Pakistan Opposition Meets in London Amidst Challenges

Posted on July 6, 2007
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Politics
55 Comments
Total Views: 24712

Share

Adil Najam

I was going to use the term APC – All Parties Conference – in the headline but just realized that Dawn is now using the term MPC – Multi-Party Conference – to describe the meeting of opposition parties which is to begin in London within a few hours.

This is not just a semantic issue, it highlights one of the many challenges faced by this very important meeting which was already postponed once and will now be held under the shadow of the ongoing Lal Masjid operation in Islamabad.

An editorial in The Nation, lays out some of the key challenges.

DESPITE the diversion created by the Lal Masjid operation, many in Pakistan are keenly waiting for the outcome of the two-day APC convened by Mian Nawaz Sharif in London. Besides the ARD and MMA it is being attended by the nationalist parties and minority representatives. While Ms Bhutto has declined to attend the meeting despite being in London, she will be represented by a PPP delegation led by Makhdoom Amin Fahim. A committee of PML-N and PPP leaders has reportedly finalised the joint document to be issued at the end of the conference. This is likely to underline commonly agreed points like the restoration of the 1973 constitution as it existed prior to the military take over on October 12, 1999, formation of an interim set up and a neutral Election Commission in consultation with the opposition, an independent judiciary and the return of the exiled leaders.

What remains to be seen is how the participants resolve some of the issues and overcome suspicions that continue to divide them. The MMA has accused Ms Bhutto of trying to broker a power sharing deal with General Musharraf. The PPP, on the other hand, has challenged the religious alliance to resign from the Balochistan cabinet to prove its credentials as an opposition party. The nationalist parties accuse the others of ignoring the key issue of autonomy and want ironclad guarantees on it, while on their way to London, some of the MMA leaders have again condemned the PPP leadership in a veiled manner. To pre-empt criticism by the sort, Makhdoom Amin Fahim categorically ruled out on the eve of the APC any possibility of understanding with General Musharraf. He also maintained that the party would abide by all decisions taken by the APC with consensus.

Those participating in the APC hope to produce an action plan to remove Gen. Musharraf. It is here that the opposition stands badly divided. The PPP disagrees with the proposal to resign from the Assemblies in case the President was to seek election from them. Similarly, it insists on taking part in elections even if they are held under him. Most of the opposition parties, however, take a different stand on the issue. They also favour initiating a countrywide movement to remove the government. The PPP, on the other hand, maintains that nothing should be done to provide an excuse to the government to impose emergency and postpone the elections. Unless the opposition leaders devise an agreed action plan, and the exiled leaders announce a final date of their return, the APC is likely to be considered an uninspiring exercise.

Lets explore some of these points.

Much is, of course, being made of the timing of the Lal Masjid operation and how it might divert diverts attention from this meeting of the opposition. The timing is, indeed, suspicious. But then, given the state of current Pakistan politics, just about any timing would have been suspicious given that the government had let the Lal Masjid militancy brew for so long. The head of the Alliance for Restoration of Democracy (ARD), Makhdoom Amin Fahim of PPP believes that the timing will affect the APC but is probably not a conspiracy.

Indeed, the distraction – which is very real – may well be the least of the challenges that the assembled leaders will have to face and resolve. The meeting has already been postponed once (in March, because of the Chief Justice issue) and postponing it again woudl not have been well-received. However, the real significance of the Lal Masjid operation is NOT the distraction, it is the very real differences amongst the assembled parties that it brings to fore. The issue is whether they can agree on dealing with religious extremism. It is not at all clear that they can; nor is it clear how their constituencies will react if they do. Tactically, the best approach for them would be unite against the ‘way the operation was carried out’ (on which they can agree) rather than to try to find a consensus on their views about the Lal Masjid and its leadership (on which they may not be able to agree).

There are also other significant differences within the opposition parties. The only thing that binds them is a desire to oust the Musharraf government, and even on that they seem unsure. Benazir Bhutto is refusing to attend even though she is in London right now. She argues that MMA is not really an opposition party because it is a government partner in two provinces. MMA for its part has raised the issue of whether there are any ‘deals’ between Benazir Bhutto and Pervaiz Musharraf. It has also been argued that if she can ‘talk’ to the government she should also be able to ‘talk’ to MMA. This rift and these mutual doubts are serious but will not be show stoppers, PPP will be represented but not by Benazir Bhutto. If steered rightly, the meeting will focus on what they can agree on rather than what they disagree on.

The real momentum behind the meeting comes from the Lawyers’ Movement in support of the Chief Justice. Till now the opposition parties have, literally, held on the coat tails of the lawyers who are clearly the leaders of this movement. The political reality is that it is the lawyers and not any political party that has captured the public imagination on this issue; not yet. But on the issue of the restoration of the institutional integrity of the judiciary, the parties do agree. The success of this London meeting will depend in great extent of whether they can build on this agreement to craft agreement on other issues, especially on the issue of the uniform and the next election.

And the next election, including the uniform issue, is really what this meeting is really about. The success of this meeting will – and should – be judged by whether the opposition parties can agree on a clear and united strategy on these issues. It is far from clear whether they can. They all have stated a public support for democracy, an opposition to the future of the presidency in uniform, and to transparent elections. However, too many Pakistanis doubt the level of their commitment. The real challenge before the leaders assembling in London is to convince Pakistanis that such doubts are unfounded.

Will this meeting be able to demonstrate resoundly that such commitment actually exists? Will the parties be able to arrive at and state clearly a common position and a clear strategy on these issues? Will they be able to excite the public and convince them that the parties goal is not simply to get back to power but a deep and real commitment to democracy?

If the meeting is able to do so, it will indeed be historic. If not, it will soon be forgotten; and not because of the Lal Masjid distraction.

