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Smokers’ Corner: Scary votes

Published Jan 27, 2013 12:25am


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Illustration by Abro
Illustration by Abro

Much has been analysed about why the PPP-led coalition government, the opposition (both within and outside the Parliament), and the security agencies have all been so hapless in the face of the ever-growing menace of extremist violence in the country.

The government has done well to set an exceptional precedent of surviving its full term as an elected entity (a rarity in Pakistan), but it was just that: Survival.

Beyond this it has looked shaky, indecisive and at times almost paralysed in addressing issues such as sectarian violence and extremist terror.

On the other hand, the security agencies and the military-establishment have still to come to terms with political and ideological complexities arising from an awkward situation in which they find themselves face-to-face with brutal outfits, most of whom were once their strategic assets.

But there is also another aspect and dimension to this that doesn’t get the kind of attention that it deserves.

I am pointing towards the attitude of non-religious political parties that seem paralysed and awkwardly placed when it comes to addressing the issue of extremism.

For example, we keep hearing why so and so political parties can’t go all out in supporting bills, resolutions and policies against extremist outfits because they don’t want to offend the sentiments of a particular section of their voters.

Though this is calmly related in an analysis, the fact that this may also suggest support among large sections of the population for the brutes is never touched upon.

PML-N, though at this point in time the most vocal champion of democracy in Pakistan, has continued to remain ambiguous in its stance against extremist terrorism.

It condemns it, but never does this party take the names of those responsible for slaughtering over 40,000 soldiers, cops, politicians and common civilians ever since 2004.

One of the reasons given (by analysts) is that (in the Punjab), a vital section of the party’s vote-bank constitutes conservative right-wing petty-bourgeoisie and the trader classes.

So, is this to suggest that these classes (though not violent) actually have sympathies for sectarian and extremist organisations; and that they will refuse to vote for the PML-N if it supports any move against, say, the Taliban, Al-Qaeda or any of the many Sunni extremist organisations out there?

If so then this is certainly a cause for concern. It proves that violent anti-state outfits actually have support among certain sections of the population and that these sections are being patronised by democratic parties that should normally and inherently be anathematic to such a scenario.

Thus it does make sense then when one sees some PML-N men holding hands with members of banned sectarian organisations so the party can count on the votes of certain pro-extremist sections of the population in urban and semi-urban Punjab.

But PML-N is not the only non-religious party caught in the paradox of at least keeping one of its electoral branches rooted in the mentioned section of the population.

This is the same enigmatic section that Imran Khan’s PTI is also counting on to give him a numerical edge over the PML-N in an election.

That’s why, though recently Khan has decided to shed some of his ambiguity regarding his stance on Islamist and sectarian violence, till only early last year he was sending emissaries to rallies where some of the star speakers were sectarian bigots!

Even the more secular outfits such as the PPP and the MQM have gone on to appease and bag extremists on the other end of the sectarian spectrum.

For example, a few months back the PPP announced a possible electoral alliance with the Sunni Tehreek (ST).

ST is an organisation of Sunni Muslims from the Barelvi school that, though opposed to the extremist expressions of the Deobandi school of Sunni Islam (such as the Taliban), has its own extremist tendencies.

ST is often involved in organising anti-Taliban rallies, but this is the same outfit that considers those who kill supposed blasphemers as heroes.

That’s why the PPP’s decision to cosy up with ST also has a stark irony attached to it.

In January 2010, the PPP’s senior members and Governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer, was shot dead by a man who accused him of committing ‘blasphemy.’ The man, Mumtaz Qadri, was hailed as a hero and ‘true soldier of Islam’ by the ST.

So, by getting into an alliance with ST, is the PPP expecting to get some electoral push by that section of the population which considers extrajudicial killers and self-styled vanguards of faith as admirable heroes?

The MQM’s case in this respect is a bit more complicated. Compared to the PPP and maybe even the ANP, it has flexed itself to be perhaps the most overtly secular mainstream party in the country.

