PMLN Stands Bright Chance to Win the Elections

By Saeed Qureshi

The credible indications are that Pakistan Muslim League under its leader Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif would capture maximum seats in the forthcoming general elections and thus emerge as the majority party. Since it is entering into electoral alliances with ANP, Jamaat-e-Islami, Pir Pagaras functional Muslim League and National Peoples Party, it may form the next coalition government at the center.

It appears that since presently, the PPP does not enjoy the traditional popularity with the masses; it may not be able to win adequate numbers of seats in three provinces of Balochistan, NWFP and Punjab. In Sindh, it could have a split mandate to be equally claimed by MQM in Karachi and Hyderabad. The level of disenchantment is quite high against the incumbent government in the center and also in the Sindh government. But since MQM vote bank is always safe due to ethnic unity and because of severe backlash against those not voting for the MQM, it may win all or most of the seats in their controlled constituencies.

It would be desirable for the PPP to take the backseat and re-formulate its strategy for the next elections in 2018. The PPP leadership should go for introspection as to how it could not robustly deliver this time and therefore reorient its programs and policies to gear up for the next election season. If PPP returns to its pristine image and reboots the manifesto unfurled by the chairman of the party ZAB in 70s, it has the potential of staging a comeback.

Despite PMLN being betrayed after initial political alliances with the PPP, it has been vehemently opposing hijacking of power by the army. It opted out of the coalition with PPP and preferred to play the role of the so-called friendly opposition that facilitated democracy to survive for five years. Despite a chaos ridden five years period of PPP in power, the PMLN refrained from making efforts to oust the PPP from power or proverbially fish in troubled waters.

Now elections must be fair and free and without malpractices. There is a danger of turmoil if the parties that lose allege rigging or fraudulent practices against the party that carries the day. The country cannot afford further agitations and protests and lockouts and mess and crisis. The parties that lose should accept their defeat in good grace and in the supreme interests of the nascent democratic caravan to move forward.

If Pakistan can sustain another five years democratic spell, it would by all reckoning, have a safe and glorious future. Democratic bond is the strongest bond in the contemporary world to keep the nation together and govern the country with consensus. It is an effective recipe to foster internal cohesion and unity. It commands universal respect.

Notwithstanding, the bitter political rhetoric and scathing polemics, the glaring fact is that the PMLN government in Punjab has achieved several milestones for the progress and advancement of the province. Chief minister Shahbaz Sharif is sincerely trying to make the social environment better by providing indispensable facilities like infrastructure, roads and comfortable transportation. He has zealously labored to promote education and health facilities in his province. The lawlessness and violence that is relentlessly endemic in other provinces, is much less in Punjab.

The Sharif brothers have learnt bitter lessons during their exiles in foreign lands for almost 8 years. It is hoped that the stiffness of disposition and punitive tendency in Nawaz Sharif must have mellowed down after spending many grueling years out of Pakistan. Now he should, for the sake of the democratic order to continue, learn to accommodate divergent opinion and not jump to reprisals, such as attack on the supreme court of Pakistan in 1997. He should desist from removing one army chief after another unless there would be inevitable grounds for doing so.

Nawaz Sharif is a true son of the soil whose merits are quite a few and studded with landmark laurels. He was one prime minister who despite inexorable multi-dimensional pressures both internal and external, went ahead with atomic tests following the Indian explosions. He was the one in whose tenure Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee travelled to Pakistan by bus and recorded indelible pro-Pakistan views at Minar-e- Pakistani. The signing of Lahore Declaration for mutual peaceful relations was a landmark achievement for both the countries.

Pakistan and India were well on the way to mending their fences and enter into a new phase of good neighborly relationship. There could have been the possibility of cutting the Guardian Knot of Kashmir, had he not committed the blunder of sacking the then COAS Pervez Musharraf in a clumsy manner resulting in the advent of military rule once again.

It would be safe and objective to hazard a guess that a quid-pro-quo would be possible between him and the religious extremist groups including Taliban. That might come as a soothing and most sought-after turn of events in the troubled and violence marred landscape of Pakistan.

During the times of Nawaz Sharif and late Benazir Bhutto, Karachi was bedeviled with violence and the outlaws and criminals of all sorts were at the rampage.

There were, thugs, rogues, killers, desperadoes, and brutal ethnic militants playing with the citys peace and the situation was horrendously precarious. But when the state machinery was mobilized with full force, the peace and normal life returned. Although many an innocence citizen may have perished in the cleanup operations yet a greater good was much better than a little infringement of the established rules.

One would hopefully believe that if PMLN forms the government, it would herald a new era in the troubled and chaotic history of Pakistan. The new Nawaz Sharif would not be a nonchalant and emotional young man of 90s but a much reformed, diligent and sober person who would do the right things for Pakistan.

He may not indulge in money making scams and shun bending laws and amending constitution for self perpetuation and for serving interests of party cadres. If he comes clean, he would make history both for himself as well as for Pakistan.

The writer is a senior journalist and a former diplomat.


