Stories about martial law

This is not what Jinnah wanted for Pakistan

On August 11, 1947, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah gave a speech at the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan where he mentioned that in this country, there will be no discrimination based on religious grounds. “We are starting in the days where there is no discrimination, no distinction between one community and another, no discrimination between one caste or creed and another. We are starting with this fundamental principle, that we are all citizens, and equal citizens, of one State… You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place ...

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Should war be celebrated?

On the walls along MA Jinnah Road, I came across certain graffiti, a bold approval in red paint, which read, “Pak fauj qadam barhao, hum tumharay saath hain” (Take a step, Pakistani Army, the people are with you) This was a reminder for every passer-by that it is the duty of every Pakistani to support its army engaged in Zarb-e-Azb, the on-going military operation in North Waziristan. In the past few months, there has been a shift in the rhetoric pertaining to the army; the protector has become the saviour, the last resort has become the beacon of hope and force has become the ...

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Pervez Musharraf: Defending a patriot from cowards and liars

Many people like to ask me questions about why I support former president Pervez Musharraf. As part of the questions, they like to pepper in the misinformation that the Pakistani media has presented to the public for consumption. During one such discussion on Facebook, I was asked the following: The question cum comment “According to you, Khalid Muhammad, what were the positives and negatives of Musharraf’s tenure? People consider him to be the reason for drones, missing people (Aafia Siddiqui), Bugti murder case, Lal Masjid, all that happened to Pakistan after 9/11 (and) the current shortfall of electricity and gas. Suicide bombing took ...

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Will Musharraf’s treason trial help democracy in Pakistan?

Dictators and enemies of democracy would do well to listen to the great Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda’s advice,  “You can cut all the flowers, but you cannot keep spring from coming.” It was more than a decade after the country’s first democratically elected popular leader, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was hanged by a dictator that his daughter, Benazir Bhutto returned with an impressive mandate. Today, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has returned to the political driving seat after a decade, with almost a clear majority while the dictator who ousted him from power, lingers in a sub-jail. In an unprecedented move, Prime Minister Sharif’s government has initiated a case of high ...

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Shaista Zaid and the black days of the past

English newscaster Shaista Zaid retires after 43 years of service to the state broadcaster PTV, but did you know that for many years she was also the voice of the English speaking clock, and that to this day, you can hear her on PTCL announcing, “Your telephone subscription does not support calling this number. Please dial 17 for more assistance?” Her voice for me was the official English-speaking voice of Pakistan when I was growing up, during the years of Zia and state control over information; seeing her finally retire brings back memories of those difficult times. I can’t help but think ...

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Times change

Last Sunday as we gathered in a corner of the Nairang Gallery we now consider our hangout – we being some of the old timers at Tea House – and learnt about the details of the outrage that had happened here the question that confronted us was whether or not this was the proverbial first rain drop. But first there was a ‘what if?’ What if the incident had happened on a Sunday evening; would we not have been in the line of fire? What if it had been the Sunday when several of the city’s elite intellectuals are present ...

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Does Forbes support dictatorship in Pakistan?

I found this year’s Forbes list of the most powerful people illuminating. Most revealing was the inclusion of General Kayani on the list. The military has always played a role in Pakistan’s politics. Be it the overt martial law regimes or the democratically chosen politicians, it is the army that has the power. We, of course, remain happy in the illusion that we have the power of choice. But the Forbes list is a rapier of piercing light that shreds the magician’s cloth of delusion, shining on the single most important fact for Pakistan – the military is and has always ...

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20 reasons we asked Musharraf to go

We Pakistani’s at times are so eager to see the bright side of a coin we neglect to notice that the coin’s edges are black with grime. Similarly, Syed Abid Raza Abidi has written a post presenting 50 points for which Pakistan needs Mr Pervez Musharraf but he failed to glimpse the other side of the coin. I have 20 solid points which prove Pakistan doesn’t need Musharraf. He allowed Nato and American forces to launch attacks inside Pakistan. Can anyone on earth justify the killing of thousands of innocents? Terrorism increased during his presidency because of which all of us are still ...

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The case for martial law

In any respectable society, a parliamentarian discovered to be holding a fake degree, involved in corruption and mismanagement would resign. In extreme cases, like in Japan, some may even commit suicide to avoid the shame and disgrace. The leader of any political party would remove anyone found guilty. In Pakistan, however, this is not the case. Surprisingly, during the time of these floods, India had to beg us to take aid from them rather than the other way around. So misconceived, in certain ways, is our pride and dignity that we will only take aid from them if they beg us to ...

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Looking for General Patriot

Did I hear someone support the next martial law to be imposed by “any patriotic general” who is willing to clean Pakistan’s political mess? Pure genius! Why didn’t we think of this? Can patriotic general sahib also please fix the economy and increase the living standards of the people? While you’re at it, we would like to request you to uproot feudalism and fix democracy for us too. Oh oh… can we also have Kashmir? Once you clean the mess, you can hold elections and the politicians will take it from there. By the way, since we are talking about ...

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