Stories about democracy

As India enters election year, The Accidental Prime Minister is more relevant than you think

Movies can be a vehicle for entertainment, escapism and fantasy. However, they are increasingly delivering a dose of realism, reflecting the world we live in while being packed with drama, intrigue, and emotion. When it comes to drama, can there be a spectacle grander and more gripping than the power games played in high-level politics? That’s the space occupied by the recent Bollywood release, The Accidental Prime Minister. The movie is based on the memoirs of Sanjay Baru, an Indian policy analyst, and explores the 10-year tenure of Dr Manmohan Singh as India’s prime minister. Even before its release, the movie ...

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Imran Khan has attended 6 out of 34 NA sessions, yet blames opposition for wasting taxpayers’ money

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) have been on the receiving end of disapproval since they assumed power in the centre. The inappropriate behaviour and foul language of the federal and provincial ministers and their inability to accept criticism has landed the PTI government into many controversies. Even Prime Minister Imran Khan has still not been able to move on from the ‘opposition mindset’, and every now and then has passed statements that have actually ended up embarrassing his own office and cabinet. Another such statement came to the limelight through the prime minister’s recent tweet. On Monday, the opposition walked out of ...

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India has spoken: The beginning of Modi’s end

On Tuesday, India made a new tryst with democracy by defeating the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the three heartland states. The margin of the Congress party’s victory might be narrow but the magnitude of the BJP defeat goes beyond regional elections. We accept the people’s mandate with humility. I thank the people of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan for giving us the opportunity to serve these states. The BJP Governments in these states worked tirelessly for the welfare of the people. — Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) December 11, 2018 Never before has an electoral result given such relief to the masses who have been living ...

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Buzdar, Khan, Sarwar or Elahi – we still don’t know who is running Punjab

The truth has become the rarest commodity, hasn’t it? Take anything ranging from religion, politics or economics and you will find media cells and experts trying to manipulate public thinking. In Pakistan, well-educated individuals are hired as media consultants, spokespersons or advisers but their job is not to formulate people-friendly policies, rather the core purpose of their appointment is to defend the indefensible. Dr Shahbaz Gill is the latest example of such individuals. Fahd Hussain wrote an interesting op-ed almost a month ago titled Who is running Punjab? At the very outset, Husain observed that: “From Rawalpindi to Rahimyar Khan and from Layyah to ...

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Neither Republicans nor Democrats, the women of America won the 2018 midterm elections

I still remember the night of November 8, 2016, as I waited for the major results of the elections to come in. At the time, I had been in the US for around five years and had started to consider it my home. Owing to the fact I am a person of colour belonging to the Muslim faith, the elections held special significance for me. This was only natural, as before the elections, then-presidential candidate Donald Trump had constantly whipped up hatred against people of colour, immigrants, and of course, Muslims. I identified with all three. But I was not the ...

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The Donkey King: An epitome of quality, comedy and democracy

The newly released The Donkey King is another fine addition to the animated movies produced in Pakistan. Following the release of Allahyar and the Legend of Markhor, which garnered a lot of success, critics and viewers alike were wondering when the next big thing in Pakistani animation will arrive. The Donkey King may not be as grand of a production as Allahyar, it is, however, another major step forward as far as Pakistani animation is concerned. Produced for a younger audience with a subtle message for adults, The Donkey King manages to deliver quality while making the audience roar with laughter. The movie has ...

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If PTI believes in democracy, asset declaration of public servants should be public knowledge

As per a report of Transparency International, it can be said without the risk of contradiction that the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, unfortunately, does not enjoy a desirable position on the global list of countries in regards to corruption perceptions. For the year 2017, its survey shows that Pakistan ranks at 117 out of 180 countries. The present government of Pakistan has a greater responsibility to address this menace, especially since they have risen to power because they held the previous government accountable for their real or perceived corruption. But so far, they have not initiated anything in this regard. In my opinion, one ...

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Has Nawaz Sharif been silenced or is it the calm before the storm?

For an outside observer, September 19th in Islamabad could easily have been mistaken for Eid – thousands gathered and cheerfully embraced each other with exuberance, and sweets were handed out to all in sight. The entrance of the Islamabad High Court was buzzing with excitement, in the aftermath of the decision to suspend the sentences handed down by the accountability court to Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and Captain Muhammad Safdar Awan. Amidst it all, the cause of celebration – former Prime Minister Nawaz – was relatively mute. Of course, the sombreness is in many ways understandable, Nawaz’s wife and former First ...

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RIP Kulsoom Nawaz: An embodiment of ‘when they go low, we go high’

The death of Kulsoom Nawaz, three-time former first lady and wife of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, is a loss deeply felt by all, but especially by those who have an inkling of her role in our political history. Kulsoom was diagnosed with throat cancer in August 2017, and she passed away in London at the age of 68 after fighting a long and strenuous battle. The entire nation prays she rests in peace. Kulsoom will undoubtedly always be remembered as the woman who stood against the military dictatorship of Pervez Musharraf, and pushed him on the back foot by not ...

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India’s undeclared emergency: Dear BJP, arresting a citizen for calling you ‘fascist’ makes you… a fascist!

Dissent breathes life into a democracy, which is why when you stifle free speech, you strangle your democracy. Sadly, freedom of speech and democracy have never felt as suffocated in India as they feel today.  The latest example of this is the detention of 28-year-old Lois Sofia at an airport in Tamil Nadu, for the crime of shouting a slogan against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The incident escalated because Sofia shouted in front of the Tamil Nadu BJP Chief Tamilisai Soundararajan, “Fascist BJP government down, down.” This is a normal way of expressing displeasure and discontent with the functioning of ...

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