Pakistan: The loneliness of President Zardari

March 16, 2009

Now that President Asif Ali Zardari has agreed to reinstate Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and   offered to challenge a court decision against his rival Nawaz Sharif, is he going to come under pressure to give up his powers to dismiss parliament, another popular demand?

For many Pakistanis, that is the next stage in the rapid emasculation of Zardari’s presidency.  Article 58-2B of the constitution, which many blame for much of the country’s political instability, has several times been used to sack elected governments. Zardari had promised to ditch it but has yet to deliver.

“The next thing is to throw (out) 58-2B – it will fix the super power of president then,” was a post on microblogging site Twitter where activists, lawyers and ordinary people, caught up in the drama of the moment, shared information and pictures in real time. 

He has already lost his Information Minister. Sherry Rehman, a long-time confidante of his late wife Benazir Bhutto,  abruptly quit after the government temporarily blocked transmission of  the popular GEO news television channel.

Some other members of his party have been critical of his actions, deepening his isolation behind the presidential building in Islamabad where he increasingly has been cofined in recent weeks because of security concerns.

But as the Washiington Post reports it is the breakdown of his authority on the ground, especially in Punjab, that should worry him even more.

“As the demonstrations escalated in Lahore, police first responded with volleys of tear gas. But by mid-afternoon they suddenly withdrew from the streets, while numerous city and provincial officials were reported to have resigned. The swift collapse of authority signaled the end of Zardari’s bid to seize control of Punjab, the most politically influential region of the country, and raised serious questions about his ability to remain president.”

Some people thought the shift in power was already happening. Al Jazeera in its report noted that it was Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani who made the announcement to the nation  about the the decision to reinstate the chief judge.

Nawaz Sharif was also expected to meet Gilani at some point on Monday, and it is Gilani who is likely to reconcile any outstanding rifts within his party as a result of Zardari’s actions during the last few days, it said. “In short, Gilani is the man to watch.”

Zardari “is in a blind alley, completely isolated,” and may have to hand much of his power to Gilani as the price for remaining in office, said Rasul Bakhsh Rais, a politics professor at the Lahore University of Management Sciences, in this report here.

Is his loneliness complete or is this only one twist in a test of political nerves?

[Reuters photo of a protest in Lahore and  President Asif Ali Zardari]

54 comments

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He is not lonely yet, but he is going in that direction. Problem is he will not resign as President unless he gets a “sweetie” from other parties to do so (USA or other). The USA do not want Sharif as President because he supports the Taliban.

Maybe Zardari can start his own business selling Chinese made goods to Middle Eastern countries. He has a smile that is as honest as a second-hand car salesman.

Posted by bulletfish | Report as abusive

Word of caution here, do not write off President Zardari as yet. He might have taken up the office of President for the first time and few mistakes are acceptable. But after 27 Dec 2007 when Benazir Bhutto was assassinated sending Pakistan into rioting and chaos, the following election he led his party to victory helped by sympathy vote. He was a unititng force at that time.

This decision will help improve President Zardari’s public rating and popularity, PM. Yusuf Reza Gilani played a crucial role. He was the person conctantly in touch with opposition. His position was uncontroversial.

While President. Zardari was increasingly becoming isolated, this is his opportunity to make a come back.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive

Umair:
First off, credit goes to lawyers & activists who defied security and protested to achieve their mission. Definietly positive, so congratulations Pakistan.
In terms of bigger question, wish Pakistan stability and democracy without everexisting stick of Army.
All said and done, Zardari is an accidental president. Well Pakistan for now has to play with the cards it got.

About PML (N) leader N. Sharif, he was in in exile in Saudi Arabia for a decade. If I were a Pakistani, I will not vote these foreign settled leaders (irrespective of the reason for their being outside Pak). Pakistan public needs to stop electing these foreign settled leaders. When Pakistan is not his home, how sincere Sharif can be to Pak. Most of the politicans anywhere are selfish, and foreign settled leaders do not even have a selfish interest in Pakistan.

Read this article and comments–Pakistanis POV.

http://www.pro-pakistan.com/2008/07/11/f ood-for-thought-international-properties -of-pakistani-leaders/

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

Rajeev
“About PML (N) leader N. Sharif, he was in in exile in Saudi Arabia for a decade. If I were a Pakistani, I will not vote these foreign settled leaders ”

-I voted for N. Sharif in the election last year. I live in Rawalpindi and work in Islamabad and travel between the twin cities 15-20 km apart daily. Rawalpindi falls under Punjab province and Lahore is the capital of Punjab. Punjab is Pakistan largest province in terms of population and wealth. Nawaz Sharif stronghold is Lahore and Punjab, I watched whole day on Sunday on the TV how the drama unfolded. The government laid siege to every city by blocking entry/exit points with large cargo containers. Nawaz Sharif had detention orders from Police in Lahore to remain under house arrest for three days, a day earlier his brother former sacked chief minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif had reached Rawalpindi, Imran Khan was at Rawalpindi, they were to mobilize people and lead them to capital.
While in Lahore, Nawaz Sharif took huge risk to his life, he defied a ban by police and he and his supporters fought their way out of Lahore. Their were running battles with Police, every one rallied for one thing, to re-instate the Chief Justice. In the end, the police gave up and some even joined his march, they couldnt have stopped thousands of protesters without firing at them as tear gas and baton charge didnt work. Had Nawaz Sharif reached Rawalpindi, thousans and thousands of supporters would have joined along with Imran Kahn and Shahbaz Sharif. These protesters would have laid siege to Islamabad virtually blocking the capital and demanding to re-instate the judge. It was on 5:00 am Monday morning that Prime Minister addressed the nation and accepted their demands just hours before they reached the capital.

