Tagged with " politics"
Mar 20, 2008 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Five years on …

Five years on, Iraq is nothing but debris, death and devastation, no infrastructure, child soldiers fighting the sectarian fight and crippling poverty.

Photo courtesy: Guardian Unlimited

Mar 13, 2008 - Society    4 Comments

Some user friendly fur and leather in Holyland

So they are going to the holy land together. For Mr. Sharif, it is also the land of sugar daddies; in plural.

According to The News, Asif Ali Zardari and Nawaz Sharif have planned to undertake a joint visit to Saudi Arabia after the formation of the new government, to seek the Saudi oil facility in view of the economic crunch that could hit the country. And I thought they were going to bow down to the almighty for giving them another go at loot and plunder. After all, a man who stole 11 billion dollars from poor Pakistanis – rememberr the frozen foreign currency accounts after the Pokhran nuclear tests – and another few millions in yellow cab and ittefaq foundries scandal, and another man with the dubious title of Mr. 10% should be thanking their stars at the unprecedented stupidity of the country’s electorate which has given them a third chance.

Sadly, they are going for more prosaic reasons; seeking some petro-dollars. According to The News, “the kingdom, as it has demonstrated more than once, reserves a special love for Nawaz Sharif and is likely to favourably attend to his call for financial assistance in the shape of oil supply on deferred payments.”

This paragraph had me in splits.

Only a Jang group publication could have so beautifully put the love the kingdom has for our formerly bald leader. Needless to say, this has invoked all kind of images in my mind which has Mr. Sharif bent over, a few robe clad Arab princes and some user friendly fur and leather.

whip…. crack !!!!!

Mar 10, 2008 - Uncategorized    2 Comments

Will he, won’t he?

Mr. Sharif dithered for days before finally succumbing to request by Mr.Zardari to participate in February 18th election. His opinions and decisions sea-sawed after every meeting with the likes of Imran Khan, Qazi of JI and Mr. Zardari and this pattern will continue. Even after elections, he claimed, at least once everyday, that his party members will not ministries because that will mean taking oath from President Musharraf who, in Mr. Sharif’s opinion, is an undemocratic president. Last evening, he agreed to become part of the government and said that though it is extremely unpalatable for him and his party, members of PML-N will take up select ministries and will take oath from the president.

He has also pledged to release Dr. A.Q. Khan as soon as he can but will not be able to do that as Pakistani government is under agreement with IAEA to keep Mr. Khan under house arrest, so Mr. Sharif will have to go back on his word on this matter as well. And that would be just the beginning. He will go back on a lot of things and the general amnesia and short term memory loss that has engulfed the whole nation, most people will not even be bothered to remember what their formerly bald leader has pledged.

Mar 7, 2008 - Society    2 Comments

Withering tolerance!!!

Pakistan always has the dubious distinction of being a country where intolerance is rampant, but this incident takes the cake. In what was possibly the first incident of its kind in the history of the legislative assembly of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, an opposition lawmaker Muhammed Tahir Khokar of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), was roughed up by some members of the treasury benches on Thursday.

According to Daily Dawn (http://dawn.com/2008/03/07/nat1.htm) the commotion began at about noon when Mr. Khokhar sought the permission of Speaker to read out his call-attention notice seeking a discussion on “frequent foreign tours of Prime Minister Sardar Attique Ahmed Khan and his family.”

Waving an official notification, he said that Rs1.59 million had been withdrawn from the budget of Kashmir Liberation Cell in advance for a 20-day tour to Geneva by the prime minister’s son, Usman Ali Khan, and three ‘relatively unknown’ women to attend the ‘7th session of the United Council on Human Rights’.

However, Law Minister Abdul Rashid Abbasi pointed out that under the rules of procedure, a maximum of two call-attention notices could be tabled in the house on a day. Taking serious exception to what he called suppression of the opposition’s voice to cover up malpractices of the government, the MQM lawmaker, whose mike had been switched off, walked towards the treasury benches and started distributing copies of the notification among the ministers sitting in the front row.

While the law minister tore up the copy given to him, Minister for Forests Ghulam Murtaza Gillani proceeded towards Mr Khokhar and tried to snatch the remaining copies. And Minister for Religious Affairs Hamid Raza dashed towards Mr Khokhar and slapped him.

Stunned by the incident, several lawmakers from both sides rushed to the area in front of the chair and some of them tried to bring the situation under control. Minister for Food Abdul Qayyum Niazi was also stated to have punched Mr Khokhar.

