Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Media wars

It is essential to seek out enemy agents who have come to conduct espionage against you and to bribe them to serve you. Give them instructions and care for them. Thus doubled agents are recruited and used. [Sun Tzu, The Art of War]

Before March 9, 2007, it was all dark on the horizon of Pakistan. A military dictator was ruling while dressed in khaki uniform; he was intent upon continuing his rule for the next 5 years; and the criminal politicians were all ready to help him rule for more than a hundred years. Such was the hopelessness that no rational being could dream of a silver lining. One could only fear what happened to Iraq after it grabbed Kuwait, may not happen to Pakistan.

All of a sudden, and it was just like a bolt from the blue, a hope started taking shape. First time in Pakistan, the point was made that the government must be run by the book. So, the lawyers’ movement taught the people of Pakistan three lessons in democracy: constitutionalism, rule of law, and fundamental rights. During this movement, the dynamics of Pakistani society changed the repercussions of which will be felt far deeper into the future.

One of the new forces that emerged in the midst of that movement is electronic media. Rather it may rightly be asserted that not only the plethora of TV channels got allied and aligned with the people at large, but they realized their power also. That made them self-conscious elephantine! Ensuing of a fierce competition among them was quite natural. In a Robbinsian economic sense, viewership as well as advertisement revenue was scarce, and they fought for a larger share forgetting all the norms and rules of the game. The one which won not only a larger portion of the viewership but revenue also became the target of envy and conspiracies by other lesser obtainers.

Previously, it was all melodrama. There was only one TV channel, the state-run PTV. For its survival, it was dependent on the doles from the state, and it blew the stat’s trumpet. In order to survive, it’s still extorting Rs.35 every month from every TV set owner by using the might of the state. Emergence of dozens of new TV channels, which of course were to be run like businesses, completely altered the scene on the stage. The state-run PTV slipped behind the curtain, and lost both its viewership and revenue to the new breed of TV channels, which in no way were dependent on the state. Instead they depend on their market of viewers who indirectly yield revenue to them. Thus, in the world of electronic media in Pakistan loyalty to the market is the rule, and loyalty to the state and its institutions is an exception (loyalty to the constitution is quite something else).

As the art of the statecraft requires, the private TV channels were brought under a regulator, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA). However, in essence the ruling political parties came to control these channels for political gains and privileges. That the regulator in this case, as in so many other cases, was not given autonomy and the government kept it under its authority, it remained spineless, resulting in a chaotic broadcasting environment. A number of attempts on the part of these private TV channels to self-regulate failed, which provided ample space to the state and its various institutions and agencies to dictate their agenda items to this or that TV channel.

But that was not like PTV days, the golden days of melodrama and happy eulogies. The competition among these channels drove them to uncharted territories and unfathomed depths. They have already realized their elephantine powerfulness during the lawyers’ movement when they helped defeat a military dictator. Now they have their own fish to fry. They started questioning every practice of the state, its various institutions, including the security entities; the pivot and the point of reference was and is the constitution of Pakistan. The stories and acts which previously went untold and unheard, now found tongues and ears. The tales of Saleem Shahzad, Umar Cheema, and Hamid Mir had a rebellious tone, and challenged the perpetrators. It may also be explained thus that where politicians were required to act boldly was taken up by a TV channel itself. This shows the utter desperation of those who have no hope of justice.

Under the circumstances, the most relevant question is about the role of the state and the politicians. Related with it are other crucial questions, such as: why the constitution is not followed in letter and spirit by the various institutions and entities, be they security or otherwise. Or why the politicians fail to enforce a constitutional rule in Pakistan. Why there is blatant power play which in fact repudiates the spirit and provisions of the constitution. Why the politicians fail in securing the fundamental rights to the citizens, be they journalists. Why the politicians fail to set up independent and autonomous regulators and let them do their job.

In other words, it means had there been rule of law in Pakistan, no institution and entity would have engaged itself in un-constitutional activities. Had there been independent and autonomous courts, no suppressing of the fundamental rights would have been possible. Had there been due accountability mechanisms existent at every level of the state institutions including the Army and the intelligence agencies, there would have been no cases such as of Saleem Shahzad, Umar Cheema and Hamid Mir on the one hand, and on the other, no media campaigns against any security entity may have been unleashed. But all that remains completely absent in Pakistan; which emboldens every individual and every institution to do what they like.