PESA expresses concern over failing economy

Rawalpindi, MTT News Desk: The Pakistan Ex-servicemen Association (PESA) on Tuesday said governments non- wasteful expenditures have put the economy in a tailspin and the damage would be irreparable if immediate corrective measures were not taken.

Local currency has been eroding while value of dollar is sky rocketing since last five years turning debt trap in to death trap, it said.

Corruption, tax evasion, undue relaxations, waivers and borrowings have crossed all limits putting a question mark on the ability of our economic managers, said President PESA Lt. Gen. Ali Kuli Khan while chairing a meeting.

Vice Admiral Ahmad Tasnim, Air Marshal Masood Akhtar, Lt General Naeem Akbar, Brig Mian Mahmud, Brig Masud ul Hassan, Major Farouk Hameed Khan, Major Khurram Naveed Khan, and Naik Raja Muhammad Fazil were also present on the occasion.

The meeting noted that the alarming figures regarding state of economy indicate that we are on the brink of an economic collapse which will force the next government to accept humiliating terms of our Western friends before they put something in our beggars bowl.

They said that almost all the public sector enterprises are being run of political considerations pushing them to bankruptcy but rulers seems preoccupied with winning votes only with revival of economy on the backburner.

The political and economic chaos will leave caretaker government will little options which will be a disaster for the country, the former military generals observed, adding that prevailing economic situation has emerged as a big threat to Pakistan.

The meeting demanded at elections should be held in time after giving all the independence to the Election Commission of Pakistan.

They military strategists said that all political parties must be included in the process of formation of the caretaker government which is at present confined to two groups in the parliament.

The meeting observed that huge amount of funds are being misused in the name of charity which is nothing but pre-poll rigging.

Masses can ensure a change only if they free themselves from stranglehold of feudal lords and influence of baradari system.

PESA members criticised plans to divide Punjab on ethnic basis, in a hurry, as it will add to the problems being faced by country.

Pakistan cannot be entrusted to tax evaders

Islamabad, MTT News Desk: The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Sunday said future of the country cannot be entrusted to politicians who have remained involved in massive tax evasion.

Election commission should take concrete steps to stop politicians involved in mass scale tax evasion from contesting parliamentary elections, it said.

Around seventy per cent of politicians, many billionaires, dont pay taxes to discharge their obligations and at the same time ask masses to pay taxes to finance their luxuries, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.

The behaviour of politicians is highly inappropriate which indicates that they take politics as a profitable business and consider country as their landed estate, he added.

Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that masses will never pay taxes voluntarily in the unfair tax system as they know that politicians having billions evade taxes, get exemptions and look for foreign donors for help.

The efforts of the FBR to improve tax-to-GDP ratio and other reforms will remain futile as tax compliance in Pakistan will have to start from the top and work its way down, he observed.

The salaried class, business community and some professionals are paying taxes to some extent but many industrialists and landed elite are evading tax while feasting on national resources pushing country under unmanageable debt.

He noted that the plunder of national resources and robbing masses has reached to the proportions where the survival of country seems on stake while the ruling as well as opposition parties seem totally unconcerned.

Pakistan cannot afford another spell of the democracy by incompetent leaders politically and economically, he said adding that incumbent rulers have proved themselves biggest obstacle in making Pakistan a real democratic country.

Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that Pakistan has a chance if Election Commission succeeded in partial implantation of Articles 62 and 63 of the constitution otherwise we will face a crushing defeat without a war.

Are we responsible enough?

By Aslam Kanwan

Last day I visited national assembly and attended the session of it. I was astonished to see the non-serious attitude of our parliamentarians and their non-serious participations.

Session was started but parliamentarians were busy in gossiping with each other. According to my information nation have to bear millions rupees on a session of parliament but our parliamentarians don’t care for that and they think that they are son-in-law of Pakistan and they are heirs of this country and this is their hereditary property.

But they rascal dont know how and after how many struggled this country was obtained and how many people sacrificed their lives to give us this land and they also dont know how their nation is affording their expenses. They should know that is not charity and one day they would be taken to account for this.

Poor people of nation delegate their authorities in the form of these representatives. But nation should know that they are not representing them in legislature but they are enjoying by the power given to them by the people.

I also noticed that there are many old representatives who can’t even walk easily and who can’t even speak well. What type of representative they are and what is their benefit to the nation. They are nothing but only a burden on the Nation

I suggest they should leave politics and they should forgive nation and they should admit themselves to some hospitals for their proper checkups and they have to take rest and they should do “Allah”.

It will be there gratitude on nation. Here is my question what is the benefit of these people and what kind of policies these people will make for our and for the future of Pakistan. These are the people who are shifting their wealth to other countries to save their future.

I also heard a statement from our minister that he will also be the next minister of Railway. I can’t still digest this statement .why you will be the next Railway minister?

If is not your hereditary property and who will take to you on account on the destruction of this industry. Who will ask from those who looted and destroyed PIA?

My question is who will take to account these national culprits. When these people will be brought for accountability. Result of good governance and everything is clear to nation.

I openly says that that we are responsible for this and I hope and I am 100% sure that these people who suffering from injustice, expensiveness, load shedding, inflation, corruption and unemployment again these people will run their election campaigns of these rascals with zeal and zest and with enthusiasm and again will elect these peoples .we are 100% responsible for our current situation.

