I Maintain Pakistan Do You ?

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officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan (Urdu: اسلامی جمہوریہ پاکستان‎), is a federal parliamentary republic in South Asia on the crossroads of Central Asia and Western Asia. It is the sixth-most populous country with a population exceeding 197 million people.[18] In terms of area, it is the 33rd-largest country in the world with an area covering 881,913 square kilometres (340,509 square miles). Pakistan has a 1,046-kilometre-long (650-mile) coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by India to the east, Afghanistan to the west, Iran to the southwest, and China in the far northeast, respectively. It is separated from Tajikistan by Afghanistan’s narrow Wakhan Corridor in the north, and also shares a maritime border with Oman.

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Every human being has a responsibility to help others who are less privileged. People should extend a helping hand to light up the lives of the less fortunate. Everyone has a place in the world and should should be given an opportunity to develop his or her potential.

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Politics in Pakistan Army & Democracy

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The army generals are in charge of Pakistan; they have a firm grip over defense and security policies foreign affairs, and internal matters. There had been a struggle between the army and Nawaz Sharif for quite some time. During his second term as prime minister in the early 1990s, Sharif attempted to remove a military chief but instead had to resign himself. In 1999, Sharif replaced then army chief Pervez Musharraf,but army commanders launched a coup against Sharif, and Musharraf came to power. By 2016 Sharif faced much the same dilemma..

Pakistan’s political system is broken: its political parties are ineffective, functioning for decades as instruments of two families the Bhuttos and the Sharifs, two clans, both corrupt. The Bhutto-Zardari axis may be considered “left leaning,” while the Sharif brothers may be considered “right leaning.” The Sharifs are much closer to Pakistan’s military, and to Pakistan’s Muslim fundamentalists. Punjabi, the Sharifs represent Pakistan’s major ethnic bloc, and the devout Sunni Sharif has an advantage over the Bhuttos, who have Shiite ties.

Pakistan held successful elections in February 2008 and has a coalition goverment .Voting in Pakistan is intensely personal, with parties gathering votes primarily through allegiance to an individual candidate who is either a feudal or has a proven ability to deliver services. Pakistan is a developing country with some modern facilities in major cities but limited in outlying areas. The infrastructure of areas of Pakistan-administered Kashmir and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) regions were devastated by an October 8, 2005, earthquake and have not yet been fully rebuilt. Massive flooding in 2010 destroyed infrastructure throughout the Indus River valley.

Pakistan continues to face extraordinary challenges on the security and law enforcement front. The country has suffered greater military, law enforcement, and civilian casualties in fighting extremism and terrorism than almost any other country. In the midst of this difficult security situation, Pakistan’s civilian government remains weak, ineffectual, and corrupt.

Pakistan’s long term stability depends more and more upon the government’s willingness to confront difficult economic policy choices it has long sought to avoid. Pakistan must begin to address a breadth of economic challenges that would overwhelm many emerging economies: overhauling the tax infrastructure, eliminating over $4 billion in circular debt in its energy sector, altering revenue sharing agreements among the provinces and the Federal Government, reversing a contraction in consumer credit and expanding financial access, removing price controls in commodity markets, preventing a crisis in water distribution, and breaking Pakistan’s dependence on external financial support.

A number of extremist groups within Pakistan continue to target US citizens and other Western interests and Pakistani officials. Terrorists have demonstrated a willingness and capability to attack targets where U.S. citizens are known to congregate or visit. Terrorist actions may include, but are not limited to, suicide operations, bombings — including vehicle-borne explosives and improvised explosive devices — assassinations, carjackings, assaults, and kidnappings. Pakistani military forces are currently engaged in a campaign against extremist elements across many areas of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and parts of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Province, formerly known as Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP). In response to this campaign, militants have increased attacks against both civilian and goverment targets in Pakistan’s cities and in late 2010 launched several coordinated attacks against Pakistani government and civilian targets, especially in Bajaur and Mohmand Agencies.

