NAWAIWAQT GROUP
Editorials
Friday, 29 August, 2014

Mr Tahir-ul-Qadri might be wrong about everything else, but he was absolutely right in asking for an FIR to be registered against the accused of the Model Town incident, which left at least 14 PAT workers dead, and several injured. The PML-N remained insistent on defying both Session Court and Lahore High Court orders, until Thursday, when it finally gave in, hoping it would soften Mr Qadri’s stance, and buy the government some more time. It is truly unfortunate that the PML-N government tried to give the impression that it was making a huge concession for the sake of democracy, when in ...

Afghanistan’s seemingly never-ending presidential elections have surprised us with another twist in the tale. Presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah has pulled his observers from the audit claiming his demands weren’t met. After a bitterly contested election, where both sides claimed “industrial-scale” rigging had taken place, the US brokered agreement seems to be unwinding. Under the agreement, the UN would carry out an audit of the whole election, both parties publically signed a written agreement to form a ‘National Unity Government’- a power sharing ...

The IED blast in Mohmand Agency targeted at a security force vehicle that injured two, is a reminder of the biggest issue that Pakistan currently faces. The current political deadlock has distracted the public from the ongoing war against militants in North Waziristan, but the continuation of attacks in other areas of the tribal belt tells us that even if Zarb-e-Azb in North Waziristan is successful, the war will be far from over. Although no one has claimed responsibility for the attack, the Mohmand chapter of TTP is the most likely suspect. This is the same group that beheaded 23 FC ...

Thursday, 28 August, 2014

In the Punjabi language there is a saying which loosely translates to “Always leave a way out for the cat”, the lesson being that if the cat is cornered and can’t see a way out, you are bound to get scratched. Maybe the government could learn something from this, with Imran hell-bent on painting himself in a corner; the government might have to create a way out for him.The ever obstinate Imran Khan has shut the door on the only positive development to have come out of the two dharnas. By suspending all negotiations till Nawaz resigns; the cricketer has consigned the ...

A half empty Parliament. A dejected looking Prime Minister. And a speech that explained nothing and defended much. In his first comment on the ongoing stalemate with PTI and PAT, Nawaz Sharif spent a while thanking all those that supported him and the democratic process, in a tone that was strained from the constant pressure of holding the tide back. Words such as, “We have survived difficult times”, could have been interpreted as citing a measure of perseverance, or a leader telling his followers that it was good while it lasted but the end of the line was near. The lack of ...

A butterfly snaps its wings in Iran and a bomb falls in Libya… this is the ridiculous extent to which political issues of the Middle East (and North Africa) are intermingled and the extent of the ripple effect is felt across continents. In news that is causing raised eyebrows and shaking heads, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates secretly carried out airstrikes against militias inside Libya, that too without US knowledge. The US decried the intervention as an escalation of the North African country’s already debilitating turmoil. In a joint statement, the United States with ...

Wednesday, 27 August, 2014

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met with Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Shareef at Prime Minister House, Islamabad, on Tuesday. The short statement released by the PM House after the meeting stated that “there was a consensus on the need to resolve the ongoing issue expeditiously in the best national interest.” We cannot be sure whether that was indeed the decision reached by the end of the meeting, but it is clear that the ongoing political crisis was in fact discussed between the two. There is a strong impression that the military has been playing a rather active role in ...

The Lahore High Court’s move to uphold the decision of the sessions court to register a First Information Report (FIR) against Shahbaz Sharif, Rana Sanaullah, Saad Rafique and 18 others over the Model Town incident is not going to make things any easier for the government in the ongoing political crisis. With the regime losing its credibility by the day, an appeal in the Supreme Court is probably the next course of action for the PML-N, although whether this will do them any good is questionable at best considering the JIT report categorically blames the government for the incident. ...

Pakistan wants to approach the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for arbitration if India continues with its stance of constructing the Kishanganga Dam on River Jhelum and four other dams on the Chenab in violation of the Indus Water Treaty (IWT). This come after India has taken an aggressive stance against Pakistan, leading to the freezing over of peace talks on Kashmir. It seems that India won’t stand down, it’s looking at itself as the regional hegemon and will take what it needs and do what it wants and talks have failed.Even if the issue goes to the ICJ, there is no ...

Tuesday, 26 August, 2014

Saturday came and passed, but the umpire didn’t raise his finger despite Imran’s strong ‘gut feeling’. The game is still on, and it is evolving for the worse. We can observe that the scope of the ‘movement’ is expanding, as more players are sucked into the war of narratives designed to distract, mislead and achieve results. Everyone had been a bad boy, begging for a good thrashing from the master. The Government, the Parliament, the superior judiciary, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), the entire political class - they’re all in it, taking ...

What is happening on the streets of Islamabad and how it translates into economic conditions is worrisome. PTI chief Imran Khan’s call for civil disobedience, to stop paying bills and taxes, shows disregard and a lack of knowledge of the economy especially at a time when the government wants to increase tax revenues to fund energy projects and meet IMF conditions. Tax evasion is simply not feasible as most taxes are either indirect or direct, coming from corporations and their employees. Custom duty is at the point of entry and no one can evade it but the state itself, and the business ...

The increase in ceasefire violations on the LoC after the cancellation of the meeting between the two Foreign Secretaries by India has given rise to feelings of anger on both sides of the border. Modi’s assertions that Pakistan is engaging in a proxy war and using the attacks on Indian border check posts to infiltrate its borders on his visit to Kargil is not going to help put any fires out either. The fact remains that Pakistan has done more than its diplomatic share to encourage the two countries in engaging in dialogue since the PML-N came into power. From Nawaz Sharif’s visit ...

