Can a Pakistani express his political preference?


By: F. M Shah

A Pakistani judge is totally handicaped when giving judgements over the cases brought before him. Because FIRs are based on the personal grudges and not the facts of the crime, there is a lack of resources and expertise and intent of investigation at the hand of institutionally corrupt police, the accused and the witnesses are under no moral pressure to tell the truth (even under oath), the spins and deceitful debriefing by the lawyers on the both sides compel the witness to present concocted stories. The district attorney who is supposed to be helping the prosecution case is biased for whatever reasons, and the judge is under threat from the higher authorities or the politically and materially strong parties involved in the case then how can a judge even if he is a man of integrity, make a decision that reflects the true spirit of justice.

A typical middle class Pakistani voter, is never in a normal frame of mind, surrounded by the socioeconomic uncertainties of working as a professional in Pakistan. He never get time to give a real analytical thought over political environment. He is still a voter and being asked to give his opinion upon an issue (who should form the government) that he does not have sufficient and or correct knowledge about. 

Either he is or else deliberately made ignorant of the fundamental issues of the country. He is not informed of the true economic situations; the past the current or future. 


One year “macro economy” is doing very well. Then suddenly he is told that the micro as well as macroeconomy is in ruins. He is confused regarding the status of the security and the threats. On one hand it is the sworn enemy of sixty years who is indulged in Confidence Building Measures and on the other it is those who are officially regarded as “our friends and coalition partners” are repeatedly bombing Pakistan and killing the civilians. No one is there to explain how Zardari gets away with billions in his pocket and how Nawaz Sharif, convicted of highjack, is first exiled and then comes back to win the elections. No one explains how a person who confesses of breeching the Constitution of Pakistan stays and holds at the highest office in the country……..and so on. 

Jinnah’s Pakistan socio-political culture allows only corrupt and badmoaash type of people to perform in the political playground. When the list of national assembly candidates from my constituency is presented before me to make a choice, there is not even a single person to have a standard of character as leader. 

There are also dangers of going to the polling booth to caste vote. Because innocent people how got killed or injured by the political activists gathered around the polling booths for the purpose of intimidating the voters or else in their celebratory mood anticipating a win. 

Everyone will lay his life for the country and would certainly caste vote and risk his life if he only know that his opinion would be counted when making the decisions in the best interest of the nation. The worst is the fear that such decisions are made by those who are not only the enemies of country but also the enemies of faith and philosophy of life.

How far the integrity of the ballot boxes is respected by those who are posted there to do that very job. How much the members of the parliament would regard the opinions once they get access to the ruling quarters. How easily two dozen armed men can come and kick off elected Prime Minister and put him or her in a jail on whatever charges. This is an act of extreme insult to the whole Pakistani nation while the perpetrators not only get away with it but also get highly rewarded. How much pleasure ruling elites have when they bow to the wishes of the foreign forces who hold the ideology that totally contradicts fundamental beliefs.

Under such circumstances none would prefer not to be asked for democratic opinion. Nobody would caste vote and rather avoid humiliation of his thoughts and ideology and would try and preserve his self-respect and dignity as best as he can. He would not, with his own hand endorse the sinful acts of the ruling-establishment by giving an open (opinion) cheque to the rulers. He would not take an oath upon any one person or a group of persons for an undisclosed (filthy) adventure. They would rather have a dictator ruling Pakistan under the state of individual and national sovereignty because a dictator will not commit any sin in his name. How can a patriotic Pakistani express his political opinion?

(F M Shah is a graduate of SZABIST with a keen interest in political development with special relation to Pakistan).

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  • Ghulam Fatima  On February 3, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    “Well, things will only improve when Zardari is out of pakistani leadership in any way be it through the army, death, or any natural causes so blaming the corrupt leaders of lower ranks is baseless. You start with the top brass! I now hear Zardari has wed Tanveer Zamani while the awaam is languishing with rising cost of essential commodities and basic safety.”

  • M.Ashraf Zafar  On February 3, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    we are almost all biased in assessing our leaders and their work.

  • Salman Abbasy  On February 3, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    This is no longer Jinnah’s Pakistan. This is Zia-ul-Haq’s Hypocritical Republic where the prevalence and success of liars and scams shapes the attitude of the next generation.

