Imad Zafar

Imad Zafar

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

Chill out, PTI! It was just an iftar

An iftar gathering at the Zardari House in Islamabad has shaken the political corridors of Pakistan. On Sunday, almost 10 opposition parties including the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) and the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) gathered for an informal iftar-dinner to devise a strategy against the incumbent Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government. Maryam Nawaz led the PML-N delegation which Hamza Shehbaz was a part of, proving Maryam has finally taken the lead role while Hamza will perform a role similar to what his father did for Nawaz Sharif. Nonetheless, this was a big show ...

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Maryam Nawaz can’t be vice president of her own party but Jahangir Tareen can be ‘deputy PM’?

It was a mammoth show of street power by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in Lahore on May 7th. Nawaz Sharif was returning to Kot Lakhpat jail, but the reception he received from his vote bank in Lahore along the way certainly created life in the otherwise lifeless political narrative of PML-N. The credit for this power show goes to Maryam Nawaz, who has recently been promoted to one of the vice presidents of the PML-N. Her aggressive style of politics and her ability to pull large crowds within no time at all has started giving the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf ...

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Can Maryam Nawaz and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi break PML-N out of its shackles?

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has finally realised that it will reach nowhere if it keeps riding two boats at the same time. The current changes in the ranks of the PML-N, as well as removing Shehbaz Sharif from the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairmanship, are all signs that PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif has learnt from the mistakes of the past two years and a new dawn is coming for PML-N. Shehbaz was against his brother’s ‘respect the vote’ narrative from the start, and had an approach similar to Chaudhry Nisar, as they both favoured working towards maintaining the ...

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9 times PM Imran Khan made us cringe and laugh our way through ‘Naya Pakistan’

There has hardly been a moment of peace over the past eight months since Prime Minister Imran Khan came to power, given the sheer number of controversies he has caused on a regular basis. Imran is famous for speaking extemporaneously and saying whatever comes to his mind; facts and reason be damned. It doesn’t help that his army of cult followers do not have the ability to think past his persona and move beyond the Kaptaan fan club. But Imran often moves beyond saying controversial things to making statements that are absolutely ridiculous, resulting not only in national embarrassment but also ...

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The consequences of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s words

Prime Minister Imran Khan finally paid a visit to Iran upon the invitation of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, and the two-day visit was very important considering the strategic importance of both countries combined with the extreme tension between them on their over 900-kilometre long border. During his visit, apart from meeting Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Imran addressed a joint press conference with Rouhani in which both countries stressed upon the importance of improving relations through bilateral dialogue, especially to combat the threats of drug smuggling and terrorism. This was a rather strange joint presser, as both Pakistan and Iran have ...

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With Asad Umar gone, who will Imran Khan blame for his government’s failure?

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government has, after much criticism, finally shuffled its cabinet. Many federal ministers, such as Ghulam Sarwar, Fawad Chaudhry and Shehryar Afridi, have been given different portfolios, while Finance Minister Asad Umar refused to accept a cabinet position and has thus stepped down from office. Though Umar’s removal did not come as a surprise – his performance was heavily criticised and his departure was expected – it is the timing that is questionable. Pakistan’s economy is in shambles, relying heavily on the bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which Umar had been negotiating for the ...

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How many Ahsans, Amals, Aqsas, Intezars, Nimras, Sajjads will we lose to police encounters?

Conducting encounters to catch criminals, only to end up killing innocent people, has become a favourite pastime for our law enforcement agencies (LEAs). Just a few months ago, we saw the brutal massacre of four people, including a woman and her teenage daughter, in Sahiwal. In yet another case of the innocent paying the price for police negligence, a toddler has lost his life after being fatally shot during an encounter between the police and dacoits in Karachi. Two-year-old Mohammad Ahsan Shaikh was travelling in a rickshaw with his parents when a bullet hit him, and when his father got ...

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Was Hanif Abbasi only arrested to benefit PTI in the 2018 General Elections?

Hanif Abbasi, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader from Rawalpindi, has finally been given some relief as the Lahore High Court special bench suspended his life sentence in the ephedrine quota case and granted him bail. It was always expected that Abbasi would be freed whenever a higher court would take up his appeal, as the prosecution never submitted any solid evidence in the court of law. In fact, the way Abbasi was awarded a life sentence by the anti-narcotics court was strange and unprecedented. The judge who awarded this sentence admitted that he took the help from Google to ...

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While endorsing Modi, did Imran Khan forget the plight of Kashmiris and Indian Muslims?

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan, while talking to Reuters, gave a statement that really shocked the diplomatic world. Referring to the Indian elections, he said: “Perhaps if the BJP – a right-wing party – wins, some kind of settlement in Kashmir could be reached.” India’s General Elections have started from today, April 11th, and will continue till the end of next month. The most surprising aspect about Imran’s statement is that it came just a day before the start of the first round of the Indian elections. Usually, world leaders avoid giving out statements that seemingly endorse any political party of a foreign ...

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Renaming BISP: PTI’s art of turning non-issues into controversies, because any publicity is good publicity

The art of turning a non-issue into a controversy seems to be a favourite habit of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government. From the moment it came to power, PTI has only been good at changing the names of projects initiated by former governments and trying to re-launch them under its own name. The inauguration of the Lahore to Multan Motorway and the opening of the Bagh Ibn-e-Qasim in Karachi are examples in this regard, for the latter was already inaugurated while the former was a project almost completed by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government. As the prime minister is a media-savvy person, ...

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