Shirin Sadeghi

Off the fat of the land

Last week, just before Hillary Clinton pledged billions of American dollars to Pakistan’s military, she complained that “it is absolutely unacceptable for those with means in Pakistan not to be doing their fair share to help their own people.”
She seemed right of course: Pakistanis who can should be helping each other and there is certainly a massive gap between the extremely wealthy and the extremely poor in Pakistan. Between those who have money to spare and those who spare no

Hassaan Ghazali

On big government

Parliament has thrown down the gauntlet with the passage of the 18th amendment to our Constitution and it seems political quarters are bracing for impact of the Supreme Court verdict on the matter. One of the critical issues has been the abolition of the concurrent role of the federal government in certain legislative matters. On the political menu for quite a while now, it appears greater powers stand to be devolved to provincial governments at a time when both the extent of

M J Akbar

Congress in transition

The question begs to be asked. Has the Congress changed its view of Jaya Prakash Narayan after 35 years, or has the Congress changed its view of Rahul Gandhi after 35 months? An official spokesman of the party has, after all, compared Dr Manmohan Singh to a national hero, a veteran of the Congress Socialist Party, the leftist group that became a power within the party in the 1930s, and a freedom fighter whose last fight for freedom was to liberate India from the censorship, suspension

Mayank Austen Soofi

Connaught Place

The last time I went to Pakistan was in April, 2010. Walking aimlessly in Lahore’s Mall Road, I met a mechanic. When I said that I was from India, his eyes turned dreamy, and he started second-guessing my name. He asked me, “Is your name Rahul, Vijay, Raj or Anil?” The mechanic had learned these names from Bombay films. When I told him that I was from Delhi, he started asking me questions about the city. That made me wonder what his responses would be if he actually visit the Indian

Dr Hasan Askari Rizvi

The Afghanistan dilemma

The third round of the Strategic Dialogue between the United States and Pakistan, held on October 20-22 in Washington, provided an opportunity to their senior officials to expand their relations against the backdrop of the on-going differences on how to deal with the militant groups based in North Waziristan, Taliban activists in the Quetta area and Pakistan’s security concern in Afghanistan. The U.S. agreed to provide new military equipment to strengthen the Pakistan army’s

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