Saturday, November 26, 2016

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)is losing its Luster

November 23, 2016
By Saeed Qureshi

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is plummeting its political ladder sooner than later. it is fast losing its luster. instead of unfurling revolutionary and ground breaking agenda it is focused upon non-issues or the narrow objective such as targeting Nawaz Sharif and his family.

It is puzzling that despite its furor and high pitched aggressive political thrust, PTI lost elections in Kashmir and local bodies in Punjab. Presently in the Senate PTI has 7 seats out of 104, in the National Assembly 33 out of 342, in KP 60 out of 124, in Sindh 4 out of 168, in Baluchistan zero out of 65 and in Azad Kashmir 1 out of 41.

These statistics are disappointing and PTI direly needs to win the required number of seats to assail into power echelons. There are no direct or unconstitutional shortcuts to the power corridors. Instead of dislodging the PMLN government, Imran Khan ought to enhance PTI’s strength in Senate. Assembly and provinces. For that objectives elections are the only legitimate route.

The latest episode of Hamid Khan and his ouster as a PTI lawyer in “Panama Papers Leaks” is a knee-jerk reaction from Imran Khan or the PTI’s top notches. Hamid Khan was removed to represent PTI in the Apex Court after the court observed that the 680-page evidence submitted by PTI had almost nothing to do with the Sharif family's London properties.

With such mercurial decision of sacking a prominent lawyer without talking to him looks illogical. Responding to that Hamid Khan hinted at the internal rifts within PTI by observing that “There are many groups within PTI that are trying to influence the party policies’.

Many loyal and steadfast members who were with Imran Khan are presently disenchanted and quite a few of them have either left the party or distanced themselves from Imran Khan. They later complained that Imran Khan’s attitude in the party’s meetings is authoritarian and occasionally humiliating. Intellectuals within PTI, like Abdul Quayyum Khan Kundi are being treated as outcasts.

The main drawback in the political style of Imran Khan is that instead of unfolding his lofty roadmap for the uplift of Pakistan, he is entirely riveted on removing the PMLN government by hook or by crook. At the same time, he is bent upon proving Nawaz Sharif and his family members as incompetent and corrupt. Imran would prefer martial law than see a political dispensation headed by Nawaz Sharif or PMNL. Mercifully COAS General Raheel Sharif kept army away from power corridors.

The ongoing tussle of Imran Khan with the PMLN government is nothing short of a reckless effort and reflective of a wild goose chase. It is merely wastage of time and would dissipate his energies on a counterproductive goal. The day when the apex court might hand out a verdict on Panama Leaks and declare Sharif family as delinquent is not coming so soon. Te appeal thereafter might take more time. The court proceedings go on for years. 

The second biggest flaw or lacuna in his political campaigning is that it is not being run in a peaceful manner. His sit-ins and barricading federal capitol Islamabad was uncalled for. He is still carrying on long marches and processions. In the beginning, he has been drawing large crowds and his popularity rating was high.

The PTI’s mostly young charged workers were seen barging into the government offices and TV station. For days, together Imran and his political cohorts delivered inflammatory speeches. The crowds would raise filthy slogans and hurl wild allegations solely on Nawaz Sharif family.
All this rowdy spectacle looked as a kind of studied vendetta directed at PMLN government and Sharif clan. This behavior based on personal vendettas and not on unfolding his vision for the uplift of Pakistan didn’t pay off. But meaningless agitational politics cannot carried on for long.

Instead of displaying anarchy and muscle-flexing from containers and in open public meetings, Imran Khan should pursue his political bandwagon through peaceful persuasion and logical discourses in his public speeches and through media outlets.

Now if Imran Khan doesn’t attend the National Assembly session addressed by Turkish prime minister because of his hostility towards Nawaz Sharif then such an attitude is not only politically bizarre but childish also. What perception the Turkish prime minister would have carried with him that a certain politician doesn’t want to welcome a friendly guest because of his enmity with his own prime minister. Should we call it political immaturity or idiocy?

