Never a dull moment. And, increasing requests for quotes, opinions and reactions. Sometimes I wonder if it makes a difference? I am putting some of these quotes in a purely self-indulgent moment.
Most recently, this story in Washington Post by Karin Brulliard quoted me. Entitled “In Pakistan, coup looms but does not strike” here is my feel-good view:
“There is an enlarged democratic space,” said Raza Rumi, a newspaper columnist who counts himself among the optimists. “So this is an interesting moment. The government may or may not survive . . . but the assertion of the civilians is inspiring.”
DNA on Pak government getting ready to face the top court. Here:
Raza Rumi, a leading Pakistani columnist, said the elected executive and unelected institutions had “entered into a logjam”.
He said, “The parliament will debate a loosely worded resolution on constitutional governance while the Supreme Court will hear two important cases that can potentially endanger the future of the civilian government.”
Rumi noted that the military had reportedly decided to back the apex court.
“Clearly, the civilians have gained some ground as the military, despite its power, has refrained from launching a coup,” he said.
Columnist Raza Rumi suggested that state institutions needed to find a way to work together. “The best option for all players is to work out a formula on power-sharing where the elected and the unelected arms of the state can coexist within their respective constitutional jurisdictions,” he said.
..the failure of democracy is not simply due to the failings of the civilians. Laying blame at the doorstep of ..establishment, he argues that “the civilian government is still not fully in charge; factors like foreign and security policy doled out by unelected foreign bodies with vested interest control the workings of the country.” On some level, it seems that we understand these factors and thus never come out on the streets en masse.
“That’s their strategy: Let’s fight it out, and if we win, we retain the power, and perhaps we go to the senate elections with that moral victory,” said Raza Rumi, a columnist for the Express-Tribune, an English-language newspaper. “If not, we go down as martyrs.”
Raza Rumi, a Pakistani columnist, said: “Gilani has announced that he is not stepping down… the PPP has decided to fight it out and will appear before the court. There is a history between the PPP and the judiciary as an institution and the PPP wants to leverage this court case to rebuild its image as the ‘victim’ party.”
Raza Rumi, a prominent commentator, said Rehman’s appointment came in the wake of a national crisis that could have “endangered the future of Pakistan’s fragile democracy”.
“She is being viewed as a consensus candidate who has support within important power constituencies of Pakistan,” Rumi said.
“Her record as a committed democrat and human rights defender implies she will articulate the voice of the civilian government within US power centres.” …
“Though, Haqqani’s loss is irreparable, Rehman’s new role has been welcomed by the intelligentsia of Pakistan. Mind you, they are quite different and there will be a change in both the style and substance of the Pakistan-US engagement,”
Raza Rumi, a political and cultural commentator, says “Unfortunately, the uncalled for NATO attack has mobilized public opinion. [But] instead of constructing an alternative discourse, which highlight our concerns and national interest, we are being ‘reactive’ and the ban on BBC by cable operators is one such example.”
According to Mr. Rumi, the government could have stepped in to prevent the ban. Private ownership in Pakistani media exploded under the tenure of former President Gen. Pervez Musharraf in the early 2000s, but some recent examples of censorship have free-speech advocates worried.
Earlier this month, Pakistan’s Telecommunication Authority issued directives to mobile phone operators to ban a list of some 1,500 words (the ban has not yet been enforced), and last year some Facebook and YouTube were blocked over the “Draw Muhammad” cartoon competition.
“Pakistan’s military is in no mood” for a coup, said Raza Rumi, a columnist. “The real threat for the government is a proactive Supreme Court which has taken a serious notice of noncompliance with its orders.
“The civilian government is stuck between two powerful institutions, which are no longer comfortable with business as usual.”
On the Taseer vigil held by civil society to remember the brave man, this was my reaction:
Columnist Raza Rumi said he was disappointed by the PPP presence at the vigil. “The PPP is in such disarray that they could not gather a few hundred workers to remember a brave man.”