No doubt, the anarchy prevailing in the realm of electronic media in Pakistan at the moment may not have been the case, had there been an independent and autonomous PEMRA, which would have acted in the nick of time in case of any irregularity committed by any media house. However, the PEMRA is still conspicuously absent from the scene whereas weeks have passed that a media war has been raging in Pakistan. That speaks volume about the failure of the ruling PML-N’s leadership!

This article first appeared in Pakistan Observer on May 29, 2014.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Mr. Khan! Let’s have a candid talk

Mr. Khan now be serious! Somehow the circumstances have made you a political leader. Now you lead a political party, which has a considerable following; no matter which class or classes it consists of. The followers of your party, they are all Pakistanis, and enjoy the same political choices as the followers of other political parties do.

It was just non-serious and out of sync when recently you spoke in Islamabad, and said, ‘I was boring; New Pakistan was not anywhere on the scene coming into being. Then I thought something had to be done.’ Regarding this, you need to ask yourself: Is it political? Is there in politics anything like boring, and that it exhorts you to do something, such as organizing rallies and doing “political fun.”

It’s quite a pertinent question that must be put to you and you must answer it clearly; no hanky-panky, please! What you and your party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, stand for. As it may not be a difficult task to see what other parties stand for. But, mind it, it’s next to impossible to decipher what you and your party stand for. What’s the unique message you have set up a new political party to deliver?

Here are two issues you and your party took up just for nothing, and, it appears, then left them as they were, just for nothing. Raymond Davis case; and the Nato-supply blockade case. It may be asked why in the first instance these cases were taken up, and how they fitted in with your total political outlook and the PTI’s political philosophy, if any.

In the same vein, it may be asked why the PTI and you have gone for a tirade against a media-house. What political gain will it bring to the PTI is not clear? Contrary to it, it tells about the untrustworthiness of your political acumen. As a matter of political grounding, every politician keeps his / her eyes focused on the intended and unintended consequences of his statements as well as his / her actions; he / she knows if he / she says “Yes” to something, at the same time he / she means “No” to something. So by targeting a media house, you have exposed your siding with the security agencies.

That’s the politics of the moment which even a novice politician knows well. Mr. Khan, you know your recent outbursts, regardless of the fact whether it has been caused by some personal injury to you or it’s a matter of PTI’s policy, have earned you and your party a negative rating, even in the eyes of those who voted for your party. Mr. Khan, have a moment of reflection and calculate what your party is gaining out of it.

So, be it known to you that whatever you say and do is political and has political implications; i.e. it will earn you some voters and at the same time lose some voters. So be so gracious to yourself and to your party so as to make an estimate of political loss and gain before you go for anything.

Let’s come back to the point: what is it the PTI stand for. Ah, you might retort, ‘we stand for a welfare state!’ Fine, that’s a good answer. But you see all other parties want Pakistan to be a welfare state. How your party is different from them? Or, you see that your party is not a notch different from other political entities!

So, is your party belong to the same ilk? Or if different, kindly prove that by your actions: this is how in thinking and in practice you are not like the lot of the politicians the citizens of Pakistan are having and tolerating! Do something that brings credibility to your views and actions, and makes you stand out of the crowd.

Mr. Khan, try to reflect why you so often change your positions. Or if you change your position, try to make others understand why you changed it! That will make you credible! Also, Mr. Khan, political positions once taken should not be altered on whimsical grounds. Your followers and others are rational beings; they have every right to question you on your changing of your stances regularly.

But, then again, the question is what political position you or PTI has taken that you both stand for over a long term perspective. That aims at trying to understand what unique identity PTI possesses and you enjoy as its lone leader. And that means what political contribution you and your party is capable of making to the polity of Pakistan. And that amounts to asking also how you and the PTI may be able to partake in the political evolution of Pakistan.

Ji, Mr. Khan! that implies a negative judgment too. In case, you and your PTI has no program which may push forward the political and constitutional evolution of Pakistan, what else you and your party is in the political arena for then. Let it be clarified here that political and constitutional evolution is what nations and countries strive for and they strive for it so that the citizens are free to enjoy fruits of their talent and efforts, their lives and their freedoms.

