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Articles in this section

  • Pakistan’s July 2018 elections: the certainties

    , by HOODBHOY Pervez

    Pakistan’s elections will not be free or fair. But the AWP and some progressive independents are taking part - to keep hope alive.
    Controlled elections are always a blow against democracy. Among other things, democracy needs elections. And proper elections need a level playing field. Else, (...)

  • In Pakistan: evading censorship of Pashtun struggle news

    , by SARWAR Beena

    In Pakistan, a youth-led, social media-powered movement is gaining ground – despite a media blackout of the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) and it’s struggle for justice and dignity.
    The revolution will not be televised in Pakistan. Unless it has the blessings of the powers-that-be. This has (...)

  • The bittersweetness of dissent in Pakistan

    , by SHEHRBANO ZIA Afiya

    I was introduced to the concept of dissent in the 1980s when I overheard a conversation among my father’s friends. They said a group of women had scared Gen Ziaul Haq so much that in a televised address he warned the people not to be misled by these few 200 bourgeois westernised women who were (...)

  • Pakistan: marches and democracy

    , by JAN Ammar Ali

    Don’t be fooled by the media blackout and prejudice. The Islamists are not the only social movements on the march in Pakistan. Over the last few months, Pakistan has witnessed a plethora of long marches and square occupations in the country.

    The long march led by the Islamists of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLY) remains the starkest example of the power of this new form of political claim-making. Thankfully, there are more progressive examples.

    For example, an under-reported but (...)

  • Pakistan’s aid class

    , by ZAKARIA Rafia

    Cuts in US aid mean the collapse of many CSOs and a career crisis for the middle class managers of “civil society” We take a look at the winners and losers

    The cuts have already come but the crisis will come later. The budget passed by the United States Senate and House of Representatives announced an $8.8 billion shortfall in the amounts allotted to the US State Department and to USAID, the United States Agency for International Development. Money for the Overseas Contingency Operations Budget, (...)

  • Pakistan (Islamabad) and the Faizabad surrender – Capitulating to fanatics – The timeline, the demands

    , by AHMAD Usman, Daily Times (Pakistan), Dawn (Pakistan), Pakistan Today

    The ugly history of intertwining fanaticism with the mainstream means next time the extremists play their hand the consequences will be worse, the capitulation greater and the surrender more abject than the one we have just witnessed [see below the description of the events].
    The idea the (...)

  • Pakistan, Faizabad (Islamabad): Surrendering to mob rule

    , by HUSSAIN Zahid

    THERE has hardly been an instance where the state has capitulated so humiliatingly to a group of extremists holding the nation’s capital hostage . The six-point agreement brokered by the military leadership is virtually a document of surrender. A beleaguered civilian administration has signed on (...)

  • Pakistan: protest by Baloch and Pakhtun students

    , by JAN Ammar Ali

    In October 2017, the Quaid-e-Azam University campus has witnessed some ugly scenes. Hundreds of students were protesting for a number of days against fees hike, improving hostel and medical facilities and restoring students expelled a few months ago in clashes between ethnic groups. All demands (...)

  • Pakistan’s universities are radically unjust

    , by JAN Ammar Ali

    Best There is growing concern in academic, policy and political circles on the radicalisation in educational campuses. A serious debate is taking place to change the narrative on Pakistan’s history to prevent the proliferation of extremist ideas among the youth. What this debate implicitly (...)

  • Pakistan: Between Judges and Generals

    , by SULEHRIA Farooq

    A coup in Pakistan’s checkered political life is never news. However, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification from his post on corruption charges through a court verdict on July 28 has an element of newness about it. Instead of the Pakistan Army, the recent coup has been carried out by (...)

  • Pakistan’s strange approach to public accountability

    , by JAN Ammar Ali

    Pakistanis have a curious model of accountability for public officials. They can do whatever they want when they are in power, and then they are unceremoniously thrown out, replaced, imprisoned, exiled, and in one famous case executed.
    Public spectacles of humiliation for rulers have always (...)

  • Pakistan: fear of freedom on campus

    , by JAN Ammar Ali

    The recent expulsion of three students from the University of Agriculture at Faisalabad highlights the paranoid manner in which campuses are being run today. The crime that cost the students their education was simply a Facebook post criticising the university administration, with one student (...)

  • Pakistan: Intolerance and bullying during Ramazan

    , by JAN Ammar Ali

    The increase in penalty for eating or drinking publicly during the month of Ramazan, from Rs500 to Rs25,000 (for hotel owners), brought considerable attention to the “Ehteram-e-Ramazan Ordinance”. Apart from the fine, the law stipulates a three-month jail term for any offender. The rationale for (...)

  • Pakistan’s cyclical politics

    , by JAN Ammar Ali

    The recent ‘rejection’ of the government’s notification on Dawnleaks by the army was interpreted by analysts as a sign of increasing fissures between the apparatuses of the state. That it was the civilian government that panicked, rather than the military high-command for its legal (...)

  • “Blasphemy,” social control and mass manipulation in Pakistan

    , by JAN Ammar Ali

    The latest mob murder of a Pakistani student acccused of blasphemy reveals the mechanisms which the authorities, politicians and the Islamists use use to maniipulate and reshape society.

    Mashal Khan’s murder shook many of us to the core. And how could it not? A young man of just 23 years was brutally beaten to death in a display of cruelty that is hard to explain. That it happened at an institute of higher learning, and was led by students, adds to the horror induced by this event. A (...)