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Sunday, 15 March 2009

In support of President Zardari

First they said, "we will accept Pakistan People's Party (PPP) minus Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto"


Then they said, "Benazir Bhutto is a security risk; we will accept PPP minus Benazir Bhutto."


Now, they say, "PPP is a good party minus Asif Ali Zardari".


To the supporters of Taliban and Al Qaeda, to the supporters of Jamaat-e-Islami, PML-N and Imran Khan, to the supporters of the ISI and Mullah Military Alliance in Pakistan, our message is clear:

We, the majority of moderate, peace loving citizens of Pakistan, love PPP. We love Bhutto, we love Benazir and we love Zardari.

Long live democracy. Long live PPP.


Don't let them blackmail you, Mr. Zardari.

This is what Asadullah Ghalib advises Zardari in the following op-ed.


Aamir Mughal said...

As per two leading dailies The News International and Daily Dawn and several Private TV Channels of Pakistan that the leaders of Pakistan Muslim League - Q [Shujaat League] are holding meetings with everybody to form government in Punjab. Both Zardari and Sharifs have no shame because when General Musharraf was leading the PML-Q as Chief of the Army Staff both Zardari and Sharifs and their party leaders as well used to declare PML-Q Qatil League (Murderer Party) and Musharraf League respectively.

One thing these leaders of PPP and PML-Q, conveniently forget that this is not 1947 but 2009 and Information Technology has enabled everybody to get quick facts about the dark past of Pakistan Muslim League - Q.

A glimpse of PML-Q's detested, destructive and detrimental to National Unity Election Campaign of Feb 2008 General Elections in The News International and Jang Group of Newspapers is as under for the kind perusal of Zardari and Sharifs so that they can ponder a little as to whom they are making political alliance with. PML-Q and its leaders are nothing but Ethnic Bigot and that Election Campaign was headed by General Musharraf.

EC asked to take notice of controversial ad Thursday, January 10, 2008 By Mumtaz Alvi


ISLAMABAD: The caretaker government on Wednesday called upon the Election Commission of Pakistan to take notice of a highly controversial advertisement from the PML-Q, which appeared recently in the media about the non-Sindhis.

Caretaker Minister for Human Rights Ansar Ahmed Burney met the Chief Election Commissioner Justice (retd) Qazi Muhammad Farooq and discussed the said ad with him and other issues regarding holding of the upcoming general elections. "Some parties are issuing highly prejudiced statements and particularly the ads given by a particular political party is against the people of Sindh," a government handout issued after the meeting said, referring to the minister's meeting with the CEC.

Reports said that PML of Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain had given ads, asking all the non-Sindhis living in the province to provide the details of losses they suffered during the riots following the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. The party intended to compensate their losses.

After a strong reaction from all sides, the party the very next day removed the term non-Sindhis and said that Sindhis could also apply for the same. He urged the chief election commissioner to especially take notice of the ad, which smacked of prejudice and was a cause of hatred. The minister had earlier issued a statement against the recent advertisement, saying action would be taken against those behind this move.

On this, Qazi Farooq assured Ansar Burney that action would be taken in accordance with the law against those responsible for giving such an ad. When approached for comments, PML Information Secretary Senator Tariq Azeem told The News that the whole issue was misunderstood and that was why the next day, the ad was published with an illustration.

"Our party believes in Pakistan and not in Punjabis, Sindhis, Balochis Pakhtoons, Mohajirs or Seraikis.

We do not believe in distinction among the people of Pakistan. We follow the Quaid-e-Azam's ideals," the former minister maintained. Earlier, PML had given ads targeting Pakistan People's Party Parliamentarians' leader Benazir Bhutto. The party promptly moved the Election Commission. But ultimately, the issue fizzled out without any further development except the ECP issued a notice to the PML. The party had responded to it and this was passed on to the PPPP and that was it.