Once it was asked from Ex-President that why you made that person minister he is so corrupt. President replied that ask from the people that why they elected him and why they made him MNA.

It is also common example that “Dont beat the blind but beat his mother why she give birth to blind man”

If next time these people will be elected they we have to curse ourselves not them, because it would be our failure not their.

Imran Khan is becoming Irrelevant

By Saeed Qureshi

Imran Khan, the founder and the Chairman of the political party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is quiet for quite some time. He must be pondering about his future course by closeting him in his private room. A political or public leader cannot sit idle or remain away or isolated for long, from the public eye and the countrymen. His eerie silence and diminished activity pose a big question mark.

His celebrated, illustrious colleagues who hastily joined the PTI with great exuberance are also maintaining a stony silence. Recently we havent heard any policy enunciation or dissemination of the PTI manifesto that must have been prepared with lot of toil, intellectual input and by burning midnight oil.

These are crucial times for the political stalwarts to kick around in the length and breadth of Pakistan with all the sound and fury one can marshal or summon. It is high time for Imran Khan to stage public meetings in quick succession to convey his partys manifesto and messages of hope and new salubrious beginning in Pakistan.

He is one among the whole lot who enjoys a clean slate, a reservoir of goodwill and a high moral ground that he is perched on. Alas, he has wasted much precious time in motivating people and winning support of the people of Pakistan.

In one of my previous article on Imran Khan, I had sketched his profile and personality in the following paragraphs,

Imran Khan the Chief of PTI could have flashed, like Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, as a glowing star on the political horizon of Pakistan. But all these years in the politics, he has remained a non-starter. Once in a while, he appears on the stage, frets and fumes, displays his tantrums and then recedes into the oblivion to reappear all of a sudden at a time of his own choice.

He runs his political bandwagon by fits and starts. He is sincere and possesses unbounded passion and limitless energy to make a difference but his fury and passion is invariably short-lived. He suffers from a chronic malady of inconsistency and conceptual bipolarity. He swerves from extreme to extreme on both sides of his agenda. He thunders like the charged clouds but then drifts away after a strong but brief shower of hyperbolic statements and high sounding propositions.

Now these impressions were jotted down some two years ago and I vouch that these are still valid and pertinent in regard to the mercurial and mysterious character of Imran Khan. In all the bye-elections candidates from either PPP or PMNL have taken the lead. All that PTI has been doing is to boycott the elections perhaps under the lurking fear that PTI candidates cannot win.

If that is the defeatist attitude of the PTI leaders to walk away from facing the electoral competitions, then only a miracle can help PTI in capturing reasonable number of seats in the forthcoming provincial or federal elections.

The youth of Pakistan could have been a formidable force for the PTI to reach nook and corner of Pakistan and to awaken the people and to galvanize them against the forces of status quo, the rapacious privileged classes and the insidious system of governance. The young lot of the country were all geared and ready to work for the PTI to bolster it as the only party that was clean and could bring about the revolutionary reforms and give Pakistan an honest and clean leadership.

Imran Khans overblown metaphor of Tsunami has lost its vigor and steam. It has been hibernating and slumbering with no commotion to cleanse the Augean stables of evils bedeviling Pakistan. Imran Khan has been vacillating in making far-reaching and timely intelligent decisions that could bear out his political acumen and sagacity. The example of this flippant tendency is manifest in supporting Qadris movement and then distancing from it.

His political alliances for instance with narrow- based parties as JI and bluntly opposing PMLN speaks for his immaturity and myopic vision as the leader of a political party that should forge alliances with progressive and deep-rooted parties. In all fairness his natural alliance could be primarily with PMLN and even other factions of Muslim League. MQM could be another party that has a revolutionary agenda and comes closer to the PTI for a monumental transformation in favor of the common man and in support of the downtrodden sections of society.

Since his forte is Punjab and some parts of NWFP bordering with Punjab, he could have adjustment of electoral candidates with PMNL. That strategy could have ensured some seats for the PTI also. But in the prevailing political brinkmanship, his biggest foe is Nawaz Sharif and no one else. Thus he is in the habit of betting on wrong horses and fails to read the direction of the political wind.

Imran Khan seems to be disenchanted with politics for some inexplicable reasons that he knows best only. But factually this is the time to hold frequent press conferences, have whirlwind tours of Pakistan and generate a wave of apathy for the inimical forces that have been wreaking Pakistan from day one.

He need to spit fire, show the skills of oration and rhetorical outbursts to fire up and electrify the people to pave way for a kind of peaceful French Revolution against the blood sucking elitism aristocracy, feudalism, bonapartism and other exploitative outfits.

He is rendering himself irrelevant in the political arena of Pakistan by sitting on the sidelines and watching nonchalantly and with folded hands the fight of others. I suspect that he is going through an indecisive phase of introspection that clearly means wastage of time and missing the bus of political urgency.

