Sunday, January 9, 2011

Fascist Hassan Nisar of Religio-Fascist Jang Group/GEO TV.


In Salmaan's tragic assassination, two stories unfold: that of a brave man who had the courage to say and act on what he believed in and that of a country where darkness pervades like never before. The two stories will run parallel in the coming days, occasionally crossing and impacting each other. Taseer's story will run its course a little earlier. After people have said what they had to say about him, his name will shine through history for upholding the right cause. The other story will go a long way. The story of a country where a sitting governor gets shot by his own security guard for expressing sympathy for a poor innocent Christian woman will be heard for a long time. It shall draw attention to an intolerant society that this country has turned into; where every voice of disagreement is silenced by violence. It shall make people aware of their vulnerability in the face of sheer ignorance.

Hassan Nisar Pleads for Martial Law - Part 1


Hassan Nisar Pleads for Martial Law - Part 2


It will be a story of a country where political parties did not set the agenda; in fact they left this job a little more than three decades ago. A country where people mistook blasphemy laws for blasphemy and deemed it fit to kill all the accused to get straight to heaven. The story that reverberates in the coming months and years will be of a state that wore religion on its sleeve and let the unelected institutions prevail over people's will; a state that bred intolerance among its young minds through biased text books and made them hate other religions; a self-righteous state that created the other as an enemy among its populace and thrived on hatred of divisions rather than on the strength of commonalities. The retelling of the story of this country will bring about an introspection of sorts. After a while people will tire of killing each other and seeing so much blood shed in their midst. It is then that this story is going to take a twist. People of this country shall start marching towards a tolerant and progressive Pakistan where every shade of opinion coexists in peace, where people get education and health benefits, where people smile and even laugh. This will be a time of civilised politics, which is equally lively and has a sense of humour just like that man who laid down his life some time ago.

Hassan Nisar Pleads for Martial Law - Part 3


Hassan Nisar Pleads for Martial Law - Part 4



Demise of progressive politics?

This, perhaps, is the last opportunity for the political parties to reclaim their territory
By Farah Zia

It is difficult to say when exactly did the slide begin. Apparently, the ascendancy of politics and its demise in this country came about at the same time. A little before the first general election in 1970, about a hundred mullahs got together to issue a fatwa that anyone voting for the political parties carrying the banner of socialism will cease to be a Muslim and his or her nikah will be annulled. The people voted overwhelmingly in favour of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Awami League, exactly the two parties that were warned against.

Hassan Nisar LOVES Jamat-e-Islami


In 1974, the PPP government led by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto declared Ahmedis as non-Muslims. ZAB was led to believe that by doing so, he shall get the credit for solving a 90-year-old dispute. The dispute may not have been resolved the way he wanted it to, but the religious forces got an inkling of their power. For them, there has been no looking back since. Bhutto’s ambition of becoming a leader of a united Muslim bloc culminated in steps like banning of alcohol and horse-racing and declaring Friday a holiday. The stage was already laid, by none other than ZAB himself, for the launch of a movement for Nizam-e-Mustafa in 1977.

Nothing could stop him from being hanged.

In Salmaan Taseer’s death, one also hears the requiem of progressive politics if not all politics. His death must be condemned because of what he stood for. If the cause for which he laid his life does not figure in today’s politics, more so in the statements of the leaders of the party he belonged to, should it then be assumed that he went to Aasia Bibi’s house as an individual and the party does not have a position and commitment on blasphemy laws.