Monday, 25 August, 2014

Over the years, successful movements built from the ground up have left behind them a legacy of words. From Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” to Jinnah’s own address to Pakistan, they have inspired real mobilisation and a love for the cause that transcended the leaders who spoke them. They are the spirit of the movement; these words of history’s great and charismatic reformers. Though one cannot expect the same degree of romance surrounding a movement that is a) not a mass movement, and b) subject to possible third party engineering, one is hard pressed to ...

Fifteen bodies were recovered from the scene of a brutal attack on fleeing refugees in Eastern Ukraine last week. The Ukrainian military pinned the blame on rebels, supplied by the Russian forces, who vehemently denied the allegations and instead blame the Ukrainian military for the incident. But considering that the refugees were fleeing the scenes of violence with the Ukrainian military for escort, Deputy Prime Minister of the rebel government Andrei Purgin’s allegations do not seem believable. Russia is still adamant on denying their involvement even though evidence proves otherwise. ...

The judicial commission on the mass graves in Khuzdar has unsurprisingly come up empty-handed, and once more the plight of the missing persons of Balochistan goes unanswered. The commission has very conveniently absolved the government and the armed forces of any blame in the matter and has instead implicated a local tribal leader, Shafiq Mehngal. His connection to the incident however could not be clearly established, even though 37 witnesses testified against him. And even if is he is involved, what next? If past experiences are to be taken into consideration then we can safely assume that ...

Sunday, 24 August, 2014

On Friday, Information Minister Pervez Rashid filed a petition in the Lahore High Court (LHC) challenging the orders given by a Session court in Lahore. On 17 August, a Session court judge had ordered the SHO of Faisal Town Police Station to register a FIR against 21 persons from Punjab Police and PML-N, including PM Nawaz Sharif and Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif, over the June 17 Model Town incident, which left at least 12 Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) supporters dead and several injured. Now, the accused are well within their rights to challenge the Session court’s decision. The law permits ...

In scenes that look a lot like what is happening in Islamabad, thousands of Shia protesters have gathered in Sana’a in Yemen to demand resignations. Houthi protesters are demanding that the president dissolves what they describe as a corrupt and ineffective government in favour of a more representative body. The Houthi rebels are seeking a single region in the north within the federal government, and a greater share of power.PTI and PAT need a reality check. They need to count their blessings and come to some form of an agreement to end their protests. Time is of the essence. Protesters ...

The Punjab Police is a notorious institution; inept, behind the times and with its constables working primarily to generate petty bribes. The Model town incident confirmed a few other facts for us. Seeing that the ‘operation’ against Tahir-ul-Qadri commenced in tandem with the beginnings of his revolutionary intentions, it is safe to say that the actions of the police are dictated by the ruling party and not by its own operation procedures. The non-registration of a FIR against the government did nothing to dispel this belief either, and the narrative against the police was ...

Saturday, 23 August, 2014

The last thing we need right now is sectarian elements coming out in opposition to PAT-led Inquilab March under the pretext of support for democracy and the constitution. Tahir-ul-Qadri, who belongs to the majority Barelvi sect, is joined by the Shia Majlis-e-Wahdatul Muslameen (MWM) and the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) for the ongoing sit-in in Islamabad. Another uniting factor for these three has been their clear and outspoken opposition to the Pakistani Taliban and terrorism. On the other hand, we have the Deobandi sect, which has historically enjoyed patronage by the country’s ...

‘Change’ is a strong slogan; it coalesces all heartbreak, injustice and dissatisfaction into one monolithic emotion. It’s a net that gathers in it all forms of disillusionment, be it corruption, police activism, inflation, unemployment and virtually anything not up to scratch. With Pakistan embroiled in all sorts of problems this slogan cuts through all classes and ethnicity. It is a powerful slogan; motivating the politically apathetic and the activists alike. And for the energetic youth, still not jaded by the vagaries of life, it becomes a cause to fight for. Despite all ...

The Khan raves and he roars, and now that his rants at Pakistan’s internal political situation are old-new, he has chosen to shake his finger at the US. “We are willing to be friends with the US, but Imran as PM will never be a stooge like Nawaz Sharif and will never accept any dictation from the US.” Roar.The PTI chief said the US intrusion into Pakistan’s internal political matters was unacceptable especially when it is going through a crisis. And they haven’t stated they will interfere. “We do not support any extra-constitutional changes to that ...

Friday, 22 August, 2014

Mr Qadri is a lucky man. Most pastors or clerics have a hard time preaching beyond the walls of their establishments, and if they do, it’s only through buying airtime from dedicated religious channels or brief morning slots from the mainstream ones. Mr Qadri has been allowed to rail, rant and sermonize on national television without any such inconvenience. His tediously long and elaborate ploys are telecast live; his incendiary and violent religious imagery is broadcast to rapt attention. He has treated the nation as an extended flock; all here to listen to his Friday prayer sermon. Is ...

The Islamic State’s response to air strikes in Iraq against their advancing forces in the form of the video of James Wright Foley’s execution has shocked and horrified the entire world. The US journalist was abducted in November 2012 and has been missing since. Not only that, but another American journalist now identified as Steven Sotloff was also featured in the video, with the IS making it clear that he was next if the US continued to play any part in the Iraqi conflict. The US has conducted 84 air strikes since the 8th of August. The video titled ‘A message to ...

Is Nawaz perfect? Is the government? Is democracy? No. So, should they be replaced? But, with what? Dictatorship? We have conducted that experiment more than once, and it failed each time. A democratically elected government ought to enjoy both legal and moral legitimacy. While the former is satisfied if the government comes to power through the ballot, the latter has to do with what it actually does with that power. Wrong decisions or actions taken by an elected government do not invalidate the votes they received in the previous election, or challenge its legal legitimacy, but they ...

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