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Posts Tagged PAT


Prevailing political stalemate in the country with agitators of both Pakistan Tehrik-e- Insaaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT) observing sit-in at capital city of Islamabad, blocking sensitive Red Zone and threatening vital Govt buildings, have negatively impacted the entire nation causing fretful anxiety for all segments of society. The political chaos in Pakistan has deepened, with the country’s embattled Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif now vowing not to step down despite escalating protests against his rule. Sharif came to power for the third time in elections last year. His victory marked the first successful civilian transfer of power in Pakistan’s history. His considerable electoral mandate and peerless political pedigree . Sharif is a heavyweight in Punjab, Pakistan’s most populous state led many to believe the country could turn a corner, mend ties with India and revitalize its stagnating economy. But criticism of his government’s performance dogged by the persistence of the country’s woeful energy shortages, inflation, security issues among other problems grew in the year.

imagesA lot is being said about Pak Army’s role behind instigating the current political chaos in the country. Politicians and a segment of the local and international media have been accusing the very defense institution of being the hidden power behind the turmoil. No one, so far has been able to prove it with facts. Everyone is quite familiar about peace talks and negotiations held with TTP by PTI and govt but failed. There upon Pakistan Armed forces in total cohesion with state adversaries opted to initiate Operation Zarb-e-Azb in North Waziristan, which has been the main hub of terrorists. Country wide terrorist’s activities were being planned and directed by the terrorists residing in NWA. This whole situation led to various speculations about civil-military seriousness in wiping terrorism out. This also divided the society on various fronts. Politicians, civil society members and people from every walk of life started possessing fragmented feelings.

What is happening in Islamabad is in front of everybody. Apart from Pakistani media, International media outlets are reporting it fondly. What is being observed is that Media in Pakistan is divided into fragments where each media outlet has a particular stance to promote and propagate. Media has got an issue at hand. Special media and analyst teams are giving 24/7 coverage and analysis. Speeches of Dr. Qadri and Imran Khan are being covered and analyzed specifically in relevance to their agenda. The whole political scenario has diverted the media and people attention from the IDP’S and Thar affectees. Whenever any disaster hits Pakistan, army is there as saviors and defenders of their people.

The political scenario is quickly changing with every passing day though the end is not very obvious at the moment. We may have reservations over the way Imran Khan and Qadri chose to proceed with their demands, but a vast majority does accept that their demands are justified. Implementation of Article 62 & 63, electoral and social reforms, justice and eradication of corrupt system are all the things that Pakistan is desperately in need of at the moment.

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Under the Cover of Democracy? By Sajjad Shaukat

                                                   Under the Cover of Democracy?

                                                               By Sajjad Shaukat


With the passage of more than 70 days, the prevailing political turmoil in Pakistan has deepened, as protesting groups of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) led by Imran Khan and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) by Dr. Tahirul Qadri have continued AZADI (Freedom) and INQILAB (Revolution) marches, observing sit-ins at capital city of Islamabad. Although Tahirul Qadri has ended his sit-in at Islamabad, yet he has decided to observe two-day sit-ins in various cities of the country. Besides, both PAT and PTI have been conducting larger processions in various cities. Thus, demonstrations and protests have been prolonged and extended, because, the government of PML (N) led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif could not grab the initiative to settle the issue through result-oriented dialogue.


304090_462826840405885_1100425996_nNow, the political uncertainty in the country presents an ugly scenario in which twin protesting parties have maintained a firm stance rigidly demanding resignation of the prime minister, audit of the rigged elections, reformation of Election Commission etc. Both Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri are not against the democracy, but are against the corrupt system of democracy, being practised in Pakistan. They have said in their various speeches that and PPP and PML (N) are taking their turn, and under the cover of democracy, their leaders have been doing business through tax-evasion and corruption.


No doubt, favorite system of governance in the Western countries is democracy. By using their legitimate right of vote, people participate in political process, and elect their own representatives to govern them. Thus, they give mandate by authorizing the elected members to hold public offices and make legitimate decisions to run the affairs of state. And, the elected representatives remain accountable for their actions, while, the system of electoral democracy also empowers the voters to take away the powers of the elected members, if they fall short of popular aspirations—good governance and so on.