It would be advisable and instructive for Imran Khan not to waste his time and energies on court proceeding with regard to Panama Papers Leaks relating to the names of Sharif family having offshore accounts in London. instead he should prepare, with full force, for the 2018 general elections. That would be the most preferable and legitimate route to come into power and serve the people and country the way he would like to.

He would then be in a most reassuring position to weed out corruption and take corrupt people to task the, including Nawaz Sharif and his family. In the meantime, let the court take suo moto notice on Panama Papers and he may see the outcome from the sidelines. Until 2018 elections, he has plenty of time to prepare and remobilize his party cadres and the people to win.

Unfortunately, he is in league with certain politicians whose don’t have a good reputation. As the adage goes “a man is known by the company he keeps”. Those individuals who have joined Imran Khan are not pulsating with national interest but to settle their scores with Nawaz Sharif for personal reasons. It would be better if Imran Khan takes a solo flight and thus he may recover some of his lost ground.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Donald Trump May Turn out to be a Better President!

November 17, 2016
By Saeed Qureshi

All said and done and now when the chips are settling down, one may hope that president -elect Donald Trump might prove to be a blessing in disguise. His presidency might herald a landmark reconstruction of the United States. He is a business wizard in his own right. He is not in the habit of mincing words. He talks straight and doesn’t seem to be believing in double speak. His serious moral lapses and circumvention of federal taxes though ingenuity didn’t prove to be a stumbling block in his winning the 2016 presidential elections.  
His victory is not false and may not be hugely tainted with trickery and subterfuge. He doesn’t look to be paradoxical in blurring out his aims, objective and policies.  After all the electorates or the voters that voted him into the most powerful presidency might be having strong and most compelling reasons to cast ballots in his favor.

Even otherwise his ascension from a robust business tycoon to the president of United States is awesome and speaks for his popularity among a dominant white segment of the American population and scantly among other ethnic segments.  

I doubt that he would be a reckless guy and start shooting left or right or making wanton decisions. There should be an order and saner method in unfolding of his policies and parameters directed at the vital national interests and serving America in right earnest.

Donald Trump would inject distinctive approach and novel outlook in the political arena and governance because of being a non-traditional, non-political and non- conformist and rather bold person. He might take some far-reaching decisions that the senior and old timer politicians cannot do.

In the post-election period of about a week now, his tongue lashing seems to be bridled and he is cautious in public speaking. He looks calm, sober and conciliatory. He is making statements and dishing out projections that no longer seem to be fanatical or partisan. He has backtracked from some his partisan rabble rousing and adverse anti- immigrants’ pronouncements that was more focus on the Muslims living in the United States.

Once in the White house and in the power saddle, he might be more explicit as to which direction he would move United states. The countrywide protests and marches have not drawn any sharp and pungent reaction from Mr. Trump. He merely dismisses those outbursts as the display of passion by the youth and which in fact he appreciated.

Donald Trump enjoys a solid and wider support from the higher echelons of the armed forces including a few hundred generals both retired and in active service. That is a formidable backing and one may guess that in military matters such as going whole hog against Al-Qaida and ISIS in Iraq and Syria he will have the army’s approval with hands down.

The outgoing president Obama’s support and goodwill in the US army was scant. Barring involvement in the Libyan civil war and overthrow and death of Qaddafi, president Obama has been avoiding major military conflicts. His conciliatory policies and historic patch-up on Iran’s nuclear program and payments was viewed with a pinch of salt by the hardliners both in the army and the Republicans.

If Mr. Trump follows in the footsteps of George W. Bush in the Middle East, then it would be a rerun of chauvinism of the Bush era both of senior and junior Bush. On the external front, Trump might be initiating a trade and economic jigsaw with China. But such an attempt may backfire as China is not a country to be browbeaten like the fragile and tottering dictatorial dynastic regimes in the Middle East. 

As the rumors go, Trump has overly friendly and personal relations with Russian president Vladimir Putin. He is perceived to be perhaps the first president from the Republicans known to be having strong and long standing business links in Russian Federation and with some top-notch industrialists and entrepreneurs of that country. He may envisage curtailing Chinese worldwide influence in tandem with the Russia.  