Or would you mind enlightening the electorate, what else is there you and your party has in store for the hapless people of this country! Mr. Khan, be positive and try to give the electorate something they may be proud of, such as dignity of their persons and self-respect, which other political parties do not have on their agenda; and mind that for this to achieve one do not need to be a prime minister, or in the government.

For this to achieve, you and your party needs to do politics with responsibility by espousing and following certain principles. For instance, while in opposition in the center you and the PTI may opt for exposing the merciless day-to-day exploitation of the ordinary citizens by the machinery of the state of Pakistan, which you are so eager to be chief executive of. And you and the PTI, while in power in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhawa, should exemplify this is how the provincial machinery facilitate the citizens with due respect instead of degrading and exploiting them.

But, for this to achieve, you and the PTI need to get your act together; try to do it. Best of luck, Mr. Khan!

This article first appeared in Pakistan Observer on May 22, 2014.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Mr. Prime Minister! It’s time to act

Mr. Prime Minister! You are better placed than any other Pakistani citizen, since you are sitting in the center of the state. The office you occupy by virtue of your electoral mandate is where the state authority converges, and it is from where authority flows to other institutions of the state in accordance with the dictates of the constitution of the country.

Mr. Prime Minister! You are the Chief Executive of the state of Pakistan, and as far as flow of information regarding the affairs of the state is concerned, in comparison to you this writer is merely an ignoramus. In case the present government of your party is toppled, the first casualty will be you, the prime minister; that means whatever future plans are being hatched anywhere, or whatever conspiracies are being woven in any quarters of the corridors of the powers against your government, you must be in the know. Also, I may assume that being the prime minister some of the intelligence agencies might directly be reporting to you.

However, the writer feels apprehensive, though his sources of information are only those common outlets of news and news-analysis which somehow do not pass on the truth as it is to their readers / audience; but no doubt some of the crumbs make their way to us. This writer reads daily newspapers diligently and tries to see what analyses are available on various websites, and how the political analysts on the TV talk shows are seeing the situation prevailing in the country. That helps him to form a view of what is happening and what may be going to happen in the days or months to come. On the basis of all that, the writer feels something bad is brewing in the higher echelons of the state, and as Iqbal the poet has said: Teri barbadaiyon kay mashwaray hain aasmanon mein (In the heavens are going on consultations for your destruction).

Mr. Prime Minister! In view of these developments it’s time to get your act together, and take a stock of the situation which is getting from bad to worse day by day.  This writer may not be all that correct, but there are conflicting signals coming from the members of your cabinet and functionaries of the government who smell a rat. That means all is not well that seems running well, and the opinionated commentators feel it may not end well too.

Mr. Prime Minister! Pakistan is already 66 years old and is yet to be identified as a state run strictly by the book. You know the reasons well, since you worked with them who do not wanted it to be a constitutional state, and at the same time you tasted their wrath when they overthrew your government and trampled the constitution.

Mr. Prime Minister! No doubt you were courageous enough then to keep the dictates of the constitution intact and took certain daring steps such as dismissal of General Pervez Musharraf, the then chief of the army staff. But at that moment, the constitution of the country, which is ultimately a moral document, was defeated by them who are endowed with the might of the gun in accordance with the same constitution which they violate, suspend and abort.

Mr. Prime Minister! You know well, and it is just to remind you, that why the constitution failed then and suffered a defeat at the hands of unruly state actors. As the generals and war experts suggest time is of essence! It was time which defeated both of you and the constitution of the country since you didn’t act in time or on time. The anti-constitution forces acted first and got the situation in their hands. You took too much time to think and act, and when you acted it was already too late. So technically it was time which defeated you, i.e. the time you took to think and act.

Yeah, Mr. Prime Minister! There is another argument which talks of gradual change and slow improvement. That argument cites the increasing awareness regarding the sanctity of the constitutionalism as a step forward. But at the same time it may also be argued that the last 66 years have witnessed many steps forward which finally converted into two steps back.

Mr. Prime Minister! The situation has worsened to the last the point, though there always remains a possibility of more and more worsening of it. Evil knows no end. That’s why just minor surgeries won’t do now; the time for such small cuts and incisions already belongs to the past. Radical and major surgery is the need of the hour; you must act here and now!

