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Is it the Machiavellian “Incentive Structure”? – Part 2

Is it the Machiavellian “Incentive Structure”? – Part 2

By Misbah U. Azam, Ph.D. Read : Is it the Machiavellian “Incentive Structure”? – Part 1   On January 13, 2015, Dr. Moeed Yusuf, Director, South Asia Program in US Institute of Peace (USIP), shocked many democrats by writing a piece – A Rotten System — in Daily Dawn. Here what he noted, “Ever since the Zardari government took over in 2008, I have struggled to place Pakistan among the established models of democratic consolidation? I have increasingly … Read entire article »

Filed under: Citizens, Constitution, Democracy, Law, Pak Tea House, Pakistan, Parliament, USA

Is it the Machiavellian “Incentive Structure”? – Part 1

Is it the Machiavellian “Incentive Structure”? – Part 1

By Misbah U. Azam, Ph.D. The common question in Pakistan is, “which system of governance Pakistan should adopt which will deliver to people’s demands”? Should it be the democracy, and if democracy should it be parliamentary or presidential. Should there be a military dictator who rules with iron fist with the help of political dynasties and family oligarchs. Should there be a system where the governments are nominated by the powerful military and Judiciary, which governs … Read entire article »

Filed under: Citizens, Constitution, Democracy, Law, Pak Tea House, Pakistan

Corporatization of Militancy

Corporatization of Militancy

By Andaleeb Rizvi It was the year 2011; pro-Shia TV channels and wire services were abuzz with claims about US and Saudi Arabia funding and arming anti-Shia groups all over the Middle East. During the same period, there were several Shia uprisings in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and of course Iraq and Syria.The Pakistani government too continued to face the onslaught of anti-Shia groups like Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Jondullah, Sipah-e-Sahaba, Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamat, and Lashkar-e-Islam. Videos of men … Read entire article »

Filed under: Al Qaeda, Islamism, Middle East, Pak Tea House, Pakistan, Religion, Secterainism, Terrorism, violence, war

Twitter enables free expression for Army officials

Malik Omaid It is difficult to determine if the twitter handles operating as Army officials are real or fake but they do amuse a lot of Pakistanis especially those disillusioned with democracy and keen supporters of army rule. Another trend which is evident is that PMLN and Mian Nawaz Shari is highly unpopular among these accounts. Is that a coincidence that protests against NS have brought the Shareef brothers close to their exit. These are sample tweets from some of the popular “Army official” accounts from last 5 days. Some of them use highly abusive language against the civilian leadership and Media houses and are ardent supporters of recent “Inqilaab” and “Azadi” Marches.   [View the story "Twitter enables free expression for Army officials" on Storify] Note: It was very difficult to choose tweets which were … Read entire article »

Filed under: Army, Citizens, Constitution, Democracy, human rights, journalism, Media, movements, Parliament, Storify, Twitter

Hope for the Best

Hope for the Best

By Obaidullah Khan The very first thought occurred to my mind after hearing the news of Model Town incident, in the middle of June this year, that it was a conspiracy against the Sharif regime. The background of this sudden conclusion was for two reasons. The first one was based on a mere common sense that Sharifs could not do such a suicidal attempt against their political standing which was relatively strengthening after the commencement of … Read entire article »

Filed under: Army, Citizens, Constitution, Democracy, Islamabad, Opinion, Pakistan

Imran Khan’s USA Conundrum

Gohar Qureshi Having read Mr. Imran Khan’s recent statement about TTP, that they do not seek to enforce Shariah in Pakistan rather liberate it from the US war. I might be the only one who supports PTI manifesto for what it is and NOT because Imran Khan leads the party. Being a law abiding Pakistani American it is offensive to come across anti American narrative that Mr. Khan leads his followers with. Has he ever attempted to educate his followers on what led the US war on terror. The youth of today who must have been very young when 9/11 happened have no awareness whatsoever on how tolerant US was and still is. That we could travel domestically in the US without body scans which we were always subjected to flying … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan, Politics, secular Pakistan, Society, Taliban, Terrorism, USA

Calling Us Dollar Hungry and Fake Liberals

Raza Habib Raja Raza Rumi, whom I consider a good friend, elder brother  and a mentor, was attacked two days ago. He survived whereas his young driver, Mustafa could not make it. When it happens to a person known well to you and to whom you owe a lot, the incident becomes personal at many levels. Suddenly, you realize that words which are being written and spoken are not just a harmless exercise but entail life threatening consequences. And it also makes you realize that in this country- where ironically you are mocked at by titles like “Pseudo Liberal”, “Fake Liberal”, “Dollar Khor”, “Indian and US Agents”- you are always risking your life and despite the risk, continue to be mocked by our sick urban middleclass. And Raza Rumi was risking his life … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan

Free Karim – NOW!

