An Unfortunate Mindset

You know there is a very fine line, thin and almost obscure, which connects the mindset which deems it ok to insult someone in public by calling them names – especially when the person in question is of the opposite gender – and the mindset which is ok with ‘light beating’ of wives to be ok for things which are not ‘acceptable’ in terms of their behavior.

This very thin line of connection whilst cannot be seen so easily and to the naked eye is actually one of many big problems with us. And it’s a problem not just in one way or one level. Multiple ways. It’s an entire thought process or school of thought if you will which isn’t really the produce of a well-researched and intellectual think tank or anything of that sort. Just the opposite. Fueled by an ignorant and ancient mindset which refuses to embrace good for humanity and wants to continue ruling with their veil of ignorance on top of everyone to stay in their positions of power and influence. I am sure it won’t require any rocket science to guess who I am referring to.

But that’s one of the things. We are ok dissecting and discussing it in drawing rooms and condemning it as if it was the most natural thing to come to us. Whereas upon closer introspection you might find that one some levels you are just as ignorant. Ok maybe not ‘just as ignorant’ but definitely more ignorant than you would like to admit.

Khawaja Asif’s remarks in the Parliament against Shireen Mazari were uncalled for, unbecoming and definitely not something that should be part of the nation’s parliament much less coming from a federal minister for crying out loud. It was not the first time from Khawaja Asif and definitely not the first time in the history of the country. There have been many incidents in the past involving women parliamentarians of all parties. Benazir Bhutto too had to face such ridicule.

It is sad that such things happen. But these things happen not just here – they happen in other parts of the world as well. So this is actually a bigger problem world over especially with the whole ceiling on women’s achievements and growth and success etc. Till we as a whole get out of this need to differentiate between genders in the professional realm – things will remain the same.

This discrimination and mindset world over is there but perhaps most parts of the world have become a bit more subtle and sophisticated so they don’t tend to boil over like it still does here. It was also unbecoming of people chiming in with ‘Keep quite aunty’ etc. It was also unbecoming of others present there not doing enough to control the situation and try and make amends immediately. Surely this is not something which cannot transcend different political party lines. Respect and all?

Sadly it doesn’t. It is this very mindset which will perhaps condemn the light beating issue of the CII (the wonderful people that they are) but will actually internally agree with them and then well who knows what happens in their households. It is the same ignorant and ‘jaahil’ soch that thinks it is ok to go around beating the weaker sex. As is the case. It is the same mindset which then goes on to connect with other problems like honor killing and all. The one which would most likely look down upon the victim of a rape and take out their flaws and faults which led to the crime rather than look at the perpetrator.

It is the mindset which thinks it’s a man’s world and only men are allowed to be kings and rulers and have every single inch of power available in this world. And that anything else is here to be man’s objects of desire, use and rejection. It is unfortunate that such a mindset occupies the parliament of our country. It is unfortunate that such a mindset is allowed to spew negativity towards development. It is unfortunate that we have not done enough to battle this mindset.

It is this mindset which has for years continued being an obstacle towards girls education. It is this mindset which has given liberty to elements like TTP and the like to go about attacking and murdering innocents, destroying structures and lives, vanquishing dreams and hopes. It is this mindset which is unfortunate and which hasn’t been dealt with where it needs to be dealt with the most – in the mind. The military operation has beat the TTP in the background. But the social fabric of our society is still suffering.

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Attack on Lahore, Attack anywhere, Attack on Humanity

Prayers for all the lives lost in the attack in Lahore yesterday. Prayers for all the innocent gone. Prayers for all the families broken. Prayers for the sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers who are no more. Prayers for those who are undergoing treatment to try and recover. Prayers for those who are trying to recover from the trauma. Yet again prayers. Yet again we are the same juncture. There will be widespread criticism of security arrangements or the police or the intelligence or the politicians. There will be criticism that (and rightly so) the politicians will just be doing what they always do. They will come on media and ‘strongly’ condemn the barbaric actions of those behind this attack. There will be criticism of western media not giving equal weightage to the tragedy of an attack in a non-western state or country as given to the attacks in Belgium or France. There will be lots of noise on social media. There will be some sanity. There will be some chaos. It will all be there. And then once the cacophony has dimmed over the course of the next couple of weeks – we will move on. The world will move on. As it always does. As it always has. We lost 144 bright futures in children in Peshawer in December 2014. There was hue and cry. There was a black day. There were black profile pictures and black cover photos. Then after a couple of weeks, a year passed by and people marked the anniversary of the attacks. The same happened in Paris – there was a wave of people who changed their profile picture to mark their solidarity with them by having a watermarked French flag. Then life moved on. Belgium happened. Life is moving on. In between Yemen happened, Istanbul happened – life continues moving on.

