The dawn of April 13, 2017 saw the might of a monster that was long nurtured in Pakistan. A monster of hate, intolerance, violence and one who misuses the blasphemy law as a tool of vengeance. This time the prey was Mashal Khan, a 23-year-old, mass communications student at Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P). The ghastly lynching done as a ‘great service’ to Islam was a manifestation that human beings are capable of carrying unimaginable proportions of barbarity, if they are driven by religious conviction and self-righteousness. The investigation that followed soon revealed that the allegation of blasphemy against Mashal was, in ...Read Full Post
While the fraudulent Sharif clan haven’t recovered from the aftermath of the Panama verdict and are still facing National Accountability Bureau (NAB) cases, the battle of NA-154 by-poll has ended in a mammoth victory for Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). To some extent, this result is not surprising. The trend of previous by-polls suggests that people typically prefer to vote for the ruling party. However, victory of a new candidate against Ali Tareen is a major setback for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). This election was a litmus test for PTI, particularly for Jahangir Khan Tareen, whose politics was on stake after disqualification from the apex court. After disqualification, many ...Read Full Post
The rise of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari: Much more than a poster boy of Pakistan’s family-dominated politics
In the midst of the political tussle between the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has been a distant observer for the large part. For a party with rock solid ideological roots, this is not a healthy sign. For a party that has historically been Pakistan’s most potent left-wing force at the federal level, this is even worse. The PPP was outmuscled, outwitted and completely blown away in the 2013 General Election. Statistically, the PPP’s seat count in the National Assembly went down to 42 seats from the 118 it won in the 2008 General Election. ...Read Full Post
On January 17th, with the attendance and acceptance of Imran Khan and Asif Ali Zardari, two of the most powerful men in Pakistani politics, Tahirul Qadri boldly declared the collective opposition push towards ‘an end of the Sharif Sultanate’. Before the protest demonstration of thousands amassed in Lahore, the Pakistani news cycle had been dominated by the abduction, rape and murder of Zainab, a seven-year-old girl from Kasur. Zainab did come up in the speeches at the protest. It is perhaps retrospectively a good thing that she often only came up as a side-note, for when she was discussed, she was weaponised by the leaders to call ...Read Full Post
Let’s rewind back to October of 2011. The charged up youth of Lahore welcomed the leader of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Imran Khan, with the sort of political fervour and passion not seen by this city in recent memory. That rally in Lahore turned out to be the defining moment in Imran’s political career, as for the first time, he was taken seriously as a possible contender for the seat of prime minister. Fast forward to January 2018. The city was the same, the person gracing the stage was the same as well, but the crowd and the passion of old was absent. We will subsequently discuss ...Read Full Post
Recently, the results of the by-election in PP-20 Chakwal were declared, giving the embattled Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) a comfortable victory. This particular by-election was important for the following three parties: PML-N, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP). For PML-N, ever since Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification through Supreme Court’s (SC) landmark decision, a question which has constantly been discussed in the media is their political future. According to some, PML-N is in dire state after the disqualification and is facing harsh subsequent events which include Faizabad sit-in and former prime minister’s continuous confrontation with higher judiciary and establishment. At the same ...Read Full Post
Pot calling the kettle black: Imran Khan reserves the right to privacy, but Maryam Nawaz and Bilawal Bhutto don’t?
A few weeks ago, before the media storm was unleashed by Imran Khan’s alleged third marriage, a friend of mine sent me a WhatsApp message in which he mocked Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. His contention was that Bilawal had “technical” faults and was a closet homosexual. I tried to ignore him at first, but he kept pressing at the issue. I replied by saying that firstly, he had no proof for making such an assertion and secondly, even if it was true, it was his personal matter. Some days later, I got another message, in which he was desecrating Maryam Nawaz’s ...Read Full Post
Sadiq and ameen, Imran Khan is the cleanest politician in Pakistan and an evident choice for the 2018 election
In the wake of the Supreme Court (SC) verdict, which disqualified Jahangir Tareen, Imran Khan has been accused of hypocrisy by his critics who continue to defy logic by drawing similarities between his behaviour and Nawaz Sharif’s rhetoric of, “mujhe kyun nikala?” (why was I disqualified?) After his disqualification, Nawaz started a campaign bent on maligning the judiciary and pitting the public against it, arguing that since the public had elected him, only they had a right to hold him accountable. This is, undoubtedly, a faulty argument, because if the public began meting out justice, Nawaz and his partners in ...Read Full Post
The great comedian Umer Sharif once said that Karachi only has two seasons – summer, and hotter summer. Given the U-turn Karachi’s weather has taken over the past few weeks, from extreme cold winds to sweaty afternoons, he was right. Similarly, Pakistan also has two kinds of political seasons – elections and political turmoil. Another element similar between the two is that the first season transitions into the other only for a short while, and then swiftly returns back to its default setting. Since the 2013 General Election, Pakistan has been in a state of political and administrative commotion. The government ...Read Full Post
Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification is a victory for justice and accountability, but Jahangir Tareen’s is not? Hypocritical much, Imran Khan?
For years, privilege and accountability have been castrated very separately, not appearing together very often. But in recent months, the tide has changed. From the disqualification of Pakistan’s majority-elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, to the recent outcasting of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) bigwig Jahangir Khan Tareen, accountability is seeping deep into our political system. The populace of Pakistan has struggled and strived for the establishment of fair justice, one that was once considered a pipe dream, but for many, the waves are finally crashing, and it seems they are not very favourable for those in or aspiring for power. Several months ago, the Pakistan Muslim ...Read Full Post