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PPP and its delusions


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A mother mourns over her daughter, who was killed while on the job as a polio vaccination worker in Karachi on December 18, 2012.

Militants in Pakistan are busy attacking airports, murdering public health workers and minorities, bombing shoppers in markets, and attacking police stations and security professionals. In the past week alone, Pakistanis have endured violence in all its manifestations, robbing them of any sense of normalcy or peace.

Whereas Pakistanis struggle to stay alive in a society corroded by violence, the federal minister for information and broadcasting, Mr. Qamar Zaman Kaira, proclaimed that Pakistan People's Party (PPP) will win the next elections for good performance. The violence-stricken masses will be justified in wondering what gives the Minister such hope when no signs of hope or reprieve could be seen on the horizon. Mr. Kaira though, is not alone in expressing such misguided faith in the electorate. Mr. Asif Ali Zardari, the President of Pakistan, also boasted in a televised interview in January that his party would win the next elections for providing food, clothing, and shelter to the masses.

I would very much like to review the PPP’s performance over the past week to understand what might have motivated the learned Minster to beam with such confidence. As Pakistan slowly implodes under senseless violence, the ruling coalition appears to have lost touch with the reality. Let’s face it, Pakistan is at war and the enemy is within. The past seven days chronicle one of the bloodiest chapters in Pakistan’s recent history where several bombings, shootings, and attacks have targeted civilians and the armed forces alike. The war that started in Afghanistan moved first to the tribal areas of Pakistan and is now being fought in the Pushtun-dominated parts of Karachi, Pakistan’s port city and its economic engine. No one seems to be safe, not even the women administering polio vaccine in Karachi and Peshawar.

The militants choose their targets at will and in most instances are able to strike with devastating consequences. Earlier this week, militants attacked the Peshawar International Airport and caused the death of several civilians living in the vicinity of the airport. Fortunately, one of the two vehicles commandeered by the militants unexpectedly exploded, killing the five militants before they could unleash carnage. The sudden explosion forced the remaining five militants to abandon the attack and flee the airport. The militants were later tracked down in a nearby village where they died in a shootout with the security forces. While the militants were held up by the security forces in Peshawar, a bomb exploded in a market nearby, killing at least 17 people including women and children.

Last week a bomb planted near a tea stall in Karachi killed two, including the shop owner. At the same time, militants attacked a police station near Bannu in the tribal area, killing eight. The dead included three police personnel. One of the militants blew himself up by detonating explosives inside a mosque behind the police station. Across the border in the province of Nangarhar, explosives hidden by the Afghan militants killed nine girls who were aged between nine and 13.

In present-day Pakistan, markets, runways, streets, and villages have become battlegrounds between the militants and the rest where death and destruction follows the young and the old. Members of minority sects and other religions are being killed in targeted attacks. Foreign aid workers, some of whom have lived in Pakistan for decades, are either being killed or abducted for ransom. Teenage girls volunteering to prevent the spread of polio are being killed.

The above is not a summary of events unfolding over a period of few months or a year. Instead, these tragedies befell on Pakistanis in a short span of one week. In fact, similar violent tragedies unfold every week in Pakistan. Add to this the widespread unemployment, poverty, disease, electricity and fuel shortages, and you complete the picture of a failing state and a devastated nation.

I wonder if the PPP leadership realises the implications of winning the next general elections in Pakistan. The expected withdrawal of Nato troops in 2014, which will see the Taliban returning to power in the Pushtun-dominated parts of Afghanistan; the slowdown in aid from the US, which is probable because American policymakers are likely to lose all interest in the region; the State’s inability to borrow even more loans from bilateral donors; and little or no economic recovery in a recession-smitten global economic order are the likely outcomes for the next few years in the region.

Given the expected economic and security handicaps, the next government in Pakistan will be severely constrained in delivering good governance, even if it earnestly wanted to do so. Therefore, whoever wins the next elections should have a better plan to lift this sinking ship back to the surface. The future cannot be more of the same.


Murtaza Haider, Ph.D. is the Associate Dean of research and graduate programs at the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University in Toronto. He can be reached by email at


The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

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Murtaza Haider is a Toronto-based academic and the director of

