Editor's Choice

Featured Post

"Let us build Pakistan" has moved.
30 November 2009

All archives and posts have been transferred to the new location, which is: http://criticalppp.com

We encourage you to visit our new site. Please don't leave your comments here because this site is obsolete. You may also like to update your RSS feeds or Google Friend Connect (Follow the Blog) to the new location. Thank you.


Sunday, 16 August 2009

The Zardari phobia and the minus-one formula

Media and minus-one formula

The Sindh Chief Minister, Syed Qaim Ali Shah, declared at the Independence Day flag-hoisting ceremony at the Mazar of Quaid-e-Azam on Friday that “the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) had never before accepted the minus-one formula, nor will it accept it today”. He said, “PPP’s democratic government has not entered the corridors of power from the back door as it enjoys a public mandate. Conspiracies are being hatched against democracy and the PPP”.

Mr Shah was referring to a media campaign against the person and party of Mr Asif Zardari. Though the campaigners say they are not gunning for President Zardari, the PPP rank and file certainly see a “get Zardari” front by a certain section of the print and electronic media that has been the greatest supporter of the campaign for the restoration of the judges and at odds with Mr Zardari and the PPP from the outset.

Unfortunately, after a protesting response from a senior PPP member at the centre, the campaign by this particular media group has become a confrontation. The plaint of “media trial” has been accepted as a challenge and more “revelations” have been promised in what might become a demonstration of the power of the media in the country. Is the campaign fair?

Theoretically speaking, in so far as the job of the media is to hold the government of the day to account and scrutinise its actions in the light of the law, no critical revelation is out of bound. At worst, the government or a member of the party can take the concerned media source to court and demand proof, failing which it can claim compensation. But this is Pakistan. The courts are flushed with pro-media feelings, especially for a media group that has supported the judges to the hilt. So for the government to get justice against this media — what a thought! — in Pakistan right now is asking for the moon. At any rate, such recourse would attract even more censure at home and abroad and prove counter-productive for the government. So it can only lie back and enjoy it.

On the other hand, aiming or seeming to aim at getting rid of President Zardari through such a campaign, which often verges on being discriminatory-defamatory, is not kosher at all. This is what the PPP is partly complaining about when it talks of the “minus-one formula”. For instance, you can describe the plight of the PIA as a “bankrupt organisation” — like many others in the public sector — but it may be difficult to prove corruption against the sitting government by only describing a bankruptcy which is nothing new and implicates several governments in the past.

If truth be told, the campaign against Mr Zardari has often become unsavoury. One can only approximate the innuendos carried in certain pointed TV programmes and columns. For instance a column on August 12, 2009 said, “After getting out of jail through an understanding with Musharraf, Zardari thought he could lead the PPP, but Benazir did not allow that. Even her children were bred away from the shadow of his character”. The same column also “informs” us that “when Zardari was not successful in playing a prominent role in the party during Benazir’s life, he went off to Dubai where he caught a strange malady of the heart which could only be removed by being in his flat in New York among his pretty ones. Only his medical adviser — recently removed as adviser to the government — can tell what his heart was suffering from”. This is hitting below the belt and not journalism.

Everyone has disavowed the old reflex of trying to get rid of the government mid-tenure. But if you look at the political landscape of Pakistan you will clearly see that there is a media campaign to do just that to the PPP government. Criticism of the government is a duty that a free media must perform, even of problems like the PIA, of load-shedding and rental units, and the wheat and sugar crises, that have a history in the past. But defaming the president of the country so blithely is not a good precedent to set, especially by comparing him to a president recently deposed in Latin America for corruption.

The PPP has won the 2008 election fair and square. It rejects the “minus-one formula” and has the right to rule till the end of its tenure. Its opponents can get rid of it by defeating it in the next elections. The media has no business launching any campaign for regime change. (Daily Times)


Abbas Ather: Aiwan-e-Dard

Some relevant comments

aly said:

i think leaders are those who lead the public opinion rather than who follow the public opinion.

Munir said:

“ataraxis6 As I said you do need a stick, means dictators like ZIA.

You do not deserve democracy.

