Tag Archives: NWFP

Nawaz Sharif: A Statesman or a Compulsive Liar?

It was the afternoon of March 25, 2010. We were waiting for the session convening notification from presidency since the summary requisitioning the Joint session of the parliament had gone to the President at around 11:30 am earlier in the day. Normally it takes only couple of hours that the summary is approved by the President, faxed to the Speaker’s chamber / Secretary to the National Assembly who acts as the presiding officer for the Joint Parliamentary Session.

Why we were waiting for this important fascimile from president’s office was, this joint session had to be a historical one. After more than three decades, the spirit of provincial autonomy and sovereignty of the Parliament had to come back through a parliamentary committee’s recommended Constitutional Reforms Package. This package was to be passed by two third majority of the Houses separately. The reason everyone wa so sure of this much awaited development, to happen on March 25 was that every political player openly expressed its satisfaction over the constitutional package, which so surely appeared as the first ever consensus constitutional amendment document after the 1973 constitution itself.
Continuously in touch my source in the National Assembly, who appeared to be quite bored of my repeated phone calls, I stuck myself to TV Screen and laptop.When finally I contacted Speaker’s chamber directly at around 4:45 pm, for my entrance pass for the historic joint session, I got a rather unexpected answer. The official at the other end of phone line informed me that there’s was no summary for “tomorrow’s joint session” and asked me where did I get the news from, for any such session?

WHAT? Now I was sure there’s something going on in Islamabad, which none of us would be expecting. The summary was moved this morning, and was not only confirmed by our source in PM secretariat, but also couple of senior journalists who cover Parliament since long. We were, unofficially though, confirmed by all these sources that the summary has been faxed to the Presidency at around 11 – 11:30 am. And now Speaker’s Chamber tells us there was no plan for holding the session! What it could be? Despite my repeated attempts to call PML-N mid-level leadership, I could not get them. Confused and disappointed I tried to focus on what I was writing. And heck. There was the ticker going under the newscaster telling that the Session was postponed!

Whatever had happened must be disastrous, I thought. Pakhtunkhwah? But no, only this late morning, an internal meeting of PML-N had unanimously decided to vote for Pakhtunkhwah, according to a private news channel. Then what? The riddle soon was solved by Mian Nawaz Sharif, the Quaid of Muslim League Nawaz who held a press conference at 6 pm only to tell people that his party did not agree with the constitutional amendments the Committee for Constitutional Reforms (CCR) had come up with.

Little did he care for the questions he was evading, that arose from this sudden U-turn. The bizarreness of his pretexts to go back on his own words was so obvious and ugly that one was left wondering about how opportunist Pakistan’s politics had become! Thanks to the frequently coming boots, with the pet food they bring for shortsighted politicians, who are now completely unable to think beyond their petty personal interest.

What I did not understand from Mian sahib’s long face and sore argument, is not one point. Its a whole host of factors that come in.

ONE: He said he and his party did not agree with the constitutional reforms package in toto. The question arises, why couldn’t he and his party members tell this simple fact to the media and the Committee itself? They had consented in letter and spirit less than twenty hours ago and even till 11 am on the day of the press conference. Its a matter of common sense that the Prime Minister had not moved the session requisition summary to the President for the joint session, without taking into confidence biggest opposition party!

TWO: Mian sahib totally evaded the question on the name of Pakhtunkhwah and tilted the controversy towards the mechanism of Judges’ appointment issue. His own party members had on record told the media hours earlier, that the CCR had reached the consensus on Judges’ appointment issue.

THREE: Throughout the day on March 25, prior to the press conference, Islamabad’s offices were echoing with different kinds of news about the internal meeting of PML-N discussing the name of Pakhtunkhwah. There was absolutely no question about the judicial appointments that came to any discussion anywhere. Does that mean Mina Nawaz Sharif was lying with the people when he said in the Press Conference that the only major disagreement was on judicial appointments?