Domestically he be able to reform the health and education sectors and justice system that are plagued with a surfeit of deficiencies and shortcomings. He may bring about reforms that can help upgrading the lives of lower and less privileged sections of American society. Would he endeavor to stem the widening gap between the rich and economically hard pressed segments within United States? Will there be a concerted and robust strategy to lessen the unremitting spree of street and other crimes and to bring down the ethnic conflict in America. Would there be a drug control regime?

For president Trump, there is a huge backlog of the issues encompassing both internal landscape and the world at large. It is to be seen how better would be the Trump’s presidency than his predecessor president Obama and those before Obama. Let us wait and watch what policy parameters and goals Trump sets out in his first speech after taking over the presidency. The galore of reforms cannot be implemented in a month or a year. But the direction and tempo and even will would be laid bare in his speech as to how he enforces his agenda of change.

Let us see if his first move would be against the expulsion of undocumented or illegal non-Americans or he would give such sections to apply for a legal status and those rejected might face the consequences of being sent out. His aim to build a high wall between Mexico and USA is simply a fantasy and was a ploy to catch the votes of the sons of the soil which means the white voters and anti-Latino lobbies.

His detractors might be waiting on the sidelines for Donald’s’ impeachment for his past lapses or contravention of public or private established norms of conduct. But with a comfortable majority in the House and the Senate such an attempt might not fructify or make any headway.




Thursday, November 10, 2016

How and Why Donald Trump Won!