AZ is an elected president so If you are a democratic then regard his term. I have no love for AZ but love for the demoracy. I assure you if this was NS then he,NS,would have been criticised like AZ.As NS was removed in 1999 because of the publice sentiment against NS just after two years of democracy and It was a time when NS had two third majority in the NA. We have very short patience for a demoratic governments and on the other hand we give military dictators like 11 years.


tahir mahmood said:
Then call 111 Brigate to take over.

Muhammad Usman said:
no matter how unpopular president zardari is– he has every right to be president for 5 yers. minus 1 is bull shit crap/

Pakistan-Khappay said:
Its interesting to see how these so called anti american and pro taliban people have started jumping gleefully at an american report just because it is against Zardari. Obviously none of these people have an inkling about research and how it should be done. Read the report fully and you will go crawling back to your Taliban caves. These people have interviewed 23000 people in 25 different countries, roughly 1000 each country. Is 1000 a representative sample, Nowehere in the report does it say how many sindhis, punjabis baloochs etc were included. The Income classes are mentioned percentages not given.

A study based on 1000 out of 17 billion people only is extremely open to bias and is not worth the piece of paper it is written on. If this was sent to a journal for publication it will not even get through first phase of review. Pakistan Politics is largely divided into pro and anti ppp sects. Pro ppp population are mostly based in villages and poor people whereas anti ppp class is mostly in cities what is called as the middle class and elites.

Obviously a large group of these people who are surveyed will be from cities (think logistics will these people go to villages of sindh or south Punjab or Balochistan). Also the survey is worded in English as far as I can see they have not mentioned it was translated into urdu or regional languages. So this survey tells us nothing new, we already know urban punjab is NS stronghold and rural areas of punjab and other provinces PPPs.It is a known fact that incumbent presidents do become unpopular after first year or so.

It is natural phenomenon, people have very high expectations and they obviously blame the government for everything. Barack Obamas rating has taken a huge tumble and that is according to credible surveys, does that mean CJ of US wil become President of US or Army chief will step in or he should be killed as someone suggested that AZ should be. What is more ineteresting is to see that this organisation is run by Madeliene Albright, who is a known enemy of pakistan. Her bringing this report about President of Pakistan just when Richard Holbrooke is visiting Pakistan asking them not to interfere in Afghan elections and let India have a free hand, and also to squeeze maximum out of Pakistan is worrying. These are all pressure tactics used to make AZ give US maximum leeway.

This whole sudden activation of people like Dr SM and formation of large banch for NRO, rumours of PM president conflicts are all age old pressure tacics. There are times when a nation needs to rise above petty politics and support their leaders, so that they can take a firm stance for them. Now is one of them, but alas this Anti PPP forum is too blind in their Bhutto hatred to think straight. These surveys wont matter zilch when it comes to elections, PPP is and will remain the biggest party with PML(N) a close second,(or vice versa) people like PTI and JI and the justice party (there will be one before elections lead by Aitzaz, they will try to name it PPP (Iftikhar group) wont get more than 2 or 3 seats combined. Sorry to let the air out of the bubble of this justice party forum.

dara said:
Asif Ali Zardari has shown great leadership so far, From Pakistan Khapey to Sawat issue, from Mumbai Issue to ISI bashing in west. The issue of Musharaf is not that straight forward, those who think Musharaf could be trialed and sentensed should know it means trial and sentense of Mr. Kiani and some other serving military elites, who has courege to do that?

To me Musharaf’s bigest crime was 12th Oct 1999 acts, rest was just continuety. As far as ledership is concerned Benazir proved through out her life , specially early days of Zia’s dark era. Zardari has been loyal and stood with PPP and BB after 10 years of jail. Those who are dead against Zardari and not on issues but because of their blind hate for Bhuttos have no leadership to present. Imran Khan couldn’t bear one week of jail in Nov 2007, that was big political joke when he went on hunger strike to get himself released.

If Zardari and ppp’s Govt was dismissed through unfair means i bet a complete chaos and disappointment amongst Sindhi, Siryki , Pastoon and Baluch nations. Unfortunately we are divided nation, Central Punjab and Urdu speaking Karachiates don’t like ppp but dead against each other too. ppp is more popular in small provinces and also among poor Punjabis.

democrate said:
at the end of term when all taliban will be killed,17th amenment will be abolished, electricity problem will be solved, his rating will improve surely.its just the bigening,no need to panic.after defeating taliban,zerdari future is secure.only zerdari has guts to solve big problems like taliban. (source: pkpolitics)


Shaheryar Ali said...

