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For A New Political Order: Pakistan's Current Political Situation In Crisis


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ONLY IMPORTANT EVENTS: The current rulers mismanagement, misgovernance and policy failures on fellow Pakistanis. 

A Struggle For New Political Order: A Pakistani Governance System In Crisis
 
 
ONLY MEGA, BIG & HUGE POLITICAL EVENTS
 
Aslan S.

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Assalamaoalukum,

I cant believe that there are people in Pakistan who still believe in Nawaz brothers. They are true *******s who have done extreme demage to Pakistan. Forget they are corrupt and have stashed away their wealth in London. Their complete silence (read support) for Zardari and affairs in the country are criminal. They stayed quiet while Pakistan was robbed and plundered only because theyhope their turn is next. Why are they not demanding supreme court to reactivate Zardari loot cases? because they know it will be their turn next.

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What do you mean by "showing tactical backbone"?

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He said he accepts the Messenger as the last Messenger it should be the Prophet being the last prophet as written in the Quran.

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Where is my dog of a Army Chief of Staff and the Corp Commander when this type of brutality is occuring on their watch?

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Well, is the Army the sole unabated ruler of the country when everyone is asking for their help?  Why have elections then?

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its the bloody politicians and the judiciary who need to get their heads out of their rear! I dont like TuQ and his cracy revolution scheme, but what Punjab Police did yesterday, was simply police brutality at its worst! Shahbaz was an a-hole but has taken it to a new level of low even for his and his brothers standards.

 

Today his police crew is trying to cover up by barging into the hopitals, stealing, changing medical records. Seriously what they heck are they upto? Its beyond my imagination.

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Where is my dog of a Army Chief of Staff and the Corp Commander when this type of brutality is occuring on their watch?

Are you calling the army chief and corp commanders dogs because they aren't doing the job others are elected and empowered/entrusted to do?

ndad

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Salaam

 

 

Are Shareef Brothers this stupid or they just ended up doing something so utterly stupid? They just up and shot women (and men) in the face! Which genious did they emply for this scheme? Baffling.

 

I don't like TuQ much nor do I trust him much - but even I think these guys were clearly victimized and brutalized needlessly. 

 

Drunk with power indeed.

 

'Those whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad' - Ancient Greek Proverb

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Are you calling the army chief and corp commanders dogs because they aren't doing the job others are elected and empowered/entrusted to do?

ndad

I expect nothing out of judiciary, or political leaders. I expect more from the Army. Using the elected politicians as a metric of measurement is not acceptable if my taxes are going to maintain a standing army of hundreds of thousands.

 

They are to defend the populations from domestic and international threats. There is nothing different about police under civilian Government shooting 7 civilians than the the TTP attacking Karachi airport.

 

The Army leadership is not inclined to come out of the bararacks, and they do not need to do a military takeover. What they need to have is backbone to engage in indirect pshychological warfare, plus public statements of what its expectations are in terms of identfiying who did it and why, and holding verbally the provincial Govt accountable. I don't expect them to keep their mouths shut and turn a blind eye and pretend as if all is well. In fact they can do anything beyond keeping their mouth shut and that will be a good move.

 

If the Corp is sitting war gaming for defending against a Cavaly push from the border, and that keeps their day time busy, than they need to work extra hours to see whats going on today.

 

Btw, any body notice that while this took place 24 hours ago, there is no mention of this in international press. I had to google and even then only a few hits. The first ones that come are Indian press.

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Article 6 anyone? Either this is true or else the Sharif brothers should take Samaa TV to court.

 

 

 

Lahore cops blow whistle on malicious govt orders
 
21:47 Jun 18, 2014 PAKISTAN
LAHORE: Validating media speculations, Punjab police authorities, who snapped under pressure Wednesday, blew the whistle on Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) led provincial government’s orders to victimize Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) protestors in Lahore, Samaa reported.
 
“They ordered us to teach them a lesson. We were told to go in with no holds barred, bulldoze all the barriers,  give them a thrashing of their lives, and shoot at will indiscriminately, if necessary”,  a police official told Samaa on the condition of anonymity.
 
