Category Archives: Pakistan’s Political Leaders

Ignoring the Issue

Last week has been dedicated to rallies, increase in political ante and allegations by political opponents. While this might be termed as a normal and encouraging sign in a democratic system, but in all the political bickering, the menace of terrorism has been ignored. The recent suicide blast in Nowshera targeting police officials has underscored the fact that terrorism is still very much a threat to the country. As soon as we take our eyes off the situation, these nefarious elements are ready to pounce at the opportunity presented. Would it not be better that instead of arguing and fighting amongst ourselves, the political leadership would sit together and at least come out with a comprehensive strategy to battle the menace of terrorism?

Why?

Kudos! to all the political parties who attended the All Parties Conference (APC) and came to unanimous resolution, holding national sovereignty supreme and rejecting all U.S. allegations, but beyond all this show of nationalism (probably for public consumption) it remains to be seen, what we will achieve through the brewing confrontation. Not to mention that the leaders of many political parties present at the session have differing stances on U.S. policy (as evident through Wikileaks), in public and private. We should remember that U.S. has remained an old ally of Pakistan, probably even before China. Currently 60% of our textile exports are catering U.S. markets and USAID has been investing heavily in development projects. Whenever we are in need of loans, it is again the American Government or through them as facilitators that we acquire the required funds. The defense infrastructure of what we are so proud of is mostly based on equipment provided by the Americans. An average Pakistani prefers to acquire U.S. citizenship or at least an opportunity to study and work in United States. Then why so much animosity and resentment is present against a country, which has been assisting us at every step.

Ceremonious Relief

In recent days interior Sindh has been worse affected from the floods, resulting from the monsoon rains. Surprisingly it has been reported in the media that the relief camps have not been able to operate, due to absence or non-availability of political personalities to inaugurate the camps. It is unfortunate that in this time of crisis, we are still looking at avenues for political point scoring at the expense of precious lives. Perhaps the personalities in question require a red carpet reception, with half the funds to be wasted on the inaugural ceremony and the other half to go in the pockets of their corrupt cronies. Despite the early warnings this year, it seems that a thorough initiative was not undertaken, otherwise the floods would not have left such trail of destruction.

More Leeway?

In a statement made by the leader of a popular political party, he has claimed to, “…put an end to all military operations and will withdraw our troops from FATA…” and adopt a political approach. This was part of the plan presented by the party, if they are elected to power. What one fails to understand is that these extremists have already been given enough leeway and we can all see where it has gotten us to, but certain parties and their leaders with their unique agendas fail to comprehend the situation. The political approach has been tried time and again, which has failed and resulted in only providing the militants time to recuperate. Strict and concrete measures are required to tackle this situation, instead of baseless political maneuvers.

Visiting Pakistan?

As if our tourism industry wasn’t suffering enough already because of the steadily worsening security situation, we know have Maulana Diesel’s younger brother Atta -ur-Rehman as the Federal Tourism Minister. He has reportedly only “spent a few hours ” in office but has already declared that he would purge the tourism industry from “all un-Islamic and obscene practices” He is already thinking of banning alcohol licenses for foreigners and that they should be `appropriately clad .”
They might as well close down the Ministry and save our money.

Everyone for themselves

When the Chief of the Army Staff was sacked, Mushraff and his military friends rose to protest army ishtyle
When the Chief Justice was sacked, the judges and lawyers rose to protest kala coat ishtyle
When the Pakistan Tehreek -i-Insaaf party members were targetted in Karachi by the MQM Imran Khan rose to protest waliyati istyle
When his house was demolished only then did Senator Nasir Khan rise and resign in protest, parliamentary istyle

Before this, there wasn’t a whimper out of Senator Sahab over the drone attacks or on any other issue related to his Province.

Every man/woman for himself/herself in Pakistan.

Reminds us of the following :

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.
When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I was not a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out
.

No `fun’ for ANP

To err is human, as they say. However, to err and then be defiant is certainly foolish. Chief Minister Hoti was caught on camera showing his vote publicly to let his own party the ANP and their coalition partner PPP know that he had voted for Asif Ali Zardari. This was the agreed norm between the two parties to ensure that no votes go “missing” A clear violation of the sanctity of the vote but what is even more foolish is that the ANP has defended this practice on the grounds that it was “fun”
What perhaps is not “fun” is the need to address the trust deficit that exists between the ANP and the PPP in NWFP as the two parties have been squabbling over cabinet positions and other dole outs. It was the result of this trust deficit that they required both party members to show their votes to ensure that they vote for Zardari.

