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A shameful decision

The recently announced decision to suspend Dr. Israr Shah from the PPP CEC is a terrible one. Dr. Israr Shah has given an unimaginable sacrifice for his party and his country and should be honoured as a hero, not be suspended from the PPP CEC simply for voicing his dissent against the policy of certain PPP leaders. Despite losing both his legs at a bomb blast at the PPP enclosure during a lawyers’ meeting outside the Islamabad district courts in July 2007, he still contested for a seat in the February 2008 elections, saying:

“The word disheartened is not in my vocabulary,” says Dr Shah, who was imprisoned several times as a student activist during the regime of former military dictator General Zia-ul-Haq.

“I am lucky enough to be having a second life, so I will fight for Pakistan.”

Dr. Shah’s criticism of Babar Awan should not be a basis for his suspension from the PPP CEC. It is not right to suspend someone for not toeing the party line, especially someone who has given so much for the party. If PPP cannot honour its heroes and tolerate dissent within its ranks then that is a very bad sign for the party’s future.

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Laila Ebadi


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  • It is a matter of great shame for the party.

    hai ahl-e-dil k liye ab ye nazm-e-bast-o-kushad
    k sang-o-khisht muqayyad hain aur sag azad

    Stones and bricks are locked up, and dogs are free in this town. What a shame!

  • Thanks, people, for this post and your comments.

    The sad truth is that the PPP is owned by the Bhutto-Zardari family and its minions. I can see that some of you are trying to reform the party from within. Good luck to you but it seems a futile effort to me.

    Unless all Pakistanis unite to campaign for democratic political parties where leaders are elected through free and fair elections, the fake democracy that we have in the country will continue. Replacement of Mr Z by Mr S will make little difference – only the vultures who feed on the living corpse of Pakistan will change, that’s all.

  • dear Mr. Sakib,

    you can’t call it a fake democracy simply because you don’t support the party that the people of Pakistan have voted for. Internal democracy is a result of political maturity which means that elected governments have to be allowed to complete their terms enough times for it to come about. You are dreaming if you think that an internally democratic political party will just rise up spontaneously.

  • It’s possible, Rabia Sahiba, that you may have misinterpreted my post. I am just an observer of the Pakistani political scene – I do not support any political party. Perhaps my point of view came across more clearly in my comment on Naseer Ahmed’s post, “We have too many governments in Pakistan”.

    Not a fake democracy? Our so-called “elected government” came about as a result of a secret deal between the Americans, Musharraf and Benazir Bhutto. It is thought that Bhutto was assassinated when she dared to renege on the deal following her return to Pakistan. Zardari was clever enough to take advantage of his wife’s death and worm his way into the presidency. He is the effective ruler of Pakistan while the puppet Yusuf Raza dutifully carries out the presidential edicts.

    We now have a top man with a criminal past, surrounded by others with similarly murky pasts who refuse to resign and face the charges in a court of law. If this isn’t fake democracy, what is? Democracy is a meaningless concept where there is no accountability.

  • “Democracy is a meaningless concept where there is no accountability.”

    unfortunately accountability also becomes a meaningless concept when it used as part of a political witchhunt. No one who has watched the recent interviews of Sen. Saifur Rehman or Gen. Shahid Aziz can be under any illusion that either of those two individuals were not politically motivated when carrying out accountability investigations. No one is condoning corruption, but the solution is not to deny the legitimacy of the current government until some kind of utopian accross the board accountability takes place because then we will have to wait forever.

  • I did request you, Rabia, to read my comments on Naseer Ahmed’s post – you would not then have responded as you have. There is no witch hunt, Rabia. The press in the West can be many times more venomous than what is going on in the relatively free Pakistani press – which is a good thing, actually. The mud from the press will not stick if someone is truly clean – the decision will be made by the judges, not by press hacks.

    It is a fact that, for the first time in Pakistan’s history, the Judiciary is really free and independent of the Executive – which is as it should be. No one is above the law, not the president, not the cabinet ministers, not the ISI and MI, not the generals nor the civil servants. The PPP government can play a very positive role in establishing the rule of law by preparing legal cases against those who had abused their powers in the past, and prosecuting the culprits in Pakistan’s courts. For example, the government can make a start by hauling Musharraf before the Supreme Court but the puppet Yusuf Raza considers this “not doable”. Nawaz Sharif is another obvious candidate but my guess is that Zardari is too terrified of Sharif’s backlash to do anything about him.

    Remember that the principal responsibility for bringing cases to court rests on the shoulders of the government but the PPP administration has done hardly anything. Zardari & Co. are wasting their energy through incoherent cries of being targeted by the judges instead of bringing a steady stream of cases before the judges to try. The government is also openly defying the Supreme Court by not re-opening the case against Zardari in the Swiss court.

