Pakistan People’s Party !!!

Pakistan People’s Party, the largest political party of the country with a sustained and significant support base in all parts of the country, has turned 42 and the journey continues. People’s Party is undeniably the most effective political outfit with a decidedly anti-establishment hue to emerge from the indigenous political discourse in the history of this country. The roller coaster politics of Pakistan has been through many upheavals since that chilly last day of November in 1967 when the party was founded. People’s Party too, has inevitably turned many colours to readjust to the changing ground realities and has earned thumping accolades as well as biting criticism for its policies and practices. The foundation day of the People’s Party offers a propitious opportunity to take stock of the past, present and the future of the party currently in power.

People’s Party emerged from the political void created by our first encounter with the military adventurism of the Ayub regime. Equipped with the dual promise of democracy (the Westminster model) and socialism (the opaque and populist Afro-Asian brand of the 1960s), Mr. Bhutto rode the crest of unprecedented popularity in the then West Pakistan. The 1971 debacle tolled the bell for the Yahya regime and People’s Party was entrusted with power in the remaining Pakistan. The formidable task of “picking up the pieces” of a country battered in military, political and economic terms was undertaken in earnest and with a fair amount of success. The Simla Accord restored a semblance of peace with India. The passage of a largely consensual constitution furnished a rudder to the ship of the nation. The bid for nationalisation initiated a process that dovetailed with the economic aspirations of the have-nots. However, the federation module made shipwreck on the rock of provincial autonomy. Similarly, the half-baked nationalisation was stymied partly by the powerful stakeholders and partly by the inept stewardship of the enterprise. People’s Party’s first stint in power is stamped by the transformation of a territorial conflict with a neighbouring state into the raison d’etre of the nation itself, the initiation of the nuclear programme, the accommodation of the religious diction in political discourse, precipitating the flight of capital and the beginning of our Afghan imbroglio. The whole inventory reads like a roster of continued political debate. However, the defining feature of the party, right up to the “judicial murder” of Z.A. Bhutto, was its incremental departure from its original economic and political ideals. The forced removal of Mr. Bhutto from the political scene marked the end of the first phase of the PPP as a political party and the beginning of a political cult that may appear to revolve around the Bhutto family but in fact is rooted deeply in the dreams and aspirations of the people. Under Benazir Bhutto, PPP may have undergone a metamorphosis from a left leaning to a liberal democratic centre-left outfit, but it has successfully engendered a pattern of political dynamics interweaving two distinct strands, i.e. unwavering commitment to the people and a series of courageous sacrifices by the leadership. While conceding the chequered record of successes and failures, People’s Party continues to signify the basic contradiction in the body politic of this country, the democratic dispensation embodying the economic and political aspirations of the people as against the national security narrative supported by the retrogressive forces of all hues and colours. Reassuringly, given the present political spectrum, the party seems wedded to carrying on in the spirit of national reconciliation and a pluralist polity.


