Stories about democracy

In conversation with Noam Chomsky – Part 1: American culture and politics

This conversation with Professor Noam Chomsky is presented as a three part series. Part 1 covers American culture and politics. Part 2 covers media, intellectuals and imperialism, along with science, language and human nature. Part 3 includes a conversation regarding religion and spirituality, alongside a discussion about the Indian subcontinent, climate change and the migration crisis. ~ My email exchange with Professor Noam Chomsky began in 2017. I had read many of his writings and was curious about his views on a variety of topics. I sent him an email out of curiosity and what had started as an occasional email exchange at first soon ...

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How democratic are Pakistan’s democrats?

Dēmokratiā, a system of government invented by the Athenians in around 508 BC, simply means “rule by the people”; demos (people) and kratos (rule). On the other hand, the word politics means the “science of government”, which gets its connotation from the name of Aristotle’s book, “Ta Politika”. However, it appears that our elected representatives have redefined these terms, because of which a vacuum persists in our democratic system, leaving it both vulnerable and weak. In today’s Pakistan, politics connotes the appeasement of one’s party leadership; the more vocal and aggressive one is in rebutting a point asserted by a political opponent, ...

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The system of government in Pakistan: democracy or hypocrisy?

From theocracy to monarchy, from monarchy to imperialism, from imperialism to nation states, the methods of governance have been transformed several times. They have passed multiple stages in an attempt to find the way of governance best suited for the interests of people. However, due to selfishness and the ever-present lust of power, none of these methods proved to be successful. In fact, these systems went from religious to hardliner, monarchy to oligarchy and imperialism to colonialism. After the failure of numerous government systems, nation states emerged. They arose with the slogan of democracy as a global system of government; ...

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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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