially for RIR
Russia should make every effort to help recover the pattern of civil society in Pakistan by supporting the role of political parties, civil groups and any organisations that aim to fight terrorism.
Terrorism has grown into probably the most destructive phenomenon in today’s Pakistan. The sorrow list of victims of terrorist attacks is expanding rapidly, going up from 164 casualties in 2003 to 40,000 in 2011. According to official data, damage suffered by the country from 2000 to 2011 exceeded $70 billion.
The official government acknowledgement of terrorism as the main threat to the unity and integrity of Pakistan has proved unable to reverse the situation as terrorist efforts retain their momentum.
The sources of terrorism in Pakistan are usually linked to the policy of Islamisation of the country by General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq (years in office: 1977 to 1988). An important element of the then emerging terrorist activity was Pakistan’s direct involvement in military actions in Afghanistan and the actual creation of the mujahideen units, who after the end of the military actions rose to prominence as a military and political force first in Afghanistan and then in Pakistan.
The government and society at large have no clear understanding of the strategy and tactics of fighting terrorism. The point of view of George Friedman, a U.S. analyst, is that Pakistan is losing its “trajectory into the future.” This opinion is underpinned by the increasingly chaotic social and political life in Pakistan, the army’s involvement in domestic processes, the poorly regulated government economy and the inability of political parties to set up adequate political life for more than five years. This “institutional vacuum” is inevitably filled up by other organisations, in case of Pakistan, terrorist structures.
Experts often describe Pakistan as a “pendulum state,” meaning the country’s typical alternation of military and civil government. However, following the resignation of Pervez Musharraf and with certain influence from the US, which disrupted the usual cyclicality, this constraint of political struggle was withdrawn from the political process. As a consequence, Pakistani parties were made even more fragile and unpredictable in their actions. There are basically personal problems that are substituting the existing controversies in the diverse social and political programmes of the Pakistan People’s Party, on the one hand, and the Pakistan Muslim League, on the other hand.
Recent move initiated by PPP led by President Zardari of appointing Makhdom Syed Ahmed Mehmood as Governor of Punjab Province is a multi purpose stroke jointly addressing the PML-F & PML-N both the parties. PML-F led by Pir Sahib Pagaro has recently conducted a mammoth public gathering in Hyderabad, Sindh which has lucidly placed PML-F as an emerging substitute to PPP in Sindh. The reputation & political strength of said party is increasing in leaps & bounds. People from all walks of life are joining PML-F. Since the day PPP- MQM coalition introduced SPLGO in Sindh Assembly, PML- F along with a few opposed it dynamically. This shift of PML-F from government batches to opposition was not only admired by the masses but was warmly welcomed also. Seeing this popular acceptance by the people of Sindh Pir Sahib gathered all nationalists & the parties who were against it instead of reviving previous alliance with PPP and vowed to fight with government till the withdrawal of Dual local Government Bill. PPP has tried a lot to settle the matters with PML-F but could not resolve.
As the momentum of criticizing PPP govt: in general & the Dual local Govt: Bill in particular is high. In this context a recent massive public gathering was organized by PML-F at Hyderabad on 14th of instant .Surprisingly to know that there a personality appeared as vehement & stiff critic of PPP that was nothing else but upcoming Governor Syed Ahmed Mehmood, who informed the audience that he, was coming directly from London chiefly to attend this public gathering. The said public gathering of PML-F caused PPP leadership restless. As Makhdom A. Mehmood was President of Punjab PML-F and is said to be relative of the former Prime Minister Yousif Raza Gilani as well as of Pir Sahib Pagara.
With in seven days (decision /consent of the incumbent reported on 21st of instant) of time the cards of game got quietly changed. The breeze of lust & power swept all affiliations and promises shortly made. The sources disclosed that despite refusal of Pir Pagaro for not attaining the post offered, Makhdom Mehmood was inclined to be the Governor calling it the wish of his father thus Pir Sahib demanded resignation which was tendered by him instantly.
