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Showing posts from January, 2013

Democracy fights back in Pakistan

This week, Pakistan was on the verge of losing its hard-won, albeit weak, democracy. A series of events unfolded from January 15-17 at such a hectic pace that it was hard to keep up. “What next?” was a question being asked by all and sundry. Everyone was on the edge. Finally, the democrats in Pakistan are celebrating. They have won, at least for the time being. What the future has in store for them is anybody’s guess but at the moment it looks like their efforts have finally paid off. Now the powerful military establishment will have to go back to the drawing board to come up with another plan to derail democracy. The independent but highly biased judiciary has a few tricks up its sleeve but whether or not it can help the military establishment weaken democracy remains to be seen.

Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri, a dual national cleric, is the founding leader of Minhaj-ul-Quran International (MQI) and chairman of Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT). Despite his brief stint in Pakistani politics, he is mor…

Long march into oblivion

General elections in Pakistan are months away. While all political parties are gearing up for a new democratic government, the anti-democratic forces are back to their old tricks. Fixated with the idea of a technocratic government, the military establishment is trying to derail the democratic process. On top of that, the judiciary is out to discredit the government. Our current parliament has evolved an electoral process for foolproof transition with bipartisan consensus in order to stop the mighty military from influencing the elections as it has done in the past. A consensus had emerged across all political divides on holding the elections on time with the induction of a unanimously nominated chief election commissioner and to agree on a caretaker setup that does not go beyond its mandatory limits. Against this backdrop, Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri made his grand entry in the country last month and since then has created quite a stir in the political circles.

Bunked in a bullet-proof contain…

A stronger democracy

If there is one thing for certain when it comes to Pakistan, it is the fact that the military establishment will never stop meddling in politics. Political circles are abuzz with talk of an impending coup, albeit an indirect one in the form of the ‘Bangladesh Model’; an idea our military has been salivating at ever since a democratically elected government came to power five years ago. The entry of Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri, a cleric with dual nationality, into the public arena in an election year gives credence to this conspiracy theory. Qadri’s call for a long march on January 14 to Islamabad and his belief that it will be turned into ‘Tahrir Square’ is an ambitious project but it reeks of a khaki plan to pack up the democratic process.

Director General (DG) Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) has reportedly denied the military’s involvement in the re-emergence of Dr Qadri. Such a ‘denial’ makes it all the more suspicious. Add to it the Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s (MQM’s) outright support…