Showing posts from June, 2013

Progressive Pakistan

“A great democracy has got to be progressive or it will soon cease to be great or a democracy” —Theodore Roosevelt

The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) may not have done well in these elections but it is the only national party that is considered ‘liberal’ and ‘progressive’. So when it let go of some of its liberal values and ideals in order to appease the Right while it was in power during the last five years, many of its supporters felt betrayed. From abandoning the cause of Shaheed Salmaan Taseer to celebrating ‘Youm-e-Ishq-e-Rasool’ — a day on which more than 20 people lost their lives due to the violent hooliganism of right-wingers who were protesting against a blasphemous film — the PPP disappointed its liberal supporters on many an occasion. This is why some PPP critics mocked progressive PPP voters: they were voting for a party that abandoned its liberal ideology when that could have been its only saving grace in the face of a crushing defeat due to bad governance. President Asif…

The beauty of democracy

On June 5, Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif made history by being elected as the third-time prime minister of Pakistan after securing 244 votes in the National Assembly. He was sworn in by President Asif Ali Zardari — with General (retd) Pervez Musharraf, who ousted Mr Sharif’s government in 1999, incarcerated just a few miles away in Islamabad. Who would have thought Mr Sharif would be back in parliament once again with a heavy mandate after he was shown the door by the khakis. How times change! This should serve as a reminder to the military establishment that no matter how much you try to keep the civilians away from the political spectrum, the will of the people rules supreme and can make anything happen.

It was a proud moment for all Pakistanis to see a smooth democratic transition take place in a country where this process has come full circle for the first time in six decades. Mr Sharif alluded to this in his 30-minute maiden speech in the National Assembly, praised former National A…