Politicians everywhere are a despicable lot but those in Pakistan are in a class of their own: incompetent and thoroughly corrupt
Dark clouds hover over Pakistan's political landscape. Chief of Tehrik-e Insaf, Imran Khan has threatened to lay siege to Islamabad while Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif faces growing pressure on many fronts including corruption charges stemming from Panama leaks and tense civilian-military relations. The former army chief, General Mirza Aslam Beg, sees parallels between this and the 1977 agitation that led to Bhutto's overthrow by the military.1
The shenanigans of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), a Karachi-based “political” party, have dominated news in Pakistan for several weeks now. With its leader, Altaf Husain in self-imposed exile in London, England, facing money laundering and murder charges, deep fissures have emerged in the party at home.
If Pakistan is serious about confronting and eliminating terrorism, then it must adopt a coherent policy starting with the Sharif brothers withdrawing their support of terrorist outfits.
Reflecting their criminal nature, the MQM mafia has torched businesses, buses, cars and trucks in Karachi as their boss is arrested in London on money laundering charges. Why should Karachi burn if the mafia don is in police custody in London?
The dramatic announcement by Altaf Hussain as head of the MQM early Sunday morning (Pakistan time) has taken many observers by surprise. Is the godfather of MQM serious or is this another of his political stunts to shore up support when his popularity has declined dramatically in recent months? His quick retraction a few hours later proved this was all a show.
For a state to function reasonably well, it must fulfill certain basic needs of the people: provide security of life, limb and property as well as food, water, education and health services.
If there is any truth in the saying that people vote against, rather than for, someone or something, then the results of the general elections in Pakistan on February 18 are a stinging rebuke to General Pervez Musharraf and the party, the Pakistan Muslim League (Quaid-e Azam faction, PML-Q), that he created as a civilian façade for his brutal rule.
Returning to Pakistan on October 18, Benazir Bhutto discovered how radically the country has changed in the eight years she was away “languishing” in self-imposed exile. Heading a political procession—in reality a circus of rented crowds—from the airport to the mausoleum of the country’s founder, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Benazir’s procession was attacked by two suicide-bombers who left 140 people dead and more than 500 injured.