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Archive for category PAKISTAN POLITICS

RETURN OF THE NATIVE

                                              RETURN OF THE NATIVE

 

Mustafa Kamal, the ex-Nazim of Karachi, has staged a come back on March 3, 2016, to Karachi, after a sojourn of three and a half years. His return to the political scene at this juncture has created quite a stir in social and political circles of Karachi in particular  and of Pakistan in general. Actually it would have been better if he returned before the local bodies elections recently held in Sindh province.

 

Mustafa Kamal is well-known for his honesty, sincerity, devotion and capability to deliver. Whatever good work and development we see in Karachi is the result of his planning and hard work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

According to the up-coming news its heartening to know that he has returned to his native place with a great will to re-start his work from where he had left, hopefully with better planning and devotion. It goes without saying that MQM, with its deeds, has earned only a bad name for itself as well as for the country. To put it in a nut-shell, it was a dire need of the time to launch an organization to fight peacefully for genuine rights of the Urdu speaking Muhajirs. But what they have given is a tarnished image of Muhajirs, causing great humiliation and shame to them and in fact to the whole country.

 

Perhaps our own misdeeds invited scourge from God. The period of scourge now seems to be over and its time for remorse and re-examination of our conduct followed by reform and reconstruction. An opportunity has presented itself which demands making an assessment of the situation and responding accordingly.

 

I make an earnest appeal to all who stand for justice and fair play to join hands and extend their full support to Mustafa Kamal and his associates, in any way they can, to make this mission a real success. Let everyone of us, irrespective of his/her faith, ethnicity and provincial affinity, give full moral support and co-operation to this move.

 

Let the new party, to be announced shortly in future, not be against MQM (Muttahida Qaumi Movement) or its chief and let it not aim to break it up. It may continue to function and have its own way. If the new party has good and sincere workers, the people will surely support it. It is important, however, that only sincere and patriotic persons are welcome to join the party, and those found otherwise in future, should be expelled.

 

Let this forthcoming organization be a platform for all of us to work together to revive peace, prosperity and welfare in Sindh province and to the whole country. Let us (with the help of God Almighty) bring back the identity of Karachi as a city of lights and a portal for employment and opportunity for the people coming from all parts of the country. If we are sincere in our objective and efforts God Almighty will be with us and we will get divine help to achieve our goal.

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Nawaz Sharif’s Maiden Address

Upright Opinion

August 19, 2013

Nawaz Sharif’s Maiden Address

By Saeed Qureshi

 Nawaz Sharif’s first address to the people of Pakistan after his assuming office was earnest and thoughtful. He was somber and spoke with a profound aura of sincerity and a great deal of solemnity. I can feel that Pakistan has finally landed into the stewardship of a leader who is committed to salvage Pakistan from a deep morass and lift it high to the level of a modern state.

 In his nearly an hour long speech the prime minister catalogued all those issues that were in his plate and were passed on to him from what he called a misrule of the past 14 years. He spelled out the strategies of his government to resolve and tackle those ticklish lingering problems.

He dilated at length upon acute electricity mayhem and its disastrous impact upon the country’s economy and the people’s lives. He painted a bleak picture of how ruthlessly the nation building departments and assets were drained and mismanaged that now these have become a liability on the national exchequer to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars.

 I can draw a comparison between the Nawaz Sharif of yesteryears and the one that has come before us after the 2013 elections. There is a sea change in the mannerism, outlook, attitude and overall personality of Mian Nawaz Sharif. Erstwhile, he used to be volatile, reactive, vengeful, aggressive, ambitious and irritable.

 Now he is kind, compassionate tolerant, understanding, composed and mature. The long tenure in exile and removal from power has brought about a kind of metamorphosis of maturity in him. He doesn’t seem to be power hungry or with a mind frame of sticking to it by hook and by crook and through devious machinations.

 During the past five years, he displayed a marvelous show of great statesmanship when he spurned all temptations and calls for removal of PPP government through non democratic maneuvers. His party opted out of the coalition at the center yet remained simultaneously its silent supporter and critic as what was cynically codenamed as “friendly opposition”. That paid dividends to him in the form of retaking power.

 He is quite conscious that the gigantic goals and formidable challenges that his government is faced with are to be addressed in a limited framework of five years. His mandate and charter of giving a new promising destiny to Pakistan  is comprehensive, ambitious and far reaching that may not be accomplished in that period but hopefully a clear direction and road map would be mounted that can serve as pioneering guide for the future rulers.

 Nawaz Sharif’s call to build consensus among the political parties for rebuilding Pakistan as a modern state should be welcomed and appreciated by opposition parties and all sections of the society. But it appears that the PPP, PTI and ANP would not extend a helping hand to prime minister Nawaz Sharif is his agenda for re-calibrating Pakistan towards prosperity, self reliance and dignity.