By 2011 children of the country’s leading political figures were stepping out of their parents’ shadows and into the public realm. Maryam Nawaz, daughter of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif and wife of PML-N MNA Capt (Retd) Safdar, made her political debut in November 2011 while addressing a women’s convention. The 38-year-old defended her family against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan’s ‘asset declaration’ campaign. Defending her father, Maryam said had Nawaz completed his second term, he would have made Pakistan an economic power at par with Malaysia, Turkey and Singapore. Nawaz Sharif had groomed Member of the Provincial Assembly Hamza Shahbaz [Hamza Sharif], son of the Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif, for a future political role. Hamza, 40, was rocked by a succession of scandals. He was alleged to have amassed billions through speculative trading in the poultry industry. His problems were compounded when Ayesha Ahad Malik claimed she was Hamza’s legitimate wife. Maryam’s stepping out for her family and taking on a political role suggested Nawaz Sharif was not happy with the conduct and performance of Hamza Shahbaz. PML-N observers were of the view that Maryam was a far better option than Hamza Shahbaz.

The only son of assassinated former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto told hundreds of thousands of supporters on December 27, 2012, the fifth anniversary of his mother’s death, that he would carry forward her legacy, an appearance designed to anoint him as a political heir. “I am the heir to the martyr,” Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, 24, told the crowd in the southern province of Sindh, referring to his mother and to his grandfather, the founder of the current ruling party who was hanged by a former military ruler. “If you kill one Bhutto, there will be a Bhutto in every house Bhutto was joined by hundreds of high-ranking officials, including the current president, his father Asif Zardari, to commemorate his mother’s killing in a gun and suicide attack during a 2007 political campaign rally. He is still not old enough to contest the elections scheduled for spring 2013 – the minimum age is 25. Bhutto, who has his mother’s good looks, would only turn 25 in September 2013.

On 11 May 2013, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party won a majority of seats in parliamentary elections, and Nawaz Sharif became prime minister for the third time. The election marked the first time since independence in 1947 that one elected goverment completed its term and peacefully transferred power to another. Independent observers and some political parties, however, raised concerns about election irregularities. Formal adjudication of challenges of disputed election results was weak and the high courts did not meet statutorily prescribed deadlines for adjudication in the majority of cases.

Violence, abuse, and social and religious intolerance by militant organizations and other nongovernmental actors contributed to a culture of lawlessness in some parts of the country, particularly the provinces of Balochistan, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP, formerly known as the North West Frontier Province), and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Militant and terrorist bombings in all four provinces and in the FATA resulted in hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries. According to the South Asia Terrorism Portal, during the year 2013 terrorist and extremist attacks and operations to combat insurgency resulted in 4,369 deaths, of which nearly 2,413 were civilians, more than 544 were security forces, and more than 1,412 were terrorists or insurgents.

Discontent with the Sharif government grew in 2014 because of nationwide power shortages that have crippled economic activities in Pakistan. Moreover, critics said that a lack of clarity on how to tackle a deadly Islamist insurgency at home and reported differences with the military in terms of dealing with neighboring Afghanistan and India are primary sources of civil-military tensions.

In June 2014 prominent cleric-turned-politician Tahir-ul Qadri returned to Pakistan, vowing to organize anti-government protests. Canada-based Tahir-ul Qadri pledged a “peaceful revolution against a corrupt democracy.” But the sudden homecoming fueled speculation that Pakistan’s powerful military may be using him as a proxy in efforts to sideline the political goverment Widely known as a pro-army cleric, Qadri’s  Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT) is one of the country’s best organized political parties. Its base of support is rooted in Qadri’s large following from the vast network of mosques and religious centers he set up across Pakistan. Qadri’s ability to quickly organize mass rallies and openly denounce the civilian Goverment has long been seen as evidence that he is backed by the army as a way of sidelining civilian leaders.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan demanded a full audit of the votes cast in the 2013 parliamentary elections, claiming that rigging was conducted to turn seven million votes into 15 million votes. He told a news conference on July 15 that ‘mid-term election wouldn’t derail democracy’. The PTI was pretty vague about what it would regard as victory — mid-term polls or a full audit of the May 2013 election results as was being done in Afghanistan. He called for a tsunami protest march on August 14, the Pakistan Independence Day. The Azad parade with regard to the Independence Day would be held in the morning whereas the ‘million march’ would reach Islamabad in the evening. Imran Khan knows that if Nawaz Sharif got his full term, it would be difficult for Khan and his PTI to win the next elections in 2018.