In fact, it has continued to be at odds (sometimes violently) with the fundamentalist Jamat-i-Islami (JI) and Deobandi extremists such as the Taliban and the Lashkar-i-Jhangvi (LeJ).

Unlike the PPP, MQM has also been at odds with Barelvi parties such as the Jamiat Ulema Pakistan (JUP), and the ST.

Though MQM’s animosity against outfits such as JI, Taliban and LeJ have been largely ideological, its anti-ST stance has more to do with the fact that during the state’s operation against the MQM in 1990s, the more religious cadres of the party shifted their loyalties to the ST.

Recently the MQM tried to regain this ground by supporting Dr. Tahirul Qadri’s long march in Islamabad.

Qadri, an Islamic scholar from the Barelvi denomination, and a politician, heads the Minhajul Quran (MuQ) organisation that has a large following among the petty bourgeoisie in the Punjab.

It was obvious that Qadri had some backing of that segment of the establishment that is still trying to redefine and mould democracy, government, and the state of Pakistan in its own image.

But this article is not about that. Thus, even though it is true that the MQM has tried to remain close to the establishment ever since it rose from the ashes of the state’s operation against it in the 1990s, there was certainly talk within the party of banking on Qadri to help the MQM bag the moderate religious Barelvi vote in Karachi and maybe even in the Punjab.

MuQ is largely a Punjab-based organisation.

So, what does this prove? As we see the military-establishment and even non-religious political parties trying to strike partnerships with organisations that express varied extremist tendencies, all this also lays bare the fact that within the non-violent (and voting) sections of Pakistan’s population, are sections of ‘normal’ men and women who (with their vote) are willing to punish any party for actually taking a clear stand to counter extremism.


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Nadeem F. Paracha is a cultural critic and senior columnist for Dawn Newspaper and He is also the author of two books on the social history of Pakistan, End of the Past and The Pakistan Anti-Hero.

