Hassan Javid

  • TIf there is one good thing to be said about the events of the past few weeks, it is that the façade has finally crumbled and even the pretense of the elections being free and fair is no longer sustainable. For those willing to see, the writing has been on the wall for some time; the ...

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  • TWhy is Nawaz Sharif’s conviction by an accountability court so troubling? Why is it that people with impeccable democratic credentials and a history of fighting for the rule of law find it worrying that the former Prime Minister and current head of the PML-N has been sentenced to ten years in ...

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  • TUsually, by this point in time, the contours of the contest have been relatively clearly defined. Candidates have been awarded tickets, manifestos have been published, and leaders have taken to the streets of Pakistan as they swing into campaign mode. There are always some issues that continue to ...

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  • TIt’s a tale as old as time. Idealistic man decides he wants to change the system, is frustrated by the structure of the system and the hurdles in puts in the way of challenging the status quo, decides to fight the system by using its own weapons against it, and in doing so becomes the same as ...

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  • TThis week, three women were in the news for three very different reasons but were nonetheless subjected to the same depressingly familiar torrent of abuse and misogyny that tends to be directed towards women who step out of line in the Land of the Pure. Excerpts from Reham Khan’s forthcoming ...

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  • TThe completion of the current parliament’s tenure is an important milestone in Pakistan’s consolidation of democracy. For only the second time in the country’s history, a democratically elected government has been able to serve its term and lay the ground for a peaceful transfer ...

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  • TThe past few years have not been kind to the political polling industry. The election of a conservative government in the UK in 2015, the election of Donald Trump in the United States, and the Brexit vote are the most visible and high-profile examples of how pollsters have failed to forecast ...

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  • TRamzan in Pakistan is always a time of contradictions. Fasting is ostensibly meant to be a test of both patience and piety, with those who do it being expected to demonstrate moderation in their behavior; in addition to all of the prayer and worship, those who fast are told to control their ...

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  • TFrom the very beginning, Pakistan’s politics has been characterised by the tension between a state that has sought to consolidate and centralise its power, and federating units that have tried to gain greater autonomy and freedom. This tension has manifested itself in several ways, from the ...

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  • TAll bets are off. Conventional wisdom suggests that the 2018 elections should have been a walkover for the PML-N. Indeed, until a few months ago, there would have been few observers willing to suggest otherwise; a stranglehold on the networks of patronage and influence in Punjab, the gradual ...

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  • TConsider the following: Under Pakistan’s notorious Hudood Ordinances, women accused of adultery or fornication could be arrested without the need to provide any supporting evidence to corroborate the allegation. Under the same laws, promulgated during the Zia years, women who had been raped ...

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  • TAcademics across the country are receiving threats from unknown numbers and anonymous callers. At least one, Ammar Jan, has been removed from his position at Punjab University for his efforts to raise the political and social awareness of his students. In a similar and not unrelated set of ...

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  • TIt’s not quite the same as the 1990s, but there are plenty of signs to suggest Pakistan returning to the tumultuous politics of those troubled times. For those whose memories of that period are hazy, it is worth recalling precisely how the nascent democratic order that was first put in place ...

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  • TOne curious feature of elections in Pakistan is the relative absence of programmatic campaigns put forward by political parties. Programmatic politics is based on the idea that parties win support by making policy promises, often rooted in their manifestoes, that they would then be expected to ...

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  • TPredicting the future has never been a particularly easy thing to do. History is littered with the ignominious pronouncements of experts who spoke too soon on issues ranging from technology to politics and if there is one thing that is certain, it is that change can come from unexpected directions. ...

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  • TWhy is the 23rd of March celebrated in Pakistan? In school we are taught that the Lahore Resolution was passed by the All India Muslim League on this date in 1940, marking the League’s formal commitment to the pursuit of independence from colonial rule. It was also on this date that Pakistan ...

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  • TWhat do the senate elections and the Lux Style Awards have in common? Both events are flashy, high profile affairs in which small groups of people cast secret ballots to select winners from amongst a shortlist of candidates nominated by a panel of industry heavyweights. Similarly, both events are ...

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  • TIt is one of the great paradoxes that characterizes Pakistan; a state founded in the name of Islam, whose citizens are overwhelmingly Muslim, and where the majority religion enjoys unquestioned influence over policy and the public discourse, continues to find itself recoiling in fear from allegedly ...

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  • TWhen the Dawn Leaks scandal first erupted, discussion of one important, perhaps even vital issue slowly fell by the wayside as debate raged over the precise nature of the meeting that had allegedly taken place between the military and civilian leadership. As questions were asked about who had said ...

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  • TTwo things are increasingly becoming clear as Pakistan hurtles towards its next general elections. Firstly, the Supreme Court’s decision to bar Nawaz Sharif from heading the PML-N introduces uncertainty about the continuity of the democratic process while also adding fuel to speculation that ...

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  • TThe PTI’s defeat to the PML-N in the recently held by-election in NA-154 is one of those events that few would have predicted beforehand, but which makes complete sense in hindsight. Prior to the election, the PTI’s leaders and activists had struck a triumphant tone, confident that they ...

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  • TWhen people look back on the decade of democracy Pakistan has experienced since 2008, they will probably see that the experience was a mixed bag. On the one hand, much like the 1990s, this period was characterized by a constant focus on civilian corruption and alleged misdeeds; from Memogate and ...

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  • THere is the situation that currently prevails in the Land of the Pure. Tomorrow, in a fit of anger or passion, or even as part of a deliberate plan, I could walk up to someone and murder them. Should I subsequently be arrested for this crime, several outcomes are possible. Assuming there is ...

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  • TWhen the Zia regime banned student unions in 1984, the reason for doing so was manifestly clear. While the official justification invoked the specter of violence between different factions of politicized students, the reality was that the move was an extension of long-running attempts by the state ...

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  • TIt sounds like the setup to a bad joke. A former president, a Canadian-Pakistani cleric, and a legendary cricket captain walk on to a stage. Except, this actually happened earlier this week, when long-time political frenemies Asif Zardari, Tahir-ul-Qadri, and Imran Khan descended upon ...

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  • TIt is a crime of unspeakable proportions. The rape and murder of seven-year-old Zainab in Kasur has united the people of Pakistan in grief and anger, sparking protests across the country. As is usually the case in such instances, the government has followed a well-worn script; the police has ...

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  • TSo, the United States will no longer be providing Pakistan with military aid. For the past week, in response to a tweet by an American president who, if Michael Wolff’s account in Fire and Fury is to be believed, is utterly unsuited to the office he occupies, the airwaves have been saturated ...

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  • TIn 2017, much was made of the role played by the internet and social media in facilitating the spread of ‘fake news’. This concern over the dissemination of false information arose primarily out of the alleged role it played in influencing politics across the West; from the election of ...

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  • TPakistan has never been a particularly democratic state. This does not mean it has not had periods of democratic rule, flawed as they may have been. Instead, the reality is that regardless of the type of regime Pakistan has had – democratic or authoritarian – governments have usually ...

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  • TIf you happened to have been passing by the Punjab Assembly in Lahore earlier this week, you would have been met with what has become an increasingly familiar sight – a massive traffic jam caused by a protest outside the building. However, unlike the past couple of months, where a sit-in ...

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