Stories about Asif Ali Zardari

The freedom to make or amend constitutional laws is Pakistan’s fundamental flaw

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi recently remarked that Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution may be scrapped with the consultation of all parties. In case readers have forgotten, this particular article had provided the grounds of Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification. Constitutionally, Abbasi is correct, as Article 239 titled ‘Constitutional Amendment Bill’ states the following in clause (5): “No amendment of the Constitution shall be called in question in any court on any ground whatsoever.” Furthermore, clause (6) states, “For the removal of doubt, it is hereby declared that there is no limitation whatsoever on the power of the Parliament to amend any of the provisions of the Constitution.” Therefore, if Article 62 is ...

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Is the NA-120 by-election a preview of PTI’s prospects in the upcoming 2018 elections?

The voters of NA-120 have given their verdict and have elected Kulsoom Nawaz by a healthy, though reduced, margin of around 14,000 votes. Although I have been following elections for decades now, I don’t recall any election of an individual seat in which the stakes were so high. Normally by-elections are predictable and frankly boring affairs. This by-election, however, was anything but boring or even predictable. It is said that all politics is local and one should exercise a lot of caution in extrapolating the results of one seat to predict the future general elections. Like all constituencies, NA-120 has its own local ...

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Benazir Bhutto’s assassination was carefully planned, politically motivated and amply funded – but who did it?

Every movie buff has their favourite action movie star – mine is Mark Wahlberg. He has acted in several high octane, action-packed and successful movies. For our purpose, I’d like to remind my readers of one of his more subdued films, Shooter. The film follows the story of a sniper living in exile who is coaxed back into action to prevent a plot to kill the president of the US. Unbeknownst to him, the people who brought him in to help them are the ones who were involved in the whole conspiracy to begin with. If you haven’t seen the ...

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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 ...

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Bhutto to Bhutto, Sharif to Sharif: This is Pakistan and blood (nepotism) is thicker than water (meritocracy)

“Tum kitnay Bhutto maro ge? Har ghar say Bhutto niklay ga.” (How many Bhuttos will you kill? A Bhutto will come out of every house). Truer words may have never been spoken. After Benazir Bhutto’s untimely demise in 2007, political analysts feared the Bhutto legacy and lineage may be severed for good. But lo and behold, we saw Bilawal Bhutto Zardari emerge from the shadows and pushed to the forefront of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). Party stalwarts may never have imagined the English-speaking, Oxford graduate to take up a position which may very well have been better suited for someone more ...

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#GoneNawazGone: Today could be the darkest day in Pakistan’s judicial history or the day a new Pakistan was born

The nail-biting suspense leading up to the verdict is now over. The unthinkable has finally happened. Nawaz Sharif, who managed to win three elections and serve as Pakistan’s prime minister, has been disqualified and faces political extinction. This is the mother of all Supreme Court (SC) verdicts and whether it will change the country’s fate for better or worse will be decided in the next few days. It could be the darkest day in Pakistan’s judicial history or it may be remembered as the day a new Pakistan was born, depending on whether or not the SC disqualifies others who are equally corrupt (which includes ...

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Nawaz Sharif must be allowed to complete his term as his dismissal will do no good

The earliest memory of television I have is Pakistan winning the 1992 Cricket World Cup. I don’t recall what happened on TV afterwards or how things got there, but I vaguely remember Nawaz Sharif’s sombre looking face on the television set in our living room a year later. Nawaz was prime minister. That’s all I was old enough to understand. Then one day he wasn’t. I was in grade three and apparently a new federal election was taking place. I recognised no one except Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz when they were on television or the newspaper. Who was my family voting for? I had no idea, but ...

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It all comes down to PTI vs PPP: Will Imran Khan win the 2018 elections?

Due to a fairly recent conflict between Babar Awan (read the main pillar of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)) and co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari, Awan left PPP to join the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). The end of a two decade-long association with PPP was a shocking piece of news for the opposition in the National Assembly. Furthermore, Awan is not the only individual parting ways with PPP, as a couple of others have decided to do the same as well. The Member of the Pakistan National Assembly (MNA) Noor Alam Khan also joined the PTI, whereas former state minister Imtiaz Safdar Warraich from Gujranwala has decided to quit PPP and is set to join ...

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As PPP dries up in Punjab, Firdous Awan looks towards PTI’s (hypocritical) greener pastures

In a recent development, the former Member of National Assembly (MNA) from Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Ms Firdous Ashiq Awan has joined Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). This is not the first time Awan has changed her loyalties, as she had originally been elected on the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) ticket in 2002 and then joined PPP in 2008 just before the elections. Her most recent switch indicates two things. First, the claims of PTI of representing something new and of being a harbinger of change have little truth in them. Second, PPP’s fortunes in Punjab are grim and it is doubtful that it is going to make any impact in ...

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Our greatest sin: Letting our founder die in vain

The shape taken by Pakistani politics over the past few decades serves as an indication of the coming times. I have no qualms about the fact that the young heirs of the political families, currently in the phase of growth, will be the ones forming the government in the future. Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Liaquat Ali Khan were among the most prominent politicians of their time but they cannot be viewed in the same light as the conventional Pakistani politicians. Even comparing them to their successors or the present day political elites makes them sound like a species of some kind that did ...

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