Acting upon a request from the United States to calm ongoing regional tensions, Imran Khan’s mission to engage in shuttle diplomacy with Saudi Arabia and Iran has presented a respectable image of neutrality, but this image alone is unlikely to facilitate peace. One would be forgiven for conflating Imran Khan’s impressive international image with productive foreign policy. A maiden visit to the United States this year, last month’s emotional United Nations General Assembly speech on Kashmir, and meetings with two of the world’s most bitter rivals – broken up only by a brief stop in Islamabad to welcome two ...Read Full Post
Every prime minister of Pakistan has promised to ‘fix’ the civil service. The issue has enjoyed support from parties across the political spectrum. After all, who wouldn’t like Pakistan to have a better civil service? The citizens demand it. The politicians want to do it. The experts know how to do it. Why, then, has every reform effort either failed miserably or been shot down in its infancy? The short answer is that it is easy to talk about civil service reform but is much more difficult to do it. The long answer is that the civil service problem has ...Read Full Post
Some years ago, summer of 2012 to be precise, I hosted an informal morning tea for Maleeha Lodhi, and while discussing the upcoming 2013 elections, she said to me, “It is not the Pakistan that this diaspora may have left 20 years ago, it’s a different Pakistan. The public is more desperate, the crises are much more and the conscious awareness that every vote counts is on everyone’s mind.” Hence, to me, her statement implied that Imran Khan was going to be elected prime minister in the 2013 elections, but history tells us a different tale. Imran fell, and with ...Read Full Post
Horse-trading has existed in Pakistani politics since its inception. Whether it is behind closed doors or flagrant – the manipulation of politicians consequently influences narratives in the Majlis-e-Shura. Come election season, the game of simple majority in the Parliament strengthens independents and parties such as Awami National Party (ANP), Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) among others – giving them an edge over major political parties such as Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). For decades, major political parties have practiced horse-trading in a bid to make government or ...Read Full Post
In my house, my family loves watching news channels, they have become our favourite TV pastime. Exposed to daily news constantly, I am the only girl in my class who is interested and quite informed when it comes to my country’s politics. This love for current affairs pushed me to utilise my summer vacations in the best possible way by critically analysing and following the pre and post-election scenario in our country. I hope you will like my thoughts on it, as this is coming from a 12-year-old girl, who is the future of this country and it is important how ...Read Full Post
The anti-climactic landing of deposed premier Nawaz Sharif in Lahore stood in strong contrast to the scores of supporters usurping the provincial capital in order to welcome him. Funnily enough, none of the leaders of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) made it to the airport, or even near it. Their entire show of power to ‘welcome’ Nawaz was solely to flaunt their supporters and exhibit to the country that PML-N still holds strength in Punjab. Nawaz and daughter Maryam Nawaz both arrived in Lahore at around 8:48pm last night, and videos from fellow passengers were being played on repeat on ...Read Full Post
It’s been a long journey for Imran Khan. He founded his political party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in 1996, and for many years made no real progress. Many mocked him. The Guardian journalist Declan Walsh dismissed him as ‘a miserable politician’, whose ideas and affiliations had ‘swerved and skidded like a rickshaw in a rainshower’. PTI did make a limited amount of progress in the 2013 General Elections, when it emerged as the second largest party by national vote and with 30 parliamentary seats. Furthermore, Imran’s party secured control of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P). But none of this was enough to challenge for national ...Read Full Post
Can Nawaz Sharif salvage his legacy by normalising relations with India and the economic alleviation stemming from it?
The battle lines have been drawn. Nawaz is out flaunting his muscles on the street, and his choice seems clear – defiance over acquiescence. But to what end? One possibility is that the power play is simply intended to gain political leverage and bargain relief from those the former prime minster (PM) feels have vindictively disarmed him. But two factors refute this theory – Khawaja Asif and Mushahidullah Khan. We all know the perversity with which Asif is viewed within the General Headquarters (GHQ), and the comments that led Khan to be scapegoated and removed from his ministry. The appointment of the two ...Read Full Post
Was Nawaz Sharif dishonest by virtue of not declaring something he could not know he was supposed to declare?
On July 28th, a three member special bench of the Supreme Court announced their judgment. This judgment was followed by a final order of the five-member larger bench, in the infamous Panama Papers case. Nawaz Sharif, the recently ousted prime minister of Pakistan, was declared dishonest and was disqualified from being a member of the National Assembly under Article 62(1)f of the Constitution. The judgment was always politically controversial even before it was authored and announced. Unfortunately, it has also become a legal controversy at the centre of which lies the all mighty and all powerful Article 62(1)(f). The late General Ziaul Haq, in his attempted ...Read Full Post
The earliest memory of television I have is Pakistan winning the 1992 Cricket World Cup. I don’t recall what happened on TV afterwards or how things got there, but I vaguely remember Nawaz Sharif’s sombre looking face on the television set in our living room a year later. Nawaz was prime minister. That’s all I was old enough to understand. Then one day he wasn’t. I was in grade three and apparently a new federal election was taking place. I recognised no one except Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz when they were on television or the newspaper. Who was my family voting for? I had no idea, but ...Read Full Post