It is believed that Mr Raza was angry with Mr Khokhar because he is known for uncovering secret official documents and giving a tough time to the treasury.

A number of meetings were held before the session was called again by the speaker at about 3pm, but opposition lawmakers in their speeches demanded suspension of Mr Raza, Mr Gillani and Mr Niazi.

The speaker said he had been in the assembly since 1991 but had never witnessed such an incident. Appealing to both sides to maintain the decorum of the house, he said Mr Khokhar should not have gone to the other side of the divide when he (chair) was constantly asking him to return to his seat. However, he said, this could not justify the treatment he had received at the hands of the minister for religious affairs. He announced suspension of Mr Raza’s membership under rule 206 of the Rules of Procedure “for the current session”.

However, as the opposition demanded suspension of the other two ministers as well, the law minister said the government would have no objection if they were “censured” by the chair. Upon this, the speaker gave a warning to Mr Gillani and Mr Niazi to be careful in the future and then read out the presidential order proroguing the session sine die.

But six members of the opposition who were in the house at that time did not leave as a mark of protest. Senior opposition lawmakers, except People’s Muslim League (PML) president Barrister Sultan Mahmood, reached the assembly building and joined their colleagues in the hall. They also addressed a press conference.

PPAJK secretary general and MLA Chaudhry Latif Akbar told Dawn that the opposition had given the 10am Friday deadline to suspend the membership of the two ministers.

“Till then, we will stay in this hall and will announce our next course of action if the government fails to meet our demand,” he said.

Mr Khokhar who was bleeding from his left ear, was taken to the nearby Abbas Institute of Medical Sciences. He was admitted to the hospital and sources told this correspondent that his eardrum had been damaged and he might take weeks to recover. Aaj TV’s Bolta Pakistan reported last night that Mr. Khokhar’s left ear is completely damaged and his neck and backbone also suffered injuries.

The most ironic thing is that the person who first started the violence was the minister for religious affairs. If this kind of behaviour is practiced in the legislative assembly, you can imagine how peaceful the streets are of the country.

It happens only in the land of pure.

Mar 3, 2008 - Uncategorized    4 Comments

It is the personalities stupid!

I know I am a certified cynic and am generally pissed when grown up people (who in my opinion should grow out of their rose tinted glasses at the ripe old age of 8) present a hopeful picture of a future that none of us will see in our lifetimes. Waisay tau I have grievances against a lot of things but it pains me to see that people actually believe that the ongoing struggle for the restoration (!) of judiciary is anything but power struggle between two men (Musharraf and Chaudhry) with mammoth egos (both are delusional enough to think that they are indispensable).

For all my naïve friends who think this struggle is about reclaiming the dignity of the institution of judiciary and not about personalities should know that in Pakistani context, it is always about personalities and almost never about either the institutions or the country.

History provides us with enough evidence. Ayub Khan kicked the civilian govt. out for the betterment of the country, in his opinion of course, and assumed power becasue he thought he was the best man for the job. Pakistani politicians insisted that all cases be dropped against Mujeeb-ur-Rehman (of Awami league) after he was found guilty in Agartilla conspiracy to destabilize Ayub Khan’s govt, because it suited their immediate goal of rattling Ayub Khan (a personality). Z. A. Bhutto refused to hand over the power to the party, Awami League, that was in majority because he wanted to be in power, the country be damned, Bhutto Sahib, the martial law administrator, wanted to relinquish power only to Bhutto Sahib, the PM. No other candidate, even if he was in majority, was worthy enough. Zia hanged Bhutto because he feared that even a jailed Bhutto can be dangerous for his uninterrupted rule. He introduced drugs and small arms and Islamic militancy in the country courtesy over active participation in Afghan war to sustain his stay in power. Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Shariff fought it out between the two of them throughout 1990s, each claiming to be the saviour of the country and democracy. Musharaff toppled Sharif’s govt when he heard that the latter sacked him and CJ Chaudhry is striking back because it is now his job that is in the line. It never was about the institution of judiciary and it never will be. If supremacy of judiciary and constitution had been that important to Chaudhry Sahib, he would not have taken oath under the PCO in the first place and served the good general for such a long time. It never was between the president/army and judiciary; the war is between two personalities.