He tweets @regionomics

The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Comments (50) Closed

Arif Dec 20, 2012 05:12am
You sound like MQM.....
Mustafa Razavi Dec 19, 2012 10:09pm
I am sure there are already laws on the books for murder, we don't need more laws, we need their implementation. Oh, yes, it is not negligence, that was always the plan.
Khanm Dec 19, 2012 01:21pm
A person who has no remorse, no feelings, no compassion, and no regards to life. No idea what to call them. a socio path, a psychopaths, Indeed we live in a very sick society
Riaz Dec 19, 2012 11:05pm
stop poking nose in the affairs of our country i would say and look after ur self and ur own country. the recent rape of a girl in delhi is talk of the town all over the world.the question everyone asking is "WHATS WRONG WITH YOUR COUNTRY"
Cyrus Howell Dec 19, 2012 03:09pm
"As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there's a twilight where everything remains seemingly unchanged, and it is in such twilight that we all must be aware of change in the air, however slight, lest we become victims of the darkness." -- Justice William O. Douglas
Zulfiqar Dec 19, 2012 04:27pm
As a PPP Voter i 100% Agree that they have done nothing to protect us and feel very sorry for these killings.
FAB Dec 20, 2012 04:51am
We need stretegic support by Pakistan's think tank to bring back this sinking ship over the surface, not very hopeful with the civilian government.
Raheel Adnan Dec 19, 2012 01:10pm
Great blog post, as always.
G.A. Dec 19, 2012 10:14pm
At the momemt its Allah.
G.A. Dec 19, 2012 01:05pm
PPP is so worried about completing this term in office that they have completely neglected taking on these militant outfits. Not sure what this government is calculating by letting things slide but not keepIng the country safe is a big miscalculation.
haris Dec 20, 2012 08:52am
@ Mustafa Razavi: Who have you voted in the previous elections? By the way, did you or did you not voted in those elections? At least Zulfiqar is admitting his mistake and I hope he won't the same corrupt party again.
Zishi Dec 19, 2012 01:23pm
These ministers should be ashamed of their existence yet they are claiming victories in next election. People are getting killed from Karachi to Peshawar everyday and they are busy in corruption and looting this country. They have injected so much corruption in Police that they are next to useless and are only good at taking bribes. I agree with Cyrus, they are all in delusion.
Ali Hassan Ayub Dec 20, 2012 12:55am
MQM and PPP have a lot more blood on their hands than PTI ever did.....PTI's chairman happens to be one of the best philanthorpists of Pakistan who actually HAS successes under his belt. What do your dear altaf bhais and zardaris have to offer to Pakistan? Anything?
talal Dec 20, 2012 08:39am
To be honest every political party is working for their own benefit.They do not care about the general public whether its PTI or PML-N... Army rule is required if our army can do an operation in waziristan than why not in karachi?
Cyrus Howell Dec 19, 2012 12:40pm
"As Pakistan slowly implodes under senseless violence, the ruling coalition appears to have lost touch with the reality." I have seen this in the faces of the PPP leaders for a long time. Ask yourselves one question: Did Bashar Assad, Saddam, colonel Gadaffi or Hosni Mubarak ever admit to failure? There were delusional to the last.
R Dec 20, 2012 07:39am
...a pessimistic least free and fair elections might be some sign of optimism...
trait Dec 19, 2012 05:04pm
Countless tragedies day in day out,all we hear from our useless PPP minsters one democratic Gospel i e winning next election. Can't wait for change,can't wait for Imran Khan.
Ahmed Saeed Dec 19, 2012 01:00pm
Our rulers are rotten down to bottom. One cannot imagine the state through which the people of this country are passing these days.
mystic Dec 19, 2012 05:33pm
Are elections in Pakistan ever based on 'performance'?
Hamza Dhedhi Dec 20, 2012 07:34am
Wow. You have got an amazing sense of humor.
farid Dec 20, 2012 05:38am
stop voting for ppp and get rid off your primitive slave mentality.
Circumbulator Dec 19, 2012 02:38pm
Assad and Saddam provided security and stability in a land riven by sectarian strife and tribalism, and constant external threats. Gaddafi provided state sponsored social network to its people that was an example in the region. Hosni Mubarak kept the salfists and muslim brotherhood at bay. Their fall has created the kind of chaos the region could well do without. They were removed to serve foreign colonial interests. It is wrong to compare the rulers of Pakistan to them. Although they may have been corrupt and ruthless they served their country according to the demands of the region at the time, and they died in their country. Our rulers are corrupt who have skirted away the countries wealth in foreign lands. They will run away like the proverbial rats from a sinking ship. Delusional are those who think otherwise.
Shanzay Dec 19, 2012 10:11pm
lolpk Dec 19, 2012 10:09pm
Do you see that picture? That picture there, it breaks my heart. This picture sums up Pakistan. You don't even have the freedom of doing the right thing. I'm already over asking simple questions like "Why would you kill someone who tried to help kids with polio". These things have become so acceptable in our society. Makes me guilty to have a better life than these people.
Karachi Wala Dec 19, 2012 01:43pm