By Madiha Tahir On New Year’s Eve 2009, Karim Khan’s family was blown to pieces. A brother, a son and a house guest –a laborer working at a nearby mosque– were all torn to shreds, ripped up in an American drone attack. Since then, Karim has been working with the Islamabad-based lawyer, Shahzad Akbar to file cases in the Pakistani courts demanding justice. At every step of the way, the demands by Pakistanis for democratic, legal solutions have been met with intimidation, harassment and secrecy both by the Pakistani state and the US. Now, Karim has been disappeared. On Feb 5th, 15-20 men, some of them in police uniform, picked up Karim from his home in Rawalpindi, according to witnesses. They took him in front of his wife and children, and his whereabouts … Read entire article »

Filed under: Drones, Pak Tea House

The Structure of Power in Pakistan

M Asadi A class/power structure analysis of the country reveals that it has changed dramatically since the military backed by the Americans incorporated itself in the power equation formally in 1958, in what was hitherto a feudal dominated, agrarian state, cultivated by the British during their colonization of India. The next big change in the power equation was the military dictator Ayub Khan promoting the underdeveloped local bourgeoisie as a bulwark against the feudal elite whose power he was attempting to usurp, (we cannot talk about a “developed” business class at this time when the country’s production and trade is dominated by primary products and most of the population is rural) leading to SOME industrialization, massive inequality and also land reforms for that very end- i.e. to weaken the feudal elite and … Read entire article »

Filed under: History, Politics

The Wizards of Langley: Inside CIA’s Directorate of Science and Technology

Ahmad Khan Jeffery T. Richelson is an American author, who has extensively produced literature on the process of intelligence gathering, historical technological up-gradation of intelligence agencies and its impacts on national security in America. He came up with The Wizards of Langley: Inside CIA’s directorate of Science and Technology in which he highlighted a brief history of CIA directorate of Science and Technology (DS &T) under the administration of different individual and CIA’s different aerial and space reconnaissance programs. He gives brief historical accounts of technological genies that resided inside CIA (DS &T). Richelson calls them the wizards of the Langley—the place where CIA headquarters is located— because of their technological and scientific achievements, which enabled CIA to architect an empire of international intelligence gathering. The primary objective of DS &T was to excavate … Read entire article »

Filed under: Al Qaeda, USA

The Drone Signature

By Saad Hafiz Drones have been a popular topic of late, mostly in discussions about whether the US government should be authorized to track down and kill suspected terrorists anywhere around the globe using the pilot-less predators. Amidst the passionate debate, the much vilified drones have become the signature weapon in the post-9/11 anti-terrorist warfare, particularly in the al-Qaeda and Taliban safe havens straddling the Afghan-Pakistan border. US drones have proven to be quite effective and a much-needed instrument of attack in the war against the terrorists. Drone strikes have taken out key leaders, disrupted meetings and curtailed movement, often forcing terrorists to scurry for cover. Drone enthusiasm is driven by the minimization of the risk to ground forces and non-combatants. Opponents counter that drones are an ignoble and cowardly form … Read entire article »

Filed under: Uncategorized

Perils of Arundhati Roy Style Liberalism

Raza Habib Raja As a philosophy liberalism is more inward looking and hence does not try to shift blame on the outside forces. By its orientation, it also does not have an overly negative assumption about human nature and consequently is not obsessed with crime and punishment. It believes in the rationality of humans and further assumes that human intelligence is capable of creating an artifice where ethnic, linguistic and other such “ natural” differences can … Read entire article »

Filed under: Afghanistan, Imperialism, India, Marxism, Taliban

Anti-Americanism in the Muslim world

By Saad Hafiz: Many Americans are baffled and angered by the deep-set anti-Americanism prevailing in the Muslim world. Some Americans see it as an expression of a malevolent ill disposition that goes beyond the pale of reason, revealing the inherent venality, weakness and instability of Muslims. In this worldview, the US is the beacon of freedom and democracy and a major aid provider, which makes it especially confounding that it would be the target of Muslim rage. The genuine fears about extremism and violence in the Muslim world continue to play a role in driving these views. Former President George W Bush captured a widespread concern when he said, “Like most Americans, I just cannot believe the vitriolic hatred of the United States because I know how good we are.” There are … Read entire article »

Filed under: USA

No change is change

No change is change

By Saad Hafiz: As the US Election approaches, the battle for the White House remains too close to call. The outcome is determined by an Electoral College, which has a total of 538 votes. To win a majority, a presidential candidate needs at least 270 votes. National polls did swing dramatically in challenger Mitt Romney’s direction after he trounced President Obama in the first debate. Recent polls show the two candidates in a virtual dead heat … Read entire article »

Filed under: USA

Beyond empty sound bites

By Saad Hafiz: Politics and diplomacy is a tough business, and the use of catchy sound bites is its modern currency, particularly in the media-savvy US. In keeping with this trend, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US Sherry Rehman used an attention-grabbing sound bite: “This is a new Pakistan. Catch up, gentlemen,” as Islamabad squabbled with Washington on transit rights for NATO forces in Afghanistan through Pakistan. Ms Rehman’s clip stressing upon her US hosts that Pakistan would not be pushed around anymore, probably bolstered her credentials with her intended domestic security and hyper-nationalist audience. Not to pick on Ms Rehman, who has the unenviable job of representing Pakistan in suspicious and unfriendly Washington, but reliance on sound bites often serves as a substitute for actual dialogue, helps masks ugly realities and contributes … Read entire article »

Filed under: Opinion