The officials broke the blue wall of silence after Chief Minster Punjab, Shahbaz Sharif, suspended them following the deaths of eight unarmed activists outside Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri’s residence in Model Town here.
 
“It wasn’t personal. We were only following the decrees issued by the government. Now why should we become the scapegoats for the action of Punjab government”, another official told Samaa.
 
A day earlier, frustrated senior cops had refused to take the suspension lying down terming it blatant injustice following which the government was forced to eat its orders.
 
CCPO Lahore Chaudhry Shafiq Gujjar, DIG Operations Rana Abdul Jabbar, and SSP Model Town Tariq Aziz were kicked downstairs to the level of Officers on Special Duty (OSDs) following the tragic incident.
 
In Pakistan, government functionaries are made OSDs as punishment. Technically speaking they are officers stripped of all powers waiting for their reposting back to the position they were removed from.
 
Eight people were killed Tuesday when Pakistani riot police armed with assault rifles clashed with followers Dr Qadri, a rare act of political violence in Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's home city, involved supporters of cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri who lives in Canada but is due to come to Pakistan on June 23.
 
He hopes to lead a "peaceful revolution" against the country's parliamentary democracy which he considers corrupt.
 
The religiously moderate cleric has a large following in Pakistan. But some analysts believe he is also supported by the country's powerful military establishment to keep civilian authorities in check.
 
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This is getting more and more interesting...the PML-N Govt is acting like fascists, Punjabis killing Punjabis.

- Punjab Govt tried false flag operation against TUQ's PAT, their PMLN workerS got caught on TV cameras red handed.

- Then yesterday they tried to temper medical records of deceased and injured people, got caught again in Jinnah Hospital Lahore.

- Today they tried fake attack on crazy Gullu Butt, got exposed again.

Where are we living when the most rich & forward looking Province becoming a jungles land.

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Aoa

And we will have people saying again :

Sher. Ik warri fhaiir

W/salaam

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Is the PMERA ban and fine on ARY related to this? I know Lucmna's show was the reason but couldn't find any other info

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First Geo and now ARY. Evidently judiciary is untouchable but they can have a former President on trial.

 

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) announced on Friday that the licenses of private TV channels Geo Entertainment and ARY News are to be suspended, DawnNews reported.

Geo Entertainment has been slapped with a one month suspension along with a Rs10 million fine, while the license of ARY News will be suspended for 15 days and a similar fine imposed.

The notice by Pemra stated that the regulatory body took "serious notice of violations by Geo Entertainment and ARY News".

It said that it had ordered the "immediate suspension of the license of Geo Entertainment for 30 days, and a Rs10 million fine".

Similarly, it added that the authorities had decided to "immediately suspend ARY News for 15 days, and impose a fine of Rs 10 million."

Pemra said that Geo Entertainment had its license suspended over airing blasphemous content on one of its shows.

ARY News was handed the license suspension over complaints that it had made slanderous statements against the judiciary on one of its shows.

This is the second suspension faced by a television channel owned by the Geo TV network. Geo News was previously suspended for 15 days by Pemra in an order issued on June 6, 2014.

In a message posted on social media Geo News said that it's broadcast would be effectively restored at 12:AM on Saturday as it had completed its 15-day suspension period.

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Salaam

 

Well, the Government figured they couldn't save Geo completely so they decided to take action against ARY which is currently completely against Geo and Government. I doubt the matter is simply about contempt of Judiciary.

Hafeez, A Khan, SSAAD and 1 other like this

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The tear gas shells being fired by Police are landing in the houses of people. Total chaos in Lahore. All hell has broken loose.

 

Young doctors stop work in emergency ward in Jinnah Hospital, Lahore, refuse to treat policemen.

 

Lahore is chaos, Pakistan govt may resign.

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and Noora does it again .. he needs to stay away from his close aides (relatives) for his own good ..  