PML ad campaign against Benazir backfires By Muhammad Ahmad Noorani


ISLAMABAD: A letter forged by an over-smart opposition leader against Benazir Bhutto 18 years ago, came back to haunt him on Wednesday when the ruling PML used it in an ad campaign against the PPP but in vain. A PPP spokesperson said Benazir Bhutto and the PPP would take firm legal action against the advertisement. The letter, said to have been written by PPP leader Benazir Bhutto to her friend Peter Galbraith in late 1990, was then circulated by the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI) to defame Benazir Bhutto before the 1990 elections. The letter was forged by then opposition activist Naveed Malik, who now is an opposition leader.

The letter was used on Wednesday by the Pakistan Muslim League (Q) in huge half-page ads in different newspapers. A senior marketing expert said at least Rs 5 million was spent on the ad. The letter was first released by Naveed Malik, political adviser to the then Punjab chief minister, with the aim to demoralize PPP voters in the 1990 elections. The PPP lost by a big margin but later the polls were declared as massively rigged.

On Wednesday, Malik admitted that the letter had then been forged by the IJI but tried to wriggle out of the blame. He said as the advisor to the chief minister, he was misguided by certain elements working on a mission to damage Benazir's image and to help the IJI. Naveed said in a letter e-mailed to The News that he was suspicious about the integrity of the letter at the time of releasing it to the media. “Later, while investigating the facts, I came to know that there were certain elements working on a project to defame Benazir in the public.”

He said that this letter was in the custody of Ghulam Haider Wyne, the then PML provincial chief, in the office record of the PML Lahore, which is now under the control of Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Chaudhry Pervez Elahi. Munawar Anjum, a spokesman of Benazir Bhutto, told The News that Benazir never used letterheads titled "Mrs Benazir Bhutto" as stated on the said letter. He said that the name of Mr Peter Galbraith was deliberately misspelled as Gailbraith in the letter to evade legal action in case Mr Galbraith legally challenged it.

Galbraith was also the senior advisor to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1979-1993 and not in the NDI as stated in the forged letter, Munawar further revealed. Munawar also disclosed a very interesting point that the said forged letter was full of grotesque grammatical mistakes, which could not be committed by PPP chairperson Benazir Bhutto, a former student of Oxford. Munawar told The News that the PPP will take strict legal action against the defamation campaign against Benazir by the PML.

PML-Q Punjab alters ethnically exclusive ad By Amar Guriro and Qazi Asif


KARACHI: The PML-Q Punjab has amended the language of a controversial advertisement it published on riot damage compensation for non-Sindhis in Sindh, after a bad reaction from the southern province’s party leaders and workers. The advert now says Sindhis (in bold lettering) can also apply for compensation.

But the damage has been done. The PML-Q central leaders should find out who allowed the publication of a party advertisement excluding Sindhis from claiming damages in the post-BB assassination riots, argued the party’s Sindh information secretary Saturday.

A flurry of letters has made its way to the party’s chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain. “The way the PML-Q started an advertisement campaign in such sensitive conditions is strange,” said Jafar al Hasan, president, PML-Q (Youth Wing) Sindh, who added that he and others registered their protest.

The PML-Q Punjab started the advertisement campaign in the national print media Friday. On the first day, four colored half-page advertisements were printed with news clippings, saying that people affected by the riots could apply for compensation. One of the news items said that during violence in Bin Qasim (Karachi) 12 girls were kidnapped and raped – however, it failed to mention which newspaper published the stories. “I don’t remember exactly which newspaper published this story but I think it was an Islamabad-based Urdu newspaper,” said Mian Abdul Sattar, senior vice president PML-Q Punjab.

“It is against the party’s basic manifesto and with such a move the PML-Q leadership is dividing the party workers ahead of the polls; that would be so dangerous,” said Ismail Rahu, a former minister and PML-Q leader. “I have collected the details of the losses in my district and most of the sufferers were Sindhis. Most of the petrol pumps, shops and vehicles
set on fire were not destroyed by Sindhis.”