He should be aware that other political parties are well established. He is relatively a new-comer and has to put in extra efforts and mount vigorous struggle for PTI to be counted and reckoned with as a strong political force and true representative of the suffering people of Pakistan.

The writer is a senior journalist and a former diplomat.

Long March, Army and National Interest

By Sajjad Shaukat

After signing of the Islamabad Long March Declaration by the representatives of the coalition government and Dr Muhammad Tahirul Qadri, the chief of Tehrik-e-Minhaj-ul-Quran (TMQ) and Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT) on January 17, this year, the five days episode was ended, which started from Lahore on January 13, and continued at the D-Chowk of the federal Capital where thousands of persons continued the sit-in for the implementation of Dr Qadris demands.

The agreement includes the dissolution of the National Assembly before March 16, 2013 so that elections can be held within 90 days; one month will be given for scrutiny of nomination papers for the purpose of pre-clearance of the candidates. No candidate would be allowed to start the election campaign until pre-clearance, and in consultation with Pakistan Awami Tehreek, names of two honest and impartial persons for appointment as caretaker prime minister will be chosen. While, issue of composition of the Election Commission of Pakistan will be discussed at the next meeting on January 27, 2013 at the Minhaj-ul-Quran Secretariat, Lahore.

Different interpretations are being given to the understanding reached between the two parties. Some political and religious leaders including media commentators describe it as a face saving-underhand deal as almost all the political parties like PPP, PML-N, M L-Q, ANP, Jamaat-e-Islami, (JI) and JUI-F condemned the long march and sit-in at Islamabad, while favouring the democratic setup and the coming process of general elections in the country. Even, chief of MQM, Altaf Hussain who decided to participate in the long march of Tehrik-e-Minhaj-ul-Quran, while favouring the demands of Dr Tahirul Qadri, withdrew his support. Similarly, PTI led by Imran Khan, which was considering on January 16 to join the sit-in organised by TMQ distanced itself.

Critics opine that Dr Tahirul Qadri failed in obtaining his real objectives, turning the capitals Constitution Avenue into Egypt-style Tahrir Square, and had said that he would not abandon sit-in unless bringing a revolution against the control of parliament by the corrupt rulers who are responsible for load shedding of electricity, gas, price-hike, unemployment etc., forcing them to resign.

The government did not accept Dr Qadris electoral reforms except minor changes in the process. Aside from giving Qadri a voice in who leads the caretaker administration, the government also agreed to dissolve parliament before a scheduled date of March 16, though it did not specify a date. An announcement of an election date could come during a parliament session on January 21.

Nawaz Sharif of PML-N stated on January 18 that Dr Tahirul Qadri had rushed to Islamabad to save the state and topple the government, but escaped from the scene without completion of his so-called agenda. Moreover, many political leaders including PML-N have remarked that sudden return of Dr Tahirul Qadri, holder of Canadian nationality to Pakistan, after seven years and call for the long march near the forthcoming elections showed that he was working on foreign agenda to destabilise Pakistan.

Some political experts say that it is a good sign that the representatives of the ruling parties agreed to reforms which though do not as much concede to Qadris wishes, but they do allow for a smooth run up to the elections.

Although everyone has been viewing the outcome of long march and sit-in at Islamabad by Dr Tahirul Qadris party from his point of view, yet like the past, some internal entities of Pakistan misperceived that Pak Army was behind the long March of Dr Qadri.

Meanwhile, rumours started spreading about Martial Law when on January 15, the Supreme Court ordered the National Accountability Bureau to arrest all 16 people including Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, accused of corruption in rental power projects in 2010.

In this regard, the human rights activists and the former president of the Supreme Court Bar Association Asma Jehangir who has always remained a vocal spoken against army and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) illogically deduced on the same day, saying that the long march of Dr Tahirul Qadri and the Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhrys order for the arrest of prime minister were not a coincidence, but a part of multiple planningthese developments which had been targeting the democracy and the rule of law, were aimed at bringing the army back into power. She added that lawyers community will resist any dictator. Besides, some analysts and newspapers were also misguiding the people that military was engineering a fourth coup behind the scenes.

Earlier, when the chief of TMQ, Dr Qadri had announced the long march and had given the deadline of January 10, 2013 to the federal government to fulfil his conditions, rumours were already spread by some hostile elements that Pak Army is covertly backing Dr Tahirul Qadris long march. But, on January 2, 2012, Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Major General Asim Saleem Bajwa categorically denied the speculation, linking Dr Tahirul Qadri to the military establishment.

Nevertheless, all these misperceptions proved untrue as Chief of the Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani did not interfere in the long march, and during the four days sit-in by the supporters of Dr Qadri in Islamabad.

It is notable that many serious crises erupted in the country, but Gen. Ashfaq Kayani did not interfere and therefore, the present civil government completed its tenure.

Notably, while speaking about Memogate case, on December 22, 2011, the ex-Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, without naming army and ISI, presumed that conspiracies were being hatched to topple the democratically elected government. The opposition leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan of the PML-N had also stated that Martial Law would not be accepted in the country.

In that backdrop, Chief of Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani stated on December 23, The Pakistan Army has and will continue to support democratic process in the country.