55 Comments on “Pakistan Opposition Meets in London Amidst Challenges”

  1. Samdani says:
    July 7th, 2007 1:17 am

    Very good analysis and clearly stated. Send to the politicians in London for APC please.

  2. Kruman says:
    July 7th, 2007 2:26 am

    The lawyers have been unequivocal in theri demands. Muneer Malik articulated their stance in his speech in Peshawar on April 21st saying:
    “These are defining moments in Pakistan’s history. Now we have to decide whether the civilians will rule this country or the military junta.”

    He also said that, “We don’t want a change of faces, but a change in the system.”

    This speech (a must see for any patriotic Pakistani) by Mr Muneer Malik can be viewed at:
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=ZdEbhjyO5so

    The nation is now looking towards the politicians to see if they’ll rise to the occasion. The lawyers have done their part by igniting a movement that the politicians could not have ignited against Musharraf for another decade.

    BTW Is media going to give live coverage? I think the speeches should be aired live, but I doubt if that will happen.

  3. Aqil Sajjad says:
    July 7th, 2007 2:26 am

    Good analysis.

    The lal masjid distraction is only going to be short-lived, what really matters is whether the opposition can agree on something concrete and consequential.

  4. July 7th, 2007 2:38 am

    No we dont think so, Lal Masjid issue is a distraction. And as religious scholars are a noble figures and they might have committed blunders, but we should remain silent and pray that the issue gets resolved as soon as possible and with as much less loss as possible.

    We should remain silent, as we are not the religious scholars. Hazrat Mohammad (PBUH) said that the religious scholars of his Ummah were equivalent to the messengers of Bani Israel. So in these testing times, we should pray for peace and harmony.

    APC is never going to threat the present regime, and in essence nothing is going to threat them, as there is no guaranttee of free and fair elections, and which clearly portends that who will be the next regime.

  5. SHAFIQUE says:
    July 7th, 2007 4:16 am

    There isn’t much disagreement that Burqa-Aziz was cowardice and disgraceful.
    But to employ the tactics of the white men and mete out the same criminal treatment perpetrated on the Muslims is beyond words. PTV and the ruling elite have shown their real face of “kala sahib

  6. GT says:
    July 7th, 2007 5:30 am

    How do we find leaders who are “who have a vision larger than themselves and are willing to act at the right time for the right reasons.” Ms Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif are party leaders for life. They will not accept anything less than prime ministership of Pakistan. Not even their own party members can replace them (as seen in case of Uk). We are stuck with supposed leaders who are selfish and have only one agenda….”Be the Prime Minister of Pakistan and who cares about the people.”

  7. Sohail says:
    July 7th, 2007 5:35 am

    ”The diagnosis and the prescription is the easy part. What we need is leaders who have a vision larger than themselves and are willing to act at the right time for the right reasons.” quoted by Shafiq from Babbar Sattar’s article above.

    Isn’t it amazing to see how analysis after analysis and opinion maker after opinion maker are coming out and reaching the same conclusion…. a change of system by a new leadership.
    Now the real issue that requires all the focus and energy is:

    ‘From among the current leadership who are the best suited to deliver; may it be through a restructuring or re-alignment of the existing political parties’.

    Shouldn’t we now vote in the ones we think should represent us.

    After having seen and listening to and about all of them and taking into account the current division in our society, here is a short list of the restructured entity:

    Imran Khan (PTI), Aitzaz Ahsan (PPP), Ahsan Iqbal(PML-N), Amin Fahim (PPP),(MMA)(add leadership names), (MQM)(add leadership names), and others (add names)….

    bringing along their own followership to make a broad based (relatively clean!)party…

    Any suggestions!

  8. SHAFIQUE says:
    July 7th, 2007 6:27 am

    It is high time for a new breed of leaders. GT has a valid point that the crisis is about the lack of leadership. But we have to start from somewhere and Sohail’s restructure list is a good starting point for a debate over the need for a complete overhaul of the SYSTEM to break the cycles of status quo. Where there is a will there is a way. But for that to happen a lot of perceptions and public apathy has to change. Otherwise, we get what we deserve.

  9. July 7th, 2007 9:03 am

    The Quaid is watching us today, this is a defining moment in creating an alternative, better and ‘Other Pakistan’. As promised a new e-political force is now lvie that aims to bring together Pakistanis across the globe to come together to present their views and ideas on how we can create a better Pakistan. So please visit http://www.otherpakistan.org to state your views on how we can create that alternative, more just Pakistan (make it one of your favourites Raza Rumi saab especially!) The opening post is as below:

    My greatest regret is that I only have one life to lose for Pakistan.

    A nation build on faith, unity, discipline and the rule of law has decimated into a nation where the rule of law is selectively applied and the writ of state nonexistent. Pakistan is the muslim homeland envisaged by the great Allama Iqbal tasked with solving the issue of bread for the poor. So a nation built for the poor has become a nation where the poor die a new death each day whilst the rich and powerful, the feudals and the fatcats of industry continue to prosper like never before. The Pakistan of today is one where the poor subsidise the rich, where clean drinking water is still a dream and where the landed elite and feudals govern their personal fiefdoms as demigods.

    Pakistan has become the capital of corruption; both financial and moral. No institution has been allowed for develop and flourish except for the army hence we are told with great fanfare that the three A’s of ALLAH, America and the Army reign supreme when only ALLAH should do so. Pakistan is a proud nuclear state with the best army in the world. Yet even this great institution has been slandered against and disgraced by its senior generals and their lust for power. One wonders sometimes whether we live in Pakistan or ‘Faujistan’ given Pakistan has lived under military rule for most of her existence yet even then our great army has failed to establish the writ of the state and good law and order save for the VIP’s and their entourages in government and their clones enjoying power and privilege in the upper echelons of power in our great bureaucracy.

