Stories about democracy

To vote or not to vote: 6 questions that need to be answered before Election Day

As General Elections are approaching, people are increasingly interested in discussing various aspects of elections. In a country that has seen martial laws most of its existence, it is indeed a good omen that slowly elections are becoming a predictable event of democratic development (touch wood) in Pakistan. The world has started excelling in the use of social media for meaningful purposes including electioneering; it’s not a bad start for Pakistan as well. There is, however, a huge class of “concerned citizens” (read: chattering class) who have started raising some questions on elections, ranging from why is there an election ...

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Why re-electing Erdogan will be fruitful for Turkey

For the first time in history, Turkey has transitioned to a presidential system of governance. Following last year’s narrowly-won referendum with 51% votes in favour, the prime minister’s office was abolished, the powers of the Parliament curtailed, while presidential powers were bolstered. Following the June 24th election results, Recep Tayyip Erdogan is now back in the saddle with much more power in hand than ever before. He will now rule Turkey once again for the next crucial five years, which will define the fate of the country after a failed coup against his regime a couple of years back. What ...

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The Turkish Republic, as we know it, is dead

In perhaps the most important election of the past two decades, Turkey has given its verdict, electing Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as the president and also giving his party, Justice and Development Party (AKP), who fought the elections in coalition with Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), a majority in the Parliament. President Erdogan called an early election because he was expecting to win at this time, and therefore, wanted to use the opportunity to consolidate his presidency, which after last year’s referendum had become an extremely powerful post. Just to reiterate that presidency after the referendum is no longer a ceremonial post but gives ...

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Out with the new, in with the old: Is Imran Khan sacrificing his “Naya Pakistan” to win the elections?

As the country approaches the all-important elections, the selection of candidates by all major parties is almost complete. This is an extremely important stage of the electoral process, as the eventual legislature will be formed out of the pool of these candidates. Moreover, in a democracy like Pakistan’s, whom you give a ticket to is extremely important for both pragmatic as well as normative reasons. From a pragmatic aspect, while candidates are important in every democracy, in countries like Pakistan they are even more significant. This is due to two reasons. Firstly, Pakistan follows a majoritarian model as opposed to proportional ...

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Can the 2018 General Elections be rigged?

Let’s get it out of the way: the caretaker or interim government setup for the General Elections 2018 will not be in a position to influence the results the way it did back in May 2013. After all, the chief secretaries appointed in this tenure will be scrutinised by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) very strictly, while the political parties, especially the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), are very determined to develop consensus when it comes to the names being included in the interim government. The provinces failed to develop consensus for the selection of caretaker chief ministers (CM) within the given ...

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If Pakistan follows Saudi Arabia’s footsteps, why not take a leaf from its sexual harassment law also?

One would think that the loose cannon that is the rising monarch of Saudi Arabia, long since the world’s Muslim hegemony, would not have thought all its radical initiatives through. And with good reason too. But recent endeavours are making us think otherwise. From where we stood, the lifting of the decades-long driving ban for women, only weeks from being set into motion, was nothing if not far flung. But it’s now being tailed by an impressive pre-emptive measure. Put short, Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s (MBS) Vision 2030 might just be a concrete plan, and not just a ludicrous ...

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Married to an “alien”

The threat of extremism appeared on the horizon about a decade and a half ago, plunging Pakistan into a different kind of war. The Armed Forces, until then, had been concerned with tackling and keeping malicious forces in check at the borders, but now they had a new enemy much closer to home. Each bombing and suicide attack has caused us great pain and we have lost thousands to senseless chaos since then. December 16, 2014 seemed just like another nightmare, but this incident had the entire nation in unparalleled shock. I remember the disbelief as I heard reports of terrorist ...

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PTI’s 100-day agenda: No change without exchange

On May 20th, Imran Khan and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) brethren took to the stage in Islamabad to reveal a wide-ranging legislative agenda that the party hopes to focus on, if it is elected into office in the upcoming general elections over the summer. The agenda included ambitious agricultural and developmental reform, as well as plans for the bifurcation of the Punjab province, with detailed plans for the incorporation of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) into Pakistan’s legal jurisdiction. The conference ended with a few words from Pervaiz Khattak, perhaps the conference’s most important: “The media must not take this to ...

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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 ...

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To leave or not to leave: Will Chaudhry Nisar actually quit PML-N for PTI?

While in conversation with a local news anchor, Chaudhry Nisar maintained his position that, “In my entire political career, I have never demanded influential positions in the party or the government.”  This is quite puzzling, for if not power and influence, what exactly has Nisar been looking for in the shady world of local politics? However, now that he is struck with a dilemma at an interesting point of his political career, it makes one curious whether his choice will be to remain with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), or opt for its rival, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). His decisions at many ...

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