FOUR: In the Press Conference and after wards, Mian Nawaz Sharif kept saying that “the intent of making this committee was mala fide because we wanted to scrap the 17th amendment and the government linked it to other issues, only to delay”. May I remind Mian sahib that the Terms of Reference for the Committee were finalized with mutual consent, which was sought by the Speaker through Leaders of Opposition in national Assembly and the Senate. Secondly, why Mian sahib always choose to be dishonest with people so blatantly? Total scrap of 17th amendment was never in discussion. In fact, it was quite clear what all the parties unanimously agree to keep / remove from the 17th amendment. This amendment has many usefull clauses on which no sane person can disagree. These include reserved seats for women and minorities and voting age of 18 years among many others.

Mian sahib’s selective amnesia doesn’t even allow him to recall that most of Pakistan’s problems emanate from center’s refusal to grant provinces their rights. When he says that scrap of 17th amendment was simple just because it affects him and only him personally, but the provincial autonomy is too complex to discuss because it has no bearing on his person but has far reaching effects on people?

So, may we deduce that Mian sahib was lying to the people when he said that Committee’s linking with overall constitutional amendment was mala fide?

FIVE: Mian sahib in his landmark press conference (for which historian is never going to be able to forgive him if he doesn’t rectify it by immediate action), also said that he had major disagreement on judicial appointments. He was however, not able to tell, what those differences were, and why he did not voice those differences when he gave a go-ahead to the requisitioning of the Joint Session few hours ago? Was he lying to the nation?

SIX: Mian sahib told the media in the press conference that the government has taken out his party’s recommendations from the final document. He could not specify those recommendations niether could his party members in March 26 meeting of the Committee. Was he again, lying to the nation?

SEVEN: In March 26 meeting of the Committee, the members from other parties took PML-N to task and demanded what their reservations were, and why those reservations were not presented to the COmmittee before making them public through the Press Conference. The PML-N members had no answer. A feeble voice from Ahsan Iqbal told that the reservation was about the name of Pakhtunkhwah. Oh well. But Mian sahib in his press conference said it was due to judges appointment!

Are the people gone nuts or the PML-N and its leadership is insulting people by telling as many lies as they can?

EIGHT: Why PML-N thinks that it can override the decision of people’s representatives from the province under discussion? ANP being the overwhelmingly largest supported party in Pakhtunkhwah, had been able to complete the process of consultation at provincial level and brought the decision of the people of Pakhtunkhwah, to the CCR much earlier than March 25 press conference. What moral grounds Punjab’s PML-N has to defy so shamelessly the wishes of the people of Pakhtunkhwah? Is it because Mian sahib’s son in law comes from the non-Pakhtun area of Pakhtunkhwah? Or is it because Mian sahib’s right hand and prominent member of CCR Sardar Mehtab Abbasi is also against the name Pakhtunkhwah? Is the Royal Son In Law more important than the majority of Pakhtunkwah Province?

Is Mian sahib that entangled in personal politics in addition to being a compulsive liar?

NINE: This biggest achievement of current parliament having come up with a consensus document for constitutional reforms, was to give a huge moral boost to the President who had to address the joint session right after the announcement of the package. Was that the reason of Mian sahib’s sudden change of mind? This further is confirmed by March 26 statements of PML-N party leaders who have been asking for presidential address as soon as possible, in accordance with the constitution which asks for presidential address in the beginning of every parliamentary year. is it smart politics?

Is Mian Sahib still not able to learn from his frictional politics of 1990s?

TEN: Mian sahib had been extremely concerned about the Charter of Democracy and President Zardari’s “going back on his words” and “not keeping promises” – whereas one is at loss on making out the details of what promises Mian sahib has been talking about? If it was Judges’ issue, it was resolved as early as March 2009. What other promises he always rants about?

But keeping it aside for a moment, lets come to the charter of democracy. People would be interested to learn, which clauses of the Charter are not being observed by which party? PML-N has been insisting on the mechanism of judges’ appointment in total departure from not only the charter but from all democratic norms of Parliament’s sovereignty and the constitutional guarantee of the separation of powers. Whose agenda is he serving?