Makhdoom Amin Fahim, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader, downplayed the impression that differences within the opposition might lead to mid-term Elections The PPP is the biggest opposition group in the National Assembly, followed by Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

Tahir-ul-Qadri, leader of the Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT), rejected Imran Khan’s demand of mid-term elections. “I am against the system of which Imran Khan is also a part.” he said, adding that revolution was the only remedy of the problems of the country. The Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) decided not to become a part of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) agitation campaign after differences emerged at the top level. Tahirul Qadri says he wants a complete end of this corrupt system and rulers. He will stop at nothing short of a revolution, even if it entails violence.

The PML-N camp did not appear to be in the mood to concede anything to the PTI unless forced to do otherwise by the army, which did not look likely. The Saudis appeared to be betting on Nawaz, while the Americans did not seem to have any favourites. One observer noted “Mid-term election is called when there is a serious crisis, which doesn’t exist right now except that one political party that failed to get vote as per its expectations wants it”. Even the PTI’s own coalition partner in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government, Jamaat-e-Islami, is equally opposed to it.

Muhammad Ziauddin wrote 06 August 2014. that “the clash between Imran and Nawaz appears to be no more than a tussle between Punjab’s two right-of-centre political factions, one led by the Sharifs, masquerading as some kind of royalty, and the other by an autocratic Ultimatum Khan plus a couple of zeroes like the media-manufactured Maulana Inqilab Qadri, the two-some Chaudhries at the fag end of their political careers and the loudmouth- loser, Sheikh Rashid.”

An editorial in the Daily Times on 07 August 2014 noted that “The complexity of the political and economic situation has been completely ignored by politically immature figures such as Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri. The Azadi (independence) march and the Inqilab (revolution) march of both respectively, meant to derail the democratic process only to revive it later with a fresh mid-term election or with a new system are only muddying the water instead of helping to resolve problems…”

Political bickering over alleged rigging in the 2013 elections further eroded whatever economic stability the country was aspiring to. Investment, both domestic and foreign, dwindled due to terrorism and the energy crisis.

Wonders took place after two previous long marches, the one threatened by Benazir Bhutto in 1993 and the second sponsored by Nawaz Sharif in 2009 for restoration of dysfunctional superior court judges. At that time, the PPP-led federal government had conceded to Sharif’s demands as soon as the mammoth crowd had reached Gujranwala. That deal was struck through intervention of the top general of that time. Confusing signals came from the PTI that they wanted a million people to join its tsunami march. Simultaneously, the lack of preparations was too obvious and open.

Not long after Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) pioneer launched his Azadi March from Zaman Park, Lahore towards the government capital some 375 kilometers away, Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) pioneer Dr Tahirul Qadri likewise reported to dispatch ‘Inqilab March’ (insurgency walk) from Model Town. Khan and Qadri have vowed that their supporters will camp out in Islamabad until Sharif agreed to step down and new elections are held. The government quarters believed Imran Khan’s less field hardened, urban crowd of 200,000 comprising mostly youth, would get tired and bored within 24 to 36 hours of the sit-in despite all the political rhetoric and emotions being shown by his camp.

The presence of Chaudhrys of Gujrat in the Qadri camp was also a dividing factor, as Imran’s PTI did not wish to carry them along, even when the most important Sharif hater of present times, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, was hell-bent on doing so. The Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) decided not to join the PTI either on the way to Islamabad or after reaching there. Instead, the PAT planned to reach the federal capital on August 16, a day after the PTI.

Thousands of opposition protesters rallied in Pakistan’s capital 15 August 2014 to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The protests in Islamabad, led by opposition leader Imran Khan and Muslim cleric Tahir ul-Qadri, constituted the biggest challenge yet to Sharif’s year-old government. Khan and Qadri vowed their supporters will camp out in Islamabad until Mr. Sharif agrees to step down and new elections are announced. The unrest raised questions about Pakistan’s stability at a time when the army was waging an offensive against Pakistani Taliban militants in the country’s lawless tribal areas and when the influence of sectarian militant groups was growing. The rally failed to attract the vast crowds Khan had promised, and other opposition parties on August 18 distanced themselves from his appeal for civil disobedience.

Members of Sharif’s party suggested the protests are secretly backed by elements in the military, which had a troubled relationship with Sharif. The military was frustrated with the government, especially over the prosecution of former army chief and President Pervez Musharraf for treason. There had also been differences between the government and the army on how to handle the Pakistani Taliban. The government had insisted on peace talks but eventually the army launched an offensive.