I gathered this impression after listening to a follow-up debate on Dunya television channel.  The participants from PTI and ANP manifested their moral dishonesty by bitterly censuring the prime minister for a disappointing speech. One could have given them some saving grace, had they been objective in also appreciating his objectives and plans that he exuded for a glorious future of Pakistan. But to object that why he catalogued and mentioned the blunders and the bad policies of the previous regimes was an outright show of a hypocritical and malicious mentality.

 Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has to clean the “Augean Stables” of the gross distortions and criminal disservice of the previous ruling cabals lately that of PPP.  It is apparent to the people of Pakistan that during the past decade the national institutions were deliberately and shamelessly debilitated and destroyed. The odious culture of corruption and bad governance was given full play to make money and fill the coffers of the people in power.

 Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif presented a resume of the wounds inflicted on body politic of Pakistan and the way the elitists classes and politicians tried in every possible manner to render Pakistan a failed and bankrupt nation. For the past several years there has been a complete breakdown of the law and order and the governance seemed to be in tatters.

 On the contrary the vast population was subjected to grinding poverty, degradation of life, lawlessness and so on. A nation turned mercenary and pawn in a war that has wreaked it economically and socially, besides denting the national unity and dignified survival as a free nation.

One of the pernicious offshoots was the teUnknown-49rrorism that is still rampaging Pakistan. The drone attacks started during Musharraf era and continued during the PPP rule have made a mockery of the sovereignty of Pakistan. There is a rampant loot and plunder prevalent from top to bottom. 

The persistent acute electric power shortage was cashed by the big wigs of the previous government for making personal fortunes. The national enterprises like Steel Mills, PIA, railways were subjected to economic ruination.

 Referring to terrorism‚ the prime minister said the government was determined to tackle this horrendous problem either through dialogue or with full might of the state. He said that on this issue all the state institutions were in agreement. 

The grave lawlessness and demons of corruption that the Pakistani nation has been witnessing for over decade robbed people of peace of mind and even barest means for two square meals. As a result Pakistan can be equaled with some of the unstable African countries now passing through the civil war.

 One by one he mentioned the breakdown of law and order, the unremitting terrorism, the Balochistan imbroglio, the Kashmir stalemate, the thorny relations with India, rehabilitation of the doomed enterprises, chronic corruption, the drone attacks, the creation of jobs, the provision of houses to the homeless, the completion of the stalled power projects.

 Offering an olive branch to India he remarked that both India and Pakistan should grasp this reality that they should stop wasting their energies and resources on wars‚ and instead divert these to eliminate poverty‚ ignorance and disease.

 Bu the most outstanding feature of his speech was to build with China’s help a 2000 miles long highway and railway track between the Kashgar city of China and Karachi. He empathized that this mile-stone project would open a glorious gateway and gigantic spectrum of economic boom for both the countries. 

On both sides of this historic miracle, the industrial and economic zones would be established that in return would create countless jobs and lead Pakistan into the fold of prosperous nations. The Prime Minister said that his vision was to extend motorways and communication links not only to Kabul but also to Central Asia and South Asian region.

The writer is a senior journalist, former editor of Diplomatic Times and a former diplomat

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Distinction between friend and foe

Distinction between friend and foe

Asif Haroon Raja

Presidential election held on 30 June 2013 kicked up lot of dust owing to PPP’s cranky behavior. PML-N’s demand to seek a change of date was not with mala fide intention. It was wrong on part of well-meaning but secular Fakhru Bhai not to understand the significance of 27th Ramadan which fell on 6th August and that many either sit in Aitiqaf or perform Umrah during last ten days of Ramadan. He should have owned his mistake and changed the date rather than showing his inability to do so when requested by PML-N. He displayed weakness when he was required to act firmly to stop pre-poll rigging and rigging on polling day, but became rigid at a wrong time. Rather than taking decision he passed the buck to the Supreme Court.

PPP’s attitude was debatable and it gave an impression as if Raza Rabbani would win the contest if held on 6 August and not otherwise. Judging from the political strength of each party and alliance of MQM and JUI-F with PML-N, victory of Mamnoon Hussain was a foregone conclusion. The only wishful possibility visualized by Rabbani was absence of large number of PML-N and JUI-F Parliamentarians on 6 August because of Aitiqaf/Umrah might pave his way to victory. He also naively thought that nomination of a weak candidate by PML-N might help him in winning over dissidents from PML-N and allied parties. Hidden motives were to make the election and judiciary controversial.

Notwithstanding some undesirable reservations expressed about Mamnoon, none will disagree with me that anyone howsoever mediocre but clean would be better than tainted Zardari. Hence boycott of election by PPP and its two worthless allies was in bad taste. PTI wisely decided to take part in election and field its candidate, although Imran Khan has still not got reconciled to general elections results and has landed himself in avoidable trouble. Mamnoon won with an overwhelming majority and will enter the presidency as a ceremonial president in September, putting an end to palace intrigues pursued by his predecessor.   