By Mwaqar
I am not Zardari’s fan but its really amazing that people have forgotten Nawaz Shrif’s corruption, to me entire Pakistani elite is corrupt and are bunch of thugs, criminals and thieves. The only thing Pakistan needs is a REVOLUTION and firing squad to get rid of all these criminals. The fact is, No one has any idea how the NRO is going to play out in the courts. But everyone knows that corruption is rampant in Pakistan and there are no effective means to check it. Ousting Zardari will neither fix the system nor validate the continuation of democracy in Pakistan .
Nawaz Sharifs Ehtesab Bureau was basically a Punjabi way of removing all political opposition to primacy of Punjab from Sindh. Corruption was used as a pretext although no one ever asked how Nawaz Sharif became Pakistan’s richest man in between 1985 and 1997? No one asked how Nawaz Sharif awarded the Lahore Islamabad Motorway to Daewoo before last date of award of the project? No one has asked how Shahbaz Sharif awarded NLC 8 Billion Rupees of Lahore Ring Road without bidding and NLC sub contracted the same work to civilians within 7 days without bidding? HOW IS IT THAT ALL THE CRIMES AND CORRUPTION IN PAKISTAN IS IN SINDH,PUKHTUNKHWA,BALUCHISTAN, WHILE THE MAJORITY PUNJAB MUCH LARGER IN POPULATION IS COMPOSED OF ALL ANGELS .
NRO is just a name in the struggle of Pakistan’s so called custodians , also known as establishment , the generals , the Punjab centered political clique to paint all who are outside their group as bad guys.
The question of NRO is of social justice and morality that an elite group of people are allowed keep themselves away from any judicial process for their alleged crimes.
But I don't think our bureaucracy, generals, feudal parties, corrupt capitalists , bhatta khors don't consider them selves as in need of any morality. These thugs and criminals don’t care that ordinary Pakistanis are poor, they are selling kids and kidneys or committing suicides because of poverty ,they don’t have clean drinking water, electricity, proper medical benefits and the list of their miseries goes on in Jinnah’s Pakistan.
One person of the family stands in line for flour, another stands in line to get sugar. When they come home, no electricity, gas, water. Very productive – these politicians have taken money from agencies and steal money. I think these people should be banned from running. These corrupt politicians , rulers, elite and slaves of bourgeois are all power hungry. None of them is truly a leader of public. A public leader only comes in power to help the public. They represent and defend the rights of their community. As long as these political leaders are in the political scene, no real progress can take place. The time has come to start things from scratch; to have the Pakistan "Born Again". This can only accomplish when the Pakistani public, stop believing in this charade of democracy. It is only good for amusement. "Somebody" has to give a sudden halt to this and form a government of technocrats (loyal ordinary citizens of Pakistan) who can rule for good 25-30 years and "build the nation": infrastructure, economy, healthcare and education geared towards making citizens of Pakistan virtuous, compassionate, tolerant and knowledgeable.
The reason I talk about revolution is, because we need to put this country on the right track , to debar all the corrupt politicians or bureaucrats and army generals from ever holding public offices again...otherwise this vicious cycle will continue to play on...also if everybody loves the animal of democracy so much, the least that can be done by all political parties is to first institute democratic norms within their own ranks rather than to operate like dynasties in a kingdom...also they should bring in statutes within their own ranks to debar corrupt leaders, otherwise the monstrous shamble of corruption and destruction would carry on for ever, lets break the vicious circle now... otherwise 3 yrs from now, we will be watching Nawaz or Shahbaz as PM making the same inaugural speech they were making 10 yrs ago... "Aziz humwatanon, pichli hakoomat nay iss mulk ko loot kar deewalaya kar diya. Muslim League phir se taraqqi ka safar shuroo karey gi .
The people should rise up against the system. Because, it is the system that is flawed.

Lets see how other countries have eradicated corruption from their ranks. Some cleaned the top leadership as in Malaysia and some made it a criminal office punishable to death as is the case in China. The death penalty is an effective means of state-driven innovation, especially against entrenched or widespread defective social structures. Its use against corruption is not in itself new, and it is still applied effectively in China. The recent NRO scandal is a quick reminder, that in the heavy population developing countries. Corruption, self-enrichment, and nepotism are part of the political culture in - so much so, that they form a major argument against democracy itself. Though many countries have signed Protocol Six of the European Convention on Human Rights, which prohibits the use of the death penalty in peaceful times, however including china & Pakistan some 59 countries have not signed that protocol. The death penalty is legal in 59 countries and 25 of them used it last year to execute almost 9,000 people and Belarus is the only European country where the death penalty is still used. Pakistan is amongst those 59 who awards death sentence freely but In Pakistan you can hang a poor guy not big thugs and criminals. Pakistani Society continues its descent into Anarchy and lawless. The powerful and the rich remain accountable to no one, free to plunder the national trust. The Corrupt should be hung from telephone and electric poles in the street for all the public to see that Corruption will not be tolerated. These corrupt politicians ARE the reason of Pakistan's downfall. Such a strong blow to Pakistan's prosperity SHOULD ONLY be dealt with IRON HAND: Capital Punishment should be enforced for such chronic criminals.
Pakistani politicians desire to enter in politics is to enhance their personal wealth, powers and ego. They entirely forget main objective of democracy which is to serve the people and the country. From day one they been fighting like dogs and cats, not to serve the nation but to themselves and this is the unfortunate reality.
The military establishment's filthy blood-stained hands need to be kept out of Pakistani politics. Pakistani Generals need to understand that they need to improve their skill in defending the country instead of running it into the ground .
The nation is still at war with the terrorist. Beside terrorists plague Pakistanis have other several major problems such as poverty, IDPs issues, security of people and nation, energy crises, inflation, unemployment, lack of justice for individuals, civil laws etc. All these issues require full attention of all branches of our government.
Away from Pakistan for three decades but still carrying a sympathetic heart, I watch events unfold in Pakistan like a soap opera. Politicians of all persuasions appear on television claiming honesty and virtue, prepared to sacrifice all for the country. Who are they kidding? We all know deep down most of them are corrupt and will not hesitate to further their personal cause before the country’s. You only have to look at the gap between haves and the have nots. People taking their own lives in desperation because they can’t feed their children, while the elite live in palaces, eat well and travel to foreign countries with disproportionate entourage on public funds. These political parties are behaving like the sugar mills owners. They are just after their personal benefits and do not care a bit for the country’s interests. Pretty hopeless people in the present dark situation! Pakistan is cursed with evil politicians. Masses have no choice. Only a Messiah will liberate the oppressed.
We can only hope that one day a revolutionary benevolent leader can steer this nation out of its misery.

