Some Desi Electoral Data

Urban Rural partyshare PMLN

I was asked to run some numbers using local electoral data today, and a couple of potentially interesting things came up. The first is a visibly pronounced blip in party seat and vote-share between 1997 and 2002, and the second is an observation on where larger parties stand on the rural-urban seat issue. As most stories go, General Musharraf’s mauling ... Read More »

Three Poisons of Sindh


Before I knew it, summer had disappeared and in a flash the sceneries of Northern Sindh, Tharparkar and the Indus Basin were a receding memory.  I drank the water, I survived – never mind that it had effluent.  I was resolved to never buy again or cut any wadera kid any slack thinking they’ll change the system and run feminist ... Read More »

The BS of fingerprint ID-ing ballots


From day one, Imran has been crying about ballot stuffing and has been asking for verifyication that every vote was rightfully cast by people from that constituency and no ballot stuffing occurred by verifying the thumb prints recorded on ballot papers. So the ECP jumped on the bandwagon and said that in disputed constituencies, such an exercise would be done ... Read More »

Reading between the lines of the ASWJ spin


It has been a slow, gradual process, but it has finally happened: the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat — or the Party Formerly Known as the Anjuman Sipah-e-Sahaba (ASS), Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) and Millat-e-Islamiya Pakistan (MIP) — is apparently now being treated as a credible political force in Karachi. Here’s an example: on Sunday, Geo TV aired a special broadcast on ... Read More »

Inequality in Europe’s top four football leagues

Football inequality

Over the weekend, Barcelona beat Levante 7-0 in a breathtaking display of attacking football. Of course, because this is Spain, a great team cannot beat a non-great team convincingly without inviting polemics on inequality, TV contracts, and Marx. Consequently the sterling quality of football was lost amidst cantankerous complaints about “Scotland with the sun” (remember all those UEFA best XIs ... Read More »

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 »

Wings of Gold, Feet of Clay


Or how you learned to start worrying and stop loving Icarus   You remember growing up in the Pakistan of the 90s. There were certain truths that you accepted as fact. Pakistan was a gift from God, Indians would never accept the existence of your homeland, Pakistan was brimming with talent in all facets of life all of which was ... Read More »

Umru Ayyar Arises

umru cover

In a way, books taught me about capitalism.* *(not really, but it’s a good opening line.) Not that I ever read any book on capitalism itself. But growing up in Karachi, the political economy of accessing books threw me into the arms of the free market. At first, there was the school library. I used to borrow just about every ... Read More »