  • S U Turkman  On February 3, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    Can a Pakistani express his political preference?
    Yes he can and he always has done so in Elections but they are rigged by Pak Establishment unless 2/3rd of Masses voted for an Assembly Candidate since if even a candidate, who is voted by 2/3rd of them voted for is declared to have been defeated, integrity of Elections would become doubtful in eyes of Pakistanis.
    PPP did not win an outright majority in last Elections but still it has been propagated by Pak Army that Elections were rigged by USA, when it is the only Rigger of Elections in Pakistan through ISI.
    Army had thought, Zardari would be a very obedient of it but his decisions had to be vetoed again and again and this is why we have all this hoopla against him that he is an Agent of USA, while Gen. Keyani goes through deep pains telling USA in secret and sometimes in front of Western Public that he is the most loyal US Agent in Pakistan.
    * How can Judicial System work, when Army can order Judges to release Taliban and other Terrorists, through ISI?
    * How come some strange unknown Terrorists always retaliate against Judges if they refuse to listen?
    * How come if people do not obey ISI orders or do what ISI does not want, even Army’s own retired General a good friend of C-in-C ruling Pakistan, Gen. Syed Moin Haider could be dismissed from Governor of Sindh job and had to quit as Interior Minister of Pakistan after his brother was assassinated by ISI?
    * How come the only Brother of sitting Prime Minister can be assassinated by Police in uniform and all the Whistle Blower get assassinated despite Police guarding them (on order of Judge) and nobody mentions word, ‘ISI orders’?
    * How come fake Ph.D. of Police In-charge of Junior Bhutto’s Assassination is never challenged and he gets promotions instead of being executed?
    Characterless, corrupt Pakistanis deserve a Corrupt Pakistan getting ruled by corrupt Army directly and indirectly for last 49 out of last 58 years.

  • PETER CHAMBERLAIN  On February 4, 2011 at 1:37 am


    Keep up the good work! Pakistan has hope as long as there are young people like yourself willing to take the risk to get the truth out.

    I have included the comment I added.

    Can Pakistan Free Itself From the Corruption?

    3 02 2011
    [An excellent report from a brave little website, PAKPOTPOURRI.

    Every country in the world is riddled with corruption. In less “civilized” countries, the corruption of government is less subtle, more out in the open, you might say. In Pakistan, it seems like an open secret. It is like millions of big and little sponges, soaking-up money whenever it is available, to the greatest possible degree. Perhaps it is the same way everywhere. In such an environment, real “democracy” cannot work, since the powerful elite control all the resources and with it the people themselves. The result is that there are no “rights,” no “equality,” no personal freedom to set the course of one’s own life.

    When the so-called “free press” of Pakistan does not yet exist, but the Internet does, then real patriots in Pakistan have a moral duty to their Motherland to use the Web to become their own news sources. When the “legitimate press” lets you down, fails to report on vital news, or feeds the people slanted reports, then the alternative press is Pakistan’s only hope. If corruption or false religious indoctrination prevent progress, then trusted websites must expose this and talk about the political corruption that permeates Pakistani society at all levels.

    For now, the Internet remains free and you can express your political thoughts here. I suggest that all of you do so…NOW.]

  • Faisal Imam  On February 4, 2011 at 8:42 am

    let me clarify;the article is apt;the environment we operate under is what stinks.Mush sat on tv and said he and Imran had a fallout on how many seats he could give is obvious how many seats he gives what party;how much violation of law takes place to achieve these results and who are the criminals behind it.usurping the right of Pakistanis to vote has brought about the reign of criminals and dacoits in this land.the problem is the role of the judiciary which endorses the usurpation of the rights at every level.From the election commission to the returning officers to the tribunals.
    how does the sec. election commission give an exact figure of wrong degrees;bogus election lists;bogus id cards;stuffing of boxes;wrong results being announced;and the story goes on.For usurping these rights of the people a few need to be thrown in prison and the keys thrown into the sea.
    i am happy that the Dog(ar) court is being tried;i hope he gets convicted under article 6 eventually.let us start employing this article flouting this law we have shaken the foundations of the law ,this country and our Nation.

  • Admiral Iftikhar Sirohey  On February 4, 2011 at 8:44 am

    Not likely unless the system is changed and election are held fairly and with compliance with the rules that already exist. Aricles 62 and 63 to be complied effectively. That means the whole Election Commission shoul be composed of honest, independent and are themselve covered of the said articles of the constitution. All articles of the constitution are made in consonance with direction contained with in it. Urdu is to be made national and official language at the centre. Within the province they may use whatever they wish to. All selection grade examination shall include Urdu as the major paper. It can be adopted tomrrow if the order is issued that from tomorrow all corespondence from the and within it will be Urdu.


