Stories about National Assembly

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 ...

Read Full Post

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 ...

Read Full Post

Dissecting the political future of PPP

Democracy in Pakistan has never been allowed to flourish and has always been subject to direct and indirect military interventions. The graves of former prime ministers Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto, and those of their family members buried at Garhi Khuda Baksh, are a testament to the price which the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has paid for taking a stand against the powers that be. However, since the demise of Benazir, the PPP, which once enjoyed a strong vote bank in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), is not doing so well there during the recent elections. It seems that PPP has now only been limited to the province ...

Read Full Post

Did Maulana Fazlur Rehman commit treason?

An allegation of treason should not be made lightly. Especially not by the prime minister of a country against a political opponent. It takes away from the gravity of the only criminal offence proscribed in the Constitution of Pakistan. It also equates a political opponent with this country’s rogues’ gallery of past authoritarian rulers. But most importantly, throwing around an allegation of treason against politicians critical of the ruling party delegitimises another part of the Constitution: the part that guarantees the freedom of speech. All these factors should have been weighed by Prime Minister Imran Khan before he expressed his desire ...

Read Full Post

An in-house change will not solve the problems Pakistan is facing

The winds of change have started blowing in the power corridors of Pakistan. We recently saw how the main opposition parties, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), compromised on their so-called ideologies when the matter of giving Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa an extension was presented in the assembly. Evidently, PML-N and PPP have been trying to mend fences with the powers that be, and it seems that under Shehbaz Sharif, PML-N is ready to present itself as the new ‘King’s party’. Given the economic turmoil burdening the incumbent government, and the fact that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) does ...

Read Full Post

Understanding Pakistan’s sexual harassment law – Part III

This article is part of a series which will try to answer several questions surrounding the law on sexual harassment in Pakistan. The aim is to allow people to understand what the legal regime on this issue is, how it works, and what needs to change. Read part one here and part two here. ~ It took far too long but in 2010 Parliament passed the ‘Protection against Harassment of Women at the Workplace Act, 2010.’ Initially operating solely as a federal law, it was subsequently adopted as a provincial enactment through legislation such as the ‘Punjab Protection against Harassment of Women at the Workplace ...

Read Full Post

Has dynastic politics damaged democracy in Pakistan?

Strong electoral competition is imperative for a functioning democracy and it only increases if every individual has an equal right to contest and participate in politics. Theoretically and constitutionally, this right exists for every citizen, however, practically, this may not be the case. Among other socio-economic and political factors, the presence of dynasties in politics serves as an impediment in the quest for increased electoral competition. Political dynasties undermine the right of an individual to contest in an election on equal footing with other candidates. Dynastic politics is palpable across sectors, strata, and classes in rural and urban Pakistan. ...

Read Full Post

Why has PTI’s proposed plan to help acid attack survivors still not come to fruition?

In the Punjab budget, presented in June earlier this year, it was stated that the government would allocate Rs100 million for the ‘Nai Zindagi’ programme, an initiative which would help victims of acid attacks in the province. It has been reported that the financial aid is intended to help the survivors of acid attacks since it will “cover the cost of surgical procedures and provide technical learning, offer no-interest loans, and fix a monthly stipend of between Rs2,000 ($13) to Rs5,000 ($32) for victims.” The commitment to this programme was reiterated in September by the Chief Minister of Punjab, Usman Buzdar.  However, this proposed plan ...

Read Full Post

Why is lifting the ban on student unions important?

Over the past month, it appears that it has become increasingly apparent that the students of Pakistan are in desperate need of a greater number of bodies and student organisations which can help raise a voice for many of their concerns. The recent scandal which hit the University of Balochistan (UoB) resulted in the mobilisation of students across the country who were demanding that the university take immediate action to ensure that those responsible for such abhorrent behaviour be held accountable for their actions. In Islamabad, students were protesting for their housing rights, students in Shaheed Benazir Bhutto University Nawabshah ...

Read Full Post

Why can’t a non-Muslim dream of becoming the prime minister or president of Pakistan?

When Sajid Javid announced that he would join the race for 10 Downing Street earlier this year, the news was met with a joyous reception in Pakistan. Just the thought that a man who was raised in a Muslim household was even in contention to become the next prime minister of Britain was seen as a matter of great pride; after all, we feel it is imperative that all other nations ensure an equal access to opportunities for all religious minorities and do not discriminate on the basis of religion. However, how many in Pakistan would be celebrating if ...

Read Full Post