November 10, 2016
By Saeed Qureshi

The paramount wonder is that how Donald Trump a non-political entrant in the arena of politics triumphed over the seasoned power holders and captured the presidency of the United States. The victory of Donald Trump as is as mystifying as it is interesting. 
First of all, this is the pattern of American politics throwing surprises and Donlad Trump’s advent into the presidency is certainly one of those wonders. The other in the recent history was, that of Obama returning as president of the United States for the second time despite belonging to a minority ethnic community.
Presumably, with two terms of power in the hands of the Democrats, a kind of fatigue had dawned on the vast swath of Americans for change at the helm. The most potent catalyst in this gubernatorial change is the overwhelming role from the white segments who form 74 per cent of the entire population.
It was this part of the society that decidedly voted for Mr. Trump for his various slogans which looked on the face ethnic and racial, but appealed to the white communities who live in a world of their own. Despite America being an inclusive society still the white Americans maintain a distance from other ethnic communities like blacks and Hispanics not to speak of Muslims.
But the most overwhelming slogan of Trump was against the Muslims who were pouring in America. While Hillary was eulogizing Muslims for a variety of good things, Donald was branding them as terrorists and pledging to root out the Islamic terrorism in big way. Even in her last speech Hillary didn’t miss mentioning Mr. Khizar Khan and the death of his son for the sake of America.
Ostensibly, it was aimed at winning the Muslims votes and reinforcing the plea that Muslims were as patriotic as natives Americans.  That sacrifice of Mr. Khan’s son was certainly heroic. But to blow it out of proportion enticed the Muslims towards Hillary but detracted the anti-Muslims lobbies against her and get closer towards Donlad. While predominant majority have voted for Trump not all the African-American or Latinos and even Muslims might have voted in favor Hillary. This time it was a game of demographics that played major part in determining the results of the 2016 American elections. It might also be a demonstration of a reaction to Obama who had been perceived to be pro-Muslims president.
The back-breaking insinuation of emails scandal was consistently and effectively played up against Hillary by the Republicans and supporters of Donlad to be a kind of grave violation of official position that could not be condoned. Donald Trump’s misdeeds such as flirting with females and indulging in wayward sex, making money by right and wrong means and avoiding paying federal taxes was treated as a private or unofficial misconduct.
The voters inferred that Trump a financial maverick would apply the same skill and tactics in creating domestic jobs and bringing back offshore jobs and spurring prosperity. It is perceived of Trump that he might dictate the hostile or unfriendly states and establish the American writ as the dominant world power. It is another matter that Trump may not be able to translate all his pledges into reality and assessing him on that plank is still far away.   
Donlad Trump the 45th president of USA never had any official portfolio like Hillary Clinton who was senator and also the secretary of state during President Obama first term. He is a nonchalant person with tons of money that he earned through his ingenuity and business acumen. He didn’t pay the federal taxes yet no one can touch him. He has a harsh, stinging and retaliatory temperament. He is not in the habit of mincing words. He reacts with the pungency and venom that disables the opponents.
He bluntness to call Hillary a nasty woman was on the wrong side of the established ethical norms. He is boorish, sentimental and aggressive. He has been womanizing to his heart’s fill and married three time on the strength of his wealth and pelf. All these good or bad traits are common to the VIPS, elites and influential in the society. So, honestly we cannot single out Donald for doing things that might be irksome to the people demanding or stepping out of the established ethical standards.
The American political culture has been in place for over two hundred years. The founding fathers established democracy as fundamental to the system of governance. That political culture based upon the peoples’ franchise has been in vogue all along. Through that franchise Donlad has been successful in grabbing the highest office in the United States. So, no questions asked.
He won the elections of 2016 because of non-conventional strategy. He has less polished and rather rough jargon. He lacks in bureaucratic or diplomatic style of conversation or sophisticated behavior. People looked at him to be a person as different from the establishment. His brutish utterances and anti-immigrants’ pledges resonated with the aspirations of the most of the Americans. The pacification policy of Obama especially with Iran was distasteful to hardliners from among the political and evangelical circles as well as the people who perceived such decisions being made at the cost of the American national interests.
Although Donald has been harping on the theme of the rigged elections but it is the same system that hoisted him to power and capture the presidency in a thumping way. His name calling of Hillary such as most corrupt and nasty woman were taking lightly by the people and may be that the Republicans enjoyed it thoroughly. Donald managed to paint Hillary in lurid colors, deride her and prevail.
As pointed out earlier it might have been a kind of fatigue of the people with 8-year long tenure of the Democrats. In the first term Obama attained brilliant milestones by overcoming the worst recession and halt an economic meltdown that was a spillover from the Bush ear. He was hailed as a redeemer and his pacifications at the international arena were also admired.
Yet during his second term, he persistently came under a backlash from his detractors for his various decisions including Obamacare. He was also criticized by his Republican opponents for lessening America’s military involvements in conflicts areas the globe. He was bitterly opposed for brokering a deal with Iran.
The FBI’s role in reviving the Email saga just ten days before the culmination of the 2016 presidential elections may be questioned at a later stage. It proved to be a stunning and destructive ploy to halt the surge of Hillary in early voting. There was a sudden downturn in pro- Hillary voting. That one move dimmed the strong chances of Hillary winning the 2016 presidential elections.
It appears that 2016 elections have been overtaken more by rumors and conspiracies and innuendoes than charting out a grand roadmap for the future of the state. It was a show of competing in denigration, insults abuses, condemnations, insinuations and name-calling. All these tactics and instruments were used mostly by the Republican camp that really made a difference and facilitated the victory of Donlad Trump.
Let us watch what comes ahead and how the future unfolds itself. FBI’s role in reigniting the emails probe just ten days before conclusion of the electioneering campaign could be viewed as a studied tactic to discredit Hillary. It is also to be seen if Donlad would in fact erect a wall between USA and Mexico and whether the cross-border infiltration and undocumented immigration of the Latinos and South Americans could be stopped. We have to also watch how Donald Trump is going to implement his agenda aimed at creating jobs, changing balance of trade in favor of America, nabbing the international terrorism with focus on Muslims and building a cohesive society.
It is to be seen how he would abolish Obamacare and replace it with a health system that he deems right. What is going to be his policy relating to social security and other welfare inputs.  With a hold on the House and Senate he is certainly in a comfortable position to get the bills and laws passed.
Let us watch how America shapes up under the Republican administration and with a strong-willed president. It seems unlikely that like Bill Clinton he might face impeachment for his sexual waywardness.




