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Posts tagged with: Politics

The DJ’s of ‘Political Combat’

Guest Blog by Zeeshan Khan (@ZeeshChohan)

Perhaps there was no better time to pen this down. With the rising tensions between India and Pakistan lately, the ‘online’ soldiers from both sides have grabbed their keyboards to administer the proceedings between both countries. As the DSL connections became more and more common, there emerged a whole new generation of political supporters. The generation for who the internet revolved around MIRC, msn etc was slowly but gradually politicized. Even at a time when ORKUT was creating a buzz in the online community of Pakistan, no one ever thought that this online space will once become a battleground for future political zealots. But then, they choose sides. Skip to 2015 and no one would have in their wildest imaginations thought that many political parties would have dedicated social media cells managing their online presence. Whether it’s good or bad, is a completely different debate? Just for the sake of argument, greater participation in the political process ensures a more vibrant political canvas. And yes politics is actually about influencing your thought process in some way, so it’s kind of fair too. Having said that, there is still something immensely wrong with this ‘participatory’ element in Pakistan?

During a recent online surfing marathon I came across this line in an article, the line goes like

“Developing your own honest, genuine political beliefs. Not because you want to sound smart at parties, but because as you get older, you’re starting to become less naive and more concerned about important issues that your country faces.”

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Politicians Pay No Taxes = NO Education for the Children of Pakistan

Jab Tax Nah Denn Gay Siyasatdan
Tau bachay Kahan say parhain gay


– via Facebook


Will Social Media Play Crucial Role in 2013 Election of Pakistan?

Social Media Vote ElectionsGhulam Sarwar at Pak Zindabad asks – PTI was among the pioneer Political Party, which was using Social media more effectively. The reason behind this was very simple, their mostly supporters were young and Social Media addictive… In Current Scenario it seems that only the PTI, PML-N, Pervez Musharraf, these guys are serious to use Social Media in the Up coming Elections. The sense of Social media is still in developing phase here in Pakistan. It will take time, but the future is very bright” via Gholam Sarver
Pak Zindabad: Will Social Media Play Crucial Role in 2013 Election of Pakistan?shared on Facebook by Awab Alvi


A Step towards Decency, If not Peace

Much before the two Prime Ministers can agree on a solution to Kashmir problem, converting Siachen into a peace park or concluding a no war pact, they could begin by taking a few small steps that can bring the two neighbors closer to decency if not peace. Each day as the flags are lowered at the Wagah border, Indian and Pakistani guards high-kick and stamp their feet in a vulgar display of aggression, anger and animosity. The spectators on both sides line up in large numbers to passionately applaud this officially choreographed drama of make-believe power and masculinity.

Why do the two neighbors need to enact hatred as a symbol of their national pride. Why can they not lower their flags with peace and dignity – like it is done the world over. Is it too much to ask that as the fever subsides at Mohali, the two Prime Ministers will come to a small and simple agreement – the two sides will henceforth put an end to the disgusting daily display of belligerent posturing at the Wagah border.

The ceremony that provides a daily dose of hatred to the people of both sides continues despite an earlier indication that it would be stopped. Wonder which party shall exhibit greater wisdom, friendship and good sense by announcing a unilateral end to this insane practice


Be patient with democracy…

Democracy is in the blood of Musalmans, who look upon complete equality of manhood [mankind]… [And] believe in fraternity, equality and liberty. M.A.Jinnah –London, 14 Dec 1946

Switch on any TV channel, open up a newspaper or log on to social media and you will see our parliamentarians and their electorate especially those residing in the rural centers continuously drawing ire of the urban educated elite. At times participants in the TV talk shows having an intellectual discourse stoop low and raise eyebrows over the wisdom possessed by the electorate and flay their decision of re-electing the same person who is allegedly tainted.

Such feelings on the part of the educated elite incited me to ponder over the mystery shrouding the electorate who is willing to rally around the same bunch of politicians every time. And after introspection I came to the conclusion that the bone of contention is socio-economic imbalance prevailing in our society.

The brick and mortar of the conclusion I drew is a battle between two classes i.e. Haves and Have-nots .Both the classes will be at loggerheads till the time vast dichotomy in their status persists in our society.
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Pakistan needs a Sovereign & Honest Leadership

Pakistan needs an honest and sovereign leadership.  I insist on only these two qualities as my priority. I accept that this may have a personal bias based on my own experiences and knowledge.  So what follows is built on the above premise.  For some of us, far more important would be ‘left or right’, or the ‘stance on war of terror’ etc.  But a choice we of selection we have to make, and urgently.