ELEVEN: And last but not the least. Mian Nawaz Sharif was much bothered about the constitutional amendment introduced by Pervez Musharraf, but is not moved an inch on the black laws introduced by General Zia ul Haq, the most ferocious of the dictators of Pakistan whose doings have assisted Musharraf in making of the Pakistan what it is today.

Mian sahib was quite passionate about the 17th amendment, and that too, its clause which deals with the presidential power of dissolving the assemblies and the clause that bars third time premiership. But the 8th amendment never occurred to him as the one introduced by a dictator. Why? Is it because that doesn’t hit him personally but hammers the people at large?

Why Mian Nawaz Sharif is doing such a blatantly personal politics? Painting himself as a pious statesmen? Putting himself at highest moral pedestal to point finger on other leaders of this country?

Is Mian Sahib a statesman or a compulsive liar? Why he should not be altogether shunned by the people?

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You're Being Watched Mushy Baby!

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This article was published in The Post in October, 2007 after the NRO promulgation. I've posted it here just as a record of history.

BB 4

As Pakistan treads through most dangerous decade of its political history, people keep witnessing densely shaded political kaleidoscope. Things have been especially precarious during past one week. Amid an intense public desire for the judiciary to play its independent role in country’s political well being, the apex court passed a judgment not very popular. Nothing could have been a surer recipe for political chaos than an adamant soldier to get re-elected as president, somersaulting politicians, a rubber-stamp parliament, a puppet executive, a divided judiciary and confused public.

 

Life has never been bed of roses for Pakistan’s uniformed president, General Pervez Musharraf after March 9, 2007 when top judge refused to succumb to the pressure exerted by the government to leave office. Invigorated by people’s support, judiciary risked going against the will of the government and first time in Pakistan’s history, people got an inkling of judiciary’s independence. Under the hang-over of a successful campaign for the restoration of Chief Justice of Pakistan, lawyers’ community announced to launch a campaign for the restoration of “true democracy” and for a president without uniform. Qazi Hussain Ahmad, the aged leader of extreme right winged orthodox religio-political party, Jamaat-e-Islami, joined hands with Imran Khan the only MP from Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf, for filing a petition against the election of president in uniform in the apex court. mush

 

Once again, people’s heightened expectations from recently got “independence” of judiciary bucked up the lawyers to make the petition a rallying point. On September 29, 2007 however, the Supreme Court saved the day for Musharraf by dismissing both the petitions on “technical grounds” for not being maintainable.  Lawyers and civil society, intrigued but not disappointed by this judicial drama stretched through the past two weeks, vowed to fight the battle through the Election Commission of Pakistan. “The decision of the apex court that the petitions challenging General Pervez Musharraf’s taking part in presidential election in uniform is not maintainable, might be on the grounds that it was premature as at the time of filing the petition General Musharraf had not filed his nomination papers as presidential candidate before the Election Commission,” Justice (Retd) Fakhruddin G Ibrahim said and added “In fact, nothing has been decided still and all issues raised in different petitions will be challenged again in a more effective manner now”.

 

The lawyers, now immersed in political game, announced their candidate for presidential race. Justice (Retd.) Wajihuddin Ahmad, a respected former judge who had to leave office when he refused to take oath under notorious Provisional Constitutional Order introduced by Musharraf immediately after his taking office of the Chief Executive of Pakistan. Proposed and seconded by religious parties’ alliance Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), Wajihuddin filed his nomination papers on September 27. Things went more baffling when Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) nominated Makhdoom Ameen Faheem as its Presidential candidate.

 

All Parties Democratic Movement (APDM), an alliance of opposition parties minus PPP, went on with their decision of resigning from the National Assembly and dissolution of NWFP Provincial Assembly, where MMA, a prominent member of APDM, was in power. The decision has not been an easier one for Jamiat-e-Ulamai Islam Fazlur Rehman group (JUI-F), a coalescing unit of MMA. Posed with potent threats of internal rifts that might amount to its ultimate breakage, MMA parleys took just too long to decide about the resignations issue. Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the JUI Chief, popularly dubbed as ‘soft opposition’ and ‘the king of double talk’, went head over heals to convince party mates not to resign. Qazi Hussain Ahmad, the Jamat-e-Islami (JI) leader, however, took it as a threat to his party’s credibility and insisted on resignations as decided by the All Parties Conference convened in early July by Mian Nawaz Sharif.