Qaiam Ali Shah and Zardari sb should look into whats happening in Liyari.In our government if Liyari has become a war zone, it means our days are numbered

humza ikram said...



Anonymous said...

I'm very glad to see such a fair article after so much undeserved Zardari-bashing and yellow journalism. Good work.

Anonymous said...

Actions taken by PPP so far

Control over Suicide attacks, (Jis ne aik jaan ko bachaya us ne poree insaniyat ko bachaya), why is geo quiet on this.
Control over Swat
First government to realise and act on problems of Baluchistan. (NS Hasnt even been to the province once)
Introduced Pakistan as a responsible state to the world (we were being called a failed and terorrist state)
Pull Pakistan out of economic doldrums (I agree more work needs to be done but we wont become Japan in one day it takes time)
Release of all judges from house arrest etc.
Policy of national re conciliation (allowed Karachi to function among other things)
Bait Ullah Mehsud dead ( everyone agrees know he is dead except DR SM and HAmid MIr are going through the four stages of bereavement on passsing away of a beloved first of which is denial)
Above all patience (despite BBs Murder) and ability to show flexibility (Pakistan in its current state cannot have any more turmoils.
Kicked Mush out of presidency.
Not a single political victimisation (ahtasab ur rehman type) case.
Not a single political prisoner.

I can go on, This govenment has only been in office for 18 months, so if you think all of the above is lip service its your opinion, we as PPP supporters take your criticism positively and will hope our party delivers for everyone like it has done in past.

PS. I hate when people openly show their hatred for one party and then say I am neutral, this is hypocricy, and if you dont support anyone who do you want should run the country generals again ?

from pkpolitics (pakistan khappay)

Lyari-boy said...

Poor governance and the sad state of Lyari

In the national interest

Monday, August 17, 2009
Kamal Siddiqi

The writer is editor reporting, The News

One is not sure what to be surprised at more. The killing of Rehman Dakait, one of Karachi’s most famous gangsters, or the fact that he has now overnight become “Sardar Rehman Baloch,” the man who is supposed to have defended the poor people of Lyari from all sorts of harassment and intimidation. What is it about society that makes people who otherwise seem sane and wise come up with these hopeless attempts at creating heroes? The number of people who turned up at his funeral made many sit up and take notice.

Possibly, this gives some idea of the lack of hope that our people are facing these days. This is a society where those who are supposed to be good — like our leaders and our law enforcers, have turned bad. That is why we are not looking for good in the bad. This commentary on our society makes us worry about our future.

But why was Rehman killed in the first place. This was a man who cheated death several times in the past. There are people who suggest that Rehman was killed as the scales of favour were finally tipped against him. We may possibly never know the reason.

In this episode, the media is also to blame for not defining the line between good and bad. Given the opportunity, it is happy to recreate people and re-brand images. If it suits the news cycle and if it makes the slightest of sense, and if it can sell, our media — usually the television channels, will peddle it to death. This despite the possibility of long-term damage to our national interest. But people are happy with their opium, the government is not willing to do damage control.

In all this, the sleeping government of Sindh continues to snore. Home Minister Zulfikar Mirza, who once told the people of Karachi, Sharrukh Khan style: “Main hun naa,” does not want to describe the unacceptable loss of life in Lyari in the fighting between rival groups as “gang wars.” He claims that no war is being fought in that locality. He also makes the claim that things are not as bad as they are made out to be. This claim is false.

The truth about Lyari is that, while it is a stronghold of the People’s Party, it is perhaps the most unsafe place in the city. Here, drug-peddling gangs fight turf battles on a daily basis. In the streets of Lyari, where people of different communities have lived for generations, bhatta is levied on shops – sometimes by rival groups at the same time. And anyone who is seemingly prosperous can be kidnapped and released only after paying a ransom that can be as low as Rs200,000. Here it is not the rich who are kidnapped – middle-income people will do as well.

Lyari-boy said...

This was a place where the Baloch and Sindhis lived happily with the migrant communities, especially the Memon and Gujrati speaking people.

