Stories about politicians

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 ...

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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. ...

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Why we Khan’t

A few days back, a family friend of mine narrated an incident about how he escaped paying taxes, or at least didn’t have to pay the full amount that was due. To cut a long story short, he bribed his way around the system by giving a very expensive mobile phone to the daughter of a tax official. This is a story that, I am sure, we have all experienced and witnessed in different forms and shapes in our everyday life. Now, I would like to point out a few things, which, I feel, are essential to the argument that ...

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How to make it big in Pakistan

There are many mysteries surrounding the rich and elite in Pakistan. These mysteries  have haunted us since time immemorial; how do they do it? How did that man make it so big, so fast being, so young? Where does he work? How can he be so rich without a job? These questions haunted me during the day and gave me nightmares at night, and all I could keep thinking to myself was ‘but how?’ I am pleased to tell you all that I have finally cracked the code; I have all the answers now! Reading newspapers, court orders, precedents and online research ...

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The corruption rat race

Viewers often consider anchorpersons as a panacea for evil in Pakistani society because they make efforts to malign corrupt politicians and their notorious designs under the umbrella of ‘best interest of the masses’. However, the fiasco of Dr Arsalan Iftikhar has allegedly exposed some senior journalists and anchorpersons as paid persons of property tycoon, Malik Riaz. Now, the question which a common person ponders over is how dirty are journalists? Following the surfacing of the list with their names as beneficiaries of Malik Riaz’s charity, most journalists are making efforts to arrange talk shows with the investor to clear their records. ...

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10 things I hate about TV talk shows

There was a golden time during my father’s childhood when the only available channel was Pakistan Television (PTV). This showcased enjoyable shows that were informative at the same time. Sadly, this time is long gone.   Today, even though television offers many channels, all I find when I flick the TV on is annoying talk shows. These talk shows give rise to other talk shows that are later talked about on other shows… and the cycle goes on and on. To depict my distaste for these shows, I have come up with a list of 10 things that I cannot stand about talk ...

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What the PML-N got wrong

In the last eight months or so, the PML-N has done pretty much everything a party can do in an election year. They have dug up every road in Punjab, raised concerns about problems in other provinces and have even recruited avidly to beef up their party ranks. Effectively, they have prepared well for the upcoming elections. And even though the tsunami is coming for them, they are still focused on the real competitor. One would say that they are ready to go to the polls and seize power. However, all is not what it seems to be – my personal ...

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Are public schools not good enough for you?

It was surprising to hear that a senior official of the Capital Administration and Development Division had his three children enrolled in a private school. But what was even more shocking was that over 95 per cent of bureaucrats, politicians, business tycoons and corporate employees send their children to private elite schools rather than to government institutions. I asked the official why he preferred to enroll his children in a private school since he himself is looking into the government education system in the Islamabad Capital Territory. His answer was indirect but simple: If you have the choice to buy an ...

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It’s the law, stupid!

Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s conviction for refusing to reopen a corruption investigation against the president consequently made him the first serving prime minister in Pakistan’s history to be convicted by a court. In a country like Pakistan, the list of firsts seems never ending. Regrettably, most firsts don’t give our people an opportunity to gloat. And yet yesterday, the Supreme Court gave us a first we can, or let me rephrase, we should take pride in. Some would question my assertion of believing that we have good reason to revel in our prime minister’s conviction. But this is bigger than ...

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A question of loyalty

Are flexible loyalties all that one needs to resurrect a political career? Are there ideological reasons behind such decisions or are they just a matter of profit and loss?  Did any leaders who switched sides bother to take into confidence those whose votes helped them achieve the political stardom? Did they feel that they were on the wrong paths earlier in their careers? Or, perhaps, they are not answerable to anyone? The season, with elections inching closer, is ripe for more such announcements but there already exists a long list of these ‘awakened’ politicians. Hina Rabbani Khar, Jehangir Tareen, Javed ...

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