There is so much confusion in our minds regarding leadership which is further magnified by our media (see Talat Hussein’s show on AAJ TV on leadership http://pkpolitics.com/2010/09/28/live-with-talat-28-september-2010/ ).   Even at this critical juncture we are not able to select our directions, indeed the majority of Pakistanis do not know what to do.  Most among the literati still take pride in stating that they are a-political.  This is understandable that because of rampant corruption politics has become a dirty word.  Aristotle in his 8th book ‘Politics’ stated as long ago as 350 BC that man by nature is a political animal.  He ridiculed the idea of people being non-political.  He stated that though ‘by statement’ they can, be but actually they are not.  At least they are on the receiving end of all political decisions which effect their lives every day

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Bang-e-Dara “Mushie Tushie” with Faisal Qureshi & Awab Alvi

On October 1st I was invited by Fasial Qureshi on his show Bang-e-Dara on TVOne to discuss the earlier annoucnoment by Pervaiz Musharrraf to re-enter Pakistani politics. I believe we had a field day, watch the show


How To Make Karachi The Worst City In The World

The recent report by Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) revealed that Karachi came 5th in the list of worst cities of the world sandwiched between Lagos, Nigeria and Douala Cameroon.

The Sindh High Density Development Board Bill 2010 passed as Bill No.14 of 2010 has changed its shape three times. It was first Bill No.11 of 2009 then it became Bill No.10 of 2010 and finally it is Bill No.14 of 2010.

The provincial government deserves “congratulations” on passing the passing of this bill. This law will surely push Karachi to the bottom ranking as the worst city in the world very soon. Sadly through this bill the interior of Sindh will also be destroyed. The passing has been done in a devious manner, which is expected of the Parliamentarians representing us.

In 2008 our ever smiling president Asif Ali Zardari decided that Karachi must have many high-rises along the line of his second home Dubai. In August 2008 a decision was made by the minister for the local Government, Mr Agha Siraj Durrani (who is the right hand man of Mr Zardari in Sindh for such matters) that KBCA should approve 100 storey buildings in Karachi. Fortunately this was easier said than done as the government had to constitute and notify a committee of eleven architects. The committee was tasked to review of the existing bye-laws and the proposed revisions
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Death of Collective Wisdom

Is there a competition going on in Pakistan between institution to earn shame and notoriety for their nation?” my colleague asked me casually while we were having some drinks and watching a news television. “We are on that path for last 40years”, I answered stubbornly. Can there anything such shameful to force you behave that stubborn over your national pride? There is, hold your breath, Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, the top body of media and custodian of ‘freedom of speech and civil liberties’, in a press release issued by its Secretary General, Mr Shamsul Islam Naz, has “officially’ appreciated the blocking of the Facebook Website.

This was followed by the Lahore High Court orders of a blanket ban on entire social media website depriving 2.5 million Pakistani’s an access to major internet services. Just because there was ‘one page’ out of millions, set by a silly American kid to make cartoons of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The same could have been blocked instead, but things work differently in Pakistan. A decision has to be popular rather than sane, the illiterate bearded men on streets with sticks and guns ought to be satisfied.
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Sick and Tired

Over the past week Pakistan has read many different news items. From the passing of the 18th amendment to the bomb blast at the US Consulate, much is happening. Some may say the stories are for the betterment of our country while others may disagree. In my mind the successful visit of the Foreign Minister and his entourage to the United States gave Pakistan some much needed positive press. However, the current witch-hunt carried out by the Chief Justice and the ugly battle over the reopening of Zardari’s corruption cases has embarrassed many of those who fought for the independence of the judiciary.

Now do not get me wrong, as much as I enjoyed protesting on the streets of Lahore for the reinstatement of the nation’s top judge, I can’t fathom Mr. Iftikhar’s current agenda of picking and choosing his enemies. When will we be able to see actual results from the “democratically” elected officials and the “independent” judiciary we as a nation have struggled to achieve for 62 years? When will stop pointing fingers and vilifying those whom we disagree with? Or have we gotten used to being stuck in this whirlpool of revengeful politics. Honestly, we Pakistanis have gotten sick and tired of the lies and broken promises.
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Democratic Revenge

Zulifiqar Ali Bhutto and PPP came into power in 70s with the slogan Roti, Kapra and Makan. Those were good old times–things have changed now–from roti, kapra and makan, our nation’s requirements have come down to Bijli, Atta and Cheeni.

It is only common sense that PPP needs to change its slogan too. PPP and all the other parties should feel easy–people are lowering their expectations, they are demanding now, what was readily available in 70s.

The new party slogan should be, we will keeping providing you what is available now, and also will work on providing what was available in 70s; Bijli, Atta, and Cheeni. When the rest of the world is moving ahead, we are starting to focus on the basics; Bijli, Atta, and Cheeni. Our government’s focus should be to not take away from people what they already possess now; although I can not name what that is–may be dall, and provide to them what was available in 70s.
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Am I Part of the Problem or Part of the Solution?