Sharifs are sons of Punjab, they might have braved the exile for ten years but remain deeply popular in Punjab. But dont get me wrong, I have no political affiliation at all. I just atke interest in national/intl matters.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive

umair:
sharif definately played a central role in the restoration of chaudhry by placing his weight behind the lawyers. his role in this must be praised but, at the same time, his own actions against the sanctity of the judiciary cannot be ignore. Cowasjee writes in an article in Dawn:

“Nawaz Sharif’s 1997 physical assault upon the Supreme Court cannot be forgotten or forgiven, as cannot his earlier wish to imprison a sitting chief justice of Pakistan for one night so as to impress upon him who was the boss-man calling the shots. His principled and moral stand, as he terms it, has to be highly suspect.”

i seriously don’t think this man has changed. politicians usually don’t. i don’t know why people’s memories are so short.

i am also uncomfortable with his ties to saudi arabia. i would rather a pakistani leader with his roots in pakistan. further having watched some of his recent interviews and speeches on tv, there is little to be impressed by him. while he “seems” to be taking a moral stance on issues, he comes across as someone who is not very (for want of a better word) bright.

having said all this, when i look at some of the other politicians around, i can understand why people vote for sharif. but i don’t like his style of politics.

Posted by Mr. Ketchup | Report as abusive

congratulations…to the people of pakistan… though they still have a long way to go… first they have to clean up the mess..which it seems is already in progress and then there comes the real test…taliban and recession . i have always though that india and pakistan have wasted the last 60 years.. hope the democracy in pakistan becomes stronger because that is the only way forward..
and yes umair as far as zardari is concerned …hope u r right..but the way he has handlled the whole situtation is just not even reasonable. sorry, but for me he is the face of failure and pakistani shame.
its good to see that the pakistani people has realised that their fate is in their hands and if they have done it this time,they can do it again and face “Tyrany” ..because there are tougher times ahead..

Posted by Raging bull | Report as abusive

btw nice pic of zardari up there! looks very innocent

Posted by Mr. Ketchup | Report as abusive

Funny some of us Indians are advising Pakistanis about leaders with dual citizenship. In India we have Sonia Gandhi who by birth is Italian. She is an Indian citizen now. But Italy allows anyone with Italian origin an automatic citizenship. She can go back to Italy anytime and take back her citizenship. Her children – Rahul and Priyanka are also entitled for it anytime they desire. But Sonia Gandhi has identified herself with India and I am proud of her dedication. Her children are future leaders that Indians can look forward to. But if things look bad, politicians, businessmen, artists, sportsmen and anyone else who can, will have one leg in their nation and another leg in a different nation where they feel safe.

I think we should not read too much into these dual citizenships. If these people are being exiled by dictators they have no choice but to take up citizenship elsewhere. Gandhi spent 30 years of his life abroad before settling down in India. The very fact that Benazir Bhutto, Nawaz Sharif etc returned to their countries when they got their chances itself is proof enough for their loyalties. Benazir even risked her own life, knowing well that she was a target. When someone is under the sniper’s view finder, I see nothing wrong in keeping a safe haven.

If the public begin to have their voices heard and their power restored, then the tension between India and Pakistan will dissolve. If not, we have discussed all the other alternatives. A military rule does suit Pakistan, but is not safe for India. A strong civilian rule for Pakistan will help both Pakistan and India in the long run. Let us hope that this lawyers’ protest paves way for some hope. I wish for democracy in Pakistan only from an Indian stand point. Any other rule will harm India and if that is the case, I prefer a splintered Pakistan. That is the reason why India cut off the Eastern half of Pakistan in 1971. So let us all wish that sensible Pakistanis begin to gain in that country. They were about to fall from the brink and have managed to hold on to something.

Here I would like to specifically mention Imran Khan. His political part is PTI(Pakistan Tehreek Insaf) or justice movement. Today Imran’s party is becoming a force to be reckoned with. He is the most out spoken politicaian turned cricketer in Pakistan, I have never seen someone so bold than Imran Khan. Pakistan had a feudal form of government, but today it has changed. People have stood up, the media is independent and vibrant, the civil society, lawyers, social workers were beaten by police, their houses raided, they were taken into custody but the kept their struggle alive. Today is the answer, their man is back in office to stand up for their rights. The battle for justice was decided on the streets and finally won.
I hope for a day when Imran Khan become our Prime Minister.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive

I will add my two cents. No doubt what unfolding yesterday (Mar 16) is one of the best moment in Pakistan history, but once again it was unfortunate for the sitting President (before it was for Musharaf), and blessing for major opposition (before it was Benazir, and now it was Sharif).

If we look at the truth, the backbone of this struggle is/was lawyers with unconditional support from Tareek Insaf (Imran Khan) and Jumat e Islami (Qazi Hussain Ahmed), and support from PPPP before and now from PML(N) because of shared interest.

PPPP won majority seats, not because of Zardari leadership rather because of Benazir Bhutto blood! Now government agreed to re-instating CJ not because of Sharifs love for Pakistan or Punjab but because of their fight for their survival.

Before Sharifs accepted cabinet positions without re-instating CJ, they only quit federal cabinet when Nawaz Sharif was not allowed to contest election. If they were unconditionally supporting lawyers movement, then they would have resigned for NA and PAssemblies and forced government to reinstate Justices, but they (Sharifs) rather choose to enjoy power in Punjab and ask other PML(N) leaders (Hashmi, Dar, Iqbal, Nisar etc) to quit government and sit in opposition.

