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All Hail the Champions!

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Winners of Asian Games Women Cricket - Team PAKISTAN!

Mesaq-e-Pakistan aur Truck ki Batti (Charter of Pakistan and a rush to Mirage)

The more I think about the idea of charter of Pakistan, the more I get struck by the absurdity of it. I think even Sharif himself is not sure what he means by Charter of Pakistan. If he means changes in constitutional structure, I believe that already is a settled matter in 18th amendment. May be there is some more room for issues pertaining to provincial autonomy and civil service reforms, but the forum for that is parliament. We are not living in Charter of democracy times any more and the country has a functional parliament that could pull something like 18th amendment unanimously and provides ample room to Mian Sahab to raise his concerns and seek consensus.
As far as the 25 year planning of economy etc goes, it is an absurdity to even think about it. We are way pass the raw-Keynesian economic times, where the central planners used to decide the direction of the economy. It is a near consensus that the best role for government is to monitor and control the free flowing economy thro…

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words!

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Farida Turya Turya ja!

Attack on the shrine of Baba Farid in Pak Pattan is another attack of the barbaric gang of global terrorists on peace loving Pakistanis. Unlike Ali Hajveri and Abdullah Shah Ghazi, who too emphasized on the virtues of tolerance and integrated societies, Farid is different in one aspect and that is his poetry. A poetry which talks of retrospective self-analysis, harmony, peace, and tolerance.

For his remarkable works of poetry, this 13th century poet and mystic is revered by poets, intellectuals, mystics, and people of faiths and ethnicities in South Asia and Persia. His works of poetry talk of common human beliefs of independent thought process, equality of human resource, equity in social governance, and denouncing of violence and intolerance. bhumi rangavali is one such work talking of peace, non-violence and harmony.


Farīdā bhumi rangāvalī manjhi visūlā bāgFareed, this world is beautiful, but there is a thorny garden within it. Farīdā jo taīN mārani mukīāN tinhāN na mārē ghummFareed,…

One will stab, the other will back-stab.

Tomorrow Supreme Court will give judgment on 18th amendment case. I sincerely hope that my apprehensions and fears turn out to be unfounded, but it seems that the Supreme Court will stab the democracy and parliament with her judgment. It most likely will strike down some key parts of 18th amendment, specially the ones pertaining to the appointment of judges of the the superior judiciary. In this the Supreme Court will strike down the principle of sovereignty of the parliament. It will be striking down a legislation that has been unanimously approved by both houses of the parliament and has the support of all electable political forces in the country. Not only that, the Supreme Court will do it despite the clear guide lines provided in the constitution, which it claims to uphold, as is given in 239 (6) : "(6) For the removal of doubt, it is hereby declared that there is no limitation whatever on the power of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) to amend any of the provisions of the Co…

Nawaz Sharif's Moment of Disgrace!

Nawaz Sharif has come out fully exposed. There is not even an iota of doubt now as to who is behind the current political turmoil. Unlike the few previous turmoils, where he did not let himself be fully exposed, he has come out with gloves off. It in a way is good, for now, on the table where every power player was upping the antes, now the time for show is here.

I am not surprised at Nawaz's rush to the show. Circumstances and political events taking place in last two months made this move more and more inevitable. The political space in which he is operating is getting more and more squeezed and so his act had to be one of desperation. First, even if his supporters would deny it and even if the political pundits on idiot box would portray otherwise, Nawaz's mandate in 2008 elections was partly engineered. Lot of his candidates were given a favorable push in areas of north and central Punjab (only two areas in the whole country where he has political presence) at the expense …

Nawaz Sharif’s Moment of Statesmanship

Mansehra, Sargodha, Gujranwala and now Bahawalpur, if I were PML-N or their supporter, I would be going back to the drawing board and reviewing where one erred. The myth of even a Punjab-dominating (or 13 districts only party) is busting in the midst of electoral politics.One can keep denying it behind fake Gallup (Ijaz Gillani) surveys or the media steroids that lifted PML-N all along but it is about time that PML-N leadership and its leaders try analyzing what went wrong. Before we delve into the troubles of PML-N and their cure, let us first analyze the political landscape. First and foremost, for all the media and right-wing propaganda, PPP is still strong and getting stronger. They won a seat in Bahawalpur with a huge margin of 26000 votes just when the Islamabadi media pundits prophesized their demise in the floods. The constituency is in South Punjab, an area affected worse by floods and the constituency itself is 50-60 miles from some of the flood affected areas.PPP victory th…

Politics on Floods 2 - Save Pakistan!