Democracy and politicians

Dr Hasan-Askari Rizvi
Daily Times

Both the government and the opposition are strong in verbal commitment to democracy but their political discourse and activities are not always helpful to democracy

The current domestic political situation does not promise a secure future for democracy in Pakistan. If anything, the people’s trust in the political institutions and leadership in power is fast eroding, increasing the space for manoeuvre for state-institutions and non-democratic forces.

Pakistan began the current democratic era with a lot of optimism for the future of democracy for understandable reasons. The relatively fair and free general elections in February 2008 brought forward two genuinely popular parties — the PPP and the PML-N. The regional political parties that acquired salience were willing to cooperate with the nationwide political parties.

Twenty months later, the optimism of the earlier days has waned and a large number of political observers are expressing doubts if the present political arrangements at the federal level can stay intact until the second anniversary. The Zardari-Gilani combine may find it extremely difficult to sustain itself without making drastic changes in personnel at the top and policy management.

These threats are not being posed by the Taliban and other extremist Islamic groups. It is ironic that the threat comes primarily from within the political class that is sharply polarised and different political parties and leaders cannot rise above their narrow partisan interests. Both the government and the opposition are strong in verbal commitment to democracy but their political discourse and activities are not always helpful to democracy. The PPP-led government wants to hold on to power on its terms for as long as possible and use state patronage to advance its partisan agenda. The opposition, especially the PML-N, cannot hide its desire to knock out President Asif Ali Zardari from the presidency and force mid-term elections on Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani.

The PML-N pursues its confrontation with the government in an election campaign style. The general pattern is to pick up a particular issue and launch a massive political offensive in a now-or-never style. The PML-N’s political discourse on the restoration of the Chief Justice after the PML-N Punjab government was replaced with governor’s rule was non-democratic and highly confrontational. Later, the issue of the trial of General Musharraf was taken up. This was replaced with the Kerry-Lugar bill and then the NRO. The opposition to the NRO was based on the hope that its abolition would revive corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari and reopen criminal proceedings against some MQM activists.

The PML-N adopted a highly moral disposition of not condoning corruption through the NRO and maintained that none of its leaders benefited from the NRO. However, the information available on November 12 showed that some PML-N members in Punjab benefitted from the NRO. On the same day the cases were discovered in the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) record going back to the year 2000 that accused Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif of money laundering. Some PML-N leaders have described these charges as political victimisation by NAB. Hopefully, they would now view the NAB cases against the PPP leaders in the same manner.

The political leaders are unable to recognise that their never-ending effort to delegitimise each other undermines the political institutions and processes. The charges they often frame against each other are subsequently used by the military to exclude them from any role in politics.

Another development that adversely affects democracy is the tendency of the opposition to rely more on extra-parliamentary pressures and make only limited use of parliament. For example, the PML-N spearheaded the long march for the restoration of the chief justice but it did not move any resolution or adjournment motion in the National Assembly on this issue. Similarly, its members bitterly criticised the Kerry-Lugar bill (mostly outside parliament) but they never moved a resolution in the National Assembly condemning its provisions or rejecting it altogether.

The main constraint on the capacity of parliament to function as the supreme law-making body and the pivot of power is not necessarily the 17th amendment that enhanced the powers of the president. The constraints are political, which will continue to adversely affect the performance of parliament even if the powers of the president are reduced. The political leaders need to assign primacy to parliament in their political gaming. The National Assembly often faces a quorum problem; its meetings are brief and attendance poor. The National Assembly barely meets the constitutional requirement of minimum working days. The political parties rely more on extra-parliamentary measures, i.e. street protest, press conferences, political talk-shows on private sector television networks, etc, to advance their political agendas.

If the opposition role has not been helpful to democracy, the PPP and its allies have not shown much interest in strengthening the civilian institutions and processes. The political institutions and leaders have lost credibility with the people, mainly because of poor governance and the failure of the government to address their socio-economic problems.

The federal government’s poor management of the key policy issues like the restoration of the chief justice, the sugar crisis, the Kerry-Lugar bill, the NRO, gas load management and two weekly holidays shows that it suffers from poor policy making and management, failure to pre-empt a difficult situation, and a lack of consultation with the stakeholders for policy-making.