    It is true that Pakistan has failed the Quaid so far and that the despondency and gloom we feel in Pakistan is only too real. However we must never lose the hope of a better tomorrow and of a better Pakistan. Other Pakistan is a website that aims to bring together Pakistanis inside and outside of Pakistan by providing a forum for discussion and debate on how to create the ‘Other Pakistan’ by bringing together as many diverse voices as possible. It is so important to get dialogue started and to open up a space where different ideas and world views can be shared and conversation started so that we can work towards building a better, more just Pakistan. The Quaid and his vision must guide us, so let us together create the Other Pakistan.

    I am Wasim Arif and this is my Pakistan.

    Wasim Arif – Founder & Editor of Other Pakistan, 22nd June 2007, 20.29 PK Time

  10. July 7th, 2007 9:18 am

    Good analysis except that I hope that the parties would NOT be able to excite the public Adil Sahab ! For I think we have played emotive politics ( for want of a better word) for too long. In this 60th year we need to take sit down and re-examine a number of key issues such as federalism and provincial autonomy, what do we understand as the ideology of Pakistan and how do we negotiate competing interests that are prevalant in any federation ? I am reading Christophe Jaffrelot’s `Pakistan:Nation, Nationalism and the State” which is a fascniating collection of eassays examining each of the conflicts in Pakistan … after 15 chapters the last chapter is titled “ And yet, Pakistan exists” As a Pakistani I hope the MPC/APC think about the future with some vision…

  11. UMAIR says:
    July 7th, 2007 11:46 am

    Meetings are never important but meeting results can be. It all depends if they can agree to something meaningful. If they can then everyone will immediately move from talking about Lal Masjid to talking of this. If they can’t then no one will pay attention anyhow.

    I think BB wants this meeting to fail so that she can get the best deal from Mush who is already under pressure. That is why she is not attending even she is in London now.

  12. Zak says:
    July 7th, 2007 2:00 pm

    There have been several attempts to divide the opposition in Pak history by military and civilian dictators.

    Consider the 1964 Presidential election when Leaguers including Bhutto played the China card and got Bhashani to withdraw his crucial support to Fatima Jinnah. Or in 1969 when the RTC talks were sabotaged with Ayub Khan. Similarly the 1977 agitation and the MRD agitation. The common factor in all of these movements is those who adopted the maximalist stance, ZAB, JI, Asghar Khan, NDP, ended up gaining in the short term and losing in the long term.

    That is the historical argument that the players of realpolitik like fazlur rehaman and BB have as a counter argument..that any tehrik would only create the exact opposite situation that the maximalists seek.
    Still I suspect the sheer pressure of the black coat movement will force the “doves”/ realpolitik dealers to assent to a hard line if not whole heartedly back it…so liberal and progressive parties like the ANP are no longer able to consider backing Mush because of the events of Karachi and the pressure from it’s own workers…much the same is happening in the ppp it’s workers and it’s voters will react negatively to any deal. While the MMA, may benefit in the short term from the lal masjid operation I don’t see how it can survive politically working with Mush

  13. Karachiwala says:
    July 7th, 2007 2:11 pm

    Adil, you have hit it on the head. Exactly right. The opposition needs to define what it stands FOR. whether they are united or not doe snot matter but peopel want to know what their program is, how they intend to do that, what are there goals. Right now it seems only goal is remove musharraf and then all will be well. We agree that Musharraf should be removed but we want a sense of what happens then. What are they offering in programs. The only person who has a program and an agenda is Imran Khan, but he has no organization and no ability to win large number of seats. BB and NS can win sets but they have no ideas. They just want to grab power a third time each. The moment needs more people with ideas. They need to get support from think tanks and intelellectuals to get real ideas that we can get behind. I hoep they do.

  14. Raza Rumi says:
    July 7th, 2007 3:10 pm

    A well written piece – as usual. However, I am not sure if we should be reading too much into this meeting…

    Wasim Sb: Looking forward to your website..:)

  15. SJH says:
    July 7th, 2007 3:33 pm

    I find it amazing that there is a genuine debate on the validity of the actions of Lal Masjid’s leadership and that these national or regional parties are not united in their condemnation of such people. Yes, the situation was allowed to fester for too long. But can one truly accept a point of view as working for the ‘baqa aur salamatee e Pakistan’ that is vague in how to deal with such situations?

  16. Sohail says:
    July 7th, 2007 5:51 pm

    Was sent this link last week…was able to watch it only today….Its on google video and the name is ”Zeitgeist”. A very thought provoking commentary…should be watched till the end as some early parts may seem not to be of interest…In the light of this explanation, its high time for our politicians to set aside the differences and not playing into the hands of…http://tinyurl.com/24qhz7

    Please comment, if feel like commenting on the movie, only after having seen it in full.

  17. MQ says:
    July 7th, 2007 7:38 pm

    Imran Khan has begun to worry me. I just watched him on TV delivering his what seemed to be an opening statement at the MPC conference.

    He said the Lal Masjid affair was a farce staged only to benefit Musharraf. He neither condemned the mullahs holed up in the mosque and what their actions have resulted in, nor did he condemn what they have been doing to the citizens of Islamabad in last 6 months. I thought Imran Khan was the one politician who has been consistently talking about the Rule of Law. True, Musharraf probably timed the Lal Masjid operation to suit him politically, but is Imran Khan saying the operation was not needed at all. Should the mullahs be allowed to take the law into their own hands? I wish someone pin him down on this.

  18. Kruman says:
    July 7th, 2007 8:32 pm

    Imran Khan’s address to the APCL
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHwXc2665-8

    I’ve also uploaded a day 1 news roundup from Geo. It should show up in 10-15 minutes.

