Stories about political parties

Make matriculation/high school compulsory to vote

On July 25th, Pakistan’s fate, at least for the next five years, will be in its own hands. The future will come down to all of us as we make certain choices in that polling booth. Some of us will still be thinking, weighing pros and cons, measuring the benefits, and calculating the risks. But most of us would have likely made up our minds on who to vote for before judgement day. The next day, Pakistan, a sovereign state since 1947, will see only the second successive transition in democratic power. But I have a question: are all people informed enough to ...

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#ETBlogsAsks: If YOU could remove one political party, which would it be?

With General Elections upon us, we took to the streets of Karachi to ask people the political party of their choice, with a twist: our very own Game of Politics (GoP). Everyone wonders who they’ll vote for, but how often do we question who we would NEVER vote for? Talking to a variety of people, across gender, age and social class, we noticed some interesting patterns in what people said, and interestingly, even what they didn’t say. Women were largely uncomfortable with answering questions pertaining to politics and being on camera as well; amidst a group of friends with both boys and girls, ...

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To vote or not to vote: 6 questions that need to be answered before Election Day

As General Elections are approaching, people are increasingly interested in discussing various aspects of elections. In a country that has seen martial laws most of its existence, it is indeed a good omen that slowly elections are becoming a predictable event of democratic development (touch wood) in Pakistan. The world has started excelling in the use of social media for meaningful purposes including electioneering; it’s not a bad start for Pakistan as well. There is, however, a huge class of “concerned citizens” (read: chattering class) who have started raising some questions on elections, ranging from why is there an election ...

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13,000 Pakistanis voted for far-right parties – should the remaining be worried?

Following the Supreme Court decision regarding Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification from his prime ministerial position, the NA-120 seat needed to be filled immediately. Fortunately for the Sharifs, the NA-120 by-election results allowed Kulsoom Nawaz to fill this vacant seat.  NA-120 has been a stronghold for Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) since 1985 when Nawaz won and became the chief minister of Punjab. From then onwards, Nawaz’s party consecutively won the NA-120 seat eight times in 1985, 1988, 1990, 1993, 2002, 2008, 2013 and now in 2017. The NA-120 by-election results did not only highlight PML-N’s stronghold, but also highlighted the emergence of two far-right Islamist parties – Milli Muslim League (MML) ...

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Ironically, the credit for banning triple talaq in India goes to BJP and Narendra Modi, not Congress

The recent decision regarding triple talaq by the Supreme Court (SC) of India has elated many liberal intelligentsias. I also believe that it is a step in the right direction and should be applauded by all those who want better treatment for Muslim women in India. I have written about it earlier as well, that one of the major problems ailing the Muslim societies is the gender imbalance due to the on-going rampant religious orthodoxy. From a political perspective, what is really interesting is that apparently, the party which has actually championed the issue in recent times is not the left-leaning ...

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No, Maryam Nawaz can never emulate Benazir Bhutto or her political legacy

Amidst the uproar of the joint investigation team (JIT) findings over the Panama Leaks case, some people began comparing Maryam Nawaz Sharif to Benazir Bhutto. Personally, I was taken aback by such a comparison because Maryam may be the rising star of Pakistani politics but it is too early to compare her to a political icon like Benazir. Efforts made by Fatima Jinnah and Benazir for establishing democracy in Pakistan are unmatched in the annals of Pakistani politics. Fatima, due to her deteriorating health, was unable to fight the vultures that conspired against democracy. However, Benazir was able to fight the dictators of her time and was able to restore democracy in Pakistan, which is an admirable ...

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Religion? Kinship? Personal affinity? Money? – A conceptual understanding of how Pakistanis choose their leaders

Pakistan’s democratic fabric has been majorly impaired due to four military generals who systemised their totalitarian rule for over 40 years. This resulted in the corrosion of citizens’ civil and political liberties and rights and more so, to the deterioration of public institutions. Since Pakistan’s independence in 1947, state institutions have been meddling in governing processes and this involvement has raised serious questions about electoral competition, rule of law, the judiciary’s independence and accountability mechanisms. Military interventions and a lack of political organisations have majorly influenced the elections and citizens’ voting behaviour in the past as well. However, according to the limited election related scholarly work, there are a sundry of other social, cultural and political determinants that ...

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PPP claims to be cleaning up Karachi, but the looming stench in the city claims otherwise

The Karachi I grew up in was a city where garbage was picked up regularly. Swarms of jamadarnis (women sweepers) descended each morning to sweep the dusty streets in our neighbourhood in PECHS, picking up any plastic bags that the wind had blown overnight.  Karachi Municipal Corporation (KMC) trucks came in to collect the garbage from the corner garbage bins regularly. The law and order situation was such that my grandmother (who I admit was a bit of a maverick) felt no fear in taking a rickshaw by herself. She was fearless and she’d hold out her hand at the end of the journey with change so that the rickshaw driver ...

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Could Nawaz Sharif’s fate determine the future of Pakistan’s stock market as well?

The latest discussion engulfing the whole country has been Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s joint investigation team (JIT) imbroglio and the stock market’s rapid decline. In one of my previous blogs, we highlighted how the stock market should be utilised as an investment vehicle. For the record, Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) 100 Index went up by +50% from that day and stayed the same for the next 24 months. While sceptics have resurfaced – and so have the bears in the market (which is down +15% from the peak levels) – to criticise the vulnerability of the economy amidst political impasse, it is crucial to holistically view the changing political and economic landscape ...

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It is not the cows that they want to protect, it’s the Muslims they want to kill

It is a sin being a Muslim in India today, but a blessing if you’re a cow. Otherwise, how else can you justify the uninterrupted killings and lynching of Muslim men in the name of cows ever since Narendra Modi assumed power in May 2014? The latest victim is a man called Alimuddin, aka Asgar Ali, in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand. He was allegedly transporting some meat and the cow protection group (an euphemism for radical and extremist Hindu militant groups) intercepted the vehicle and beat him to death without verifying the content of the vehicle. Their hatred towards Muslims is so extreme that it’s the name that invites revulsion. ...

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