We blame ISIS, we blame RAW, we blame the US. Life still moves on. But tell me how does any of this actually bring about any change? How does it comfort the lives of the ones left behind of the victims? How does it help the world in the future? What real action or objective is being achieved in the eradication of all these evils? It will only be better when we stand up to the evils of all these extremists. All these people who in the name of religion carry out murders, terror and destruction. They are not representative of anything or any religion or any race. They are all an evil against humanity and humanity must prevail against them by recognizing this fact. By moving beyond religion and race and standing up to them and saying this isn’t about any of that. This is about humanity. This about an attack on humanity – regardless of where, regardless of on who.

The change will come when we come forward and stand up to the mindset that was there in Islamabad yesterday. If we don’t stand up to that and stop it now – there will be more Lahores, Peshawers etc. If we don’t stand up to and stop extremism world over, there will be more Belgiums and Paris’s.

There cannot be any place in this world for extremism. We as humanity must stand up to it.

On The Peshawer Attacks (16-Dec-2014)

Barbaric. Brutal. Disgusting. Criminal. Inhuman. Worse than animals. Heartless. Mindless. Etc etc etc.

These and many other words are and will continue to do their rounds on the social media, internet, talk shows, news channels and drawing rooms against the Taliban. The attacks on the Peshawer school (a school I also attended when we were posted there in the mid 90s) have left a gut wrenching feeling of absolute disgust. It is sickening. It is demoralizing on a number of levels. No amount of words or solidarity can ease the pain of the 130+ families that have been scarred for life with the loss of their loved ones. Not to mention the children who survived but are no doubt in trauma. Their scars are also very real and are something that they will live with for the rest of their lives. To have witnessed a brutality and barbarism of this sort in your childhood … it is unthinkable. I have no words for the pain. No one can possibly have any words. All we can have is prayer. For those departed, for those left behind.

Anyone still hoping for ‘Dialogue’? I hope not. Dialogue was never the way. I was, am and will be for the fact that the Taliban problem is not a dialogue one. Military operation is the only way. It shall continue to be the only way. The resolve should only get stronger to avenge the deaths of yesterday and from every other incident of the Taliban attacks to go after them and finish of this insurgency once and for all. There will be collateral damage – already has been. There will continue to be collateral damage. A war like this (yes we are at war) doesn’t come free of innocent deaths. That will be there and that is something which is out of one’s control. The bigger objective is ridding our nation of this scum, this barbaric band of murderers who brandish their own justice in the name of a religion which is and will be for peace and justice. Their actions are against the very religion they supposedly have set themselves for Jihad in the name of.

There has been an outpour on the social media in solidarity of the deaths with people changing their facebook pictures and cover photos to black. Others have come out on the street and lit candles to observe vigil. Pictures are being shared. Statements are being shared. All this is commendable on some level I suppose but it will not bring those responsible to justice. There needs to be action. There needs to be absolute and decisive action.

In this time in my opinion the entire nation needs to be behind the armed forces, with the people who are fighting on the front lines. Who are living on the front lines. For their bravery and for their sacrifices. Now is not the time to go after every ailment of this country. Yes there are many. The first and foremost objective needs to be this – eliminate terrorism. Eliminate their holes. Go after them. Smoke them out. Bomb them to heck. We can’t have constant political impasses and a war in the north at the same time. Priorities need to be set straight. There will be a time to fix the rest of the things as well. But first let’s bring focus to this. The most important of things. Destroy this enemy.

We cannot move forward as a nation on any front until and unless we resolve the security of our country. Especially when the security of your children is compromised – its just over then.

The Peshawer Army Public School attacks are a terrible tragedy which is beyond words. May Allah rest the souls of those who have departed in peace. May Allah give courage and peace to those who survived and live with the scars. May Allah give strength to those who lost their loved ones. May Allah give us, our leaders and our forces the foresight, wisdom and ability to overcome and defeat this evil once and for all.

 

 

Of Azadi & Inquilab

Go Nawaz Go! Azadi! Inquilab! The march is now a sit in. The cries have been heard with an up and down fervor for the last 9 days in the capital. And very slowly it has somewhat crept towards the other cities of Pakistan as well. D-Chowk at Islamabad, Teen Talwar in Karachi.