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Deadly Clashes With Police Erupt at Pakistan Protests in Punjab - New York Times
 
By SALMAN MASOOD and WAQAR GILLANI - Lahore
AUG. 9, 2014
 
FILE Photo:  http://static01.nyt.com/images/2014/08/10/world/PAKISTAN/PAKISTAN-master675.jpg - Supporters of Muhammad Tahir-ul Qadri, a cleric who opposes Pakistan’s prime minister, rallied in Lahore on Saturday. CreditArif Ali/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
 
Continue reading the main story
 



ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Violent clashes between the police and opponents of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif swept across Pakistan’s Punjab Province on Saturday, leaving at least two people dead and more than 100 injured as Mr. Sharif’s 14-month-old government sought to forestall a series of planned street protests aimed at ousting it.

 

For the second consecutive day, the Pakistani police confronted supporters of Muhammad Tahir-ul Qadri, a firebrand preacher who has vowed to topple Mr. Sharif through a “peaceful revolution.” The cleric’s supporters — some of them armed with staves, others wearing gas masks — overturned police barricades and engaged in street battles in towns across Punjab, Mr. Sharif’s political power base.

 

One of Mr. Qadri’s supporters died during clashes in Bhakkar and one officer died in Sargodha, while 130 people were injured and 22 officers were taken hostage, the police said in a statement.

The escalating violence caused Mr. Qadri to cancel a protest against Mr. Sharif that had been scheduled for Lahore on Sunday. During a press conference outside his home in Lahore on Saturday, Mr. Qadri instructed supporters to mount smaller demonstrations in their home cities across the province.

 

pakistanmap-1403318523801-master180.png
 

Map: Pakistan’s Hot Spots at a Glance



 

The clashes deepened the sense of crisis surrounding Mr. Sharif’s government, whose power has already been undermined by a troubled relationship with the country’s military leadership. The prime minister now faces the prospect of a series of major streets protests led by Mr. Qadri and, more substantively, his rival in the opposition, Imran Khan.

 

Mr. Khan, a former cricket star and leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, has said he will hold a “million man march” in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad, on the country’s Independence Day, Aug. 14. The point of the demonstration, Mr. Khan said, is to protest what he has alleged was vote-rigging during the general election in May 2013. Mr. Khan has said he will lead a sit-in outside Parliament until Mr. Sharif accedes to his demand for a new election.

 

Mr. Khan has staked much on the protest. While his party rules the northwestern province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, his goal is to replace Mr. Sharif as the major force in Punjab, Pakistan’s most populous and influential province. Mr. Khan has built pressure on Mr. Sharif this year with a series of rallies. In speeches, he has portrayed the Aug. 14 protest as a decisive moment in his career.

 

Mr. Sharif has responded robustly, using the law and security forces to outmaneuver his opponents. He has attempted to stymie Mr. Khan’s plans by invoking a colonial-era public order law that temporarily bans political protests in Islamabad.

 

Analysts have said that Mr. Sharif’s reaction to the challenges has been heavy-handed and disproportionate, and that it has frequently fanned the protests that he has sought to quell. Perhaps in response to those critics, Mr. Sharif on Saturday publicly urged Mr. Khan to call off his protest and to resolve the crisis through political talks.

 

The picture has been further complicated by the return of Mr. Qadri. Normally a resident of Canada, he organized protests against the previous government, which was led by President Asif Ali Zardari, in January 2013. Mr. Qadri returned to Pakistan in June, promising to peacefully overthrow Mr. Sharif, whom he called corrupt and autocratic.

But the movement quickly became mired in bloodshed when the police killed nine of Mr. Qadri’s supporters outside his Lahore home in June. Those deaths became a rallying point for Mr. Qadri’s supporters, who have since taken to the streets.

 

“We are here at the call of the leader, and we want a revolution,” said Gulham Datagir, 18, as he held a baton outside Mr. Qadri’s house on Friday.