In case of Pakistan’s version of democracy, it has the same system of representatives according to the constitution, but the elected representatives grossly violate the public mandate for obtaining their selfish and materialistic gains. These representatives, virtually shatter all hopes of voters by neglecting their social problems, financial difficulties and psychological distress. Promises made during election campaign are quickly forgotten, while perks of public offices are fully enjoyed. Irony of the fate is that same elite group gets elected over and over again and election campaigns are held as rituals. Unfortunately, voters, become trading pawns in the hands of politicians who regard elections as windows of business opening to plunder national wealth through all possible means of corruption whose result is poor governance.


Most of the elected representatives in National Assembly and Senate hardly make any worthwhile contribution, as they remain absent during active sessions of the parliament. Therefore, sessions of the lower and upper houses are adjourned due to lack of quorum, and the process of essentially required legislation remains blank and weary. Resultantly, the voters’ aspirations turn into hopeless ordeal, dejection and despondency.


It is notable that various malpractices such as horse-trading, nepotism, bribery, illegal obligations and other forms of corruption are very common among our politicians. In fact, the elite group of elected members uses powers of their public offices to advance their personal interests including engagement in politics of THANA and KUTCHERY (Police and Court), earnestly seeking allotment of development and discretion funds and timely steps of sycophancy to please the top party leaders. Thus, they promote their personal interests, and show total callousness towards torment of their voters.


Undoubtedly, in Pakistan, corruption is a significant obstacle for good governance, supremacy of law, and rational use of authority to run the affairs of state and to maintain public cohesion and national harmony. Regrettably, corrupt practices and misuse of public office lead to general frustration, opening windows of protest with sense of dissent, disapproval and conflict against the governing authority. The environment of agitation and demonstrations carry seeds of large scale disturbances, creating law and order situation, social disorder and political chaos, culminating in poor governance.


It is our misfortune that rampant corruption in the country has infected the entire edifice of national institutions. Political leadership is busy in power grabbing process, while the poor suffer under hard environment where healthy food, clean drinking water, respectable shelter, justice, education and health care facilities are almost non-existent.


In this regard, the ordeal of poor in Pakistan can well be anticipated by prevailing unemployment, poor living and health conditions, price hike, social injustice, contempt for merit, promoting cronyism, and poor law and order situation.


Regrettably, the concerned ministers remain busy in settling scores against their political rivals, using floor of parliament and media channels. Most of their time is spent on preparing fierce speeches to level fresh tirades of accusations and counter allegations.


The poor voters remain bewildered as protesting groups, PAT and PTI, pointed out corruption of subsequent rulers of the PPP and the present ones of the PML (N). While, ruling elite and their associates in opposition benches of the parliament have termed the protests as unlawful, unconstitutional and undemocratic.


Besides, political leaders enraged outbursts, filled with allegations and counter accusations. Some of them, especially of the PPP and PML (N) have shamefully tried their best to drag the Armed Forces into political turmoil. They have brazenly accused Pak Army and country’s prime intelligence agency, ISI (without any evidence) for orchestrating the prevailing political impasse which was created by the politicians themselves. In their fierce speeches, while, indirectly criticizing Army, leaders of PML (N) and some other parliamentarians said that they would oppose any move which could derail democracy in the country by rejecting the unconstitutional demands of PTI and PAT including resignation of the Prime Minister Nawaz and the dissolution of the National Assembly.


On the other side, on September 12, 2014, DG of ISPR Maj-Gen. Asim Bajwa once again elaborated, “Pakistan Army supports democracy and constitution, and does not think it necessary to respond to rumors.” He added, “The army chief in his address on Youm-i-Shuhuda (Martyrs’ Day) clearly said that the army believes in continuation and democracy.”


Some media analysts and political leaders have tended to show their loyalties to top political leadership by mentioning about the possibility of military take over. Such elements have an agenda to spoil civil-military relations—to create division between the Armed Forces, distorting their image in the eyes of general masses. But all these observations proved untrue, as Army did not take any step like military take over or martial law.  


It is notable that in 2011, during the Memogate case, some political entities and media commentators were saying that martial law will be imposed in the country. The then Chief of Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani stated, “The Pakistan Army has and will continue to support democratic process in the country.” As Army was acting upon the principle of non-interference in political affairs, therefore, the previous government completed its tenure.