Napoleon Bonaparte, one of the greatest military leaders, said: “Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action comes, stop thinking and go in.” Mr. Prime Minister! You take too much time to think and deliberate; that doesn’t augur well for your actions. As for the unconstitutional acts of the state actors are concerned, Pakistan does not require slow and gradual taming; it needs a thumping blow so that all the anti-constitution forces learn a lesson.

Mr. Prime Minister! It is time to act before it’s too late. Before someone else trashes you, your government and the constitution, trash him by taking recourse to the provisions of the constitution which empowers you as its highest executive authority.

Mr. Prime Minister! Advise the president to call for a joint sitting of the parliament and order live telecast of the proceedings of that sitting, and take both the representatives and the citizens of the country into confidence. Share with them whatever is being woven around you and being hatched here and there against a constitutional government, and expose all such actors and take decisive action against them and show your mettle and authority to all who are intent upon violating the constitution. Not only is this the proper time to do the needful, it’s a do or die choice for the constitution of Pakistan also! 

This article was completed on June 15, and appeared in Pakistan Observer on June 19, 2014.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Politics and the destruction of our cities

Years back, I sent an article titled, “Nationalization of social and moral values in Pakistan,” to a newspaper. It did publish but with entirely a different title. The new title, “A state that took over society” aptly described what that article was about. Now when I want to write about the destruction of our cities by the political elites in their bid to impress the citizens as voters, I cannot think of a better title than the present one. First I thought of this one: “Preserving the older cities.” However, both the titles communicate what this article argues about. First, the political elites are destroying our cities; and, second, we need to preserve our cities and their age-old soul.

As far as the concept of cities prevailing in our society is concerned, it needs to be reminded that cities are not a complex of roads, buildings, houses, streets, schools, colleges, universities, markets, hotels, restaurants, parks, gardens, libraries; in fact, they are a complex of conceptual environment in which people are born; where they are brought up; where they play, study, comingle, make friends, indulge in love; where they do business, politics; where they organize in various associational initiatives; where they build their world of dreams; where they wage struggle for the improvement of their life or others’ life; where they marry, settle in new homes and beget children; where they pass their old age completely in harmony with their cities; and finally where they are buried. And cities are such places where after their death, they are remembered and visited and prayed for a peaceful afterlife by their survivors. Ultimately cities are made of the stuff dreams are made of.

But as the Pakistani state has taken over its society; along with it, it has grabbed that environment of our cities also where the citizens used to be part of the city’s conceptual environment, and now they feel stranger in their own cities. Now when I go about in Lahore here and there, I miss so many things that were the part of my existence, and like me part of millions of Lahoris’ existence; however, they are no more there. Flyovers, underpasses, overhead bridges, metro-bus have encroached upon the canvas of Lahore. I really feel lost. Just go in front of the MAO College, and see how that Muhammadan Anglo Oriental College has lost its look and image under the ugly shadow of the elevated road for the metro-bus. Not only the MAO College, but just opposite to it another old red-brick building of the erstwhile government college of education stands eclipsed by the same elevated road.

That may mean that one is despising the progressive work meant for the benefit of the people at large, and he may be diagnosed of having a retrogressive mindset. For example, metro-bus is such a good facility that saves time and money of the thousands of commuters. Flyovers, overhead bridges, or underpasses, they all facilitate smooth flow of vehicles and do not allow for any traffic jams. That it’s a great achievement seems to be a truism.

However, the underlying story is quite different. As far as Lahore is concerned, its population has increased manifold and it lacks many of the civic facilities. Good roads and smooth traffic are two big issues. But the question is how to solve these issues; by running metro-bus (which consumed so muc of the space), building flyovers, overhead bridges, underpasses; or by improving the roads and managing the traffic as is required by the traffic laws. It cannot be controverted that in Lahore and in other cities also, rules and laws of traffic are not implemented. Nobody in the department of the traffic police, and up to the chief minister, bothers about controlling the traffic mess that’s a daily suffering for millions of people. While a number of flyovers, overhead bridges, underpasses do not witness much traffic using them, one is forced to ask why so much money has been spent on such “political marvels.”

