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Browsing posts in: Sharif

Pakistanis feel US is a bigger threat than Talibans: Al-Jazeera & Gallup Pakistan Poll

pakistan survey Al-JAn exclusive Al Jazeera survey of public opinion in Pakistan has revealed widespread disenchantment with the United States for interfering with what most people consider internal Pakistani affairs. This survey was done interviewing more than 2,500 men and women across the rural and urban areas in all four provinces of Pakistan on July 26 and 27. The margin of error is + 2-3 per cent at 95 per cent confidence level. Al-Jazeera wraps up the results in a detailed analysis but a quick look at the survey is as follows

  • On the Military Operation; 41% were in Favor, 24% in Opposition, 22% remained neutral and 13% were undecided
  • On US-Led Drone Attacks: 9% were in Favor, 67% were in Opposition and 24% chose to remain neutral
  • On Dialog vs Offensive: 41% felt the need for Military Action, 43% wanted a Dialogue while 16% did not have an opinion
  • On President Zardari: 11% felt he was Good, while a majority of 42% considered him Bad, 34% responded as Neither Good or Bad leaving the remaining 13% as undecided
  • On Pakistan Peoples Party: 20% felt it was Good, 38% responded that PPP was Bad, 30% said it was Neither good or Bad while the remaining 12% did not know.
  • On their choice of the Best Leader for Pakistan: President Zardari came at measly 9%, Prime Minister Gilani at 13%, Nawaz Sharif at 38%, 8% favored a Military Government, while 11% felt a joint PPP and PML-N govt was good, only 6% felt Religious Parties were beneficial for Pakistan, 6% of the respondents chose other leaders leaving the last 8% of undecided
  • On the threat from the Taliban vs the USA and India: 11% felt that Pakistani Taliban were a threat, India factored at 18%, while the US topped the threat radar at 59%, leaving the remaining 12% as undecided

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Supreme Court overturns Nov 3rd Emergency by Musharraf

Supreme Court of PakistanIn mammoth decision yesterday late evening – the Chief Justice of Pakistan Honorable Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry and a bench of 12 Supreme Court Judges passed an order declaring the actions of Nov 3rd 2007 Invalid and unconstitutional. This comes after a struggle of over one year and 270 days since that fateful date in November 2007 when the then President of Pakistan General Pervaiz Musharraf enforced an emergency in Pakistan and over threw the Supreme Court replacing them with hand picked judges who approved and validated the Emergency Order.

Following the enforcement of a Martial Law across Pakistan in 2007 many lawyers, jounralists and civil society activsts rallied against this illegal aggresion by the military dictator. The struggle waged on for almost a year and today it can easily be hailed as a momumental decision for Pakistan. It is probably the first time an independent judiciary has flexed its muscles to show the people that justice will prevail over might.
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‘Judicial Coup’ Democracy in Pakistan is under threat

Long term military dictatorships, shorter civilian rules, where accountability of politicians takes place on the name of corruption with the nexus of judges with civil & military establishment, is the destiny of Pakistan’. Thanks to our rulers as this notion is well supported by their inefficiencies. People came whenever the true leadership called. They came in 1947 on Quaid’s call. They came for Bhuttoo senior. They came for Be Nazir when she landed at Lahore from exile. In near history they came for Chief Justice when he said ‘no’ to Gen. Musharraf. They again came on 18 Feb on joint call of political parties and rejected the dictator. Finally they came on the call of Sharif’s when Zardari was adamant that justice is no more desired under Iftikhar Chowdhary. On 16 March 08, they came like a flood and made an impression, so we can never under estimate the people’s power.

18 February 2008 election of change could not be translated in its true sense as PPP preferred to hold on to government of up to 2 years than a full scale democratic practice. ‘charter of democracy’ was compromised to feed the empty bellies of the workers who had been shouting slogans of ‘change’ for last 12 years. First 6 months of PPP reign was crucial where establishment was divided, but a little chance given to them and they tear both top political leaders apart and the rest is history. First President Zardari lost sanctity of his words on ‘Chief Judge’ and ‘COD’ and later drowned the dream of democracy by imposing governor rule and disqualifying the ‘N’ leadership. The rest is all a damage control exercise. Who is to be blamed for the failure of inept politicians who never are trained to take the reign of Pakistan post 1971 lost war as sovereignty of the state has been assumed by the troika as mentioned above. President Zardari though retained power, but despite taking the PPP to the heights it could never imagine, has damaged the party to an extent which was a dream for the military led establishment. He saw the PPP ship sinking whilst sitting on the chair of head of state.
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Silence of the Lambs

Silence of the Lambs
By Samad Khurram

pakistan-policeBack in 2002, I was returning from Friday prayers when I saw an unusual gathering of singing and quasi-dancing Mullahs. Unusual because I had always assumed Mullahs to be against all types of Kuffar (Art). The amused crowd were listening to chants of “Taliban aa gayay, Taliban aa gayay”. I smirked. As if! Pakistan is a nuclear country with the seventh largest army. We’re safe.

