Columns articles


Syed Hassan Belal Zaidi

Stop, look… KABOOM!

Allow me to put things in context. We live in a country where it is possible to stop just about anything. Education, check. Industrial progress, check. Love marriages, check. Power supply, double check. Actually, the only thing apart from terrorists that we haven’t been able to stop is the rapidly multiplying population of rabbits that inhabit this country. I’m talking about the 17 crore-something (and counting) muhib-e-watan Pakistani mules that wake up every morning and go to work


Imran Khan

Killing Karachi

For the past few years, the good people of Karachi have been hunted down by the dozens and that too on a regular basis. The lines are mostly drawn on the basis of ethnicity; till July during this year the break up of the victims of these killings show that, 48% of them were Pashtuns, while 33% were Urdu-speakers. A joint investigative report of Sindh Police, Special Branch, IB, ISI, Rangers and the Interior Ministry, that came out in May this year, blames political parties for this


Averting a political precipice

The Supreme Court’s unanimous verdict last Thursday on one provision of the controversial 18th Amendment may have helped the government to return for the time being from the brink of the rock but not from the precipice of a larger politico-judicial crisis over the still unimplemented verdict of the apex court on the notorious NRO.
The 17-member full bench of the Supreme Court has referred Article 175-A back to the parliament for a review of the new procedure of appointing judges


Waqqas Mir

Treading new ground

The Honourable Supreme Court of Pakistan in a most historic ruling on 21st October, 2010 has sent the newly incorporated Article 175-A of the Constitution back to the Parliament to ‘proceed and re-examine the matter in terms of the observations’ in the Order. The reactions to this have been mixed; some are celebrating while the others are either relieved or scratching their heads. The Order ‘reads in’ certain bits and lists suggested amendments to this Article. The question being


Kamran Rehmat

The Jolie effect

Getting wobbly in the knees when meeting a beautiful woman may be some sort of a national vulnerability but acting funny before a global celebrity in the highest echelons of power, where the fare is ever so likely to find its way to a fifth column, betrays poor judgment, if anything.
Almost every time Tomb Raider flies into Pakistan, she makes pygmies out of Tarzans from the country’s political jungles…err offices, who bend over backwards to please her – for their gloss


Basharat Hussain Qizilbash

Traditions of tolerance

During the past few months, the Punjab has been projected as another region of religious militancy in Pakistan by the Western governments and their mainstream media. A number of terror attacks including the one on the shrine of Hazrat Ali Hajveri, commonly known as ‘Data Ganj Baksh’ – the most influential eleventh century sufi – is quoted as an example of this disturbing trend in the province. Moreover, the attacks on the shia religious procession in Lahore are also cited to reinforce


Hassaan Ghazali

Villages of concrete

While the taxpayer continues to foot the bill for big government, local economic development and grassroots representation remain elusive till this day. Millions of people in Pakistan depend on urban areas, whether we derive livelihoods, indulge in recreation or engage in other pursuits. Yet, we do so within a visibly degenerating environment characterized by corruption, poor accountability and diminishing access to opportunities for economic growth.
With over fifty per cent of


Sarmad Bashir

Sanity prevails

Better sense prevailed at last. After digging in their heels the government and the judiciary let the situation find a new equilibrium.
The Supreme Court’s interim order referring to the parliament for reconsideration the new mechanism provided in the 18th Amendment for appointing members of the superior judiciary was hailed by the saner elements of society. But there obviously was a disappointment for the naysayers who had been trying to weaken the democratic dispensation by


Humayun Gauhar

After the day of judgment

I read in an article the other day that Robert Hutchins said: “The death of democracy is not likely to be an assassination from ambush. It will be a slow extinction from apathy, indifference, and undernourishment.” Apathy, indifference, and undernourishment we have in abundance. I would add exploitation and predation.
What we in Pakistan call “the democratic process” has indeed been ambushed many times, both by civilians masquerading as democrats and generals masquerading as


White Lies

Style, they say, is the man or woman himself. Is it, as the PM Gilani family interprets it, running around to beauticians in motorcades, indulging in retail therapy with underpaid security personnel escorting bulging shopping bags to official cars and babysitting them all the way to the PM House? Can style be interpreted as building a Rs. two crore security wall around the Gilani haveli in Multan, billing it to an emaciated exchequer and then expecting the nation to be charmed by


So what next?

“Army that rules cannot fight” was the theme of my research article I wrote when I was attending Australian Staff Course in 1973. My sponsoring DS (Directing Staff) called me and asked me how I could dare write on such a subject knowing the environment in Pakistan. I said I was entitled to my views, and jokingly remarked that I was too far away from home and wont’ be reported. I went to the Pakistan Military Academy in 1959 and had seen how Ayub Khan usurped power and how he misused


Aziz-ud-Din Ahmad

Colonising our own people

The alienation in Balochistan has gone full circle. Every institution of the state, civil society organization and the entire mainstream media are increasingly losing credibility in the eyes of the Balochi people. There is no one in the province, not even the chief minister, governor or cabinet members, willing to defend the federation openly. A number of nationalist leaders have bidden good bye to parliament and the few who are left are on the defensive when inside Balochistan. The


Raoof Hasan

Landmark judgement

Except for a few specks of display of integrity, the history of the judiciary in Pakistan through its first 60 years leaves a woefully lot to be desired. Generally perceived to be captive of the so-called ‘Doctrine of Necessity’, the judiciary invariably capitulated before the dictates of the every despot who barged in clamouring to put the country right. All that changed when one Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry displayed the gumption to stand up to the incumbent dictator and refused to


Arif Nizami

On the media

Thanks to our 24/7 electronic media and the perennial punditry of it anchors, there is rarely a dull moment in Pakistani politics. An unconfirmed report on a Karachi based channel the other day about the intention of the government to sack the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, forced the Prime Minister to address the nation, in order to clear the air.
The very next day, judges of the apex court disposed of the case without a whimper despite the fact that the government had


Ejaz Haider

Toasting wisdom

The Supreme Court’s Oct 21 decision to return Article 175-A to parliament for review is good news. The article amended the procedure for appointing superior court judges.
But while the Chief Justice of Pakistan said in his remarks that the article “harmed judiciary’s freedom”, the SC chose not to strike it down. This speaks of a mature approach and must be lauded, given the fraught relations between the executive and the judiciary. Just days ago the two sides came close to the


Imran Husain

Bangladesh shining

In the recent past, the Bangladesh superior courts have taken many decisions to remove imbalances that can change the country’s culture. One of these was the restoration of the secular status of the country. Now, in confirmation, the government has ordered the reprinting of the country’s constitution to restore secularism as a “fundamental state principle”.
The prime minister however told a cabinet meeting that the country would remain an Islamic state and did not ban political


Agha Akbar

Pay up and play the game

Well, a third ‘do more’ has been foisted on us. And quite unlike the previous two – a political/military ‘do more’ and the more recent cricketing one, courtesy an abrasive and clueless PCB chairman Ijaz Butt – this economic/taxation ‘do more’ may be even more intrusive and insulting as the earlier two, but it is something that may actually be a long-range blessing in disguise.
Weaned on foreign aid, and addicted to doles and handouts, our ruling elite and the privileged rentier

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