Clearly, it is political economy working behind these, in most of the cases, un-needed and un-wanted projects. And, no doubt, they are to prove that the government is doing a lot, and surveys and studies are misled by this illusion of progress and development. In Lahore, there has been built an overhead bridge where the Shalimar Link Road crosses the Canal Road; one can stand there for one hour and count only dozens of vehicles use this bridge; and just beneath this bridge, there is almost always a painful traffic mess facing the people. That shows what is needed is management of traffic on the roads by strictly implementing the rules and laws of traffic, not these political impressive!

It reminds me of a short-story which narrates the ordeal of a simple woman from a suburban village coming to one of the biggest city hospitals to have her daughter treated by the specialist doctors. The first day she has to go back unattended by the doctors; because she has to face a complex network of doors, corridors, floors, stairs on the one hand, and on the other, complicated system of availing various medical services provided by the hospital. She was not familiar to that complicated style of building housing the complicated way of providing services. It takes whole of her second day to know where to go for this and where to go for that.

The gist of the matter is that progress and development means facilitation; not complication; simplicity, and not complexity. Sure, that means simple cities imbued with their soul and spirit. That amounts to saying that development in cities doesn’t mean disfiguring of the face of those cities. Politicians and rulers must understand this simple truth that their mandate to rule is just for 5 years, and they have no authority or right to destroy the 500 years old existence of our cities. In many cases, these cities of ours, like Lyallpur, Gujrat, Karachi, Peshawar, Lahore and so many others may be much older than a period of 500 hundred years.

The politicians and rulers must not impose their dreams on our cities; they should go and develop new cities and do whatever they like, just as they did in Islamabad. Our cities are the dreams of our ancestors as well as ours. We want our cities back. O politicians and rulers leave our cities alone to us, the civil society which can better take care of them. O politicians do not destroy our cities for your temporary political gains! Do not politicize our cities! Let our cities be ourselves!

This article appeared in Pakistan Observer on June 12, 2014.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Shame or outrage

It seems the Pakistanis have lost all the semblance of common-sense. See this case in which a leader of a "political party" has been arrested in UK and is under investigation for money-laundering and other issues; and instead of showing the feelings of remorse and shame, there is resentment and outrage!

What's all this?

Had this been happened to an Indian political leader, or to any other country's popular personality, Pakistanis would have been denouncing that personality and that country day and night on every corner and nook of the print and electronic media!

Here is my tweet on the issue:

Lost common sense; no feelings of shame that leader of a Pakistani political party is being investigated in UK for money-laundering etc.

https://twitter.com/khalilkf

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

PEMRA - Regulator or Controller

No body in Pakistan asks the pertinent question: what are the regulatory bodies for?

Everybody wants more and more regulatory bodies for every domain of social, economic, educational, cultural (etc.) life without giving a thought that the more regulatory bodies we have, the less freedom we will have.

In Pakistan, regulation means control. That's what PEMRA has been doing as opposed to its mandate, as has been shown in another post (PEMRA: Regulating the taste of people).

In an ultimate sense, regulation means facilitation; but in Pakistan it is equivalent to Control, and only Control.

See this PEMRA ad which published in The News on its front page on September 9, 2010, and see for yourself what the PEMRA stands for.

In this time of crisis, the role of PEMRA as a regulatory body of electronic media stands exposed. Even as a controlling body it has completely failed and needs to be dismantled, or totally revamped as a facilitation body.


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Hopeless in Pakistan

The cities and suburbs of Pakistan are bursting with millions of teeming citizens, old and young, men and women and children alike. They earn their livelihood by small selling of goods or services which unimaginably involves hard labor with meager income. Or they are employed by private entrepreneurs who have to incessantly struggle against the vagaries of state’s regulators and tax officials. They form the larger chunk of a population of 18 million plus. It is they who cast vote to send a political party in the parliament, but cherish no hope this will ameliorate their life conditions they know from their past experience. This is one side of the picture.

The other side reveals itself in the headlines of the daily newspapers and news channels. One newspaper’s headline reads as: army chief pays morale boosting visit to ISI HQ (Inter-Services Intelligence Headqarters). Another headline says: defense ministry seeks cancellation of Geo’s license. It’s in the wake of a murderous attack on a prominent journalist and Geo News’ popular talk show host, Hamid Mir. He has survived despite six bullets injured him seriously and is under treatment in a hospital. His brother, Amir Mir, a known journalist, allegedly put the blame on the ISI and its head Lieutenant General Zaheer-ul-Islam saying Mir told him he feared they would kill him. One breaking headline news tells ‘Pakistan successfully test fires Hatf-III, a short range ballistic missile.’ Another newspaper highlights Chief of Army Staff, General Raheel Sharif’s visit to the ISI HQ and his statement that ISI is a “strategic institution” and its role is crucial in national security. The murmurs of a martial law are once again making rounds.