Friday, November 4, 2016

American Elections are Complex and Mud-Throwing

November 3, 2016
By Saeed Qureshi

American presidential elections take a year to come to conclusion. During the first tier that lasts for months, the contenders within a party try to prove and establish their legitimacy and excellence to be nominated as the party nominee against the other parties in the field. These are competitions with in party.  As the trend of elections spawned over two hundred years, the respective parties choose the winner to face his or her rival from the opposition party.
Although there have been candidates from smaller parties and even independents yet the whole longish exercise boils down to the two rivals between the Democratic and Republican parties. In the 2016 presidential elections Donald Trump is the nominee of the Republican Party while Hillary Clinton represents the Democratic Party. The 2016 elections would close on November 8.

So far so good. The conflict or rigmarole that ensues thereafter in a kind of game to hurl all kinds of blames, accusations, mocking and labeling the rival as wicked or satanic who if elected would heap ruins on the United States. The trading of filthy innuendoes and character assassination of the rival is distasteful yet it is a part of the election culture of the United States.

In the current elections to elect the 45th president of the United States, the two competitors Madam Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have been completely exposed as to what irksome and wrong doings they might have pursued in the past. It looks like a dirty water pond where all are nude and throwing mud on each other.

The dictum or the laid-down rule of respecting females had been colossally trampled by Donlad Trump by calling Hillary as a nasty woman. On the other hand, a dozen or so women have accused Donald of dishonoring them or for making sexual advances. It is indeed a very serious offense but it was not taken into consideration for a probe.
Ordinarily in America, if a commoner touches a woman with or without her consent and she goes to the court, a hell would be broken on the offender and he can become a pariah for all time to come or for the time period that the court decrees. The attorneys play up the charges to prove the culprit fiendish and a threat to the society and debarred from social interaction or mingling freely within the society.
The latest and sudden announcement of FBI Director Comey ten days before the final day of elections has been devastating for Hillary’s undisputed march towards the victory. The announcement seems to be motivated against Hillary and favorable to her opponent. The solid achievements of Hillary seem to be stymied and could even turn the tide in favor of Donald Trump.

At the same time, it is clear that the American voters can be easily swayed by one odd development that might be lacking in truth. There is a changing trend of voters in swing states after the uncalled-for announcement of Director Comey. The people seem to have forgotten about the murky past of Donald Trump and what venomous attributes have been dished out by Donald about the minorities and immigrants.

Weighting the merits and demerits of both the contenders, it is clear that Donald cannot prove to be a president of all the Americans whether natives or immigrants. Visibly by his statements he appears to be freak. He has a sordid backlog of indecent interactions with women. He has denigrated so many women publicly including a woman journalist. He has been avoiding payment of federal taxes and making money by devious and underhand methods.
The unpredictability of the elections can be gauged in the closing days that one statement of FBI Director Comey alters or subverts the results of the elections. The intrusion of a government servant and his dropping a bombshell on the political arena has patently influenced the elections in favor of Donald and against Hillary. Spending of millions of dollars by both sides, heating debates and marathon campaigning for a year have been rendered useless.
How by one statement the people have forgotten such gross violations of Donlad as non-payment of federal taxes and leading a wayward life.  The entire focus of the peoples has shifted from misdeeds of Donlad to the Hillary’s emails which basically had no bearing on the overall policies of the state.
If Donald, per his commitment expels a portion of the immigrants out of country and if he selectively chooses the friends and foes to reward one side and punish the other, then it would be impinging upon the undisputed role of United States as a world leader.

My perception is that the anti- immigrants and anti- Muslims slogans raised by Donald are merely a ploy to catch the majority of the white votes which form 74 % of the American population. He may not be able to build a wall between Mexico and America. He might not be able to push the undocumented workers out of America. He might even antagonize many countries because of personal whims. The Islamic world might turn away if he translates his anti-Muslims pledges both within United States and across the world.
Yet it is the choice of the people of the United States to elect a new president irrespective of who deserves and who doesn’t. The people’s verdict is the final one and that is central to the American political system including the culture of elections.