Khan’s Pakistan Tehrik-e Insaaf (PTI) party announced 18 august 2014 that its lawmakers have all decided to resign from the 34 seats they control in the country’s National Assembly. The party also said its lawmakers would resign from all provincial parliaments with the exception of the legislature in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, which the party controls. That announcement meant Pakistan would have to organize a raft of fresh elections.

Tens of thousands of protesters have forced their way past a barricade of shipping containers in the Pakistani capital as they marched on parliament to call for the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Some 40,000 Pakistani riot police and paramilitaries had used the containers to seal the “Red Zone” — the diplomatic and political district of Islamabad — before the march began.

Police did not intervene 19 August 2014 when protesters broke down barricades and forced their way into the high-security “Red Zone.” The area houses the parliament and offices of the prime minister and president along with other key government buildings. In an unexpected reaction to the political tensions, Pakistan’s powerful military called for a “meaningful dialogue” to resolve the crisis. In a brief statement, it warned that the situation requires “patience, wisdom and sagacity from the all stakeholders to end the prevailing impasse.”

Pakistan’s powerful military stepped in on August 29, 2014 to act as “mediator and guarantor” to broker a deal between embattled Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and two anti-government leaders calling for his ouster. While the army is unlikely to grab power at a time when chronic economic, security and energy challenges are facing Pakistan, some analysts did not rule out the possibility of the military’s involvement in encouraging the anti-government protests in order to retain its share in key national matters.

Pakistan’s military rejected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s claims he did not ask the army to play a role in defusing the of crippling anti-government demonstrations in the capital. Sharif came under severe criticism from pro-democracy forces in the country, largely for turning to the army in his bid to resolve what analysts saw as a crisis that needed political means to settle. Pakistan’s powerful military held an unprecedented Sunday meeting of its top commanders who said the government should immediately end the standoff peacefully.

Pakistani security forces cleared hundreds of anti-government protesters from the state television studio after they seized the building on 01 September 2014 and briefly took the channel off the air. The protesters stormed into Pakistani Television, or PTV, as it carried live coverage of the demonstrators in its offices in the capital, Islamabad. Later in the day, crowds of protesters armed with wooden clubs tried to break through police lines to push their way to the prime minister’s residence in Islamabad. Police responded by firing tear gas.

Khan and Qadri’s supporters waged months of protests calling for Sharif to step down over alleged rigging of the 2013 elections that brought him to power. Sharif refused to step down, and by mid-November 2014 protesters remained camped out around the country’s parliament. Qadri gave up and left the country, although Khan was still in Pakistan and addressing his supporters.

By December 2014 even Khan’s audience in Islamabad had dwindled to a few hundred loyalists. Khan pledged to ‘shut down’ several Pakistani cities in his campaign to force the premier to step down over claims he rigged last year’s election. Khan’s campaign was due to culminate in moves to ‘close’ the whole of Pakistan later in December.

Information Minister Pervez Rasheed said 08 December 2014 that Imran Khan’s ‘Plan C’ aimed at creating chaos had begun from Faisalabad. Imran’s ‘Plan A’ was to attack democracy, ‘Plan B’ to besiege the democracy, ‘Plan C’ to create anarchy while his ‘Plan D’ is aimed at destroying democracy. But none of the plans conceived by Imran will ever succeed, he said while addressing a press conference.

Sharif spent most of 2014 locked in disputes with the powerful military, with tens of thousands of protesters camped near the prime minister’s residence demanding that he resign. During those protests, speculation mounted that the military was considering a coup to oust Sharif. In order to keep his job, Sharif reportedly conceded foreign-policy decisions to the military.

The United Nations, the European Union, and human rights groups have deplored the government’s heavy-handed measures taken following the Pakistani Taliban’s gruesome ambush of a military-run school in the northwestern city of Peshawar in December 2014 that left 147 people dead, the deadliest ever attack in Pakistan. Pakistan hanged more than 300 people since lifting a moratorium on the death penalty in December 2014. Many were convicted in closed military courts, which critics say fail to meet fair trial standards.

Mumtaz Qadri was executed in February 2016 at the order of the Islamabad High Court five years after he assassinated a liberal Punjab governor over his calls to reform the country’s blasphemy laws. Thousands of hard-line Islamists rallied in the heart of the Pakistani capital for four days to denounce Qadri’s execution and to call for the introduction of strict Shari’a law in Pakistan. The sit-in protest ended on 31 March 2016 after protest leaders said they were given assurances that controversial blasphemy laws would not be amended and more than 1,000 Islamists detained by police during the protest would be released. The government, however, denied it had acceded to any of the protesters’ demands.

