Saturday, September 6, 2014

Pakistan Opposition Indicts But Still Supports Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif

Contrary to the news and editorials in Pakistan's hyper-partisan media, the fact is that protesters led by PTI leader Imran Khan and PAT chief Tahir ul Qadri have already achieved many of their key objectives, including the following:

1. Going by the speeches of Aitzaz Ahsan, Khursheed Shah, Javed Hashmi and other parliamentarians at the joint session, there is broad agreement that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his ruling clique are guilty of abuse of power, corruption and nepotism, the charges leveled by PTI and PAT against the ruling Sharif family.

2. The speakers at the joint session,  particularly Aitzaz Ahsan, also believe that Nawaz Sharif has violated the constitution by placing shipping containers in an attempt to stop PTI and PAT marches.

3.  They said that the last general elections held in May of 2013 which gave Nawaz Sharif's PMLN party majority in the parliament were massively rigged as alleged by Imran Khan.

Sen. Aitazaz Ahsan's Convoluted Logic 

However, what is most surprising is that the same speakers who indicted Nawaz Sharif also pledged to stand by him and urged the Prime Minister to not resign. They argue that  they are defending Pakistan's constitution and democracy by supporting Nawaz Sharif to remain Prime Minister of Pakistan. This stand by the PPP and other parties, particularly by Senator Aitzaz Ahsan, raises the following questions:

1. If Senator Aitzaz Ahsan and some of his fellow parliamentarian truly believe that Nawaz Sharif is guilty as charged, then how is he qualified to hold the office of the Prime Minister?

2. Will they, Aitzaz Ahsan and others, use constitutional means to remove Mr. Sharif from office based on the charge sheet that they have laid out in their speeches to parliament?

3. If they support electoral and governance reforms in Pakistan, how would they go about pushing for it while Nawaz Sharif and his family remain in power?

This is Nawaz Sharif's third term as Pakistan's Prime Minister. Given the history of Nawaz Sharif's behavior in office, is there hope that any serious electoral or governance reforms can take place on his watch? This is the key question that those who oppose his resignation must answer.

Here's a description of a video discussion on this subject: Have PTI and PAT dharnas succeeded in their objectives? Did Pakistan Parliament Joint Session speeches indicting Nawaz Sharif help or hurt PMLN government? Will current crisis lead to radical reforms in electoral process and governance demanded by Imran Khan and Tahir ul Qadri in Pakistan? Is Modi aligning himself with Japan and US against China in the new great game in Asia? Viewpoint From Overseas host Misbah Azam ( discusses these questions with panelists Ali Hasan Cemendtaur and Riaz Haq (

Pakistan Political Crisis Resolution; Modi's Attack on China from WBT TV on Vimeo.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Neither Democracy Nor Development in Pakistan

Kudos to Qadri

Imran Khan in Silicon Valley

Judicial Coup in Pakistan

Imran Khan's Social Media Campaign

Another Lost Decade in Pakistan?

Politics of Patronage in Pakistan

Feudal Power Dominates Pakistani Elections

Pakistan Elections 2013 Predictions


Faraz said...

At one stage Aitizaz declared Ch Nisaar "Mickey Mouse..a Dirty Rat ...with Wig"

Aitzaz Ahsan example was really harsh but funny, however, it indicates magnitude of this rift.

Riaz Haq said...

Faraz: "Aitzaz Ahsan example was really harsh but funny, however, it indicates magnitude of this rift."

I'm glad Imran Khan and TuQ have created this opportunity for politicians dirty laundry to be out in the the politicians profit from quotas, permits, loans, plots, etc etc. In economic parlance this is called rent-seeking where they create no real value but enjoy rents because of their positions anyway. Like LPG quotas for Aitzaz, diesel permit for Fazlur Rehman, Sugar permits and loans to build sugar mills for Sharif, Zardari and their buddies, prime plots of residential and commercial land for politicians, bureaucrats, judges, generals, etc. They are all beneficiaries of the corrupt system they defend in the name of "democracy".

Meer said...

Disclaimer: I have a great respect for all gender, it is not my intention to make fun of third gender - the following joke is shared as a taunt and making fun of the "hypocrite democracy lovers" of Pakistan. Some fiction is applied.

Ch. Nisar: You are a corrupt crook who illegally took LPG quota and lawyer for crooks in courts
Ch. Aitzaz: You are a dirty rat who runs land qabza group with Puppoo Putwari ... stop looking towards me with Mr. Bean eyes...
Ch. Nisar: I do not want to comment.....
Pakistani Parliamentarians and Democracy Lover Hypocrite Journalists: Another "conspiracy" against "Jamhooriat (Democracy) is blocked and Jamhooriat (democracy) is now again safe and sound.