The mantra of all power brokers and politicians – past and present – is simple. Democracy be damned; constitution be damned; judiciary be damned; heck, even the country can go to the dogs, as long as they get to do what they set out to do.

Mar 3, 2008 - Uncategorized    4 Comments

Gher ittefaqiya

I am officially sick of Mr Nawaz Shariff.

His new wardrobe that he acquired in London, while in exile on corruption charges, his pashmina scarves and his head of new, albeit wispy and surprisingly black hair may have fooled some, but I know that not much has changed as far as his mental faculties go. He is still a little thick in the head.

According to a friend, in a rally in Lahore before elections, he asked the people that what kind of a commando is he (Musharraf) that he changed his foreign policy in Afghanistan when a woman called (he meant Condoleeza Rice – Mian sahib was factually incorrect as usual because Condi only became secretary of state in Dubya’s second term, if anyone had called Mush after 9/11, it was most definitely not Condi). He also called him names on account of Article 58 (2) B. The funny thing is that he is abusing mush for 58 (2) B even though he is the only President who did not use it. Ghulam Ishaq Khan used it twice and Leghari used it against his party leader Ms. Bhutto.

His party members have been sitting in a parliament for the past five years and he now calls it unconstitutional. If it was unconstitutional, then why contest elections and the participated in parliamentary affairs for the past 5 years?

Even the post election struggle is all about power. PML-N has selected Shariff brothers as their parliamentary leaders even though none are members of parliament. Can someone please tell them that they have to be elected members of any legislative assembly in order to lead a team of parliamentarians? Imagine, this guy has been our ‘elected leader’ twice and if things remain the way they are, we will have another election soon and will see him donning the cap of PM for the third time. Life is not fair, at least not in Pakistan.

Jan 1, 2008 - rant    3 Comments

Gaddi Nasheeni of a new kind

As a rule, anything written at the beginning of year is usually optimistic or it should be full of hope. This rant of mine is neither. It is a reaffirmation of the fact that we may speak fluent English and want democracy, we live in a feudal/tribal society where anything populist and democratic would stay a distant dream.

On December 30th, we saw the coronation of a 19 year old “prince” (Bilawal Bhutto) who was appointed successor of a political party (Pakistan People’s Party) that is supposed to hold “democracy” dearest. It was a macabre ceremony that humiliated democracy most; perhaps more than the military boots. It looked more like a “Gaddee nasheeni” ceremony than the “election” of the head of a national political party working for, what else but, democracy. It was the Gaddee Nasheeni of a new, albeit a very young, Pir.

A few weeks prior to that, retirement of an army general (Good ol’ Mush) and appointment of another(the new pervez, Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani), also became a scene of royal coronation where the symbolic baton was handed over to the new general with much pomp and solemnity like a vanquished head of state submitting to a victorious general.

These people, the so called leaders, are a disgrace to the country!!

Sep 28, 2007 - published work    3 Comments

A Welcome Islamism

Friday, September 28, 2007
Tazeen Javed

Since Mr Abdullah Gul became president of Turkey last month, talk of rising Islamism (which has become synonymous with obscurantism of late) in Turkey has dominated many think tanks, They are linking it with the global political Islamism and they also believe that it can be replicated in other Muslim countries, especially those where Islamist forces have been politically active, such as Egypt and Pakistan.

Egypt may have a chance in replicating something like the success of the AKP, but it does not have much of a chance in Pakistan. The religious political parties are either under hereditary leadership or political opportunists with hardly any educated religious scholars to develop political alternatives to battle the current chaos. In order for it to work in Pakistan, the religious political parties would be required to take a 180-degree turn and rewrite their manifestos, which usually start with US-bashing and end with Israel-bashing, with women-bashing thrown in the middle for good measure.

Neither President Gul nor Prime Minister Erdogan are Islamists, they both started their political careers with the Welfare Party, but their politics have always been secular. Yes, they are Muslims and their wives wear headscarves, but to equate the personal choice of a spouse to the religious right in other countries is far-fetched and has little credence, if any.

