Bill be done
In a society where
a girl going and buying sanitary napkins for herself or a boy asking his
father about the changes he notices in himself as he comes of age might be
deemed inappropriate, where cultural norms make this a sensitive topic,
reproductive health education is necessary.
But it is an issue that
The rampant upsurge of
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), Pakistan being a low-prevalence
high-risk country when it comes to HIV, and commonly known incidences of
sexual harassment and rape — these factors make it important for young
adults know details to protect themselves against potential dangers.
The question then remains
Dr Azra Ahsan of NCMNH
(National Council for Maternal and Neonatal Health) is clear that we do need
to educate adolescents about it, and feels that the bigger question is how.
“To begin with, the term ‘sex education’ should be replaced by the term
‘reproductive health education’. Using acceptable terminology, talking in
a non-controversial way and using the right approach is very important,”
says Ahsan. She feels it is a necessity. “It is about growing up. It is
about how to deal with the changes in your body both physically and
In Ahsan’s opinion,
prominent people of society who have an impact on people as well as religious
leadership should step forth and talk about it. “I have seen morning shows
in Saudi Arabia that talk about these issues in a very candid manner. Why
It is rare that young
adults are taught these facts of life by parents. We may argue that children
today know everything they need to through the internet, but what percentage
of the children in Pakistan has access to the internet? Moreover, how
reliable are the sources of information on the internet, and how equipped are
young adults to discern among this plethora of information and figure out
which information is accurate or not?
Iqra Amin, 17, feels that
“Children in cities are much more aware. Our Biology course in O levels
includes all this. It is the children and teenagers my age in rural areas and
from under-privileged backgrounds I worry about. Their sources of information
should be better. Parents need to step up their game and firstly get
themselves more well-informed and then talk it over with their children for
When asked whether this
should be taught in school or not, Faisal Naveed, 17, has a different reason
for why he thinks it should not. “In school when this subject is approached
in class, it becomes a laughing matter. Cheesy jokes follow and no one takes
this important matter seriously. Also, when society talks about these issues
openly, it may become more acceptable to indulge in reckless sexual behaviour,”
For the same reason,
parents and many people resist the idea of teaching sex education in schools.
Earlier in 2009, a controversy arose when Dawood Public School for Girls,
Karachi, introduced reproductive health education in a science textbook which
was included in its curriculum. The parents protested vehemently. “The
reproduction process is something natural and children should learn it,”
argued the school’s administration in face of criticism.
This incident elicited
different responses. Sindh Assembly member Humera Alwani is on record
supporting reproductive health education, saying “We cannot leave our
children in darkness anymore.” But commenting on the incident, Naveed
Zuberi, adviser to Education Minister Pir Mazhar-ul-Haq, had said that they
would not allow any school to teach such courses, saying: “This is not USA
or Europe, this is Pakistan and our culture does not allow us to teach these
things at school.”
But experts feel that
discussing in class might actually be a good idea, under guidance of a
teacher or counselor, as all the students are of the same age and are going
through similar changes in life. Therefore, it makes it easier for them to
digest the often tricky subjects.
Dr Badr Dhanani,
dermatologist, has studied in-depth about the spread of HIV and STIs in
Pakistan. He supports the idea of teaching reproductive health in schools.
“The increased usage of the internet has opened avenues for mis-information
and pop up ads create sexual curiosity. Thus, in the absence of sound
knowledge about sex, curious adolescents commit mistakes. Teaching children
about sex in classroom would encourage them to view it as a natural, normal
and healthy part of life. If youngsters learn about sex in a scientific and
objective way, they would be more careful before indulging in sex
secretly,” says Dhanani.
Tackling the concern that
openly talking about these issues may increase promiscuity, Dhanani feels
that “although we profess an orthodox society, the ground reality is
different.” Thus, we assume an ostrich-like attitude and pretend these
things do not happen.
Saima Rauf, an artist and a
mother of two teenagers, is of the opinion that “In a society that is
largely not literate or aware, health workers can play an important role in
Often, people assume the
umbrella term “sex education” to include limited topics. However, it
includes not only the basics about the male and female reproductive system,
but also topics like menstruation, the physical and emotional changes of
adolescence, the growing up process, sexuality, Sexually Transmitted
Infections (STIs) and the avoidance of acquiring these infectious diseases by
means of safe sex and use of condoms. Taboo subjects like masturbation are
also touched upon.
“Child abuse (sexual) is
increasing. Sex education can supply our young people the tools to report and
resist abusive behaviours, and provide them with a forum for expressing their
fears openly. This will help forestall it,” believes Dr Dhanani.