The numbers have been fluctuating somewhat from lowish to highish. Day times are sparse. The night time is jubilant with dancing, music, rousing speeches and an overall festive atmosphere. Well at least in the ‘Azadi’ half of the protests. The slightly more consistent and higher numbers of the ‘Inquilab’ half of the protests are more of a somber affair.

In either case the issue has been going on for 9 days. For 9 days the marchers have been sitting in protest in the ‘Red Zone’. For 9 days the state institutions have not been functioning. And the days aren’t over yet as the on again, off again negotiations are yielding nothing more than an acknowledgement of hollow pleasantries so far.

While the Inquilabi march of TuQ and company started with the model town incident in which PAT workers were killed – it is hard not to attribute the current state of the protests and sit ins to Imran Khan’s rousing and fired up rounds against the current system and government. The social media wing, the youth and the more socially marketable PTI has perhaps created much more noise than Nawaz Shariff and his government would probably have anticipated. And given the informal alliance with PAT the sit ins really are becoming more than just a nuisance for Mian sb. We can see that on his face that he is very much concerned. Maybe a little relieved after reassurances of support from the US and maybe a veiled message from the army in saying we are not coming … yet. 111 for all its historical connections is for now just looking after the security of the capital and the state institutions. Or so they say.

Now the social media and various platforms and threads have been going crazy with the whole ‘changers vs haters vs burgers vs niharis’ taking jibes at each other and I have so far avoided commenting or participating in full flow. But I guess I will now jump in as well.

The people passionate about Imran Khan say he is the only leader who is thinking from his heart for the betterment and the future of Pakistan. That he is the only one who isn’t corrupt and that he doesn’t need the wealth or the fame as he already has both in plenty. That he is the only leader who is thinking not about his seat and instead about the generations of Pakistanis to come. I am still inclined to believe as I did a year and a half back while casting my vote for him and PTI that yes he is. He is perhaps genuinely emotionally invested in this with good intentions. He perhaps genuinely feels that whatever he is doing is in the better interests of the nation. And also let me just state for the record – the things that Imran Khan is demanding and the ones that Tahir ul Qadri is demanding are not wrong. There should be electoral reforms. There should be much more transparency in the whole process. There should be an independent and unbiased election commission running the whole process. And there should be a non politicized law enforcement force throughout the country. An FIR should be registered against the people responsible for the model town deaths of the PAT workers in Lahore.  

I however disagree with his actions and his strategy. There are a couple of narratives going on here. In the forefront and in the background. The media is quite apt at covering the forefront narrative. At the action on ground. The background is as always subject to many speculative theories.

First of all let me address the forefront and what is happening on ground. And my disagreement with Khan sb and his methods. I believe, truly believe that the system needs to be given time to autocorrect itself. (Yes I am being that naïve right now in saying that). I think that despite all of the other things one thing that Zardari and his PPP did deliver was a smooth transition of power from one civilian / democratic setup to another. Through elections. Elections which saw the highest voter turnout. Elections which were far from perfect but which have been observed by most as more or less fair. Yes they have not been free of rigging. Yes they have not been free from vote tampering. But they did give the result that most people, most experts, most analysts were expecting in the first place , give or take a few seats. Imran Khan and his PTI didn’t get the federal government but they certainly did get KP. And they have their chance there. To build a case study. To deliver 5 years of progress, administrative capability, improvement of system, improvement of law, schooling and all the other things that he is quite capable of. Despite his pro dialogue with Taliban stance I was confident that he would be able to deliver administratively. And as per the locals from the province and whose families are there PTI has been making headway on those fronts in KP. That’s what he should have done. Stuck with it, deliver KP in these 4-5 years. And come next election time make a more solid, stronger case. A stronger campaign. A year and a half down the road – coming down to long marches and demanding the ouster of the current premier wasn’t the way to go about it. Bringing the capital to a stand still and also imploring his supporters to not pay taxes and bills as part of his Civil Disobedience call was not the way. Now we have the government playing negotiations with both him and Tahir ul Qadri. Those have been nothing less then a game of musical chairs as well. There are talks. There aren’t talks. They are representatives from the government and then they aren’t the ones who are ok with protesting camps. There is a resignation of the Punjab CM. There isn’t one. And today something that will further fuel IK – former additional secretary of the Election Commission has alleged that the ‘People’s mandate was stolen in the 2013 election’. I am sorry but the election was last year .. where were you all this time? I am not saying I am not inclined to believe or not believe. Just that the timing just seems to be very convenient. Or has Imran Khan really had that extra profound effect on everyone?

