Stories about Ziaul Haq

Musharraf should not be given a second chance

Pervez Musharraf stirred new controversies and conversations by announcing his return to Pakistan last week. However, the main question remains whether the Pakistani people should give the former dictator-president another chance to run the country or not. An in-depth look at the former army chief’s post 1999 resumé would suggest that he is not fit for assuming the country’s top leadership positions again. Half-hearted approaches to deal with terrorism, organising only cosmetic economic measures and exercising lack of political judgments were some of the key things that Musharraf did during his tenure and the cost of his miscalculations and mistakes are still ...

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Did we really put ‘locals’ into govt system?

When the Sindh Assembly passed the controversial Sindh Peoples Local Government Ordinance 2012, terms such as “black spot on democracy” and “slap on the face of Sindh’s residents” cropped up in nationalists’ speeches. Interestingly, when the act was repealed, some MPAs used the same terminology to describe the development. This is the first time that a democratically elected government has dabbed at putting together a system of local government. Interestingly, if you carefully examine the local government experiments under the colonial rulers, military regimes and the current democratic set-up, you would notice that at the fundamental level, there doesn’t seem ...

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My father was 1984’s long-forgotten Shahzeb Khan

My father was murdered in Karachi in 1984. He was shot dead. Some 28 years later, Shahzeb Khan met the same fate. Cause of death? They were trying to protect a woman’s honour. My father, Syed Rabbani Zamir, was trying to prevent the harassment of an unknown woman at the hands of a Saudi naval cadet who had come to Pakistan for training and was shot dead. My family pushed long and hard for justice and ultimately it was served. The offender was court-martialled and ended up serving some time in jail as well. Regardless of what happened to the culprit, the end result was the same ...

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Female anchors, wear a dupatta for your own safety!

In a country plagued by many menaces – exploding sectarian violence, common man struggling for food, electricity and gas – the government has once again done an exceptional job of prioritising and combating the nation’s problems. The National Assembly Standing Committee for Information and Broadcasting recently expressed their concerns over the danger of female news anchors not wearing dupattas on air. Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira stated that, “Journalists are in trouble and we are ready to provide them with complete security.” I’m all for journalists’ rights and protection but I highly doubt a dupatta would act like a shield or a bulletproof ...

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Zia ruined us, make no mistake

‘Democracy’ is a Greek word made up of two parts; ‘Demos’ meaning ‘common people’ and ‘Kratos’ meaning ‘rule/strength’. Democracy, by definition, is a system of governance in which the power rests in the common people and their elected representatives. One of the finest definitions of democracy was provided by Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States of America, when he said, “Democracy is the government of the people, by the people, for the people”. According to political scientists, democracy and the rule of law are primary prerequisites for a prospering country and its society. Almost all the countries considered to be ‘developed ...

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Can democracy still be unfair if everyone votes?

Mirza is a very good friend of mine but sometimes he just talks utter nonsense. Yesterday evening I was extremely blunt when he told me that he didn’t understand democracy. “Are you in your senses, Mirza?” I was shocked. “Absolutely,” he was calm. “Think again, Mirza,” I couldn’t believe what he had said, “Democracy, which is the best political system in the world; the system that offers solutions to all our problems; the system due to which common people like you reach the corridors of power; the system–” “Yes,” he interrupted me, “I don’t understand it.” My voice rising, I said, “So what do you want, dictatorship? ...

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Are we to be blamed for Rimsha?

Qari Khalid Chishti is caught in the same trap that he had initially set for a minor Christian girl — which was intended as a tool against the Christian community in his area. The unexpected backfiring of this case seems to garner hope that Rimsha Masih will receive justice. The widespread reaction of religious scholars against Chishti’s actions is new hope for all citizens and for minorities, in particular, who feel insecure at the hands of such elements that misuse the blasphemy law. Pakistan’s blasphemy laws are based on British colonial laws dating from 1860 and were amended in the 1980s ...

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The problem lies not in our blasphemy law, but in ourselves

The blasphemy laws of the Pakistani Penal Code have been a subject of fierce debate ever since they were formed, under the regime of Ziaul Haq. Pakistan was born in the name of Islam and by its constitution, the Islamic way of life is to be propagated and protected. Pakistan was also born out of the dire need for religious freedom of the Muslims of the subcontinent. This message was displayed on the Pakistani flag, where a white band proudly streamed next to a wider green band, declaring to the world that while Pakistan was a Muslim state, the rights of all ...

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Media, how you misrepresent Pakistan is not ‘epic’!

I was always told to take the media’s portrayal of local happenings with a very large pinch of salt. My grandfather was a wise man, and time and time again stressed, “Beta, all they want is to increase ratings. They don’t care about getting the facts straight.” I remember distinctively the disgust many of us felt when after the Bhoja plane crash, reporters swarmed like vultures at the scene and poked their cameras in grieving family members’ faces and asked, App ko kaisa feel ho ra hai? (How do you feel about what’s happened here?) Little did I know at the time that one ...

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I am disgusted at what Zia did to Pakistan

To begin with, I absolutely loathe generals in uniform running countries. No matter how incompetent the politicians are, how relevant the doctrine of necessity is and how much of a messiah the man in the boots is, there is something very corrupt and amoral about the whole thing. I remember watching Ziaul Haq’s martial law speech for the first time as a teenager during the peak of the lawyers’ movements. As a child who grew up in Musharraf’s martial law, I, for the first time, was discovering terms like ‘judicial independence’, ‘supremacy of the constitution’, and the ‘primacy of democracy‘. ...

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