Benazir Bhutto

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Political Princes: Struggles of Rahul Gandhi and Bilawal Bhutto

Rahul Rahul Gandhi is the heir-apparent to the oldest political party of India and the face of a dynasty that ruled the country for over 40 years. (Photo: Reuters)

Two days ago, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, scion of the legendary Bhuttos, celebrated his […]

September 23rd, 2015|governance, Pakistan, Politics, Published in the Quint, SouthAsia|0 Comments

Don’t expect a miracle to happen

The ignoble massacre of children and teachers in Peshawar has led to unprecedented anger and grief across the country. The state has responded by ending the moratorium on the death penalty and convicted terrorists are now being hanged. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has announced that the days of differentiating between the good and the bad Taliban are over. A parliamentarians’ committee is reviewing counterterrorism measures that need to be adopted. The military leadership has undertaken the diplomatic-security initiative to engage with Afghan authorities on potential action that can nab the Taliban leadership based in Afghanistan.
All these measures are important and noteworthy. The ongoing Operation Zarb-e-Azb is here to stay and perhaps, is likely to be extended to other areas. But the central question is, whether these tactical moves are sufficient to tackle the hydra-headed Frankenstein’s monsters that Pakistan’s flawed national security policy has created, sustained and nurtured, sometimes with outside support and on occasions totally on its own. There is a name for this Frankenstein’s monster and it is known as jihad — a narrow, self-seeking interpretation of an otherwise lofty and ethereal religious concept. The struggle embedded in jihad — according to most scholars and not semi-literate clerics — is self-improvement. Instead, this has turned into a spectator sport where private militias carry out state objectives in the region and within the land of the pure.
This trajectory is an old one. It did not happen overnight nor was it a ploy of the Unites States and other powers to get Pakistan into a royal mess. In 1948, ‘jihadis’ from the tribal regions started with the battle of Kashmir that continues to date. Conventional wars or private ‘jihad’ efforts have brought neither glory to Pakistan nor relief for the Kashmiris, most of whom are sick of India and Pakistan treating their land and rights as national fiefs. […]

Shehr-i-Qatl ke log (People of this Murderous City) – a poem

Reposting this 2007 poem:

Alam kay iss jazeeray mein
Jahan sab per ujar gaye
Aur saari musafitan be-nishaan ho gayee
Teri tasveer neechay gulab mehaktay hain
Ham, teray qaatil, teray qasoorwar
Doshee thehray

Aye Rehbar-i-ba-kamaal, tasveeer-i-bemisaal
Tu ne roshnee ko ik naya ma’ani diya tha
Apnay nangay pairon ko ghaseetee
Aur apnay nangay sar ko dhanptay
Kiya kiya dishnam na saha that u ne?
Aur is shehr-i-qatl ke neem murda log
Tujh pe hairaan thay

Yeh qatl meray saray manzaron ka hai
Yeh ant meray tamam khawabon ka hua
Tu manon gulabon talay pataal ki nazr hui
Go ik lehad se mehkay ga yeh alam
Magar ham sharminda, apnay aansoo-on se lartay
Apnay khawabon ka sauda haathon mein uthaiye
Tajrubay, tajziyae aur nohay parhtay rahian ge
Is ghao se ristaay rahain ge sab rastay […]

December 27th, 2013|Poetry|2 Comments

Trial and errors of Musharraf: Trying a former army chief marks the beginning of a new chapter in Pakistan

Here’s something I wrote on Musharraf for The Economic Times


Pakistan’s former president and army chief Pervez Musharraf has been indicted by court in the Benazir Bhutto murder case on three charges of murder, conspiracy to murder and facilitation of murder.

Predictably, Musharraf has denied all these charges. This is a major shift in Pakistani politics, which has been dominated by generals, their invincibility and utter lack of accountability.

Earlier dictators such as Field Marshal Ayub Khan, General Yahya Khan and General Zia ul Haq, who arguably did much more damage to the country, enjoyed an unstated immunity.

Zia died in a plane crash but Ayub and Yahya were never questioned or summoned by the courts.

It is to the credit of Pakistan’s democratisation, its relatively free media and an assertive judiciary that an otherwise untouchable army chief is being held accountable for not just Benazir’s murder.


August 23rd, 2013|Extremism, governance, Pakistan, Politics|1 Comment

Institutions, accountability and the UN Report

The Pakistani citizenry has a right to know and live in a rule-based, just society where political assassinations are not the norm. If the political elites make the UN Report another area of political contest and vilification of the PPP, we are bound to lose the game. Perhaps forever.

A tribute

AHSAN JAN ALLAWALA a student from Karachi has sent this contribution to be published at Jahane Rumi. I am publishing this for it is straight from his heart, even though so much of hope associated with her has been frittered away. (RR)

”Muhtarma Benazir Bhutto – As I See It”
Dedicated to Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto

I now begin this verse with the same magical motto

“Roti, Kapra aur Makaan”

Created all the magic that ignited her charm

Starting in life as a daughter of a titan […]

January 8th, 2009|Guest Writer|0 Comments

The Zardari conundrum

by Raza Rumi ( published in the NEWS)

By all statistical estimates and anecdotal evidence, Pakistan’s middleclass has grown during the last decade. The visible manifestation of this historically significant trend was the spontaneous outrage at the dismissal of the chief justice in 2007 and the robust movement that followed. However, the other side of this sociological transformation has been the capture of the “opinion” in Pakistan by the overdriven urban middleclass segment now backed and voiced through a powerful and not always responsible electronic media.

Amid the torrential attacks and doomsday predictions on Asif Zardari’s candidature for presidency, a few reasoned voices have attempted to remind the country that fortification of a fractured democratic process requires civilian ascendancy. No, say our wise ones. They are enraged at the corruption tales, and media and real trials. There is a deafening silence over the fact that without a single conviction an accused has spent 11-and-a-half years in jails and suffered solitary imprisonment, torture and pressure that could have easily broken a common back. Admittedly, our president-to-be is hardly an angel. But this is not about morality or middleclass affront or even a thousand stories of international media that have suddenly become so credible. Not long ago, the vanguard of middleclass morality were telling us how biased the international media is about Musharraf and how twisted its reporting was on the US-led war on terror. All of a sudden Zardari tales have become legit, true and worrying. […]

September 6th, 2008|media, Politics, Published in the NEWS|7 Comments