Which leads us to the non-naïve position of things- its not always how it seems. The dialogues, the statements, the speeches, the actions are merely a show. The strings being pulled in the background by someone else. The military ‘facilitating’ both the marches to be where they are because they needed to remind civilian setup of who is the real boss when it comes to the big stuff. The boys. The boys were, are and will remain in charge is what is perhaps being said. That Nawaz had forgotten that in his different policies which are not in line perhaps with the military. That the civ-mil balance was coming to a more balanced position given that democracy was having a good run of things is merely perhaps meant for the public eye so that it is more easy to absorb on a day to day basis. And perhaps Nawaz needed reminding of all that. So a part of me is inclined to believe that as well.

Which makes me come to the following:

First of all a dangerous precedent is being set here – you don’t like who is in charge then just gather your people and march and camp yourselves out in the capital. Bring everything to a stand still. Someone has to listen. Much easier when people with influence, power and money do it and simply buy the crowd. And not always people with perhaps a good heart and a disoriented political brain.

Secondly – if Imran Khan who is supposed to be the last great hope of democracy and everything that one looks for in a national leader in terms of sincerity is also at the end of the day taking some sort of directives even if not 100% from the military then really we need to be asking what kind of changes are the military in favor of. Because here it would seem that at the end of the day the boys are the ones really whose opinion matters.

Thirdly – if that’s what we are saying – then why continue with the farce of democracy? Effectively what we are saying is that at the end of the day it’s the boys who are calling the shots. They are running the show in terms of the big boy stuff – foreign policy and all that. The administrative and as one of the papers put it ‘deputy commissioner’ sort of work is being done by the government. The civ mil balance is merely a myth. The military is the military and any tom, dick or harry could be sitting in the prime minister’s chair.

Fourth – why do we even have a president? He is a unrequired ceremonial figurehead who actually has no power whatsoever. The constitutional amendments have made sure of that. It actually didn’t matter that he has been forgotten and not heard from throughout this political crises. In fact I don’t remember when I last heard anything from him to begin with. So why is he even there? Why is the tax payers money being wasted on a salary for someone who has no role whatsoever. Not even the smallest and tiniest of ones.

Look at the end of the day all I do want is what almost any other citizen of Pakistan wants – peace and progress of the country. I don’t give a hoot whether it is Nawaz Shariff sitting in the PM’s chair or Imran Khan or Zardari or xyz. Also I myself don’t know which version to believe anymore of the narratives – the naïve one or the not so naïve and the conspiracy theory one. Whatever is happening in the forefront or in the background – if it is for Pakistan then great. If it isn’t then nothing is really changing here is there. And we can all say so much for the Naya Pakistan.

The ‘Tali-Bang’

So let’s see if we can get this straight – ‘Taali do haathon say bajti hay’ hence you need two parties to be mutually working towards the goal of a ‘peaceful’ dialogue process. But what is happening here is that the government is doing the taali for that process and the militants are bringing a Bang instead. And hence we establish how to do the ‘Tali-Bang’. That was just a lame way of saying that the Taliban is not an entity that you go and have a dialogue with. There is no basis for the government or the armed forces to be holding a dialogue with the Taliban.

For 12 years we have been entrenched in a war / conflict that has been inherited as a collaborated result of the American operations in Afghanistan and the prequel creation of the Taliban back in the Soviet Conflict. For 12 years we have faced drone attacks, terrorist attacks, suicide bombings, civilian casualties, armed forces casualties and countless other acts which will on any soil qualify as an act against the writ of the State and government of the country, against the Sovereignty of the country. Yet some of the more ‘sharp’ minded individuals in our leadership apparatus are convinced that the solution is a dialogue, a dialogue with an entity which continues to target innocents and armed forces personal. And it doesn’t end with the TTP. There is your LeJ, LeT etc etc. All carrying out different aspects of the same mindless killing plan. The TTP wages its war against the security forces and cries Jihad against the infidel American forces and the infidel American supporter. The LeJ cries infidel on all minorities and burns, kills, bombs their houses. Just yesterday we bore witness to a scathing attack on a church in Peshawer killing around 80 people (women and children included) and injuring countless more.