Misfortune of one yields fortune for another. The prevailing leadership of PPP has provided an opportunity to PML-F to launch itself in a manner that deprived & betrayed masses by PPP-P Government may find rescue & comfort in the folds of PML-F. Since the day PPP- MQM coalition government tabled SPLGO in Sindh Assembly & got it passed hurriedly. The very moment PML-F on Assembly ground & the Nationalists on the roads opposed it with tooth & nail. The arrogant PPP neither paid attention towards public resentment nor responded to any political party opposing this barbaric bill.
On the one hand they started joking on opponents then criticized severely & finally conducted public meeting (jalso) in Hyderabad on 10th October 2012 which proved a flop show. On the other hand Sindh Bachayo Committee (SBC) under the convener ship of Syed Jalal Shah along with Jatoi Bros & Shahryar Mahar gathered at Pir Sahib Pagaro to accelerate the struggle against controversial Dual Local Government System. Due to Government’s tough & unfavorable stand on this controversial black bill there was a growing frustration among masses of Sindh.
In the mean time Pir Sahib Paggaro appeared as the gigantic voice of Sindh & Sindhis which raised a new hope among downtrodden masses of Sindh. His patriotic stand, vision, attitude & dealing with recently erupted political affairs earned for him a “leadership” role. Thus genial Pir Sahib Pagaro got consensus to lead all parties who are struggling against dual bill in particular and are willing to form a grand alliance against PPP in Sindh in coming elections in general.
In Punjab, the PML-N is set to face competition from the emerging PTI, PML-Q and PPP. However, one never thought that the political scenario in Sindh would be similarly fraught with stiff competition. This is because PPP has historically enjoyed a monopoly over Sindh.
But nobody knew what December 14, 2012 would bring forth.
December 14, was the day when the unprecedented monopoly of PPP was finally challenged. It was not PML-N nor the PTI, but the Pakistan Muslim League – Functional (PML-F) led by Syed Sibghatullah Shah Rashdi, popularly known as Pir Pagaro, that did so.
By: Ismail Dilawar
KARACHI – Frequent incidents of violence and the consequent sense of paranoia in the country’s financial hub have seriously jeopardized businesses, and put a majority of the traders and businessmen under heavy debts during recent years.
The traders claim to have become insolvent due to violence, such as politically-motivated targeted killings, and frequent strikes that partially or completely cease the businesses activity in the port city. “Almost 80 percent of the traders in the city are breathing hard under heavy debts which they owe to the goods’ suppliers,” said Muhammad Atiq Mir, chairman of the All Karachi Tajir Ittehad (AKTI), a body representing around 400 city markets. This, he said, was because of the politically and religiously motivated violence, which is now the order of the day.
Mir said most of the traders’ shops were filled with suppliers’ goods. “Due to consistently increasing inflation and violence, the traders’ income has been going down,” he said. “Irrespective of the reasons, each day of suspended businesses activity costs the city traders at least Rs 2.5 to Rs 3 billion,” he said, adding that this amount reflected the revenues only. “Daily trading activity can roughly be estimated at over a trillion rupees,” said Mir, who also chairs the Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (FPCCI) standing committee on small traders and cottage industries.
Hyderabad : Pakistan Muslim League Functional’s Chief Pir Pagara did the historical Jasla (Public Gathering) PML-F shows strength in Hyderabad; rejects [controversial, black and apartheid] SPLGA 2012 the new LG Law introduced by MQM and PPP in Sindh, in which the Slogan was ” Hik Sindh Hik Kanoon Hik Dharti Hik Pakistan ” ( One Sindh One Law One Land One Pakistan).
In the history of Sindh, Hyderabad never before 1.2 million people gathered from across the sindh to attend such public gathering and PML(F) Chief Pir Pagara addressed to all including Sindh Nationalist Parties, those who appose against the New Local Government, through out the event was captured by Sindhi media channels and all went peaceful, instead of the chairs, on 70 acres Carpets were laid to sit on the floor and the security duty was given to HUR’s as well as Police and Rangers. …