Imad Zafar

Imad Zafar

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

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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Why PM Imran Khan should first worry about his own country and then Kashmir

While Pakistan has tried to raise the Kashmir issue on the global stage, Prime Minister Imran Khan has to realise that that is really all he can do. The Foreign Office and Shah Mahmood Qureshi will now continue to raise a voice for the people of Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK) on the international platform, and Imran should now focus on the domestic issues in Pakistan. After all, that’s what he was elected to do. But this seems unlikely. Here are a few things that Imran should focus his attention towards instead. Economic turmoil The current budget deficit has soared to Rs3.45 trillion, ...

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Will a 30-minute demonstration every Friday actually help the Kashmir cause?

Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK) has been under lockdown for more than three weeks now. Narendra Modi’s desire to annex the territory was already made clear during his election campaign, and thus many have been asking why Islamabad was unable to pre-empt this. But given that Modi’s move on the geopolitical chessboard caught Islamabad off-guard, the question arises: how should Pakistan respond? Perhaps by rallying on the streets for 30 minutes. In a recently televised address, Prime Minister Imran Khan said that he wanted the people of Pakistan to come out onto the streets for half an hour every Fridays in order to stand in solidarity ...

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Allowing dual nationals to contest elections: Another U-turn or another gimmick?

In what can be called another U-turn, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government, during a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, decided to allow dual nationals to contest in Pakistan’s elections. It is hard to believe that this is the same party that has previously criticised its political opponents for keeping dual nationalities and for having vested business interests abroad. Imran, during his dharna (protest) days and throughout his time as a member of the opposition, had told the nation that when elected representatives stash their wealth abroad, have dual nationalities and/or business in other countries, they cannot serve ...

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The repercussions of Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s arrest

One could argue that Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s arrest has always been on the cards. He has been very vocal against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) regime, has said he was not afraid of being arrested, and he also never filed a petition for protective bail against his arrest. But before discussing Abbasi’s current predicament, it is important to understand the charges levied against him. The National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) Karachi office, while investigating the case against Abbasi in 2017, observed that there were irregularities in the awarding of the LNG contracts. It was said that the Sui Southern Gas Company Limited ...

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While the masses suffer under austerity, PTI’s Shaukat Yousafzai enjoys his new Rs8mn car

In August 2018, while addressing the nation, Imran Khan said that his government, unlike its predecessors, would not spend tax money on luxury items. In fact, he stated that an austerity drive would be implemented across the country when he assumes power. In the past, Imran and ministers of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) have repeatedly criticised previous regimes for their lavish spending on bulletproof cars and other luxuries at the cost of the public exchequer. Yet, it appears that PTI is now falling victim to the very behaviour it once condemned, given that the expenses of the PM Office have ...

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The return of Fayyaz Chohan: Is tolerance no longer the ‘first and foremost pillar’ of Pakistan?

When Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) came to power, Fayyaz Chohan was given charge of the Punjab Information Ministry. During his stint as Punjab’s information minister, Chohan not only used derogatory language against his political opponents, but he also passed disrespectful, misogynistic remarks about a stage actress, accusing her of spreading vulgarity in society. His statements soon became an embarrassment for the PTI government and it seemed that every time Chohan spoke, PTI had to clean up the mess after him. However, when Chohan spoke against the Hindu community in an offensive and bigoted manner, it seemed that he had finally crossed the line. ...

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Taking from the poor, giving to the stock brokers – who is PTI’s priority?

The incumbent government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has just increased the price of petrol by Rs4.26 per litre and it intends to introduce more indirect taxes in the upcoming budget in order to minimise the deficit in the budget. However, surprisingly, recently the PTI government approved a package of around Rs20 billion for stock exchange brokers and it was termed as a package to end the uncertainty in the Pakistan Stock Exchange and give confidence to the stock market. However, since the package is actually being given to the wealthier stock brokers, it begs the question that at a time when ...

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#JusticeForFarishta is proof we did nothing after demanding #JusticeForZainab

Childhood is perhaps the golden period in every individual’s life, but not in Pakistan. Here, even the children are not spared in this world of lust and greed, and quite often they are the ones who become victim to the paedophiles and monsters that run free. On May 20th, police recovered the body of 10-year-old Farishta, who had been abducted, allegedly raped and then brutally murdered, with her body thrown in some bushes at the edge of Islamabad. Farishta went missing from home five days prior to this, and when her father Gul Nabi rushed to the nearest police station ...

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