Imad Zafar

Imad Zafar

The writer is a columnist and writes for various English and Urdu publications. He tweets at @rjimad (twitter.com/rjimad)

The extension fiasco: Who won, who lost?

On Thursday, the nerve-wracking court proceedings regarding the extension of the tenure of Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa finally concluded. The comedy of errors unleashed by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) legal team meant that the government almost shot itself in the foot, insisting on committing blunder after blunder. From the simple clerical mistakes in the drafts presented in court to not being able to convince the court as to why Bajwa’s extension was essential, the antics which ensued have surely left PTI red-faced. The court has provided Bajwa with a temporary lease by giving him a six month extension ...

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Where does PTI stand on the Musharraf treason case?

Former dictator Pervez Musharraf, who abrogated the constitution twice, has been facing treason charges in the courts. However, it seems that having been a military dictator he still enjoys support in several powerful quarters of the country. A few days before the special court listening to his treason case was due to announce its verdict, the Interior Ministry submitted a petition in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to set aside a special court reserved judgment against Musharraf. The petition filed in the IHC maintains that the Federal Government had sacked the previous prosecution team on October 24th and that the Interior Ministry was not given time to ...

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November 19, 2019
TOPICS

As we bid farewell to Nawaz, what fate awaits Zardari?

As expected, Nawaz Sharif finally flew abroad today on his own conditions after getting permission from the Lahore High Court (LHC). His illness, as mentioned in my previous piece, led to a reworking of the nation’s political chessboard. Not only did it bring the issue of political victimisation at the hands of the incumbent government into the limelight but it also forced Pakistan’s powerful quarters to tell the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government that enough with the accountability narrative, get to work on fixing the economy and other governance issues. Furthermore, the change in the tone of the PTI allies, both Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) ...

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For PTI, the Nawaz Sharif nightmare continues

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government has proven time and time again that it is lacking in both political acumen and the ability to rise above petty politics. When Nawaz Sharif was given bail by the courts and allowed to receive medical treatment, it was a blunder on part of the PTI to link the removal of Nawaz’s name from the exit control list (ECL) with a surety bond. While some are attempting to dilute Nawaz’s illness down to a political stunt which has been carefully crafted so that he can escape abroad, the fact remains that Nawaz is in a critical situation and if ...

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How Nawaz Sharif’s illness has changed Pakistan’s political chessboard

As per expectations, the Islamabad High Court suspended the imprisonment of Nawaz Sharif in the Al-Azizia reference case for eight weeks. The high court cited his deteriorating health condition as the reason for doing so. Since being hospitalised last week, Nawaz has been battling ill health while the current government and its backers are praying for his early recovery. This is perhaps a situation where even the worst of Nawaz’s visible and invisible opponents want him to recover from his illness as soon as possible. As a result, Nawaz’s critical illness has actually changed the dynamics of the power chessboard, and the government of Pakistan ...

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How did we let the Counter-Terrorism Department get away with murder?

Justice remains a luxury in Pakistan. The acquittal of the Punjab Police’s Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) officials involved in the Sahiwal massacre case has endorsed the fact that Pakistani laws have double standards depending on which party involved has greater influence – thus only making the cracks in our crippled criminal justice system all the more apparent. The way the court has released the CTD officials by giving them the ‘benefit of doubt’ makes one wonder that how the murder of a family in broad daylight can be so callously dismissed without any repercussions. Unsurprisingly though, this is not the first case, nor ...

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The curious case of Pakistan’s political prisoners

On Monday night, Nawaz Sharif was taken to a hospital for a medical check-up, but Maryam Nawaz’s request to visit her father at the hospital was rejected by a court in Lahore today. Similarly, Asif Ali Zardari was taken to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) for treatment yesterday. Both these visits come after intense back and forth between the ruling party and the opposition regarding the conditions of the jail cells in which several politicians are currently being kept. The state of the jail cells, and the charges under which these politicians have been arrested has led to much scrutiny ...

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Why was Steven Butler denied entry into Pakistan?

When it comes to press freedom, Pakistan remains one of the most dangerous countries for dissenting journalists. It can be argued that since the era of General Ayub Khan, the press in Pakistan has remained hostage to the one-sided propaganda of the state. However, since Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is a democratic party and came to power through the ballot, it was expected that the media would be allowed to practice objective journalism and that freedom of expression would not be curbed. Contrary to expectations, the PTI regime has proven to be worse than previous dictatorships, essentially imposing an invisible ban on the ...

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Fazlur Rehman and the art of staying politically relevant

Maulana Fazlur Rehman is well versed in the art of staying relevant. Despite the constant shifts on the political chessboard, Rehman has proven himself to be a very shrewd politician with excellent political acumen. Rehman’s ‘Azadi march’ aims to end as a sit-in against the incumbent government until Imran Khan resigns and dissolves the National Assembly. The fervent support base that the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam- Fazl (JUI-F) enjoys means that Rehman and his followers are unlikely to be deterred by the continuous warnings from Interior Minister Ijaz Shah. If the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government really wanted to avoid Rehman’s impending march and sit-in, it ...

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Who will emerge on top after Afghanistan’s elections?

Amidst growing fears of violence during the elections, the people of Afghanistan will head to the polls September 28th to decide their future president. A country which has been riddled with war, tenuous stalemates, and terror since the Soviet invasion, finds itself having to now contend with an uncertain future because of the resurgence of the Taliban. The knife’s edge on which Afghanistan is precariously balancing at the moment received another shock recently when talks between the United States (US) and the Taliban collapsed. Donald Trump’s pledge to pull US troops out of Afghanistan seems to have fallen by ...

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