 

Reports of close ties between Mr. Qadri and the country’s army have caused some Pakistanis to fear that his protests could lead to a military coup. At a news conference outside his Islamabad home on Friday, Mr. Khan suggested that the military could intervene if his Islamabad sit-in was thwarted. “The responsibility will lie squarely on Nawaz Sharif if the army steps in,” he said.

 

Mr. Khan and Mr. Qadri have denied any links to the military, and there is little evidence to support the fears of a military takeover. Still, it is an open secret that the army chief, Gen. Raheel Sharif, is unhappy with Mr. Sharif for his refusal to allow Gen. Pervez Musharraf, the former military leader currently facing trial for treason, to leave Pakistan.

 

The prime minister has the support of several opposition parties, including the Pakistan Peoples Party and the religious Jamaat-e-Islami, whose leaders have tried to mediate between Mr. Sharif and Mr. Khan in recent weeks. But if that fails, Mr. Sharif has said he would physically prevent any protest on Aug. 14.

 

The government has announced plans to seal roads leading to Islamabad and to curtail fuel supplies to vehicles carrying opposition supporters. Paramilitary soldiers have been deployed in Islamabad and Lahore, and army troops are in the capital to deter attacks in retaliation to the military operation in the North Waziristan tribal district, along the border with the Afghanistan, which started in June.

 
Salman Masood reported from Islamabad, and Waqar Gillani from Lahore, Pakistan. Declan Walsh contributed reporting from London.the desire of the army.
 

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/10/world/asia/deadly-clashes-with-police-erupt-at-pakistan-protests.html?_r=0

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This is not the first paper (reuters did the same) to report that the military may be connected to this.

 

I am surprised at the hypocricy: are the people of Pakistan complete morons and retarded that they don't have the ability to stand up to poor Government because things must be well, and the only reason they must be rising up is because the military wants it to?

 

This is the easy way out for these press stories to find a bogey instead of doing the next level of analysis, and sending a reporter to go to Pakistan, leave his hotel and see why the population doesn't like the current Govt. Instead its easier to promote conspiracy theories without recognizing that a democractic government can get protests and can question the governance.

Deadly Clashes With Police Erupt at Pakistan Protests in Punjab - New York Times
 
By SALMAN MASOOD and WAQAR GILLANI - Lahore
AUG. 9, 2014

 

FILE Photo:  http://static01.nyt.com/images/2014/08/10/world/PAKISTAN/PAKISTAN-master675.jpg - Supporters of Muhammad Tahir-ul Qadri, a cleric who opposes Pakistan’s prime minister, rallied in Lahore on Saturday. CreditArif Ali/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

 
Continue reading the main story
 

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Violent clashes between the police and opponents of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif swept across Pakistan’s Punjab Province on Saturday, leaving at least two people dead and more than 100 injured as Mr. Sharif’s 14-month-old government sought to forestall a series of planned street protests aimed at ousting it.

 

For the second consecutive day, the Pakistani police confronted supporters of Muhammad Tahir-ul Qadri, a firebrand preacher who has vowed to topple Mr. Sharif through a “peaceful revolution.” The cleric’s supporters — some of them armed with staves, others wearing gas masks — overturned police barricades and engaged in street battles in towns across Punjab, Mr. Sharif’s political power base.

 

One of Mr. Qadri’s supporters died during clashes in Bhakkar and one officer died in Sargodha, while 130 people were injured and 22 officers were taken hostage, the police said in a statement.

The escalating violence caused Mr. Qadri to cancel a protest against Mr. Sharif that had been scheduled for Lahore on Sunday. During a press conference outside his home in Lahore on Saturday, Mr. Qadri instructed supporters to mount smaller demonstrations in their home cities across the province.

 

pakistanmap-1403318523801-master180.png
 

Map: Pakistan’s Hot Spots at a Glance

 

The clashes deepened the sense of crisis surrounding Mr. Sharif’s government, whose power has already been undermined by a troubled relationship with the country’s military leadership. The prime minister now faces the prospect of a series of major streets protests led by Mr. Qadri and, more substantively, his rival in the opposition, Imran Khan.