The policies of the AKP, since it assumed power in 2002, had been miraculous. For instance, the 2004 reforms to Turkey’s Penal Code, which were passed by an AKP-dominated parliament, have been revolutionary in granting women personal freedoms and rights to sexual autonomy. A Berlin-based institute, European Stability Initiative, in its report earlier this year said that the new penal code eliminated all references to patriarchal notions that are restricted to women alone, such as chastity, morality, shame, public customs or decency. The new penal code also treats sexual crimes as violations of individual women’s rights, and not as crimes against society, the family or public morality. Perhaps the biggest achievement of the AKP is that it criminalised rape in marriage, something which the secular Turkish establishment never bothered to address and which is absolutely impossible to address in other Muslim patriarchal societies such as Pakistan. In addition, the new Turkish penal code eliminated sentence reductions for honour killings, ended legal discrimination against non-virgin and unmarried women, and criminalised sexual harassment in the workplace and treated sexual assault by members of the security forces as aggravated offences. A landmark legislation has been an amendment on the penalty of sexual abuse of children because the possibility of under-age consent has been removed.

The AKP has broken the myth that only liberal and secular forces can safeguard women’s right. On the contrary, it was the 1924 constitution of Ataturk which stated that women’s bodies were the property of men, and that sexual crimes against women were in fact crimes against the honour of the family. The AKP reforms are supported by efforts to empower Turkish women and minimise the gender gap. According to the ESI report, a new liberal and Islamic feminist movement is gaining momentum in Turkey. Effective campaigns have been organised for the education of young girls in rural areas and shelters have sprung up across the country for women threatened by domestic violence or honour killings. (A very interesting statistical figure on the social change in Turkey is that between 1997 and 2004 the percentage of arranged marriages fell from 69 percent to 54 percent.)

The AKP proved its commitment to its electorate and moved beyond the traditional notions of what constitute women’s rights. It achieved this by working closely with Turkish civil-society and women’s groups, something which we don’t see happening in Pakistan. Here, the religious right is sceptical of civil-society organisations and terms many of them agents of West. The situation has deteriorated in the NWFP to the extent that for the ruling religious alliance the word NGO is now synonymous with immoral. The idea of working with women’s group to bring about constitutional reforms to achieve greater personal liberty for women is preposterous for such politico-religious parties.

Another factor that distinguishes the AKP from other religious political parties is that it has never been involved in West-bashing. For instance, Mr Gul, in his capacity as foreign minister, was responsible for the initiation of negotiation of Turkey’s entry into the EU. The massive penal and constitutional reforms were also brought forward to comply with EU demands. President Gul and Prime Minister Erdogan believe in the importance of engagement, especially economic engagement, rather than that of confrontation. Such common sense or sagacity is not prevalent in countries like Egypt or Pakistan.

Compare this to Pakistan, where religious groups force women to stay at home during elections in the NWFP. People like Mullah Fazlullah (of Swat) forbid parents, via illegal FM radio stations, to send their daughters to school. It is the MMA and its cohorts, such as the Tehrik-e-Insaaf and the PML-N, that first opposed the women’s protection bill, which does not grant any groundbreaking freedoms but just redressed the grievances that they endured since promulgation of the much-hated Hudood Ordinance, and were later responsible for watering it down. In addition, it is the same set of parliamentarians that has consistently rejected moves to toughen sentences against honour crimes.

One cannot deny that overwhelmingly religiosity is gaining ground in Pakistan and no political party which is overtly and vocally secular can hope to gain much, hence the need for moderate Muslim voices is greater than ever before. Gul and Erdogan belong to that group of reformers who wanted to break away from the rigid and dogmatic. Similarly, reformist members of the famous Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt, who are disillusioned with their leadership, have been trying to form a new party. We need such forces in Pakistan to bridge the gap between various political groups at both the ends to encourage the spirit of democracy and harmony. Ironically, despite creating the country through a democratic process, most political parties in Pakistan are undemocratic in their own structure and only surface during elections. They do not have honest Islamic scholars amongst their ranks who are in sync with the voice of the common man and can provide with the intellectual framework under which political and social action can be taken.

In short, the AKP won not because of its Islamic leanings but because it practiced liberal democracy. It replaced a more authoritarian character of the government and made it more inclusive for weaker groups such as ethnic minorities and women. Easing curbs on the Kurdish language, which was previously considered a threat to unity, perhaps won it lasting sympathy in the Kurd areas. In addition, the AKP delivered economic reforms which resulted in high growth rate and improved infrastructure, employment and services with equitable distribution. The AKP won because its achievements during its first tenure outweighed the achievements of its many Kemalist predecessors.