Now finally, Zardari hit them with a double punch (ineligibility to hold public office and suspension of Punjab assembly), they woke up and it was Zardari immaturity that he couldn’t time his move. If he was doing this few months before lawyers protest date, I think he could have easily dismental PML(N) government in Punjab with the help of opportunist Chaudharies of Gujrat.

Now from this mess, two people came out winners, 1. PM Gilani and 2. Sharif, though credit should go to JI, TI, Lawyers fraternity, media and especially PPPP leaders (I. Ahsan, Rabani, Safdar Abbasi) who openly supported lawyers.

If Nawaz Sharif is sincere, he will push for immediate restoration of 1973 constitution, and repeeling of NRO. But I seriously doubt his interest in anything more than 1. becoming eligible to hold public office and 2. restoration of Shahbaz government in Punjab. Otherwise it was clear from PM Gilani speech that they do not want to repeel NRO as PM said in his speech “I and President were committed to re-instate judges but President did not want dismissed a judge before his/her tenure” which mean President did accepted NRO of Nov 2, 2007 and recognize all actions under NRO legal and judges who took oath under NRO are as legitimate as those who refused to take oath.

But it is understandable, since if Zardari dismiss NRO, then all corruption and criminal cases against Zardari will stand valid and he has to face them, and in pre- Nov 2, 2007 conditions, he is more guilty than any one else in the nation, then how he could be eligible to hold the highest office in the country.

So I will say BRAVO to Lawyers community (those supported the movement), media (especially GEO), Tareek Insaf (Imran Khan) and Jumat Islami (Qazi and co).

Posted by Dr. Abid Shah | Report as abusive

There is one Pakistani I tremendously respect, it is Imran Khan. If given a chance, he will honestly lead your country out of its misery and make it a strong democracy. May be Pakistan can try the Presidential form of government, similar to the US. The public would get to elect their President directly and he’d get to choose his people. Then there can be the two houses of congress. This form of democratic government might suit Pakistan which has not fully gotten out of feudalism. In India, the social movements and government actions got rid off feudal lords. If there was a presidential system, I can bet Imran would win hands down and he is one person the Indians will trust.

@He is the most out spoken politicaian turned cricketer in Pakistan, I have never seen someone so bold than Imran Khan. I hope for a day when Imran Khan become our Prime Minister.
- Posted by Umair

Umair: Wish you good luck. I believe what you said about Imran Khan’s abilities. I do not know the details except that he sure was a strong captain of Pakistan cricket team and led by example and no one fielder dare overthrow or miss catch without getting a piece of his mind.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

History is repeating itself!

The Punjabis will never let the Sindhis and other etnicities in Pakistan rule. Punjab wants to maintain its monopoly on political, military and economic hegemony.

Nawaz Sharif, a dear and close friend of Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda, who gave Sharif millions of dollars to win the elections in the late 90s, is back. He will get even stronger with the help of the Saudis and Osama bin Laden.
India and Afghanistan should brace for more sophisticated terrorism in Afghanistan. U.S. and NATO should prepare for more Western casualities and official funerals for their soldiers.

Posted by kabura | Report as abusive

Kabura
Desperate attempt, but you miserably failed to potray this as a regional movement. This was a national movement, the lawyers movement enjoyed popular support in entire Pakistan. Lawyers from Sindh and Karachi participated, the bar councils of Baluchistan particiapted. Section 144 imposed in NWFP and political activists from Frontier detained. This was not a Punjabi movement it is a Pakistani movement.
The chief justice was born in Baluchistahn and educated in Sindh. The President of Pakistan from Sindh, the Prime minister from Punjab.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive

“As lawyers who value freedom and the rule of law, we at Harvard Law School want Chief Justice Chaudhry and all of the courageous lawyers in Pakistan to know that we stand with them in solidarity. We are proud to be their colleagues in the cause of justice, and we will do all we can to press for the prompt restoration of constitutionalism and legality in Pakistan. ”

— Elena Kagan, Harvard Law School’s Dean, on the Justice Iftikhar’s awarding Nov 2008

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive

Lawyers have always taken the lead in turning countries around. So let us hope that this long march does not end up as just another protest. Famous people like Lincoln, Gandhi, Nehru etc were lawyers by profession. That is why nations led by lawyers emphasize heavily on the law of the land. India was lucky to have Nehru as a leader for 17 years without a break, after India won independence from the British. Pakistan needs a leader like that now. Unfortunately there are too many villains who have grown too big to allow for that. In such an environment even people like Gandhi or Nehru will find it hard to survive. Times have changed.

Mauryan, Pkaistan is a country founded by Mr. Jinnah a prominent lawyer.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive

@Funny some of us Indians are advising Pakistanis about leaders with dual citizenship. In India we have Sonia Gandhi who by birth is Italian.
–I already heard Umair. If he likes him, who am I. I don;t know whom you are referring to, the issue is not about citizenship but staying abroad, which in such cases does not come without favors. Yes, good point about Sonia Gandhi. But she has invested herself fully in Indian politics as you yourself also appreciate this by saying “But Sonia Gandhi has identified herself with India and I am proud of her dedication.”. Her whatever Italian connection has already prevented her from not accepting the PM position.

@But if things look bad, politicians, businessmen, artists, sportsmen and anyone else who can, will have one leg in their nation and another leg in a different nation where they feel safe.
-Yes anything has some probability of happening. When that happens, they should be treated accordingly.