The above reminded me of an old punjabi joke .... "Khusriyaan (3rd gender) de ghar munda jamia unhaan ne khusi vich chum chum marta" (Neuters had a birth of baby boy and in celebrations and joy they killed the baby with kissess" ....

Please save democracy from these democracy lovers.....
The feeling Army Chief against these jokers can be summed up in a famous couplet of Ghalib:
Naahaq ham majbooron par tohmat hai mukhtaari ki
Chahte hain so aap kare hain, hamko abas badnaam kiya

Riaz Haq said...

Long speech by Aitazaz Ahsan tooting his own horn (hard to verify his claims), but here's the important part:

Ch. Aitzaz: What Imran Khan is saying is appealing to the hearts of the people (resonating with them). Even if he ends his dharna and leaves, people will still consider him "brave", but you and your ministers will have no such luck.

Ch. Nisar: You are a corrupt crook who illegally took LPG quota and lawyer for crooks in courts

Ch. Aitzaz: You are a dirty rat who runs land qabza group with Puppoo Putwari ... stop looking towards me with Mr. Bean eyes...

Ch. Nisar: I do not want to comment.....

Majumdar said...

Prof Riaz ul Haq sb,

Every patriotic Indian shud pray that NaMo remains PM for 15 years and that Pakiland remains a democracy for the same time.


Siraj said...

Well said Riaz. I fully endorse your views.

A fiery speaker armed with a mike and a platform where he can be heard is a potential threat – he can cause serious damage in opponent’s ranks. The duo of IK and TQ present the same threat to so called democratic forces in Pakistan. Tahir ul Qadri, regardless of his thoughts, has emerged as a great orator, there is no question that he is a master speaker. What is noticeable is that IK, too, is making headways as public speaker. A vast improvement can be seen in his orations. He can never be Tahir ul Qadri because he is not that learned but he is fast fulfilling the requisites of mob speaking which are fearlessness, expressing emotions freely, confidence and strength of vocal chords. Z. A. Bhutto knew very little of Urdu but he could make waves in the crowd. IK and TQ have taken turns in exposing the wrong doings of corrupt ruling elites. Particularly, IK who has set about shedding light upon the mammoth wealth amassed by Sharif dynasty during the last 20 years, unprecedented election rigging, tax evasion, writing off loans, money laundering, buying judges and bureaucracy with money. The nation is taking notice. Those who said Dharnas were fizzling out spoke too soon ---

Suhail H. said...

For a change Altaf has shown maturity in handling the present situation, at least till now. Most important for the people of Karachi is to have business as usual during this dharna period, which MQM has achieved so far despite situations such as:

1- MQM and TuQ have a very similar agenda and both are lower/ lower middle class parties. You'll remember that when TuQ announced the long march of January 2013, MQM vehemently supported it but then backed out and did not participate. MQM's populist rhetoric is such that it immediately opts for activist options such as strikes, dharnas etc. Similar is the case with TuQ and his supporters. This time MQM has given some lip service to TuQ and provided logistic support to him but has kept itself out of the dharna, and supported parliament even though it clashes with MQM's stated objectives of eliminating feudalism, empowering lower classes etc. Had MQM resigned from parliament and opted for activist options, all focus would have shifted to Karachi where dharna would have been dispersed using real bullets instead of rubber bullets. The issue would have been over by now. In this regard, MQM was helped by the usual stupidity of IK (and his Karachi leader Arif Alvi) who in the same breath criticized the rigging by NS in Punjab and MQM in Karachi.
2- When there was a good chance that Army will intervene, Altaf gave statements to the support of Army rule if it comes along. However, he did not go overboard to throw full support to martial law, taking care of the possibility that Army leadership may chicken out.
3- From the widespread coverage of dharna and more so from speeches in the parliamentary session, it is now abundantly clear that Pakistan's political system/ parliament is genetically predisposed towards corruption. Altaf's charges of malpractices by MQM leadership is a message to other parliamentary parties that MQM is coming into the "mainstream" of Pakistan politics. He took resignations from MQM parliamentarians but deferred submission at the request of Maulana Fazlur Rahman, one of the stalwarts of Pakistani parliamentary democracy. The public statement against corruption is for the consumption of MQM workers and general public, who cannot see the positivity of MQM coming into the mainstream politics.

Hope Altaf keeps his senses and stays out of the mayhem.

Hopewins said...

GOP: "Our friendship with China is higher than the mountains, deeper than the seas, sweeter than honey....blah...blah...blah".