As I have started getting firsthand accounts of devastation of flood in the province of Sindh, my concern is growing. The concern is not limited to the floods alone but the political and social implications of the floods and their aftermath too. Before I delve further into the issues that trouble me, I will like to highlight a fact that contributed to worsening of the flood situation in country’s south, a fact completely ignored in the coverage of the floods. Between 10th and 16th of the lunar calendar, due to the rise of sea (sea tides), the Arabian Sea does not accept any water from River Indus. In fact, the sea water gets pushed about 30 miles inside the Indus Delta. So if the floods were not disbursed during these days and were let downstream, Karachi was at risk of a very heavy flooding. To save this, the water had to be disbursed more in upstream. With this explanation, let me move to the issue at hand, and a grave one. First and foremost, the demolition of dykes and levees has be…

Politics on Floods!

Pakistani media and country's right-wing is ripe with stories about poor aid response and poor donor response. It is about time things be put in perspective. For nothing has the potential of hurting rehabilitation more than this smear campaign.
First, as I have dealt with it earlier, the issue of poor response. The disaster is way bigger than the earthquake of 2005 or any other disaster known in human history. A lot of areas needing rescue and relief are still flooded and are hard to access. The disaster is spread across 1/5th of the country or an area of appox. 160,000 sq. km. No state would be equipped to deal with any disaster of such magnitude. Our state, with its limited resources, is trying her best to do what it could. We must thank our Western allies and particularly United States for their help and any help in this regard should be welcome (including Indian). The floods are not over and there still are many important installations and populated cities/towns that need to b…

Our Hope Will Triumph Their Despair! - Happy Independence Day!

The dry spell of almost 10 years ended with torrential outpour that led to the worst flooding in the recent history. On the eve of Independence Day, 15 million people are left affected by one of the worst floods in human history. On the eve of Independence Day, the words of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, said in Chittagong on Pakistan Day of 1948 elaborate the best, the struggle and resolve of this land and its inhabitants: "The Story of Pakistan, its struggle and its achievement, is the very story of great human ideals, struggling to survive in the face of great odds and difficulties." This is what we have been and this is what we will always be - the survivors in the midst of all odds. 
I wished my piece here, in the midst of this tragedy, on the eve of nation's 63rd Independence Day, did not talk of divisions, but divisions I have to be talked about. For the existential threat that this country of ours is facing, is trying to turn this tragedy to its advantage. From TTP, to PTI, …

Power Structure of Pakistan and What Should Nawaz Sharif Do?

First and foremost, my heartfelt condolences to Mian Iftikhar Husain, whose son was gunned down by the terrorists. It is yet another example of the sacrifice, the liberal political leadership of this country is giving to save this country from falling into the darkness of Talibanization.

Secondly, regarding the extension of General Kayani, the information I had was that all the stakeholders wanted to give General the extension and he was a little apprehensive in accepting it. If my sources are to be believed the decision of extension was finalized around May and coincided with General's visit to Washington D.C. Just when United States was interested in ensuring an extension of General's tenure, it was also desired by the ruling coalition here in Pakistan. The extension, unlike an extension of a previous liberal, professional soldier Gen. Kakar, was not going to draw strong criticism from the opposition as well. Despite some criticism from Jamat-i-Islami, the response more or l…

Where's Sovereign's Right of Expression?

