Stories about PPP

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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At what cost is Thar being ‘developed’?

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari visited Tharparkar two weeks ago. He addressed a huge gathering near Main Bypass Road Islamkot, stayed the night at MNA Mahesh Kumar Malani’s residence in Mithi, visited Thar Coal Block One and Two on the second day of his visit and then departed for Karachi. Did he miss something in all of this? Yes, he did. On the very same evening when he was on stage addressing the thousands of people gathered in Islamkot, a group of indigenous Tharis were protesting in front of the Islamkot Press Club. Although the two venues were not far from ...

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The Maulana and the liberal predicament

The right wing party Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) has now sent an ultimatum to Imran Khan. How this situation transpires over the next couple of days will reveal a lot about not just the parties involved and the establishment but will also shed light upon how various groups in Pakistan view the ‘Azadi march.’ Interestingly, Maulana Fazlur Rehman and his march have found some support from certain liberal corners of the country, at least through social and conventional media, despite the fact that many of these individuals share very little ideological DNA with these parties. Whenever it comes to ‘ideology,’ the ...

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The curious case of Pakistan’s political prisoners

On Monday night, Nawaz Sharif was taken to a hospital for a medical check-up, but Maryam Nawaz’s request to visit her father at the hospital was rejected by a court in Lahore today. Similarly, Asif Ali Zardari was taken to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) for treatment yesterday. Both these visits come after intense back and forth between the ruling party and the opposition regarding the conditions of the jail cells in which several politicians are currently being kept. The state of the jail cells, and the charges under which these politicians have been arrested has led to much scrutiny ...

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Is a Karachi uplift package the solution to the city’s woes?

It is no secret that the urban centres of Sindh have been ignored for quite some time now. The city of Karachi voted for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in the last general elections hoping that Imran Khan would change the fate of this neglected city, yet no concrete policy measures have been put in place in order to help solve the myriad of problems that this city is facing. The 18th amendment has further complicated matters and left the city to a government that is essentially ruling an urban centre with a rural mandate. Therefore, in light of the city’s deteriorating ...

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