Then we encounter the REALITY--

We just lost 34 billion$ in investment, while India gets bullet-trains and industrial parks.

Riaz Haq said...

HopeWins: "We just lost 34 billion$ in investment, while India gets bullet-trains and industrial parks."

Nonsense. Visit and signatures are nay symbolic. Projects financing will continue because the economic corridor projects are strategic for China. Chinese ExIm Bank is proceeding with financing.

Majumdar said...

Prof Riaz ul Haq sb,

Indo-Chinese trade and investments are far bigger than your trade and investment with your tallel than mountain fliend. Btw, the Chinese PM Wingchingping proposes to celebrate NaMo's birthday with him in Ahmedabad.


Riaz Haq said...

Majumdar: "Indo-Chinese trade and investments are far bigger than your trade and investment"

India's trade deficit with China is also huge and growing in China's favor.

Riaz Haq said...

Wall Street Journal story has debunked much of what BBC and Reuters reporters (both Pakistani " liberals") are alleging about "hired" participants in Islamabad dharma.

ISLAMABAD— Kiran Sajjad, a 16-year-old follower of Pakistani cleric Tahir ul Qadri, has a clear reason why she is living in a protest tent city in central Islamabad.

"The system is rigged. The rich are getting richer, and the poor are getting poorer," she said, as loudspeakers blared out the battle hymn of Mr. Qadri's movement: "Revolution! Revolution! The downtrodden will rise!"

It is this kind of anger with Pakistan's socioeconomic chasm that fueled the Taliban insurgency in parts of the country, where fiery mullahs promised swift justice to the peasants and curbed the power of feudal grandees. But Mr. Qadri is as anti-Taliban as it gets, and he is channeling this fury in a different direction.

A Canadian citizen with a daughter living in Houston, Mr. Qadri authored a 600-page fatwa against terrorism, and is a frequent speaker at conferences dedicated to dialogue with Christians and Jews. Proud of having been educated in a Catholic school, he blasts Saudi Arabia as "the biggest problem of the Muslim world" for exporting its conservative strain of Islam, and says that his goal is to eliminate Islamic academies known as madrassas by replacing them with schools that teach secular subjects.

"I am trying to lead the Muslim world toward the right, moderate, path, to bring the leadership and the people out of this confusion of extremism and terrorism, towards humanism and a peaceful society," Mr. Qadri, 63 years old, says in an interview in the armored shipping container, mounted on a flatbed truck, that serves as his home in the middle of the Islamabad protest encampment. "I am fighting to democratize, in a true sense, the Muslim world."

Mr. Qadri's critics dismiss him as a populist firebrand, and allege his throngs of followers in the tent city are being paid for their support.

The protests launched last month by Mr. Qadri and his ally, politician Imran Khan, have thoroughly shaken the administration of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, paralyzing the capital's government quarter and prompting the country's powerful army to intervene by demanding that both sides refrain from violence.

Riaz Haq said...

Wall Street Journal: Pakistan Protest Leader Imran Khan Addresses Rally in Karachi

KARACHI, Pakistan—Politician Imran Khan took his antigovernment protest movement to Karachi, the country's biggest city and commercial hub, attracting tens of thousands of supporters.

It was the first time since Mr. Khan began a sit-in demonstration in Islamabad on Aug. 15, aiming to topple Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, that he took his protest movement outside the country's capital.

"Your end is near, Nawaz Sharif, and this time neither Saudi Arabia nor America can save you," he told the crowd on Sunday.

"Imran has given us hope, and I know he will come true on his words about delivering on the rights for women," said a homemaker who said she voted for the MQM in the last election.

MQM chief Altaf Hussain, who lives in self-imposed exile in London, welcomed Mr. Khan's rally.

"I congratulate you on continuing the fight for the masses, which was in fact began by the MQM in the 80s by getting people from the lower income class elected to parliament," Mr. Hussain said.

Mr. Khan brought his mixture of political activism and carnival to the streets of Karachi, with a sound system blasting out music that got the crowd dancing.

Many came with their families, with small children clambering up their fathers' shoulders to get a view of Mr. Khan, who gained fame as a cricket star.

Girls in jeans and skirts with PTI colors painted on their cheeks pushed up toward the stage waving party flags. Young women in scarves and veils waved banners saying "Go Nawaz Go."

Mr. Khan again repeated that he would continue his protest until Mr. Sharif resigned. He believes his demonstration has developed a new public consciousness about the political system, which he says is abused by traditional parties, especially Mr. Sharif's party and the Pakistan Peoples Party, the only two parties elected to run Pakistan in the periods when it has had civilian rule.

