Stories about Asif Ali Zardari

Imran Khan is right, Pakistan should have more than four provinces

Whenever I make any comments about Pakistan having more provinces and smaller units, the reaction is always the same, “You want to divide the country? Are you a RAW agent or what?”  So when Imran Khan promised the creation of a South Punjab, it was a pleasant surprise to hear him say something intelligent for once. Imran made this promise recently as he welcomed turncoats from South Punjab into his party; defectors who enjoyed the perks and privileges of being MNAs for the past five years while saying nothing about creating a new province, until now. While supporting the demand by the Janoobi ...

Read Full Post

Out with the new, in with the old: Is Imran Khan back to being the true face of change?

In Pakistan, Senate elections are coupled with horse-trading. It is perhaps one of the most essential components of the procedure, whereby votes are sold upon an auction price. Members of Parliament have for long engaged in this fallacious act, yet there is no one to call out against it. Perhaps the reason being the reconciliation of mutual benefits.   Since its inception, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has been morally against all such acts and strongly advocated against immorality and injustice. However, since the inflow of tried and tested politicians into the fold, and Imran Khan’s straying from the basic agenda, there were doubts that PTI had ...

Read Full Post

Winning the 2018 elections with Zardari and PPP, or saving his party’s ideology – what will Imran Khan choose?

The election, or as some experts satirically call it, the “selection” of the relatively unknown candidate as the Chairman of the Senate, has jolted the political landscape of Pakistan. It is now clear that those who removed Nawaz Sharif – right or wrong is a different matter altogether – are going to use all the tactics at their disposal to prevent his political comeback. The objective in the Senate election has been achieved brilliantly by both, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). They have been brought together in a surprising alliance, despite Imran Khan’s tall public promises of never shaking ...

Read Full Post

Will Sadiq Sanjrani’s appointment as Senate chairman help Balochistan in any way?

Whether in the realm of natural resources or politics, Balochistan has always been a target of exploitation by politicians and other powerful forces in Pakistan. Whenever Balochistan is mentioned, it is invariably described as the least developed region of Pakistan. It is always “volatile”, “neglected” and “backward”; the region with the worst health indicators and the poorest infrastructure. It is the place where a majority of children are out of school, and there is little access to basic resources available everywhere else in the country. Nevertheless, while such problems are a fact of life for the majority of the people of Balochistan, our ...

Read Full Post

Khursheed Shah should take a look at PPP’s abysmal economic performance before pointing fingers at PML-N

Any accusation, any labels of incompetence hurled at Pakistani politicians have a very easy retort – the other guy is worse. Since a new election is on the horizon, our politicians have taken to this time honed art of mud-slinging with a new fervour. Khursheed Shah has come out with a statement that Pakistan’s economy has significantly deteriorated during the tenure of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government. Perhaps he’s forgetting Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) very dismal economic performance during its last stint. There are many facets of governance and politics which are hard to measure. Fortunately, economic performance is not one of them. ...

Read Full Post

NA-154 was a litmus test for PTI – perhaps Imran Khan should stop relying on patronage politics

While the fraudulent Sharif clan haven’t recovered from the aftermath of the Panama verdict and are still facing National Accountability Bureau (NAB) cases, the battle of NA-154 by-poll has ended in a mammoth victory for Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). To some extent, this result is not surprising. The trend of previous by-polls suggests that people typically prefer to vote for the ruling party. However, victory of a new candidate against Ali Tareen is a major setback for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). This election was a litmus test for PTI, particularly for Jahangir Khan Tareen, whose politics was on stake after disqualification from the apex court. After disqualification, many ...

Read Full Post

For a nation surviving on dharnas, Pakistan does not know how, when or what to protest

On January 17th, with the attendance and acceptance of Imran Khan and Asif Ali Zardari, two of the most powerful men in Pakistani politics, Tahirul Qadri boldly declared the collective opposition push towards ‘an end of the Sharif Sultanate’. Before the protest demonstration of thousands amassed in Lahore, the Pakistani news cycle had been dominated by the abduction, rape and murder of Zainab, a seven-year-old girl from Kasur. Zainab did come up in the speeches at the protest. It is perhaps retrospectively a good thing that she often only came up as a side-note, for when she was discussed, she was weaponised by the leaders to call ...

Read Full Post

For Imran Khan, it’s never been about winning the race, but about not letting PML-N win

Let’s rewind back to October of 2011. The charged up youth of Lahore welcomed the leader of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Imran Khan, with the sort of political fervour and passion not seen by this city in recent memory. That rally in Lahore turned out to be the defining moment in Imran’s political career, as for the first time, he was taken seriously as a possible contender for the seat of prime minister. Fast forward to January 2018. The city was the same, the person gracing the stage was the same as well, but the crowd and the passion of old was absent. We will subsequently discuss ...

Read Full Post

How did Pakistan’s stock market go from being Asia’s best to Asia’s worst?

It is a universally accepted truth that the performance of stock markets, or even individual stocks, is determined by a combination of both fundamentals and animal spirits. What a long-term investor must always investigate is whether current prices are driven by irrational exuberance or by fundamentals. However, even a seasoned investor would be hard poised to understand the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX). From 2012 to 2016, while Pakistan’s economy just limped along with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate of less than 5%, the stock market reached new highs almost every month, reaching its peak on May 24, 2017, by reaching 52,876.46 ...

Read Full Post

When Pakistan’s messiah Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto came to our house in Larkana

I was a student of 10th grade at the Municipal High School Larkana in 1967, when a major event in Pakistan’s political history left a mark on the country – Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (ZAB) formed the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). By then, Bhutto had already emerged as a key player in Pakistani politics. Fifty years of PPP has evoked my memories of him. It was 1962, I was 10-years-old and delivering a speech at a school function where Bhutto was invited as the chief guest. Elated at my oratory, Bhutto rose from his seat, approached the rostrum, patted my back and congratulated me. ...

Read Full Post