The PM has found himself in a difficult situation following the April 2016 “revelations” made by the so-called Panama Papers. Leaked documents show that three of the prime minister’s children had links with offshore companies that owned properties in London. One clear sign of the political pressure felt by the Sharif family from the Panama Paper scandal was that the family reportedly discussed the possibility of the prime minister stepping down for two three months while an independent commission conducted an inquiry. One possible replacement could be Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar. In case the PM’s post needs to be filled until the 2018 elections then getting Shahbaz Sharif or Ishaq Dar elected as members of the National Assembly and then getting them elected PM was also considered by the family.

 

Education Development in Pakistan

The article 25-A of Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan says,

“The state shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of five to sixteen years in such a manner as may be determined by law”.

Pakistan achieved independence from British colonial rule on August 14, 1947. At independence 85% of the population was illeterate , and the condition of women and backward areas was even worse.

National Education Conference (1947)

One of the first steps towards education development in Pakistan was the National Education Conference in 1947. The Quaid-e-Azam, in his message to the Conferences said,

“There is no doubt that the future of our State will and must greatly depend upon the type of education we give to our children, and the way in which we bring them up as future citizens of Pakistan ….. We should not forget that we have to compete with the world which is moving very fast in this direction.”

National Plan of Educational Development
(1951-57)

In 1951, a conference for Educational Development was held to adopt six-year plan for the period 1951-57. Towards the Educational Development the principal constraint identified was that of lack of trained teachers. It was studied that about 50% of the teachers in primary schools were untrained.

The plan proposed to establish over 24,000 new primary schools, and the expansion of primary schools would require over 86,000 additional teachers.

However, the efforts were failed to produce the desired results.

 

First Five Year Plan (1955-60)

The recommendations and programmes of the six year national plan of educational development were taken into consideration by the planning board of the government.

It proclaimed that “a system of universal primary education is imperative”. A system of free and compulsory primary education for both, boys and girls, was expected to be in place in about twenty years, i.e. by about 1975 to 1980. The Plan proposed to add 4000 new schools.

In order to achieve various targets set during the plan period, a sum of Rs.580,70 million was allocated for the education sector of the plan.

 

National Education Commission 1959

On 30th December 1958, led by the Chief Secretary, Mr. S. M. Sharif, National Education Commission was established.

On 5th January 1959 the Commission started to prepared education policy. On Aug 26, 1959, the Commission submitted its report covers 350 pages. The Commission reports had the following key points:-

Commission emphasized the importance on higher education, vocational education, primary education, secondary education, adult education, education, physical education, religious education, the arts, education of children with disabilities, educational institutions, and of military training.

Training of teachers and their prosperity measures were suggested.

Duration of BA / BSc courses increased from two years to three years was recommended. For passing exam percentage as a whole 50% and for pass in individual 40% marks were suggested. Fifty percent of the total number of higher education appointed exam pass forty percent of the recommended numbers. Quran-e-Pak education was compulsory. Urdu declared as a compulsory subject from six classes to degree level. Duration of initial education suggested as eight year.

The National Education Commission recommendations were useful but due to the conditions of country and the situation of resources they were not applied well.

 

Second Five Year Plan (1960-65)

Th second five-year plan was developed by the planning commission. It was recommended that compulsory schooling for the age group six to eleven should be provided within a period of ten years and within another five years for the eleven to fourteen years age groups. Intermediate classes were suggested to transfer from the jurisdiction of the universities to the board of secondary education. The course of study for the B.A/Bsc extended from two to three years. In engineering and medical colleges the duration of the degree course was suggested four years. At higher secondary stage, teaching of science subjects was given much emphasis. The financial outlay for this plan was Rs 463 million. For Federal and Provinces, the Public service commission was suggested separated.

 

Third Five Year Plan (1965-70)

It recognized “the concept of education as a vital national investment and a major determination of the nation’s economic growth.”

The Third Plan aimed at widening the base of primary education and proposed to increase the primary enrolment rate from 45 to 70 per cent in 1970. This implied additional enrolment of 2.8 million children in primary schools by 1970. To this end, 42,500 new schools were proposed to be set up in West Pakistan.

Army chief calls corps commanders meeting

Army chief Raheel Sharif.

