Stories about democracy

For the US, friends and enemies aren’t important, only interests are

Growing up, we form friendships, alliances and enmities in playgrounds and classrooms. There are clear rules that govern our interactions and attitudes towards those we call friends and those we regard as enemies or our friends’ enemies. It’s mostly cut and dry and there’s very little room for ambiguity. As we grow up, we begin to see shades of grey and the thick dividing lines that existed in our minds begin to blur. However, somewhere that conditioned perception of a clear demarcation between good versus bad and friend versus enemy persists in our psyche. International relations are complex. There are layers and subtexts that ...

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Bhutto was neither a total villain nor a complete Messiah

I remember going through Stanley Wolpert’s book called ‘Zulfi Bhutto of Pakistan: His Life & Times’ on this enigmatic politician. The first sentence more or less defines Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s legacy. Wolpert, while researching his book on Muhammad Ali Jinnah wrote that, during his stay in Pakistan, he found out that people either hated or loved Bhutto. He also wondered about the amazing contradictions in the personality of this remarkable politician. Today, as we stand in 2017 and look back into the strange chequered history of this country, no discussion on politics, culture, economic and social ideology, military and ...

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PTI knows that it cannot win the 2018 elections and the Panama case proves just that

For the past one year, no other issue has gained more prominence in the political landscape of Pakistan than the Panama leaks. The issue is frankly trivial and not worth this much obsession, but thanks to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and our electronic media, a triviality has transformed into a national obsession. The government has been distracted and is in some sort of a survival mode; more pressing issues in the country have been relegated to insignificance as the Panama case has become the centre of everything.   For PTI, the Panama case has become a fixation which is now bordering ...

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Why is Imran Khan so racist?

Captain of a cricket world cup winning team, founding multiple cancer hospitals and a University – Imran Khan had enough credit to be welcomed as a hero anywhere he went in Pakistan but he seems to be on a one man mission to lose all the credit he has and then some. To paraphrase the quote from The Dark Knight, you either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become Imran.  Imran has shown in the past that he is not averse to pulling any tactic to seize power – no antic is too shameful for ...

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Why does the state structure and narrative unfairly favour Punjab?

The selective way of presenting history in Pakistan conveniently ignores the fact that at the time of the country’s creation, there were two large movements which were sometimes contrasting and sometimes overlapping. The first was primarily centred on the Muslim identity and tried to actually bargain a better position for its bearers. This movement though ended up in carving a separate homeland for the Muslims but did not have a strong separatist thrust, at least in the beginning. However, the Islamic identity itself was not the only identity taken up by the Muslims as strong ethnic nationalist tendencies existed particularly in ...

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What is so similar about Nawaz, Modi, Erdogan, Duterte and Trump?

The new millennium has hardly started, and already we are witnessing unsettling tectonic shifts in politics all over the world. One such example is the emergence of a covert, scheming approach towards attaining power, embodied by certain group of people, who under different circumstances, ended up occupying the highest seats of power in their respective countries. We will pivot our discussion around five such individuals: Nawaz Sharif, Narendra Modi, Rodrigo Duterte, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Donald Trump. Though each of them was elected to office democratically, ask any unbiased political analyst or academic, and they will invariably conclude that these five leaders have all the makings ...

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An open letter to Benazir Bhutto

Bibi, It has been almost a decade since you met your untimely demise on December 27, 2007. It has been almost a decade since the day the country lost one of its greatest leaders. The state that Pakistan finds itself in today may not surprise you. Unlike the others, you had the foresight to see the storm we were heading towards when you spoke of secular values. The state your party finds itself in today, however, will crush you. Your party has always represented the best of Pakistan. From your iconic father, to people of unparalleled substance, brilliance and integrity like Meraj Muhammad Khan, Aitzaz Ahsan, Raza Rabbani, Sherry Rehman and Malik ...

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Why America is the greatest Islamic Caliphate there exists

Last Friday, Maulvi Sahab again said that God’s wrath is soon going to descend on the United States of America (USA) and the Muslim World will rise again. Although these are two entirely different things – fall of America and rise of Muslims more so the Asian Muslims – quite unrelated; nevertheless, he bundled them together as is the understanding in the entire Muslim world these days. So far so good. For the last 30 years of my life in Kashmir, I have often heard this prediction being made by “God’s own middlemen” that this Islamophobic, zionist, kafir America will ...

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Will Hillary Clinton be another George Bush? Probably!

Donald Trump’s heavy tread has swept the path clear for liberals of all stripes to present or reinforce their creds by giving him a sustained, collective bashing. While he has succeeded in getting all guns to turn on him, his gleeful opponent seems to be getting off scot-free. It is perhaps time to wonder what sort of president Hillary might be, if elected. Unless Donald pulls a last-minute rabbit out of his ear, Hillary is liable to return to the White House, this time on the arm of the First Gentleman whose dubious comportment record will always haunt the ...

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Last Friday, August 5th, was Kashmir’s Bloody Friday

August 9, 2016: Breaking his 32-day long silence on Kashmir, the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, has made a statement which is full of empty political rhetoric, and lacks enough substance to address the real issue concerning the political aspiration of Kashmiris. “It is said that boys who should be holding laptops, cricket bats have been handed stones in their hands,” Modi said while addressing a rally in Madhya Pradesh’s Alirajpur district. This irresponsible and juvenile statement stereotyped Kashmiris as gullible and naïve people who are ready to pick up a stone at someone’s behest. “Every Indian loves Kashmir. The freedom that every Indian has also ...

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