  19. Viqar Minai says:
    July 7th, 2007 8:56 pm

    “However, too many Pakistanis doubt the level of their commitment. The real challenge before the leaders assembling in London is to convince Pakistanis that such doubts are unfounded.

    Will this meeting be able to demonstrate resoundly that such commitment actually exists?”.

    For what it is worth, I shall place my bets now. The answer to the last question above is a resounding NO.

    The jokers assembled in London – like those they left behind in Islamabad – care for democracy and its cornerstones like an independent judiciary and transparent elections ** only when they are OUT OF POWER**. Not one of them is fit to be a leader of the people of Pakistan (or any other nation for that matter).

    The sad part is that still – after having repeatedly experienced the the hollowness of their self serving solganeering, and their obsession with kursi – even the educated and the intelligent among Pakistanis (expats no exception) wait with bated breath upon the useless pronouncement which are certain to emerge from this unauspicious assembly.

    The lawyer’s movement started out well. Till now that was the only bright ray of hope. Theirs was a struggle only for the dignity and independence of the judiciary, not aligned with any political party – or so it was claimed. Then they decided to send a delegation to the APC (or MPC or whatever). What for? Have they overnight become an opposition political party?

    The Supreme Court soldiers on valiantly; they are completely free to issue ** one single ** judgement. No less than one of the CJP’s lawyers (Mr. Kurd) has publicly issued that warning. For whose benefit, then, is the whole nAtak being played out at considerable public expense?

    If democracy is what the people of Pakistan seriously want, they must agitate for it all by themselves; which is why a sustained mass movement for a prolonged period of time is necessary.

    Looking askance at the assembly of idiots in London will get Pakistan nowhere.

  20. Kruman says:
    July 7th, 2007 10:44 pm

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=cJ2B-n9B8uw

    Day 1 news roundup of APC. Covers main points in speeches by Nawaz Sharif, Amin Fahim, Imran , Asfandyar Wali, Mahmood Khan Achakzai, Rafiq Tarrar.

  21. observer says:
    July 7th, 2007 10:47 pm

    This is a great article–wanted to share it with you all:

    http://www.counterpunch.org/khan07032007.html

  22. July 8th, 2007 1:15 am

    UPDATE

    Highlights of Dawn report on the first day of the APC/MPC in London. Written by veteran journalist Ziauddin, the report is worth reading in full (here).

    The two-day Multi-Party Conference (MPC) started here on Saturday, with the leaders of main parties, the PML-N, PPP, JI, JUI and others vowing to launch a determined struggle to rid the country of the army rule for all times to come. But one could discern a clear cut difference in the ideas of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal leadership and that of the Pakistan People’s Party.

    Pakistan Muslim League (N) chief Nawaz Sharif being the host inaugurated the conference with what could be described as the fieriest and perhaps the most impressive speech of them all, demanding that President General Musharraf resign from his two posts forthwith… he said: “We should all vow not to let the army come back to power ever.

  23. Owais Mughal says:
    July 8th, 2007 1:58 am

    Imran and Qazi seem to be talking exactly the same words and same language. I’ve also noticed they always appear side-by-side next to each other in press photographs. Imran’s earlier street power also came from shabab milli guys who were an offshoot of qazi’s party. Make your own conclusions. I myslef don’t have a good read on Imran yet.

  24. auk says:
    July 8th, 2007 3:14 am

    As usual, our politicians are disappointing at best. I have said this before – it is time to make them irrelevant. That is already the case in the current setup, though that is not what I am proposing. There are two immediate concerns for the country, one that Mush gives up the uniform, and two that the next President of Pakistan be elected by the newly elected parliament. It seems that both these critical decisions will be made by the courts, as Mush will try to get reelected by the current assemblies, and will refuse to take off the uniform. If anything the APC should not try to ignore these ground realities and prepare for the two contingencies; hence who will bring the cases to the courts,
    and who will represent the parties to make their case? Aitezaz Ahsan, of course.
    Given the direction the SC is heading with the CJ case, it appears that the government will lose the case, as the evidence in the case presented by the state is already thrown out by the courts. The courts are going to come out of all this as strong as ever, and ready to impose
    their will. When the case of the Presidency will go to the courts, the defense the government will use to
    perpetuate the current setup will be the “doctrine of necessity”. This argument will not hold under the current conditions, as many judges on the current bench have shown strong reservations against this doctrine. They are sure to throw that defense out the window. Mush’s election
    will thus be quashed and the new parliament will have to decide the fate of the presidency.

    This brings us to the question of transparency of the elections. Under the current setup, chances of transparent
    (I did not use the term free and fair) elections
    are remote at best. There could be minor surprises here and there, but overall the staus quo will remain. Moreover the
    agencies are fully capable of tweaking the final results, by buying loyalties through the combined use of carrot and stick. All of this means that even if the courts decide against Mush for the mode of election of the President, he will still be the President come new year.

    Benazir knows that. She knows that the three A’s are with Mush. Hence she is willing to make a deal, as long as the three A’s promise her the Premiership of the country. Not sure about Allah, but she has made every attempt in the last few months to placate the Americans, to make
    sure that she is their choice for the office. Hence her refusal to sit with the MMA, and her stance on the war against terror, which backs Mush. This also shows that Benazir thinks of herself above others, and would rather use these machinations to get her end goal, instead of working with the opposition. There is a lesson in all this for the oppsition; she is not to be trusted. They need to see through her, and prepare for life without her.

    What does all of this mean for an ordinary Pakistani? Many an idealogues among us would not agree with me; but not much. My main concern is that no one changes or should be allowed to change the economic direction of the country. We don’t want to revisit the decade of the 90s with 20% inflation, and 7% budget deficits. We don’t want to go back to the time when the whole budget was spent servicing the debt and supporting the Army, and not much left for anything else. We have bought some financial freedom with great effort, and we don’t want to lose that freedom.