He tweets @NadeemfParacha

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

Comments (85) Closed

Aj Jan 27, 2013 04:51pm
We are 5 times smaller but still competing.. Who needs constitution???
Cyrus Howell Jan 27, 2013 02:24pm
People always learn, either the easy way or the hard way. It is never a choice to learn the hard way. People are herded down the hard road because of what is known in the study of Logic as "decision by indecision". Pakistan's leaders are grandmasters of that art.
saylani Jan 27, 2013 04:57pm
whatever you say or write 100 to 1 Capt will be in power IF polls are not sold out. People are fed up with every thing .We want change. we have nothing to loose all is gone If Capt comes in power and things dont change still we will not loose any thing because we have nothing to loose we are history.
nomimunawar Jan 27, 2013 05:04pm
NFP is correct when he says "within the non-violent (and voting) sections of Pakistan
Aj Jan 27, 2013 04:49pm
NFP! Did you forget that MQM is only a party confined to SINDH. It has always raised its voice for MUHAJIRs and always ready to separate Sindh out of Pakistan. Thats why it does not care what so ever happens in the north
Laeeq,NY Jan 27, 2013 04:45pm
Once these parties start thinking about Pakistan and its people, things will get back on track again. As long as our politicians are with greed of power grabbing, and put their personal and family interests before their voters, nothing will change. Our people still don't know the power of vote. Until then, they can not change their destiny and fate of this country.
Cyrus Howell Jan 27, 2013 02:46pm
Do you want truth? Pakistan is about to suffer the colonial curse indeed. The British, Indians and Afghans made a great deal money addicting the population China to opium. Don't just condemn the British for crimes Indians participated in. Who worked with the English? They alone co opted India with a skeleton crew from the East India Trading Company aka the East Indian Drug Cartel? England did not act alone. Your people were accomplices in a great crime against humanity. Opium almost completely destroyed Chinese family life. That and it's derivative drug heroin will destroy Pakistan in good time. Pakistanis have nothing else to turn to. A prostitute needs her heroin, not a lecture from a cleric. On heroin a prostitute does not fear her own death. Opium is stronger than religion. The Chinese people were rescued from opium addiction by the Communists, and harsh Communist justice from the firing squads. That is an option Pakistan does not have. It will have the option of Islamic justice. South Asia is where heroin is produced, and though Your Cartel sells it to Europe you yourselves will not escape it as people sink lower into poverty. That is a law of man, not of God.
AHA Jan 27, 2013 03:21pm
The best outcome for Karachi is that MQM and ANP work together, and define their 'bounds'. Despite whatever happened in the past between the two, MQM and ANP have a lot in common, and can offer a strong defense against the right wing abyss.
salman Jan 27, 2013 03:46pm
ANP are very silly bunch for petty political gains they went extra miles to defame MQM they never realise that there was a third hand creating havoc and killing both party workers only to increase ethinic tensions in Karachi. The enemy was successful and both parties fought , ANP realised all when they lost turf to Taliban which was a bit too late. Their poor performance and neglectful behavior is very much visible for the province they have majority representation from (KPK) , yes idealogically they are much closer to MQM comparatively they are secular which makes the allies like minded bunch and under the circumstances and no choices you are right that MQM - ANP should gang up toghether to combat terror. Hope they realise and dont get fooled again
G.A. Jan 27, 2013 05:14pm
These non-religious parties then need to get together and speak in one voice against the extremists. Right wing vote bank can take a hike. They got together against Qadri because he is not violent.
Cyrus Howell Jan 27, 2013 02:17pm
Pakistan is a mistake only because Mohammed Jinnah was in too much of a hurry, and because fighting broke out before Partition was an accomplished fact. The organization of the state was much too random, and the Constitution must have been thought a magical cure.
abbastoronto Jan 28, 2013 03:38pm
TUQ: AOA It was not a "few" Muslims. Today the mainstream believes in the "Rightly Guided Islam" rather than the "Mohammedan/Quranic Islam". For an average globe dweller Islam means war, terrorism, oppression of women, ignorance, backwardness. I agree with you that nothing happened to Islam, but as George Bernard Shaw once told his heckler, what you and I can do against all this crowd telling the truth? Wassalam
Tanveer, Sialkoti Jan 27, 2013 05:12pm
