A new party, but is it political?

The Istehkam-i-Pakistan Party is probably the only party to have Pakistan somewhere in the middle. Parties usually have Pakistan in the beginning. The Pakistan Awami Tehrik, the Pakistan Muslim League, the Pakistan Peoples’ Party are all examples which put Pakistan first. The Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam doesn’t have it in its name, perhaps because the Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan won the race. It was a Barelvi party, but it does see, Bareelvis are not doctrinaire about names. The Pakistan Awami Tehrik went with prefixing, but the Tehreek Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) went with the suffix.

Does anyone remember the Tehrik Takmil Pakistan, which had been founded by Mehmud Ali, who was one of those East Pakistanis who came over to the West after Bangladesh was created in 1971? It had the same initials as the Tehrik Taliban Pakistan, though of course he could claim that the TTP stole from him. He was a mild-mannered gentleman of the old school, and certainly did not believe in violence. When virtually all West Pakistanis had accepted the reality of the creation of Bangladesh, he was one East Pakistani who refused to accept it. But he never advocated violence, and his TTP was meant to convince public opinion by rational argument, not force. I’m sure he wouldn’t have approved of the TTP, because of the damage it was causing to what was left of the country he remained loyal to.

The Istehkam Pakistan Party has not just found a unique solution to the prefixing and suffixing dilemma by putting Pakistan into the middle, but it has the same initials as the Independent Power Producers, the IPPs. It’s unfortunate, for it links the party to loadshedding, which is a place it doesn’t really want to go. It’s as unfortunate as the nickname Raja Pervez Ashraf gained as Minister for Water and Power, Raja Rental, after the Rental Power Plants, because of the kickbacks he is alleged to have got. Now the new party had better be very careful about any donation it gets, because if it gets anything from an IPP, it will have a lot of explaining to do. On the other hand, maybe that is the path of getting party funds. Maybe the IPPs would be attracted by a party with the same initials.

I know there’s a ban on companies donating to parties, but if the company pays an individual a lot of money for PR or some purpose as would be accepted by an auditor, and then person then makes a donation to the target party, who can object?

One of the interesting things about the IPP is the presence of Fawad Chaudhry. Well, actually the whole of the PTI government’s information apparatus, because Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan was there, as was Fayyazul Hassan Chauhan. I’m surprised that Lt Gen (retd) Asim Saleem Bajwa was missing. Actually, the reason why Fawad Chaudhry was a bit of a surprise was because when he condemned the May 9 attacks, he also announced that he was taking a break from politics. Well, it was a pretty short break, it seems.

On the other hand, maybe Fawad Chaudhry is making a profound statement about the IPP, that it isn’t really a political party. That means his joining it would not constitute political activity. Is it media activity then? Or legal activity? Ch Fawad has dabbled in the media, and is also a lawyer by profession. During his break from politics, I would expect him to concentrate on either of these pursuits. As he was not covering the IPP’s formation for a news organization, I can only assume he was being held in reserve for tendering legal advice.

Better legal advice than economic advice. That is something the government badly needed as it presented a budget that attempted to square the circle by preparing for election later this year, while keeping on the right side of the IMF. Well, the budget proved that it can’t be done, and all the government has achieved is that it has upset the IMF even further, while failing to do anything enough to avoid a thorough rebuff at the hustings.


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