Stories about politicians

Let horse-trading stop already

An influential clan of Ghotki has left Party A for Party B. Sons of a governor have decided to join Party C. Meanwhile, the swashbuckling chief of a youth-centred party claimed last November that he only needed youngsters, not big-shot politicians, in his party. That was after he had welcomed a battalion of such politicians during the course of a few months. Welcome to election season in Pakistan! The season when major political parties auction tickets for electoral seats to the highest bidder. Individuals and heads of parties negotiate the price of the former joining the latter, in terms of the number ...

Read Full Post

Brazil, Baldia and the importance of empathy

The nightclub fire in Brazil that claimed close to 250 lives inevitably brought back memories of the garment factory fire in Baldia. The sheer horror of it, the pain of the weeping families and the apparent negligence and mismanagement by the nightclub owners all brought back to mind the tragedy that occurred in Karachi on September 11, 2012. As with the factory inferno, fire codes had been ignored, emergency exits had been blocked and, in essence, the terrible catastrophe could easily have been avoided in Brazil as in Baldia. Then the similarities ended. Brazilian President Dilma was on a state visit to Chile and ...

Read Full Post

Pay no attention to me, I am just a Pakistani citizen

I am nothing but a pawn to be thrown around in a game I do not choose to play. Nothing I own belongs to me. I have surrendered it all to the chaos I call my homeland. Consider my cell phone. I pay a considerable sum to be able to connect with the people in my life. I part with hard-earned cash every month in order to make calls and send text messages upon my will. It is my security against inconveniences and possible emergencies. Yet, I wake up every week to news that my right to communicate via cellular networks will ...

Read Full Post

‘Muni badnaam hui’ is never appropriate on a news channel

I hate watching news on TV, not just because the lead stories in Pakistan are too depressing, but also because their treatment is mainly frivolous. The argument that our electronic news media is young, is years old now. Even if we do buy that claim, sadly there is no sign of growing up. Despite having a body to regulate the workings of our media, the performance of our news channels has always been disappointing. The regulatory setup and channels are to be equally blamed for the low quality. However, a few simple changes here and there can, of course, help set a ...

Read Full Post

Lincoln: Steven Spielberg’s new oscar-contending masterpiece

To get right to the point Lincoln was a great movie. What made it so? Well therein lays the romp. Time and Memorial writers have vainly tried to measure the chalice of greatness from comparisons to Greek mythology to the use of words that are rarely entertained by the common man’s diction. My belief is that the explanation lies in simplicity. What is it that garners tones of reverence and sparks the flame of excitement when an audience sees the “directed by Steven Spielberg” credit flash on a screen? It is his uncanny ability to tell a story. The bedrock of his success ...

Read Full Post

Pakistan’s leaders can learn from David Petraeus’ resignation

Aristotle, a Greek genius, penned down the elements of a tragedy and a tragic hero, two thousand years ago in his famous treatise “Poetics”. He said that a tragic hero suffered a fall from grace due to the committal of a fatal mistake, whose consequences he was unable to foretell beforehand; and that the spectacle of his fall aroused pity and fear in the audience- pity was kindled from undeserved misfortune and fear from the realisation that misfortune could strike an ordinary mortal. Recently, the world witnessed the fall of David Petraeus with unblinking wonderment. Petraeus, a former military officer ...

Read Full Post

Dual nationality: Loyalty doesn’t exist with polygamy!

“It’s almost required with major artists that there’s some duality. And I’ve got duality everywhere.” ─ George Michael. Politicians are indeed no more different than any paid actor in this world. They set the stage like a chequerboard ─ sharp and clever. The recent conundrum of dual nationality holders as government representatives, has spurred the political actors to present their acts in the best way possible. From MQM leader Altaf Hussain to Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif, even party representatives from ANP aren’t a step behind when it comes to proposing their ideals for dual nationality cases, in the Supreme Court. Pakistan has always been ...

Read Full Post

Do you realise how damaging protesting is to the economy?

Another Friday, another protest. This week, much like last, Aabpara remained empty, except for the few adventurous shoppers who were willing to risk the excitement of walking amid religiously-inspired protesters, the same kind of protesters who did so much damage to other Muslims’ lives and property last week. After last week’s disaster, the peaceful lawyers’ march to the embassy to present a resolution of condemnation was a welcome change, although I still think burning flags accomplished nothing. Peaceful or not, protests, or even rumours, have seemingly become enough to instil fear in the hearts of small business owners in areas favoured ...

Read Full Post

The ‘firebrand press conference’ phenomenon

It all started out with Zulfiqar Mirza, and the trend has spread like fire through the upper echelons of our political elite: what I like to refer to as the ‘firebrand press conference’ phenomenon. Every couple of weeks (or so it appears) a member of one political party or another calls an ever-hungry media to an event which promises to reveal the ‘shocking’ corrupt practices our political leaders indulge in. Karachi was thrown into an uproar in 2011 when Mirza, the former Sindh home minister, furiously waved around an important-looking sheaf of papers claiming to have evidence against Muttahida Qaumi ...

Read Full Post

Corruption is middle-class morality

While millions of Pakistanis expressed their astonishment and dissatisfaction with the election of Raja Pervez Ashraf as the new Prime Minister of Pakistan on June 22, the news didn’t come to me as a shock at all. Raja Pervez Ashraf has been widely criticised; the new prime minister has been labelled in the media as “Raja Rental” because of the kickbacks he is alleged to have taken being the water and power minister. An investigation to which, by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), is still in progress against him. History is riddled with examples of corrupt politicians being rehabilitated. Ayub Khan disqualified politicians who were later placed in ministerial offices. ...

Read Full Post