    • AAS  On February 4, 2011 at 3:53 pm

      National languages should be Punjabi,Sindhi,pashtu,balochi,kashmiri and urdu.Urdu musta slo be alnguage of communication and office.

  • Tanvir Ahmed Siddiqui  On February 4, 2011 at 10:48 am

    My Friends:YES! I do not have a slightest doubt that Pakistani of today can freely express his her political preferances mainly because of a silent revolution that has alraedy taken its effective course in Pakistan.The ease of access to information analysis and decision making has been provided in revolutionary manner by 4th pillar and pivot of society internally and externally known as Print, Electronic and Social Media. Beacuse of this revolution Time is now a constraint for other 03 pillars of society to realign their body functions with rousing demands, desires and expections of all levels of civil society from lowest to highest ebs. ..High time for those who matter anywher and at any stature to affect lives and livelyhood of their people must get ready to look into the most unlikely sides of their governance and policies..Individually and collectively They are now compelled to let go that old trapez on which they simply used to work as mere tools and instruments in hands of those who mattered for their perks. All instutions have now been surrounded by watch dogs more or less and they have to remain exposed of their deeds. Lion has now awaken whareas bears and hippos and turkees and turtles must now behave they otherwise will be taken to task as they are being taken in Tunisia,Eygypt and Algeria and so on….Now the approach of Economic experts towards Economic Policies of their countries is highly needed to be innovative. Their economic policy makers and money merchants and their managers now have to think more about general happiness and wellbeing of their people rather than of their nobles. When like morality and empathy are imbibed in our genes so are savagery and blood lust. Those who matter in countries and societies to affect the lives and livelihood of their people now must learn what makes their people both noble and terrible.

  • Tanvir Ahmed Siddiqui  On February 4, 2011 at 11:01 am

    Yes, I am a rebelion: Beacause of People pressure That greater sense of the realization of the gravity of situation is gradually picking up among those who matter.
    “Mr. Javed Hashmi MNA while his address in Parliament warned the ruling class of Pakistan to take a cue from revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt rather than saying that the conditions of these countries did not interlink with conditions of Pakistan. “There are many public issues that need immediate attention of the leaders, as our situation is worse than Egypt,” he warned. asked every MNA of different political parties to become rebellious in their respective party meetings and to say the truth before their leadership without the fear of any consequences or of being denied party ticket in the next elections. He advised the MNAs across both sides of the isle dividing treasury and opposition to, “not to be afraid of their leaders, as the leaders should have fear of the party.” Good Omen!

  • Sqn Ldr S. Ausaf Husain (Retd)  On February 4, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    The article has put forward very crucial questions which are very difficult to answer. Here I would like to quote a very old saying ” Na nau mun teil ho ga na Radha nachey gi”, means when there can not be a patriotic leader and its team members then there is no question that affairs in this country will ever be alright. But Americans, Israel and India would never tolerate a good leadership in Pakistan. The reason are well known to every one of us. “So let us relax and enjoy”.

  • Latif  On February 5, 2011 at 1:49 am

    I consider the article by Waseem Altaf being posted below as an appropriate response / comment on this article:




    Revolution refers to drastic change in thinking and behaving in the cultural, economic and socio-political context.

    Socio-economic deprivation or gross disparity or conflict of interest among competing groups causes frustration which leads to aggression. The aggression so caused is channelized by leaders who symbolize an ideology. A critical mass of the population is necessary who are supportive of this ideology.

    Today people in Pakistan are frustrated. This has caused aggression. The manifestations of this aggression are visible everywhere. The irritability of the common man, show of force and inflammatory speeches in public rallies, ever increasing crime rate, intolerance and impatience are all indicative of this aggression. However there is no such leader who has an ideology and who enjoys the support of a critical mass of the population which can bring about a revolution in this country. Hence the thought of revolution becomes even more irrelevant in a country where there are so many ethnic, social, political and religious divides with no leader enjoying mass support at the national level.

    However this country is fast drifting towards a change. Let us see what the present state of the nation is:

    Today it is not the government, the parliament, the media, the judiciary or even the army which calls the shots but the firebrand mullah in the streets who determines the tone and tenor of the statements and initiatives emanating from all the so called pillars of the State. Sherry Rahman has withdrawn the blasphemy bill, informed the Prime Minister on Wednesday 2nd of Feb. Sitting ministers either support the stance taken by the mullah or remain silent. While it is Mumtaz Qadri versus the State, the case has been shifted to Adiala jail for proceedings as the State does not feel secure in an open court in Islamabad. Last time the public prosecutor could not attend the court as the jail premises was thronged by Sunni Tehrik supporters of Mumtaz Qadri.Today the conduct of the Parliament is determined by the mullah as in the Senate, it was not allowed to say fateha for Salman Taseer in response to a resolution moved by Senator Nilofar Bakhtiar. Even the liberal MQM members refused and not a single member of PPP rose to support the resolution.