 

The complex political horizon got thickened by PPP’s resolve to support democracy by negotiating with the General for a broader national reconciliation – a move completely un-understandable by Pakistan’s politicians whose politics revolve around trumpeting superficial political morality. Little can they sense that an all powerful military general cannot be pushed to give off power, unless is negotiated. While PML-N chief did not stop cooing the song of “threatened democracy” by Bhutto’s talking to the General, BB kept on playing table talk with the dictator’s front men for a national consensus formula that would include her three point agenda; ONE: repealing the constitutional amendment that includes bar on third term of the Prime Minister and 58-2(b); TWO: dismissal of all corruption cases on politicians, which were registered by successive political regimes against each other in their bid to eliminate opposing party from the political scene of the country, since 1985; and THREE: doffing off of the uniform by the president alongside bringing electoral reforms to ensure free and fair elections in transparent manner.

 

In an unexpected move from the presidency on October 2, withdrawal of all politically motivated cases against many politicians and thousands of non-political victims was announced. The announcement was also made nominating General Ishfaq Pervez Kiani, former spy chief, as Chief of Army Staff, which is being discussed in all drawing room discussions as being Bhutto’s recommendation, since Kiyani is said to have a “good working relationship” with Benzir Bhutto. The next day, Maulana Fazlur Rehman together with fellow clerics resigned from the National Assembly. His clever move of announcing dissolution of provincial Assembly on September 29, almost four days before the scheduled dissolution, gave government enough time to move a No-Confidence Motion against the MMA Chief Minister (According to the Constitution, a Chief Minister cannot dissolve the Assembly if a No-Confidence Motion comes against him). Exactly according to the expectations, the Provincial Assembly opposition members (the ruling party at federal level) filed a No-Confidence motion. To counter which, smart strategy should have been to take a vote of confidence next day and go for dissolution. On the contrary, the Chief Minister adjourned the session till Oct 8 – two days after the presidential polls.

 

Benazir Bhutto, meanwhile, successfully crossed all milestones of negotiations with the General and agreed on a “National Reconciliation” Formula in lieu of which, PPP would not resign from the parliament thus ensuring a legitimacy of presidential polls and giving the General a space to give off something as a gesture of reciprocating. A politically sagacious Bhutto has shown a farsightedness par excellence in that only this kind of give and take could make a long serving dictator give off maximum of his power to political actors.

 

A National Assembly Session was heard to be summoned on Oct 3, but was delayed due to ongoing parleys with Bhutto. As a successful breakthrough on these parleys could lead to hurried issuance of an Ordinance, which can only be done when Parliament is not in session, the National Assembly session was delayed for two more days. 

 

As a confident president calmly announces his resolve to contest presidential elections while in uniform, and working on post election business details with Bhutto, Justice ®Wajihuddin Ahmad, another presidential hopeful, moves a petition to the Supreme Court for a stay on presidential elections. After three days of rigorous debate, the court adjourned on Oct 5, a day prior to the elections, to Oct 17 refusing a stay on elections and barring any announcement of results till Oct 17. The decision makes both sides happy and hopeful. It seems that the newly freed judiciary is not yet ready to do away with doctrine of necessity. It has generated an unbearable disappointment among those sections of civil society, who were hoping the judiciary will now be able to play its long awaited role for strengthening democracy.

 

Maulana Fazlur Rehman is left alone by JI, its coalescing partner after a rift over resigning from the provincial Assembly of NWFP. While Maulana was facing sheer opposition from his own party members against resigning from NWFP Assembly,  he was consoled by Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, the top leader of the ruling Muslim League who issued orders to his party men in the Provincial Assembly of NWFP to withdraw the No-Confidence motion. It has taken all the air from the Opposition balloon, leaving JI and Nawaz League as a shaky opponent.

