Stories about Asif Ali Zardari

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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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. ...

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Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification is a victory for justice and accountability, but Jahangir Tareen’s is not? Hypocritical much, Imran Khan?

For years, privilege and accountability have been castrated very separately, not appearing together very often. But in recent months, the tide has changed. From the disqualification of Pakistan’s majority-elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, to the recent outcasting of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) bigwig Jahangir Khan Tareen, accountability is seeping deep into our political system. The populace of Pakistan has struggled and strived for the establishment of fair justice, one that was once considered a pipe dream, but for many, the waves are finally crashing, and it seems they are not very favourable for those in or aspiring for power. Several months ago, the Pakistan Muslim ...

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NA-4: PPP, a party once truly federal in nature, getting votes from all corners of the country, today finds itself confined to rural Sindh

The constituency of NA-4 has given its verdict, giving Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) an important victory with a comfortable margin. Just like NA-120 was Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) litmus test of popularity after the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif, this by-election was PTI’s. This election was in many ways indicative of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s (K-P) electorate appraisal of PTI’s performance in the province. The comfortable margin of this victory has rejuvenated PTI, and to a certain extent, has provided a glimpse of its electoral prospects in the upcoming general elections of 2018. However, this by-election was not just about PTI but also about its contenders, both at the ...

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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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