 

Mr. Khan, a former cricket star and leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, has said he will hold a “million man march” in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad, on the country’s Independence Day, Aug. 14. The point of the demonstration, Mr. Khan said, is to protest what he has alleged was vote-rigging during the general election in May 2013. Mr. Khan has said he will lead a sit-in outside Parliament until Mr. Sharif accedes to his demand for a new election.

 

Mr. Khan has staked much on the protest. While his party rules the northwestern province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, his goal is to replace Mr. Sharif as the major force in Punjab, Pakistan’s most populous and influential province. Mr. Khan has built pressure on Mr. Sharif this year with a series of rallies. In speeches, he has portrayed the Aug. 14 protest as a decisive moment in his career.

 

Mr. Sharif has responded robustly, using the law and security forces to outmaneuver his opponents. He has attempted to stymie Mr. Khan’s plans by invoking a colonial-era public order law that temporarily bans political protests in Islamabad.

 

Analysts have said that Mr. Sharif’s reaction to the challenges has been heavy-handed and disproportionate, and that it has frequently fanned the protests that he has sought to quell. Perhaps in response to those critics, Mr. Sharif on Saturday publicly urged Mr. Khan to call off his protest and to resolve the crisis through political talks.

 

The picture has been further complicated by the return of Mr. Qadri. Normally a resident of Canada, he organized protests against the previous government, which was led by President Asif Ali Zardari, in January 2013. Mr. Qadri returned to Pakistan in June, promising to peacefully overthrow Mr. Sharif, whom he called corrupt and autocratic.

But the movement quickly became mired in bloodshed when the police killed nine of Mr. Qadri’s supporters outside his Lahore home in June. Those deaths became a rallying point for Mr. Qadri’s supporters, who have since taken to the streets.

 

“We are here at the call of the leader, and we want a revolution,” said Gulham Datagir, 18, as he held a baton outside Mr. Qadri’s house on Friday.

 

Reports of close ties between Mr. Qadri and the country’s army have caused some Pakistanis to fear that his protests could lead to a military coup. At a news conference outside his Islamabad home on Friday, Mr. Khan suggested that the military could intervene if his Islamabad sit-in was thwarted. “The responsibility will lie squarely on Nawaz Sharif if the army steps in,” he said.

 

Mr. Khan and Mr. Qadri have denied any links to the military, and there is little evidence to support the fears of a military takeover. Still, it is an open secret that the army chief, Gen. Raheel Sharif, is unhappy with Mr. Sharif for his refusal to allow Gen. Pervez Musharraf, the former military leader currently facing trial for treason, to leave Pakistan.

 

The prime minister has the support of several opposition parties, including the Pakistan Peoples Party and the religious Jamaat-e-Islami, whose leaders have tried to mediate between Mr. Sharif and Mr. Khan in recent weeks. But if that fails, Mr. Sharif has said he would physically prevent any protest on Aug. 14.

 

The government has announced plans to seal roads leading to Islamabad and to curtail fuel supplies to vehicles carrying opposition supporters. Paramilitary soldiers have been deployed in Islamabad and Lahore, and army troops are in the capital to deter attacks in retaliation to the military operation in the North Waziristan tribal district, along the border with the Afghanistan, which started in June.

 

Salman Masood reported from Islamabad, and Waqar Gillani from Lahore, Pakistan. Declan Walsh contributed reporting from London.the desire of the army.
 

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/10/world/asia/deadly-clashes-with-police-erupt-at-pakistan-protests.html?_r=0

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Dr Tahir-ul Qadri born in Jhang, Punjabi by ethnicity and Imran Khan born in Lahore, Pakthun-Punjabi by ethnicity are signalling an end to Shariff's govt in Pakistan.

 

Ayaz Mir is on an end to shariff's power, may be too far stretched.

 

Islamabad diary

Ayaz Amir -Tuesday,

 

The time may have come for speculation and pointless academic discussions about what is constitutional and what is not to cease. Fast-moving developments with which the media can barely keep pace point to one conclusion: the end of the road for this dispensation. Authority has slipped from the hands of the federal and Punjab governments and their condition is precarious.