    Here is an extract from my comments on Naseer Ahmed’s post:

    “….. in a true democracy no one is above the law. Therefore, it is right that Mr Zardari and some of his ministers are tried for their alleged crimes, that the ISI and MI are hauled before the courts to account for hundreds of people who had mysteriously disappeared and that, bit by bit, the net is widened to take in other robbers of national wealth and destroyers of human lives.

    Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Javid Iqbal, and their fearless colleagues need your support at this critical point in Pakistan’s history. Please rise above petty party politics and see things from the perspective of JUSTICE and FAIR PLAY. What is good for Pakistan will be opposed by the leaders of undemocratic political parties that we unfortunately have in Pakistan.

    Why don’t you campaign for free and fair elections within the PPP which, at the moment, is merely a hereditary possession of the Bhutto-Zardari family (just as the MLN is owned by the Sharif family). Each party is as bad as the other – the owners of these fake political parties are the true winners while the real loser is PAKISTAN.

    Here is a post in my blog about the National Robbers Organisation (NRO):

  • It is very sad to hear news like these! Dissenting voices are part of democratic process. Aitzaz Ahsa, Senator Anwer baig, Naheed khan, Safdar Abbasi, Nawab yusuf talpur, Makhdoom Amin fahim, Raza Rabbani and now Israr shah are sidelined for reasons known only to Zardari & co.

    While the incompetent and (allow me to use this) stupid people like Rehman Malik have seemingly dominated PPP out of blue.

  • @Sakib

    I think we should also understand that the Democratic Process in itself is a process of cleansing and filteration. This is my personal opinion, but I believe that for some reasons we Pakistanis are too impatient and always look for Quick fix.

    There is no doubt that the elite of our country has been ruling Pakistan and is involved in massive corruption. That elite includes Military top brass, industrialist, and Feudals. Though unfortunately but naturally as dictated by human history, it is always the elite who reigns the power corridors all over the world througout history. Same is the case with Pakistan! Fortuntely, however, now in these modern times we have tools like power of vote and free media which we can use to calibrate the elite for the betterment of Pakistan.

    We should try that we as nation fix our problems through evolution not revolution.

  • Does the responsibility for saving the democratic system rest only on our shoulders and not President Asif Zardari? Must only we, setting all reservations aside, continue to bleat about the system while His Excellency the President, and the minions supposedly most loyal to him, continue to do as they please?

    For his own good, and his party’s good, why is it so difficult for the president to rely a bit more on elected men from within his party rather than on the unelected drones who surround him and on whose advice, often at fatal cost to himself, he continues to rely, to the exclusion of any other sane counsel?

    And then what to make of events in Karachi? For the first time in the PPP’s history the party had an absolute majority in the Sindh assembly after the last elections. This had not happened with Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, nor with Benazir Bhutto. The PPP was in a position to form a government on its own. Wiser heads had counselled the president not to feed milk to snakes but he went ahead and is now having to live with the consequences.

    Thanks to these policies the Lyari township of Karachi, for over forty years an invincible stronghold of the PPP, has witnessed an unprecedented outpouring of anger against the PPP and the president personally. Why? Because PPP workers were mercilessly targeted in a supposed law-and-order operation carried out in Lyari. Only a genius could have fomented such unrest in such a locality. But we have seen this miracle come to pass, thanks to some of the president’s closest advisers.

    On the question of Lyari, it is pertinent to ask who got Rehman Dakait (dacoit), Lyari’s Robin Hood, killed? He was caught in Balochistan but killed in a staged police encounter near Malir. Rehman enjoyed the protection of powerful godfathers (discretion forbids me to take their names). But when the chips were down for him, it was his godfathers who let him go. Cruel as the ways of politics may be, it is still pertinent to ask at whose behest, or to please whom, did the godfathers so behave?

    The crocodiles of Manghopir (just outside Karachi) can be satisfied. Feed them enough and they will bask in the sun. The snakes of Karachi are insatiable.

    Ayaz Amir


  • Ayaz Amir says: Shahbaz Sharif was one of the persons instrumental — I will not name the others — in getting Pervez Musharraf picked up from Mangla where he was corps commander and made army chief in 1998 after Gen Jahangir Karamat had stepped down”.

    According to Rauf Klasra, whose “Jang” column Sarah Khan has displayed in the comments section of another post here, there was at least one other sucker, namely, Chaudhry Nisar Ali!
    (Klasra also identifies Shahbaz Sharif as the other gullible fool).

    I consider Rauf Klasra to be one of our small band of incorruptible journalists, who will not compromise their principles whatever the temptation – so we have at least two leading lights in MLN who were taken in by Musharraf. Will there be further revelations?