Aha! you forgot the Baluchis and us Punjabis whom you Mohajirs from India fooled us for the last 65 years in the name of Islam and Urdu(Hindi with some Arabic words and written in Indianised Arabic).I claim proudly as a Punjabi but what are you-Mohajir!(man what is your origin,Bihari,UPite,what????Sindhis,Baluchis,Pakhtoons,Kashmiris all have their origin.Need we say more of your ancestry!!!The answer is here-Why do we Punjabis and others do not want any matrimonial relationship with you Mohajirs).Please fear God and stop playing the divisive policy here in our land of the pure.We have had enough.
AHA Jan 27, 2013 02:38pm
Excellent analysis, as ever. Biu will Pakistan ever wake up.
Cyrus Howell Jan 27, 2013 02:13pm
"One of the reasons given (by analysts) is that (in the Punjab), a vital section of the party
salman Jan 27, 2013 03:54pm
Omar , haad hoti hai chornay ki bhi middleast say bhatta .. you are a propagandist and your comments have all the junk except logic
Tariq Jan 27, 2013 03:38pm
Votes through the barrel of the gun! Illiteracy is so rampant that's why there are so many factions of Islam have mushroomed. Only when the public at large have begun to understand the humble pen is mightier than the sword shall our nation take a step forward towards progress!
Tajammal Jan 27, 2013 02:01pm
What about your 'Bharat' which choose last viceroy as its first Governor General.
Enlightened Jan 27, 2013 05:47pm
Excellent analysis. NFP is dead right that the roots of terror and sectarian outfits are deeply entrenched in all major establshments including sections of society and political parties as well. No wonder this cancer of violence and hatred which has now spread all over the country is weakening all parts leading to a slow death. Sad but a true commentary.
Aslam Jan 27, 2013 05:45pm
It's a lot easier to bring a Genie out of the bottle, once outside it's out of control and it becomes impossible to put it back. That's what happened as over the years Pakistan's military and civil establishment aided and abated this monster which is impossible to rein in now.
Awais Jan 27, 2013 12:57pm
"Millions of Poor Pakistanis get food to survive from Mizaars now they even want to stop that.So Sad" It not only about getting food Mr Khan but means of getting food are very important.
salman Jan 27, 2013 01:53pm
Thanks NFP , this defines the karachi unrest situation , right wing parties (PTI-JI-PML.n - sectarian outfits - Extremists parties ) against MQM's voters
Assistant Director Jan 27, 2013 01:50pm
NFP could you please let me know, if we, pakistanis, made taliban in zia's era then why can't we undone them now? just why?
Fais Jan 27, 2013 05:59pm
It is easier to destruct then to construct....
Rafi Jan 27, 2013 01:27pm
I think PPP is consolidating its minority vote bank by creating fear psychosis among religious ,sectarian and ethnic sections of our population. By introducing TUQ a sectarian dimension has been created in the minds of the voters and that helps no one except PPP.
TUQ Jan 28, 2013 09:42am
Correction @ AT; Nothing happened to Islam....if at all something may be with more than few muslims....
Omar Jan 27, 2013 12:33pm
I fail to understand how a sensible person can vote for MQM, which remains a militant organisation with a political outlook and survives by collecting 'bhatta', not just in karachi but even across middle east from people who have family back in Karachi! so is this a political party or a militant one which also has hundreds of murder cases against its leaders?
Karachi Wala Jan 27, 2013 12:59pm
Well researched and analyzed article. However, somehow NFP overlooked the fact that the largest political party in Pakistan is The military.... Anyway what this article proves? 1- None of the political party has bones to call a spade a spade. 2- All political parties (including military) without exception have elements that either openly side with extremism or have soft corner for people like Mumtaz Qadri and Hafiz Saeed, Taliban ect.... 3- Thus those who in their heart do not support Mullah-izm or Mullayyiat are also digging collective grave for themselves. 3 - Pakistan's painful downward slide will continue. Unfortunately the time is running out. Oh God have mercy......
Sohrab Jan 27, 2013 01:04pm
A candid observation. The money trail will always lead you to the source of the problem. And yes the illeterate rich tajirs want the rabid mullah militia in their pockets to use them when need be to topple a political system because in a civilized democracy they will actually have to pay taxes. The same goes for the rich who want to hide behind the veil of Islam for their own nefarious reasons. And the army which is not confident in modern warfare and latest education that it has to depend on the fringe militias. The lawyers who rose petal murderers and the judges who cannot bring them to justice. And for the waderas, the steel mill owners and the list goes on. So in short all those who matter in the decision making process in Pakistan (you may call them the establishment if you may) have a very vested interest to use the violent extremist to their own advantage. Sad indeed but true.
