Monday, 29 July 2013

PML-N falls into MQM's trap

Drums rolled as Ishaq Dar stood behind the podium to address a press conference flanked by Info secretary Pervaiz Rasheed and Babar Ghouri of the MQM. Ghouri, supporting a newly placed hair transplant looked fidgety but satisfied. Finally, PML-N had won the support of the MQM, albeit just for the Presidential election which N league is almost certain to win.
The two parties have had a love-hate relationship ranging back to the 90s. MQM cried foul play after the '92 operation cleanup in Karachi and yet decided to sit on the government benches soon afterwards. In 2011, when MQM briefly quit the federal cabinet, friendship was in the air as Dar and Raza Haroon of the MQM shook hands but it turned out to be short-lived as the Karachi based party made another U-turn to join the government again.
After the May elections, Altaf Hussain taunted Nawaz Sharif by calling him "leader of the Punjabis" and asking him to look into the issues of smaller provinces.
If we rewind, Nawaz Sharif had openly criticized Altaf Hussain for being behind the terrible law and order condition in Karachi. Chaudry Nisar went even further by threatening to reveal the "secret condition" of Altaf Hussain to which Waseem Akhter replied by criticizing Nawaz and Shahbaz Sharif's hair transplants.
This video sums up the two parties' relationship. 
Now, apparently, all these accusations have been forgotten. Altaf called Nawaz "his brother" just like he was a brother to President Zardari during the past 5 years. Ishaq Dar vividly remembers the "pakoras" he had with Altaf Hussain. I feel these "pakoras" are not going to sit well in PML-N's stomach and we might see the same outbursts that we have become accustomed with during the last five years.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Achievements of the PPP Government

This article is not satirical like the rest of my posts on this page. I will try to highlight some of the policies of the PPP Government which might be of long term importance to Pakistan.
  • ·         18th Amendment: A topic which was under discussion during the elections of 2008. This amendment stripped the powers from the President (the incumbent Asif Zardari) and handed them to the parliament. The most important of these clouts was the power to dissolve the parliament, as mentioned in article 58(2)b. This clause was added to the constitution under the Supremacy of General Zia ul Haq. He used it to dismiss the Junejo government in 1988. This clause (and its predecessors) were also used in 1990 (by Ghulam Ishaq Khan against Benazir Bhutto), in 1993 (against Nawaz Sharif) and 1997 (by Farooq Leghari against Benazir Bhutto). Nawaz Sharif did away with this clause during his second regime, but it was reinstated by General Musharraf in 2002.
  • ·         NFC Award: Provincials spats have been common in Pakistan, so it was a relief in 2010 when Punjab (thanks to the generosity of Shahbaz Sharif) gave a share of its resources to other provinces through the NFC Award
  • ·         Completion of five-year term: Although it was marred by corruption, previous governments found it extremely hard to complete their tenure.
  • End of political cases: No cases were formed against any political adversaries. Although, Zardari did try to manoeuvre the judgement of 1999 Airplane hijacking case, later no such activities took place and Zardari called an end to horse trading in his address to parliament in 2009.


Sunday, 24 March 2013

A day at Minar e Pakistan

Flags fluttered in the wind. Rain drenched leaders and followers alike. But few in the crowd of thousands dared to leave the "Jalsa". Such was the allure of Imran Khan at the Minar E Pakistan on 23rd March 2013. Chanting slogans of change the PTI-ers started gathering at the monument during the wee hours of Saturday. People from all stratas and walks of life could be seen at the Minto Park.
Getting to the park was a test in itself. We, I and my dad, parked our car on the Mall Road, before boarding a PTI-sponsored bus which dropped us at the T-juncture of Lower Mall. There we joined droves of people who marched in droves towards the Minar E Pakistan.
The "jalsa" started around 4pm when the announcer chanted "LAHORRRRRRRRRRE" for the first of many times. 
Leaders who addressed the gathering included Aleem Khan, Mehmood ur Rasheed, Abrar ul Haq, Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Javed Hashmi. Rain started to fall when Khan sahab took the mic to address the "Tsunami Plus". Contents of his speech were similar to earlier speeches, except that he made six promises to the people and asked them to promise on four similar counts. 
PTI officials put the number of attendees at a million, a clearly exaggerated figure. But I, present at the venue myself, could only see hordes of heads and flags all  around me. 
The "jalsa" was a success in itself, but what remains to be seen is whether Imran Khan will be able to gain any significant share in the parliament whose election will be held on May 11.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Taliban acquire Drone technology

"We have acquired the Drones and intend to use them as soon as possible. We will show a demonstration at 5pm." These were the words of a Taliban spokesperson at a hastily organized press conference.
The statement sent tremors down the spine of U.S. Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta, who reportedly had to change pants after hearing the news.
Red Alert security was ordered at U.S. Embassies around the world.
Senior defence analysts, Zaid Hamid said he was not surprised by the news. "Not only do they have drone technology, they are also investing in Nucleur warheads, very soon you'll hear about them as well," Hamid said while playfully adjusting his signature red beret. "Pakistan Army is considering acquiring these drones as well as they might come in handy in case of a war against India."
Newly appointed U.S. Secretary, John Kerry, of state flew to North Korea, the rogue nation thought to be behind the sale of the technology to Taliban.
"We are trying to track the source of the technology, either its North Korea, Iran or Syria," General John Allen remarked during a TV interview, before cutting the interview short and leaving for Florida after receiving a "flirtatious" text message.
Meanwhile, U.S. drones have bombarded 16 places in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Syria in order to "wipe out command centers for the drones". Numerous casualties are reported.

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Update (6pm): It turns out that the Taliban had defined the drone technology a bit too broadly. The drone launch did take place at 5pm but as the picture below shows, they'll need a bigger aircraft to cause any serious damage.