The political managers of the ANP certainly have to work overtime on this one!

Freedom to marry?

We don’t know whether to laugh or cry. During a discussion on the Baluchistan women burning issue, a member of the Sindh Assembly declared that the Assembly should legislate on a “Freedom to marry” bill. This bill according to the honorable member would be to check practices like dishonorable killings.
The thinking behind this proposal is of course very sound. We still have cases, as exampled by the Balochistan case, of women not allowed to marry men of their choice.
However, is the Honorable Member of the Parliament aware that the issue is not about new legislation but about its implementation? The Constitution of Pakistan already guarantees all citizens freedom of choice, movement and religion. Thus, in an already heavily legislated but poorly implemented country like Pakistan we certainly don’t need more legislation.
Or do we?

Senator Rabbani’s package & Zardari’s plans

Everyday, in the words of columnist Shafqat Mehmood, we wake up to a new rumor. We are told that planes are coming in to take a “significant family of Rawalpindi” abroad. Then there is talk of the Constitutional package that will clip Presidential wings or perhaps not. Another rumour is about Zardari-Nawaz strategizing not to impeach the President but to pressurize him so that he resigns on his own and then Zardari to become the President for ` greater national good .”

The news about the Constitutional package and Zardari thinking of becoming the President just does not gel, in our opinion. Are we expected to believe that Zardari through the Constitutional package will curtail the Presidential Office powers and then become the President? Either news about the Zardari Presidential aspirations is incorrect or the proposed Constitutional packages will not clip the Presidential wings.

Speaking of packages, Senator Raza Rabbani has proposed a package. The package proposes that the Governor of a Province must be a “permanent resident ” This is essential and good news for Balochistan as the Province has had Governors who are not even from the Province. Balochistanis express their confusion as to why the other Provinces are not blessed with such “foreign governors”

The package , upholds freedom of speech, when it proposes that “fair comment” after the expiry of period of limitation of appeal on a court’s sentence , be allowed.

The package also proposes that individuals with dual nationalities should be barred from becoming members of the Parliament. This, in our opinion, should be re-visited because it violates the political rights of such individuals. If the Pakistani state allows for holding dual nationalities then how can it bar those individuals from exercising their political rights of contesting elections ?

Mahmood Zeb needs to be taken to task

As citizens of Pakistan, we are extremely perturbed over Mr. Mahmood Zeb’s complete disregard to public interest. Mr. Mahmood Zeb Khan of the PPP is not happy at the way the Revenue portfolio has been taken away from him .It is to be note that in order to please the PPP-Sherpao breakaway faction led by Mr. Pervaiz Khattak , the Revenue portfolio has been awarded to them by the NWFP government.

Mr. Mahmood Zeb has declared publicly, “ I will not accept any other ministry except the Revenue. I will take up the issue with Asif Ali Zardari. If he asked me to continue as a minister, I will but even then I will not take an interest in the Ministry .

This statement of his is extremely perturbing for citizens because (a) it shows the complete disregard that he has for public interest and (b) indicates that he will waste public resources by occupying a Ministry where he will not work thus damaging the public interest.

Sources have revealed that the overwhelming interest of Mr. Mahmood Zeb in the Revenue Ministry is that he and his family have a number of land disputes including land in the main Bazar Timergara, the District head quarter, currently in use for Govt General Bus stand and a public play ground. He needs to take possession of that land and is hoping to use the Ministry for this end. In addition to this land, he and his family have other land disputes.

State properties are being claimed by the minister’s family and a number of cases are sub-judice in various courts. But importantly, he has obtained some court decrees relating to lands which are commercial properties situated in Timergara and taking possession of these is his main concern. Sources have also revealed that he was arrested by local police in an offence under illegal dispossession act.

Individualland would like to launch a protest against this seeking an apology from the Mr. Mahmood Zeb. We would also like to call upon the PPP to probe the matter and question Mr. Mahmood Zeb over this statement.