Privately, Pakistan People’s Party is opposed to all discriminatory legislation done in the name of religion during Ziaul Haq’s time. Privately, the party thinks Sherry Rehman’s bill came at the most inopportune moment. The party was hoping that a public debate on the issue (like the one after the public lashing of a woman in Swat) would create conducive conditions to bring in the desired changes at some point in the future. It was the proposed private members bill, the party admits privately, that united the religious forces and there was nothing the party could do about it. Truth is that the Aasia Bibi case or Salmaan Taseer’s attempts to get her justice or even Sherry Rehman’s bill did not radicalise the society; they only brought this regressive streak out into the open, leading to Taseer’s brutal murder. This had to happen. Sooner or later. If anything it should be a wakeup call for political parties; they have been rendered into the weakest of state structures and only have themselves to blame. The Afghan Jihad changed everything in this country; the political parties’ loss in the process was the gain of the religious forces. Today, the mullah has it all — the money, the jihadis to fight his cause and the weapons. The politician does not even have the courage to speak the truth before a state that is still waiting for the Americans to leave Afghanistan so that it can have a pliant Taliban regime. Again.

Hassan Nisar Abuses Islamic Scholars - Part 1


Truth is that after Ziaul Haq’s 11-year rule, people find it more convenient to align with their sect or their biradari than a political party which incidentally is supposed to neutralise such affiliations. This is an opportunity, perhaps the last, for the political parties to reclaim their territory. Some analysts think it proper to make this demand only of PPP which lays claim to being a secular party and holds the banner of a progressive and tolerant Pakistan. They begin by criticising Benazir Bhutto for wearing a dupatta and a chadar on her head when she returned to Pakistan in 1986. Accepting a conditional and trimmed power in 1988 and playing on a pitch selected by the deep state on its terms helped neither the country nor the party.

Hassan Nisar Abuses Islamic Scholars - Part 2


Even her tragic death could not mark a new beginning. Today, her party, which is in power, is only struggling to create a semblance of stability. The committee on constitutional reforms dared not touch the religious clauses in the eighteenth amendment; retrospectively it looks like a mistake to have brushed them under the carpet.

Hassan Nisar Abuses Islamic Scholars - Part 3


What about PML-N? Yes, what about PML-N which has a conservative constituency?

And why give up on PML-N. Political leaders have changed the fate of nations; Jinnah and ZAB rallied people of all shades under one banner. Besides, parties grow and mature. Even Mian Nawaz Sharif who made his party look just like Jamaat-i-Islami till he was under the shadow of Ziaul Haq — with identical policies on India, Kashmir, Afghanistan, the US and role of Islam — gradually came out of it.

Hassan Nisar Abuses Pakistani Nation


Why pin hopes on PML-N — whose government in 1991 was responsible for withdrawing the appeal against Federal Shariat Court’s decision that declared alternative punishment of life imprisonment unIslamic in 295-C — the critics ask again. The answer is simple. In his last days, Nawaz Sharif seemed committed to a progressive and prosperous Pakistan: he was opposed to the Taliban and the Afghan regime; he held forth a hand of friendship towards India; was opposed to the military’s adventurism in Kargil; declared Sunday a holiday. Therefore, if anyone found it easy to make a movement on these ossified laws, it was him. The division within the rightist vote bank has become sharper and it is becoming more difficult for PML-N to support this sect or that. This may prove to be a blessing in disguise.

Hassan Nisar Abuses Jamat-e-Islami & Islamic Scholars


If the two political parties, PPP and PML-N, do not want to trivialise the death of Taseer, they must together with ANP and MQM reopen the debate for a secular Pakistan. They don’t need to rush but the path must be clear in their minds and should be stated for all times.


Shrinking space for debate

Mass media is making an eager lurch towards the right, riding the crest of an
ideological battle that is giving disproportionate coverage to forces in the country that are extra-parliamentary and have no mandate and accountability
By Adnan Rehmat

The script was not supposed to go like this. When the airwaves were opened up for private ownership in Pakistan in 2002, the general expectation was that the country would become more pluralistic, more tolerant. The hope was that from a national narrative scripted by a security state that has traditionally promoted paranoia for its own benefit through a tightly controlled information regime, Pakistan would make a shift from information darkness to information openness.

Hassan Nisar HATES Jamat-e-Islami - Part 1


This, it was expected, would bring people and their welfare, as articulated by themselves rather than by the self-appointed establishment, at the centre of national policy and daily business of politics. But a confounding thing has happened: in the last eight years, a discernible shift of the mainstream broadcast media, particularly TV channels, has gone to firmly right of centre.