–Isn’t it little silly to compare all this with Mahatma Gandhi, who also lived abroad for ~3deacdes but worked for 2 decades on civil rights movement, fighting against racism, prejudice and injustice against non-whites by British Empire in S. Africa. He suffered hardships rather than making money. There he became the man he is well-known for and returned to India and used those principals against Brits.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

Rajeev writes: “–Isn’t it little silly to compare all this with Mahatma Gandhi, who also lived abroad for ~3deacdes but worked for 2 decades on civil rights movement, fighting against racism, prejudice and injustice against non-whites by British Empire in S. Africa. He suffered hardships rather than making money. There he became the man he is well-known for and returned to India and used those principals against Brits.”

Agreed. Gandhi did not keep one leg in India and another one elsewhere.

As a side note, during 1991, after Rajeev Gandhi was assassinated, India faced a similar situation. People already living abroad were discussing about leaving India for good. There was tremendous amount of uncertainty and people were talking about India splintering up into pieces. Its coffers were almost empty. There was no leader visible in the horizon. People did not think highly of the BJP at that time. If the economy was not opened up at the time, we would be discussing a very different history now. And I am sure many would have jumped ship and moved abroad, including Sonia Gandhi and her children.

Umair writes:”Mauryan, Pkaistan is a country founded by Mr. Jinnah a prominent lawyer.”

I do not respect Mr. Jinnah. He is responsible for killing the good will between Muslims and others in the sub-continent for building his own power base. Until Chowdhuri Rehmat Ali colluded with the British, the Muslims and others lived in relative amity. Jinnah and his supporters launched the “direct action” finding that his league was not getting much support from most Muslims in areas that became Pakistan. The violence instigated caused massive retaliation, unnecessary movement of people, slaughter and ever lasting feelings of vengeance. Pakistan, created for the selfish motives of a few people who lived abroad mostly and heavily Anglicized, now stands at logger heads with India, a land that shares thousands of years of history and culture. The people of the two countries are turned into permanent enemies. Pakistani citizens have been led away from the original culture and brain washed into believing in an alien culture, making them feel ashamed of their heritage. I’d blame Jinnah, his fellow hate mongers and the British for leaving the sub-continent in a perpetual conflict. May be if sense had prevailed, the sub-continent could have evolved into a federal structure with states having their own laws and customs. What it would have achieved is ever lasting peace and progress. Many of us could have bought properties in Karachi or visited Lahore’s Mughal gardens without a visa or passport. Many of you could have visited Bangalore or Mumbai without any issues. There would have been no Jihadis, Mujahideens, LeTs, Taliban, Mohajirs and on the other side probably no BJP or Shiv Sena. Life could have evolved very differently if selfish manipulators did not mislead people. There are still leaders of this kind in the sub-continent. In India, I can point some. But they are too small in comparison to the influence they can have over the entire Indian union.

Sorry Umair. I know you guys revere Jinnah. But I have a different opinion on some of the leaders.

US Aid at Work

“Clinton warned Pakistan of aid cut if no deal”

http://www.reuters.com/article/vcCandida teFeed1/idUSN16310450

Posted by Global Citizen | Report as abusive

World rushes to rescue Pakistan ..

US rushes to drawing board ..

Pakistanis rush to eat sweet ..

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/con tent/article/2009/03/16/AR2009031603254. html

Posted by Global Citizen | Report as abusive

Lonely or not ..

Weak or not .. who cares ..

USA wants him there and he has to stay till further instructions ..

Posted by Global Citizen | Report as abusive

Mauryan,
I share your thoughts about Jinnah too. Together with Gandhi they could have been a dynamic duo. The reverement of Jinnah cuts across his generations too. His daughter (Dina Wadia) came to Pakistan one time and visited his tomb. I read in a Pakistani article that people started to revere her because she looks much like him. His grandson is a textile merchant in Mumbai.

You must remember the saying, “Things are harder to keep than they are to get.”

Jinnah got Pakistan for the Indian Muslims, but he died within its first year leaving the backward, corrupt, freeloading vultures waiting in the wings to swoop down and stake their claim which they had not earned. It has been harder for them to keep it together ever since.

Posted by bulletfish | Report as abusive

Bullet Fish, pakistan was backwards compared to the central indian state at time of. If pakistan was still part of india, it would be like assam and bihar, underdeveloped and little central government control, the Kashmir insurgency would be nothing compared to havoc pakistanis would launch for their independence. Pakistan has made great advancements since 1947, hospitals,school, universities , railways and an effective Muslim army used to defeat the soviets and help the Arabs in the 6 day war. Sure india is ahead of pakistan, but india has many states within it, and Pakistan has progressed hugely ,

Posted by syed | Report as abusive

@As a side note, during 1991, after Rajeev Gandhi was assassinated, India faced a similar situation. People already living abroad were discussing about leaving India for good. There was tremendous amount of uncertainty and people were talking about India splintering up into pieces.
-Mauryan, “splintering” factor is an exageration must be a regional talk, not at national level. Rumors always float around looking for buyers. I also disagree with “similar situation”. There is a system in place in India, howsoever chaotic/ugly it might seem. Speculatively, Indian leaders, including Ms Gandhi, living abroad cannot compete with those living in India. They lose the edege of public sympathy and the support. Coming back to Pakistan, Saudis saved N. Sharif’s life (from Musharraf) and gave him shelter. Isn’t it a valid point that Sharif living in S. Arabia, the home of Wahabbism, with personal/party tilt towards radical Islam would import this idealogy to Pakistan?

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

@Umair, Suleman Maniya wrote:

“I am a Pakistani citizen studying in Gothenburg,Sweden.