With the recent reforms and the promise of some more, Turkey has emerged as a post-secular, post-patriarchal democracy which is a lesson for leaders of the struggling Muslim world today. The so-called “pro-deal” liberals in Pakistan should learn a lesson or two from all of it. Instead of branding their own countrymen bogeymen, to seek international legitimacy, they should respect democracy. Instead of shunning the Islamist forces, one should work with them, not for temporary political gains, but for lasting social justice, rule of law, development and democracy. Just like Turkey, the educated middleclass in Pakistan must reclaim its place in politics. It is this class that was instrumental in creating the country, it should also be a torch-bearer in bringing about the much needed social and political change.

originally published in The News http://thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=73815

Sep 16, 2007 - published work    2 Comments

Polls apart

EVER since year 2007 started, the buzzword is ‘Election Year’. Whether it is about the election year political or judicial activity, or the ‘good election year budget’, the election year sloganeering is at its peak and parties are busy forging new alliances and reviving the old ones to get the holy grail of parliamentary style democracy, simple majority in the lower house (heavy mandate is so out, remember what it did to a certain Mr Nawaz Sharif).With elections come election monitors, at least in countries where democracy is on shaky grounds and Pakistan certainly passes muster on that count. Election monitoring is the observation of an election by one or more independent parties, typically from another country or a non-governmental organisation (NGO), primarily to ensure the fairness of the electoral process.
An international election monitor is quite different from, let’s say, a class monitor. A class monitor is a lot more powerful than an international observer monitoring elections. The class monitor has complete authority over its subjects; an election monitor on the other hand, just monitors and reports the events as they unfold.
I too, have had the honour of working as an international observer monitoring elections in Sri Lanka for their parliamentary elections in 2004. My job was a bit more specific than your average run of the mill observer. I was there to specifically monitor election related violence. It meant that if anyone wanted to rig elections right in front of my eyes, they were welcome to do so, as long as they did it peacefully.
Before I embarked on the mission to observe, along with 15 other observers, I was given a couple of days of training about what to do in the field, what to look for, who to meet and what procedures to follow if I happen to witness election related violence. During the briefing, I was introduced to all kinds of election observers. The variety I got introduced to, for the very first time, was a diplomatic husband. I know the term is quite alien to us Pakistanis where husbands need not be diplomatic at all, but believe me, there are quite a number of them out there. All of them were from Scandinavian countries. Their wives work for diplomatic missions, so they could not be engaged in gainful employment. As they don’t attend ikebana classes like most diplomatic ladies do, they spend their days collecting children from school or playing golf or monitoring elections as it is not classified as work. Technically, you have to volunteer to observe elections.
There are monitors who have mastered the art of monitoring elections and have monitored elections everywhere; from Belarus to Nigeria to Papua New Guinea to Ecuador. One monitor’s dream monitoring job was to monitor elections in Saudia Arabia, when they get democracy that is.Some observers are students from rich countries with huge doctoral grants who want to get in the underbelly of the political system of a third world country and what better of that would be than monitoring elections.
Then there are US monitors who want to bring ‘democracy’ to the whole world. When I lauded their efforts of flying off to foreign lands, making the rest of the world safe for ‘democracy’, and asked them if their government would open doors for the rest of the world to check on the fairness of elections in US, they said that US boasts the oldest democracy which hardly requires monitoring. I guess Florida is no longer part of the United States.
Last but not the least are the penury stricken students like me who take on the job because it meant a month away from cold and damp Manchester and a chance to visit home for very little money. Curiosity about the process and prestige ranked much lower when I agreed to take on the job.
After being trained when I went to my duty station, which was a large area around the hill station of Kandy, I made a schedule for the fortnight I had before elections about the places to visit and the people to meet. Sadly, my schedule was shot to pieces with almost daily occurrence of bomb blasts, if it can be called that. Every other day, one would hear about a bomb blast in an area. Upon visiting the site, we would find a one and half feet-wide dent, caused by a homemade petrol bomb created in a used soft drink bottle. The only incident when they actually used hand grenades did not garner much attention as none of the bombs exploded. I ventured too close to the site and squatted next to the unexploded hand grenade to take a picture. My 70-year-old translator almost had a heart attack flinging his arms like crazy asking me to get away. He was not too happy with me and only stopped admonishing me when I told him that my bravado stemmed from ignorance rather than valour and courage.
As part of the monitoring process, I met local politicians from the three leading political parties. Imagine the plight of those who will have to monitor elections in Pakistan. They will have to meet with a dozen factions of PML alone, then there are a couple of JUIs, JUPs and MQMs along with ANP, JI, TI, NAP, BNP, JWP and what not. To top it, we have three versions of Ms Bhutto’s political party which are Pakistan Peoples Party, Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians and of course Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarian Patriots (Quite a mouthful, isn’t it?).
While monitoring elections in Sri Lanka, one politician asked me about my nationality. When I told him I am from Pakistan, he asked me if I know Shoaib Akhtar. The only common ground between me and Mr Akhtar is our green passport and nothing else. When I tried to divert his attention to Sri Lankan politics and the violence around it, he refused to budge and talked about his plans to invite himself as a chief guest to all international cricket matches and meet his favourite stars when he gets to the parliament and becomes a minister. Shoaib Akhtar obviously topped his wish list along with Rahul Dravid, Jaques Kallis and Brett Lee.
In the end, my station turned out to be quite peaceful. There were no deaths reported and only four people got injured. A few bombs here and there and the minor irritant of Shoaib Akhtar fixation, it was quite an experience, one that I would highly recommend.