Hassan Nisar HATES Jamat-e-Islami - Part 2


Hassan Nisar HATES Jamat-e-Islami - Part 3


The events of recent weeks, leading up to the ghastly murder of a progressive public figure — Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer — in the backdrop of a media debate that has promoted extremist views, seem to indicate Pakistan’s mass media is making an eager lurch even further to the right, riding on the crest of an ideological battle that is giving disproportionate coverage to forces in the country that are extra-parliamentary and who have no mandate and no accountability.

Freer media or fear media?

Here’s the paradox: the result of eight years of independent, pluralistic media is a supposedly democratic society that is more radicalised and more violent than ever. Was there something wrong with the medium? Or wrong with the message? It would seem it is both, if the mandate was to promote a more open and tolerant society but which has turned out to be the opposite. How did it come to this?

Traditionally, the media agenda in Pakistan has been dictated by the deep state through its terrestrial monopoly over audiences via Pakistan Television and Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation until independent TV channels started sprouting in the last few years. There are now about 100 of them with a third of them being current affairs, 24/7 news channels; half of which are in vernacular languages such as Sindhi, Punjabi, Pashto, Seraiki and Balochi.

Child of the times

All these channels have been flooded by mostly unqualified and untrained journalists that make up the bulk of their reporting teams and who made the shift from Urdu language print media whose distinct characteristic has been its rightist worldview deeply coloured by religious beliefs. But then there are no formal training institutes for journalists (unlike for doctors, nurses, lawyers and bureaucrats) that could have enforced a minimum level of professionalism and ethics.

It has also not helped that the average age of a journalist in Pakistan has fallen from 47 in 2002 to about 23 now. So, paradoxically, as the media sector has aged, its practitioners have become younger and younger! And the number of journalists has also swelled from about 2,000 in 2002 to about 17,000 now. This "horde", in general, has little or no journalistic training or subject expertise and even less understanding of the concepts of balance, right to reply and contextualisation, with the result there is no depth or nuance in their reporting. The result: stereotyping at best and bias and prejudice at worst.

Political issues, religious narratives

Then there is the space for debate and dialogue offered by the dozens of talk shows on the mainstream channels. Thanks to the rise of terrorism and militancy in the last few years, conflict narrative has crowded the airwaves, in particular by the religious parties that ruled Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa as MMA and as part of the Musharraf dispensation at the Centre, as well as by other non-electoral religious groups. The latter, in particular, which include sectarian groups, have risen as the principal narrative providers on issues such as blasphemy. To keep the chatter of the talk shows going, the TV channels have come to rely heavily on the religious groups for all things religious instead of balancing out with views from the publicly mandate political classes.

The fierce business competition of ratings has done the rest to fuel radical interpretations — the channels have discernibly promoted soundbites that get them eyeballs and this has meant that even politics has been covered with the angle of religion in the last three years. Foreign policy (particular Afghanistan) and security policy (war against terrorism) has been reported with religion mixed in.

Talking without mandate

Whether it’s dealing with Afghanistan ("non-Muslim Western occupation forces there") or the war against terrorism in-country ("this is not our war", "Times Square would-be bombing by a Pakistani is a conspiracy against us", "free Aafia"), religious groups have been given disproportionate space by the media in offering interpretive narratives about the foreign and home policies.
The overall result is depressing: the mass media, in general, turns to religious groups for their soundbites disproportionate to their representation in parliament. Worse, the last few weeks show that religious groups that are not even in national or provincial parliament venting extremist views are getting equal billing with the disproportionately high microphone-time to religious that are in parliament.

