Imad Zafar

Imad Zafar

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

What does Hafiz Saeed’s arrest mean for Pakistan?

In a recent development, Hafiz Saeed, the head of the proscribed Jamat-ud-Dawah, has been sent to prison for five and a half years by the anti-terrorist court in Lahore. Naturally, this news quickly made it to the the headlines across the globe since Saeed’s name is included in the list of banned terrorists by the United States (US) and United Nations (UN). Saeed is also wanted by India for his alleged role in the 2008 Mumbai attacks. But one cannot understand the impact of Saeed’s arrest if one is unaware of exactly what Saeed has been up to for all these years. Saeed ...

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The importance of Imran Khan’s Malaysia visit

Imran Khan’s Malaysia trip has gained an added sense of importance since it comes after last year’s fiasco when Pakistan, at the very last moment, refused to participate in the Kuala Lumpur summit due to Saudi pressure. Although Malaysia, despite knowing the reason for Pakistan’s failure to attend the summit, never showed any discernible annoyance, this Malaysia trip presents Imran with an opportunity to engage in some damage control in light of that decision. This was evident since upon landing in Malaysia one of the first things Imran did was express his regret for missing the Kuala Lumpur summit because,  “Unfortunately, our friends, who are very close to Pakistan as well, felt that somehow ...

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An in-house change will not solve the problems Pakistan is facing

The winds of change have started blowing in the power corridors of Pakistan. We recently saw how the main opposition parties, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), compromised on their so-called ideologies when the matter of giving Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa an extension was presented in the assembly. Evidently, PML-N and PPP have been trying to mend fences with the powers that be, and it seems that under Shehbaz Sharif, PML-N is ready to present itself as the new ‘King’s party’. Given the economic turmoil burdening the incumbent government, and the fact that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) does ...

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MQM-P continues to play a dangerous game of political charades

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) has played a very indecisive role in the country’s political scenario during the recent years. Their endless charade of intermittently joining and leaving their coalition partners continues to this day. Recently, MQM-P Convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqi resigned from his cabinet position, stating that the ruling party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) had failed to fulfil its promises. While Siddiqi cited PTI’s lack of interest in the development of Karachi as the primary reason for his resignation, he did not ask his party colleague and incumbent law minister, Barrister Farogh Naseem to resign with him. In fact, Siddiqi, in a presser, said ...

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How will Pakistan’s political chessboard shape up in 2020?

We have finally bid adieu to the second decade of the 21st century, a decade that saw the rise of conservatives and nationalist political figures such as incumbent US President Donald Trump, recently elected British Prime Minister Borris Johnson and Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi. Even in Pakistan, we voted in a prime minister who leans heavily towards nationalist principles. While India is facing a political turmoil as a result of Modi’s Hindutva-centric narrative, Pakistan is also facing a self-inflicted political deadlock due to the policies of the federation. The ruling party is busy trying to create an impression that all is ...

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Has Rana Sanaullah fallen prey to political victimisation?

The incumbent government, formed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), has failed miserably in providing economic relief to the masses and therefore seems to have resorted to persecuting its political opponents in an attempt to convince people that it is clamping down hard on alleged corruption. However, if the persecution of political opponents was an effective way of dealing with economic turmoil, then Adolf Hitler would have gone down in history as a one of the world’s greatest economists. Perhaps the PTI government and Prime Minister Imran Khan are aware that they will not get a chance to rule again as it is ...

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Chief Justice Khosa: A legacy of valiant verdicts and judicial moderation

Justice Asif Saeed Khosa took oath as the 26th Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) after former CJP Mian Saqib Nisar’s retirement. Khosa, who was born in Dera Ghazi Khan in 1954, obtained his LLM from Queens College at Cambridge in 1978. After a lengthy legal practice, he was appointed as a judge of the Lahore High Court in May 21, 1998. When Musharraf imposed an emergency in 2007, Khosa was among the judges who refused to take oath under the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO). By the time he was elevated to the Supreme Court as a judge in February 2010, ...

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Should we pretend to be surprised at Zardari’s release?

Former president and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) supremo, Asif Ali Zardari has been granted bail by the Islamabad High Court (IHC). A two member bench of the IHC, which comprised of Justice Athar Minhullah and Justice Amir Farooq, granted bail to Zardari on medical grounds. Zardari, who was taken into custody by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) earlier in July, had already been admitted to Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences previously where he was under treatment for diabetes and cardiovascular problems. Zardari’s bail did not come as a surprise, especially after former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was given bail on ...

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Basic human rights still considered a privilege by the Pakistani state

The 10th of December is celebrated annually as International Human Rights Day to highlight the importance of safeguarding civil liberties across the globe. It was on this day, in 1948, when the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a document that sought to protect basic freedoms of the world’s population. Today marks the 71st anniversary of the same. This year’s theme is “youth standing up for human rights” which seeks to highlight the innovative mediums through which today’s youth is raising awareness regarding pressing civil liberty issues.  Human Rights Day – A brief history After World War II, it was apparent ...

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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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