Others argued that it was a PML campaign tactic. According to the PPP’s Syed Naveed Qamar, after Benazir’s assassination, the people sympathized with the PPP, something the PML-Q leaders were aware of.

The PML advertisement asked non-Sindhis in Sindh (Mohajirs, Pathans, Punjabis etc) to contact it with details of the losses they suffered in the riots after Benazir’s killing. The criticism was that the advert implied that Sindhis did not suffer any losses and were to blame for the rioting and looting.

Haleem Adil Shaikh has written a critical letter to the PML-Q’s central president Chaudhry Shujaat, asking for an unconditional apology for the people of Sindh. Shaikh, who is also a settler in Sindh, said that the advertisement ignored Sindhi people of Sindh. If the advertisement campaign was a mistake, then an inquiry should be conducted to find out who is responsible and who must apologize unconditionally to the Sindhi people, Shaikh wrote. If the advertisement was deliberate, then its aim was to cause linguistic and ethnic tensions. “There was a strong feeling that the party was only for the Punjab,” he said. Hafiz Tabassi, the media coordinator for the PML-Q Sindh, said that the letter had been sent to Shujaat already.

MQM condemns PML-Q’s ad campaign By Our Correspondent

NAWABSHAH, Jan 8: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement has condemned Pakistan Muslim League-Q’s advertisement campaign as “it has given rise to hatred against non-Sindhis”. Talking to reporters from London by telephone at the press club here on Tuesday, MQM Coordination Committee Member Mustafa Azizabadi said Sindh needed unity and harmony at the moment.

He said the Muttahida had always stood for the rights of Sindh and opposed the construction of Kalabagh Dam while the PML-Q was in its favour. The MQM leader said that the activists of Pakistan People’s Party were in grief and a state of anger after the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, but some miscreants capitalised on the mood by looting and burning public and private properties. Mustafa Azizabadi said Altaf Hussain had written a letter to Sindhi elders, sisters and mothers expressing sympathy with them.

A dangerous game

February 14, 2008 Thursday Safar 06, 1429


DOES Chaudhry Shujaat realise what a dangerous game he is playing? He and several PML personalities have met Maulana Abdul Aziz of Lal Masjid fame and there are reports that the hard-line cleric is to be released. Whether or not he is guilty of any crime is to be decided by the court. But there are cases against him relating to his involvement in the Lal Masjid insurgency last summer. The ‘deeds’ of the brainwashed commandos wearing polka dotted kaffiyehs and led by him and his dead brother, Ghazi Abdul Rashid, have included arson, murder, kidnapping (including those of some Chinese nationals), illegal use of firearms, etc. Only a court can release him if it acquits him of the charges. Maulana Fazlur Rahman, too, visited him, and one of Abdul Aziz’s relations told a press conference that his family expected him to be released. On the eve of the general election?

Even though a ‘neutral’ caretaker government is in power, Chaudhry Shujaat heads what for all practical purposes is still the ruling party. Is he going to get Abdul Aziz out only to get some more votes? Maulana Fazlur Rahman’s voters will, of course, vote for the JUI-F, but the PML chief is seriously mistaken if he thinks the supporters of the MMA’s boycott group or those with a Taliban mindset will choose to vote for a party that, for good or bad, ordered the crackdown on the Taliban’s citadel and killed Ghazi Abdul Rashid. We know how the government made a political blunder by reopening the Red Mosque after renovating it. This gesture did not win it any laurels; instead, all that the government action did was to let the mosque re-emerge as the militants’ focus of attention. The moment he is released, the first thing Abdul Aziz will do is to visit the Lal Masjid, and once again it will become a shrine, a military headquarters and a madressah
all rolled into one. More dangerously, his presence has the potential to re-ignite the rebellion with consequences that will not remain confined to Islamabad. The rebels in Fata and Swat, too, will consider this as their victory, and they may be emboldened into doing whatever they are doing at present with greater ruthlessness and ferocity in which civilian lives are of little value.