 

Henceforth the history of Punjab comedy will not be complete without reference to the current performance of the federal information minister, Pervaiz Rashid, and the Punjab law minister, Rana Mashood, both of whom are outdoing anything the Lucky Irani Circus has to offer.

 

Collapse of governmental authority and a power vacuum…how long can this last? The last defence of the Sharif brothers is the Punjab police and what the state of the Punjab police is has to be seen to be believed. A more demoralised force never walked the land of the five rivers.

 

Partly this is the Punjab government’s doing: pushing the Lahore police towards what turned out to be the Model Town massacre – 14 dead, scores injured by direct gunshot hits – and then washing its hands off the disaster and leaving the police to fend for themselves…thrown to the dogs, so to speak. To a great extent this is the work of the Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT) activists who have given the police a taste of its own medicine.

 

If the Khadim-e-Aala thinks this police are going to stand up to Allama Tahirul Qadri and Imran Khan on the 14th he is living in a dream-world. I have seen the containers put on the roads of Model Town and I have seen PAT activists from up close. It will not be much of a problem for these youngsters to remove the containers. Where the Punjab government thinks it has laid a siege around the Allama, in reality it has laid a siege around itself. If it still thinks it can use force to defuse the unrest it had better think again. We are past the point where force could be of any use…unless a desperate Khadim-e-Aala wants disorder to spread.

 

Trouble is that too many people are still having a hard time understanding what the Minhajul Quran phenomenon is about. The Allama is no pir and his followers are no mureeds in the traditional sense of the word. They are committed political activists, for the most part educated, the bulk of them from – how shall I put it? – the ranks of the less-privileged. The crushed, downtrodden sections of society, that’s what they represent, people for whom the call for a fundamental reordering of society, the creation of an Islamic welfare state, has immeasurable appeal.

 

The police had blocked all access routes to the Minhaj secretariat for their Youm-e-Shuhada and yet they came, by rickshaw through devious routes, on foot walking long distances, some with dandas in their hands, hungry and thirsty but faces determined, eyes set, men and women, boys and young girls. Such a cadre of dedicated youngsters no other political force has. Of what use is Pakistan’s Prado and Mercedes brand of democracy to these people? When the Allama uses the language of Islam and the Quran to paint the outlines of a just society they respond to his call because his words resonate with them.

 

The mummy-daddy and burger media keeps spouting nonsense about gender equality and women’s liberation. Well, to see women’s liberation in action come and see the women activists of PAT, mostly hijab-wearing but faces aglow with passion and determination.

 

No political force, no organisation in Pakistan, has the kind of Dukhtaran-e-Millat, daughters of the nation, that the PAT has.

I can say this for myself that to see them raising their clenched fists and shouting slogans for Mustafvi Inqilab (Revolution of the Prophet) is to be cleansed of all cynical and defeatist thought. Then do I think that, no, Pakistan is not a lost cause. It has a future before it – but only if Prado and Mercedes democracy is so reformed that the masses, the downtrodden, the disenfranchised, those denied the fruits of prosperity and who live on the margins, come into their own, kick aside their oppressors and occupy the first ranks of political power.

 

Another under-appreciated point about PAT and its allies in the Sunni Ittehad Council and the Majlis Wahdat-ul-Muslimeen (the leading Shiite political party) is that together they represent the moderate, liberal Islam of the overwhelming majority of the Pakistani people.

 

This Islam, the Islam of Bulleh Shah, Shah Hussain, Ghulam Farid and the great Ali Hajveri, patron saint of Lahore, is anti-Taliban Islam, anti-Takfiri Islam. For too long this Islam was relegated to the political sidelines because it lacked a political voice. The Sheikh-ul-Islam, after a lifetime of preparation, has given it that voice.