Bakhtawer Bilal Jan 28, 2013 04:51pm
after delivering all the religious glory and sermon, you fell for dollars. You valued your question in dollars. Go man, weigh your question in riyals.
salman Jan 28, 2013 05:49pm
Extremists banned organisations LJ , TTP , Al Qaida and a dozen others !
excalibur Jan 27, 2013 07:31am
why try to inject a subtext when it is not there and the analysis is candid?
jabir Jan 27, 2013 10:42am
"It was obvious that Qadri had some backing of that segment of the establishment that is still trying to redefine and mould democracy, government, and the state of Pakistan in its own image." Well i think army played no role in all the saga and must not be criticized for sake of it
saylani Jan 28, 2013 09:24am
Third hand , please name it .
abbastoronto Jan 27, 2013 05:43pm
One thing the Progressives must learn from the demise of the godless Soviet Union and the Left in general is that, despite all their glorious and humanist Communist Manifesto, the god-fearing shall always triumph over godlessness.
Tas Jan 27, 2013 11:41am
Just saying this is utterly stupid. If you want to make a point then use your brains and elaborate. The British did not impose the existence of Pakistan.
Dasti Jan 28, 2013 03:44pm
Few with quality are far better than million of ignorant, useless masses of flash.
abbastoronto Jan 27, 2013 06:23pm
Religions have socio-economic basis, so do the sects. Scratch the surface of any sect (of any religion) and you will find fundamental socio-economic differences. Of the two main sects in Islam, one is for universality, justice, free-enterprise, free trade. The other for tribalism, equity, big controlled business and controlled trade. One relishes the coming Globalization and Free Trade (even with India), the other fears it. One favours peace, the other Jihad. Oil and water do not mix. Qadri brings a compromise. Will he succeed?
Parvez Jan 27, 2013 06:50pm
.....and that is why the Quaid in his wisdom saw Pakistan as a secular state......and the religious right skilfully turned secular into a dirty word and have not looked back since.
abbastoronto Jan 27, 2013 06:52pm
Follow the money trail. Allah, America, or Army? Pak political parties are being funded (mostly) from outside - States or individuals, from Saudi Arabia, America, Canada. To mollify Qadri, Rehman Malik threatened to divulge his source of funding unless he relented. The Saudis may have deeper pockets today, but are they deep enough? It is a long haul. And will pak blood remain dirt cheap with time?
Caz Jan 27, 2013 07:11pm
Truth is bitter , friend.
Capt C M Khan Jan 27, 2013 07:19pm
Ali sahab you are wrong, Wahababism does not tell you to kill 40,000 innocent people. These guys are hired Missionaries ...that is why some of them are TATOOED....Anyone can buy them provided you have the right price.
ampere Jan 27, 2013 07:31pm
Ha ha..LOL
abbastoronto Jan 27, 2013 08:58pm
What happened to Pakistan post Jinnah is no different than what happened to Islam post Mohammed AS. Read your history.
pathanoo Jan 27, 2013 08:59pm
Dear NFP, You are always spot on. The rot in Pakistani politics is so deep and entrenched that if eradicated too quickly has the distinct possibility of killing the polity as there is none other (except this rotten one). It was a little, not much, surprising that you posed the support of the masses for these sectarian killers as a question Vs a statement of the fact. We all know that Pakistani politicians and the military are in cahoot with them for a long time. You of all people, at least I do for sure, know that these murderers of innocent men. women and children can not survive and prosper as they have so far without the implicit support of the masses. The tragedy is that support for them is overt and explicit. Pakistan is a mess and the future is bleak unless the people change their minds and hearts and see these hateful sectarian murderers for what they really are.......MURDERERS OF INNOCENT HUMANS. Thank You again for an excellent, well analysed and a truthful article on the state of Pakistan.
pathanoo Jan 27, 2013 09:05pm
Dear Abbas, Some deep thinking and good analysis.
Thoughtful Jan 27, 2013 09:44pm
Learn history. You are an ignorant idiot. Religion based countries or societies are bound to fail.
Caz Jan 27, 2013 10:17pm
Do yourself a favour toronto, get your head examined!
Sajjad Canada Jan 27, 2013 11:10pm
I have always wondered what the ordinary people of Germany were thinking when Hitler was committing holocaust against ordinary jews (or anyone who was not a white Christian) or why were they supporting him by remaining silent. Now after reading this article I understand how. Thanks NFP.