It is mentionable that after the speeches of November 5, 2012 Chief Justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and Gen. Kayani, a few segments of politics and electronic media had been manipulating their statements by indicating as if there was a clash between the judiciary and army. Some politicians hinted about Martial Law in the country. Although there was some difference in nature of their statements, yet central point of both army chief and chief justice was the same, as they asserted about the supremacy of the constitution, strengthening the institutions, rule of law, fundamental rights, realisation of forgetting mistakes of the pastand to take a fresh start for the protection and defence of the homeland. Nevertheless, without grasping realities, politicians have also manipulated every issue like the Memogate case, Mehrangate verdict, NRO scandal, missing persons of Balochistan, Air Marshal (r) Asghar Khan case, military operation in Waziristan, incident of Malala Yousafzai etc., not only to disrepute countrys key security intuitions, but also against each other so as to misguide the common men to increase their voting lists.

No doubt during every crisis, by leaving the past practice, Pak army, under the leadership of its present head, has desisted from any kind of adventurism.

While, on June 9, 2011, by stressing upon national unity, Gen. Kayani, especially explained, any effort to create divisions between important institutions of the country was not in national interestthis is an effort to drive a wedge between the army, different organs of the state and more seriously, the people of Pakistan whose support the army has always considered vital for its operations against terrorists. Recently, he repeated similar views about media speculations of military operation in North Waziristan.

Particularly, on March 6, 2008, Gen. Kayani had clearly remarked, The army would stay out of the political process. He is still acting upon the principle of non-intervention in political affairs. And during Qadris, long march, he remained firm on his stand.

At this critical hour, when Pakistan is facing multi-faceted crises in economic and social terms besides perennial wave of subversive activities in various cities as arranged by the foreign secret agencies, national interest demands a selfless unity among politicians, security forces, media and general masses so as to cope with internal and external challenges instead of long marches.

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations.

Million March And Declaration Of Islamabad

By Hammad Mahmood

Islamabad million march is the biggest million march of Islamabad history started on 14 January and ended on 17 January for five days. 38 hours journey from Lahore to Islamabad through GT road and speeches at different cities.

Estimated expenditure on this million march is 80 crores and hired 20,000 buses they have expected 4 millions but that have the audience of March is near about their statements is 1 million.

The important question is that what are the sources of the expenditure of the march? This was a peaceful protest not a single leaf has been broken. This is a record in the history of the third world country and in south East Asia credit goes to Dr Tahirul Qadri.

During this march business and trade closed for five days including closure of Islamabad Stock Exchange and Blue Area the commercial hub and during the million march Karachi Stock Exchange index fell 525 points estimated 1 point is equitant to 25 crore the loss of Pakistan industry, Trade, Business is in trillions and the expenditure on security measures is 25 crores and the main question is that what we have get from this million march after the loss in trillions.

Need to scrutinize the expenditure of Dr Tahirul Qadri and government on this March and facts and figures will be published publicly. Dr Qadri told in a speech to people to afford themselves on this march but it is not possible the mobilization of 1 million people without any funding and support within the country or from abroad.

People have a concern he is silent during the five years of corrupt and incompetent government and he has come just before elections and this March derail the democracy. During the million marches Supreme Court Of Pakistan has ordered to arrest the prime Minister, famous by the name of raja rental and 16 other people but NAB has not taken any action. Dr Qadri also mentioned in his speech Raja Pervaiz Ashraf has done corruption in rental power case thats the main reason of load shedding which destroyed our industrial sector of Pakistan.

During the march Pakistan, India tensions arose and Indian forces killed a Lance Nike of Pakistani army but Pakistani government haven’t highlighted at international platform and not a single statement by any political party or not by any NGO or civil society who gathered to save the so-called democracy and strengthen corrupt government but not a single meeting or protest for national security matters and threat by Indian government and hockey players of Pakistan is also expelled from hockey premier league because of the threats of extremist Hindu organization Shiv Sena but no protest by Pakistani government.

During this million march opposition party gathered at Raiwind palace to strengthen corrupt system and Baloch politicians also attend the meeting in Punjab far from Balochistan but no one have gone to support Hazara community. Who protested with 87 dead bodies for 4 days.

The image of political parties is very negative in public this government have done nothing for the people and destroyed the industrial sector, sports industry. Un-employement is going high and law & order situation is very poor. And there absolutely no security for the people.

These are the main reasons people have no faith in this socalled democracy. The corruption of federal and provisinal governments are destabalising the economy. There is no gas, no electricity for industrial sector or for people. People had shown some interest in Dr Qardi but after the declaration, people are very dissappointed because the declaration signed by corrupt prime minister. Government haven’t dissolved the parliament, Government haven’t dissolved Election commission.

The first point of declaration is the scrutany of candiadetes in the next election and if they would not get cleared, they will not be eligable to take part in elections, even they can’t start the election campaign.

After the million march the objectives are not fullfiled still corrupt politicans are in parliament. There is no hope of employement, Gas or electricity and poor law and order.