    Barring a few TV anchors and columnists, most prefer to avoid or endorse the obscurantist view point .Just look at what Ansar Abbasi,Ifran Siddiqui and Orya Maqbool Jan are writing and speaking on TV while many liberal/progressive writers including a couple of ladies are looking the other way.

    The judiciary has deemed it fit not to take suo moto action against those who instigated others and announced cash rewards for Asia Bibi’s killers.

    The military remains obsessed with India and hence the Jihadis and banned outfits are strategic assets for employment against India and the elusive ideological frontiers. The myopic military mindset while supporting these killing machines completely ignores the fact that these Jahadis would destroy this country before they could destroy India.

    The liberal/progressive forces disunited and disgruntled with no support from the State and at grave security risk, are content with holding small vigils at safe locations for the dear departed, while several new cases of blasphemy have been registered against many including a 17 year old boy who allegedly scribbled something on his answer sheet during exams.

    There are credible reports that Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariah-e-Mohammadi is planning a comeback as the army is about to pull out of the Swat valley.

    Similarly the tribal areas are either Talban controlled or under heavy Taliban influence. The rest of KPK is already getting the heat as hardly a day passes when there is no bomb blast in any part of the province.

    Balochistan is burning while the army and intelligence agencies continue to pour fuel on fire.

    Karachi, which is the hub of economic activity and generates more then 50% of our total revenue, is experiencing a blood bath.

    A large part of Central and South Punjab is infested with seminaries which preach nothing but hatred. Add to the above, the dying economy, corruption, poverty, unemployment, hyper inflation complete breakdown of law and order, misgovernance and total retreat of the State on all vital issues.

    Despite several assurances from the Government that the blasphemy law will not be amended the right wing forces have already initiated a full scale campaign under the garb of Namoos-e-Risalat and appear in no mood to arrest the momentum of their campaign. They are most likely to hijack the public sentiment against the Government. People who can afford are contemplating over shifting to safer locations in the West, while those who cannot are anticipating the worst.

    Let’s see what the world’s leading intellects have to say about Pakistan:

    Fareed Zakarya, editor Newsweek International, in one of his columns published in the Washington Post on Jan 11th writes “Pakistan has long been troubled, but last week’s assassination of Salman Taseer, the country’s most courageous liberal politician, has shone a new and harsh light on those troubles. I had always believed that ultimately, Pakistan’s governing elite was in charge, its military would not allow the country to crumble, and its nuclear arsenal was safe. After last week, I am not so sure.

    Stephen,P.Cohen, an American political scientist and an authority on Pakistan in one of his recent interviews says”There is not going to be any good news from Pakistan for some time, if ever, because the fundamentals of the state are either failing or questionable. This applies to both the idea of Pakistan, the ideology of the state, the purpose of the state, and also to the coherence of the state itself. Pakistan has lost a lot of its “stateness,” that is the qualities that make a modern government function effectively. So there’s failure in Pakistan on all counts. I wouldn’t predict a comprehensive failure soon but clearly that’s the direction in which Pakistan is moving.

    Stanley Wolpert, the American historian, biographer, novelist and Professor Emeritus at UCLA in his recent book”Pakistan and India”writes:

    “In the last 60 years the population of India has increased fourfold while the democratic state of India which was a British dominion has transformed into a regional superpower. While Pakistan after losing almost half of its original land mass, since partition, represents all characteristic features of a failed state”.

    So when vital decision making is dictated by the mullah in the street while openly threatening the writ of the State, and the only option exercised by the State is to comply with the directives of the unelected thugs the change referred to in the preceding para is not revolution but anarchy which has set in and is about to take out this entire country. No rulership or enforced authority and each individual enjoying full liberty regardless of what the law says is anarchy. Just look at what happened two days back. A follower of Jamiat-e-Talaba-e-Islam was caught stealing a motorbike. The police caught him and in response the entire student organization came on the roads of New Campus, Lahore, and resorted to vandalism and firing.

    Rangers while conducting operation in sensitive areas of Karachi wear masks as they do not feel secure and are unsure if the State can protect them. Sherry Rahman has gone underground while Ghamadi Sahib is in Dubai as the State cannot give him protection in his home country.