The presidency’s constant effort to dominate policymaking and management has exposed the presidency and made it vulnerable to criticism. President Zardari has become more controversial now than was the case when he contested the presidential elections in September 2008.

The presidency appears to rely on the advice of people who have a poor rapport and reputation inside and outside the PPP. The decisions on key issues are taken without paying much attention to the ground political realities. Consequently, the presidency had to backtrack on the restoration of the chief justice and other judges. It was completely out of touch with the domestic political realities when it agreed to the language of some provisions of the Kerry-Lugar bill in the pre-approval stage. The refusal of the coalition partners to support the NRO shows that the presidency did not consult them before sending it to the National Assembly. The unnecessary delay in amending the constitution in the context of the Charter of Democracy has done maximum damage to the credibility of the presidency.

The sugar crisis shows the inability of the presidency and the federal and provincial governments to force the mill owners to bring the sugar to market at a fixed price. The gas load management issue is another example of a self-created problem by not taking the relevant business quarters into confidence.

The opposition and the government need to mend their ways if they want democracy to become viable. Greater responsibility falls on the government, which needs to improve governance relating to the socio-economic problems of the people if it wants to retrieve its credibility at the popular level. The presidency needs to step back from its overstretched role and the prime minister needs to bridge the gap between official rhetoric and performance. The president and the prime minister need to replace some advisers/ministers with people who enjoy better credibility in the PPP and the opposition circles. The political status quo at the federal level has become non-viable.

Dr Hasan-Askari Rizvi is a political and defence analyst

Peshawar ruined by unholy mingling of religion, evil

By Dr. S. Amjad Hussain

THE images of dead and dying people keep flashing in my mind as I think of the devastating car bomb that destroyed part of my hometown of Peshawar last week. It left more than 100 dead and twice as many injured. There was no room in the hospitals to deal with the injured and the dying. Carpenters could not keep up with the demand for coffins.
This latest atrocity - an onslaught against civility and decency - hit home for me, figuratively and literally, because it was in that neighborhood within the walled city that I was born and raised.
Peshawar is an ancient city that has stood on the crossroads of Asia for over two millennia. Its reputation as a frontier town on the wild and turbulent western frontier of the Indian subcontinent aside, it has been called the city of flowers and also the city of colors because it took its hues from the rainbow of languages spoken in the bazaars and caravan serais.
There the great Indian plains and the Central Asian steppes converged and gave rise to a unique and fascinating culture that carried the echoes of far away lands. It was in this milieu that I was born, raised, and steeped in the culture and languages of the city. When I left Peshawar in 1963 for America, I shed a few tears as most young men and women do when they leave home. I took with me nothing but a few snapshots and a rich album of memories.
Those vivid and vibrant memories of the people and places and a yearning for the city sustained me during my wanderings, and these are the memories I mourn today.
I am at a loss to understand why a bunch of functionally illiterate religious bigots are destroying the intricate fabric of a society and killing innocent people.
The Taliban, I guess, are driven by a weird and short-sighted philosophy that reinforces their belief that the end justifies the means. The end in this case is to control the country so they can enforce an imported version of Islam that is alien to the people of Pakistan.

These chimeras, the beasts born out of an unholy mingling of religion and evil, are not what we, on the frontier, believe to be religiously inclined and pious. Even the most orthodox of the orthodox would not cross the limits prescribed by Islam.
Those limits restrict the faithful to waging war only in defense. There are injunctions against destroying property and vegetation, killing livestock, or tampering with water supplies. It further lays out that women, children, and old people must not be harmed. The majority of victims in Peshawar were women and children.
The terrorists melt into the community and neighborhoods. They talk the language of religion, which resonates with gullible, ordinary people. They portray American support of the Pakistani government as the cause of all the turmoil. Nowhere in this line of macabre reasoning is any mention of what religion teaches.
Most people do not subscribe to this brand of Islam, but they are afraid to say so in public. Open and public dissent is the quickest way to get into the crosshairs of the Taliban.
On my frequent visits to Peshawar, I found most people to be trapped in that warped and distorted logic. Many deny that a Muslim could ever commit such an atrocity. And others, a growing number of urban youth among them, think the Taliban would cure Pakistani society of all its ills. They seem to have forgotten what the Taliban did in neighboring Afghanistan when they ruled the country from 1996 to 2002.
Eight months ago, the Taliban bombed the tomb of Rahman Baba, a 17th century Sufi Pashtun poet, that is in Peshawar. His devotional and romantic poetry has inspired and given spiritual sustenance to generations of Pashtuns and non-Pashtuns alike.
Al-Qaeda and the Taliban believe only in the austere and harsh Wahhabi interpretation of Islam, and they are committed to destroying anything that gets in their way, including the tomb of an ancient poet-saint, which stood as a symbol of religious tolerance and brotherhood of mankind. I wept when I saw the desecrated tomb.
So as I think of my devastated neighborhood, I can't help but think of people I knew and their children and their children's children, some of who still live along the narrow alleys in nondescript houses. It was a place whose everyday rhythm was accented and punctuated by the five daily calls for prayers from the corner mosque. The mosque, like the people and the houses, was also destroyed in the blast.
I have often profiled the neighborhood of Muslim Meena Bazaar, as the area is called, and the people who lived there, in my articles and books about Peshawar. In my writings, I have celebrated the ordinary lives of my extraordinary neighbors: artisans, traders, shopkeepers, teachers, and the like. I have always considered myself a sum total of all those people.
Last week, a part of me died with them.
Dr. S. Amjad Hussain is a retired Toledo surgeon whose column appears every other week in The Blade.