    APC is thus irrelevant, and so are politicians. I don’t see them making any impact in the next elections, because of reasons pointed earlier. Their history also suggests that they are incapable of inciting the people. Any calls for street protests when the election results are announced won’t make any impact. They need to look past these elections, and the time when Mush loses his uniform.

    I also see an issue with the current opposition, which isn’t dynamic, and is incapable of taking the country
    forward. There is a need for alternate leadership which is another subject altogether. Maybe other folks can comment.

  25. auk says:
    July 8th, 2007 3:27 am

    Posting again for better viewing. Used the wrong text editor last time.

    As usual, our politicians are disappointing at best. I have said this before – it is time to make them irrelevant. That is already the case in the current setup, though that is not what I am proposing. There are two immediate concerns for the country, one that Mush gives up the uniform, and two that the next President of Pakistan be elected by the newly elected parliament. It seems that both these critical decisions will be made by the courts, as Mush will try to get re-elected by the current assemblies, and will refuse to take off the uniform. If anything the APC should not try to ignore these ground realities and prepare for the two contingencies; hence who will bring the cases to the courts, and who will represent the parties to make their case? Aitezaz Ahsan, of course.
    Given the direction the SC is heading with the CJ case, it appears that the government will lose the case, as the evidence in the case presented by the state is already thrown out by the courts. The courts are going to come out of all this as strong as ever, and ready to impose their will. When the case of the Presidency will go to the courts, the defense the government will use to perpetuate the current setup will be the “doctrine of necessity

  26. Kruman says:
    July 8th, 2007 4:48 am

    Good one observer! Out of curiosity, are you the writer?

    Muneer Malik quoted someone in his speech in SCBA seminar on May 26th who siad, “No army can stop the march of an idea whose time has come.” I wonder if Victor Hugo uttered these words too.

  27. July 8th, 2007 7:08 am

    Raza Rumi Saab,

    Other Pakistan is now live at http://www.otherpakistan.org so please visit it today and even better why not do a guest post?

    The same goes for all others reading this post and others at ATP. Remember the aim is to create an alternative Pakistan and my website is only a small step in that noble endeavour.

    Feimanallah

    Wasim

  28. Ahmad R. Shahid says:
    July 8th, 2007 7:33 am

    I think the role of the opposition in bringing change to the country is over-stated. Parties are nothing but the manifestation of the will of the people. If people change, parties would too. Pakistan is just too big to be left to the whims of the Generals, political leaders, mullahs or the lawyers. 160 million people can’t just be shepharded by these self-proclamied shephards. Change would come once people change and I see many signs of it.

    1) Unlike the 1950′s, Pakistan is much more urban today. Eight of the Pakistani cities have populations of 1 million or more. I wonder if the waderas hold any sway on these urbanites or are they really as naive to believe any General who tries to “command” them. I think they are not.

    2) Economically Pakistan is much different now. Not just because of the “more than 7% growth rates” over the last few years but because of continuous growth over the last 60 years, Pakistan’s economy has witnessed much change over the years. Earlier people would make careers in public sector, including the Army, the bureaucracy and other gorvernment jobs. Now people have so many different options that they do not consider public sector as the profession of choice. That gives them more freedom to choose, the sine qua non of democracy.

    3) Earlier people would start their careers in one organization and would only leave it once retired. Now people leave the organizations they don’t like so the organizations would have to change their mindset and become more employee friendly. That would also induce more confidence into the people and they would demand more freedom.

    4) The raised level of consciousness among the people. Now people are openly demanding returning of the military to the barracks and they openly oppose imposition of military personnel at top positions of authority, be it VCs of the universities or the Charimans of the FPSC and the like.

    All these changes would change the society from within and its outward manifestation would be lack of support for any vested interest, be it the Army or the Waderas.

  29. BitterTruth says:
    July 8th, 2007 8:22 am

    The worst leaders are Benazir and Moulana Fazlur Rahman. Its shameful that they are blaming each other when they were partner in the past. Benazir is still looking to get something from Mush at any cost. Her actions and words have proved that she is selfishness embodied.

  30. Kruman says:
    July 8th, 2007 11:08 am

    Fazlur Rahman is there to represent the mulla military alliance. His statement to not support the CJP is disgraceful. He is a traitor to the nation. The same mullas opposed the Pakistan movement, now they are opposing the movement by the lawyers to save Pakistan

    BB sent her goon Jahangir Badar to sabotage the APC. So far he has clashed with Mr Bilour and Sajid Mir.

  31. July 8th, 2007 12:52 pm

    UPDATE:
    News from London suggests that the final declaration from the APC/MPC meeting is held up in last minute negotiations. Pakistani news channels are reporting that this is because PPP has some reservations on the draft text that are proving hard to reconcile. Journalists have been told repeatedly that the declaration is “nearly ready” and will be released as soon as these kinks are worked out.

  32. Kruman says:
    July 8th, 2007 1:51 pm

    UPDATE:
    Nawaz Sharif is presenting the declaration. It is shameful to watch mullas and PPP trying to turn the APC into a circus. Both are bickering on public television like children.

    PPP opposes resignation from assemblies when Mush tries to get himself , Amin Fahim has gone on record with this. Fazlur Rahman also tried to weasle his way out. Brilliant moment came from Asfandyar Wali Khan when he exposed Fazlur Rahman by saying in closed doors he agreed to resign and now he is getting queasy. Upon this Fazlur Rahman chaged colors like a cricket and said we will resign.

    Makhdoom Amin Faheem is looking unhappy and is quiet. Mahtab Abbassi and Sherry Rahman are doing the talking from PPP.