Not the right write

But the mother of all media paradoxes is that most religious and sectarian groups espousing radical views getting airplay on Pakistani current affairs channels are in Punjab and Sindh that are supposedly ruled by secular (PPP, MQM) and centrist (PML-N) parties. While there are few voices overall from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (the principal war-against-terrorism theatre) on national media and almost none from Balochistan or the tribal areas, there are virtually no voices from Balochistan and KP of forces that are secular-nationalist (ANP, PPP, BNP) even though both provinces are being ruled by such forces.

The overall accumulative result, therefore, is that the mainstream TV channels — the primary source of information for most Pakistanis — are letting those groups shape the general narrative and people’s perceptions that are either not in parliament or whose representation in the legislatures is disproportionate to the airplay they get and that people voting for non-extremist parties are getting a menu of fire and brimstone.

Media-ting where undue

The problem with TV, of course, is that in the reporting realm it has to operate in the instant and you can’t plan for the instant. Hence, they go straight for the shrillest soundbites and no marks for guessing who they go to, particularly on issues of religion such as blasphemy. Take the case of Aasia Bibi-Salmaan-Taseer-Mumtaz Qadri. It was the media that helped shape this fateful troika. Since Taseer’s meeting with Aasia in jail and his consequent remarks on the blasphemy law, the media has been giving extraordinary coverage of the reaction by the religious groups.

By Qadri’s own account so far, he planned to kill Taseer in advance because the latter had termed the blasphemy law a black law. Clearly he was influenced by the views of one religious group leader/activist after another given coverage by the media. It was, arguably, the media that helped Qadri make up his mind to murder the governor by helping him have access to extremist views of representatives of different religious groups calling for punishment for Taseer. The media almost never shows, on prime time, meetings and conferences of civil society groups that take place regularly but rarely misses offering prime time coverage to conferences by religious groups, some of them fringe, including those airing declaratory edicts inciting murder and mayhem.

Shrinking space for debate

There are some prime time TV shows in the wake of Taseer’s death that are now urging restraint but why were they not doing the same when demands for death for Taseer and Sherry were being made while their opponents were being given astonishing amounts of airtime? The media has failed to educate people on the difference between blasphemy and blasphemy law.

By offering self-appointed representatives of religion as experts on contentious issues, the media has ensured that the space for rational discussion has dramatically shrunk — secular minded citizens of Pakistan are being denied space on media to either openly express their grief or offer criticism. Talk show hosts are openly inviting their fellow talk show hosts who, contrary to the basic principles of journalism of balance and of neutrality (not being part of the story), are alarmingly coming across as religious party activists themselves. Some journalists are even condoning Taseer’s murder and support incitement to murder in the name of religion and justifying Qadri’s act.

Assassination as censorship

In short, for the liberal and secular minded in Pakistan, media has made it difficult for them to present their side of views on the subject of religion in general and blasphemy issue in particular. This is a censorship being forced by the media itself. The entire Pakistani media has failed to report that Taseer also owned a progressive media group, including a newspaper and channel and, therefore, his murder this is also an attack on media freedoms. Also, since he was killed for expressing his views, his murder is also an attack on freedom of expression.

Hassan Nisar HATES Jamat-e-Islami - Part 4


The fact is that censorship always defeats its own purpose, for it creates, in the end, the kind of society that is incapable of exercising real discretion. By becoming part of the story and siding with one school of thought, the Pakistani media is contributing to radicalisation in the country. By censoring only the liberal school of thought, the Pakistani TV media is proving that censorship reflects society’s lack of confidence in itself. Assassination is the extreme form of censorship. And Taseer’s murder is not only his life that has been lost; it is also the death of the concept of agreeing to disagree.