It is noteworthy that for the last few months, Pakistan’s Armed Forces are successfully obtaining their objectives in North Waziristan Agency (NWA) through military operation Zarb-e-Azb against the terrorists who had challenged the writ of the state, and had frightened the entire nation by their terror-acts. The Armed Forces also engaged in rescue-operations in the flood-affected areas. Besides, Pak Army has also been coping with subversive activities in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and other parts of the country including tribal areas in wake of India’s war-like diplomacy and cross-border infiltration from Afghanistan’s side.


However, these parliamentarians and leaders have disregarded the commitment and sacrifices, being offered by the Armed Forces in the operation Zarb-e-Azb and flood relief operation.


In fact, under the cover of democracy, some politicians of the government and the opposition parties are diverting the attention of the general masses from those articles of the constitution, which are mentioned in the ‘Principles of Policy.’ These articles clearly mention that people would provide with justice, gap between the rich and the poor would be reduced, and poverty would be eradicated in the country. However, our politicians and the subsequent governments of the industrialists and feudlords failed in delivering good governance to the people in accordance with the constitution. They have only deceived the public mandate in the pretext of democracy which has been named as a ‘corrupt democracy’ in Pakistan.


Nevertheless, rampant corruption in Pakistan is posing a very serious threat to the state as well the true democracy. It has become a significant obstacle towards development, and adversely impacting the good governance and rule of law, culminating in poor governance. Now, the right hour has come that the political leadership must conduct introspective analysis of their style of governance, and must develop a desire to fight the menace of corruption through accountability and transparency. The aim should be to put the house in order.


Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations


Email: sajjad_logic@yahoo.com



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The Coming of Pakistan’s Mohammed Bin Qasim!


The Coming of Pakistan’s Mohammed Bin Qasim!

By Dr. Haider Mehdi


I vividly recall, in the autumn of ’99, a few days after Gen. Musharraf’s military coup of October 12th, driving through the Islamabad-Rawalpindi Highway that it was a pleasant and serene early evening and a steady calm prevailed in the atmosphere as if the Almighty had bestowed peace on this land of the pure and pious.  As I drove somewhere on the main road, I observed an amazingly large and colorful billboard with a soldier’s picture glaring focusedly and directly over the passing crowd.  It was a towering hand-painted portrait of Gen. Pervez Musharraf in his military uniform riding on an elegant white horse, a sword raised in his right hand and his head covered in an Arabic “ghutra” (the traditional white head-cover that Arabs wear) and the caption under the portrait in large bold letters read: Pakistan’s Salahuddin Ayyubi.

As I studied this billboard, a smile appeared on my lips without quite understanding why. I had known at the time that people all over the country had distributed sweets on the streets celebrating the end of the chaotic so-called democratic regime of Main Nawaz Sharif with the military establishment’s dispatching, lock stock and barrel, the civilian political establishment out of Pakistan’s political spectrum.  Was the October 12th 1999 martial law a manifestation of a political tragedy in the history of Pakistan? This is an issue and a subject that political historians will continue to debate for years to come with many inconclusive judgments. This is how human history has been since humanity started recording events that greatly impacted the political discourse of societies all over the world.  All we can do is to learn from our past and make amendments in our present and the future that is yet to come.

Coming back to the portrait of Pakistan’s Salahuddin Ayyubi on a main street in Rawalpindi, I am certain of one thing: This portrait was an expression of the artist’s deep-rooted love of the legendary Islamic heroes; at the same time, it was a symbolic reflection of an imaginative wishful hope that a soldier of God’s kingdom had appeared to serve the people of Pakistan. It also reflected a deeply ingrained national psychological sentiment of public love, faith and emotional commitment to the sensitivity, trust, reliance on and emotional commitment of the common Pakistani folks towards Pakistan’s Armed Forces. And it was an expression of people’s faith in Pakistan’s military establishment as a national institution that will never betray this nation and will always protect it from the evil eye within and from outside.  It indicated the awam’s firm faith in the Armed Forces as the guardians and protectors of their national identity, safety, stability and continued existence.