abbastoronto Jan 27, 2013 11:25pm
Khudawanda ye tere sada dil banday kidhar jayen, Keh darveshi bhi ayyari hai sultani bhi ayyari
G.Nabi Jan 27, 2013 11:56pm
NFP , You let MQM of the hook easily. Party has no philosophy but goes with the flow,always with the seat of power,8 years with military ruler Musharraf, then joined PPP.Ironically always beating drums of democracy.Recently declared to join the march with Qadri, then backed away 24 hours before march commenced. Party is shifting sand that is why its vote bank is only in urban Sindh.
Raj Jan 28, 2013 12:16am
The problem is still army and isi consider them as a strategic assets against India . So they don't want to eliminate them. So till army boss and isi goons realize that the sacrifice of common people and low grade army men are not worthwhile to keep so called strategic assets alive Pakistan has to bear secraterian violence and sacrifice the amm admi in the name of religion.
Laeeq,NY Jan 28, 2013 12:30am
Governments talks back and forth with Therik Minhajulquran , clearly indicates that Mr. Quadri was invited by our rulers. In order to save their face due to decresed popularity in coming elections, PPP must increase his voters bank to win the election in Punjab. Mr. Qadris followers will clearly make a large portion of PPP,s voters. There must be a deal behind the doors which lay person will never able to know. Another brilliant move by the Zardari.
abbastoronto Jan 28, 2013 12:51am
You bet. Of 9/11:
abbastoronto Jan 28, 2013 01:07am
CH: Greetings from Dearborn MI Even godless Chinese overcame the English perfidy. We have an advantage. We have Allah watching over us. Best wishes
abbastoronto Jan 28, 2013 01:09am
Caz: Greetings LOL. That was Nehru speaking 65 years ago, and he gave Pakistan 3 months max. We are still here screaming and kicking, and alive.
SureshMelbourne Jan 28, 2013 01:17am
Thanks for enlightening - have you seen the result, wait, more is yet to come. You mentioned that the muslims of India were saved by Jinnah, I bet all of them must be crying out loud why they landed in such a place where they get hammered and killed in truck load day in day out (especially the shias and hazaras).
SureshMelbourne Jan 28, 2013 01:28am
Thanks Khalid - I like your sense of humour.
Nasir Jan 28, 2013 01:40am
I don't understand the general fear of Atheist/godless, the will not kill your children any more or less than the god fearing kind. Religion is not but has definitely transformed over time all about Money and Power not the intent. But it is definitely not a socio-economic system, the moment you say that, you start controlling people, not for the common good but for the good of "religion". By the way from number 2 to 6 of your list are essentially a part of number 1. Atheism is not a "religion", you will not find an atheist or definition that will agree to that so please refrain from making such calls it is not for you "God fearing" to decide. I do agree with the last 2 para.
Nasir Jan 28, 2013 01:45am
You completely missed the point he is making
abbastoronto Jan 28, 2013 02:11pm
Oops - I meant "no longer optimal, useful". The "no" got left out. Apologies.
Ahmed Jan 28, 2013 02:12am
Afghanistan was never a friend of Pakistan. We still remember, the only country in the world who opposed the membership of Pakistan at UN was indeed Afghanistan..
Saeed Jan 28, 2013 02:16am
Everyone scare of religious extermist because they hold the power of media. Our education class are the one mainly supporting these religious view. The only reason these parties are not in power yet because they have not many educated people to vote them. Just look at our all education institues it have way more presence and influence of religious parties than in our democratic assemblies. So with all the power of people , our assemblies cannot be openly vocal and bring any laws against these extermist. And thing is different at overseas ,Pakistani educated people due to this reason , unable to impact any significant influence at western society .
Ahmed Jan 28, 2013 02:22am
LeJ type organizations are indeed Deobandis. Talibans are a mixture of Wahabis, Salafis & Deobandis since there are many sub-groups within Taliban umbrella. Re Tatoo issue, well so many countries like Turkey, Russian Caucuses, Balkans etc tatooes are very common in muslim communities there..
abbastoronto Jan 28, 2013 02:08pm
SureshMelbourne: Namaste Yes, this Muslim from India was saved by Jinnah. Do you mind? India has peace, but we have freedom, and we are willing to pay the price of freedom that is peace. Good luck to you. Yes, the Shia and the Sunni have differences that are socio-economic. Not too long ago in Europe the Catholic Axis powers and the Protestant and Orthodox Allies killed each other to the tune of 1 in 4 (120,000,000 dead in 31 years 1914-45), but today they doing ok. Your attempts to fan fire with oil and used these difference for nefarious ends will fail. Nice try though.
