One would usually frown upon the vivisection of a family’s domestic issues on a public forum. But the sheer influence of the Sharif family’s private affairs on the national political landscape renders such an analysis as a necessary evil. In 2015, Hamza Shehbaz attended a wedding ceremony where he spent most of his time sulking in a far corner of the quaintly decorated arena, scarcely mingling with fellow attendees and keeping a low profile. At the same event, a frustrated Begum Nusrat Shehbaz was heard loudly rebuking one of the attendees, after being repeatedly asked to participate in a family portrait ...Read Full Post
An impeached prime minister, an overjoyed opponent, scandal relishing media outlets and 197 million whispering spectators – welcome to Pakistani politics. Every day here is better than your average soap opera and provides fodder for your next gossip session. Don’t get me wrong. I am highly sensitive to the ‘delicate junction in history our beloved country currently stands at’. However, I cannot help but question how much we needed to sacrifice in order to get here and if it could have been done any other way. Why do some nations only need the fall of confederate statues to trigger a movement, whereas others have human bodies falling every ...Read Full Post
Ziaul Haq’s legacy consists less of his own policies and more of the actions successive governments have taken to undo their effects
Throughout human history, there have been numerous individuals whose existence and actions have adversely affected the course of a nation or the world on a whole. They have been the cause of great pain and suffering directly such as Joseph Stalin with his agricultural program or Adolf Hitler’s war on Jews and the minorities of Germany and later on, the rest of the world. Pakistan too has had its fair share of such individuals but none of them stand out in comparison to the man who sowed the seeds of dissension, discord, sectarianism and extremism in our country – General Ziaul Haq. On the ...Read Full Post
Dear Tahirul Qadri, you cannot be a leader as you are three years too late to demand justice for the Model Town brutality
In January 2013, The Express Tribune reported, “Dr Tahirul Qadri’s ‘million-man march’ began from Lahore towards its destination, Islamabad.” For much of Pakistan, and the rest of the world, this was the first time people had heard of Tahirul Qadri. Before he rose to eminence, Qadri was best known for the altruistic and educational activities of his international religious charity, the Minhajul Quran Foundation. He also issued a 500-page long fatwa against terrorism at London’s Wembley Stadium, securing his place amongst the moderate clerics in the Islamic spectrum. In just a few weeks’ time, he became part of the defining political movement in Pakistan in 2014 – the Islamabad ...Read Full Post
Can Nawaz Sharif salvage his legacy by normalising relations with India and the economic alleviation stemming from it?
The battle lines have been drawn. Nawaz is out flaunting his muscles on the street, and his choice seems clear – defiance over acquiescence. But to what end? One possibility is that the power play is simply intended to gain political leverage and bargain relief from those the former prime minster (PM) feels have vindictively disarmed him. But two factors refute this theory – Khawaja Asif and Mushahidullah Khan. We all know the perversity with which Asif is viewed within the General Headquarters (GHQ), and the comments that led Khan to be scapegoated and removed from his ministry. The appointment of the two ...Read Full Post
Last month, the rupee plunged to its lowest in nine years. A banker friend called me and said, “If you have dollars, don’t sell them, if you don’t have dollars, buy them. The market is plunging and by the evening you will need Rs120 to buy a dollar.” This was very alarming since I am in the import business and would have to sustain big losses if the free fall continued. In the evening, the price of eggs had shot up by Rs10 to the dozen. Why? In response, the shopkeeper said, “Don’t you know? The dollar has gone up sharply.” Pressed further, he said, “I buy ...Read Full Post
Dear PML-N supporters, dragging Tyrian White in your battle with PTI reeks of indecency and dirty tactics
When Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) was formed in 1996, I quickly became a member. Back then, I was much like the PTI supporters of today – impressionable, emotional and self-righteous. My devotion to Imran Khan was also like that of contemporary PTI supporters – blind, cultish and eulogising. Like millions of PTI supporters, I was also unable to see anything wrong with Imran and would break into passionate debates with anyone who was critical of him. I used to think that only jahils (illiterates) voted for the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). Thank God, those days are over, and today ...Read Full Post
The rich and elite of Karachi can afford reverse osmosis plants and tankers every week, but we, the majority, cannot
It seems as if Karachi’s water woes won’t be improving anytime soon. Be it the supply and distribution or filtration, the entire system is in a mess and concerned authorities have turned a blind eye to this crucial issue. An effected citizen of Karachi filed a constitutional petition in the Supreme Court (SC) against several government offices in the hopes of gaining judicial attention over the provision of clean water, sanitation and a hygienic atmosphere for Karachites. The formation of commissions and task forces ensued, samples were collected and the honourable courts expressed their displeasure. But nobody was held accountable and no one was ...Read Full Post
There’s a popular saying which states that people don’t change, only their masks falls off. Whoever said that, hit the nail right on the head. Upon witnessing the ruthless slaughter of ethics and morality by Ayesha Gulalai, I could not resist the urge to write at length on this issue in order to make sure that the naysayers are exposed. Naz Baloch and Gulalai used to be two household names in the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) circles and both women were given great respect by Chairman Imran Khan and the rest of the PTI leadership. They were allowed to voice their opinions during party meetings, without any ...Read Full Post
Can Pakistan’s economic stability and businesses survive Nawaz Sharif and Ishaq Dar’s disqualification?
In one of his first public appearances, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was reported to have said the following: “During my tenure, the stock market increased from 19,000 to 52,000.” So, is a rising stock market really a barometer of a strong democracy or just a number game for a selected few? We surely cannot say at the moment. To all the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) sloganeers, Nawaz is gone, but is prosperity, not tabdeeli (change), around the corner? Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) was primarily the only major political party that was known for their pro-growth temperament. Despite never being able to complete their full term, businesses cheered on the so-called economic focus ...Read Full Post