Archive for the ‘zardari’ tag
These politicians have no idea how to solve the problems of the
country. Moreover, these secular democrats have no popular
domestic support and are dependent upon the patronage of their
By MUHAMMAD ASIM
The current monsoon rains have brought devastation on a massive scale to Pakistan. In this time of crisis the President, Asif Ali Zardari, is nowhere to be found in the country. He is in Europe, bestriding the great capitals of Paris and London supposedly dealing with Pakistan’s foreign affairs. To say that this visit given the natural disaster striking Pakistan right now and with the comments made by the British Prime Minister David Cameron in India recently is contentious is an understatement.
The whole world it would seem is condemning this trip, seeing it as a sign of utter callousness. In the UK, a group of politicians of Pakistani origin have refused to meet with Zardari, saying he should be in Pakistan at a calamitous time as this. Every media outlet is blasting Zardari for leaving the country at such a perilous time. The Sunday Times has condemned Zardari for wearing designer suits, jeans and wandering around Knightsbridge with his daughter as if he is on a shopping trip while the country is facing a huge catastrophe, saying it is clearly a regime that doesn’t know how to look after the people. He has become a laughing stock as people note how he is more concerned about anointing his son at a Birmingham rally and launching his career in politics than looking after the country, where according to UN estimates at least 1,600 people have died and 14 million people have been affected by the devastating monsoon floods, at the enormous expense of the Pakistani government.
If this were not bad enough, Zardari is flying in to a politically humiliating situation after David Cameron’s insulting remarks about Pakistan’s commitment to the ‘War on Terror’. Cameron, by saying Pakistan was “looking both ways” and “exporting terror to the world” whilst standing in front of an audience in New Delhi, could not have been more insulting to the Pakistani people unless he were to use profanities or insult Islam itself. The glee on the faces of the Indian audience was all too apparent as he made those remarks to rapturous applause; with India clearly realising it was the victor in this diplomatic battle. Yet what was the response of the Pakistani government to this? A weak and humiliated response from a humiliated regime.
Wajid Shamsul Hasan, the UK High Commissioner, has spoken of ‘hurt feelings’ and said maybe it is Cameron’s ‘inexperience’ which led him to issue such remarks. Zardari whilst in Paris said, “The war against terrorism must unite us and not oppose us. I will explain face to face that it is my country that is paying the highest price in human life for this war.” David Cameron meanwhile has not backed down from these statements, saying that he wanted to do some ‘plain talking’ and ‘say it as it is’. Why do our politicians not have the backbone to do ‘plain talking’?
Pakistan indeed is looking both ways on the ‘War on Terror’ whilst the UK is looking one way, that is something all the Pakistani people can agree with. However, it is not in the way the British PM may think. It is in fact Britain along with America and her allies that are exporting terrorism globally with the colonial invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan and it is Pakistan where the people, despite the successive regime’s of Musharraf and Zardari selling out and acting against he wishes of the people, are opposed to helping kill and occupy the people and land of Afghanistan. It is the Pakistani people, soldiers and civilians, who have been butchered due to this conflict instigated by the likes of David Cameron and have lost their lives for the sake of Western colonial adventures.
This is the thanks Pakistan gets for effectively going to war against its own people in numerous operations in Bajaur, Waziristan and Swat and for giving permission to American drones to kill thousands of civilians in FATA. None of the democratic parties in Pakistan are highlighting these points. At most, people such as Nawaz Sharif were cynically calling for Zardari to cancel his trip to the UK, knowing that the real purpose of the visit was to launch the political career of Zardari Junior. All this is on top of the rampant inflation, power outages and near economic collapse of the country.
It is abundantly clear that the so called democrats of Pakistan are totally clueless as to how to look after the affairs of the people. Whether it is external military aggression, a diplomatic slur, a natural disaster or providing a working infrastructure for the people none of these politicians have a single clue as to how to help the people. When Musharraf was in power these very same people said the problem was dictatorship, and that democracy was needed to solve the problems of the nation. They were deaf, dumb and blind to any other suggestion. Now they have their democracy, yet what have they done?
Is the disregard of Zardari for the plight of the common man due to a lack of democracy in the country? If this were a dictatorship then one could simply blame Zardari and say the man is rotten. However, Pakistan is a democracy and as such it is not just Zardari who is at fault. Where are the other political parties and ‘democratic’ institutions and ‘rights’ groups holding the government to account? Where are the great ‘checks and balances’ of democracy? Is the impotence of the democratic parties in issuing a robust rebuttal to Cameron’s remarks or their inability to effectively contribute to disaster management of the floods due to the fact that they have not had elections or are not able to sit in Parliament? Where is our judiciary in holding these people to account?
Why are Zardari, Gilani, Sharif or any other so called big shot of Pakistani politics unable to articulate a coherent defence of the country or a response to the floods to help the people? Why has this and previous governments, dictatorial and democratic, not invested in early warning systems and strategic stores of medicines, food, water, tents and other supplies in robust warehouses across the country? Why are they not able to build contingency plans as part of disaster management for an event that is not unlikely given that the sub-continent has been famous for its monsoon rains for centuries?