 

As these lines are written and presidency has announced a National Reconciliation Ordinance, right wing politicians powered by a short sighted civil society and media are raising hue and cry on the Ordinance. People are being dragged to believe that the Ordinance is something which is going to give way to corruption in country. Little can we realize, had this move not been there, Musharraf would be keeping on with his unbridled power despite newly found alliance of media and civil society.

 

The life seems bed of roses for powers that be, which have traditionally been against the idea of a pro-people polity in the country. Bhutto being the only hope for people right now, is giving unflinching signs of returning back home. It is hoped that people of Pakistan would see the events with greater maturity, rather than being manipulated by the media hostage to the designs of establishment.

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Positions at NWFP Integrated Health Program

NWFP- INTEGRATED HEALTH PROGRAM

MEDICAL DOCTORS (Male & Female)

Primary responsibilities

–     Carrying out primary health care consultations.

–     Referring emergencies to hospital and follow-up of referrals.

–     Working in collaboration with a multi-disciplinary team: paramedics and social workers

–     Supervise activities of the paramedics in the team.

–     Organizing and conducting Medical Camps

–     Conducting issue specific health awareness sessions (facility/community based).

–     Support drug management.

–     Prepare reports on a daily and weekly basis and identify suspected epidemic diseases.

Requirements

–     MBBS with PMDC certification with working experience with (I) NGO is an asset.

–     Practicing MD for a minimum of 2 years.

–     Male position requires experience in general medicine and paediatrics while female position requires experience in general medicine and in Gynae/ Obstetrics.

–     Proven ability to work in a team

–     Good communication and reporting skills

–     Ability to travel.

–     Experience in emergency situations or with mobile units is an asset.

–     English and Pushto fluency required.

Lady Health Visitors (LHV)

Primary responsibilities

–     Carrying out primary health care consultations (ante/ post natal care, general consultations under supervision).

–     Participation in organizing and conducting Medical Camps

–     Growth monitoring/nutritional assessment of children.

–     Referring emergencies to hospital and follow-up of referrals.

–     Working in collaboration with a multi-disciplinary team: paramedics and social workers.

–     be involved in advocacy and awareness activities together with other mobile team members

–     Prepare reports on a daily base.

Requirements

–     Possession of certified LHV diploma.

–     Practising since a minimum of 2 years

–     Working experience with NGO is an asset.

–     Experience in emergency situations or with mobile units is an asset.

–     Proven ability to work in a team

–     Good communication and reporting skills

–     Ability to travel

–     Pushto fluency required.

FEMALE HEALTH EDUCATOR / LADY HEALTH WORKER(LHW)

Primary Responsibilities:

–     To promote healthy behavior among patients and in the community.

–     To visit homes to identify cases in need for PHC services and follow-up patients if necessary.

–     To identify needs of the population and specifically among the women.

–     To prepare weekly reports related to the activities.

Requirements:

–     Possession of Diploma of LHW / Health Educator

–     Practising since a minimum of 1 years

–     Proven ability to work in a team

–     Good communication skills

–     Ability to travel within the district and to visit homes

–     Working experience with NGO is an asset.

–     Experience in emergency situations or with mobile units is an asset.

–     Pushto fluency required.

HOW TO APPLY

–     Please send your resume with covering letter to cordaid.pakistan@cordaid.net or P.O. Box 236 Islamabad by 2nd November 2009. Please specify the post you applied for in subject line of your email or on the envelope. Due to the urgent need to fill the position, we might select some one even before the closing date. Only short-listed candidates will be contacted.

–     Note: Candidates who are available to join within 7-10 days after closure of the application date will be given preference.

Cordaid is an equal opportunity employer and offers attractive remuneration package.