 

The fight against the Taliban is not just a military struggle. It is also an ideological struggle between moderate and Takfiri Islam. The army can use its tanks and guns but for all-out victory, for success on the ideological front, for Pakistan to return to its moorings, there has to be a meeting of minds between the army and moderate Islam. And if there is such an understanding, conscious or otherwise, Pakistan will never go the way of Iraq or Syria. No Salafi brand of fitna (discord) can arise on its soil.

 

The Sharifs’ great contribution to Pakistani history is that through their self-serving policies and their monumental ineptitude, and also their lack of understanding regarding basic issues, they have hastened the wheels of political change. Developments that otherwise would have taken longer to unfold have been compressed into a shorter time-frame. For this at least we owe them our thanks.

 

Mark also the role of determination in human affairs. I personally thought that Imran Khan was chasing shadows when he raised the issue of recounting votes in four constituencies. What could come of it? But he kept at it, even when his quest looked hopeless, until he succeeded in turning this into a major issue. A lesser man would have given up long ago. But full marks to his determination and confidence. With the Allama and Imran Khan joining forces on the 14th the government’s chances of surviving this challenge are down almost to zero. No government can long survive such a loss of authority. Lahore and Punjab can’t be containerised forever. Over the next three days the government’s nerves are going to be further on edge. It is surviving only in TV and newspaper ads and friendly media interviews. And the police are down and out. How long can this situation last?

 

The government’s state of mind is revealed by the way it has made a ‘martyr’ of a policeman dying in a motorcycle accident and on the basis of his death lodging a murder case against the Allama. The ‘martyred’ policeman’s was buried with full police honours and a crore rupees have been announced for his family. If this is the best the Punjab government can come up with at a time like this, its plight is worse than we think.

 

And what was the purpose of the National Security Council meeting? It was supposed to be about Operation Zarb-e-Azb but the prime minister went on to deliver a political point-scoring speech. The generals in attendance, including the chief, did not look too amused. What the PM achieved by that meeting was to show the emperor without his clothes. The first real crisis that has come the Sharifs’ way and they don’t know what to do.

 

Power abhors a vacuum. Something has to fill this vacuum. Is Pakistan on the verge of another of its dramatic turnarounds? That’s what it looks like. Borne on the wind from afar is the sound of muffled drums. We have been here before? Will it be any different this time? Democracy is a failure in Pakistan ?

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Shahzad Chaudhry
Thursday, August 14, 2014

 

Events leading to Pakistan’s 68th Independence Day crept up slowly. Imran Khan and Dr Tahirul Qadri had both announced their respective marches onto Islamabad for that day. 

Beginning from Lahore the two had chosen to tread separate routes till both merged with their followers at Islamabad. Dr Qadri’s intents were more ominous; he had declared to upturn the existing government through a revolution – even if it meant blood. To him there was no other way to replace the existing system of political monopoly by an elitist band of familial dynasties. It had to be a ‘revolution’; nothing less would do. 

Dr Qadri’s return to Pakistan from Canada became eventful with the Sharif government’s decision to divert his plane from Islamabad to Lahore denying him the opportunity to a show of force march which could have served as a precursor to his subsequent forays in search of a revolution. The complications of his arrival had unfortunately been preceded a few days earlier by another gory incident when a bloodied confrontation between his followers and the provincial police in Lahore left 14 of his followers dead. Why did the provincial government, headed by Shahbaz Sharif, fall to such levels of idiocy remains a mystery. It did, however, set the tone for what was to follow.

Here on, politics took a back seat when it chose force as its preferred mode of engagement. Politics also took a bad name when it was woefully neglected by its practitioners. At least ten more of Qadri’s supporters were killed at another head-off between both sides at a commemoration event for those who had died. 

Once set in the mode of a confrontation the slide could only result in instability. A political engagement could have helped stem the serious spiralling down of political and administrative order, but that remained crucially absent. Haughtiness and arrogance instead replaced common sense. Playing chickens, was more like it.

What followed was even more ominous. Unable to find justice for his people, Dr Qadri chose to take law into his own hands and in a highly controversial and contentious address incited his followers to use violence in bringing the government down. An armed confrontation loomed as August 14 came. 

