Stories about elections

Imran Khan, Tahirul Qadri and Sheikh Rasheed: Recipe for disaster?

In January 2013, Dr Tahirul Qadri, author of a renowned fatwa against terrorism, held Pakistan’s capital hostage for several days while making a categorical litany of demands that had to be met within 15 minutes by the government “or else”. It was a four-day-long drama but the crowd of 25,000-60,000 remained remarkably peaceful. A similar carnival is coming to town again. This time not only does it feature Dr Qadri and his followers, but the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Shiekh Rasheed and the Jamaat-e-Islaami’s (JI) alliance as well. It’s a peculiar bunch but that is often what makes the carnival more appealing – one ...

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Indian Elections: I vote ‘None Of The Above’

As India inches towards the half-way mark at the parliamentary elections, political commentary aside, what caught my interest, as a former citizen, was the ‘None Of The Above’ (NOTA) option on the electronic voting ballot. Just the fact that one could register a no-vote is in itself fascinating, as it moves the arm chair critic from the couch and into the voting booth. On digging deeper, it seems that this concept of registering a no-vote goes back to a recent Indian Supreme Court ruling where the voter, in all his or her wisdom, must be given the right to register a NOTA vote ...

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Indian elections 2014: Who will win?

There couldn’t have been a worse run-up to the 2014 general elections in India. As soon as dates for the polling schedule were announced, the world’s largest democracy witnessed many street clashes and stone pelting between members of the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in various cities.  Violence broke out after the police detained AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal during his campaign in Narendra Modi’s territory, Gujarat. The clashes of wooden sticks with jharoos (brooms) were symbolically evident. In New Delhi, the police had to use water cannons on the protesters. The situation went from bad to worse in no time. The Indian National Congress (INC) The ruling INC, ...

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4 reasons elections won’t fix Afghanistan

Observers across the board – from think-tankers and diplomats, both current and retired, to journalists and election monitors – are describing Afghanistan’s elections on April 5, 2014 as critical for its stability. And for good reason. A successful election would be a democratic milestone since it would mark the first time Afghanistan has experienced a peaceful transfer of power. A legitimately elected new leadership, particularly one seen as effective and above all clean, could conceivably help convince Afghans that their government is a better alternative to the Taliban – and thereby, weaken recruitment to the insurgency. It would also bring to power a leader not named Hamid Karzai – and therefore, ...

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Déjà vu! Are the 2014 elections in India a replica of the 2013 elections in Pakistan?

In India, the election fever is in full swing these days. All the major political parties are busy, day and night, with their election campaigns. Amid all this rush, we see a blame game being played – something which is very common in any country’s politics. As they say, it is easy to point out others’ mistakes than finding your own faults. And these political parties seem to follow this idea vehemently. Almost a year ago, the same situation was present here, in Pakistan, during the 2013 general election proceedings. We had the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) as the major ...

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Five great reasons why I will vote for Bilawal Bhutto

Is Bilawal Bhutto Zardari running for the National Assembly? Is he not running for the National Assembly? Do we have to wait till 2018, or a few months? The media really needs to make up its mind…like me! I am all set to vote for the boy in red, black and green – and here are five excellent reasons why. 1. Line up all our current Members of the National Assembly (MNAs) and then take a good look. No seriously, do it right now. I’ve got a handy dandy random selection for you to peruse below! I shouldn’t have to argue my ...

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PTI walay, ‘kon log o tusi?’

After being beaten in the May 11, 2013 general elections in Punjab, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) came back to the heart of Lahore in their attempt to portray a ‘real opposition’. They carried out a protest rally on Mall Road against rising inflation in the country. Their action left curious political minds wondering why they chose Lahore. Why couldn’t they give a tough time to the government by raising their concerns within the walls of parliament? Or why couldn’t they stage a hunger strike in front of the Parliament? After all, inflation is a federal issue and can be addressed in a legal manner. So, why ...

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Gandhi or Modi: Choosing the lesser evil in elections 2014

Is communalism responsible for the rise in terrorism? This is the topic of debate in India today. The attention on the issue became all the more pronounced after the serial blasts that took place in the Hindu right wing leader, Narendra Modi’s rally in Patna. Until recently, this debate had been confined to academic discourse, but after the Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s statement, where he said that the Pakistan’s intelligence agency is recruiting disgruntled elements from Muzaffarnagar, the debate has come into the political arena. Those who have been closely monitoring the political speeches would understand that the younger Gandhi’s target was not ...

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Indian elections: Give peace a chance, don’t vote for Modi

“Mr Prime Minister, the country wants to know – what is your priority? Is it national pride and respecting the blood of martyrs or is it to show eagerness to talk to Pakistan under pressure from other countries?”  This is how Narendra Modi addressed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in a rather patriotic (or jingoistic) bid demanding to know his priorities. With such pressure from the opposition, Manmohan Singh has quite clearly shown reservations in resuming talks with Pakistan. Modi went on to state, “I want to ask you one question, when our soldiers and innocent citizens are being killed day and ...

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Mr Asif Ali Zardari, you have done it!

September 8, 2013 is a day for both history and headlines in Pakistan. A historically unprecedented and smooth transfer of presidential power has taken place in our constitutional and political history. There has been no coup d’état by a general, no declaration of emergency, no suspension, abrogation or subversion of the constitution and no declaration of a fifth martial law in the country. A democratically elected head of state has completed his full term and has vacated the office in line with the theory and practice of constitutional provisions. All the headlines emanating from former president Asif Ali Zardari’s completion ...

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