Tag Archives: Democracy in Pakistan

The Year of the Coup D’état: Fawzia Naqvi

Guest post by FAWZIA NAQVI

Imran Khan was not the first one to be obsessed with both cricket and politics. Saira and I beat him to it 20 years ago. We spent 50% of our time swooning over him and the other 50% worshipping Mr. Bhutto. 20 years later I believe it was I who got over Imran Khan and Saira who got over Mr. Bhutto. Although I must confess, it was Imran who adorned every inch of wall and closet space in my dressing room, the “shrine” as my brother labelled it. And it was Imran’s picture which popped out of the inside cover of my high school notebook. During moments of boredom and droning lectures I would stare at his picture for an hour straight and muse and sigh over the fact that one could see his house from the balcony of our school and perhaps today might be the day when he would come to pick up his sister from our school. The God, the Adonis, Imran was it for both of us.

I don’t know how Saira became an Imran groupie. I do recall well how I did. I was taken to my first ever live cricket match in 1976. My brother’s best friend pointed toward the field from high up in the spectator stands to what looked to me like white dots, and told me with much seriousness in his voice, “there over there is the most handsome man you’ll ever see…” and then he made his most remarkable claim, “he’s so handsome you’ll forget about Izzy!” Continue reading The Year of the Coup D’état: Fawzia Naqvi

Pakistan 2012 – We Must Learn from History: Raza Rumi

Guest post by RAZA RUMI

Iskander Mirza, Pakistan’s President between 1956 and ’58, is remarked to have said that democracy was ‘unsuited’ to the genius of the Pakistani people. Decades later, similar questions about democratic form of governance are being raised in Pakistan. Take any TV show, read the multitude of op-eds, or more worryingly, check what the youth have to say on Facebook or Twitter. The parameters of debate remain the same.

The urban Pakistani’s disdain for the ‘illiterate’, ‘rural’ politicians and their ability to rule the country is a long-running theme. More importantly, the duality of civil-military rule has generated a peculiar discourse: the weak and corrupt ‘civilians’ compromise national security as opposed to authoritarian regimes which guard ‘ideological’ and geographical borders of the country. Continue reading Pakistan 2012 – We Must Learn from History: Raza Rumi

In Defence of Asif Ali Zardari: Abdullah Zaidi

Guest post by ABDULLAH ZAIDI

What comes to your mind with the mention of Asif Ali Zardari? “A cunning, vile, and corrupt man,” said my 19 year old cousin. This was a good summation of what the urban middle-class thinks of him. The more I hear people talking about him the more I am convinced of the power of propaganda. “Give the dog a bad name and hang him,” Zardai once said about himself. That is what is at work here.

Despite what has been said about him, Zardari did have a political background. His father Hakim Ali Zardari entered politics well before Partition and was a member of the Khaksaar Tehreek in 1931. He was first elected to the National Assembly in 1970s. All this talk of Zardari as a political orphan who hogged the Bhutto dynasty upon marriage with Benazir, is a non-starter. In Benazir’s husband, the Bhutto family wanted someone who would remain loyal to her. That is exactly what they got in him. For Zardari, family would always come first. This was the case at the time of Benazir’s death, when he kept the family together. Benazir would often tell close aides that despite his failings, Zardari always remained loyal to the family. Continue reading In Defence of Asif Ali Zardari: Abdullah Zaidi