One can understand the panic in the PML-Q ranks because of all that has happened over the last few months, including the return and assassination of Benazir Bhutto. The only option Chaudhry Shujaat and his acolytes have is to tackle the PPP and the PML-N politically, fight a clean election, and accept its results. Freeing Maulana Abdul Aziz may perhaps — perhaps — give his party some votes, but one doubts if those votes will be in numbers that will swing the election results in the PML-Q’s favour. The consequences of Maulana Abdul Aziz’s release, if it is not the result of due process, will be disastrous for Pakistan.

Shujaat fails to woo Lal Masjid chief By Ahmed Hassan


ISLAMABAD, Feb 13: The head of Lal Masjid, Maulana Abdul Aziz, refused to accept condition for his release during a meeting with PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain on Monday and the matter will now be taken up again after the election.

According to sources, the maulana said that his release did not matter for him because he was ready for any sacrifice for the enforcement of Islamic values.

He asked the PML chief to strive for the reopening of Jamia Faridia which was closed during the Lal Masjid-Jamia Hafsa operation. He demanded that Jamia Hafsa should be rebuilt at the same place. He asked Chaudhry Shujaat to fulfil the promise of enforcing Sharia which was also part of PML’s programme.

The sources said the PML-Q chief wanted immediate release of Maulana Aziz and he met the cleric to persuade him to agree to a deal with the government. They said the PML-Q and the JUI-F had suffered a setback in electioneering, especially in rural areas as people blamed them for failing to stop killing of seminary students. A press release issued by the PML-Q president’s office claimed that Chaudhry Shujaat had discussed a number of proposals with Maulana Aziz and the latter had expressed confidence in Chaudhry Shujaat.

Aamir Mughal said...

I dont know if Ethnic Bigots in are even aware as to where this Ethnic Hate would lead all of us? If not then read History of Rwanda, Bosnia, and many African Countries and believe me picture you would find will not be very rosy and not even the worse person in Pakistan would like to repeat those Tragedies of Ethnic Riots of 70s, 80s and 90s. This is a very dangerous path and poor and impartial people [from any racial group] would like to suffer as happened in the past. This is a dangerous path and everybody should avoid it.

Aamir Mughal said...

Sharif’s Punjab By Cyril Almeida
Friday, 20 Mar, 2009 | 01:18 AM PST


DEMOCRACY is the best revenge. Though in coining the phrase, it probably never occurred to the PPP that the party could itself become a victim of democracy. Or that democracy could, to borrow a phrase from Jinnah, leave the country’s most famous family heirloom mutilated, truncated and moth-eaten.

It’s bad form to gloat publicly, but behind the scenes the PML-N is ecstatic. Zardari’s misadventure in Punjab has catastrophically damaged him and the PPP. Blind hope aside, neither is likely to recover.

First blood has been drawn with the restoration of CJ Iftikhar. The lawyers may not like it, but this was Punjab’s victory. And Zardari’s fault. Imposing governor’s rule in Punjab ensured Nawaz Sharif threw his lot in with the lawyers. Check the record, Sharif was wavering about the sit-in, asking questions of the lawyers, demanding to know more about time frames and objectives. Then came the bolt of lightning, upending his government in Punjab, and out the window went any talk of compromise.

Zardari may have hoped it was just that — tough talk. And a lot of it probably was. Even as Nawaz Sharif climbed into his Land Cruiser, the lawyers would have been nervous. Would a last-minute deal leave them and their beloved CJ Iftikhar out in the cold, perhaps permanently this time?

But Zardari’s mistake was to force precisely the gamble that Sharif took — go out on the streets and see if Punjab would follow. It did. As Sharif’s caravan snaked around Lahore and then onwards to Islamabad, it drew crowds that even Sharif wouldn’t have dared dreamed of. It was magic. It was momentous.