  33. Kruman says:
    July 8th, 2007 2:05 pm

    More Live Update:
    Mulla Deisel is speaking from his ass. He makes statements deliberately to provoke other and start a circus. He will get a big pat ion the back from Mush when he goes back.

    I thought mulla diesel and PPP were going to turn this into a raucous circus. Mirculously, Nawaz Sharif is succeeding is reading out the 15 point declaration.

    Pooint #10: GHQ construction costing $4billion in market value should be stopped. Applause from the entire hall.

    Point 11: Full support to lawyers and civil society for supremacy of law

    Point 12: Opposing PEMRA ordinance.

    Point 13: APC holds Mush , governor Sindh, CM Sindh, MQM, and Sindh administration responsible for the carnage on May 12.

    Point 15: in support of of Kashmiris

    Hats off to ARY One World for covering this event.

  34. Kruman says:
    July 8th, 2007 2:13 pm

    Achakzai sahib says let’s announce first APC jalsa in Quetta in the first week of August. Nawaz Sharif is supportive. So is Imran Khan. Mulla Diesel, Fazlur Rahman emanted a big one from his ass saying next someone will ask let’s announce a date for resignations.

    Imran Khan supported Achakziai but Qazi brough up Slaman Rushdie to diver attention.

  35. Kruman says:
    July 8th, 2007 2:16 pm

    Who said it is not an All Parties Conference? The best representation came from Musharraf’ side. Mulla Diesel brilliantly represented his Mulla-Military Alliance.

  36. Kruman says:
    July 8th, 2007 2:24 pm

    Sincere Advice to Imran Khan
    —————————-

    Kick mullas in the butt, or in the groin. You’ll be foolish to form an alliance with Qazi. When the moment of truth comes he’ll ditch Imran to forward the agenda of military or a foreign power.

  37. Kruman says:
    July 8th, 2007 2:34 pm

    More Update
    ———–
    Parties interested in initiating a tehreek against government have been called into a room for discussions. Let’s see what comes out of that.

    Imran Khan’s disappointment was obvious. I think he even walked off in disspointment (unless he was going to the rest room) at the end of the reading of the declaration. Imran Khan wanted the start of a movement. The APC clearly did not meet his expectations.

    Nevertheless, the gathering of all leaders sans Benazir and the reading of the declaration is a miracle. I did not expect anything more than this when 40-50 parties gather.

    PMLN, Tehreek-i Insaf and ANP should now form an alliance to go the next step i.e. a tehreek against the military government.

    Durrani is now coming on TV to match sounds emanted by mulla diesel from his rear end.

  38. Kruman says:
    July 8th, 2007 2:34 pm

    More Update
    ———–
    Parties interested in initiating a tehreek against government have been called into a room for discussions. Let’s see what comes out of that.

    Imran Khan’s disappointment was obvious. I think he even walked off in disspointment (unless he was going to the rest room) at the end of the reading of the declaration. Imran Khan wanted the start of a movement. The APC clearly did not meet his expectations.

    Nevertheless, the gathering of all leaders sans Benazir and the reading of the declaration is itself an achievement. I did not expect anything more than this when 40-50 parties gather.

    PMLN, Tehreek-i Insaf and ANP should now form an alliance to go the next step i.e. a tehreek against the military government.

    Durrani is now coming on TV to match sounds emanted by mulla diesel from his rear end.

  39. SHAFIQUE says:
    July 8th, 2007 2:37 pm

    “If democracy is what the people of Pakistan seriously want, they must agitate for it all by themselves; which is why a sustained mass movement for a prolonged period of time is necessary.

  40. Daktar says:
    July 8th, 2007 2:54 pm

    Thank you very much for these updates… I have been refreshing this page again and again to find what is happening… great service.

  41. Kruman says:
    July 8th, 2007 3:08 pm

    Thanks Daktar! I was having fun too as you could probably guess, especially with Mulla Diesel emanating loud ones from his rear end.

    I have compile all of the posts above at:
    http://free-pakistan.blogspot.com/2007/07/live-report-from-apc.html

    I’ll try to upload the events on youtube later today.

    That’s it for me. I have exceeded my posting quota for a week.

  42. July 8th, 2007 4:38 pm

    What is a nice educated guy like Imran Khan doing with MullahEAzam Qazi Hussain? Imran any reputation you had is being eroded by your Born Again Mullahism. Get away from this CryptoTerrorist and stand up on your own two feet.

    And where Nawaz ‘GOOF’ Sharif is concerned how many would really want him to be Pakistans leader again after his twice abuse of Pakistan?

  43. Kruman says:
    July 8th, 2007 6:55 pm

    Just a clarification, I am not a part of the ATP group. I am just a regular blogger.

  44. July 8th, 2007 8:08 pm

    UPDATE
    Test of the Declaration from the APC/MPC (available at Watandost):

    We the political parties assembled here together declare that military dictatorship has brought Pakistan to the edge of a precipice, leading to strife, chaos and the threat of disintegration. The Musharraf regime uses brute state force against its peoples to perpetuate its illegitimate rule and suppress dissent. Innocent citizens are kidnapped by the state as militancy and sectarianism thrive. Provincial autonomy has been denied, leading to further strains in the federation. From Khyber to Karachi, the regime is unable to maintain the writ of the state, and as a consequence there is a total breakdown of law and order.

    Parliament has been marginalised, and stripped of all its powers. It has no access to information, nor can it legislate or hold the regime accountable. Both houses have been reduced to a rubber stamp for the chief of army staff who unconstitutionally occupies the office of the president. The cabinet too is subject to the whims of an individual.

    Instead of resolving the crisis, the regime muzzled the media to black out ground realities and block live coverage of the turbulence on the streets. Working journalists have been murdered, kidnapped, tortured, detained and harassed. Today, Pakistan has been declared the third most dangerous country for journalists. Having failed to suppress the truth, the regime on June 5, 2007, promulgated an ordinance while the senate was in session and the National Assembly was to meet the next day.

