Showing posts from July, 2018

It’s IM?!

A messy general election stage-managed by the military and the deep state may well see Imran Khan crowned ‘Kaptaan Pakistan’.

General elections in Pakistan are just three days away. Two successive democratically elected governments have completed their tenures since the 2008 general elections. A third election should have consolidated Pakistan's fragile democratic process. Instead, it is in a shambles: pre-poll rigging, coercion, intimidation and much more. Whatever the results, the outcome of these elections has already been tainted. They have lost all credibility due to the open manipulation by Pakistan's all-powerful military establishment.

"These are the dirtiest elections of Pakistan; they are not even in a thousand-mile radius of being 'free and fair'. Political engineering and media coercion is at its peak. We have never seen such brazen manipulation ever," says commentator Marvi Sirmed.

She isn't alone; the same sentiment is being echoed by most …

Countdown to the 'dirtiest, costliest election' in Pakistan's history

With the PML-N and PPP facing the worst form of election engineering, the road is clear for Imran Khan's PTI and a coalition of independents and some other 'favourites' to form the next govt

The general elections in Pakistan are going to be held one week from now on July 25. Besides the two largest political parties -– the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) -– most experts and commentators have already called these one of the worst elections in Pakistan’s history. I A Rehman from the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has called these the “dirtiest, costliest election in Pakistan’s history”. Both the PML-N and the PPP have already alleged pre-poll rigging and arm-twisting by the military establishment. While the army spokesman clarified in a recent press conference that the army is not siding with any political party, Mian Nawaz Sharif named a senior ISI official of arm-twisting PML-N candidates while the PPP’s Farhatullah Ba…

All the king's men

In Pakistan, the democratic process is in danger again

Elections in Pakistan are all set to take place. It is quite clear that two of the largest political parties in the country - the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) and the Pakistan Peoples Party - are being pushed against the wall while the establishment's new favourite party, Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, is being propped up.

The former PPP senator, Farhatullah Babar, put it aptly when he said, "Seldom before has the pre-poll process been so vitiated, so unfair and so grotesque. The invisible political engineers seem desperate for a fragmented and divided parliament that is easier to manipulate." He added that "a silent coup has taken place, far softer and subtler than any previous coups".

Babar is, of course, referring to the manipulation of the electoral process which is taking place behind the scenes by those who must not be named. Both the PML-N leadership and the PPP leadership have said on …

Nawaz Sharif's Date With Destiny

After being sentenced to prison, former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz are set to return to the country on July 13, as the establishment tries to finish off their political careers

“We cannot play ostrich. Democracy just cannot flourish amid fear. Liberty cannot bloom amid hate. Justice cannot take root amid rage … We must dissent from the fear, the hatred and the mistrust” — Thurgood Marshall, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

On July 6, former Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Captain (retd.) Safdar were sentenced by an accountability court in the Avenfield reference case. Sharif has been sentenced to 10 years’ jail time, Maryam Nawaz was given 7 years while her husband has been given 1 year jail time. The accountability court’s decision was not unexpected.

Last July, the Supreme Court of Pakistan disqualified Sharif in the Panama Papers case, after which he stepped down from the p…

A manipulated outcome

Pakistan may be headed towards an election that is compromised

The general elections in Pakistan are all set to take place on July 25. With the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government completing its tenure and a caretaker set-up in place, we are seeing our second democratic transition. The electoral process has started. Political parties have almost finalized party tickets to candidates, nomination papers are being filed, the election campaign has started and will be in full swing post-Eid. On July 25, Pakistanis will vote in another government. The second democratic transition will be complete once a new democratic government comes to power. Who will form the government - the PML-N, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf or the Pakistan Peoples Party? This is the question that is on everyone's mind.

In 2013, it was quite apparent that the PML-N would bag the majority of seats, but this time around nothing is clear. Or there seems to be no clear winner. There are a lot of conspiracy theorie…

A fatal mixture

Religion and politics in Pakistan

Pakistan's interior minister, Ahsan Iqbal, survived an assassination attempt. Iqbal was attacked during a corner meeting in his constituency in Narowal. Thankfully, the bullet did not hit any of his vital organs and he is out of danger now. In February, a man had hurled a shoe at Iqbal at a PML-N workers' convention in Narowal. The two incidents — one with a shoe and another with a pistol — do raise questions over the security details of one of the most important federal ministers of Pakistan. Then again, there is not much that can be done vis-à-vis security during election campaign season but any minor loophole can lead to a major catastrophe as witnessed on Sunday.

While the assassination attempt itself is shocking, there is a more alarming factor: the shooter, Abid Hussain, is affiliated to the Tehreek-e-Labaik Ya Rasool Allah. He carried out the shooting due to the ' Khatam-e-Nabuwat (Finality of Prophethood)' issue. I had written …