Earlier this year the LeJ carried out a series of attacks on the Hazara community in Quetta. Attacks were carried out on the Abbasi town Shia Community in Karachi. Homes of a Christian community were burned down in Lahore. All mentioned events are from this year alone which have resulted in the loss of almost a thousand lives.

The TTP’s most recent attack on the armed forces came last week in which a General was also killed. This was a day after some modalities of the ‘Peaceful’ dialogue process were shared.

The countless incidents of the TTP, LeJ and the likes’ various attacks on the armed forces, civilian populations and minorities can be listed. The where and the how many is not meant to be the discussion point. The point is there needs to be action taken against these groups. The point is no way that these groups should be sat down with for a dialogue. Why? It doesn’t make sense to hold a ‘dialogue’ with cold blooded murders slurring the name of our religion and constantly challenging the writ of the state and its security apparatus not to mention targeting innocent lives.

This is something that I was and still am against in Imran Khan and PTI’s mandate. I don’t agree with their approach. And please let’s come out of any corners and admit and condemn what is wrong.

So what is the approach then? What is the solution? The only thing that comes to my mind is that an extensive operation has to be carried out by the armed forces – either head on or covert. But that’s the only way. Admit that there will be casualties. There will be collateral damage. But it is necessary. It has to be done. Will it work? I don’t know because honestly that’s where the will of the army comes in. They need to be heavily inclined to carry this out. But the more one thinks about it, the armed forces will probably not be inclined towards an all out operation. It will contribute towards a the Taliban’s methodology of recruitment using the whole ‘your own country is attacking you’ to lure more and more recruits. Secondly the Army for all its credibility and what not, does seem to give that sense of still having some deeply entrenched need not to severe ties completely with their previous employees. I mean after all they were used by us for the Soviet Conflict jointly with the US and then later on Kashmir. Let’s not make two ways about it. The mercenaries have been utilized by our armed forces for their gain where they saw fit. And one gets the feeling that they haven’t outlived their use in the minds of the security think tank. Especially when you take into consideration the fact that the army has and always will remain quite India Centric on one end and a little bit of America centric on the other. I am sure otherwise that as was done in Swat a similar operation is quite possible by our military. And covert hits are also possible through our intelligence. It is not beyond our capability.

As a colleague of mine pointed out that once the army option is exhausted above in terms of the do’s and don’ts and the want to do’s – there comes the civilian government and leadership. They will not make the call. They cannot make the call because they have ties and some coalitions with the clergy. With clergy driven parties. So no – they won’t. Imran Khan has never given the indication of wanting to take action against them and has rather stuck to the ‘Dialogue’ process so he gets ruled out. PML-N needs the clergy driven and religious driven parties to work with. They are not ordering the hit.

The clergy simply cannot back an operation which will engage people who are supposedly doing what they are doing in the name of Islam and Allah. That puts them in the most awkward of positions.

No matter how much one can wrack their brains there is no solution in the head which comes which makes any sense. A solution which has a murderer coming over for dinner is not any sense for me. These people have destroyed the social fabric of this country. They have pushed us more towards two different extremes rather than a moderation, a balance. But for the life of us there just doesn’t seem to be any way that can be fathomed which will give us a solution. Not any time soon and not from anyone but the armed forces who need in their heads the various entities and mercenaries for their ‘immortal’ enemies. For what is their use if there are no enemies and no borders to defend? Right?

So what do we do? What is the solution? What is the way forward? What is going to happen?

No one knows. So we continue with the Tali and they continue with the Bang.

Elections 2013–Silver Linings

I stood in line for 10 hours last Saturday to exercise a fundamental right as a citizen of Pakistan. There were hundreds of others there with me, in fact make that a 1000+. We were all there to exercise our right to vote. This wasn’t going to be like any of the elections of the past where even if we did turn up to vote we generally did feel it was more of a paper exercise than anything else. This time was different. This time there was a feeling of a difference that could be brought about. A change that could come. So that’s why for 10 hours, bearing the sun, the heat, the long line we all stood there to ensure that we cast our vote.

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This changed feeling brought about by Imran Khan, PTI and a more energized and involved youth was further validated by the Election Commission after the elections when the estimated voter turnout was announced to be around 60% – the highest turnout in the history of the country. A change was almost certain now. Perhaps not the one we thought but the one we needed.