It was over for the PPP in Punjab. The little men with big aspirations who lured Zardari into this trap may still dream of planting the PPP’s flag in Punjab, but theirs are the delusions of men who know they’ll be out of jobs soon and are desperate to postpone the inevitable.

But while the PPP has been brought to its knees in Punjab, the real hurt is yet to come — and it will be felt at the centre.

Sharif couldn’t have dreamt up a better scenario had he been asked to write the script himself. First, he has emerged a victor from a fight that wasn’t even his. It was the lawyers who took on the government, first Musharraf’s and then Zardari’s. Sharif rode the lawyers’ coat tails until victory was in sight. Then he became the hero. In the wee hours of Monday morning when Sharif appeared alongside Aitzaz Ahsan in Gujranwala to celebrate the restoration of CJ Iftikhar, there was no doubt who the star was.

Second, the long march will have improved Sharif’s credentials in the eyes of the army and Americans. On the day, the favourable comparison with Zardari was hard to miss. There was Zardari, out of touch, barricaded in his palace and using state violence to crush opposition. And there was Sharif, popular, surrounded by adoring masses, leading a peaceful march and playing a conciliatory hand by not demanding his government in Punjab be handed back on the same night.

If your interest lies in stabilising Pakistan so that the country can turn its attention to the fight against militancy, what would you make of it? Sharif’s bona fides as a potential partner of the army and the Americans are still in question, but there is a trade-off involved. Full cooperation on the terrorism front but an increasing source of instability (Zardari) versus less cooperation on the terrorism front but a source of short-term domestic stability (Sharif) — not so clear-cut any more, is it?

By now Zardari’s catalogue of errors is large, but one stands out. He has fundamentally misunderstood the electorate. What happened over the weekend in Punjab can be spun many ways. Democracy won; people’s power triumphed over state opposition; reconciliation works. But the bottom line is people want solutions and will turn to whoever offers them.

Ask Nawaz in ’99, when Musharraf chucked him out without so much as a shot fired. Nawaz was the rightful PM, but he was a rubbish one — so nobody stood up for him. Or ask Musharraf in ’07 and ’08, when the man who had once captivated Pakistan made the top look like the loneliest place in the country. Musharraf had his time to find solutions but failed, so the people started looking elsewhere. Enter CJ Iftikhar, the people’s champion.

Solutions. That’s what Pakistanis want. It doesn’t matter if they come from a man in a uniform, a black robe or civilian garb. Lose the aura of someone who has the answers, and power begins to slip from your fingers.

And right now the president has no solutions. Want to consolidate power? Fine. Want to grab the reins from someone else? Fine. But then do something with it. Something, anything. Not willing to amend the constitution, then alleviate the power crisis. Can’t bring inflation down, then clear the garbage off the streets. Won’t restore the CJ, then make sure sportsmen are safe. Can’t stop the drone strikes, then get buckets of money from the Chinese or the Saudis. But accumulate power and do nothing with it and the people are not so forgiving.

Zardari and his administration are now the lamest of lame ducks. They may stumble on for a while, but history, and their own record, suggests they can’t go on. 2013 is a lifetime away. If the present set-up doesn’t implode, what in the world will keep Sharif from striking?

While there will be few tears shed at seeing the back of Zardari and his government, spare a thought for the country. What comes next is dangerous for the federation. Until now, the PPP’s strength in Punjab meant that whoever else wanted to rule Pakistan had to reach out to the other provinces. But Sharif won’t be bothered by that inconvenience any more. Since his return to Pakistan he’d anyway shown little interest in building his party base in Sindh, Balochistan and the NWFP. Now he may not even bother to go through the motions.

So Zardari’s disastrous gamble has not just damaged him. It’s thrown Punjab into the arms of its new saviour. When Sharif’s time comes, he will necessarily respond to the province’s demands first and foremost. For anyone who understands the inter-provincial tensions that are always lurking just below the surface, that is truly a scenario from hell.

And to think Zulfi Bhutto’s party is the one that made it possible.


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