originally published in dawn


Aug 27, 2007 - Shahrukh Khan, Society, USA    2 Comments

Looking for a Pakistani SRK or Obama

Shobha De recently paid to tribute to Shahrukh Khan in an Indiatimes article where she said that he is the “man with an important agenda (to save Islam and restore its tarnished glory) and not just an actor but an influential agent for change.”

She believes that he is ready to enter into the second or dual phase of a public life and become a politician. She thinks that “Shah Rukh Khan is the Neo-Mussalman India has been waiting for. He wears his religion unabashedly on his sleeve and has referred to himself as ‘an ambassador for Allah’. She also noted that over the past few years, SRK-watchers have monitored his every ‘aadab’ and ‘salaam alaikum’ at high profile events and commented that he no longer greets fans or anybody else, with the more traditional ‘namastey’. He also makes it a point to acknowledge ‘Khudaa’s’ grace and blessings, each time he is complimented, besides vociferously articulating his feelings about the misrepresentation of Islam. These sentiments are heartfelt and undoubtedly sincere. They all add up to a whole when seen in a larger, political context.

If SRK does contest an election in, say, Uttar Pradesh, he’ll win it, hands down. That’s a given. But will he, unlike some of his other film industry colleagues, succeed as a neta? Be the leader India’s young are desperately in search of? We will not know it unless he decides to take the plunge but most of us do believe that SRK has what it takes to be a 21st century politician, in the international mould. He is young, wealthy, successful and sharp. Above all, he has a dream – at least Shobha De thinks so. He is a man on a very special mission.

At this point in time, we know less about Obama, his real test would start once the Democratic Party goes into the primaries, but the significance of his announcement is tremendous, especially at this point in time when the world stand divided along every imaginable divide. SRK, on the other hand, has been around for far longer and if the US political lingo is to be followed, is thoroughly vetted. SRK, in my opinion, hardly shoots from mouth and if he ever does, he stands by it (he does not whine about journalists misinterpreting his words). His recent film “Chak de” has done a lot more for the feminist cause than many other films that wear their feminism on every dialogue and poster, yet fail to get the message across. SRK has the charisma and can inspire the youth of India in the 21st century. I have seen and met young Indians who hangs onto everything he does, it is no mean feat in any ways but it is all the more amazing in a country as big as India.

As a Pakistani, the 64 million dollar question that comes to my mind: where do we find such a leader/role model in Pakistan. Someone who has grasp on the local and international scene, who is good in his chosen field, who not only commands popularity but immense respect across board, who firmly believes in ‘nation Pakistan’ and what it entails, someone who is neither apologetic about being a Pakistani nor defensive but at the same time does not resort to nonsensical nationalism for useless political point scoring and short term gains. Sadly, we have no such home grown figures who are not only larger than life but also scandal free. The closest thing we HAD to a young(ish?) and charismatic role model(yes, the use of past tense is deliberate) was a passionate Imran Khan who, much to my utter dismay, has turned into a sad caricature of his old self. His politics is divisive and obscurantist. His invisible ‘beard’ is far longer than that of Maulana Fazlur Rehman and a lot more dangerous.

If I am asked to vote for somebody like SRK, I most probably will. After all, he is assured and bring a sense of stability after being at the top of his game for over a decade) that political scene here is crying for. The question is, will I ever get the chance to vote for someone like SRK in Pakistan???