Pakistan having a civil society just makes me burst into laughter. What civil society are we talking about, they are almost inexistent.
Look at the Mumbai incidents , did anyone stand up( I mean we never saw any protests from the civil society) for these dastardly incidents!!
Moreover the army continues to make matters worse.When are these sitting ducks(read civil society) going to get up from their slumber. We need to take on these bastar*d Taliban etc and lanch full scale war, no negotiations . Look at the price of negotiations they have kept on bombing our cities. What is the army doing? No need to figure out! The top generals are too scared to come out of their mansions and the foot soldiers are too afraid to peep beyond their barracks!
When Kayani goes around and travels in cities ( he needs more than 3000 soldiers to protect him) . how can he fight a war with that mindset….”

Thank you Suleman!

Umair, why is that Pakistani people outside of Pakistan are the only ones who can be rational and reasonable, and not scared to say the right, correct, rational things while still loving their country?

Umair, any answer? Anybody?

Posted by Global Watcher | Report as abusive

Rajeev writes: ““splintering” factor is an exageration must be a regional talk, not at national level. Rumors always float around looking for buyers. I also disagree with “similar situation”.”

Calling it as an exaggeration is your individual opinion. One definitely cannot speak for all people of India. One can only mention what his circle of people felt and that circle may not represent everything in a nation. Whether it is regional or national is highly subjective. But I do not know that there were serious discussions about India’s fate at that time. Before the web browser days, the newsgroups were a place where people vented out their feelings a lot. India’s future did look questionable at that time. I know of people from Delhi who were contemplating on migrating to UK. Luckily Man Mohan Singh announced the economic reforms. I have not seen any discussion on what would have happened if that was not done. We just forgot the consequences and moved on.

When the BOFORs scandal was pursued, Sonia Gandhi’s family was on the hot seat. If Quatrrochi had been nailed, a lot of truth would have come out. A lot of associated politicians and movie actors would have taken flight to other countries. Somehow the case was quashed. No politician in the sub-continent, barring a handful, are angels. Everyone of them has skeletons buried in the closet.

The situation can only be similar and not exact. How every nation came out of it depends upon its people. Even the mighty USA once faced a deadly civil war that could have broken it into two hostile nations.

I wrote: “But I do not know that there were serious discussions about India’s fate at that time.”

Correction: It should read as “But I do know that there were serious discussions about India’s fate at that time.”

Mauryan and Bulletfish
Mr. Jinnah is a very respectable man, he was very wise and even the British found very hard dealing with such an intelligent man. Mr. Jinnah was originally a member of Congress, but due to the attitude of Hindu leaders of Congress he left the Congress and joined Muslim League.
Mauryan believe me Hindus and muslims could never have lived together, you guys revere cows, we slaughter them every year on Eid day and eat the meat. Had Pakistan not come into being more bloodshed would have followed.

Mr. Jinnah won independence for the muslims of the subcontinent, he was a great Statesman.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive

Umair wrote:”Mr. Jinnah is a very respectable man, he was very wise and even the British found very hard dealing with such an intelligent man. Mr. Jinnah was originally a member of Congress, but due to the attitude of Hindu leaders of Congress he left the Congress and joined Muslim League.
Mauryan believe me Hindus and muslims could never have lived together, you guys revere cows, we slaughter them every year on Eid day and eat the meat. Had Pakistan not come into being more bloodshed would have followed.”

Even Osama Bin Laden, Hitler and similar people have their admirers and followers. Therefore, I will not argue with you on that.

Jinnah realized that his chances were limited in running the free India. Nehru was a serious contender. There were others eyeing that spot too. Vallabhai Patel, Morarji Desai etc were equal contenders. Jinnah, like you said is a shrewd man. He took the next step – carve a country out for himself. And there is nothing like an emotional issue like religion. Hitler used the Nazi propaganda to change a modern nation into a monster. There are leaders like that everywhere – Lenin, Pol Pot, Bin Laden etc. We have our own people like the Thackerays and others. What they do is change people’s destiny completely for their self interest. In the great olf USA there are white supremacists who follow a similar campaign of white race being under threat. The fact is no one is under threat. Hindus and Muslims lived for a thousand years side by side before Jinnah and his men whipped up this “threat” sentiment. Tell me the occasions before independence where Hindus and Muslims behaved like utter enemies and slaughtered each other. Give me the facts. Feelings of mistrust and anger exist in pockets here and there. But they diffuse away. They never took the sinister dimension that Jinnah’s legacy has created. Nations should never be created based on religions or languages. Because there are other stark differences that come to the fore. Pakistan splintered because of language issue.

There are more Muslims living in India than in Pakistan now. And I can bet, on an average, they are not fighting Hindus everyday. If they are poor, so are others. Muslims are not exclusively singled out and denied chances in India as some of you have been led to believe. And Jinnah created that myth.

Gandhi fought so much for the safety of Muslims that he was shot down by a Hindu.

Creation of Pakistan was due to Jinnah’s self interest. It had nothing do with protecting Muslims or their interests. It was the craze to be the Lord and he got it. But he left well before the repercussions of his actions took root.

Mauryan

Mr. Jinnah was intelligent, thats why he carved out an independent chunk out of British India for the muslims. Plain and simple, do not compare Mr. Jinnah to people like Hitler.

A great statesman, Mr. jinnah was a born leader, he led the muslims to independence and made his place in history.
Pakistan was born out of a two nation theory, that stated there are two nations, hindus and muslims. Both of them need their seperate homeland to live in. In theory, muslims ruled India for over 800 years before independence. You hindus must be thankful to live in a secular India, otherwise India must be under muslim rule(read Pakistan) in theory.

