Tag: politics

Nothing would affect MQM’s control

In political discourse, usually, the public, for whom democracy actually exists, are forgotten.

A new political party has been declared against the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM). But as yet we do not know the name, manifesto, how many members it consists of or who funds it, for that matter.

What we know is that war has been declared and ample of allegations made on both ends.

DNA went around asking Karachiites, to know what they thought of Mustafa Kamal’s return.

The return of the beloved mayor

Mustafa Kamal was one of the most, if not the most, popular mayors of Karachi. The people fully appreciated his efforts in building the city into a metropolis.

“I hope this is the last nail in MQM’s coffin. Yes, in Kamal’s tenure the conditions of Karachi weren’t good. But now they are very safe and sound. We have lived through a time when MQM’s terror was enough for people to sit at home. But when he was the mayor he developed Karachi into a beautiful city, it was clean and the infrastructure was well built. We loved him,” said Bina Saeed, a housewife.

People who were pro-MQM some years ago have changed their mind now. They feel what PML-N is to Lahore, MQM should have been to Karachi. Alas, those days are far behind and now terror is all that prevails. They feel MQM is ruling over them as a monarchy and not like a democracy.

“When they were in power, Karachi was at its finest. MQM knows the reigns of Karachi very well and does it best to flourish it during its rule. Case in point; when Mustafa Kamal was the mayor. All the developments people now see are thanks to MQM and him. But unfortunately when they are not in power they will go to any length to ruin the rule of the party in power,” said Hiba Akmal, an associate in the USA.

Power

“From a tender age, youngsters have always been brainwashed. I have been living in an MQM controlled area for the past 20 years. I am used to seeing karkuns (workers) go about their daily violent activities. At a point I admired them and that did half the job for them,” said Majid a banker.

Youngsters do not even know what they are doing, while they are doing it, as they are intoxicated by the power that being an MQM worker brings with it.

“People had no freedom of speech about 15 years ago. My uncle was murdered by someone from MQM, I know of many others who have faced the same situation. But even after all these atrocities people remain blindfolded and they still support MQM,” a resident of Karachi who didn’t want to be named told DNA.

MQM won’t be affected

Some feel that Mustafa Kamal’s entry won’t be a hassle for MQM. The MQM-Haqiqi was formed in 1992 but so far it hasn’t been able to affect MQM’s following so Kamal’s party won’t leave a mark either.

“The Rangers always construct parties against us; first it was Haqiqi then PTI now it’s Mustafa Kamal. He too will run away once people find out about his corruption money which is safe in his brother’s bank,” Amir Ahmed, an MQM worker told DNA.

People who do not support MQM also feel that the party has marked its territory and is here to stay.

“MQM is deeply rooted into its voters and it can’t be affected easily. Having said that it would hurt the party psychologically, MQM has always shown heat when it comes to such statements rather than dealing with them calmly. Mustafa Kamal’s party will only get media hype but on grounds of vote it won’t go too far,” Junaid Akram, who lived in Karachi for 28 years before moving to the UAE for a job, told DNA.

Some feel that MQM is being targeted on all levels; conspiracies and strategies are being formulated just to bring it down.

“Whether using Saulat Mirza or Mustafa Kamal, the agenda remains to defame MQM. Kamal enjoys massive respect and admiration as the sort of work he has done is praiseworthy, but one should never backfire and disrespect the people who have been your stepping stone,” said Bisma, an IBA student.

Traitors

Coming out on national television and spilling the beans on one of the strongest parties of the country is not an easy task. In the process, Mustafa Kamal has claimed responsibility for many crimes, some a matter of national security.

“The new MK party is a waste of time. To build a new party from scratch a lot of public support is needed. He has been an accomplice in all the crimes he claimed. If he really wants to do something, he should surrender. He is a traitor too for keeping all this to himself for the past three years and for that matter even Altaf Hussain is a traitor,” Shehroze Khan, a graduate of accounts and finance, said.

What we have to wait and see now is how this new party does, if at all, and how it actually affects MQM and Karachi.


Originally Published in Pakistan Today 

 

On the eve of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to America, let’s discuss the dynamics of Pakistan with another growing power structure, possibly the Asian Pivot, as said by Hilary Clinton herself, India, and the USA.

Pakistan’s geopolitical significance is undisputedly important to USA, India and China.