james Jan 28, 2013 02:42am
competing to be the best failed state. keep it up... :)
Rao Jan 28, 2013 03:30am
Who wants to "bell the cat"....Thats what everyone is waiting for....eternity
Rao Jan 28, 2013 03:41am
Allah keeps watching and Pakistan will go down the drain for all its follies and grand designs against India.
Rao Jan 28, 2013 03:43am
And becoming a headache for the rest of the nations in the world.
abbastoronto Jan 28, 2013 02:00pm
Nasir Sahib: AOA Among others, Karen Armstrong has written on
Asad Jan 27, 2013 08:13am
The news is that Sunni Tehreek has announced that its talks are in progress with PMLF PTI and PMLN. Now who ever manages to shake hands with PST will be able to get the approval of a barelvi sunni scholar Sarwat Ejaz Qadri for its voters from that school of thought. It would also be interesting if Sunni Tehreek and Minhaj ul Quran join hands for elections.
AA Jan 27, 2013 09:57am
The root causes of militant recruitments and financial donations are Palestine and Kashmir issues. Providing money for the poor is not as big a cause than helping the freedom of Muslims. Unless these disputes are solved, their is no end to this mess.
AA Jan 27, 2013 09:49am
The so-called Dawn policy "Language that is offensive to any race, religion, ethnicity, gender or nationality is not permitted". How this comment passed through the DAWN moderation when it is clearly way too offensive?
Khalid Jan 27, 2013 09:36am
I think sir, by mistake, you commented on Dawn rather than TOI.. :)
Naseem Jan 27, 2013 09:35am
It seems like every party is just trying to win the upcoming elections. There is no party who is thinking about ethics and problems of Pakistan. I think political parties should not be part of these bigots islamic parties and should condemn these parties. These parties only play with the emotions of the common people and on later stage use them.
Ali S Jan 27, 2013 09:26am
Interesting analysis, although I think NFP somewhat missed the point. Scary or not, it's a good thing people are actually voting for these parties to begin with, it's these parties' job to make something of their 'secular' status instead of bending over backwards. I hope that NFP would clearly call out these so-called secular parties for being spineless instead of shifting the blame for their faults onto the voters, but I guess that's too much to ask from a PPP jiyala. Also, Taliban is not a Deobandi extremist organization by any stretch (which is a largely non-violent conservative religious movement from India), it's closest to Wahhabism.
Ali S Jan 27, 2013 09:21am
From my personal experience, you couldn't be farther off the mark. I can't speak for the UK (I have friends from there and have heard a bit about religious divisions) but as someone who has lived nearly 6 years in Canada and 11 years in Dubai, most well-off Pakistanis there tend to be highly educated, overwhelmingly from urban areas and fairly moderate in their social outlook (unless your definition of being moderate is sipping wine and having promiscuous sex). "Visiting" countries won't give you much of a perspective aside from the one you already have in your mind.
Badhshah Jan 27, 2013 09:12am
NFP once Tweeted that though he's been voting for the PPP since 1988, this time he'll vote for MQM (for NA) and ANP (for PA). Nevertheless this article again proves he's a genuine democrat.
Caz Jan 27, 2013 09:04am
pakistan is a colonial curse and an historical mistake. It has no basis to exist.
Yawar Jan 27, 2013 06:33am
Scary, indeed. Well pointed out, NFP.
Sohail Jan 27, 2013 06:37am
Good points. It has been such behavior of non-religious parties that has eventually gone on to empower fringe religious groups and then these same groups become tools of the establishment to topple political parties. But I guess our parties will never learn.
suleman Jan 27, 2013 06:46am
is the writer trying to appease those readers who accuse him of being pro-PPP and pro-MQM?
Rubina Ali Jan 27, 2013 06:53am
No, I think he is just making them look like fools.
Capt C M Khan Jan 27, 2013 07:07am
Scary votes / Scary People Mr Paracha you are correct. I have been visiting foreign countries for decades now and have wittnessed the same. Be it UK/USA or South Africa ...The Traders Muslim Brothers (mostly illterate but very rich ) are the ones who support the TTP (Tattoed Talibaans of Pakistan) and of other countries . They have money which they donate. So Sufferings for the Poor Pakistanis on the streets and villages continue. Millions of Poor Pakistanis get food to survive from Mizaars now they even want to stop that.So Sad. No wonder the Political parties have to bow in front of them to get DONATIONS and votes. So this is the FLIP side of Democracy I would say.
suleman Jan 27, 2013 07:10am
Gehri bat