Stories about 2013

Can the 2018 General Elections be rigged?

Let’s get it out of the way: the caretaker or interim government setup for the General Elections 2018 will not be in a position to influence the results the way it did back in May 2013. After all, the chief secretaries appointed in this tenure will be scrutinised by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) very strictly, while the political parties, especially the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), are very determined to develop consensus when it comes to the names being included in the interim government. The provinces failed to develop consensus for the selection of caretaker chief ministers (CM) within the given ...

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How long will the US assist Pakistan?

State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki went off the cuff last week to announce that Pakistan has not received any development assistance from the United States since 2013. That was news – Pakistani papers Express Tribune and Dawn headlined it. But it was wrong. Congress released funding to Pakistan in September 2014.  Under the “Kerry-Lugar-Berman (KLB)” bill, Congress authorised $1.5 billion in development assistance for Pakistan for five years, from fiscal year 2010 to fiscal year 2015. But because USAID must get Congressional blessing of its program plans before it gets the money, money rarely comes through in the year it is budgeted for. So Pakistan received funds ...

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Are all Pakistani women damsels in distress?

It feels really good to be a Pakistani woman these days. It brings a big smile to my face when I see five Pakistani women in the list of BBC’s 100 women of 2014. And no matter how controversial one may call Malala’s Nobel Peace Prize, there is no denying the fact that it has brought Pakistani women at the centre stage again. Yes, the world is often quick to assume that women in our country are weaklings – damsels in perpetual distress. For a very long time the west has considered them little more than slaves of their male counterparts. ...

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Here’s to hoping PPP rises again

In the midst of a tussle between Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has been cast aside. However, after the party’s rally today, this might not be the case anymore. For Pakistan’s political web, this is an extremely positive development. PPP was outmuscled, outwitted and completely blown away in the 2013 general elections. Statistically, PPP’s seat count in the National Assembly went down to 45 seats from the 118 it won in the 2008 elections. This was, in no small part, due to PPP’s poor performance from 2008 to 2013. As things unfolded following the elections, the general feeling ...

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Election rigging: An inconvenient truth

It was the morning of May 11, 2013, Election Day. A day when majority of Pakistanis, having been fed a steady diet of political advertising where the various parties had promised them the world, woke up with a feeling that they had a hand in their nation’s future. That morning, my plan was simple. The day would start with a thirty minute drive to my voting area near Karachi’s National Stadium, where the booth was scheduled to open in the morning. Here, I would quickly cast my vote, and be back in time for a delicious brunch. Looking back now, I realise ...

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I will not celebrate August 14

August 14, 2009 I decided not to celebrate August 14th this year to show my personal grief, shame and solidarity with the nine innocent Christian citizens of Gojra, who were killed and their homes lit on fire. On this day, I will hang the Pakistani flag at half mast, will switch off my television, have none of those ‘milli naghmay’ and sing no national anthem. I am sad, ashamed and deeply distressed. I will call up all my Christian friends to apologise and express my grief, pain and sorrow. August 14, 2010 94 people were killed and more than 120 injured when the places of ...

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May 11, 2013 changed Pakistan for the better, will May 11, 2014 do the same?

On the eve of  May 10 and 11, 2013 I saw a very different Lahore. Lahore was completely crowded with families and teenagers supporting their respective political parties, majorly PTI and PML-N. A poster in central Lahore asking citizens of Pakistan to vote. ‘Say yes to vote’ Photo: AFP From Liberty roundabout to Hussain Chowk and from Hussain Chowk to either side of Firdous and Mini Market roundabout, roads were jam packed with cars and motorbikes. It seemed like nothing else was more important to anyone that day, they came out to celebrate and their democratic festivity showed! To represent the spirit of ...

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The day the Taliban attacked my father

Death is very different from finishing a novel; both symbolise the end of something, the emotional attachment to both is poles apart. One similarity, however, between the death of a good person and the end of a good novel is that both leave a mark on your life. It’s hard to realise the importance of some people, until one day you wake up to find out that those people are no more in your life. I understood this reality on June 26, 2013. It was a very strange, sad day for me and my family. The day started like any other. My father, a ...

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Déjà vu! Are the 2014 elections in India a replica of the 2013 elections in Pakistan?

In India, the election fever is in full swing these days. All the major political parties are busy, day and night, with their election campaigns. Amid all this rush, we see a blame game being played – something which is very common in any country’s politics. As they say, it is easy to point out others’ mistakes than finding your own faults. And these political parties seem to follow this idea vehemently. Almost a year ago, the same situation was present here, in Pakistan, during the 2013 general election proceedings. We had the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) as the major ...

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Yesterday was Raza Rumi, today it could be you

I remember it was May 10, 2013 as I sat in front of my television waiting for the 9pm news bulletin. I knew what had been happening in my country for the last 20 days but I was still waiting for the news. The clock struck nine and the headlines came on, “Bomb blast in Quetta and North Waziristan – 10 killed, 15 injured.” Three political parties had been targeted by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) while the rest had been given free passage to participate in the ‘un-Islamic election’ as they liked to call the general elections to be held in that month. ...

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