Whatever you said about PPP is probably true. However, in case if ML(Nawaz) or PTI came to power, extrmist elements will get more ligitimacy for their actions, as both of these parties somtimes openly and sometimes secretly endorse all those who are behind these destrictive ways.
GhostRider Dec 20, 2012 04:27am
dont feel sorry...stop voting for them and with all due respect bhuttos are real people stop treating them like demi gods
Fahad Dec 20, 2012 05:22am
Lets bring the most corrupt government back into power now shall we?
AHA Dec 20, 2012 12:28am
It is just not possible to understand the pain that this mother is going through. I can only sympathize with her from the bottom of my heart.
lolpk Dec 19, 2012 10:03pm
Everybody runs the country, really. People do whatever they want. Whether its the government, the army, the ISI, the terrorists, the policitians, the self beneficiers, the poor people who have decided to take up arms because they can't feed their families. Corruption and terrorism has become a societal root.
Mustafa Razavi Dec 19, 2012 10:01pm
The parliament and the president indeed run the country, you don't hear from them because they are very happy with the way things are going. Every thing is going according to their plans of stealing money, our president is 1,00,000 times richer than the president of any of our neighbor, except his sole mate in Afghanistan.
rich Dec 19, 2012 02:51pm
i can understand sectarian killings its some bigot ecr but why kill a unarmed lady whose only crime is ti provide vaccination for the health of pakistni children what is the logic however twisted pls can someone explain
Cyrus Howell Dec 19, 2012 03:21pm
Very difficult to comment on.
babu Dec 19, 2012 11:55am
its heart rendering to see the anguish in the mother 's face...............what ever the ideology,its is sickening to kill unarmed and innocent people.
Mustafa Razavi Dec 19, 2012 09:30pm
But you are still going to vote for PPP again, aren't you?
stuti Dec 19, 2012 02:10pm
Makes me sick!
dr vimal raina Dec 19, 2012 02:37pm
heartbreaking that picture....simply heart breaking.
Secular Pakistan Dec 19, 2012 02:56pm
The only way the PPP will win is becuase the oppsoing side is more corrupt and incompetant. The major opposition is nothing to look forward to if they take over power. They will do their best to damage the country even more. None of these parties are capable or competant to solve the problem of the country. Each one of them is there to feed their feudal lords.
Salman Dec 20, 2012 06:39am
I'm just glad I don't live in Pakistan anymore. People will vote the same corrupt people and say wah wah on NFP blogs.
Naved Dec 19, 2012 12:12pm
The biggest negligence of PPP led coalition government is not to make any law to punish the terrorists and effectively controling the extermism in the society. Only condemning and hating the religious extermism & terrorism will not help to slove the problem.
Ibad khan Dec 19, 2012 07:43pm
Now isnt that the judiciary's responsibility govt organizations handed them over to the judges to try them but it was your beloved judiciary that let many walk, out of fear of repercussions and because om fo your judges just as much extremists as ttp. Go to a Police constable or a SSP who has served witht he anti terrorism force he wll vouch for what i say
Anony Dec 19, 2012 07:43pm
So you suggest PPP continues on that path that it's on??
Riaz Dec 19, 2012 09:12pm
People of Pakistan will make sure, as they have always done in the past, vote for the same old corrupt and inept parties.
aabdul Dec 19, 2012 07:17pm
I think Imran Khan has a great plan. Imran will halve corruption in 90 days and using that money, he will pay off all debts. Imran will first get TTP and good Taliban to lay down their arms and join Pakistan civil service and anti-polio vaccination institute. Imran will then remove all religious groups in Pakistan. Immediately after that, Imran will buy state-of-the art weapons for his military. Next, he will simply ask Indian troops to simply withdraw from Kashmir, followed by solution according to Indian Kashmiris. Pakistanis are really lucky to have such a visionary leader.
Siyalkotia Dec 19, 2012 02:15pm
ISLAMIC Republic Of Pakistan, Zindabad ?
raika45 Dec 19, 2012 01:56pm
Something is very wrong here Pakistan,You country is in serious trouble mainly from the violence and from your financial outlook.Yet one seldom hears from your government or your President a word of what is happening.Your parliament is equally quiet regarding the issue.So pray tell me:WHO RUNS YOUR COUNTRY?
Agha Ata Dec 19, 2012 08:28pm
One of the main reasons of this probpem is that many people have lost hope and faith in their own efforts. What good it would do, they think It requires political will and a group of honest stuborn people to stop this nonsense. That leader with political will hasn't come forward yet. Until he appears, nothing is going to happen.
haris Dec 20, 2012 09:00am
Stop voting for PPP is not enough, we should Stop voting the entire status-coup in every part of the country who made the entire country paralyzed. Otherwise, Mian Sahab has already aligned himself to assume powers.
Farhan Dec 20, 2012 10:27am
Maybe, but do you think President Zardari is going to deliver a fair election?
Indusonian Dec 21, 2012 10:55pm
Tighten your seats and get ready for the next PM: Bilawal Zardari, oh, wait, he is Bhutto also, I don't see the logic why, but he is.
Khanm Dec 25, 2012 11:35am
Whoever wins the next elections should have a better plan to lift this sinking ship back to the surface. The future cannot be more of the same. Seeing the past history which makes our future , I see no future in our future. The darkness will gloom for many years to come.