    With complete poverty of thought and restrictions on public debate and fear determining decision making there can be anarchy and not revolution.

    Presently there is no national leadership and political party in sight to face the obscurantist mindset. Altaf Bhai has British nationality. Imran perhaps too has. Zardari already has a palace in the suburbs of Paris, while Sharif brothers have amassed enough wealth in England. Chaudharys do not deserve a mention and their ex boss the commando extraordinaire shuttles in between London and Dubai. Leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami also enjoy life in foreign lands and capital coming from across the globe. Maulana Fazal-ur-Rahman, Chairman Kashmir Committee loves to go abroad and enjoy life with money coming from state kitty.

    Such leaders fixated on the charms of foreign lands bring about anarchy and not revolutions.

    The Liberal People’s Party has disowned Salman Taseer and is trying hard to pacify the mullah .The liberal MQM and ANP are killing each others men in Karachi, while the obscurantist Barelvi,Deobandi,Ahle Hadith and even the Shia maulvis have joined hands to play up the blasphemy issue.

    Such a state of affairs causes anarchy and not revolution.

    So let’s all brace for a lawless country where power flows out of the barrel of the gun.

  • siddiquimy  On February 5, 2011 at 5:30 am

    I am surprised and disappointed by Mr Shah’s article; he is obviously a bright young man. Our elders under the British rule made choices for the Freedom and creation of pakistan…….so why can’t we make our choices ? Problem is we have been systimatically and cleverly brain washed and we have forgotten/given up our values of life
    Our main problem is following the West Minister style of democracy which is totally alien to our psyche…this system is typically anglo-saxon and is not followed any where else in the western world !! We have to change it and re write our Constitution in line with our OWN ethos !!
    Secondly we MUST shift to our own language…say Urdu. Many attempts were made to do so but they all fizzled out because we are too anglosized; WE should simply make Urdu a COMPULSORY subject for all exams conducted by the Federal Govt…..provinces can adopt whatever they like !!……
    We must do away with “O” and “A” level education; it is tragic even after 60 years we have not been able to design our very own syllabus; there is no harm in teaching English ( or any other languages ) Emphasis should be on character building and we MUST NOT FEEL ASHAMED being MUSLIMS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Problems highlihted by Shah and others are not unsolveable…only will and sinceretiy is required on our part and we MUST feel to be pakistanis…………look inside ourselves before we blame others ??????????????????????????????

  • Ayesha Khan  On February 6, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    Yes, a Pakistani can express his or her political preference. Unfortunately only a few do express it at the right time and on the right occasion; generally we are either quiet or indifferent for various reasons discussed above.

    In all the clamor and din about the issues we face as a nation and State today, we cannot unite against what the core issues were and still are: namely 1) a corrupt government from politicians to the bureaucracy and 2) an army that is led by Chiefs selected by a foreign power. Mullahs and religious zealots are bogeys created by the ignorance and fear of the literate majority who lack faith and knowledge of their own religion.

    We lack solidarity because those who know and are blessed with formal education espouse a foreign ideology and only speak of principled stands when a rich man/woman or political elite die but when the poor die no one is righteously indignant or enraged. This situation is then exploited by the power hungry religious bigots.

    The real issue was and remains about the haves and the have nots – about the rich and poor. At the global level its about the “North and the South”. Within Pakistan it is about power relationships and the money and privileges that comes with it. So some use religion to reach the power center (courting the masses) and others use precepts of liberalism courting the international community and their “development” funds.

    The current situation is as it should be, we are growing as a nation and within this chaos lies great opportunity. We need to “separate the chaff from the wheat”, even when we speak of what dilemmas we face as a nation.

  • seo and link building  On August 18, 2011 at 9:01 pm

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  • Ayesha Khan  On August 20, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    God bless you, Shah! These are sound reflections at the right time. If more youngsters like yourselves ask such questions and take principled stand on core issues of governance, then the silent revolution that has already begun will gain impetus and we may yet effect change in a relatively peaceful manner.

    Let us not forget the hadith to the effect that the ruler reflects the majority of the people he governs. (Ayat 42, Surah 30 also). How many of us would stand with one another on a matter of principle if a Minister or our boss offered us money or glory to compromise on our principles; very few I have seen. Hence, I firmly believe we need to change ourselves and start practicing what we preach and taking peaceful yet resolute stands against all kinds of vice especially the abuse of public trust and the misuse of public money.

    wa salaam
    (Gul Ayesha)


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