Though Pak-US governments try to maintain a strategic partnership, there definitely is a trust deficit.

The recent spanner in the works in, so to say, in the relations between India and Pakistan was thrown in with the Mumbai attacks on 26 November, 2008.

It was on this day that a group of militants simultaneously attacked multiple targets in Mumbai, killing around 183 people, including 22 foreign nationals, while some 327 people were injured.

During December 2008 the Pakistani government admitted that 26/11 might have been partly planned on Pakistani soil, while strongly denying accusations that the perpetrators were aided by Pakistan’s intelligence.

Keeping in mind the coming visit of the Pakistan PM to the US, it would be of great use to go through some of the most prominent incidents between Pakistan and India, Pakistan and US and the US and India, and how these incidents have shaped the relations between these countries over the past few years.

On 16 June 2009, on the sidelines of a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Yekaterinburg (Russia), Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on meeting President Zardari flouted traditional norms of diplomacy, saying that, “my mandate is to tell you that Pakistani territory should not be used for terrorism against India” in the presence of the international media.

On 16 July 2009, PM Gillani met with Singh in the Egyptian city of Sharm-el-Sheikh during the NAM summit. They issued a joint statement which stated “both prime ministers recognised that dialogue is the only way forward. Action on terrorism should not be linked to the Composite Dialogue Process and these should not be bracketed.”

During this time Pakistan and the US had good relations.

Oct 2009 – Kerry-Lugar Bill passed, which granted $7.5nbillion of non-military aid under certain circumstances showing USA’s distrust in Pakistan’s military.

On 1 December 2009, President Barak Obama decided to broaden the relationship with Pakistan on foundations of mutual trusts and respect.

In February 2010, the Obama administration requested an additional $3 billion in aid, for a total of $20.7 billion. It should be noted here that from 2002 to 2010, Pakistan had received approximately $18 billion in military and economic aid from the US.

On 4 February 2010, India officially offered to restart foreign secretary-level talks with Pakistan. Without clarifying the scope of the proposed discussions, Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao invited her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir for talks to New Delhi.

Delegates went to India, where they were handed over three dossiers. They demanded that thirty-three individuals, including two serving Pakistan army officers as well as Indian fugitives allegedly involved in terror acts, be handed over to India.

Pakistani foreign secretary reminded India on this occasion that his country had witnessed “hundreds of Mumbai’s” and lost 5,366 civilians in 3,043 terror attacks since 2008 and, therefore, was not ignorant of the dangers of terrorism after their incessant allegations. Evidently both countries failed to bury the hatch at this meeting.

By mid-February Abdul Ghani Baradar, Taliban’s second-in-command, was captured in Pakistan by Pakistani forces.

During March 2010, India again requested to conduct a second round of meetings to which Pakistan refused mentioning that it wanted result oriented talks.

The SAARC summit was held in Bhutan from 28-29 April, 2010, and it led to a meeting between the two PMs. This was after the 47-nation summit on nuclear security that took place in Washington in early April

US and SAARC members’ pressure played a vital role in the agreement the two countries came to in Bhutan. They held three meetings, including a one-on-one discussion that lasted over an hour. An agreement was that there was a lack of trust that necessitated dialogue. Terrorism and prosecution of terrorists allegedly involved in the Mumbai attacks were issues highlighted by Manmohan Singh, to which the Pakistani premier reassured that terrorism was a threat that the country was working against.

24 June 2010, Nirupama Rao visited Islamabad to meet Salman Bashir where the agenda for a meeting between the foreign ministers in July was set. The talks, as Rao put it, “provided an opportunity to talk to each other and not at each other”.

India’s proposal dealt with trade and humanitarian issues and to ensure that Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT) chief Hafiz Saeed is prevented from issuing anti-India statements or making contentious speeches.

In May 2010, Ajmal Kasab, the protagonist of 26/11 was sentenced to death by Indian courts. In which the Law Minister Moily termed a message to Pakistan to abandon its “state policy of terrorism”. A similar statement by Home Minister Chidambaram also makes for ominous reading, warning Pakistan to refrain from “exporting” terror to India.

During January 2011, Raymond Davis shot dead two Pakistani robbers, this threatened the Pak-US relation, as US said that Davis enjoys diplomatic immunity and Pakistan wanted to prosecute him. He was freed after US gave blood money to the Families of the dead.