ISLAMABAD: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif has summoned a meeting of the corps commanders for Sunday evening, a day after the political impasse in Islamabad took the form of a full blown clash between protesters and law enforcement personnel.

Earlier, the meeting was scheduled to be held on Monday morning but its time was changed after the army chief held some consultations with the senior military commanders.

An ISPR spokesman had earlier said that the meeting which is to be chaired by General Raheel will discuss matters relating to the internal security situation.

Highly-placed sources told Daily Siatar Sindh  that the conference would also evolve its strategy to end the prevailing impasse.

The situation in Islamabad took on critical proportions after the clashes began late on Saturday and led to at least seven reported deaths and two hundred injuries.

Tomorrow’s meeting of the army commanders can have a serious bearing on the prevailing scenario, especially with the fact that the military had engaged in ‘mediating’ the crisis between the government and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI).

Why everyone in Pakistan must support Imran Khan for Democracy

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I believe we can all agree that Pakistan needs, above all else, strong state institutions and the rule of law. These are the only way in which a proper modern country can function. They are necessary to ensure the social stability necessary for a functioning democracy and a prosperous market economy.

But when powerful individuals can sway the institutions of the state to serve themselves, when they can bend the rule of law and use the mechanisms of the state for private gain, then that can no longer be called a modern state. When there are individuals, business leaders or politicians or cultural icons that are not equal subjects to the state and its laws, when they can rise above the state and undermine it, then that is closer to a medieval, feudal state. And in that situation, democracy and aspirations for economic development are but a cruel joke.

Whether we like to admit it or not, Pakistan today does not look very much like a healthy modern state. On the one hand we do have elections, but what is the point of elections if the electoral process does not have the confidence of the people? The Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, has declared victory in the last elections with barely 15% of the votes counted, and claimed a huge parliamentary majority as well. Small wonder then, that the opposition, led by Imran Khan, can raise hundreds of thousands of protesters to challenge the outcome of the vote.

I support Imran Khan’s position. Khan is not challenging or undermining the constitution or indeed the state. He is challenging the power clique of the Sharifs, who have long since entrenched their power base at the heart of the Pakistani political system, and have hijacked it to set them above the rule of law.

The election fraud at the last election and the way in which the courts have failed to redress it are only the straw that broke the camel’s back. Hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis are not marching on Islamabad and risking violent confrontations with the police or even the army because Imran Khan has made allegations. They are marching because they are coming face to face with startling corruption and administrative ineptitude every day when they have to deal with the institutions of state. Corruption and ineptitude festered by the self-serving Sharif clique.

Furthermore, the right to peaceful protest, which is what Khan is using for his rally, is well within the law and the constitution. Sharif’s plans to use force if necessary to stop protesters entering Islamabad, on the other hand, are not what a democratic leader of a modern state would do when faced with peaceful protest. They are the actions of a man who is afraid that he cannot answer when a question over the legitimacy of his power and authority is raised. They are the actions of a dictator, or of a leader who is on his way to becoming a dictator. And that does not bode well for Pakistan.

So yes, we all agree that we need a stable Pakistan, in which the rule of law and the constitution are upheld, so that democracy can flourish and our society can prosper. And it is very unfortunate that right now Imran Khan’s actions are sowing instability. But surely the kind of stability that we need is that of a healthy democracy under the rule of law, not the stability we have had in the past under dictators and autocrats under the rule of force. Pakistan is heading in a very worrying direction again under Sharif, and we all need to rally in defence of our democracy before it is too late.

That is why I support Mr Imran Khan.

written By.
Azeem Ibrahim, an International Expert in Strategic Policy Development.

IMRAN KHAN ANNOUNCES ‘CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE’ MOVEMENT

Aamir Qureshi—AFP

CRICKETER-TURNED-POLITICIAN TELLS SUPPORTERS TO STOP PAYING TAXES AND UTILITY BILLS TO FORCE GOVERNMENT TO RESIGN.

Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan on Sunday announced that he was launching a civil disobedience movement to force the sitting prime minister to resign and call for fresh elections.

“I ask all Pakistani citizens not to pay tax, including general sales tax, or any utility bills, to protest the sitting Pakistani government that won through fraudulent elections in 2013,” he told thousands of his supporters in Islamabad on the third day of his party’s “long march.”

