Stories about punjab

70 years of Pakistan and two successful elected governments – should we celebrate democracy?

Democracy is a system of procedural consistency, which is perhaps why the reason Pakistan has failed to strengthen its democracy over the past few decades is because it has been marred by inconsistencies. As the government fulfils its five-year tenure once again, we see the emergence of a new dawn, something unimaginable even a decade ago. For the first time in our 70-year history, two democratic governments have successfully completed their entire five-year terms and engaged in a smooth transition. It has become a common habit for people to criticise our “desi democratic principles”. And why not, they ask? ...

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Can Reham Khan’s book kill Imran Khan’s dream to be a leader?

The misguided attempt by Reham Khan to sully Imran Khan’s reputation by way of her autobiographical tell-all book, has caused a sensation on both social and broadcast media. After all, an exposé by a woman scorned has a clear objective – to target and destroy the former husband. However, from whatever I have seen, heard and read so far, the message in the book consistently detracts from that narrative. It seems like a collaborative endeavour from a group of incompetent ghost – read ghastly – writers, given a project to lump together a disparate group of people and events ...

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Sorry PTI, but the game of elections is poised between PPP and PML-N

The stage is all set for the battle of the General Elections 2018, with all major political parties eyeing the throne. Though we are more than a month away from the big day, the three leading parties, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) are all hoping to make the government in the centre as well as in their respective provinces. Given the dynamic circumstances of our political arena, it is almost impossible to predict a winner at this stage. Nonetheless, looking at the present situation, one can try to assess ...

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Can the 2018 General Elections be rigged?

Let’s get it out of the way: the caretaker or interim government setup for the General Elections 2018 will not be in a position to influence the results the way it did back in May 2013. After all, the chief secretaries appointed in this tenure will be scrutinised by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) very strictly, while the political parties, especially the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), are very determined to develop consensus when it comes to the names being included in the interim government. The provinces failed to develop consensus for the selection of caretaker chief ministers (CM) within the given ...

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Since when is PTI’s right turn a U-turn?

I can see social media platforms and news channels debating over Imran Khan’s change of choice regarding caretaker chief minister for Punjab. The elections are near, and quite literally, the heat of it and the scorching sun can be felt. Let us take a step back and end the sudden “U-turn” debate that has taken the media and the people by storm. The system says that the chief minister and the opposition leader are both to mutually decide on the name of the ‘caretaker’, who shall be in charge for three months. Now, let us emphasise on the aspect ...

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18th amendment: Teaching Pakistan’s children the importance of their vote

With July fast approaching, election fever is at a peak. The selection of the interim prime minister is dominating the news cycle, rallies are being held regularly, and parties have begun advertising their policies. But the question remains: have the structural problems pertaining to electoral quality been addressed?  They are wide and ever perpetuating; a lack of voter turnout, the gender parity in the turnout, non-coerced voting for women, representation in turnout from all areas of the federation, including the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), and the question of escaping the seduction of dynasty politics. Keeping this plethora of electoral issues ...

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Imran Khan is right, Pakistan should have more than four provinces

Whenever I make any comments about Pakistan having more provinces and smaller units, the reaction is always the same, “You want to divide the country? Are you a RAW agent or what?”  So when Imran Khan promised the creation of a South Punjab, it was a pleasant surprise to hear him say something intelligent for once. Imran made this promise recently as he welcomed turncoats from South Punjab into his party; defectors who enjoyed the perks and privileges of being MNAs for the past five years while saying nothing about creating a new province, until now. While supporting the demand by the Janoobi ...

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A Sindhi living in Sindh, yet ashamed of their own “tacky” language

I am one of those lucky few who got to spend her childhood with her grandparents. My grandfather would tell me stories of the days of Partition. He was quite young at the time, but seemed to remember every single detail about how everyone in his village would prepare for the people coming to live in Sindh from across the border. He told me how the women would prepare and bring food to the railway platforms, and how some people would even vacate their homes to welcome the refugees. I would often ask him why they had to do ...

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Women empowerment in rural Balochistan: Applause is louder and real when men and women clap together as equals

In December 2017, I paid a visit to the Kech District in Balochistan, during which I had a very stimulating interaction with members of the community organisations formed by the National Rural Support Programme (NRSP). However, the biggest surprise for me undeniably was to see the social mobilisation of local women, as they participated in the meetings alongside the male members of their village. Such a high rate of female participation in these meetings was a shock, to say the least, particularly given the conservative nature of the province of Balochistan. Decision-making here is a domain solely belonging to its men, ...

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Why did Modi not receive Justin Trudeau himself with his customary hug?

As liberal democracies and countries that don’t have grating disagreements on international affairs, India and Canada should have historically shared a cordial relationship. Since the turn of the century, with India’s ties with the US strengthening and a certain geopolitical convergence emerging, India and Canada had sought to transform their relationship to a strategic partnership.   However, as Justin Trudeau’s recent visit to India has shown, this relationship has been and continues to be strongly influenced by the Sikh diaspora in Canada. Reports suggest that the disagreements with the visit began with the planning of the trip itself. While the Indians wanted a short trip focused on ...

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