All is well that ends well

By Saeed Qureshi

By opting to compromise on certain fundamental contentious issues, the political belligerents have averted a huge human catastrophe. I am referring to the Islamabad accord between Dr. Tahirul Qadri and his party Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT) on one hand and the PPPs coalition government on the other. One would not expect a total accommodation of Maulana Qadris demands, as this could have never be done even by most docile and pliable government.

If both the parties have overcome the principal irritants and leveled off the rough ends, then it is indeed a monumental accomplishment. Such sparkling development should be welcomed by sober and moderate onlookers and even the stakeholders and well wishers of Pakistan. It was a real peoples struggle for genuine reforms.

The most laudable and striking hallmark of the historic sit-in was that it was orderly and peaceful and sustained for five days with great deal of poise and responsible attitude by the protesters. Amazingly the participants of the unique rally were the people most of whom were alien to the posh environs of the capital of Pakistan.

Most of them hailed from the rural or semi-urban landscape of Pakistan. There were also a sizable number from the cities. Admirably, they all did not resort to provocative conduct or outburst of violence that has remained the usual tone and patterns of such rallies, processions and public meetings in Pakistan.

The Islamabad sit-in of the PAT and the others affiliate groups and individuals have set a pioneering brilliant precedent of the peaceful yet rigorous outlet of their pent-up anger and deep disapproval about a discredited and a pernicious status-quo gnawing at the vitals of Pakistan. It has established beyond any shadow of doubt that peaceful demonstrations and sober protests were more poignant and effective than the riotous and violent ones.

There is a great deal of resemblance between the about a month long mammoth protest of Egyptian people at the historic Tehrir Square ultimately throwing a stubborn and despised dictator Hosni Mubarak into the dustbin of infamy and lasting condemnation. In comparison the Egyptian protest was a mega one and that of Pakistan is minor. But their thrust is the same: to change a decadent system wholly or piecemeal.

While the stakes in Egypt were sky high, In Islamabad it had much limited agenda. It was not to change the praetorian but the mode of holding elections. The Egyptian sit-in at Tehrir Square was joined by all shades of political and public opinion. The Islamabads assemblage was staged solely by mostly students, peasants, laboring sections and lower middle classes. Its primary aim was to reform the electoral system, tailored to reelect the representatives from the privileged, aristocratic, elite feudal and wealthy classes.

Both the sides have demonstrated a high level of discretion and prudence and even tolerance in reaching the consensus and to hammer out a harmonious end of a stand-off that could have turned ugly and entail untold sufferings. Many among the protesters had come with their whole families including the children and infants and with meager quantity of ration. With a prolonged stay they would have ultimately starved or get sick. They would have called off the mission that could be disarrayed and fraught with frightening hazards.

It is a feather in the cap of the PPP coalition government and a well-deserved laurel for exercising utmost patience and not resort to coercive techniques employed in such chaotic and challenging situations. Now, one would watch with fingers crossed if the government earnestly implements, in letter and spirit, of what has been agreed upon between the two sides after lengthy parleys.

Almost all the political parties not only kept away from the Dr. Qadris led procession and rallies but scathingly criticized it for being held with sinister motives at the behest of some forces, at a time when fresh elections were around the corner. The politicians rejected Qadris movement and termed it a creepy plot by him to sabotage and short-circuit the democracy to pave way for the undemocratic forces to take over.

Those apprehensions and speculations have proven to be wrong. On the contrary the popular huge protests for comprehensive reform in the electoral system and its acceptance by the government would spur the healthy democratic culture and traditions in Pakistan. It has established, for the first time in the checkered history of Pakistan that the people, to whom the power belongs, were capable of affecting a healthy reform and meaningful transformation in the errant and faulty system.

It has further proven that a dysfunctional and flawed system can be brought back on track with unity, cohesion, resolution and indeed through a peaceful struggle by the people. Dr. Qadri achieved a landmark objective singlehandedly that has remained elusive thus far and that unfortunately was decried and boycotted by the super-duper politicians en-bloc. Who knows that these high sounding politicians wanted to save the stinking status quo or were jealous of an unexpected intruder who mobilized the people in a short span of time for a great national cause?

The writer is a senior journalist and a former diplomat.

Tahirul Qadri almost announced him as CT-PM of Pakistan, Says Zaid Hamid

Chaklala, MTT News Desk: The founder of renowned Chaklala based think tank BrassTack, Syed Zaid Zaman Hamid says that Dr. Tahirul Qadri has almost announced him as caretaker prime Minister of Pakistan.

Zaid Hamid says that Tahirul Qadri has “dismissed all political constitution bodies including, Government, Parliament, PM and the President of Pakistan and now, he seems considering him as the caretaker Prime Minister of Pakistan.

Zaid Hamid warned that there are bright chances of a clash between Tahirul Qadri’s men and the government, where President Zardari is in full control with his own picked PM and Interior Minister, Rahman Malik.

Zaid Hamid termed the Long March of Tahirul Qadri as “rebellion” and said that the anarchy is in making. He feared that the innocent people, present near and around D-Chock are in danger.

“There are daughters, sisters and children” He expressed his concern.