The Mullahs’ songs have been answered – the Taliban indeed are coming. And with them the cowards are bringing a lifestyle that destroys everything Pakistan and Islam.
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Zardaris upcoming Joint Session speech – 58-2(b) & the 17th?

zardari-speech-to-parliamentPresident Asif Ali Zardari is scheduled to grace and address the Joint Session of the two houses, in preparation Mr. Asif Zardari made a swift preparatory powder and puff exit to Dubai while his son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has in turn made his way to Pakistan and will most likely expected to grace the visitors gallery along with his sisters on Saturday whilst his father carefullyplaces the picture of their slain mother on the dais to address the nation.

Typically the speech was expected to have been a garlanding speech for the PPP to have fulfilled Benazir Bhuttos’s promise, he would generally have returned the cordial pat on the back to Nawaz Sharif [returning the favor where Nawaz Sharif gentle tapped the shoulders of Yousuf Raza Gilani on his visit to Raiwind a few days back]. it would have followed through with some simple announcements regarding the Governor rule in Punjab and even maybe a few cordial cabinet seats handouts to PML-N in a show of friendship and support – BUT
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Judiciary is restored! What’s next?

Guest Blog by Naeem ur Rehman

Iftikhar Chaudhry Pakistan restored judgesLawyers have achieved their historic objective after the restoration of the Judiciary on March 16, 2009 and now they can get on with their lives and profession. The question is what lies ahead of PML-N, PPP and us as a nation. As we are quite aware that this is not the end but actually the start of an other venture. The primary objective of PML-N should be to dismantle PPP and get the power as soon as possible, which most of us would agree with. Being a Pakistani and politically neutral, I would rather like to see Mr. Sharif behave more maturely and look at the long term gains for both the country and his party. There are grave concerns about the very existence of the country and all of them need to be addressed simultaneously and with great urgency and meticulousness.
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The Beginnings’ End

Guest blog by Kamil Hamid

While celebration is in order, the civil society movement and Pakistanis in general must understand that it is crucial this be used as a beginning for a new era of activism and the drive for justice. Sitting back at this point, and allowing “appropriate parties” to handle matters would be nothing short of disastrous.

As I write this, the general atmosphere among many of us is one of jubilance, celebrating our victory. After a two-year struggle, Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudry has finally been restored. Over the course of these years, Pakistan has faced some of its darkest times, the circumstances of which have still not changed greatly. We face a growing religiously motivated insurgency, not confined to the North but breaking out like an epidemic across the country. We also face a severe energy and food crisis, as well an economy that has nearly imploded; thanks largely to the reckless and irresponsible way it was handled for the past decade. Our largest city, the hub of our economy, is ruled by ethno-fascist thugs who have garnered genuine support among some of its citizens due to their frustration with the government’s lackadaisical attitude. The continual pounding of American drones on our Northwestern borders, as well as a bristling India to the East only makes matters worse.

Yet it would be incorrect to say that we have not come a long way: Musharraf has been forced out of power, and the military has been forced back into the barracks (hopefully, for the last time). A vibrant and energetic civil society has formed and proven to the world that Pakistan is not the nation of sleepers that it has often been mockingly called.
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The morning after the revolution or was it?

Guest Blog by Zermeen Amira

long-march-2009-pakistanI have to admit I started the day on a fairly jubilant note having woken up after receiving an SMS from an overseas friend that the Chief has been restored (I had gone to bed by mid night having watched the political drama incessantly for the past few days and as a result getting reprimanded by my spouse). Today back to work, I have had enough of sweets to put on a few pounds in the next few days as it all metabolizes. As evening has progressed and the adrenaline rush has subsided I have started to ponder the events of the last 24 hours and all doesn’t seem to add up. Perhaps the merry making and jubilation is premature.

I am cautiously optimistic that all will be all right. However, it is still five days before the Chief is actually restored and that is an eternity in politics. Anything still can happen given that President Zardari still hasn’t been seen in public yet. Is he still wincing like a wounded dragon plotting his next move or has the remorse finally taken the better of his bare knuckled political instincts. No one knows. The news that has started filtering out in the evening of the 16th is not that great. Here is some text directly from TV channel ticker tape.
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The Lahore Rebellion: Email update from Labor Party Pakistan

The fight is going on. Police is sometime retreating and coming back to use tear gas. The protesters are also determined to express their right to get together.