I dont want to read any more non-sense regarding founder of our nation. I dont want to state any bad words about Mr. Nehru or Gandhi Ji and have respect for them. Do you know about Bhagat Singh, he was a young freedom fighter in his youth. He gave his life in prison in the hope that his death would create revolt among Indians and incite them to fight for freedom. I can bet, had Bhagat Singh been out of prison,he would have fought for freedom with all his ability.
Mauryan, hindus and muslims fought together for independence from Britain. We walked seperate ways after independence. let us not have negative feelings at each other.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive

Mauryan:
I lived in Punjab till 1998, means I have seen the worst of the worst of terrorism. Yes people moved from smaller unsafe towns to bigger towns and even at the peak of Khalistan movement, Hindus including me did not give a rat’s aXX to terrorism and there was not enough talk in the air to say that there are any real chances of splintering of Punjab–but it was real bad. So this is my view on splinterin of the country cannot say anywhere else. Terrosism was not played in Delhi at that time and people are more scared than they should be. I have relatives in Delhi who never visited Punjab. Those who do not know about Punjab, its culture and the intesnity of the movement and are not in thick of it are least qualified to make statements and that is what I indicted in my last post as “rumors”.

So here is another rumor. US is in recession (true) and there is no chance of the economy coming back (probably)and people are are thinking about which country to migrate to (?). I really heard one American family talking this–the Americans born here. Perhaps many Americans are thinking to leave the country.

You can have your final word if you want–I have nothing mire to say.

I don;t know what’s your point about BOFORS. We all know about politicians–that;s the first thing I said in my first post.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

MAURYAN, RAJIV

YET AGAIN MAURYAN, a loyal servant of dynasty, throws in one of his wild and fantasy theories from his ……

Rajiv Gandy was an accidental PM tossed into the PMs Gaddi straight from Air India cockpit. We can safely draw comparisons to Zardari in this context. Back then, a friend in civil services working in his administration said, that ‘Rajiv Gandy s India stops at the city limits of delhi and mumbai’. India lost nothing in his death but congress party gained huge in the ensued elections, nevertheless. Those who wanted to emigrate would have emigrated anyway, rajiv gandy or not. This is the first time I heard that emigration can have roots in the death of a politician, even when MK Gandhi was killed nobody had emigrated. As is with others, Indians emigrate/ not return for many different reasons but certainly not about a politician, for crying out loud. Some people from delhi are migrating even in 2009, mostly to US though.

SPLINTERING FANTASY: not even at state level, in Tamil nadu, there was a serious whisper, (remember, Wikipedia archives whatever you mail in) about splintering. Please Tamil bloggers explain to him. He is not even a tamil by his own admission. Telugus wanted to get away from tamils and that’s the reason why the composite state was divided in 1953-56. Stupid Nehru could not remove article 370 in his miserable 3 terms of rule, but he wanted to force crores people speaking different languages to live together in one state. So much for his ‘south block’ theory of mauryan, he almost convinced with impunity non souths on this blog, with his crafty theory about the fictional existence of a block of so called south. Tamils, telugus, Kannadigas, Malayalis, marathi, oriyas never talked or conducted as a single block away from others in indian history.

Maybe I should simply say- stop reading too many conspiracy based history fiction books, mauryan.

now the chief justice is back, there are more and more calls for cases to be brought against musharraf. he has made a lot of people angry by what he did during 8 years in office and making a mockery of the constitution, handling of relations with the US and what not.

but musharraf is now creating even further upset by roaming free on a globe trotting mission delivering lectures. an increasing tide of concensus is emerging that if an example is made of musharraf in the court of law, this will set a precedence.

as for zardari, he is in an even worse position then musharraf. just read on CNN and the story was: ‘Pakistan President dubbed loser.’

looks like people have more expectations from the chief justice then he could ever hope to deliver. but i am still hopeful..

Posted by Mr. Ketchup | Report as abusive

Umair writes:”Mauryan, hindus and muslims fought together for independence from Britain. We walked seperate ways after independence. let us not have negative feelings at each other.”

Why did they have to walk their own ways? Because a bunch of guys sat in London and made the plan? It was forced on the people. That is one thing you are unaware of. The Muslim League’s ballot for separate Muslim nation failed miserably in the regions that formed Pakistan. The reason why I pick on Jinnah is that he used the same technique many of the other “leaders” have used – instigate violence and wait for the retaliation. Then use the retaliation to amplify the agitation. Beyond a critical point, the violence burns every effort to contain it and then the objective is achieved. Not everyone succeeds in this. But some, like Jinnah do.

Going separate ways is generally done by peaceful means, like in a divorce. You do not bite each others’ ears and they say you parted ways. That perpetuates the hatred. Jinnah and his consorts knew that a violent memory will keep the separation alive and will strengthen the divide. And they succeeded in it.

But Jinnah’s theory was proved wrong when East Pakistan rebelled for Bengali identity and language and not for Muslim identity.

You can respect your leader as much as you want. The point here is I don’t.

