Stories about General Pervez Musharraf

Remembering Habib Jalib on his 92nd birthday with his iconic poem ‘Dastoor’

Habib Jalib, who was born 92 years ago today, was a Pakistani resistance poet par excellence. I have written elsewhere on the themes of resistance and revolution in his poetry and also about why his work has an urgent appeal even in the 21st century, despite most of it having been written in the middle of the last century. Instead, I want to focus today on Jalib’s iconic poem Dastoor (Constitution) which not only became an anthem of protest for a whole generation during Pakistan’s first military dictatorship of Ayub Khan in the 1960s, but gained a new lease of life ...

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Dissecting the political future of PML-N

It is naturally impossible to speculate upon what the future holds for the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) if one is first unable to understand the history of the party. PML-N was founded by Nawaz Sharif, a Punjabi businessman turned politician, who gained popularity in Punjab in the 1980s during the dictatorship of General Ziaul Haq. His loyalty to Zia resulted in Sharif being appointed the chief minister of Punjab after the non-party elections of 1985. After the demise of Zia, Sharif fought in the elections on the platform of the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI), and in 1990 he managed to become ...

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Dissecting the political future of JUI-F

The Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazal (JUI-F) made waves once again when Maulana Fazalur Rehman threatened to dislodge the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government through a long march and sit-in last year. It seems that Fazal has a knack for ensuring that the JUI-F remains in the headlines, for better or for worse. JUI-F is a faction of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) which was headed by Shabbir Ahmad Usmani in 1947 after parting ways with the Markazi Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam. Fazal’s party came into existence during the martial law of General Ziaul-Haq, when Fazal split with Maulana Samiul-Haq, who later formed his own faction of the party called Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Sami ...

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Where does PTI stand on the Musharraf treason case?

Former dictator Pervez Musharraf, who abrogated the constitution twice, has been facing treason charges in the courts. However, it seems that having been a military dictator he still enjoys support in several powerful quarters of the country. A few days before the special court listening to his treason case was due to announce its verdict, the Interior Ministry submitted a petition in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to set aside a special court reserved judgment against Musharraf. The petition filed in the IHC maintains that the Federal Government had sacked the previous prosecution team on October 24th and that the Interior Ministry was not given time to ...

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The Maulana and the liberal predicament

The right wing party Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) has now sent an ultimatum to Imran Khan. How this situation transpires over the next couple of days will reveal a lot about not just the parties involved and the establishment but will also shed light upon how various groups in Pakistan view the ‘Azadi march.’ Interestingly, Maulana Fazlur Rehman and his march have found some support from certain liberal corners of the country, at least through social and conventional media, despite the fact that many of these individuals share very little ideological DNA with these parties. Whenever it comes to ‘ideology,’ the ...

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The curious case of Pakistan’s political prisoners

On Monday night, Nawaz Sharif was taken to a hospital for a medical check-up, but Maryam Nawaz’s request to visit her father at the hospital was rejected by a court in Lahore today. Similarly, Asif Ali Zardari was taken to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) for treatment yesterday. Both these visits come after intense back and forth between the ruling party and the opposition regarding the conditions of the jail cells in which several politicians are currently being kept. The state of the jail cells, and the charges under which these politicians have been arrested has led to much scrutiny ...

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22 loans in 61 years: Pakistan’s unwavering habit of going to the IMF

If we take a look at Pakistan’s history of borrowing from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), some interesting facts come to light. Pakistan’s history of knocking upon the IMF’s door started back in 1958, when General Ayub Khan first took the country to the IMF route and signed an agreement to secure special drawing rights (SDR) 25 million under a Standby Agreement. The money was never withdrawn.  Not too long after, Ayub’s finance team pursued two back-to-back IMF programs in 1965 and 1968 respectively. This time, however, they ended up withdrawing around SDR 112 million, the entire agreed upon amount. ...

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With Asad Umar gone, who will Imran Khan blame for his government’s failure?

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government has, after much criticism, finally shuffled its cabinet. Many federal ministers, such as Ghulam Sarwar, Fawad Chaudhry and Shehryar Afridi, have been given different portfolios, while Finance Minister Asad Umar refused to accept a cabinet position and has thus stepped down from office. Though Umar’s removal did not come as a surprise – his performance was heavily criticised and his departure was expected – it is the timing that is questionable. Pakistan’s economy is in shambles, relying heavily on the bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which Umar had been negotiating for the ...

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Renaming BISP: PTI’s art of turning non-issues into controversies, because any publicity is good publicity

The art of turning a non-issue into a controversy seems to be a favourite habit of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government. From the moment it came to power, PTI has only been good at changing the names of projects initiated by former governments and trying to re-launch them under its own name. The inauguration of the Lahore to Multan Motorway and the opening of the Bagh Ibn-e-Qasim in Karachi are examples in this regard, for the latter was already inaugurated while the former was a project almost completed by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government. As the prime minister is a media-savvy person, ...

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Why is India worked up about the Pakistan-China bus service?

On October 31st, India formally protested the proposed launch of a bus service between China and Pakistan because the service would “operate between Pakistan occupied Jammu and Kashmir” under the so-called ‘China-Pakistan Economic Corridor’ (CPEC). The official spokesman noted that India held the China-Pakistan Boundary agreement of 1963 as “illegal and invalid” and views the service as a violation of India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. If all this sounds tough and uncompromising, it is. But it is hardly consistent and not especially helpful. The Karakoram Highway, over which the service will be run, has been around since the late 60s and ...

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