In February 2011, ‘foreign secretaries of Indo-Pak countries met in Thimpu (Nepal) agreeing to resume peace talks “on all issues”.

In May 2011, Saleem Shahzad, a Pakistani journalist, was killed. The US Admiral Mullen alleged that the killing was “sanctioned by the government” which ISI denied liberally.

On 2 May 2011, the event of the century took place in Abbottabad: Osama Bin Laden, Taliban’s head, was killed by the US Navy SEALs on Pakistani soil, in the operation Neptune Spear. Pakistan wasn’t informed until it was over. The US thought that any effort to tell Pakistan authorities about the mission could expose it.

US-Pakistan relations tumbled again when 24 Pakistani soldiers died in an air strike by the US Army.

As a result of the attack, Pakistani government ordered US army to evacuate Salala air base which was used against Taliban and militants. Moreover, the government also halted NATO supplies for United Sates.

In November 2012, India executed Ajmal Kasab, hanging him just days before the fourth anniversary of the attack.

Shakil Afridi, a doctor cooperating with the US in Neptune Spear, was sensed to 33 years of prison for treason.US Congress cut 33 million dollars from Pakistan’s aid.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen urged Pakistan to restore NATO supply routes to Afghanistan. Pakistan had not been invited to the crucial 25th NATO summit to be held in May in Chicago.

However on 19 May, Zardari did attend the NATO summit. But Pak-US couldn’t reach a conclusive deal

8 June 2012, US Assistant Defence Secretary Peter Lavoy arrived in Islamabad, in a fresh attempt to bring an end to a six-month blockade on NATO supplies.

11 June 2012, USA withdrew from talks as they failed.

3 July 2012, key supply routes were reopened in Afghanistan, after Hillary Clinton apologised on the loss of lives in the air strike.

Some hope rose in September 2013 when PMs of India and Pakistan met in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. Both the leaders agreed to end tension between armies of both sides in the disputed Kashmir.

In 2014, Pakistan initiated Operations Zarb-e-Azb against all militants, good or bad.

Early in January 2014, India and Pakistan resumed secretary-level trade talks in New Delhi. The meetings were held for the first time in 16 months, with hopes for increased market access, non-tariff barriers and free flow of goods and investment.

On 12 February, 2014, India and Pakistan agreed to release trucks which were detained in their respective territories, putting an end to a three week standoff triggered by seizure of a truck in India-administered Kashmir coming from across the de facto LoC for allegedly carrying brown sugar.

On 1 May, 2014, Pakistan’s army chief General Raheel Sharif calls Kashmir the “jugular vein” of Pakistan and stressed that the dispute should be resolved according to the wishes of Kashmiris, keeping in mind UNSC resolutions for lasting peace in the region.

Modi, allegedly the architect of the 2002 Gujarat riots and as a result of his personal beliefs, views, ideological and party affiliations, is not viewed as someone who can deliver peace.

This viewpoint gained further credibility as his election manifesto which was heavily anti-Pakistan, spoke of the revision of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution pertaining to Kashmir’s special status; reviewing of India’s nuclear doctrine with the possibility of the adoption of no NFU clause.

On 27 May, 2014, Narendra Modi held talks with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in New Delhi. Both sides expressed willingness to begin new era of bilateral relations.

In 2015, Strategic Dialogue session began in Islamabad. John Kerry met with Sartaj Aziz to review progress in the existing five Working Group areas, namely economic and finance; defence; law enforcement and counterterrorism; security, strategic stability, and non-proliferation; and energy, and the sixth group—on education, science, and technology.

A notable outcome of the engagement was Pakistan’s agreement to formally ban the Haqqani Network of Afghan insurgents that operates from its territory.


Originally Published in Pakistan Today 

NA-122 has suddenly come to symbolise electoral confrontations and animosities of the day – far beyond its political jurisdiction – but it was not always so. If history is anything to go by, it has been a pretty straight forward story for a while now.

But surely some things have changed. PTI is now the greatest and gravest threat to the N-league. And the way the campaign for this bye-election has built up, it has indeed become far bigger than the constituency itself.

Here’s a brief look at the goings on in this constituency for the last few elections.

2002

Pakistan allegedly returned to democracy with the 2002 general election, which was held under the government of then President General Pervez Musharraf.