Rajeev,

I have seen terrorism from close quarters too. I have lost friends to terrorism. Everyone’s perspective is shaped by his experience. I have looked at the entire sub-continent from an overall view rather than confine myself to a region and extrapolate from there. My general view is that the sub-continent looks the same from every angle – divisive forces, selfish leaders, corrupt politicians, goondas, squalor etc.. One can take any section and it looks like a microcosm of the sub-continental culture. When I look at Pakistan, I do not see much difference there. One can see where they are heading based on the experience in the Indian context. India has certain settings that protects it and Pakistan never developed it. So it shows more propensity for collapse now than before. In 1989, Pakistan was a lot better – having defeated the Soviet Union with American help, filled with money from the war allies, weaponry and fully trained / war hardened militants ready for launch into Indian territory. India was low on reserves and the IMF was calling the shots. In a decade’s time, everything has turned around. Right now, India looks very strong and all the thoughts of break up have disappeared into thin air. I do not know about you, but the exposure I had through media, internet, associates and the people I knew and moved with – all had a similar feeling about India every time we saw the foundations of the nation hit hard by different events. That we managed to get out of that situation gives a great feeling. And I am very happy for that.

Sanjiv,

Mr.Zardari has not managed the crisis well. He was arm-twisted by the US and others to accommodate Mr.Sharif. I suspect that there will be elections in Pakistan soon and the presidential powers will be clipped for good.
In addition to the lawyer’s movement, the army stayed in its barracks because the US wants it there. Otherwise, no civilian movement alone, without external support, can trump the army in Pakistan.

Some of my views on the idea of Pakistan:

At an intellectual level, I find the idea of Pakistan silly and short sighted. Jinnah, a lawyer & an opportunistic politician, once famously said “I created Pakistan with the help of a steno and a typewriter”. Is that a surprise why, after Jinnah, everyone interpreted the idea of a separate nation for his/her convenience? The idea of Pakistan didn’t receive mass support except for few extremists, Muslim princes and landlords of the day. In fact, 60 years later, the debate why Pakistan was created and who is the legitimate ruler/s still continues.

Posted by Nikhil | Report as abusive

Maurayan,

The Indian sub-continent, from a distance, looks like suffering from similar problems. But, when I look closely, the sources of growth and prosperity of each nation on the sub-continent differs. That to me is a cause of concern and not the fear of possible state failure propagated by the western media.

India, for instance, had its ups and downs. I never thought it’ll break up. But, despite the hype, I also don’t think India will cross the threshold in to the group of first world countries anytime soon. The success – or failure – of the India story is its own doing.

Pakistan is not a failed state however, it has enjoyed prosperity when there were wars in the sub-continent. Essentially, Pakistan has become a rent state; a nation which charges heavy price – cash, weapons, debt write offs – in return for allowing to use its land. For instance, after 9/11, Musharraf joined the war on terror fearing US threats and weak national economy. It was a repeat of the past decades when Pakistan received cash & weapons from the US in return for its support in Soviet jihad.

Posted by Nikhil | Report as abusive

The turn of events in Pakistan do not augur well for a civilian society , but the most pertinent question here is : whether there exists a civilian society in Pakistan ? Where pak army backed by world’s most dreaded and maligned intelligence agency ISI with active support from islamic terror outfits work only with limited agenda: to cause as much damage to India by waging low intensity war using these terror outfits, secondly to spread jehad all over the world as if Pakistanis are custodians of islam or islam is in danger and control the drug and opium growing region of Afghanistan , rule the roost ? To achieve these objectives periodically Pak army stage some elections and ask Pakistanis to vote for a particular group of politicians, Zardari , Gillani and Nawaz Sharif are no different from them, Pakistanis left with no choice but to elect some of these politicians nominated by army .

For all practical purposes, Pakistan is controlled by Pakistani army and its stooge ISI, whether directly or through proxy , the net looser are the people of Pakistan , who have been denied the fruits of developments, a democratic society , civilian society.

The nefarious designs of Pakistani rulers are exposed before the world , and the presence of nuclear weapons and the proliferators like A.Q.Khan and his cronies , pose gravest danger to international community . It is incumbent upon international community to prosecute Khan and his cronies for crimes against humanity and take control of all nuclear arsenals.

Posted by anju2008 | Report as abusive

Mauryan wrote:
“You can respect your leader as much as you want. The point here is I don’t.”

Do you really think i give a damn about this? certainly not. You are among that category of people who have never accepted Pakistan right from the begining. Pakistan is a reality, move on.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive

Umair,

I also accept the fact that Pakistan is a reality. I do not try to undo things. My point is, if they had done things right in the past, we will not be arguing here. I’d say that the British created the divide as a lasting damage to the sub-continent from which they had to leave. Even now UK is tilted more towards Pakistan than India. Because Pakistan was the pawn with which they played down India. The cold war alliances helped sustain that tilt. Until Britain itself got hit by terrorism, they were not that sympathetic to India’s woes.

Now that Pakistan is real, whatever might be the reason for its creation, I look ahead and see what it offers to Indians. At present, it is a hostile nation from Indian stand point. Therefore, our view is that your country is brought down to scale so that we can move on.

Mauryan wrote:
“Now that Pakistan is real, whatever might be the reason for its creation, I look ahead and see what it offers to Indians. At present, it is a hostile nation from Indian stand point.”

No my friend, I disagree we are not unfriendly or hostile. If you are reading reuters blog regularly you might know how close India and Pakistan came in 2007 to securing peace deal and resolution on Kashmir dispute through backdoor diplomacy. Going forward, India and Pakistan will become just like Britain and France. Pakistan gained parity on the 28 May 1998 at 03:00 PM by carrying out nuclear tests and declaring itself a nuclear weapons state. The balance of power is even.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive

syed,
Firstly, the 6 day war was LOST by Arab countries (Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Iraq) to Israel. So, whatever support Pakistan gave was surely not enough.