    On May 12, 2007, at Karachi, an engineered massacre of opposition workers was orchestrated, unarmed political workers were at the mercy of gun-toting Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) workers while the police and rangers watched. The Sindh High Court was laid siege and judges had to run to save themselves. The district courts were surrounded by MQM activists and lawyers including women were beaten. While the federal and provincial regimes watched 48 innocent people lost their lives and over 200 were injured; yet General Musharraf says there is no need for an inquiry.

    Today Balochistan bleeds under the heels of an army operation, where gunship helicopters are used for silencing dissenting political voices. The murder of Sardar Akbar Bugti on instructions of General Musharraf is most condemnable.

    The Musharraf regime is responsible for the highest unemployment in the country. Low grade employees have been axed, trade unions banned, and anti-labour laws have been promulgated and enacted. This, coupled with the cartelisation of the economy has allowed big businesses to reap huge profits at the cost of the common man. It has resulted in unprecedented price hike. Today wealth is concentrated in a few big business houses and the market manipulators are in control of political offices

    The regime continues to spend billions of rupees on a political witch-hunt against the opposition. It continues to institute concocted cases under laws that fail the test of international norms of justice or judicial review. No institution is safe. The due process of law is subverted with impunity and the violation of fundamental rights is the norm. The assault on the judiciary reflects the regime’s contempt for law, justice and institutional autonomy. The summoning of the chief justice of Pakistan to the Army House, meeting him in uniform along with heads of intelligence agencies and using coercive measures for his resignation amounts to a total desecration of the office of the chief justice of Pakistan. This is General Musharraf’s attempt at creating a pliant court in a year when his quest for the presidency is going to be riddled with inherent constitutional disqualifications. The resistance by the bar is unprecedented, it has involved members of the bench, political parties and civil society.

    The Musharraf regime is in the process of rewriting the civil military equation, to the advantage of the latter. There is a deliberate attempt at militarisation of civil society which is evident from the large scale induction at all levels of serving or retired army personal in the civil bureaucracy, police, autonomous and semi autonomous corporations and bodies.

    The national wealth has been plundered through the use of ministerial offices, cartels, stock exchanges, misuse of official information and non-transparent privatisation. The mega scams to mention only a few are: the Pakistan Steel Mills, oil pricing, sugar prices, cement prices, Habib Bank, Karachi Electric Supply Corporation, Pakistan Telecommunication Limited, railway engines and locomotives, sale of islands in Sindh, railway golf course, black cabs, purchase of defence lands and the Defence Housing Authority, loan write offs from the banks and not to mention the scandals that have been exposed by the public accounts committee of the National Assembly.

    The APC notes that the Charter of Democracy initiative ratified by the Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy is a positive step toward the restoration of the supremacy of civil society and democratic governance.

    Since the unconstitutional take over on October 12, 1999, the state and its institutions have been used to perpetuate General Musharraf’s rule. After creating laws that were aimed only to serve one man, the regime now seeks to elect General Musharraf in uniform as the president of Pakistan through the existing assemblies. This act is unconstitutional, morally unjustifiable and smacks of political bankruptcy. Assemblies whose terms are to expire in one month have no moral justification to elect a person for a term of five years. This will constitute “the mother

  45. MQ says:
    July 8th, 2007 9:32 pm

    Frank.y, I am not impressed with the Declaration. It’s too long winded — over 6 pages and over 2000 words — and short on specifics. Incidentally, the US Declaration of Independence had only 1300 words.

  46. ahsan says:
    July 9th, 2007 2:13 am

    “2000 words”

    You missed a zero. It should be “20000 words”.

  47. Wajahat says:
    July 9th, 2007 2:28 am

    Imran’s behavior nowadays is quite confusing. Watching a guy like him surrounded by Pakistan looters (2 of the parties PPP & PML-N having achieved this feat twice each) and hypocratic mullah-a-azams of Pakistan, really is quite confusing and sad. But given that PTI does not have its own powerful political clout yet, so i guess the poor guy does not have any other choice.

    Either Imran really does have a very big and forgiving heart and in his opposition to President Musharraf he is really willing to let the past differences go or he is playing some conniving trick here.

    I mean, wasn’t it Nawaz’s government that had banned him and the commercials of his hospital on PTV?
    Our political leaders, regardless of which party they belong from, seem to have a consistent tendency of not letting go of any opportunity to get ‘bud-duas’ from the poor awaam, as long as they can keep their (temporary) hold on the prized chair.

    Whereas all the other party leaders seem to have only 3 objectives in their lives:
    1.’Kursi’
    2.’paisa’,
    3.’Mazeed paisa’

    Imran, so far, seems to have only 1.
    1.’Pakistan’.

    I for one probably be the one seen puking after spending 2 consecutive days in a room full of such shameless plunderers and religious munafiqs of Pakistan.

  48. GT says:
    July 9th, 2007 9:06 am

    I also cannot understand Imran khan’s alliance with Nawaz Sharif. It was Mushahid hussain who was Nawaz govt’s information(or disinformation) minister who spread quite malicious tales about Jemima Khan’s alleged involvement in smuggling of some artifacts and airing of Sita White case. If Imran can forgive and forget all that for the cause of democracy in Pakistan, then hats off to him.

    On my part, I feel that he is one of the better choices for the post of PM of Pakistan. In the last 10 years or so he has evolved from a mere cricket hero riding his luck into a tough politician who refuses to back down in face of opposition. Also he named his party Tehreek-e-Insaf some 15 years ago. This name has been vindicated today as our own CJ is fighting for justice. But does he have enough political clout or backing of the masses? This remains to be seen.

