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The Apathy in Pakistan to Support Reform

NOTES FROM A SOCIAL SCIENTIST

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The Apathy in Pakistan to Support Reform

I am appalled.

 I am appalled at the apathy of Pakistani society in not supporting for once what is clearly ( in my lifetime at least ) the most serious and deep rooted attempt at reform.

 I am appalled at the pretentiousness of many otherwise perfectly logical and sane people, for not supporting this serious attempt to get rid of this terrible putrid sewerage system of so called democracy, so cunningly labeled by these sick self-serving so called politicians to safeguard their golden geese.

 These politicians who have destroyed all semblance of good order and governance, simply because of this label of so called democracy. Look at these names who have been in political power in one form or shape or the other, be it a civilian or military administration.

 Look at this horrible horrible roll call of political deviants. Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif, Ishaq Dar, Saad Rafique, Asif Zardari, Khurshid Shah, Fazlur Rehman, Asfandyar Wali. An endless list of self serving, corrupt to the core, people.

 While some may criticize IK and TUQ for resorting to “undemocratic” methods. Here’s something to ponder. What choice do IK and TUQ and and people like us have.  

 We can’t boot the Nawaz Sharifs and Asif Zardaris out through the electoral process because they have “bought” the entire process.

 We can’t take them to court, because they have “bought” the entire judicial system.

 We can’t hold them for any form of major administrative impropriety, terrible misgovernance, gross and blatant use of authority in public sector leadership appointments, misuse of public funds, open corruption, brazen conflict of interest, just because they have “bought” the entire administrative structure.

 So IK and TUQ and people who want reform had and have no option but to resort to what they have done. Because, while theoretically we have a parliament and an elected government and there is due process for acquiring power, the system has been hijacked and held hostage by these “professional crooks” masquerading as political leaders.

 Look at Khurshid Shah thundering in parliament, earlier today and look at the sickening amount of ill gotten wealth he has acquired through corruption since 1991 when he was first elected as am MNA. Can anyone justify this terrible and blatant hypocrisy and criminality.

 While some may not like IK’s arrogance ( I do) or TUQ’s Canadian citizen ship ( irrelevant) or their perceived lack of political acumen. BUT If these two can set in motion the wheels of change for a better, prosperous Pakistan with strong institutions, especially the Police and the Judiciary, an electoral process which does not hand over power to a bunch of professional crooks with just 10 to 15 % of the registered vote, a system of political accountability which does not allow people in power to blatantly and brazenly misuse authority and public trust and public funds, and a country where no one Faith is imposed on another, I am all for it.

 And for those professional politicians with IK ( not many with TUQ) who think that they will benefit once again from the ‘IK” bandwagon, as they have done on other bandwagons in the past…I think they are in for a surprise

Author’s Contact: hl_mehdi@hotmail.com>

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Voices of Pakistan: Why do Pakistanis Have Such Mixed Opinions About America?

Voices of Pakistan: Why do Pakistanis Have Such Mixed Opinions About America?

Posted: 05/24/11 06:14 PM ET
Sobia Ali

I belong to the minority of people who actually know the correct pronunciation of “Abbottabad,” unlike President Obama, or Jon Stewart because I grew up there. While I have always taken interest in socio-political issues in Pakistan, this time it was a little surreal.

Walk into an average household in Pakistan in the late afternoon and its not unusual to find middle aged men gathered over tea and biscuits discussing politics with a healthy dose of lambasting America. Its also not uncommon to find them charmed by the likes of Angelina Jolie or the prospects of sending their children for higher education to America.

Why do Pakistanis have such mixed opinions about America? On the one hand, they love American pop culture, jeans, and Hollywood. On the other, the percentage of people that view the United States as favorable is lower in Pakistan than in Egypt, Lebanon, or in the Palestinian territories.

So it’s no wonder that the Western world struggles to understand Pakistanis. I sometimes wonder if we Pakistanis even understand ourselves. In this section, we will use the powerful combination of citizen journalism and social media to explore these questions, and others.

As a member of the HuffPost Tech Team, I approached the editorial side after the event in Abbottabad. I felt there was a strong need to explore the diversity of viewpoints among Pakistanis to make sense of the complex and vulnerable relationship between Americans and Pakistanis. I felt that an honest and open social dialogue was crucial.

We have been gathering opinions from Pakistanis on a range of issues via Skype, email, and personal interviews on the streets. This series, Voices of Pakistan, will pull together their responses to our questions, as well as commentaries from a diverse group of writers and bloggers.

The first thing to know about Pakistanis is that they are not a monolithic group, and questions like, “What do Pakistanis think?” will never have a single right answer.

 

 
 

 

These photos were generously contributed by Fayyaz for “Voices of Pakistan”. Fayyaz is a professional photographer based in Pakistan who started as Computer Engineer and worked as a corporate manager before pursuing his passion full time.

 

Like any country with hundreds of millions of people, Pakistan is heterogeneous, varied, and complex, comprising multiple ethnicities, languages, and cultures. While the Islamic religion unites the majority of Pakistanis, it also divides them at the sectarian level, often violently.

There are too many people suffering in Pakistan because of extremism, illiteracy, and poverty. I worry about the country I grew up in. I would like to see a shift in the focus of the media from the stereotypes to the more positive aspects of Pakistanis that can be tapped and utilized as a tool to drive social change. We have developed this forum as a place where Pakistanis can be heard speaking for themselves. Resolution will come, but not without a diagnosis.

Below are some of the preliminary responses we have gathered to our questions:

The first question we asked Pakistanis was “What would you like America and the rest of the world to know about Pakistan that you feel they don’t right now?

Azhar Ali, 65, retired professor believes that the US should have attempted to understand the dynamics of the Pakistani nation and its people instead of focusing on the Pakistan military.

 

Ignoring the aspirations of throbbing nation of 180 million people for so long has wounded the Pakistani nation psyche irreparably and the military is no more all powerful due to self inflicted serious wounds.

 

Arsalan believes that its the paradoxical nature of the nation that makes it hard to understand.

 

Not all of us want to kill you or rob you but a few of us might. We’re a land of paradoxes in so many ways that its almost farcical, a land of rebels and conformists, philanthropists and con artists, murderers and poets.

 

Many others who responded were concerned by Western media’s portrayal of Pakistan.

 

I think Americans think that we are all stereotypes,” said Syed Harris Hassan, 22, a university student in Islamabad. “They think that all the people in Pakistan are extremists, intolerant, unaccepting and support terrorism.

 

Hassan, like others, said that the majority of Pakistanis aren’t extremists and “we hate terrorists just like everyone else does.”

 

And some wanted the world to know that Pakistan has bigger problems than terrorists

 

The people of Pakistan suffer hugely from illiteracy corruption violence and poverty.
Most people do back breaking work all day just to put food on the table for their
families.
” said Rabia Sultan, a 30-year-old cardiologist from Karachi who currently lives in New York.

 

We also heard responses like “Americans have done enough” and “Stay out of our country.

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