To give a background: as mentioned Imran Khan and PTI were largely responsible in mobilizing the urban populous in going out to vote and in all probability most of them did so in their favor. However the key word there being ‘urban’. Anyway this transformed into a social media wave which intoxicated the youth and first time voters with a lot of excitement and gusto. There were talks of the PTI sweeping the elections and a Naya Pakistan was almost guaranteed. The more experienced voter who wanted change also voted but perhaps with a more realistic expectation. He did focus on the urban bit. In fact one fellow voter said he is voting for PTI, that he knew they would lose but still he will vote for PTI because they deserve it. They deserve every seat they can manage to win and have a voice in the NA.

Come election night all people were glued to the TV as the Geo Election Band Wagon got into high gear. The votes started coming in… and a sense of disappointment was soon showing its ugly face. The realistic outcome was crushing the idealistic romanticized tsunami of Naya Pakistan.

MMNS-Rally

Nawaz Sharif aawaaye aaway indeed. And eventually it was confirmed – unofficially (as GEO could not stress enough) – Mian Nawaz Sharif was returning to power, to become the Prime Minister of Pakistan for the 3rd time. As it stands – PML N has 124 seats in NA and an overwhelming majority in the Punjab Provincial Assembly with 204. PPP was wiped off the central map and managed only to retain its sindh stronghold. MQM retained Karachi and the few seats that they get in Sindh. ANP was completely eradicated from the face of the 2013 elections. And Imran Khan’s PTI claimed the top spot in KPK to earn themselves the place of the 2nd/3rd biggest party in these elections. But that wasn’t enough to be a tsunami.. the tsunami that the social media popularity promised the voters had halted abruptly at Islamabad/Rawalpindi. What happened? Well the urban voter did go out and he did vote …. but Mr Khan and the proponents of change will have to wait before the old ways in which the larger vote bank is set can be changed. Punjab voted in the same jageerdar, landowner and power politics philosophy that it usually does. And Sindh voted in the same feudal manner that it does. As for Balochistan, they still remain detached with lower voter turnout and with a complete mix of seats between different parties. It will take quite some time for all of this to change.

But here is the thing – people who have been getting disappointed about the outcome and frustrated that nothing will ever happen of this country should not lose hope. For change has come. And it is important to stay positive for this to continue and transform into the grander scheme of things to come.

First of all the Voter turnout is a huge change. There were a lot of first time voters. People who just weren’t interested in voting before because of a lack of faith in the system went out to vote. Going from 40-42% to 60% is a huge win not for any party but for Pakistan.

pti-youth

Second – the way the youth have been involved in this election has been fantastic to see. Yes they have much to learn in order to broaden their analytical horizon beyond just the idolization of one man but the enthusiasm was phenomenal. They have raised their voices. They have voted. They have actively volunteered to facilitate the voter on election day against the heat. They have rightly protested against ‘rigging’ in various constituencies. Some have even gotten directly involved in the politics (Example: Jibran Nasir who was an independent candidate for NA 250 and PS 113 in Karachi). The youth are the future and such energy levels to be seen in them is great. The key is now for this to be maintained.

Thirdly – and this is specifically for PTI Supporters – PTI has firmly established itself as a 3rd political force in Pakistan. They may not have won the elections but going in properly for an election for this first time and winning 30 odd NA seats and the majority in one province is a huge achievement. And once the final results are out one should see the number of seats that they have come second in. That furthers the fact that PTI have established themselves. They have the opportunity to run the state of affairs in KPK. This is wonderful. They can prove themselves there and come next election that will transform into many many more seats! Also it is not clear at the moment but two things can happen: one Imran Khan will want to be leader of the opposition but that seems a little difficult as they are a couple of seats behind PPP. Plus MQM will probably support them in the center in return for being part of the setup in Sindh. So with PPP and MQM joined in the center will not leave enough support for IK to be nominated to that position. However Mian sahib is mulling giving IK the PAC Chairmanship which could be another good way of tackling issues.

pti 

Point is a lot of good things have come from this election. The incoming government cannot take it easy. It is no longer a case of musical chairs where just 2 major parties keep taking turns at power. We have successfully transferred power democratically. They will have to perform or else be accountable in front of the huge mandate of the public.