Presidential election was no issue; what concerns Pakistanis are insecurity of life and property, energy crisis, faltering economy, declining morals and values, erosion of national sovereignty and honor, media’s negativity and foreign interference. Blood is oozing out of every pore of Pakistan for the last many years without blood transfusion to replenish the loss. As a result, the state is getting enfeebled with every passing day. The only preventive measure taken is to barricade the country by putting string of barriers and check posts and pitching security forces against faceless enemy which is well-trained, well-equipped and supported by external powers. While lawless FATA has to some extent been secured because of heroics of Army and FC, settled areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and urban centres where police is in the forefront remain in turmoil. Militants stab the chosen target with ease and get away. No fool-proof system has been devised to nip the evil in the bud by preventing occurrence through timely intelligence.

Unknown-1This myth has also been broken after the DIK jail break about which all concerned had been forewarned well in time. Police sluggishness, ineptness and collusion with the militants were reasons behind the embarrassing outcome. It was in knowledge of all that the police are involved in high scale corruption and in league with the criminals particularly in Balochistan and in Sindh. Performance of KP police was relatively better in facing militancy. Some say this downslide is owing to unclear policy of PTI government regarding TTP.

While the effect of this demoralizing event had not faded away, the nation was subjected to another embarrassment in Islamabad on August 15 where a lone gunman kept the capital city police in a spin for over five hours. But for Zamurrad’s bold act, the high drama would have continued till next morning. Having seen the conduct of Islamabad Police and its senior officials on TV, it can be safely concluded that it is unfit to confront even minor challenges.          

It is indeed mind boggling that our security forces have been fighting war on terror haphazardly for a decade without national security and counter terrorism policies. This is despite the fact that Pakistan is the biggest victim of terrorism. Reason behind this criminal neglect is that the elites have secured themselves within the confines of Red and Green zones, bulletproof vehicles, and ring of security guards while leaving the masses to fend for themselves. In hundreds of acts of terror, the underprivileged class has suffered the most. This unfortunate class had neither been taken into confidence to participate in US imposed war nor is in direct clash with the militants. It is caught between the crossfire of security forces, militants and foreign agents.

The police which are the frontline force to check crime and terrorism have been thoroughly corrupted and politicized by the elites to serve their ends. Moral turpitude of all segments of society has nosedived and distinction between good and bad blurred. Rather, dishonest officials are patronized and rewarded while the honest are seen as misfits. This downslide started during Gen Musharraf era which allowed complete liberty of action to Washington to neo-colonize Pakistan and India given a free hand to crush freedom movement in occupied Kashmir. Five-year inglorious rule of PPP-ANP-MQM combine ruined Pakistan’s economy, social fabric and state institutions.

Till 2002, FATA was unofficially recognized as Illaqa Ghair where murderers, absconders, car-lifters, abductors and criminals could find refuge from hand of law. Now whole of Pakistan has turned into Illaqa Ghair since there is no rule of law, elites are biggest law breakers, accountability is absent, law enforcers and lower courts are corrupt. Terrorists having confessed committing over hundred murders are set free; terrorists nabbed during close combat in war zones are given bail; those in jail are freed by terrorists. Anti-terrorist courts violate mandatory timeframe and take their time to decide high profile cases, and those sentenced to death are not hanged.            

A stage had been set to declare nuclear Pakistan a failed state, but God saved Pakistan from sinking by turning the victory of USA in Afghanistan into defeat and thus checkmating its imperialist designs. Since ISAF cannot possibly pull itself out of the quagmire without the help of Pakistan, the US is grudgingly tolerating Pakistan. Issues on which the US has been making hue and cry are being put up with and friendly gestures made. Its affability is however not at the cost of annoying India which continues to remain in its good books. USA is not putting any pressure on India to stop its hostile acts against Pakistan as is evident from ongoing escalation of tensions along the LoC. TTP and BLA have not been bridled by CIA.

It is heartening to note that the new government has firmed up to stem the rot and to not only clean the mess but also improve the economy and living conditions of the downtrodden. Some positive steps have already been taken. Electricity policy has been formulated and curse of prolonged load shedding marginally controlled. PM Nawaz Sharif’s address was inspirational and well-intentioned but good intentions require speedy and result oriented implementation. What is needed now is to take all stakeholders on board and finalize coherent national security policy and counter terrorism policy at the earliest to control the scourge of terrorism. Setting up of Rapid Response Force (RPF) and Joint Intelligence Secretariat to combat terrorism by the close of this month is satisfying, but police needs a big overhaul and so do investigating and prosecution agencies and lower courts. Effective RPFs and effectual intelligence setup are also required in each province.  

As regards foreign policy, friendship with immediate neighbors is desirable, but it should not be one-sided and at the cost of honor and dignity. Clear distinction should be made between friend and foe since enemies guised as friends have caused more harm to Pakistan. It is good that grant of MFN status to India has been put on hold till normalization of relations. China being all-weather and time-tested friend, should be trusted and envisaged long-term projects executed.     

The writer is a retired Brig, defence analyst, columnist and author of several books. asifharoonraja@gmail.com

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