The media circus that has ensued in Pakistan post-private media is beyond any sane head. Since the opinion-making and evangelism in the nation has been given in the hands of people with 3rd Division BA/FA degree holder journalists, the country appears a chaotic fragile mess on idiot box. Recent mayhem, starting in reaction to Punjab Assembly's unanimous resolution against irresponsible journalism, has had media up in arms portraying the resolution as an attack on freedom of expression. In the whole one-sided hue and cry, what is ignored is whether the elected representatives sitting in the sovereign bodies have any right to express themselves or not?

It was a resolution presented by an individual elected representative and was adopted unanimously by the house. It manifests the will of the house which is the only representative body of the people of the province of Punjab. Rather than leading to any soul searching as to what went wrong, media is up in arms discrediting the sovereig…

It's Hopeless....

I came to know about the blasts at Data Darbar at about 4:30 in the morning. My reaction then was normal and remained so till late afternoon. Then when I was driving back home from Gulberg, around 6, something hit me. I am not sure if I was crying or not, I think I wasn't but I don't know for sure. For I was driving and was thinking and image after image passed my eyes. It was not the feeling of sadness or disappointment or anger. It was sheer nostalgia. And with the nostalgia came the hopelessness.

I have been given a Muslim upbringing with a strong sufi flair. The family I have been raised in had strong sufi inclinations and central to, it like any such family in Lahore, was the shrine of Ali Hajveri. I remember going to the shrine with my grandmothers, my mother, my cousins, my aunts, my uncles. Going there during day, at night and even at midnight. I remember the place from the days when it was painted in pink and had congested halls for males and females and didn't ha…

Engage in the Middle East

Two phenomenons that are taking shape in the region to our West hold extreme significance for us. One is the continuing isolation of Israel and the other is nuclear ambition of Iran. Before I analyze these and suggest what in my view is the best course of action, let me make one thing clear. In no way, we should commit the same mistakes of the past of trying to force our solution, exporting militancy to deal with the potential threats, and to close channels with one or more sides of the crisis. Both these issues are likely to damage the balance of power in the region which will have severe consequences on our western borders. Not only that, but because of the global spread of sectarian militancy, the ripples will be felt all across – with Pakistan being at the helm of the fallout. A nuclear Iran is not in the interest of Pakistan. There cannot be any contrary rational argument on this. And it does not have to do with an Ayatullah-controlled Iran, even an Iran under Shah with nukes woul…

A Sad Day!

Yesterday was a very sad day in the history of Pakistan. A country created by Muhammad Ali Jinnah, a staunch liberal and supporter of modernist values saw in despair a court banning internet websites. And the bureaucracy acted with an unprecedented haste. In between, it seemed Pakistan has no chief executive. It's a successful test run of a judicio-bureaucracy coup. With this successful test run, now it will be easier for the court to sentence elected officials, for the bureaucracy to execute the orders without a single armed man moving. It in itself is a scary thought. Add to it the report that some of the blogs and political websites, with strong anti-militancy lines and audio of Hamid Mir's conversation, have also been blocked.

My sentiments on the whole issue are of anger. It is my first realization that I do not have freedom living in this land and that if I have to live here, it has to be as per the judgement and values of a hardcore, fundamentalist, militant right-wing.…

Getting it right!

Worst fears of many of us in Pakistan and in the United States realized on May the 1st when a car full of explosives was found on Times Square in New York City. Much to the relief of many in the United States and Pakistan, the authorities got alerted timely and a major fiasco got averted.

Two narratives have emerged so far of what had happened. First narrative suggests that Faisal Shehzad, the accused, was a lone wolf, who as a result of a multitude of factors including economic depression, incitement by a radical cleric, and brainwashing by right-wing media of Pakistan, committed himself to blow-off infidels. Second narrative suggests that he was working in close collaboration with Pakistani Taliban and has been trained in the sanctuaries of North Waziristan.

The incident will put focus on Pakistan, its tribal areas, and the Pakistanis living in the West. A ghost, which we have been trying to part-kill, part-brush under the carpet, is facing us right into our face. To me, it is an op…