What the English Version of Jang Group project and what The Urdu Language of the same Jang Group project (it was the Jang Group which spearheaded the Campaign to Get Salman Taseer)

Salmaan Taseer did not commit blasphemy. We should get this straight. He was not a Gustakh-e-Rasool (insulter of the Prophet). He did not remotely commit or say anything falling in the category of what the most charged of believers take to be blasphemy. Yet in the name of the Prophet, whom we revere as the Last Messenger of God, he was gunned down by one of his guards. It is at the gates of such madness that we as a nation have arrived. And if there can be anything worse, it is the reaction of assorted clerics, doctors of the faith and muftis of the media, who instead of condemning this act openly have uttered tongue-twisters and adopted convoluted postures which amount to justifying it. The road to hell is paved with such equivocations. One of the media muftis pontificating on television when Taseer’s blood had hardly dried was heard saying that it was strange of the slain governor to have visited in prison someone convicted of blasphemy — a reference to the unfortunate Christian woman, Aasia Bibi. This amounted to saying that the governor was almost asking for what happened to him.

Misuse of Blasphemy Law for Murder - Part 4

Misuse of Blasphemy Law for Murder - Part 5


The other media gladiator was even more startling. He said that while we were sure to hear enough condemnation of the governor’s assassination not a word would be said of American atrocities in the war on terror. It is hard to beat this logic or this connection. There are lunatics in every society, people on the edge holding the strangest of opinions…that the end of the world is nigh or the true messiah is at hand, etc. But here it is not the antics of a lunatic fringe on display, but prominent figures in the mainstream media making asses of themselves. Then we talk of saving the Islamic Republic. With pontiffs like these injecting their share of refined folly into the national discourse, with no trace of embarrassment clouding the smooth flow of their eloquence, we get a fair idea of how the hill of redemption — trying to change the Republic’s suicidal ways — is not an easy one to climb.

Misuse of Blasphemy Law for Murder - Part 6


And the thing to frighten any weak-hearted man out of his senses: the assassin, Mumtaz Qadri, was not acting out of any malevolence or sense of personal injury. He was acting not only in good faith but in what can only be described as the highest manifestation of good faith: according to his Islamic conscience which instructed him that Governor Taseer was a blasphemer of the Holy Prophet and thus unmistakably deserving of death. Small wonder then that far from anything like remorse on his face, the expression he wore in police custody was almost beatific, as if he had just accomplished a deed worthy of the saints or the holiest of martyrs. Any lone ranger can kill Martin Luther King or Robert F Kennedy. It was a Hindu bigot, guided by the highest of motives (according to his way of looking at the world), who shot and killed Mahatma Gandhi. Pakistan’s tragedy is that its holy zealots are not lone rangers but products, and now the instruments, of a mindset 30 years in the making: from Gen Ziaul Haq’s era and the time of the first Afghan ‘jihad’ down to the present, a mindset totally at odds with what gullible fools like us take the idea of Pakistan, as first mooted in 1947, to be.

Misuse of Blasphemy Law for Murder - Part 7

Misuse of Blasphemy Law for Murder - Part 8


It is wrong, therefore, to say that Mumtaz Qadri was acting alone. In the literal sense he may have been alone. But in the metaphorical or spiritual sense he was representing a state of mind, a fever of the brain, which has more and more Pakistanis in its grip. So it is hardly surprising if there should be people, and not a small number either, looking upon him not as a killer but a defender of the faith. Of the few text messages I have received most, to my growing dismay, have spoken of Taseer’s killing as a fate he richly deserved. Makes one think, doesn’t it? Without going into the merits of the present anti-blasphemy law — one of Gen Zia’s many gifts to the nation, although it is only fair to say that it was later ratified by the 1985 Parliament — is it too much to ask Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry to look into a crucial aspect of judicial work at the level of our sessions courts? Why do lower-tier judges go out of their way to look for loopholes when dangerous terrorists are on trial, thus giving them the benefit of the doubt, and why do they close all loopholes and don spectacles of the utmost strictness when it comes to the trial of a poor Christian man or woman, usually the lowliest of the low, charged with blasphemy, on the flimsiest of evidence or the most dubious of motives?

