Londonstani on twitter
Previous posts

Not the front page

.. more like page 4 or 5. Maybe even the back page.

Front-page news in Pakistan is often boring. Seriously, there comes a point when you just want to be told if a coup has actually happened. Everything else will be wrapping tomorrow's nans.

Like many other places in the world, news coverage in Pakistan often has more to do with the political leanings of the people who own the outlets than it has to do with actual, legitimate interest or news worthiness.


Whereas in those other parts of the world, the really interesting stuff gets ignored or repressed, in Pakistan it just appears buried in local news or the comment section. So, it was with great interest that Londonstani read Umar Cheema's article about the tussle between the old and new faces in Imran Khan's PTI party.

"Imran Khan-led PTI has accepted political heavyweights in bulk, majority of them constituting the lot of people who found space shrinking for them elsewhere. Although their decision of joining has given a boost to the PTI, the political baggage they carry along is something hard to defend within and outside the party."

Read the article in English-language daily, The News, here:

The reason this is interesting rests on Imran Khan's promises of a new politics. Many observers have previously said that Imran is setting himself up for a fall if he presents himself as some sort of magic bullet cure for all of Pakistan's problems. As Pakistan scholar and former foreign correspondent Anatol Levin pointed out recently;

"The truth is that Pakistani politics revolves in large part around politicians' extraction of resources from the state by means of corruption, and their distribution to those politicians' followers through patronage. Radically changing this would mean gutting the existing Pakistani political system like a fish. Nor is it at all certain how popular the process would really be with most Pakistanis."

Imran has become something of a saviour-in-waiting for many Pakistanis, particularly the young, which is understandable but also a little scary. Pakistan's problems are going to need concerted action by many, many people over a number of years. There are no quick-fix solutions of the sort favoured by taxi drivers all over the globe. The answer for Pakistan lies in developing a new political culture.

However, it seems as though Imran's political party is in many ways business as usual.

Cheema describes Imran Khan's reaction to a resolution pushed by long-time party members wary of the new big wigs coming on board; "As the reading was done, nobody stood up to oppose but Imran Khan. 'The resolution stands rejected,' he said, explaining that he did not want to cause any embarrassment to the new comers."

No consensus, debate or compromise, just the clunking fist.

If you're new to the Imran Khan phenomenon, a good place to start is this post on the Cafe Pyala blog:

Pakistan is indeed, as he hammers home again and again, saddled with a parasitic elite that has insisted on usurping, keeping and abusing power to the detriment of the many hovering around the poverty line; but his reductionist identification of them as people who have strayed from the one faith and become 'westernized' is sadly flawed. The powerful elite of which he speaks include the shallu-wearing landlords and industrialists that are now part of his movement for justice. They can also wear beards, uniforms and burqas as well as jeans and ape Saudi Arabia as well as Western pop culture, but apparently that isn't quite as bad."

Read the whole thing here.

Buried in the corner of another English daily, The Express Tribune, was a story illustrating that there are politicians who do "get it".

One is Marvi Memon, an activist and member of Pakistan's People's Assembly, who has launched a new political party in the southern Sindh province.

“Sindh has unfortunately been blessed with a lot of political parties,” she [Marvi] said. “But the mindset – the ‘bothaar’ (feudal) – exists in a sector in-charge or in an SHO [local officials] or feudal. These are old politics.” The ‘new politics’ is good governance, rule of law and institution building."

Another politician, Mehtab Rashidi, sounded a pretty circumspect tone about what the head of the party would need to accomplish.

“Let’s say a few hundred thousand show up – and I’m being optimistic (at estimating that),” she says. “But what next? That’s a big question mark.” She points out what many people demand of anyone eyeing an election: “He has to work on the roadmap. What type of change? How can you change the mindset overnight or in weeks? What happens if early elections are called – is he prepared for that? He has to do a lot.”

This all reminds Londonstani of Stephen Cohen's comments last week in the Express Tribune (weekend magazine, this time) that it's not clear how, but Pakistan is bound to change. 

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (24)

The article was very interesting. It shows that you really like to read.
Floating Candles

June 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterFloating Candles

You are really great sharing your opinion about everything. I like your post here.

June 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTacoma Divorce Lawyer

It shows in this article that your a wide reader. The opinion you have was quite interesting.

I'm looking forward for more information about this topic.

It was nice to read post that has an interesting topic. Great post.

July 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterElectrician Seattle

I enjoyed reading your post. Keep posting good stuff here.

I'm glad to read your post. It has an interesting topic.

July 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSEO Google Local

Keep sharing such excellent post like this in future too. Informative and good article. I like it very much. Have very interesting content to read out.

July 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSeattle DUI

I wonder what's wrong in this world today... Some news can be so sad.

July 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlaska Hunting

Politics today was very complicated. It only shows how our world changed so much.

July 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterColorado Springs SEO

I thought it was going to be some boring old post, but it really compensated for my time. It was worth reading.

July 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlaska SEO

Great post. I really appreciate that you post this and keep posting more.

August 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTacoma Bankruptcy Lawyers

I really have enjoyed this great information so much. This was really great to read.

August 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDUI Lawyers Seattle

for me, it is okay to read about politics daily than tragedies...

every time i read a magazine, i always opened it first at the lifestyle section. it makes me feel good :)

September 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPallet Racks

I hope there'll be a good conversation in terms of politics.

Everything will be in proper if it will be done in a right way.

September 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTacoma Bankruptcy Attorney

The aspirational gangsta swirls us into a bhuna of gang-fights, inter-faith romance and organised crime, The truth is that Pakistani politics revolves in large part around politicians' extraction of resources.

September 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlaska Bear Viewing

Through proper ways, anything can be solved.

September 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDivorce Tacoma

It can be held by an officer that has a good faith.

September 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSeattle Divorce Attorney

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>
« Ministry of You-Can't-Make-This-Up | Main | Bangladesh foils coup attempt »