Misleading statements can end Pakistan’s credibility
If we go by the recent statement of the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki Moon, the two most dangerous countries on this planet are Pakistan and Afghanistan. This statement of Moon is neither prejudiced, nor does he belong to any enemy country of Pakistan or Afghanistan rather this statement is the harsh reality of the world today. The question is that who is responsible for notoriety of these two neighbouring countries? This is clear that the decisions of the political bosses of these countries and the misleading statements of Pakistani leadership are behind the current scenario.

The relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan based Taliban is not new. Pakistan was the first country to recognize the Taliban government of Afghanistan, who captured power by ousting the democratic Najeeb government. Since then the Taliban has deepened its roots in Pakistan. The same Taliban is now eyeing power in Pakistan and therefore Pakistan Army has started operation ‘Rah-e-Nijaat’ against them. But the intentions of Tehrik-e-Taliban in Pakistan are not new.

A decade ago, these Talibans had pasted posters in all major cities of Pakistan in which their plans were clearly mentioned. Through these posters, they made it clear that they want to enforce Sharia’h law in Pakistan. Pakistan’s courts would give verdicts based on the holy Quran. Gold coins would be used as currency during the Taliban regime etc.

The question is that when a decade ago, the Taliban sympathizers were launching such campaigns, was the Pakistani administration asleep then? Was India directing this terrorist organization named Tehrik-e-Taliban a decade ago? Or the Pakistani administrators, according to their habit, were doing nothing while these enemies of humanity were prospering in Pakistan?

The entire world knows all these facts that how the former President of Pakistan, Gen. Zia-Ul-Haq encouraged the extremist and Jehadi ideology during his ten year regime. Since then the tradition of patronizing extremist Islamists by the Pakistani rulers has continued. This has today become an incurable disease that the Pakistan Army itself is finding a way out of this trap or in other words ‘Rah-e-Nijaat’ with them .

Ignoring all these facts, the Interior Minister of Pakistan, Rehman Malik recently shocked the entire world by saying that India is helping Taliban for creating disturbance in Pakistan. How much truth is there in his statement, he himself and the Pakistani people better know. What is conveyed by such misleading statement of Malik? Pakistan has previously too accused India for deteriorating situation in Baluchistan. And now a new misinformation campaign is launched by accusing India of supporting the Taliban. The world knows that Taliban, Tehrik-e-Taliban or any organization sympathizing with Taliban ideology see India as their enemy, and not friend. These organization uses to threaten India from time to time. In these circumstances, how can India ‘help’ these organizations? What the Pakistani Interior Minister wants to tell through such statement, while Pakistan has no such proof through which it can prove India’s involvement in destabilizing Pakistan by helping the Taliban.

On the contrary, there are thousands of evidences which can prove that the terrorists and extremists operated along with the Pakistan administration and the proofs which army and these inhuman organizations are created to created disturbance in India. Ajmal Aamir Kasaab, the only terrorist caught alive in 26/11 is the living example. Kasaab has repeatedly told in his confession how he was sent to Mumbai with the help of Pakistani administration. To clean itself from the Mumbai attacks, Pakistan is now adopting such cheap tactics of misleading statements. The fact is that, the Talibans, so called protectors of Islam, don’t even deserve to be called human beings. It doesn’t seem that there is any other administration than Pakistan, which had ever expressed sympathy with the cruel Talibans. The world still remembers that during the NATO attack on Afghanistan in the aftermath of 9/11, the Taliban spokesman used to address the world media from Pakistan and even he was arrested from Pakistan. Therefore it is not going to help Pakistan by accusing India. Other countries too can’t digest this. In fact, there is danger of Pakistan losing its own credibility by such absurd statements.