One might disagree with me on the aforementioned contention, but this public perception and sentiment towards its Armed Forces still exists in totality in public consciousness.  This sentiment is still reflected and remains absolutely intact as of today.  Whether Musharraf and other military rulers came up to the people’s expectations is a justifiably controversial debate that will rage on for eternity with opposing arguments on both ends of the political spectrum. Irrespective of this debate, the question now is: But what of now? Where does the military leadership stand on September 2014 Pakistan?  What should it do and what should it not?

This is what the military establishment must do now and do urgently before matters get out of control:  It must support public aspirations by making a “soft intervention” telling the PMLN government to “give people what they want or they will give it to them on their behalf.” It is my considered opinion that a vast majority of Pakistani common folks as well as the PTI and PAT, the two political parties battling the status quo forces to relinquish political-economic control over the country, will welcome the military establishment’s “soft intervention” to end the prevailing impasse.

What the military leadership must not do is to impose martial law.  Working within the parameters of the constitution and the Supreme Court’s guidance, the military establishment should endorse a national interim administration of non-political, non-party-affiliated actors to implement structural reforms in the entire political system strictly in accordance with constitutional requirements, inclusive of criteria for the election of public representatives, the setting up an independent Election Commission of Pakistan, the rigid adherence to the “Preamble” of the constitution, and so on and so forth.

Let me stress the vital importance of the prevailing ground realities of present-day Pakistan standing in direct confrontation between two opposing ideas at Constitution Avenue in Islamabad. The fact of the matter is that self-denial of political impropriety and inexpedience is of no use now. The debate and the attempts to save today’s so-called democracy is irrelevant at this stage.  This so-called democracy bears nothing in common to what democracy truly means. This democracy is a charade, a comedy of errors, a misconstrued staged drama, a mismanaged theatrical performance, and an idea whose time has passed. Let us embrace “truth” as a first step towards our salvation as a nation. Let’s just try to be honest, ethical, moral, and truly committed to uprightness and veracity. The adjudication of history is upon us. Let us arbitrate our future with fairness and esteemed judgment. Let us find out with objectivity, honesty and absoluteness if the May 2013 elections were rigged or not.

We all know for a fact, given the nature of human beings and the multiple manifestations of being in political power, its invisible might and its effective tangible potency makes it absolutely impossible to have a free and fair judgment on the May 2013 elections as long as Mian Nawaz  Sharif and the PMLN government remains in charge of national affairs.  This is not an ethical or moral judgment on Mian Nawaz Sharif as an individual, but simply an in-depth understanding of power dynamics and how actual power works in reality.

Let us try to convince the Prime Minister to stand aside – and if the May 2013 elections are proven authentic and the PMLN public mandate established, the honorable Prime Minister comes back with full glory.  How else could heaven honor a mortal human – giving a person political immortality for all times to come. What else could Mian Nawaz Sharif ask for in a one-time life on this earth?

On the other hand, I dare not think of driving through the Islamabad-Rawalpindi Highway sometime soon on an early autumn evening this year and see a huge hand-painted billboard with another general’s portrait in his elegant military uniform riding a magnificent white horse, a naked sword raised in his right hand, a traditional Arabic “ghutra” wrapped on his head and glaring directly at me, and the bold colorful caption reading, “Pakistan’s Mohammad Bin Qasim.”

I affirm, in the name of Allah, my love of this nation’s simple people, their love for their soldiers, their aspirations, their hopes – and most of the time, I wonder how long their sufferings will continue.

It is time that we all, as a nation, stand with the righteous, whoever you think they are – don’t you agree? 

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Non-Violence Versus The System

 Over a century and a half ago, Claude Frédéric Bastiat, a political economist, a liberal theorist, and member of the French Assembly warned:

 “When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.”

Non-Violence Versus The System


September 03, 2014

      To settle disputes, parties follow universally accepted rules. So the current standoff arises from opposed perceptions of democracy. Some take human rights very seriously, not just on paper. For others it’s a convenient label slapped onto an established feudal and patronage system. What some see as elitist entitlement, others see as corruption and nepotism. Entire economies can be dynastic fiefdoms or special-interest cabals; police and bureaucracy are merely tools of enforcement. Democracy is perfectly adhered to in appearance and form. — Except that the media exposes its ugly, hidden side.