Police is firing directly at the demonstrators. One casualty the Shahid siddique, the newly elected president of Lahore High Bar Association. Thousands of rounds of tear gas been fired at General Post Office Chowk. Many has injured. Asma Jehanghir is also been effected badly.

The Labour Party Pakistan contingent arrive at GPO Chowk around one pm. They include several women. Maqsood Mujahid, member national executive committee LPP told me on phone that all of us have been effected but all of us are on high spirit.
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The Deal has been finalized, the show will go on, hero’s need to be made

I share with you an email circulated widely by journalist Afzal Khan today –

Its a worrisome analysis almost in line with my earlier post today morning – The Sharif’s are being seen to have been allowed free movement while lawyers and political leaders are being arrested country wide. This lawyers revolution is for now the beating pulse of a nation, little do they factor in the frustrations and the voices of the people

The email from Afzal Khan carried the title The deal is clinched, but the show will go on (Afzal Khan)
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Why CoD is not for this government?

Guest post by Naeem ur Rehman

Charter of Democracy, the most widely used term in the prevailing situation has a major flaw in it. Now the question is what flaw it can have when everyone loves it so much, even the lawyers. The CoD was created for specific personalities, their personal demands and to deal with a specific situation, there was no consideration given to the broader demands and the needs of the people of Pakistan or to a long term benefit to the country. Such documents will always struggle when it comes to its implementation, if a prevailing situation changes ever so slightly. After the tragic death of Benazir Bhutto, this CoD became not only useless to the current government but actually became the biggest hurdle to cross for Mr. Zardari. let’s have a close look at few yet most important clauses of CoD.

“The 1973 Constitution as on 12th October 1999 before the military coup shall be restored with  the provisions of joint electorates, minorities, and women’s reserved seats on closed party list in the Parliament, the lowering of the voting age, and the increase in seats in parliament and the legal Framework Order, 2000 and the Seventeenth Constitutional Amendment shall be repealed accordingly”
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Country nears a Long March frenzy, but a deal brews underneath

I write this blog post early Sunday morning at around 5am, so my thoughts might not be all that coherent, but I feel some pressing points need to be shared before the Lahore stand off takes off in barely five hours from now at 10am on March 15th

  1. Shahbaz Sharif had a very urgent meeting in Islamabad last night [13th March] where he flew from Lahore to Islamabad [eye witness confirm], the talks were afoot that a few deals were being negotiated – namely the eligibility of Nawaz and Shahbaz would be settled, Shahbaz Sharif would then reinstated as Chief Minister and Governor Salman Taseer will be shown the door, in exchange the Sharif brothers will end the Long March with immediate effect. These basic issues were agreed upon by both sides [even the idea of ending the long march / defusing it], what remained a tackling issue was the exact process on how to reinstate Iftikhar Chaudhry. Shahbaz Sharif allegedly wanted solid guarantees and merely the ‘word’ of Zardari carried little weight, COAS Kiyani and Hilary Clinton were being propped up to foot the final claim but reassurances were not entirely satisfactory [or so we are told]. Shahbaz returned having not finalized the deal on the last point
  2. Gilani as off till the 13th March was playing a significant role in negotiations, but on the 14th was visibility out of the picture, he has been propped up by the US Government to play a more responsible role in settling this crisis, word is still out if he can or cannot deliver, but a few statement were made that gave good vibes to the public but it alone cant be the guage of the attitude behind closed doors
  3. None of the lawyers from other cities were permitted to leave their respective cities, Kurd from Quetta, Muneer Malik and Rashid Rizvi from Karachi.- But ironically Sharif brothers are given a free hand to move
  4. Lahore is allegedly clamped down any roads leading into or out of Lahore are effectively sealed
  5. But suddenly today early morning March 15 3:00am a convoy carrying Shahbaz Sharif from Raiwind breaks through a barricade and runs off onto the Motorway towards Islamabad
  6. Moments later news breaks out that hundred of police officers raid Rawalpindi bar thrash the lawyers sleeping there and are reported to have arrested 60 people
  7. March 15th will be the day of resistance in Lahore – to be strategically handled by the elder brother Mian Nawaz Sharif
  8. I honestly suspect this is a deliberate ploy to undermine the presence of Lawyers and other political parties while paving the way for PML-N to stretch their muscles in victory, lawyers being deliberately left on the sidelines, its possible that the only Lawyers that might make an visible appearance could be Aitzaz Ahsan & Hamid Khan arriving on the Constitution avenue, but with the sudden departure of Shahbaz Sharif from Lahore to Islamabad goes to suggest that he has full plans to hold the PML-N fort on the 16th March in Islamabad and would in all likelihood be the only person to really be allowed to make a big show
  9. Not that, it matters as long as there is the independence of Judiciary, but we must keep in mind that the NRO is not be debated and neither is the 17th amendment being talked about.
  10. Lets also not forget that the frenzy of the Long March only started after Shahbaz Sharif lost his Chief Ministership, and prior to that development, PML-N was on the fence playing second fiddle as it has continued to do so since Feb 18th with the Lawyers movement