It is one of the oldest localities of the city and has a life of its own.

Today, people die on a daily basis because of random exchange of fire between rival gangs. The police does not even come to pick up the bodies. Children are kidnapped from schools, drugs are sold in the open and no one is safe from the whims of the gangs. Lyari is now the crime centre of Karachi, where even the police fears to tread. Many crimes in the city can be traced back to Lyari, but the police cannot follow them up.

To put things in historical perspective, Lyari was targeted by the Zia-ul-Haq government for “special treatment,” given that it was the bastion of the PPP. Civic amenities and basic facilities like water and sewerage were denied to the people of the area. The once proud sportsmen of Lyari have gradually been reduced to becoming drug addicts. This was done, some say, under a policy by the dictatorship.

If the back of the people of Lyari was broken by the Zia-ul-Haq government, it is the PPP that is working on breaking the spirit of the innocent and ever-trusting people who live here.

In many parts of Lyari, there is no government. Gangs facilitate and arbitrate. Areas and houses are encroached upon. Hundreds of people — families who have spent hundreds of years in Lyari — have been kicked out by squatters who have the backing of the gangs. It was common to see women and children from Lyari file in like a bi-monthly ritual to protest the lack of piped water supply to their areas. The protest would end up at the Karachi Press Club. The tradition continues to this day.

Despite being disappointed time and again by the PPP, the people of Lyari have voted for no other party. This time round too, they voted for Benazir Bhutto’s party. Loyalists to the end, it seems they have endured the worst and paid the highest price. It is ironic that despite being in power for two years, the PPP government has been unable to come up with some action plan to rid Lyari and its surrounding areas of crime and solve their most basic problems.

If anyone has made any difference in Lyari, it has been Karachi Nazim Mustafa Kamal. He has made good on his promise of water supply lines and putting into place a sewerage system that works. It is a drop in the ocean for the people of Lyari, but it is better than nothing.

For the Sindh PPP, the priorities are elsewhere. Dr Asim Hussain of Ziauddin Hospital is being tipped to be the next Governor of the province. He has duly resigned from his position in the oil and gas ministry. We are now waiting to see whether the president would take on the MQM, which has already expressed its displeasure over the prospect.

As our leaders focus on ways to please friends and ignore real problems, the police is able to focus on what seems to be its prime objective – making money. Last week, we saw yet another hapless pedestrian mowed down by a car driven by an under-aged driver in Karachi’s Darakshan area – where a number of schools are also located. The killer driver is 16. Police took the boy into custody but did not register an FIR for more than a day in the hope of some compromise.

One can only wonder what our people have been reduced to. The killer boy’s father is a member of the management at a bank owned by a prince of the UAE. He claims he is not well. And he absolves himself of the crime of letting his son terrorise the city in his car. This from a man who is supposed to be an educated professional. Then why do we get upset when the illiterate behave in an unacceptable manner?

One remembers another such case, where the son of a man who now heads one of Pakistan’s largest public-sector banks, also killed innocent people. He too was let off after making the necessary payments. Can we continue to buy justice from the police? Why do we have to put up with so much corruption?

Email: kamal.siddiqi@thenews.com.pk

Anonymous said...

The only purpose of propaganda campaign launched against Zardari by the point heads of society is because of two reasons. Firstly Zardari being a Sindhi, considered by these pointy heads as backward, lazy and illetrate serfs who are not loyal to this soil and not deseve to be at the helm of affairs. Those who consider Sindhi's as Dallats cannot afford him as President of Pakistan. Secondly Zardari is continuing the agenda Z.A Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto Shaheed to make Pakistan stronger,great and prosperous. THe worst enemies of this country do not want a stable Pakistan. THis is the reason why Zardari has always been criticized and his image is maligned.

ahmad said...

From where I see it is a media campaign against PPP government. Criticism on government is duty of free media which it must perform but defaming the president of the country so blithely is not a good precedent to set. I reject the “minus-one formula” and PPP government has the right to rule till the end of its tenure.

Post a Comment

1. You are very welcome to comment, more so if you do not agree with the opinion expressed through this post.

2. If you wish to hide your identity, post with a pseudonym but don't select the 'anonymous' option.

3. Copying the text of your comment may save you the trouble of re-writing if there is an error in posting.