Stories about elections

Islam may be trending on the streets of New York

Thirteen years after the events of September 11, 2001, New York is ready to begin its cathartic process. News of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and al-Qaeda may still dominate the majority of the news, but the feeling of the streets is more of intrigue rather than fear. Most of the food carts in the city are halal, and the number one street cart in the city is called ‘Halal Guys’. To see people have chicken over rice from these carts has never been surprising but now some bars are also exclusively serving halal meat, ‘halal’ food is being embraced ...

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Refreshing our faulty memory: Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir go hand in hand

One of the main and often forgotten blunders of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), during their different stints in power, is the sell-out of the hopes and aspirations of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan. This is a historical fact, though the PPP tries to hide it as they are hiding other blunders as well, counting on the short memory of the public. But not all is forgotten and especially not forgiven; some of us do remember what happened in the past. The people of Gilgit-Baltistan had liberated themselves from the clutches of the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir in 1948, declared accession to ...

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Indian-occupied Kashmir under Omar Abdullah: Six years of disaster

In Kashmir, politics has always been a game of possibilities, and it remains so even today. So long as the ‘core issue’ remains unattended, neither any change in the political leadership – in mainland India, in Pakistan or in Kashmir – nor any economic package or assistance really makes a difference. And today’s politically-motivated relief camps stand in the row. Deep inside their hearts, all political parties know the extent of their political acceptance. No politician, howsoever articulate and famous, has won an election in Kashmir unless the subtlety of his election campaign encompassed decisive elements of the freedom narrative. So the rules ...

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Why Lahore is better than Karachi today

Karachi saw its renewed glory days under the presidency of Pervez Musharraf. For the first time, the citizens felt bonded with the city and its ways. There was an air of optimism and under the ‘I own Karachi’ program, for the first time in a long time, Karachiites came forward to beautify their city and contribute towards its uplift. The two mayors, Mr Naimatullah Khan from Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) followed by Mustafa Kamal from Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), did wonders and set the city on the path of progress and development. I personally know a number of expatriates who relocated back to Karachi in order to ...

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No, Mr Khan. Dictatorship is never better than democracy

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chief, Imran Khan, has recently claimed that former President Pervez Musharraf’s dictatorship was better than Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s democracy, allowing the world to roll its eyes to what has become our national shame – the dictatorship apologia of self-hating democratic politicians. In what has become a weekly tradition of delivering bafflingly misinformed statements, the lines between dictatorship and democracy were blurred by the D-Chowk rage-generators, in an attempt to continually vilify Nawaz’s government. The comparison of dictatorships and democracies is as ludicrous as suggesting that a bad bargain is worse than someone stealing your wallet. Any notion ...

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There is no PTI or PML-N, there is just Pakistan

Imran Khan’s protest began against alleged rigging in general elections, transformed into a march and sit-in against the prime minister, and has blossomed into one of the firmest stances against status quo in the history of Pakistan. It is not just the number of people, but the kind and class of people in his sit-in that speaks volumes about the strength of his stance. These are people who were never seen in political gatherings or protests. The upper-middle and upper-class; educated people, professionals, women and children, have taken over the space that was once occupied mostly by simpletons, who were nothing but ...

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Rallying behind Imran Khan

I believe we can all agree that Pakistan needs, above all else, strong state institutions and the rule of law. These are the only way in which a proper modern country can function. They are necessary to ensure the social stability necessary for a functioning democracy and a prosperous market economy. But when powerful individuals can sway the institutions of the state to serve themselves, when they can bend the rule of law and use the mechanisms of the state for private gain, then that can no longer be called a modern state. When there are individuals, business leaders or politicians ...

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Is my tax money funding your political advertisement?

Open any newspaper and you’ll find government advertisements – be it provincial or federal – flashing their on-going or upcoming projects. The best term I could come up with for this exercise of self-promotion is ‘political advertising’, meant for boosting a politician’s profile or a junior level politician behaving like a sycophant for his party boss. The phenomenon cuts through all political parties and ideologies, and affects all forms of media, print or electronic. Such adverts are often used to serve party politics rather than public policy. The incumbent government spends the most on such commercials, which explains why the government’s budget for advertising is ...

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An Indian in Pakistan

A simple white shalwar kameez, a pair of traditional Peshawari shoes and a black jacket. The packed hall of about 900 people exploded into thunderous cheers and a standing ovation. Young boys and girls jumped up with excitement, thumped their tables and filled the air with whistles. The welcome befitted a rock star. The man in white moved to the stage and commenced speaking. He spoke clearly, simply and in elegant Urdu; every member of the audience could understand him. His thoughts were crystal clear; he stood for a multi- cultural and secular framework, believed in a corruption free society, ...

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The importance we (don’t) give our country

When one thinks about Pakistan, what is it that comes to mind? For some, it’s a land with troubled tribal areas or a cradle for terrorism. For many, it’s a haven for corrupt politicians, backed by a corrupt legislation and a flawed constitution. And for others, it’s just a mistake that Mr Jinnah made 67 years ago. If you ask a young, college-going boy about what Pakistan is to him, he will probably say that it’s, “A country in which I was born, raised and taught the tricks of getting my way in the world either by hook or by crook. A ...

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