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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Media Watch Desi: IJT Assault in PU, Dalrymple, Kardar on State Bank, Chishti on Zardari-Faheem...March 18,2008

Seems Imran Khan has not visited the PU lately therefore the restive IJT is hitting on the PhD students- t

Assault on PhD students by IJT in PU

LAHORE: Students of the Punjab University (PU) on Monday denounced the university administration for not punishing activists of the Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT) for beating three PhD students in front of PU Vice Chancellor (VC) Dr Mujahid Kamran.

Application submitted: The students said that they had named the activists in their application and had also provided video clips identifying the perpetrators to the university administration. They alleged that some elements on the inquiry committee were protecting the perpetrators and were also responsible for allowing IJT activists to illegally reside in the PU hostels.

A New Deal in Pakistan By William Dalrymple

Democracy has never thrived in Pakistan in part because landowning has traditionally been the social base from which most politicians emerge, especially in rural areas. Here Pakistan is quite different from India, where the urban middle class quickly gained control in 1947. That class has been largely excluded from Pakistan's political process, as, even more so, has the rural peasantry. There are no Pakistani equivalents of Indian peasant leaders such as Laloo Prasad Yadav, the village cowherd turned (former) chief minister of Bihar, or Mayawati, the dalit (untouchable) leader and current chief minister of Uttar Pradesh.

You can see the results of a system dominated by landowners in a town like Khairpur, a short distance from Sukkur in the northern part of Sindh. As you drive along, the turban-clad head of the local feudal lord, Sadruddin Shah, with a curling black mustache, sneers down from billboards placed every fifty yards along the road. Shah, who was standing, as usual, for no less than three different seats, is often held up in the liberal Pakistani press as the epitome of all that is worst about Pakistani electoral feudalism. After all, this is a man who goes electioneering not with leaflets setting out his program, but with five pickup trucks full of his men armed with pump-action shotguns and Kalashnikovs.

For generations the area has been dominated by Sadruddin's family, the head of whom—currently Sadruddin's father—is known as the Pir Pagara, "the Holy Man with the Turban." The Pir Pagaras are not only the largest and most powerful of the local feudal landowners, but they are also the descendants of the local Sufi saint. Normally Sufism is a force for peace and brotherhood—Islam at its most pluralistic and tolerant. At the other end of Sindh I have attended the annual 'urs—or shrine festival—of the Sufi saint Shah Abdul Latif, where there is ecstatic Sufi music, the singing of love poetry, and men and women dancing together—something that would horrify the orthodox 'ulema.

Shahid Kardar on the “state” of the State Bank

If Islamabad will not desist from the use of force to turn the State Bank into an ineffective institution then there are two options that the new government may wish to consider: first, the more sombre one, to place clear limits in the Fiscal Responsibility Law on what it can borrow directly from the State Bank and the other, the more flippant one, to reduce the current role of the Bank to mere regulation of banking institutions (a task which, incidentally, it is also finding it difficult to accomplish with Islamabad egging on the Competition Commission to embarrass the Bank publicly by threatening to penalise banks for behaving as a cartel when compensating depositors), outsourcing the monetary policy management functions to the Ministry of Finance, considering the control that it is exercising over it today!

Dr. Naeem Chishti on Faheem Zardari Scuffle

On the contrary, he (Fahim) will shift the battle from the National Assembly to the Sindh Assembly where he has far more chances of success. Pakistan Peoples Party has 88 seats in the Sindh Assembly out of 168-members. The party must demonstrate the support of at least 85 MPAs to be able to form government in Sindh. In other words, if Makhdoom Amin Faheem can win support of only three members, he may frustrate Zardari’s designs to form Syed Qaim Ali Shah’s government in Sindh.

Although PPP circles including Zardari and Faheem continue to deny that there is a rift in the party, the whole world knows that, borrowing Shakespeare’s expression from ‘Hamlet’, “there is something rotten in the state of Denmark.” It is because of this rottenness that some ‘unknown’ elements displayed banners against Faheem in Islamabad on Monday 17th March on the occasion of first session of the new National Assembly dubbing Faheem ‘traitor’.

Despite that Faheem will not leave the party. He will rather like to be sacked than leave the party so that he can present Zardari as an oppressor and himself as his helpless victim. Zardari is unlikely to let him fulfil this desire. Therefore, both Zardari and Faheem will continue to claim the leadership of PPP and PPPP for quite sometime until the latter is sacked from the Central Executive Committee of the party through a coup in the similar manner in which Zardari has frustrated Faheem’s dreams about becoming Pakistan’s prime minister after Benazir Bhutto’s assassination. The battle between Asif Zardari and Amin Faheem is in fact a battle between the intelligence agencies and the democratic forces of Pakistan.


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