"Pakistan has woken up," said Mr. Khan. "For 30 years, you two parties have grown rich, but the nation has become poor."

Riaz Haq said...

Bonded labor slavery is still practiced by PPP leaders who are very vocal about "protecting democracy" from PTI-PAT dharna:

t may sound like something from the pages of a history book, but slavery is still prevalent today. The most common type is bonded labor, a debt-based form of slavery in which a person’s labor is the means of repaying a loan. In several countries in South Asia, including Pakistan, whole families are enslaved in bonded labor, and children can be born into slavery when their parents are indebted. Unlike in some other countries where it is foreigners who are exploited, in Pakistan, bonded laborers are usually citizens, and the practice is caste- or debt-based and culturally tolerated.According to the 2013 Global Slavery Index, Pakistan has more than 2 million enslaved people, the third most in the modern world, after India and China. These laborers generally work in brickmaking, fisheries, agriculture and the mining industry.Kohli, a former bonded agricultural laborer, says that slaves can be free, too, if they fight back. And the first step is overcoming one’s own fear of the zameendar. “I tell all haaris [landless peasants] that a feudal is not God,” says Kohli on a scorching hot July day, “so they should learn to talk back and hit them back with their chappals [slippers] if need be.”When she ran for a seat in the provincial assembly as an independent candidate in May 2013, she faced death threats from local politicians and feudal lords. When vinegar didn’t work, they tried honey — Kohli was offered bribes worth millions of rupees, which she turned down. Though she lost the election, she earned praise for her courage in challenging the candidate from the Pakistan People’s Party.
Azad Nagar residents sit in the office of a workers' union, left, that they established to put pressure on landlords in the area not to mistreat their workers. Right, a small school set up to teach the children of the families in the village. (Click to enlarge images)
Despite the heat of the day, a large crowd of women has turned out to hear Kohli speak. They’re dressed in brightly colored ghagra cholis, traditional long skirts paired with blouses, their heads covered with long dupattas, or scarves, and hands encircled with plastic white bangles. They stand out in humble Azad Nagar, with an old and dilapidated school building shrouded in dust, few trees to provide shade and ordinary mud houses.But this modest colony is leaps and bounds better than the circumstances of bonded labor. The cultural sanction of slavery in South Asia — across the border, India fared even worse in the GSI report — means that feudal landlords get away with just about anything, despite a 1992 act abolishing bonded labor in Pakistan. (It doesn’t hurt that the main political party in Sindh — PPP, the party of the late Benazir Bhutto and ex-Prime Minister Asif Ali Zardari — is dominated by the feudal elite.) Gull Bano, one of the residents of Azad Nagar, belongs to a clan of 84 former slaves who were all drugged and kept hostage by a Sindhi feudal lord until five years ago. Her shack is squeaky clean and adorned with handmade quilts; locally made steel utensils are scattered here and there.“I was pregnant at the farm one day,” she says as she blinks back tears, and “the guard appointed by the zameendar did not let me stay back to give birth. So I took a break from harvesting the wheat crop and gave birth under a tree with my mother-in-law’s help.”She’s not the only one: Several women at the colony have similar stories about childbirth under difficult conditions when they were slaves, of not being able to feed their children or stay at home with their babies

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan's #ImranKhan considers #Taliban '#terrorists' @AJENews #PTI

Imran Khan, the Pakistani politician and former cricket star, considers the Taliban a "terrorist" group and believes that it is "absolute nonsense" to speculate that he supports "extremism".

In an interview with Al Jazeera's Mehdi Hasan, the host of UpFront, Khan said: "Yes they are [a terrorist group]. Anyone who kills innocent people are terrorists."

The interview will be aired in full on Friday at 19:30 GMT.

Khan was also asked about his alleged relationship with the Pakistan Taliban and whether, as some have speculated, he supports the armed group.

"This is absolute nonsense. It's just not true," he said. "All you have to do is look at my statements for the past ten years."

Khan also responded to accusations from Asif Ali Zardari, former president of Pakistan, that his large financial donations to Darul Uloom Haqqania, a school known for educating Taliban fighters, was evidence that he supported "extremism".

"This is totally out of context," he said, explaining that the purpose of the funding from his party was "to get the madrassa system into the mainstream".

Khan said "if it was a university for jihad, it should have been shut down" by previous Pakistani governments.

He said that Zardari's comments were "like so many of the Muslim corrupt rulers, ex-rulers, trying to win Western support by saying how liberal they are and how anti-Taliban they are".

Khan also spoke about Pakistan's controversial blasphemy laws.