Doubting Thomases in terrorism cases but unbending disciplinarians in blasphemy cases…a strange paradox is at work here: in the first instance, a keenness not to court the wrath of the extremist armies; in the second, a wish to earn merit by coming down hard on supposed blasphemers. Also worth asking is another question: why do our holy fathers take such a narrow view of blasphemy? Hunger, poverty and injustice move them not. If the Islamic Republic is a living monument to anything it is to injustice, to the unfairness of life, to the vast and growing distance between rich and poor. But the clerical armies reserve their choicest artillery, their most incendiary fire and brimstone, for arcane and esoteric issues which have nothing to do with everyday life.

Riding the cause of such issues they flaunt their strength but forget the cry of the Caliph Omar (which I must have repeated a hundred times) that if a dog went hungry by the banks of the Euphrates he, the commander of the faithful, would be held to account on the Day of Judgment. The anti-blasphemy law was not being amended. How many times has this to be repeated? No move of the kind was afoot in the halls of government or the corridors of parliament. Yet the clerical armies raised a hue and cry, issuing threats and denunciations, and calling for a national strike on December 31 to add fuel to the fires they had kindled.

On Fridays half the country is shut in any case, Friday being the Islamic Sabbath. Even so, the half which remains open was also closed, making the strike call a success even if few people paused to consider that it had been called over something which, for all practical purposes, was a non-issue. But non-issue or not a climate was created…and exactly four days later Governor Taseer, whose one fault if we discount all others was an absence of cant and dissimulation when it came to speaking his mind on red-rag issues, had most of a Kalashnikov magazine in his body. If Mumtaz Qadri pleads diminished responsibility, which of course he won’t, he will have grounds for doing so. He acted out his decision against the backdrop of a mood inspired or rather whipped up by (1) a clergy once again on the march and (2) media pundits who froth at the mouth when any religious trumpets are to be blown. In a landscape marked by all kinds of uncertainties, the only certainty, the one thing constant, is the star of Islam. This is an Islamic land and will always remain so until the end of time. Why then do we conduct ourselves as if Islam is in danger? Pakistan may be in danger, Islam is not. If there is one thing all Muslims, with all their other differences, are agreed on, it is the finality of the prophet-hood of the Prophet Muhammad. No Muslim dare question this article of our creed. Why then do sections of the holy fathers make themselves hoarse over this issue? Like the lady in Hamlet, they protest too much — over a non-issue. Will we ever get real, ever get out of the world of fantasy and make-believe? If Taseer’s killing makes us sit back and think he may not have died in vain. Although to hear some of the voices we are hearing it is hard to be optimistic on this score. REFERENCE: 
Where is this frenzy driving us? Ayaz Amir Friday, January 07, 2011

Pakistani Media's role in Salman Taseer's Murder.


Khaleej Times OnlineThere is no such thing as positive journalism, a notion put about, mostly in a whining manner, by government information departments. Journalism is at its most responsible when it is explosive and incendiary, shaking people out of accepted modes of thinking. It is at its most irresponsible when it follows the dotted line.  Demagogues and second-rate politicians play to the gallery or dance to the tune of public opinion. The journalist with some respect for his calling looks at the other side of the coin. Priests and other doctors of the cloth may deal in the currency of faith. The journalist treads on less hallowed ground. His primary tool is language for without it he would be like a soldier unskilled in the use of arms. But his highest education is in doubt and cynicism. The journalist points the path to no celestial heaven. His Valhalla is here and now. Good intentions he leaves to professional charity workers. For he knows where the best of intentions so often lead. 

Hassan Nisar Distorts History - Part 1


Pomposity and self-righteousness, cant and humbug, and all declarations of excessive virtue bring a smile to his lips.Falstaff, Shakespeare’s comic hero, was no journalist although if he had been around, with his jaundiced views on life he would be hailed as the unrivalled prophet of journalism. The high priest of the calling, however, would have to be the American H L Mencken who could make fun of presidents and politicians, and journalists, like no one else. To read Mencken even a century later is to get an education into what journalism, if touched by the gods, can be.