Syed Zaid Zaman Hamid said that the pressure is building on current regime of Zardari from all sides. He said that the Balochistan government has gone and the Supreme Court has already ordered to arrest Mr. Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and ongoing Long March of Tahirul Qadri have endangered the Zardari regime.

High-speed changing political spectrum

By Brig. (Retd) Asif Haroon Raja

Operation Weaken Pakistan through covert war launched in 2002 by so-called allies of Pakistan was part of four-dimensional plan to destabilize, de-Islamize, denuclearize and destroy Pakistan. For eleven years concerted efforts have been made by the US and its allies grouped together in Kabul to achieve their objectives. The first phase of destabilization has progressed fairly well and today Pakistans socio-politico-economic-military fabric is seriously disheveled. Fast crumbling economy has made the state fragile and vulnerable to military intervention. But for deceptive friendship and slavish compliance of our leaders, this sort of progress was impossible to achieve by our so-called allies. So far it was intensely debated whether India or religious extremism cum terrorism was the existential threat to Pakistans security. It is now being said that the biggest threat is posed by the ruling coalition subservient to the wishes of Washington. In its near five-year tenure, the PPP led regime has left no stone unturned to destroy each and every institution of Pakistan and to bring bad name to democracy.

After ZA Bhutto and his daughter Benazir Bhuttos efforts to secularize the society, secularism was promoted by Musharraf through his enlightened moderation concept under the garb of presenting a soft image of Pakistan to the world. Sudden expansion of TV channels was a step in that direction. Secularism was further promoted by PPP led liberal parties after they assumed power in 2008. These efforts were reinforced by India and the west through Indo-western cultural invasion to promote obscenity and vulgarity with the help of foreign movies, X-rated CDs, NGOs. Propaganda war was launched on electronic and print media to undermine Islamic culture. Two-nation theory, Islamic ideology and other settled issues were debated to sow seeds of doubts among the youth. Quaid-e-Azam was portrayed as a secularist. The US and India financed TV channels and journalists to sell their themes and manipulate perceptions.

Madrassahs, mosques, religious scholars, ulemas and Islamists dubbed as extremists and terrorists were hit hard to undermine Islamic culture. All these efforts were made by Indo-US-Western-Jewish lobbies with the help of liberal groups within Pakistan to soften the glue of Islam which kept the federating units and the people of differing cultures united and to transform the complexion of Pakistan to secularism. These sustained efforts have made seculars and liberals in minority into ultra liberals, but Islamists which are in great majority have clung to their Islamic moorings and Islam is spreading rather than getting curtailed.

The US sustained efforts to disable our nuclear program or force Pakistan to roll it back and handover the manufactured bombs for safe custody elsewhere because of threat posed by the militants have been foiled because of the dogged determination of the armed forces. Pakistan militarys nuclear deterrence has not been compromised and its conventional capability is still strong and robust despite the decade old fatiguing war on terror. Our nuclear arsenal has been made secure through multi-layered security system meeting international standards. Foolproof command and control mechanism of its nuclear arsenal and its nuclear production capability as well as missile power have an edge over Indian wherewithal. The nuclear and missile capabilities are constantly being upgraded to meet the Indian challenge. None of the service chief has got overawed with the presence of US-NATO in Afghanistan and Indias hostile posturing posing a twin threat.

The lawyer community was instrumental in getting chief justice Iftikhar and 60 judges of higher courts reinstated and in freeing the judiciary from the clutches of military-political bureaucratic power centres. Judiciary with a tainted past has got fully reinvigorated and it is asserting its independence resolutely. But for proactive judiciary, the country might have been sold off by now as was evident from memo case. Wrongdoers irrespective of their social status have been netted and the day is not far when each one would be punished. A sensational beginning was made when former PM Gilani was forced by Supreme Court (SC) to relinquish his charge.

Despite the fact that a segment of media has been bought by foreign powers, the media is playing an important role in highlighting the failings of the elites and ills of the society boldly. The stagnant civil society and the youth got energized during the lawyer movement and are now endeavoring to bring a healthy change in our decayed political system hinging on dynasties, Baradaries, power of wealth and the gun. The disillusioned people are abandoning the status quo lovers and flocking towards revisionists promising change.

The people have braved the hardships of power and gas outages, scarcity of food items, joblessness and pains of poverty and spate of suicide bombings/bomb blasts bravely. Financial hardships, poverty and insecurity have not lowered their spirits. In the depressed environment, Pakistans hockey team won Asian championship by flooring Indian team in the finals and our cricket team shared the trophy with India in T20s and won one-day series, both on Indias home ground. In the field of songs and music which is the domain of India, Pakistani singer Nabeel won the Sur Kshetra competition.

The military has kept itself restrained from taking over, despite extreme home pressure to intervene and Gen Kayani has promised to support democracy and to help in conducting free and fair elections. Tehrik-e-Insaf (TI) has emerged as a third political force to challenge the monopoly of status quo loving two mainstream parties. Dr Tahirul Qadri has also stepped in with his electoral reform program when elections are close by to add fuel to the rising political temperature. He is under severe criticism of all political parties except MQM, TI and PML-Q. His detractors are frantically trying to besmirch his image by calling him a Canadian working on someone elses agenda.