Lastly on rigging – yes there was rigging. There always is. But that said I don’t think it would largely affect the overall outcome even if there is repolling at the alleged constituencies. I am not saying that repolling shouldn’t be done. It should. We have voted and it is our right to get assurance that it was not misused. That it was counted. That it wasn’t tampered with. That we were not cheated out of our fundamental right. So all those who have to go out and vote again PLEASE DO! Don’t get frustrated in the system and not show up. Give these things time. They will improve. Just don’t give up. Go and vote again. I have to as well and I will!

Continue being the change. Pakistan Zindabad. 

Election Fever 2013

‘Imran Khan will do a clean sweep’ ‘PPP is nowhere to be seen, Zardari must have something up his sleeve’ ‘Nawaz Shariff kay vote tou tootay hee tootay, balkay saath may zardari kay aur MQM kay bhee tootay’ ‘Sir Imran Khan aa raha hay aap bas dekhtay jaye’ ‘PML-N will win, Imran will gather no more than 20 seats’ ‘PPP will form a coalition with PTI, the whole objective was to destroy the N vote bank’ ‘IK is revealing his extreme rightist colors, he is a closet Taliban I tell you’ ‘Imran will win, the fortunes of this country will change’

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Yep, that’s pretty much all that’s been there on everybody’s discussion agenda. Elections. Just 4 days to go now. Come May 11th and this country will for sure witness history. The first time that civilian governments would transfer power democratically and as per the constitution in the history of Pakistan. It is a momentous occasion also because apart from the old stalwart parties, Imran Khan’s PTI has been grabbing everyone’s attention, and in a huge way. No longer is it just PML-N or PPP that are the major players in the political arena. PTI has arrived. Whether they will be able to cash in the votes from their meteoric rise of the past 1.5 years is yet to be seen and anybody’s guess. The calculated guesswork leads us to believe that Imran Khan will definitely manage a dent if nothing else. As noted by Cyril Almeida in his column in Dawn yesterday; even if he hasn’t really managed to get the non-voter (the guy who wants a fair and established system which is progressive and authentic) to come out and vote as much as he would have wanted to, he has in the process given rise to the non-voter inside every voter (the guy who votes for the party that has taken ‘care’ of his or his area’s specific needs but in some part of his heart also wishes for the same things as the non-voter). He has given people hope that there could really be a new way of doing things. A better way. The right way.

Everyone is excited, everyone is hopeful. Some are supporting the ‘Naya Pakistan’. If social media was to be the deciding factor then Imran Khan would have most definitely Some are going for the established parties (who weren’t apparently hand in pocket with the last regime for the last 5 years).

The logical mind is saying PML-N will win. The logical mind is also saying that no party will win with clear majority thou and another coalition setup is inadvertent. Now that has raised speculations and given space to more drawing room electoral analysis. I think the fervor of election day/night that has been missing in the 90’s is coming back for people with this election. The last one of course was not quite the same being a couple of months after Benazir Bhutto’s assassination.

This election season has also been marred by terrorist attacks which has led to fingers being pointed at PTI and PML-N being pro Taliban hence not being the victims of bomb attacks and grave security threats which are causing other parties problems in being able to campaign. On ground you don’t really see anyone other than Imran Khan and the Shariff brothers. And all their respective cronies. You do tend to feel for others and for a moment think that ‘Waqai may elections tou lagta hay sirf Punjab may ho rahain hain’. But to Kaptaan’s credit he did go to other provinces as well. Where the attacks are taking place. MQM did hold a rally in Lahore. MQM has also complained but they are doing their door to door campaigning (slightly scary that!). PPP have unleashed Rehman Malik (although maybe somebody forgot to tell them that they have to try and win the election, not lose it).

Another throwback to the elections of the 90’s is the politicians and their campaign speeches. The assaulting the opponent in the most hilarious of manners possible. The most ridiculous speeches and jokes and taunts. Yahan Mian sahib ko himmat pakarnay ko kaha ja raha hay tou wahan Zardari kay B Team kay Kaptaan ka ilzaam lagay ja raha hay. Pakistani politics dramatization at it’s best.

Bottom line – 5 days to go. This is indeed a historic moment for the country. It is definitely down to the nation to make this historic moment turn out to be a good turning point for the nation as well. We all have the power to vote. Let’s make sure we exercise it properly. And not let it go to waste. We all have a responsibility towards the ‘Naya’ Pakistan that Imran Khan is selling in his campaign. Even if he does come to power – it is us who have to BE the change in order to BRING the change.

Pakistan Zindabad! Cheers Open-mouthed smile (And don’t forget to vote on the 11th – 11th May isn’t a holiday, it’s a day for change).