This side of the picture presents a state mired in its own internal fights with various institutions at each other’s throats. The same Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) which supported the cause of the restoration of the deposed judges is trying to rein in the Supreme Court by trimming the powers of the judicial commission which has an edge in the appointment of judges of the apex and high courts. Then there is Pakistan Army and the ISI which claim to be the uncontested savior of Pakistan. Though, India is no more number one enemy, and has been replaced by Taliban; however, it seems the security institutions are more occupied with the anti-Pakistan elements which in their perception abundantly populate media and civil society, two bastion of public opinion. It may be mentioned that not lately an Urdu feature film, Waar (War) was shot and released with the collaboration of the ISPR, public relations wing of the Army. Also, there is talk of an exclusive television channel for the use of Army to counter the Indian propaganda.

In this picture where do the politicians stand, whom the citizens bring into power? Pertinently this picture lacks the lines and shades of governance, and is blank so far as public provision of justice and basic social services is concerned. Hungry of energy, not only the entrepreneurship is desperate, ordinary life is disturbed. Electricity availability has somewhat improved under this government as compared to the previous one; but the core issues such as circular debt, a stifled market and state’s monopoly over the distribution of electricity are not going to be addressed soon. The scarce natural gas proves to be an apple of discord for which textile, fertilizer and other lobbies vie fiercely.

The present forecasted growth rate is lurking in the range of 3 to 4 %; but IMF puts it at 3.1 %. The average rate of inflation is hovering between 8.5 and 9.5 %. And the budget deficit for the current fiscal year is in the range of 6 to 7 %. As for the infrastructural priorities, the present government is hitting the wrong notes, and its urban sensibility is questionable; the cities are getting huge amounts of money being spent on un-needed projects, such as flyovers in Lahore. The roads in cities and their peripheries and especially in rural areas are in quite bad shape, or there is none at all. Potable water is a dream for most of the people. Healthcare is almost non-existent or do not match the number of patients it targets.

Another area of the picture represents the dismal state of the public transport, which has over the years deteriorated steeply. Not only can be seen crowds of commuters waiting at the bus-stops and buses tightly packed, there are as many traffic jams which consume sufficient number of hours of their life daily. To this must be added the statistics of road accidents killing countless citizens for which ultimate responsibility rests with the government, since rules and laws regulating driving license and traffic on the roads, though written in the books, are never implemented. According to Rescue 1122 service, just within one day 572 accidents were reported from 36 districts of Punjab last year. In this regard, the death statistics is too horrible to see: this April 20, in Sukkur district a collision between a bus carrying about 60 passengers and a trailer took 42 lives, and out of 27 dead 14 were children and 13 women, with 17 others injured.

Additionally, there is terror of the Taliban and other violent groups which on their own contribute to the disfiguration of the state of Pakistan. The government’s recent talks with the Thereek-e-Taliban brought a relief to the ordinary citizens; the frequency of the suicide blasts and indiscriminate killings saw a substantial reduction. But the issue stands unresolved and there is a long war ahead to fight the brunt of which is for the ordinary citizens to bear.

Constitutionally a civilian political government is in driving seat which came to power last year after the first elected civilian set-up completed its five-year stint. However, it appears that the state of Pakistan is not being run by the civil rulers; other encroachers of their constitutional powers, such as security institutions and agencies, are obstructing the way they may want to govern and it is with them that the citizens pin hopes. But the state of Pakistan is entangled in its own fights and this cancer is eating up the resources which may otherwise be utilized to provide the ordinary citizens with protection of life and property, justice and basic social services. That’s the story of the last 67 years. The story is going to be retold if the politicians do not take heart to challenge the actors be they state, i.e. security establishment, or non-state, i.e. Taliban and other violent groups. And if the ruling politicians let the security establishment do what it like, and do not subdue it to play its constitutional duty, they will once again betray the millions of teeming citizens who are living a hopeless life in Pakistan.

This article appeared in Pakistan Observer on May 15, 2014.