  49. auk says:
    July 9th, 2007 3:36 pm

    Kruman, Just saw your comment. Are you refering to me as the “observer”. No, I and observer are 2 separate individuals.
    Keep up the good work.

  50. Kruman says:
    July 9th, 2007 3:43 pm

    Imran’s dilemma is that he is a one man party. He needs strong lieutenants around him. I don’t even know the name of another politician in his party. Hence his party just does not have enough firepower to become a formidable force in the political arena. This is not to take anything away from Imran, he is emerged as a major political player in the country now.

    After the CJP verdict, the CJP’s lawyers should start a new party and Imran should join them.

  51. observer says:
    July 9th, 2007 3:48 pm

    The APC is more or less a joke. The fact that it is in London and not in Pakistan, in my view, goes against the whole grass-roots democractic philosophy. It looks more like a chance to escape the heat and power breakdowns of Pakistan–and now prolonging the stay–and no specifics–what can one expect from these jokers–I watched ARY and felt like it was an episode of dumb and dumber.

    Please note you all that the better minds from the PPP–people like Aitzaz Ahsan and Reza Rabani were notably absent. Some sources say that Benazir did not allow them to come–preferring to send people who either have no political standing (like Sherry Rehman and owes her woman’s seat to Benazir) or people like Amin Fahim, who is clearly not that bright.

    In my view, the real opposition is in Pakistan–people from the PPP who may be smarter and dare to question Benazir and truly stand for liberal policies, have vote banks and support in the people and who did not waste their time with the APC. Imran Khan appears unfocused and too close to the mullahs–besides he does not have a team so he’s just a maverick in the whole plot.

  52. Viqar Minai says:
    July 9th, 2007 4:54 pm

    “But for mass mobilization to happen through out the country and amongst all sections of the populace would require a bit more than the legal eagles.

    Unfortunately, at this juncture, there is dearth of any credible political leader who can step to the challenge and bring mass mobilization”.

    If there is one thing that the CJP episode has distinctly demonstrated, it is that a genuine movement can be started without there being a credible political leadership in place in the system. It may seem like a tall claim, but an honest and dedicated legal community, spearheaded by a determined supreme court, is sufficient to stir the pot in the right direction.

    I believe I can make a pretty good case that a sustained mass movement to achieve a more just society can be initiated, and sustained as long as necessary, PROVIDED:

    1) as stated above there exists an honest and dedicated legal system, and

    2) the people of a nation are sincere, and willing to struggle, for a just society.

    In the absence of either of the above ingredients, everything else amounts to nothing more than fluff and making excuses. This has been our fate up to this point since Pakistan came into being.

    Judging from the tone and thinking, as reflected in the posts in just about any online forum I have encountered, doing that will be both presumptous as well as amount to little more than “bhaiNs ke AagE bIn bajAna.

    As a matter of courtesy and respect to others, I shall mind my own business. Pakistan is now in the hands of its younger generation. They will make of it what they will, and will deserve the fruit of their labor (or lack of it) just as the current and the previous generations have thus far.

    After all, what can one add to the last words of a dying quaid-e-millat: “May Allah(SWT) Protect Pakistan”?

  53. Kruman says:
    July 9th, 2007 5:50 pm

    One man who’d have made a difference
    ————————————

    Aitzaz Ahsan. He is uniquely positioned in Pakistani politics right now. Heading the CJP defense, author of charter of democracy, I think he has even represented Nawa Sharif in his trial in 99.

    He would have had a bigger impact on the coference than even his leader BB, had she been present.

  54. July 9th, 2007 6:29 pm

    Some people seemed confused with Imran’s move to stand alongside people like Qazi Hussain and Nawaz Shareef, great leaders stand for the motif, not the people behind it. He supported the military takeover in failing Pakistan but as soon as this military diverted from its promised tracks, he also sidelined these traitors (aka elitists) BUT he never sidelined the motif. Still doesnot.

    The reason it is in London is because Nawaz Sharif and BB can’t enter Pakistan just yet, its really clear now why BB didnt attend the conference and as someone rightly said, the clowns of PPP were there, (esp. Sheri Sheri lady), I certainly don’t think PPP has anything to do with liberalism or any shism, they are just wadera backed political goons, ask a Sindhi whose people have died in struggles against the Waderas (aka PPP), who were first backed by ML during Jinnah days, PPP has literally shunned any people empowerment in interior Sindh.

    Imran Khan is truly focused, he knows what to do, he aint Musharraf who is a one man show, Imran has the knack to take the whole team along, although I agree PTI seems Imran-only so far but things r changing especially after 12th May. PTI will emerge very strong in 2008 onwards…

  55. January 4th, 2011 7:17 pm

    Fruad of Rs. 20 Crore has been committed in 5 Ismailia Reg. Credit Societies situated in Prince Aly Road J. K Area, Hyd, Sindh running under the name of Pr.K A. Khan by group of rich fruady fellows of Iamailia Community in June 2005. By above fruad 300 to 400 depositers 80% of Ismailies including Orhans, Widows, Old People,Special Persons & Pensioners of Hyd city & surroundings have been effected worstly, bcz they have been depending on mark-up so received monthly OR quarterly. Beside societies Viz.1. Aliabad 2. Al-Rahim .3.Hyd. Multi Purpose .4. Women M.P, who have been depositing their amounts with (5) Mubarak Cr.S, being Principal Society have seized due to it. All poor depositers including great No. of non-Community depositers r passing worst time since about 6 yrs. Now only way is to request in your kind honour to solve our problem 4 early return of Principle amount & including Up- to- date mark- up. from H. Sajid Khuwaja, Sc. Tchr, Govt. N. M. H. Skl, Hyd.

Have Your Say (Bol, magar piyar say)