     Some sections of relatively comfortable civil society insist that  the ‘democratic process’ should not be ‘derailed’ under any circumstances;  but  that’s exactly what protestors don’t want either; that they be activated  instead.       There is deafening silence on the part of some ‘democratic process.’ Even a section of civil society working for social and human rights don’t see the dead-end reality of double standards; of laws selectively applied  to the weak but not the strong. The Model Town case is no big deal; nor  the other underhand police actions that followed!        Diversionary tactics swept primary issues – basic needs and curtailing corruption – under the carpet. Not once did the government offer  to correct these with clear-cut plans. Yet revolutionaries — out to undo the status quo – are expected to follow ‘rules’ that government itself  refuses to. After two generations, and millions having passed away  without  ever knowing a decent life, many are unwilling to wait for the  turtle-slow ‘process’ to bring results.        After 17 days of peaceful, determined non-violence, viewers watched in horror and incredulity the unexpected all-night assault that unfolded on television screens, with militarized riot police using methods usually reserved for enemy combatants on battlefields.  Comparisons flashed through countless minds. How is this qualitatively different from the way the Israelis enclose and oppress the hapless, unarmed Palestinians in Gaza? Or was it more like Iraq, where phosphorous and other chemical weapons were used, passed off here as  ordinary tear gas? Or did it resemble the infamous 1919 Jallianwala Bagh  (Amritsar) massacre when Colonel Dyer and his men mercilessly gunned down  a  crowd trapped in a walled-off area?        A non-violent movement gives despotic governments a bad image. Once  the idea is understood, non-violence makes it easier for the poor and  weak to join up and swell the ranks. So it becomes necessary to nip it in the bud – to drive people to a breaking point that can spark violence in the  most non-violent of persons, when opportunistic mobs can no longer be  differentiated from real political workers.      When the call was made to move to the lawns of the Prime Minister’s  house, it was touching to watch the women carrying their babies, their  rolled-up mats, their water-cans and bundles of clothes, to trustingly walk forward. That day the crowd had swelled to a peak: an unexpected  side-effect of the ‘dharna’ was that it served as ‘langar’ (free food kitchen) for the curious or unemployed looking for a free meal.        Several times during the 17 days when police contingents would suddenly appear and surround the protestors, there would be a palpable “silence of the lambs” – before police relaxed or melted away. Protestors were lulled into confidence by government statements that they’d never be fired upon. Unfortunately, their non-violence made them sitting targets.       It takes a particular kind of person to be violent on order without any compunction whatsoever. If lucky, soldiers trained for war may never see battle, while others return as psychological wrecks because they belatedly discover they can’t stomach killing and atrocities. After all, people are not born violent, cruel and sadistic. The potential may be  dormant, but degree and willingness vary. Some cops are able to impersonalize the violence they inflict on others. Some come into it for livelihood because of a lack of choice; some to acquire power which they don’t otherwise have, so that others can’t push them around. Few choose it so they can be Robin Hoods.        What kind were those involved in the Model Town and PM House operations? It’s a frightening thought, especially when it’s been going on and growing for almost seven decades. With fellow-citizens like these, who needs enemies? With ‘democracy’ like this, who needs martial law? Some emperors become so devoid of guilt and shame, they no longer care about being seen without any clothes on. An old adage from Bengal baldly summed up the attitude of ancient kings: “It’s because I am shameless, the  kingdom is entirely mine.”       One question remains unanswered. When unarmed protestors, including women and children were shot from the back and shelled all night, why didn’t the army step in — not to declare martial law, but to stop the Punjab Police assault? Can’t citizens expect that much without compromising the army when their own government attacks them?         Hopefully PTI and PAT have learnt many lessons:

  •      – don’t trust party-hoppers;
  •      – playing cards aren’t shown off once dealt;
  •      – all boats shouldn’t be burnt; and
  •      – chickens shouldn’t be publicly counted before they’re hatched.

They inadvertently armed the sharp-speaking lawyer, PPP’s Aitzaz Ahsan, who set the tone for other speakers to safely follow, to take pot-shots at the PM to grab away some bargaining chips while leaving the dynastic parties of the three provinces intact (in the same breath undermining PAT and PTI – albeit to an already captive National Assembly).

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