Hassan Nisar Distorts History - Part 2


Journalism is flourishing in Pakistan today but of what kind is it? Is it a source of enlightenment or a primary cause of national confusion? Some idea of what this phenomenon is we can get from some of the knights of the profession. Modesty is not one of their primary failings. They give the impression as if they are somehow possessed of the ultimate truth; that they hold a net of commandments in their hands and are thereby entitled to bestow the titles of virtue and sin in whichever direction their unqualified wisdom dictates. In the hands of these knights a news report is not a news report unless it is laced with editorial opinion of the strongest kind, expressed in language which leaves much to be desired. We have known many forms of arrogance: military, civilian, and bureaucratic, not to mention the arrogance of self-appointed arbiters of the faith. The arrogance we now face is of a different kind and it comes from what can loosely be called media jihadis, who are as destructive in their own fashion as the Taleban. Whatever the exalted view that they may have of themselves, what they have helped create is a climate of uncertainty in which the first casualty is democratic stability. They rail against corruption and talk of cleansing the national stables but their real target is President Asif Ali Zardari. We all know that with his colourful past and his familiarity with Swiss bank accounts, Zardari makes for an easy target. But the point lost on our new jihadis is that our national woes did not begin with him and will not end with his departure from the office he holds.  

Hassan Nisar Distorts History - Part 3

There is another uncomfortable truth to confront. Zardari, whether one likes him or not, is elected President of Pakistan. And he was elected by no process of chicanery but by the freely-expressed wish of a large majority of the presidential electoral college, a choice not forced upon Parliament and the provincial assemblies but a choice they freely made. We can regret the choice but we have to live with it. If anyone, or a combination of any forces, is out to remove him, there is a path delineated by the Constitution: impeachment. If there are the numbers, and the resolve, to impeach him, this path is there to follow. But if the prerequisites are missing, then good sense and a sense of realism demand that the windmills of conspiracy should take a break and the new media jehadis should rein in their ambitions. Zardari is going to do us no Roman favour. He is not going to fall upon his sword. This is not going to happen. So the temperature of things should come down. And we should return to the working of the Constitution and the logical playing out of the political process. It would help if Zardari and government were to conduct themselves better and curb the urge to shoot themselves in the foot.
Zardari is no one’s idea of an angel. But then what is the strength of angels in the Islamic Republic? Zardari has a past. But who in the current pantheon—politician, tycoon or even jurisprudential giant—is without some kind of a past or the other? All their lordships in the Supreme Court once-upon-a-time were counted as PCO judges, taking oath at the altar of Musharraf’s first PCO. But no one is saying that because of that they should commit hara-kiri. On the contrary, the nation is wishing them well and urging them to do their best in the performance of their duties.  There’s another thing we shouldn’t forget. When Benazir Bhutto was assassinated many political parties thought that there was no point in participating in the elections. Even the PML-N, thinking that an election under Musharraf would be an exercise in futility, was in favour of a boycott. At that juncture the most powerful voice urging everyone to participate was Zardari’s. We should get our history straight. The lawyers’ movement weakened Musharraf. But it did not strip Musharraf of his uniform and it did not lead to the restoration of the judiciary. The judges were restored by the political process as exemplified by Nawaz Sharif’s leadership of the long march. My lawyer friends may not like it but it was that (Sharif‘s leadership), Prime Minister Yusuf Gilani’s counselling and the strategic intervention on the part of the army chief, Gen Kayani, which restored the judges. Politicians have been short-sighted in the past but for the most part they are behaving maturely now. Like every party, the PML-N has its share of hawks who see things in black and white. But the overriding sentiment within the party is that come what may, and whatever the charge sheet against an individual, the country cannot afford another derailment of democracy. The person who has done the most to hold the line is Nawaz Sharif. He may have been anything in the past, and his record may have much that may be open to criticism, but in the afternoon of his years it is hard to deny that he is conducting himself like a statesman. All this is surely not to the liking of the media jihadis. But then it is their turn to grow up and start behaving maturely.REFERENCE: The New Media Jihadis Ayaz Amir (PAKISTAN DIARY) 25 December 2009

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