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Save Pir Baba – Another Sufi Saint Likely to Be Attacked

 

Shrine of Hazret Pir Baba

Shrine of Hazret Pir Baba

As the news comes in about Taliban’s moving into new Buner areas, one is left wondering about the missing writ of the state, lack of competency and the willingness of security paraphernalia and a flagrant and shameful inability of Pakistan Army to get rid of terrorists. According to the latest news pouring in from the fateful Buner valley lying north east of Peshawar bordering NWFP, Taliban have moved into the new areas. Earlier, they had their presence in the valley but promised on last Thursday, April 9, 2009 to leave the valley. But by the mid day on Friday, April 10, they had crept into the heartland Buner and occupied it without any resistance from the law enforcing agencies.

 

As the word goes, most of the policemen and FC personnel are either scared of Talibaan or are ideologically close to them. In either case, it is glaring defeat of the state to keep its writ unchallenged (which is not very women/people-friendly anyway).

According to the inhabitants, Taliban are roaming around in the valley scot free while police and FC men are keeping themselves confined to their posts. Does it bother now? It is now an old and familiar story. People of Islamabad witnessed it in 2007 when armed men and women from Laal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa tried to takeover the writ by openly challenging it on streets, abducting and beating women who they thought were not following shariah. It was followed by a bloody war between the militants and the law enforcing agencies. The whole gory incidence happened under the nose of Inter Services Intelligence, country’s apex spy agency whose Head Quarter lies within the range of 2 kilometers of Jamia Hafsa/Laal Masjid. No one sacked ISI’s Director General who must have been either in the know of transportation of heavy ammunition in the seminary, or may be a part of it. If neither, then he must be the most incompetent person in Pakistan to head such a sensitive organization. Our army of TV anchor persons (who’re normally quite apt at castigating politicians for their “corruption” and incompetency) could not even utter this strange discrepancy in the role of state’s spy network.

Now in Buner valley, we’re witnessing another dimension of agencies’ role. Whatever the motives of these agencies have been, it is quite clear that their designs have not worked in favor of neither the people nor the country. Last night’s TV reports showed people of Swat talking about Taliban’s “benign” character with a visible and unmissable fear. Most of the people spoke about how wrong the decision of establishing Lashkar has been. This viewpoint coincided with the news item that homes of tribal elders who established Lashkar have been occupied by Taliban. Why the police and the FC is not doing anything was manifest when a police officer (with a fogged face obviously!) was seen on the TV screen telling that higher authorities have ordered not to mess with Taliban. Sounds familiar?????

The tales of agencies’ involvement in such a mess, Taliban’s Islam and its implications on women, all aside, one gets extremely upset to know that the occupying force of Taliban has captured the Shrine of sufi saint Hazret Pir Baba. The shrine has been locked by Talibaan and people have been asked not to visit the shrine.

Hazrat Sayyed Ali Tirmizi, commonly known as Pir Baba, was a 16th century saint. His family migrated from Afghanistan to Delhi when his father joined the army of Emperor Hamayun. He moved from one place to other throughout his life spreading the message of love, humanity and peace. In the last years of his life, when Emperor Akbar consolidated his rule, Pir Baba settled in Buner permanently. Later, his followers made the shrine a rallying point for struggle against British imperialism.The village where his shrine is located came to be known as Pir Baba. Baba’s magnificent mausoleum attracts thousands of people every year in the spring season. One would hardly find a Pathan who does not know Pir Baba and revere him. Those of the southern districts of Kohat and Bannu sincerely believe that a prayer offered at Pir Baba’s shrine for marriage is invariably granted; disappointed lovers go to Pir Baba even to this day.

Earlier, the Taliban terrorists have destroyed shrine of revered Saint sufi poet Rehman Baba. It is absolutely lamentable that these sufi saints who attracted thousands of people to the folds of Islam by their message of kindness, humanity, love and peace are being persecuted posthumously by these primitive killers. And more despicable is the fact that all of us are seeing silently as if nothing is happening. Love is under trial, peace is being persecuted, sufism is being harrassed and people are being coerced to distance themselves from the symbols of these values, why doesn’t it bother?

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