Stories about PPP

How democratic are Pakistan’s democrats?

Dēmokratiā, a system of government invented by the Athenians in around 508 BC, simply means “rule by the people”; demos (people) and kratos (rule). On the other hand, the word politics means the “science of government”, which gets its connotation from the name of Aristotle’s book, “Ta Politika”. However, it appears that our elected representatives have redefined these terms, because of which a vacuum persists in our democratic system, leaving it both vulnerable and weak. In today’s Pakistan, politics connotes the appeasement of one’s party leadership; the more vocal and aggressive one is in rebutting a point asserted by a political opponent, ...

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PTI and the status quo

Every political party uses slogans to expand its membership and to energise its existing base. Some slogans articulate a party’s vision, some summarise its central narrative, while others highlight the steps the party will take once in power. Slogans are a powerful political marketing tool and can be extremely effective if they are catchy and easy to understand. For example, Donald Trump’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again” was extremely successful because it was catchy and effectively articulated Trump’s narrative that America had lost its ‘past glory’ and that he was the right person to restore it. In Pakistan, the ...

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The BISP purge: A much-needed review or an assault on the poor?

Pakistan does not have an illustrious track record of managing successful social protection programmes. Most of the initiatives have historically been conceived, and financed, by bilateral and multilateral international donors and can therefore, at times, be void of any connection with Pakistan’s ground realities and the actual needs of the masses. If ever an organic social protection programme is initiated, it is often cut short by changes in the government and the subsequent petty politics. The Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), however, is unique in that not only is it a local initiative, but it has also stood the ...

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In conversation with Asad Umar: “Pakistan is one of the most difficult countries to run”

Interrupting the festivities of his son’s wedding, I caught up with the remarkably candid Minister Asad Umar for an interview at his residence in Karachi this weekend. We talked about everything from his substantive reform goals as the Federal Minister for Planning and Development to who’s more likely to become a prime minister first, Bilawal Bhutto or Maryam Nawaz.  “The last time you interviewed me, I was fired after four days,” Umar quipped, as we began the interview. “If it happens this time, it’ll fall on December 25th, which will be really sad.” Since wedding festivities were in full swing around ...

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Should we pretend to be surprised at Zardari’s release?

Former president and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) supremo, Asif Ali Zardari has been granted bail by the Islamabad High Court (IHC). A two member bench of the IHC, which comprised of Justice Athar Minhullah and Justice Amir Farooq, granted bail to Zardari on medical grounds. Zardari, who was taken into custody by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) earlier in July, had already been admitted to Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences previously where he was under treatment for diabetes and cardiovascular problems. Zardari’s bail did not come as a surprise, especially after former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was given bail on ...

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The health epidemic plaguing Thar

The Tharparkar desert in Sindh boasts an area of 22,000 square kilometres and is host to a population of over 1.6 million inhabitants, most of which reside in 2,880 villages which fall under seven talukas or tehsils, namely Mithi, Diplo, Chachro, Islamkot, Nangarparkar, Dahli and Kaloi.  The expanse is divided into 64 union councils. District Tharparkar was separated from district Mirpurkhas in the year 1990 and Mithi was designated as the region’s headquarters. Despite the demarcation, the infrastructure in Thar remains abysmal. Not only does Thar battle yearly droughts and famine, it also struggles with a high infant morality rate, with over 700 ...

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PTI’s Achilles heel: The foreign funding case

The foreign funding case filed against PTI has had to circumvent several obstacles before it could be fixed for daily hearings. It overcame a number of applications and writ petitions by PTI that attempted to challenge the jurisdiction of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the nature of proceedings in general. Ironically, it was Akbar S Babar, a founding member of the PTI, who had filed the case in the ECP back in 2014. He alleged that PTI had received funding from foreign nationals and overseas companies through numerous undeclared accounts. Allegations of embezzlement and money laundering also formed ...

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The extension fiasco: Who won, who lost?

On Thursday, the nerve-wracking court proceedings regarding the extension of the tenure of Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa finally concluded. The comedy of errors unleashed by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) legal team meant that the government almost shot itself in the foot, insisting on committing blunder after blunder. From the simple clerical mistakes in the drafts presented in court to not being able to convince the court as to why Bajwa’s extension was essential, the antics which ensued have surely left PTI red-faced. The court has provided Bajwa with a temporary lease by giving him a six month extension ...

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The liberal and the ‘liberally corrupt’

During Imran Khan’s recent outburst, when he mockingly mimicked Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, he referred to the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman as a man who is not a liberal but is instead “liberally corrupt.” Calling an opponent corrupt is nothing new for Imran, however, being branded a liberal today is almost perceived as an affront. Thus, Bilawal swiftly tweeted and declared that he is not a liberal but a progressive and ideologically inclined individual, in his own words “taraki-pasand aur nazriyati.” This begs the question as to what is the barometre by which one gauges liberalism, and if both these leaders do ...

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As we bid farewell to Nawaz, what fate awaits Zardari?

As expected, Nawaz Sharif finally flew abroad today on his own conditions after getting permission from the Lahore High Court (LHC). His illness, as mentioned in my previous piece, led to a reworking of the nation’s political chessboard. Not only did it bring the issue of political victimisation at the hands of the incumbent government into the limelight but it also forced Pakistan’s powerful quarters to tell the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government that enough with the accountability narrative, get to work on fixing the economy and other governance issues. Furthermore, the change in the tone of the PTI allies, both Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) ...

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