Khan accused the government, and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in particular, of bribing stakeholders during the 2013 elections to secure a landslide victory. He also warned the government to resign within two days or he would lose control of his followers.

“I promised the interior minister [Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan] that my workers would not cross into the ‘Red Zone’ but I can’t control you indefinitely,” he said. “After two days, my workers will no longer be in my control and can cross into the ‘Red Zone’ and occupy Parliament House and even drag [Prime Minister] Nawaz Sharif out,” he warned. Later, he said he would personally lead his followers into the ‘Red Zone’ if the Sharifs did not resign within two days. The ‘Red Zone’ in Islamabad is the location of several foreign embassies and offices and Parliament House. The interior minister said on Saturday that no action would be taken against the protesters unless they tried to enter the ‘Red Zone.’

The government has already announced intent to initiate dialogue with Khan, but he said during his speech that he would not settle for anything less than the resignation of Nawaz Sharif. “I know you [Sharif] will try to send people to convince me to back down,” he said. “Don’t waste my time.”

However, Khawaja Saad Rafique, railways minister, said the government was ready to accept any constitutional demand of Qadri and Khan. “I have requested them to meet us for talks, as this would be the most useful process to meet their demands,” he said.

Also addressing supporters on Sunday, Canadian-Pakistani cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri said that what he called a corrupt system of governance could not be changed without a revolution. “The country’s survival will be at stake if Nawaz Sharif and his cronies are allowed to rule the country,” Qadri said. “We don’t want mid-term elections … what we want is revolution,” he said, adding that corruption and plundering of the national wealth was rampant. “We will not allow this system to continue any more.”

Qadri has called for Sharif’s arrest over what he alleges was the murder of his supporters, and for the installation of an interim national government. The cleric, who late Saturday issued a 48-hour ultimatum to the government to accept his demands, said he would not be responsible for any repercussions if they were not met.

He said Sharif and his younger brother Shahbaz Sharif, who is chief minister of Punjab province, had no right to sit in government, their cabinets should be dissolved and they should be arrested on murder charges.

Analysts warned there was no quick solution to the impasse. “Apparently there are no signs that the government and the two parties are working towards a solution of the problem … both are sticking to their positions, leading to a deadlock,” said analyst Hasan Askari. “If political leaders fail to resolve this problem and violence starts, then the initiative will shift to the military—either to mediate the problem or see to it that the stalemate is resolved,” he said.

Senior politicians have intensified their efforts to avert a crisis, however. Siraj-ul-Haq, chief of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, met the opposition leader in the National Assembly, Syed Khursheed Shah, to discuss the situation. “The entire nation is upset over what is happening in Islamabad … we have to steer the country out of this crisis with a cool mind,” Haq told reporters after meeting Shah in Karachi. “We will not allow democracy to be derailed at any cost.”

Shah confirmed that the government had called an emergency meeting of the Parliamentary Committee to discuss the ongoing protests. “The Parliamentary Committee meeting tomorrow will decide how and which demands can be accepted to avoid any chaos in Islamabad,” he said.

Aitzaz Ahsan, leader of the Opposition in the Senate, said he believed Khan’s allegations were true, but disagreed with the route he had adopted to seek redress. “Even the Pakistan Peoples Party has raised objections to the massive rigging in the 2013 elections, and there is evidence for it, but the way Imran Khan has taken to the streets of Islamabad is not a solution,” he told Newsweek via phone. “It will only raise agitation in the country,” he added.

Attack on Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s Multan home: PML-N activists obtain pre-arrest bail

PTI vice chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi.— File photo

MULTAN: A special anti-terrorism court in Multan on Saturday granted pre-arrest bail to Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz district president Bilal Butt and 18 others who were accused of attacking Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) vice president Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s residence in Multan.

Butt and 18 others appeared in the special ATC today.

On the occasion, Butt denied involvement in the attack and said that he was in fact trying to restrain the workers. He expressed hope that the court would provide him justice.

Judge Iqbal Warraich granted pre-arrest bail to Butt and 18 others until September 4.

Butt and other club-wielding PML-N workers had allegedly stormed the residence of Qureshi on Wednesday with the police registering a case against them on Thursday.

Also read: PML-N workers attack Qureshi’s home in Multan

Meanwhile, the Butt community warned on Saturday that if criticism continued against the community, then it would also stage protests in Islamabad.

The Butt community said the entire community should not be subjected to criticism because of a few characters.