Secondly, if Pakistan has progressed hugely then why has its leaders gone around the world asking for oil defferments, loans, military and financial aid? Pakistan has gone TWICE to the IMF for money. If Pakistan has progressed hugely then there would be no need for these Friends Of Democratic Pakistan meetings.

Thirdly, by Muslim Army if you Pak Army. You lost in 1971. Since then it has been covert Jihadi, freedom fighter tactics. Pak Army also gave in to Taliban in Swat.

If Pakistan has made grat advances then they should be at the forefront to show the world your its achievements.

In the 1990s, Monmohan Singh reforms India’s economy. Pakistan goes to the IMF.

India launches a sattelite to photograph the moon. 10 Pakistanis launch an attack on Mumbai.

England cricketers return to India to finish tests after attacks. Sri Lankan cricketers attacked and security critisized. Pakistan cricket is serious trouble.

Pakistan lose 1 Swat to Taliban who enforce Shaira law in the region. 2 Indians win 3 Oscars.

India get Nuclear Deal with USA. Pakistan wants the same, but is refused by USA and China.

Kylie Minogue comes to Mumbai, India to shoot a song and dance scene. Cricket legend Imran Khan goes into hiding to avoid unlawful arrest ahead of the Long March.

Posted by bulletfish | Report as abusive

pakistan has unstability from its birthtime. no clues why they are not able to eradicate it and no clues how they will do is if they interested in democracy (oh really?)or are they interested in continuing this war – like situation just to meddle up with Progressive India.

Posted by chandrashekhar | Report as abusive

that is a nice pic of zardari . it means to me like i am doing whatever i can do but nothing seems to work.

Posted by vivek | Report as abusive

Bullet fish writes: “Firstly, the 6 day war was LOST by Arab countries (Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Iraq) to Israel. So, whatever support Pakistan gave was surely not enough… AND SO ON”

Bullet fish,

You are indirectly comparing India with Pakistan. They both were split at the same time in 1947. Other than that, the two countries are way different in size and capability. India should compare with China which is equal in size, population, enterprise etc. Pakistan can compare itself with Iran, Sri Lanka etc. There is no comparison. It is this comparison that has given them the feeling that they are superior to India.

This is confirmed by what Umair writes: “Going forward, India and Pakistan will become just like Britain and France. Pakistan gained parity on the 28 May 1998 at 03:00 PM by carrying out nuclear tests and declaring itself a nuclear weapons state. The balance of power is even.”

Umair,

Understand that India is a much bigger country and I do not know what you mean by nuclear parity. Do you know exactly how many bombs India and Pakistan have? What I do not like is that most Pakistanis keep using the nuke word in every alternate sentence. This is like a kid running around with the thrill of a pistol on his hand. To achieve parity, one has to achieve maturity. No one will give a kid a gun. Pakistan is running around like a kid. It shows in the attitude of its citizens. It is interesting that most Pakistanis know every detail of what their military has. This shows what has dominated their lives all these years. There is nothing but the military. For a nation, that is not a good sign.

Mauryan,

PLEASE!!!! My response was directed at syed’s post!!! It had nothing to do with you or comparing India with Pakistan!!!! OK!!!!

Posted by bulletfish | Report as abusive

Umair,

“Do you really think i give a damn about this? certainly not. You are among that category of people who have never accepted Pakistan right from the begining. Pakistan is a reality, move on.
- Posted by Umair ”

Umair, if you saw Spiderman, Uncle Ben, said to his nephew peter parker: “Son, with great power comes great responsibility”.

The problem is that the world does not view Pakistan as responsible, as long it refuses to smash its jihadi proxy war terrorist training camp “strategic” assets in a transparent manner.

I don’t know about any body else here, but having nukes and training jihadi proxy strategic assets and radical madrassas does not seem responsible to me.

Posted by Global Watcher | Report as abusive

It’s time people of Pakistan understand that their political leaders the military are using india bogey to serve their self interest. They keep drumming that India wants to annexe pakistan. For gods sake realise that nobody wants more excess population with failing economy to be added to India. Its people of pakistan and india who want to stay united. Only the hawks on both sides are stoking fires for their narrow self interest. People from pakistan are no different from Indians. It is really sad to see that two nations formed on the same day growing in different ways. who is to blame ?

Posted by Saif Khan | Report as abusive

@who is to blame ?
- Posted by Saif Khan

Old saying:
“Yatha praja, tatha raja” – The people will determine the leadership.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

@Saif Khan

The day India recognizes the permanence of Pakistan is still to come. Until then we will keep our guns pointed against India.

Now back to topic:

Mr Zardari is the constitutionally elected President of a democratically elected party. It doesn’t matter how unpopular he gets, he is a symbol of democracy in Pakistan, something the world values very highly.

@Saif Khan
The day India recognizes the permanence of Pakistan is still to come. Until then we will keep our guns pointed against India.
- Posted by Aamir Ali

Aamir Ali: Thanks for admitting that you are hurting India. “Set an an unclear/ambiguous goal so that you get the chance to fight” is your formula. For me Pakistan is permanent and so is for India. Now mind your business and work on your democracy before you start making following statements.

@Mr Zardari is the constitutionally elected President of a democratically elected party. It doesn’t matter how unpopular he gets, he is a symbol of democracy in Pakistan, something the world values very highly.
-Zardari or anyone in pakistan’s history so far has never been a symbol of democracy. Stick (army’s) rules you guys. World does not care about Zardari or Musharraf, world will get what it wants. In additin to these, replace Bush with Zardari in ur statement and see how it sounds.

Be reasonable and sincere.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

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