Stories about elections

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto: Like him or not, the man was extraordinary

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto is unforgettable. From his birth, on January 5, 1928 to April 4, 1979 when he was hanged in Rawalpindi, he was characterised by one word – extraordinary. Today marks his 34th death anniversary. There is no memorial site at the place of his death, just a huge park for families surrounded by the Army House and court rooms that keep his memory alive. Bhutto had been politically aware from an early age. His grave interest in politics led him to write a letter to Mohammad Ali Jinnah on April 26, 1945 which read: “You have inspired us and we are proud of you. Being ...

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Meera versus Imran Khan? Of course, I’ll vote for Meera!

Whilst the former government was busy choosing a person from the photo album of multiple 85-year-old potential caretakers (most of whom require a personal caretaker in their normal lives), the only thing that was killing me was to figure who I must vote for. Amidst that anguish, came the news that immediately lightened up the mood; interior design graduate from Kinnaird College named Irtiza Rubab is going to be contesting against Imran Khan in the next general elections. For those who don’t know, I’m talking about Meera jee! It was a bit of a laugh since there is absolutely no match between the two. ...

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Transgenders are not running in the elections for your entertainment!

Is it possible, I wonder, to initiate a conversation about transgender persons running in the upcoming elections without provoking laughter and shaking one’s head in disapproval? What is it about transgender people that we seem to find so funny? Are they not humans? Do they not have rights? Bindiya Rana and Sanam Fakir, both members of the transgender community, have recently announced their decision to try for seats in the provincial assembly from separate regions. It’s deplorable that the media, for the most part, has been treating this news as a light-hearted, election sideshow — a ‘fun fact’, if you will — to ...

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Pre-poll rigging

Of all the words and phrases bandied about in the election season, I find “pre-poll rigging” and “other forms of electoral fraud” the most intriguing. Perhaps it is because I don’t entirely understand what it means. You see there are too many nuances there that I am not aware of. To be honest, pre-poll rigging seems simple enough, at least if entries in most dictionaries are considered. We discover that the term is used routinely in countries where democracy is present, or, for that matter, absent. It is often on the lips of the common man (who is by no means ...

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Only in Pakistan!

As a comedian, especially if your style is based on observational humour, it’s important to have an eye for detail, as it meanders around the most trivial and insignificant aspects of everyday life. After spending almost three decades of my life in Pakistan, and seeing the society very up-close, I have come to the conclusion that amidst the swelling cacophony of the rising disorder that has befallen upon us, there still is a lot of humour embedded in many things that we may tend to ignore. So here’s a list of things we say/do that defines our behaviour individually or at ...

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Which political party is closest to the business lobby?

With general elections ahead, every leading political party claims to have the solution for the country’s chronic economic problems in their ‘economic agenda’. While some parties have revealed their economic agendas in the last few months, many have not bothered to fulfill this basic formality. There is not a single political party in the country that can claim to have the confidence of the business community. The failure of the Pakistan Peoples Party government in handling the economic affairs of Pakistan has compelled a large number of businessmen to look at the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz or the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI). Sensing ...

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Is PTI trying to derail democracy?

In the latest saga of the upcoming general election soap opera, Dr Tahirul Qadri has taken his petition against the constitution of the Election Commission Pakistan (ECP) to the Supreme Court. But since it’s Dr Qadri who has decided to take this step, then why is the political party and media compass pointing to PTI headquarters? PTI stated it had no regrets about not joining the long march. The reason they gave was that despite the same agenda there was a different method of proposed realisation. Why? One word – unconstitutional. The media and PPP criticised PTI for demanding Asif Zardari’s resignation. Why? One word- unconstitutional. PTI ...

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Let horse-trading stop already

An influential clan of Ghotki has left Party A for Party B. Sons of a governor have decided to join Party C. Meanwhile, the swashbuckling chief of a youth-centred party claimed last November that he only needed youngsters, not big-shot politicians, in his party. That was after he had welcomed a battalion of such politicians during the course of a few months. Welcome to election season in Pakistan! The season when major political parties auction tickets for electoral seats to the highest bidder. Individuals and heads of parties negotiate the price of the former joining the latter, in terms of the number ...

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If a Muslim can head India’s Intelligence Bureau, can a Hindu ever be DG ISI?

Salman Khurshid, Altamas Kabir, Shahabuddin Yaqoob Quraishi, Mohammad Hamid Ansari, Syed Asif Ibrahim. The Khan brothers, Imran Hashmi, Saif Ali Khan, the Pathan brothers, Sania Mirza. (The roll call continues…) Though the names on the second line may perhaps be more familiar, the names that shine bright on the first line are of keener interest. Unlike in Pakistan, some of India’s highest political perches are occupied by Muslims. Yes, the God-fearing Musalmans. Take Salman Khurshid, for instance. He was recently appointed to serve as Foreign Minister of India, a position which likens him to the soon-to-be Secretary of State, John Kerry, and on our ...

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What does delimitation mean for Karachi?

The bullet is something every Karachi resident is well acquainted with. But the ballot is something which one-third of the population is unaware of. With unrelenting stories of violence emanating every hour and the terror which has engulfed the entire rainbow of ethnicities, what do the coming general elections promise to the people is a fact unknown to anyone as yet. The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP)’s decision to carry out a delimitation exercise, aimed at effectuating a systematic division of voters on linguistic basis in Karachi, may thwart several predictions regarding the post-election scenario. For the first time, at least 10 political parties ...

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