How can our leaders afford lavish overseas trips with visits to 5* hotels and restaurants in Paris and London but are begging for aid from the whole world to feed the common man? Why are the politicians sitting comfortably in their sumptuous mansions whilst the people have lost their homes, their livestock and their property, have no food or clean water and are now being faced with the spectre of cholera and other disease? What is the point of these secular democrats when all they know how to do is beg everyone in the world, be they charities, banks or governments, for money and even then loot whatever is given?
The answer is simple; these people have no idea as to how to solve the problems of the country. Moreover, these secular democrats have no popular domestic support and are dependent upon the patronage of their Western masters. The democratic system, being secular in origin and thus dependent upon the will of the rulers to shape it however they desire, has institutionalised and legitimised the criminal actions, neglect and policies of these rulers via laws such as the NRO and rules that grant sitting rulers immunity from prosecution. The secularists have failed to lead Pakistan to any semblance of progress. Military dictatorship has failed. Democracy has failed. It is time for an alternative. There is only one alternative, and that is Islamic rule.
Umar bin Khattab (ra), the second Khalifa, when faced with a devastating famine in Arabian Peninsula during his rule, mobilised his state machinery and ordered his governors from as far as Egypt and Syria to send supplies. In addition, he personally took part in the relief effort, cooking food for the hungry people who were flooding in to Medina every night and vowed not to eat anything other than bread and oil until items like butter and meat were available for all people to purchase in the market. As the famine lifted, he provided the people with rations to take with them back home and exempted them from paying Zakat for that year and the next.
Only the Khilafat, based upon Shariah derived from the Quran of Allah (swt) and the ahadith of Muhammad (saw), would hold every man rich or poor, ruler or ruled equal. This is in contrast to secular man made principles which protect the corrupt elite and crush the common man. Only the Khilafat can safeguard the honour and dignity of the people from foreign military or diplomatic attacks, as the Khalifa would be obliged by the Shariah to act and not like the dictators and democrats today who live to serve foreign masters at the expense of their own people. It is only the Khalifa, who would derive his authority from Islam and not Western capitals, who would be determined to rush to the aid of the people in their hour of need as he would fear the accountability of Allah (swt) more than visiting Knightsbridge for shopping, buying houses around the world or stashing away the wealth of the people in secret offshore bank accounts.
The author can be reached at email@example.com
You know those times when you’re so pissed off that you just want to wring someone’s neck? We all have them, don’t we? Let me give you a real-world example:
For the last week, my iPod Nano has been slowly disappearing in front of my eyes. I don’t mean literally disappearing. I mean functionally disappearing. First, the screen went almost-all-white, so that I could barely make out what button I was clicking on. I had to point it away from the sun and change the angle of it this way and that, and eventually I could just about decipher where I was in the menu of choices. Then suddenly it went to the other extreme, an all-black screen. There was no way of getting out of that one, so I had no option but to be on “Shuffle songs” the whole time because that’s the only option that I know by rote. And then today, while I was running on the treadmill, it just stopped. Fully charged, mind. Again, just stopped. And this is about six months old, and a fairly expensive gadget for a poor graduate student. I was majorly pissed.
Now, whose fault is this? Well, Apple’s for a start, but there was no Apple rep around at the U of C gym, so I couldn’t yell at any of them (no, that is scheduled for tomorrrow at 10am Central time, when an Apple agent is supposed to call me). So what happens when there’s no one to blame? You make something up. In my case, very conveniently as I was leaving the gym, the W called. She wanted me to get frozen yogurt for her on my way home. Of course, in the mood I was in, I refused, even though I had absolutely no rational reason to do so (I get frozen yogurt for her two to three times a week on my way home from school). The frozen yogurt place is ON THE WAY home. I don’t even have to make a detour. I mumbled something about being tired and hungry, and said “not today, can’t you get it yourself?”. I think the W was more bemused than anything, and that was that.
Was this a douchey thing to do? Yes, absolutely. Did I apologize later? Yes again. But it was a very human moment, and I defy each of you to say that you haven’t done something similar in the last week or month. I’ve seen adults get angry at each other because their kid has done something stupid and they can’t very well yell at the kid. I’ve seen drivers say and do the most vile and ridiculous things to each on the road just because there’s a traffic jam, which by definition is no one person’s fault (and not just in Pakistan, mind). I’ve seen roommates blame each other for a leak in the flush, which again, can’t be rationally ascribed to a single person.
What is my point? My point is that, for whatever psychological/cognitive reason, human beings like having someone to blame or get angry at during times when we can’t legitimately be angry at someone. So when life becomes crappy, we invent things to be angry about with a particular person or group of people, and this makes us feel better, and if you are a halfway decent person, you recognize this relatively soon and apologize.
This brings me to Asif Zardari.
