Dr Haider Mehdi

  • I vividly recall driving through the Islamabad-Rawalpindi Highway in the autumn of 1999, a few days after General Musharraf’s military coup of October 12th. It was a pleasant and serene evening and a steady calm prevailed in the atmosphere. As I drove on the main road, I saw a large billboard ...

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  • I consider it a sheer stroke of good luck that I grew up in Lahore at a location which has been an eyewitness to Pakistan’s political, social, educational, and intellectual history, inclusive of all political movements that ever took place and that involved large-scale public participation. ...

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  • Public disillusionment with Pakistan’s nascent democracy has rarely run higher than it is at the moment. The PMLN ruling leadership has been unable, in the last 14 months to act even in areas where there has been widespread agreement that measures were absolutely necessary. It appears that ...

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  • I find it hard to avoid the conclusion that the Pakistan of August 2014 is well on its way towards a decisive journey and real democracy – or at least, a brave attempt is in the wind to initiate a determined and resolute process towards that cherished national goal. The recent six year ...

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  • A dear friend of mine who is closely related to a family of the highest echelons of political and economic power in the Punjab told me a couple of weeks ago that the present Punjab Chief Minister personally came to see the “elder” in his family and told him that he (the CM) did not know ...

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  • There is a method in the madness.– a saying adapted from Shakespeare’s HamletIn all seriousness, I cannot figure out on my own: Was the decision to start a military operation in North Waziristan made in Islamabad by the incumbent civilian leadership of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, or ...

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  • One of the most eminent political philosophers of all times and the architect of the Russian Revolution, Lenin, once wrote: “There are decades when nothing happens; and then there are weeks where decades happen.” Indeed, Modi’s ascendancy to political power in India has been one ...

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  • Admiral (R) Iftikhar Ahmed Sirohey, the former Chief of Pakistan’s Navy and Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff, reads and reviews my columns in The Nation regularly and, from time to time, gives me useful and critical feedback on them. On my last week’s article, “Ab ki Baar, Modi ...

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  • The word “sarkar” in the BJP election slogan which is the title of this article has two meanings in the Hindi language: 1) it is a title of respect for someone revered for his position and power, and 2) it means the “government.” Hence, one translation in English of this ...

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  • This is an emotional, intellectual and philosophical reflection on the state of the Indian elections – on the clear possibility that Nardendra Modi will be the next Indian Prime Minister. And my reflection is a positive one, rather than pessimistic. As the BJP’s popular slogan goes, ...

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  • Several recent political events in the ever antagonistic, crisis-ridden landscape of Pakistani politics, mostly during so-called democratic, civilian rule, have proven beyond a doubt that Pakistan’s army is the most sacrosanct national institution for the majority of this nation’s ...

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  • First, I would like to share with readers an extract from one of my columns titled “How Will the Cookie Crumble?” that appeared in The Nation on December 24, 2009. This extract is reproduced for the purpose of retrospection on the state of affairs in which present-day democratic ...

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  • It appears to be a reasonable assumption to make, given the socio-economic-political ground realities in present day Pakistan and the performance track record of nearly six years of civilian democratic rule, that the majority of common Pakistani citizens are asking important political questions: ...

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  • President Barack Obama’s visit to Saudi Arabia last Saturday came with a decision to dramatically expand America’s covert programme to assist the Free Syria Army - it remains to be determined what type of weapons will be transferred or whether Washington will accept that Riyadh hand ...

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  • Prime Minister: This is a brief report for your eyes only on the state of affairs on Pakistani streets, examining how common citizens are thinking, feeling and questioning the prevailing political discourse as well as viewing their own existence in the present-day socio-economic environment within ...

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  • Prime Minister: As economic and political chaos continue to explode in present-day Pakistan and the threat of further destabilization in the country mounts, the responsibility of the common citizens to engage in the political process and help the nation attain a constructive political discourse ...

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  • “Aristotle implies that through witnessing tragedy, we purge ourselves or gain relief. This suggests tragedy has some moral or therapeutic function in society.” –Jennifer Wallace: an author on tragedyFrom Shakespeare to modern authors back to ancient novelists and philosophers, ...

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  • “Many are the things that manSeeing must understandNot seeing, how shall he knowWhat lies in the handOf time to come?”–Sophocles, Ancient Greek tragedy playwright   In any conflict resolution situation, the fundamental causes of the prevailing antagonism, hostility and ...

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  • The word “prodigy” in the title of this column is used as a notable happening and an act so extraordinary as to inspire wonder.India’s unusual tough response over the arrest of its diplomat Devyani Khobragade has forced the US to initiate an ‘inter agency review’ to ...

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  • “Rather than boasting of calamitous missions, the politicians responsible for them must be held to account.” –Seumas Milne, Guardian NewsPakistan is about the only country on this planet where Politics, the ancient art and science of managing the affairs of the state and its ...

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  • “The sanctity of human life is not diminished because it is violated by a democracy. But our rulers would have us believe otherwise to stifle criticisms, and, as the legendary public intellectual Noam Chomsky would put it, to manufacture consent.” –Adel Safty, distinguished ...

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  • “We have the choice to try for a new world every day, to tell what we know of the truth every day, to take small actions every day.”    –A.L. Kennedy“Write us a chapter to be proud of.”   –Bono This article is based on a purely ...

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  • At last the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman, Imran Khan, has taken a definite policy stance against the continuation of the US drone attacks on Pakistani territory and against its citizens. In a National Assembly speech on Monday, Khan categorically set the November 20th date for the PML-N ...

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  • An Important Note: I urge the Pakistani foreign policy establishment in Islamabad to study/review this article as the basis of a paradigm shift in the PML-N leadership approach to Indo-Pak relations rather than consider it a brusque criticism of Nawaz Sharif’s government. The fact of the ...

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  • “If only I had met, on this search, a single clearly evil person.”            –Timothy Garton Ash, The File A Note to Indian Readers: Some Indian readers reacted to my Oct. 2, 2013 column, “Islamabad’s Myopic View ...

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  •     “How can we live, without our lives?”     –John Steinbeck: The Grapes of WrathThere was a time when millions of Muslims in the Indian sub-continent struggled to liberate themselves from an occupation of a colonial power to live their own ...

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  • Self-denial of fundamental ground realities and a humiliating illusionistic perceptive, largely induced by US pressures and its unending demands, has become a political and morally bankrupt dilemma for Pakistan’s foreign policy establishment in Islamabad in its political discourse towards ...

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  • The Federal Interior Minister is urged to read this article not as a rebuttal to Islamabad’s incumbent government and its recent peace process initiative for Karachi. In fact this article offers an alternate policy option on the issue based on commonly accepted democratic practices and an ...

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  • I urge the national policy decision-makers and the foreign affairs managers in Islamabad to read this article as a policy document. It illustrates some of our political leaderships’ flawed perceptual orientation about contemporary global political realities and offers out-of-the-box solutions ...

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  • Let us all applaud Islamabad for its overwhelming eagerness to strike absolute and lasting peace with New Delhi. The Pakistani Prime Minister, in his first televised address to the nation, has claimed that he “sees his election victory as a mandate for peace with India.” Indeed, we can ...

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