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Category Archives: Pakistani Politics

Sikandar ka Blunder


Let’s start with the (sort of) happy ending. No one died, no one got killed. But how we ended up with this situation is nothing short of a miracle. To recap the climax, SIkander the shooter from Hafizabad had held up the capital for five hours. Zamurd (millions of spelling variants available) Khan, a former MNA from the PPP got ... Read More »

Islamist rallies and protests in Karachi

ASWJ rally at Lasbela Chowk

For the last six weeks, I was in Karachi doing research for a paper I’m writing. The project is on Friday prayers and Islamist mobilization. What I was trying to understand was why so many Islamist protests and rallies — and, when they get violent, riots — happen on Fridays. What’s so special about namaaz-e-juma? I’m going to leave the ... Read More »

Growing Pains: Reflections on Party Development in Punjab and KP

In the limelight (photo: Dawn)

In the past month or so, two unrelated and currently ongoing stories have highlighted some interesting aspects of political party development in Pakistan.  The first is Pervaiz Khattak’s Chief Minister-ship and PTI’s management of the coalition in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, and the second are the debates, or lack thereof, on local government elections in Punjab. The reason why I bring them up ... Read More »

Income Taxes are Still Low

By: Alan Cleaver - CC BY 2.0

In my previous post, I argued that income taxes are very low in Pakistan. Some friends raised valid points in contention, some angry people commented on other issues (I was arguing about the rate of income taxes in isolation, not the wider out-of-tax-net situation), and others suggested comparing to previous years. A friend sent his firm’s take on the new ... Read More »

Tax Haven

By: Images Money - CC BY 2.0

As soon as there is some talk of budegtary or taxation in Pakistan, a loud lament is heard across the commentariat where the salariat class cries that only they are taxed, only they do pay the tax as it is withheld at source and the tax burden on them is increased in every budget. While there is a lot of ... Read More »

What Happens to Musharraf?

Pirate Pervez Musharraf

Musharraf has been back in Pakistan for a while now. He defied the advice of the Army, the ISI, most of his advisors (however few are left) and apparently his family as well. Reported rumors suggest his prime motivation to return was to respond to critics who accused him of cowardice. A man of Musharraf’s ego does not take such ... Read More »

Legal Diaries: Good Judges and Bad Attitudes


How often do you hear Pakistanis say: what’s the point of laws, they’re hardly enforced?  That’s the perception.  Laws exist on paper.  Rights are violated on the street. And courts are dysfunctional, delays inordinate, judges may be purchased, and only the privileged get their day — all true allegations. But the devil’s (advocate) is in the details.  Spend a week ... Read More »

Loins on the campaign trail


A visual story of the PML-N Loin as seen through the eyes of a camera on the campaign trail. I thought I would have had a few dozen more photos but couldn’t crawl my way back into the timelines due to post-election post frequencies. A more robust system will now cache images as they arrive for a regular transmission of images of ... Read More »

Guest post: A firsthand account of rigging in General Elections 2013

Photo: Dawn

Note from Ahsan: this is a guest post outlining certain irregularities that took place on election day in Karachi, from someone who wishes to remain anonymous. The purpose of this piece is to bring to attention the ease and the different ways in which elections can be rigged at a polling station. A polling station is the primary unit in ... Read More »

Guest-Post: Multiplex Revolutions

This Chambaili

(This is a guest-post by a friend who wishes to remain anonymous)   What if you were provided the following clues and asked to guess what was being discussed: 1.      Previously apathetic, middle class citizens rising up against an established political establishment which includes a corrupt powerful ruling party with three generations of hereditary leaders and a wheeling dealing ... Read More »