In the last week, I have read and heard so much bullshit against Asif Zardari that I am honestly considering signing up to be one of those PPP jiyalas that ransack art galleries just to spite the idiots spouting all this hatred. Anyone who has read this blog for more than a week knows exactly how I feel about the man. But there are limits to hate, and honestly, those limits have been crossed in the “What was Zardari doing in Europe when the country was drowning?” hysteria that has overtaken our media, our society, and most sacred of all, our Facebook walls. I really cannot put it better than the folks at Cafe Pyala, where this brilliant post was written. You really should read the entire thing, but here’s the relevant bit for me:
What exactly would Zardari have done in Pakistan? This is a man who does not even venture outside his presidential palace, unless it’s to his bunkered home in Nawabshah, and who has never even once visited the frontline of the battle against the Taliban in two years, and we expect him to be directing flood relief efforts? And more importantly, didn’t he just hand over all executive power under the 18th Amendment, making him just a figure-head president? Isn’t PM Yousuf Raza Gilani at least correct in his rhetoric that he is the chief executive of the country and it is he who is responsible for directing relief efforts? Him and the provincial chief ministers who seem to have got away pretty unscathed so far. Yes, Zardari failed miserably on the optics and in basic decency, but does anyone seriously believe that the floods’ devastation and the ineffectual state response would have been ameliorated by Zardari being in Pakistan? I don’t think so. But that is the constant refrain we now hear as if it is the gospel truth, particularly on Geo.
So Zardari was an insensitive ass. But is that such breaking news that the media focus shifts entirely to undermining him? Were he not the president, would the suffering of the affectees of the biggest floods in Pakistan’s history be any less? Would the administration become super-efficient? Isn’t the issue of the inherent lack of capacity of the Pakistani state to deal with such crises a bigger issue than Zardari and his jaunts? Criticise him by all means but is a man chucking a couple of shoes in his direction really a bigger story than the tens of millions displaced from their homes? Or have we become so blinded by our rage and the cult of personality that we are willing to jettison all sense of proportion?
Like the Pyalas say, Zardari deserves criticism. But this much? Are you kidding me?
I would submit that Zardari is fulfilling an important role: the national punching bag. The entire nation is going through a slow, torturous period of catharsis, and hating Zardari is really helping that catharsis. So, in a weird way, his trip to Europe fulfilled important national objectives: it gave a population of 180 million someone to whine and bitch against. Can you imagine if he didn’tgo? Who on earth would we direct our anger and despair on the floods against? God? (Shhhh, this is an Islamic Republic).
In all seriousness, all this has convinced me, as if I needed convincing, that the Pakistani public and media at large has no patience for real, actual democracy. They like how it sounds in text books and op-ed pieces written on Chowk, and they respond positively to it when asked by pollsters, but when push comes to shove, they can’t bear it. Memo to the public: sometimes democracy throws up leaders you don’t like. Tough shit. You know what you do then? You wait. You wait until the next elections, and then you vote the party or figure out. This is not a complicated enterprise. When you harken for immediate solutions and strong-man responses, all you’re really harkening for is military rule.
Democracy is a slow moving beast. Things don’t always work. But asking for the removal of a constitutionally and legally elected President — let me repeat, a constitutionally and legally elected President — is asinine, especially when said President has no real powers. You wouldn’t believe some of the things I’ve read recently, both in “serious” publications as well as in email chains and status updates and so on. People have actually called on him to be assassinated. Have we lost our minds? Are we nuts? It appears so.
All this said, you have to say, Zardari really doesn’t help himself. According to Mosharraf Zaidi’s latest piece, “The president’s inner circle, to a man and woman, was against this visit.” If that is true — and I trust Mosharraf enough to conclude that it is — then it’s even more shocking. I’m often asked by people here in Chicago who don’t really know Pakistan about the difference between Zardari and Benazir. I tell those people that they’re basically the same person, except one of them was actually skillful and adroit. I’d bet my life that BB would never have pulled something like this. No way in hell. She was too smart. She’d know (and care about) how it looks. Zardari doesn’t, and that’s on him. The rest? That’s on us.
Pakistan’s Tehreek-e-Taliban faction on Tuesday urged the government to reject American aid for people affected by the nation’s worst floods in 80 years.
“The government should not accept American aid and if it happens, we can give 20 million dollars to them as aid for the flood victims,” Azam Tariq, a spokesman for Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), told AFP by telephone.
The most devastating floods in Pakistan’s living memory have affected up to 13.8 million people and killed an estimated 1,600 prompting the UN to prepare an appeal for several hundred million dollars for immediate relief.
“We will ourselves distribute relief under leadership of our chief Hakimullah Mehsud among the people if the government assures us that none of our members will be arrested,” Tariq said.
“We condemn American and other foreign aid and believe that it will lead to subjugation. Our jihad against America will continue.”
Washington has provided 35 million dollars in aid, including 436,000 halal meals and 12 pre-fabricated bridges.The White House said that US helicopters have helped to save more than 1,000 lives in Pakistan.
Critics say the relief effort was slow to get into gear and have heaped scorn on the unpopular President Asif Ali Zardari for pressing ahead with a visit to Europe at the height of the disaster.
Islamic charities, some with suspected links to extremist militants, are believed to have stepped into the breach on the ground, as international relief efforts mobilised.
The TTP, a key architect of a bombing campaign that has killed more than 3,570 people across Pakistan in three years, grabbed the global spotlight after the United States accused the group over a failed car bomb plot in New York in May.