Sardar Ayaz Sadiq of PML-N won NA-122 by 37,531, defeating Imran Khan, who got 18,638 votes

2008

The 2007 general election was delayed because President Musharraf enacted a state of emergency. This was followed by Benazir Bhutto’s death which pushed the elections which to February 18, 2008.

Sardar Ayaz Sadiq of PML-N yet again won in NA-122 with 67,000 votes, followed by PPP’s Mian Muhammad Misbah-ur-Rehman, who bagged 24,000 votes.

PPP won the general elections on the whole.

2013

Held on May 11, these elections marked a turning point in Pakistan’s history. It was the first civilised transfer of power followed by a successful five-year term of the PPP government.

The elections were conducted in 272 constituencies, further 70 seats were awarded to parties having been reserved for women and minority groups; none of the competing parties achieved the 172 seats needed for an overall majority, but PML-N won the assembly.

It was during these elections that PTI stood out and became an important contender in the race.

Sardar Ayaz Sadiq of PML-N yet again won in NA-122 with 93,389 votes, followed Imran Khan of PTI with 84,417 votes.

Many irregularities were found in the results which came to notice after Imran Khan demanded recounts and verification.

NA-122 was among the four controversial constituencies — the other three being NA-110 (Sialkot), NA-125 (Lahore) and NA-154 (Lodhran) — where PTI demanded verification of voters’ thumbprints.

The election tribunal on 8 December 2014 ordered recounting of votes in NA-122 on a plea filed by Imran Khan.

Ayaz Sadiq challenged the election tribunal’s verdict of the NA-122 case in Lahore High Court on 15 December 2014 and filed a contempt of court petition against tribunal’s judge Kazim Malik.

3 January 2015 – recounting of votes completed.

5 January 2015 — 735 votes were rejected for Ayaz whereas 114 were added after the verification and Imran Khan’s 849 votes got rejected, decreasing his vote count.

12 January 2015 – Election commission Pakistan (ECP) submitted an inquiry report were Ayaz Sadiq secured 93,393 votes in the general elections in 2013 whereas Imran Khan bagged 83,542 votes.

The report also included that 15 vote bags were not closed as stated by the rules and ten vote bags were not sealed.

28 January 2015— Khan files petition against the inquiry commission probing the rigging evidence

14 Feb 2015 –ECP accepts Imran’s request to send reports to NADRA for forensic testing

During May 2015 – the forensic report was sent to the tribunal by NADRA which consisted of 781 pages. NADRA declared a high level of irregularities were found.

184,151 votes were verified out of which 73,478 thumbprints were verified. 93,582 votes couldn’t we verified.

570 voters were not registered in the constituency, while there were no thumb impressions on 1715 counterfoils of the ballot papers.

6,123 votes were cast on bogus national identity cards and 255 votes were on duplicate cards.

16 June 2015 – both the parties presented their ending arguments before the Election Tribunal Judge.

22 Aug 2015  – Ayaz Sadiq challenges the verdict of the election tribunal which declared his victory in NA-122 as null and void, in the Supreme Court.

24 Aug 2015 – Imran demands the resignation of NADRA chairman and ECP members for hiding rigging results.

25 Aug 2015 – ECP decided not to respond to Imrans demands as it’s a constitutional institution and is not answerable to any party.

27 Aug 2015 – PML-N to challenge PTI in NA-122 and NA-154 by-elections instead of going to the apex court.

31 Aug 2015 – ECP announces schedule of by-elections in NA-122 Lahore and NA-154 Lodhran constituencies to be on October 11

20 Sep 2015 – Imran announces to run full-fledged election campaigns for the by-elections and to hold rally on October 4 in Lahore

1 Oct 2015 – ECP announces to install military assisted by Punjab Rangers and police outside the by-election polling stations.

ECP also served notices to Ayaz Sadiq and Aleem Khan for violating the code of conduct for by-polls.

After two years, one month, 17 days and 58 sessions, with the election tribunal the verdict still hangs in the bye-elections to be conducted on October 11.

By-elections

These by-elections can be deemed as the deciding vote for the two parties. Where PML-N stands with Ayaz Sadiq again and has pitched in a lot of resources for the win.

Where PTI stand with Aleem Khan and the need to prove its rigging allegation as true while PML-N wants to prove otherwise; both the parties have made these bye-elections a matter of their pride and ego.

NA-122 has also overshadowed the Okara by-elections.


Originally Published in Pakistan Today