Leaders and polished politicians are frequently called masters of the art of spin. They use this ‘spin doctrine’ in debates and interviews to satisfy the viewers, all the while deflecting from the real questions being asked. Similarly, even second-tier politicians know that defensive body language like hand-wringing, arms folded across the chest, clenched fists or narrowed eyes should be avoided during interviews, so as to seem collected in their responses. But perhaps Imran Khan is not a seasoned politician yet, or he simply is not good at being asked critical questions. His recent interview to Zeinab Badawi, the host of the famous ...Read Full Post
With July fast approaching, election fever is at a peak. The selection of the interim prime minister is dominating the news cycle, rallies are being held regularly, and parties have begun advertising their policies. But the question remains: have the structural problems pertaining to electoral quality been addressed? They are wide and ever perpetuating; a lack of voter turnout, the gender parity in the turnout, non-coerced voting for women, representation in turnout from all areas of the federation, including the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), and the question of escaping the seduction of dynasty politics. Keeping this plethora of electoral issues ...Read Full Post
A while ago, Nawaz Sharif suggested that if things kept going the way they were, he would also, in retaliation, reveal the many secrets and insider information he was privy to. This was a veiled threat, but the implication was clear: Nawaz would not go down quietly, and if the attack on him did not abate, he would most likely disclose state secrets. Now, Nawaz seems to have made good on his threat, for in a recent interview to controversial journalist Cyril Almeida, he acknowledged that the terrorists behind the 26/11 Mumbai attacks were non-state actors sent by Pakistan, and ...Read Full Post
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 ...Read Full Post
Pakistan does not need more thieves, harassers or mobs – its police officers are doing the job for them
Recently, I came across a news article about senior police officers breaking down the door of a house in Rawalpindi to arrest a murder suspect. The house they raided belonged to the cousin of the man suspected of having committed said murder. In addition, when these upright gentlemen did not find the man they were looking for, they decided to take with them cash and jewellery, worth at least a million rupees, which belonged to the owner of the house. Naturally, the poor victim immediately went to the nearest police station to file an FIR (without which the police cannot investigate a crime) ...Read Full Post
Load-shedding? Bill tampering? Theft? Fret not, Pakistan, for solar-powered systems are here to save the day (and your money)
For the last 10 years, we’ve been hearing that Pakistan is on the verge of getting rid of load shedding and power shortages. The situation, however, has stayed the same despite repeated government announcements. Since power is not the only sector in which gross incompetence and corruption have led to low levels of service delivery, it is perhaps correct to assume that the prospect of things improving in the short to medium term are impossible. When the government-provided education services are inadequate, people send their children to private schools. They opt out of the government-prescribed syllabi which are often used to propagate nationalistic and corrosive ideologies and get their children to study for internationally recognised A’Levels. They send ...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
Was Nawaz Sharif dishonest by virtue of not declaring something he could not know he was supposed to declare?
On July 28th, a three member special bench of the Supreme Court announced their judgment. This judgment was followed by a final order of the five-member larger bench, in the infamous Panama Papers case. Nawaz Sharif, the recently ousted prime minister of Pakistan, was declared dishonest and was disqualified from being a member of the National Assembly under Article 62(1)f of the Constitution. The judgment was always politically controversial even before it was authored and announced. Unfortunately, it has also become a legal controversy at the centre of which lies the all mighty and all powerful Article 62(1)(f). The late General Ziaul Haq, in his attempted ...Read Full Post
Shehbaz Sharif can buy himself a helicopter, but it’s too costly to provide adequate medical facilities in Punjab?
The aftermath of the Bahawalpur tragedy is a harrowing tale of gross incompetence and disregard for human life. Before this, little emphasis has been placed on how the massive loss of life could have been avoided. For instance, Army helicopters had to be called in for transporting the burn victims to the hospital since the rescue services didn’t own one. But here’s a little fact – just three months ago, a Rs2.25 billion Russian helicopter was bought by Shehbaz Sharif for personal use. The question that should be asked here is, whether it was bought with public funds that could have been utilised elsewhere. Numerous lives could have been ...Read Full Post
(This article is intended as a rebuttal to the blog titled “Nawaz Sharif must be allowed to complete his term as his dismissal will do no good.”) I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed when this article caught my eye. With the wave of antagonism and criticism of Nawaz Sharif that has swept social media following the release of the infamous so-called joint inverstigation report (JIT), it is always interesting to see pockets of support for the embattled prime minister pop up every now and then. However, to my surprise, the article advocated allowing Nawaz to remain in office. Not out of political allegiance, but based on the ...Read Full Post