Stories about status quo

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Jr and Maria Toorpakay Wazir will have none of this gender conformity nonsense, and we salute them

A few days ago, I had the privilege of watching two videos. The central individuals in both the videos are totally different. One is a scion of the most famous political dynasty of Pakistan, while the other was born into a more humble background but managed to garner fame and success through talent, determination and hard work. One is a bearded young man who speaks softly and eloquently, while the other is a tough-looking female who talks in what would be considered a “masculine” manner in our society. One is a man who is trying to tell the world ...

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With no tabdeeli in sight and given the recent recruits, I no longer support PTI or the “great” Imran Khan

A couple of days ago, I caught sight of a headline which shook me to the core of my political conscience. What struck me was the hypocrisy it carefully concealed and the pretentious outlook it rendered. It read that, “Former Sher-e-Punjab Ghulam Mustafa Khar joins PTI.” Attached with it was a photo with a glowering Imran Khan, sitting across Khar on his magnificent couch. Ghulam Mustafa Khar called on Chairman Imran Khan at Chairman's Sectt in Islamabad to announce his support for Pakistan Tehreek-e-insaf. ‎Posted by Imran Khan (official) on‎ יום שני 24 אפריל 2017 Up until a couple of months ago, I used to identify myself as a Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf ...

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As PPP dries up in Punjab, Firdous Awan looks towards PTI’s (hypocritical) greener pastures

In a recent development, the former Member of National Assembly (MNA) from Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Ms Firdous Ashiq Awan has joined Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). This is not the first time Awan has changed her loyalties, as she had originally been elected on the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) ticket in 2002 and then joined PPP in 2008 just before the elections. Her most recent switch indicates two things. First, the claims of PTI of representing something new and of being a harbinger of change have little truth in them. Second, PPP’s fortunes in Punjab are grim and it is doubtful that it is going to make any impact in ...

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Imran Khan might be “honest” but he can never be what’s best for Pakistan

There was a time when I used to literally worship Imran Khan. For me, one of the proudest moments in my life as a Pakistani was when Imran lifted the World Cup above his head. Immediately following the triumph, I went to the market and danced with all those who had gone crazy. Pakistan has always starved for international recognition (in a positive way) and therefore that moment has been permanently ingrained in the collective psyche of the nation. It was an adulation, which was like the attitude of millions of current Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) supporters who dominate social media and ...

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What is so similar about Nawaz, Modi, Erdogan, Duterte and Trump?

The new millennium has hardly started, and already we are witnessing unsettling tectonic shifts in politics all over the world. One such example is the emergence of a covert, scheming approach towards attaining power, embodied by certain group of people, who under different circumstances, ended up occupying the highest seats of power in their respective countries. We will pivot our discussion around five such individuals: Nawaz Sharif, Narendra Modi, Rodrigo Duterte, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Donald Trump. Though each of them was elected to office democratically, ask any unbiased political analyst or academic, and they will invariably conclude that these five leaders have all the makings ...

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The big Kamal confession: What happens next?

It takes exceptional courage to speak out against power abuse in Pakistan. To expose someone infamous for violent politics. To challenge the status quo. Regardless of the authenticity of claims, Mustafa Kamal exhibited extraordinary courage in an unprecedented tirade against the party’s chief Altaf Hussain. He accused him of working against the state and deceiving people of Pakistan. He exposed the internal workings of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and even made a revelation about the party’s alleged links with Indian spy agency RAW. Interestingly, there was nothing too shocking about the revelations. It all sounds like familiar stories. A recent BBC report had also raised ...

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This is how House of Cards would look if it were based on Pakistani politicians

Ever since House of Cards (HoC) season three was released, I have been trying to create a list on how HoC would turn out if it were based on Pakistani politicians and, finally, my efforts have come to fruition. And to my surprise, the list has turned out to be more interesting than what I had expected. The main reason why I wanted to map HoC characters on Pakistani political celebrities is because of the grim and gores both American and Pakistani playfields of politics share. Also, I was inspired to make this because of the trials and tribulations innocent people face due to the filthy tactics and ...

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“Stop encouraging the idea of education within these children”

I recently got into an argument over class, status and ranks – the superficial boundaries that divide our society. And the greatest regret coming from it was the fact that even the most educated minds are still so deeply woven into these concepts that it provokes the irrationale amidst me. I grew up with four kids who did not belong to my class; they were children of my ‘maid’ who I lovingly call my second mom. When I was growing up, the word ‘maid’ and ‘nokar’ was prohibited in my household. She was known as ‘Baji’, who helped us around ...

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British on paper and not a Saudi, so am I a Pakistani?

I don’t know what I am, who I am or where I come from. I have been shrouded by such confusion throughout my existence. On paper, I am a British citizen and I hold the customary red passport which confirms this to be the case… but I wasn’t even born in England! I have absolutely no cultural or ancestral links to Britain, whatsoever. My own birthplace was Saudi Arabia, a nation that has vociferously denied me any citizenship rights because I am not an indigenous Saudi by birth. My father was posted there as a surgeon and, once he retired, he ...

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“No one in the Pakistani government is interested in change”

So, Chaudhary Mohammad Sarwar has finally resigned as the governor of Punjab. This has not been exactly unexpected. Rumours had been circulated for many months that he was deeply unhappy with those that surrounded him at the top of Pakistan’s political power structure. I can also explain just why he has become so disillusioned. My first experience in high-level policy making taught me an invaluable lesson about Pakistani politics. Many years ago, when I was but a wide-eyed PhD researcher starting my fellowship at Harvard’s Kennedy School, I managed to secure a private meeting with a Pakistan cabinet minister who ...

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