We fail to participate in democratic processes while we recognize democracy as a utopian ideal form. We fail to contribute to the national kitty while demanding increasing state services. We can apply the same line of argument to other segments of society. We must recognize our own failures for allowing society to reach the state it faces today. All of us may be part of the solution, but we are also part of the problem. Our actions/lack of action can rightly point to helping maintain the status-quo, the political-military musical chairs that we have today accepted as part and parcel of everyday Pakistani life.

Politicians and generals may belong to a class of their own, they may be totally disconnected from society and have little or no appreciation of the suffering of the common man. Intuitively however there is a stubborn link between those who exercise power and those who have to deal with it. The powerful are a reflection of society at large. While many chastises politicians for corruption, many of us also secretly envy those who can stop traffic at their beck and call, fly off to other countries for “personal visits” and at the very least never have to face the spectre load shedding. Similarly we admire the generals for their power and authority. They perpetuate one of our countries dominant narratives that read: Pakistan army, disciplined, ready to sacrifice and at the nation’s service, ever ready to stare down those who would look at us with an “evil eye” or with “nefarious designs”.
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Blind Faith or Emotional Pull?

Recent debates, especially on facebook, regarding Zaid Hamid and his relations with a convicted blasphemer who died in jail almost a decade ago have certainly caught the Pakistani youth by surprise. They find themselves locked in an argument which is taking a heavy toll on their intellect and energies. On one side there are people who look upto traditional religious scholars with a good number of years and experience in the matters of religion while the other segment is quite wary of these sources and choose to follow their “Sir” Zaid Hamid.

A closer look into the matter reveals that our youth can easily be generalized as passionate, emotional, irrational, impulsive, aggressive, vulnerable, know-it-all, mind guarded and above all frustrated. The description is equally valid for all the participants irrespective of their point of view. Ironic it may be both the parties well and truly are the future of Pakistan. These youngsters are enrolled in medical, engineering and management universities.
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Rendezvous with Farah Pandith, US Special Rep for Muslim Communities

Last week a few “new media” journalists were invited by the US Consulate to an exclusive meeting with Farah Pandith, who has been recently appointed as the U.S Special Representative for Muslim Communities. The usual bloggeratti excitement was held at bay since the invitation card had a blazing “No-Camera” policy, which had most of us worried concerned about this concerning hush-hush meeting but on the contrary, when we reached the destination we were told it was only a deterrent to avoid the TV &/or Press media fan-fare as the consulate preferred to have a close face-to-face uninterrupted one-on-one discussion, else the meeting was blogable, tweetable and pictures were definitely welcome, immediately putting the anxious team of bloggers at ease and right in their own comfort zone, out came the iPhones, up came the blackberries, twitter clients were fired up and we were ready raring to go.

The guest list had some 10-odd new media journalists, a few from Dawn, of which I had the honor to finally meet Huma Yousuf, the list of bloggers, (or blAAgers [sic]) was the usual fun bunch, ranging from Faisal Kapadia of Deadpanthoughts, Ammar Yasir of Ronin and Tea Break fame, Sana Saleem of Mystified Justice & Dawn Blog, Sabeen Mehmud from T2F, our very own Zaheer Sb from BiTs Online and Windmills of the Mind and last but not the least our celebrity blogger Naveen Naqvi was also in the house, who we now have laid claim to be more of a blogger then a TV personality. The star-studded bloggeratti guest list almost guaranteed an exciting rendezvous with the US Representative for Muslim Communities.
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Mesmerization of Pakistani Politics

Guest blog by Agha Haider Raza

Politics in Pakistan mesmerize me. Not only does one enjoy the daily dose of rhetoric that is spewed from the mouths of our beloved politicians, but the one track mind of those in and out of government baffles the mind. Politics in Pakistan, much like the political parties themselves seem to be more inclined towards a personality than an ideology. Nawaz Sharif, Altaf Hussain and Asif Zardari seem to be controlling the present and future of 170 million Pakistanis. What is ironic of these three distinguished gentlemen is the immense power they control. Nawaz Sharif, already a two-time Prime Minister – failed miserably on both occasions, Altaf Hussain – a self exiled leader living in London and Asif Zardari – the current President of Pakistan seems to be holding on to his seat with every bit of strength his party can muster. But why has it lead to a power struggle amongst these political leaders when thousands of Pakistani civilians and soldiers have died over the last few years? Why are we still playing the dirty political games of the past, when history has taught us to do better?

It is highly unfortunate that the two largest political parties in Pakistan are currently vying for the federal government, while the very nation they wish to govern is in flames. Do not for a second believe that I am being melodramatic with the word “flame”. From power outages to inflation and from the target killings in Karachi to the drone strikes in the North; we are on a path of destruction. But here I am – the eternal optimist – believing that a country which was born out of a long and hard fought struggle can make it through the difficult times again. However, we will only be able to walk through it all with our heads held high, if we review our past and yearn not to repeat them again.
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