Stories about parties

Inconclusive debates of our time

Friend Ashfaq Salim Mirza is a modernist among our comrades. He refuses to limp back to rosy 19th Century and unlike most dwellers of that dreamland, who have an explanation for every unfolding event, believes several debates are still inconclusive. Arguing with him, our mentor, the late Professor Khwaja Masud, would often take umbrage at his unqualified rejection of Sufism as a crutch for the Left to hobble on, in a kind of three legged race, with the Pakistan ideology stalwarts. He took to task the nascent Awami Party — which he had himself co-founded with Harris Khalique, Ayub ...

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Attention: Sindh is up for grabs

With all the national attention focused on the political battle over Punjab, it is worth pointing out that parties across the political spectrum would do well to realise that Sindh is not as safely in the Pakistan Peoples Party’s column as might appear at first glance. Ever since the party was first launched in the late 1960s, Sindh has firmly stayed loyal to the Bhutto clan and one of the fundamental assumptions in Pakistani politics is that rural Sindh will always vote, by and large, for the PPP. In the 1980s, the MQM was able to peel away the urban ...

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What happened to provincial autonomy?

It appears that the decision to devolve some ministries to the provinces after the passage of the 18th amendment is now being resisted by the very parties and parliamentarians who had requested for it. I find it strange that provinces are not keen on getting provincial autonomy anymore. The key objective of the amendment was to remove the distortion made in the 1973 Constitution. Originally the centre could only keep a few departments, namely foreign affairs, defence, currency and communication. But having got the bill passed, members of five parliamentary committees have suggested to the Implementation Commission of 18th Amendment to ...

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The ‘revolutions’ of PML-N and MQM

You know your country’s politics is in the dumps when two of the most dictatorial political parties start talking about revolution and then start pointing fingers at each other. I mean – seriously! The audacity with which the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) talk about revolution is simply amazing. And, it’s not as if they are small political parties. The PML-N prides itself as being a national party whereas the MQM is working its way up to becoming one or at least making claims of becoming one. Dynastic party systems The fact is, the PML-N’s internal party ...

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The conservatives and politics of fear

On Saturday, December 18, the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, that was to create a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States (US) as children, failed to push through the Senate. Although at the outset, the DREAM Act had strong bipartisan support, as the mood of the country towards immigration shifted, Republican (and some Democrat) senators backtracked, terming the legislation as a backdoor amnesty for lawbreakers. These so-called lawbreakers are in fact, individuals who, through no volition of their own, entered and grew up in the US. America is the only ...

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Sindh Culture Day: Balancing the past and the future

While it was heartening to see jubilant celebrations of Sindh Culture Day on December 4, a single decision by the Government of Sindh dented the celebrations in an irreparable manner. One would agree with the decision to officially celebrate the day, but announcing a public holiday thereafter seemed a step too far. It is a question we should at least ask ourselves. As far as Karachi is concerned, Sindh Culture Day will undoubtedly help foster closer ties between the different ethnic groups living in this economic powerhouse of a city. I do not think anyone who lives in Karachi will ...

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All of us are corrupt… for a reason

Corruption screams across headlines almost daily in this land of the pure. From Pakistani cricket scandals, to dubious land allotments we’ve all become very frustrated with corruption in our daily lives. However, many times the debate about corruption in the media is highly simplistic and revolves around slogans of ‘the government should get rid of corruption!’ By highlighting some interesting perspectives, I aim to show corruption from a different lens. Corruption has two broad aspects to it: the first kind is attributed to man’s inherent evil nature. Man has impulses within him that long for power, wealth and fame. The ...

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A 25 year plan for… failure?

Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has issued a statement asking the nation’s politicians, judiciary and the military to create a 25-year plan, which he called the Charter of Pakistan. The plan, he said, should be produced “with consensus” to pull Pakistan “out of its problems.” Our politicians are just discovering what statesmen in other nations take for granted. Better late than never. There is no reason to doubt Mr. Sharif’s sincerity in floating this idea. But he should also ponder with an open mind what many skeptical Pakistanis will say about it. Seen from another context, this noble idea can easily turn ...

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Friends don’t let friends dance sober

“Call it what you wana call it, I’m a freakin’ alcoholic,” Over 100 young Karachiites chanted this song, with happy pills in their systems and joints and glasses of alcohol in their hands at a recent party. While possession of alcohol, marijuana, cocaine and drugs of like quality may be a federal offence punishable with a jail sentence of several years in Pakistan it is not difficult to acquire the intoxicants. If you happen to pass by a wine shop in Karachi, which can officially only sell its products to non-Muslim members of the community, you may notice members of ...

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Dreams of grandeur for Pakistan’s elite

There are several armies in Pakistan. First are the regular Faujis. They’re a dependable lot; one can generally rely on them to own a vast amount of land, produce decent quality corn flakes and stage a military coup every decade or so. Then there is the army of God. This is a versatile lot – they function as terrorists, loony ideologues, charitable organisations and scapegoats and fodder for dozens of conspiracy theories. Lastly, there is the great army of liberal Pakistanis who represent enlightened moderation. Oh wait, just kidding. Let me rephrase that: lastly, there is a minuscule group of elite Pakistanis ...

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