Untested TI wants removal of corrupt leaders of the two mainstream parties seen by Imran as chips of the same block, equitable justice, effective taxation system and dialogue with estranged militants in FATA and Balochistan. Imrans balloon to a large extent has been busted by Qadri who has snatched the initiative from him. Imran could have gained politically had he stuck to his earlier inclination to get associated with Qadri and participated in his long march. As part of damage control he hastened to join the sit-in of Hazaras in Quetta and has now asked President Zardari to resign. Opportunist MQM is supporting Dr Qadri but must be ruing its decision of backing out from his long march. This u turn however was to the advantage of Qadri. While MQM is pressing the government to accept Qadris demands and not to create any hurdles in his sit-in, it is unwilling to resign from federal and Sindh governments. Altaf is facing scathing attacks of people of Pakistan on his imprudent utterances against Quaid-e-Azam.

Two-time tried out PML-N desires true democracy to strengthen institutions and turning Pakistan into an Asian tiger, but it is dejected that its dream of wearing the crown is being sabotaged by Qadri. The ANP having lost many of its leaders and party activists at the hands of militants in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa want all political parties to get united and develop a consensus to take a decisive action against militancy. At the same time it has offered unconditional peace talks to TTP. Religious parties want interference of USA in domestic affairs to end, independent foreign policy, early resolution of Kashmir issue based on UN resolutions and implementation of constitution strictly in line with Quran and Sunnah. However, conceptually, all religious parties/group differ with each other.

Of late TTP and its affiliates have stepped up its attacks and at the behest of its patrons are trying to provoke the government to launch a major operation in North Waziristan thereby helping Hakimullah in reunifying divided TTP and mustering support of all other militant groups and putting up a united front against security forces. Attack on Malala and Peshawar airport and assassination of top ANP leader Bashir Bilour were undertaken by TTP with this hidden objective in mind. TTP has accepted governments offer of talks provided it agrees to promulgate Shariah and not to insist on surrendering arms.

The PPP regime smug on having reached the tail-end of its five-year tenure was looking forward for a smooth transition of power, or preferably to win again, was suddenly confronted with multi-dimensional threats as if the events had been synchronized. On one hand, militants have stepped up their activities, and on the other Indian military have heated up the LoC. Drone strikes are continuing. MQM kicked up dust on the issue of delimitation of constituencies in Karachi. Dr Tahirul Qadri has added to the woes of PPP by staging a massive sit-in in Islamabad. Carnage in Quetta on January 10, wherein over 100 Hazaras died in terrorist attacks and hundreds got injured. Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Jaishul Islam are behind most attacks on Shia Hazaras.

Under intense pressure, Zardari was forced to sack Aslam Raisanis thoroughly corrupt, inept and insensitive government and impose Governor Rule for two months in the wake of sit-in by Hazara community in Quetta for four days and refusing to bury 86 dead bodies till the Army took over. Men, women and children protested in freezing cold silently and neither resorted to violence nor uttered a word against Pakistan. Dual-faced Fazlur Rahman and Akhtar Mengal, seemingly satisfied with weird Raisani, have not welcomed Governor Rule.

Chaudhri brothers vainly tried to hold back Dr Qadri from undertaking the long march but couldnt break their past record of failures. Qadris impressive long march managed to reach Islamabad on the night of 14th despite hurdles created by Punjab and federal governments. He spelled out his seven-point agenda for change which revolves around electoral reforms under competent and independent caretaker government before elections. During his address to the lustily cheering people including women and small children on the following day, Qadri demanded immediate dissolution of national and provincial assemblies as well as Election Commission. He thundered that the executive head and legislators had lost the moral right to rule and must quit.

While he was still addressing, the SC gave another landmark judgment, ordering Chairman NAB to arrest PM Raja Ashraf and 16 others on account of their involvement in Rental Power Plant corruption case. Chief Justice was compelled to take this drastic step since NAB had failed to take any action on its verdict given in March 2012 despite repeated reminders. It may be recalled that to add insult to injury, President Zardari had appointed under trial Raja Ashraf as replacement of sacked PM Gilani. Except for the types of Asma Jahangir and Hamid Mir, the SC decision was hailed by the people and they danced ecstatically. Jubilant Qadri told the audience to offer thanksgiving prayers.

With Ashraf in the dock, the ultimatum given by Dr Qadri has compounded the dilemma of Zardari and his gang of thieves. In case D Chowk multitude doubles up on 16th, and the swelling crowd stays on for two to three days or more, Zardari and his band will either have to roll up their beddings voluntarily or face the wrath of the people. Any silly mistake by Rahman Malik will trigger uncontrollable reaction from the charged up crowd. What is required is coolness of mind and sagacious handling of the delicate situation. The government should immediately hold parleys with Dr Qadri, seriously consider his seven demands which are backed by the people and adopt a conciliatory posture. He should be consulted in forming a caretaker government and the process of long due electoral reforms may be undertaken to put an end to the practice of rigged elections.

The writer is a retired Brig, a freelance columnist and a defence analyst.

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