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Back to Square One

Credit FASTRising Blog

The following was written on 28th February – before the “mobile justice” Presidential Ordinance (finally withdrawn on 3rd March) and before the attack on the Sri Lankan national cricket team – in response to the promulgation of Governor’s Rule in the Punjab and the official obstruction of the Punjab Assembly sessions by the provincial executive authority.

Some observations:

  1. Why does the dis-qualification of the incumbent CM lead to the siege of the PA by the police? Imposition of Governor’s Rule – even if ordered by a democratically elected government – is an attack on democracy, on the right of the people to govern themselves through freely elected representatives. A simpler alternative would have been for the PPP to have said that decisions of the judiciary were not in its control, that they valued the alliance with the PML-N and that they would encourage the PML-N to pursue the case through proper channels – for example, the appeals process.
  2. Why do our civic liberties (freedom of speech, freedom of association, etc.) suffer because of a quarrel among the power elite?
  3. Democracy needs to be allowed to take root and the anti-democratic measures taken by the central executive authority – imposition of Governor’s rule, disruption of normal proceedings at the provincial assembly – at such a sensitive time may provide just the right conditions (dissatisfaction with performance, overwhelming disapproval of government actions, power vacuum) for the Army to carry out yet another coup.
  4. These two points taken together lead to criticism of both the PPP and the PML-N’s handling of the situation: Given the incredibly fragile condition of democracy in Pakistan, it is quite irresponsible of PML-N and PPP not to have worked out a better power-sharing formula. Irresponsible or simply incompetent. Some would say that it was impossible, that the rupture was inevitable. We simply do not have enough information but if some day the story of the behind-the-scenes negotiations between June 08 and February 09 comes out, it may well reveal missed opportunities and/or lack of vision on the part of our “leaders”.
  5. A 100g roti need no longer be sold at Rs. 2 – the price ceiling was removed the day after the so-called Supreme Court handed down its disqualification ruling. Why should the completely de-politicised and alienated poor pay the price of a power struggle?

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Rebuttal to Ahmed Quraishi’s article, Lawyers’ Iftikhar: A Messiah Or A Pawn?’

Guest Blog by SM

In his recent article, Lawyers’ Iftikhar: A Messiah Or A Pawn?, written on Monday January 26, Ahmed Quraishi has committed a crucial cause and effect mistake while recounting the events related to the historic lawyers’ movement and the de-facto Chief Justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry. This article aims to expose the misinterpreted or intentionally distorted historical events.

  • The claim that Chief Justice of Pakistan alone could have removed Musharaf, let alone, have caused America to negotiate a deal with Benazir Bhutto and Asif Zardari seems preposterous. However, the assertion seems plausible and historically correct, if the fact is realized that the entire Pakistani nation rallied behind the one person who dared first time in the history of Pakistan to stand against a dictator. It was this show of power by the masses that brought Musharaf to his knees and even made America admit it was too late to save Musharaf. If an entire nation stands for a cause, who is any individual to claim that he on the right side? Moreover, there seems to be no logical validity that Chief Justice Iftikhar, being an ordinary citizen without his official powers, could have in any way influenced such a deal because he would have had gained him nothing specially while he was incarcerated.
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The IMF Trap

Guest post by A.H.Kalwar of Pakistion Blog

Russia is the largest borrower from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The initial objective and promises by IMF were to quickly bail Russia out of an economic crises, and throw it back on track. Today Russia’s debts to the IMF are so big that the only way to ensure repayment is to keep borrowing more. This summer alone $4.5bn have been borrowed entirely for minimum repayment of previous IMF loans.

A brief look at institution’s like the World Bank and IMF rings loud bells. The constant failures of such institutions have elevated poverty, widened the wealth gap, while corporate profits sore. The joint economic comity of the U.S. congress admitted that there is a mire 40% success rate of the World Bank. Even that is an exaggeration.
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