Stories about Ziaul Haq

ZA Bhutto was put on trial, why not Musharraf?

There is no doubt that Pakistan has suffered at the hands of corrupt politicians since its very inception. These politicians came and led the state to ruin, forcing/enabling the military to intervene on multiple occasions. This ultimately led to a nation where martial law governed for more than half of its life. However, our history shows that these military coups were never successful for the country. Many wonder if these military dictatorships were more beneficial for Pakistan or for the foreign policies of the US. After all, General Ziaul Haq served the US and that helped the country, or so we thought until much ...

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Why should we remember Salmaan Taseer?

January 4 and 5 are two days that every PPP (Pakistan Peoples Party) supporter will remember, but for two very different reasons. January 5 is the birthday of their enigmatic party founder Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. January 4, on the other hand, remains one of the darkest days in our history of political murders – a day that is, surprisingly, not spoken of enough. January 4, 2011, was the day when the serving Governor of Punjab, Salmaan Taseer, was shot dead by his guard, because the guard was in disagreement with Taseer’s opposition to the blasphemy law. Salmaan Taseer’s assassin was a man ...

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Rich people, doing rich things in poor Pakistan

It has been 65 years since Pakistan’s independence. During this period, Pakistan has seen a lot of transition. From Ayub Khan’s industrialisation to Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s socialisation, to Ziaul Haq’s Islamisation to Musharraf’s enlightened moderation and war on terror, we have had our fair share of ideologies and doctrines. Being a 22-year-old, average Pakistani guy who hasn’t seen most of these periodic transitions, I can naively (and safely) assume one similarity between all of them – the class divide in our society has remained unchanged throughout these six and a half decades. Every now and then I come across drawing room discussions where people, ...

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Can’t a Pakistani and Indian live in harmony? We used to…

Like most Pakistani’s, I too experienced an overload of nationalistic fervour when I left Pakistan and that too for India. India evoked a psychological barrier and conjured the dreaded feeling of being ‘the other’ even though I had spent my formative years away from the jingoistic identity formation of the Zia years and had been brought up with the tolerant outlook of my parents (although my Kashmiri father did have staunch nationalist ideals). In hindsight, it was a sad, instinctive conditioning. I remember our Indian neighbours in the UK, where I spent most of my childhood, and despite the exchange of formal pleasantries ...

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Will Musharraf’s treason trial help democracy in Pakistan?

Dictators and enemies of democracy would do well to listen to the great Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda’s advice,  “You can cut all the flowers, but you cannot keep spring from coming.” It was more than a decade after the country’s first democratically elected popular leader, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was hanged by a dictator that his daughter, Benazir Bhutto returned with an impressive mandate. Today, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has returned to the political driving seat after a decade, with almost a clear majority while the dictator who ousted him from power, lingers in a sub-jail. In an unprecedented move, Prime Minister Sharif’s government has initiated a case of high ...

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I remember a Muharram in Quetta when we lived peacefully…

Gone are the days when Muharram was observed by nearly all Muslims belonging to different sects of Islam. Now it is observed strictly under security from law enforcement agencies. In Quetta, my neighbourhood used to be an example of religious harmony; non-Shiite Baloch, Brahvi and Pashtoon, all honoured the religious sentiments attached to the month of Muharram. Playing football, flying kites and sharing our lunches with our friends, regardless of what sect they came from, was a part of my everyday life as a child. There was no objection from my elders regarding my routine as they used to socialise with our ...

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When did Malala become a geo-political and defence expert?

Malala Yousafzai, the 16-year-old girl who was shot last year by the Taliban gained international fame for her memoir – a multi-million dollar book titled I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban. However, in Pakistan, a large proportion of the populace has labelled it to be a controversial book as well as a disgrace to the country. Co-authored with British journalist Christina Lamb, I am Malala, has propelled its readers to talk either in favour of it or against it. Although many of her fans were excited to read it, the book ended up disappointing a major section ...

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From Peshawar: A plea to the government

Dear Leaders of Pakistan, I hope you are well and are busy overseeing and planning solutions for the many problems faced by our nation. Since you will, undoubtedly, be caught up with reforms rather than amassing wealth, as you have just stepped into office, I thought I should tell you a little bit about your awaam. As a dutiful child is expected to inform his parents about the changes happening in his life, I want to tell you about how we are living now. We, your children, have finally installed a generator at home. Despite living in a posh area of the capital ...

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Ehteram-e-Ramazan: Don’t forget to beat, backbite and bribe.

It has to be said, nay proclaimed, that we are the proud custodians of Islam and chest thumping leaders of the Ummah. But was there any doubt on that score? Notwithstanding the deafening silence in the land of Al Harmain Al Sharifain, Saudi Arabia, we protested against an American film by a sloppy filmmaker. We so loved setting ablaze our own property and cinemas, because of the resounding impact it had on the life and profession of that sloppy American filmmaker. We keep screaming like banshees at the plight of poor dispossessed Palestinians who have never backed us on ...

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The formula of making a failed state

To make a failed state you can start off by looking for a newly created country. It will help if the state is initially in two parts geographically, separated by a country that has several elements living within it that openly criticise the existence of this state. It will also help if the strategic importance of one wing of this state is immense when it comes to global politics. This will make sure that it remains in the centre of major strategic decisions in the future. Once created, chances are that the leaders who led to its creation will acquire top administrative roles. ...

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