Qadri’s subsequent retraction to instead urge a more peaceful resort assured no one. The die had been cast in the manner of his exhortations that played on emotion, religious sentiment and an open invitation to avenge his grief through violence and disorder. He wasn't, with his actions, planning to bring only the government down, he was essentially setting in anarchy and chaos that could only result in a state and a societal meltdown.

During all this, a chain of events spread over two months, there was no political initiative by the government, federal or provincial, that could have obviated such decadence in the social and the political order. Was it arrogance; a simple lack of appreciation of how the politics had changed with its new set of determinants based around a vibrant media and a hugely more politically aware public; or was it simply the proverbial dithering and indecisiveness of Nawaz Sharif that had pushed the government of a comfortable majority into an uncomfortable position of saving both its own skin and an existential threat to the much precious democratic order? Democracy in Pakistan was still fragile needing constant nourishment through careful handling; exposing it to reverberations so early in a government’s tenure was simply, poor politics. 

Imran Khan’s commitment to his long march to seek the prime minister’s resignation and recourse to mid-term elections remained unstinted. In the lead-up to this finality and inevitability of a political show-down there was little by way of political maturity on either side. Government ministers made obnoxious statements daring both their political protagonists to follow on their plan with a promise that the government would face the challenge. Police forces were inducted from other provinces and paramilitary forces were called in to augment the potential challenge. Inevitably and compulsively, the two sides headed into a confrontation without realising where the events would lead. Politics was at the mercy of events. 

The prime minister spoke to the nation, at last, on the evening of August 12. There couldn’t have been a more lame speech though he did end with an offer to investigate all complaints of fraud through a Supreme Court commission. It was too little, too late. Imran Khan’s retort asked the PM to resign if transparency indeed from such an inquest was to be expected. Clearly, Nawaz Sharif would not oblige. 

Similarly, to expect Imran Khan to give up on his march at that time would have only meant political suicide for him. By these perfunctory acts the two had played their final cards in a risky game of roulette that could throw up no winners. The game was now in other people’s hands.

The government chose to blockade Qadri’s every move containing him and his supporters in the vicinity of his Lahore residence. Unfortunately, violent confrontations only meant more dead and injured; now on both sides. The strife spread to other parts of Lahore and the army had to be called out to restore order. Dr Qadri was placed in house-arrest, incommunicado under a virtual shutdown. 

Imran Khan’s long march, however, was another matter. He not only succeeded in making it to Islamabad despite the clampdown and blockades against his march, he managed to breach the defences set up on the way to the fabled D-Chowk. The administration lost control over the mob’s movement. Its inability to coordinate logistics with the PTI’s organisers beforehand now haunted the administrators. Imran Khan was able to establish his sit-in within the Red Zone as per his preferred plan. Negotiations by go-betweens began in full earnest after Imran Khan had lambasted Nawaz frequently from his podium, asking him to resign if indeed a government had to function. The army, when called to assist, simply ensured that the two opposing sides were kept apart while the political showdown went through its paces. 

The prime minister chose to spend his weekend, as per his routine, in Lahore – giving rise to popular murmurs of his having thrown-in the towel. Once again the central authority to either dialogue or resolve the fracas was absent. It was becoming more and more evident that a resolution from this stalemate would once again depend on the involvement of a reformed troika – the president, the army chief and the chief justice. They were expected to meet shortly to propose a solution that could see an interim government and recourse to another election after necessary reforms were enacted. 

Yet again, democracy under a political order was in need of crutches to stake claims to a government. It was the beginning of yet another journey in Pakistan’s democratic experience. 

The writer is a retired air-vice marshal of the Pakistan Air Force and served as its deputy chief of staff. 

 

http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-9-267051-August-14-a-possible-postscript

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Qadri's has a dubious character, confirmed; but I agree to this statement "There is no other way to replace the existing system of political monopoly by an elitist band of familial dynasties. It has to be a revolution: nothing less would do"

Munir and TKhan like this

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