Awareness about the sexual
process, pregnancy, and contraception helps young people avoid getting into
In 2011, Psychiatrist Dr
Mobin Akhtar’s book that equated sex education with the Islamic
perspective, using Quranic verses and ahadith for evidential support, was
criticised. But Dr Akhtar stayed firm on his opinion that not informing young
people about these issues can leave negative psychological impacts and in
fact hinder them from practicing Islam correctly. His book quotes examples of
how the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was open to answering questions pertaining to
what Islam permits and what it doesn’t when it comes to sexuality.
The question, then, we can
safely assume has somewhat changed. More than whether we need to give
adolescents this vital information or not, the question remains how. And this
has to be done softly but surely, bearing religious and cultural
sensitivities of people in mind.
‘Look baba, so
cute …’ the little girl started running ahead of her father, in the
direction of her extended index finger. The father took a couple of hurried
steps, put a restraining hand on her shoulder and uttered dismissively,
‘yeah, it’s a cat, let’s go’.
The father was wrong. It
wasn’t ‘a cat’. It was a man walking towards a veterinarian’s
surgery, holding a kitten. And no ordinary kitten — it was a Persian beauty
of punched-face variety, with a lush triple coat of snow white fur that was
accentuating a pink dot of a nose and two shimmering blue disks for eyes. A
regal and delicate life form. It was obviously in some discomfort, like most
pets brought to the vet, but it seemed to have forgotten its pain in the
excitement of watching the strange world of the parking lot, perhaps for the
The little girl saw the
beauty in this wide-eyed baby doll and was moved by it. The father, by virtue
of his maturity, saw nothing but ‘a cat’, a scrounger who lives off
gullible humans without giving anything in return. Even the dumb hen gives
protein-rich eggs in return for the crumbs thrown at it, but cats take all,
Same argument is advanced
against family pets and show dogs like say a Siberian Husky. No good, they
can’t guard a home, can’t do the school run, heck can’t even fetch the
TV remote control … and a little puppy costs upward of two lakh rupees in
Pakistan. What waste of money, and that too on a haraam animal! You could buy
four motorcycles in this money, or a plane ticket to Scandinavia to ride a
sled pulled by your beloved huskies, which is what they were created to do.
The anti-pet dude is
motivated by religion, cultural norms and what not, but above all, his
value-for-money system: if you spend something on feeding and sheltering a
pet it should give you an equal if not more handsome return on the
investment. Give me milk, eggs, meat, skin, or a service I can use, or get
off my property. That’s alright. What’s surprising is the inability of
this dude to see value in what pets do give back. Love, for instance.
They love you, not because
you are cute, or stylish, or generous, they simply return your love even if
you were the ugliest duckling in the pond. They like to be treated well but
live with what the owner can get them. Bad times make husbands and wives part
ways, friends fall out, lovers scheme and plot against each other but till
the time of filing this piece, there’s been no incidence of a pet leaving a
poor owner to be adopted by a rich neighbour.
They are also colour blind
in their love. It’s normal for a pair of white Persian cats to produce a
white, a grey, a brown, and an ash coloured kitten in one litter. The mother
dotes on them equally, the father ignores them all the same, and they happily
play with each other without seeming to notice the difference. They are happy
kids, and it’s always a pleasure, a joy to have happy kids around. Is this
pleasure equal to or more in value than the owners’ expenditure on pets? It
must be. So many people out there must know what they are doing and getting.
There is a more selfish
reason for pet owners with growing kids. Pets often provide children with
their first chance to care for, clean, and protect a life form. There are
plenty of young ladies in Jinnah Super who have not had to be responsible for
anything or anyone except a pet. And if you think it’s bad for the pet,
think about the young lady who would otherwise have been responsible for no
one and nothing at all!
In a lot of ways the
pet-person relationship is a perfect one for the person. He or she controls
and decides everything about the object of their love. Must be very
convenient for the pets as well, to relieve themselves with the assurance
that the owner will pick out the stinking lump and bin it away before they
need another visit. Mutually beneficial, like few human relationships turn
out to be.
Guess people who have love
in them, share it with all life forms, and those who resolutely shun domestic
animals, are perhaps not very close to humans either.
The current parliament can rightly take credit for pro-women legislation — Sexual Harassment at Work Place Act (2010), Acid Control and Acid Prevention Act (2011), Prevention of Anti-Women Practices Act (2011) and Women in Distress and Detention Act (2011). But a bill of utmost importance, Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection), has been sacrificed on the altar of politics and reconciliation policy of the PPP-led coalition government.
The bill, which criminalises domestic violence with jail terms and fines, was unanimously passed by the National Assembly in 2009. However, when it reached the Senate it was put in the cold storage till the passage of 18th Amendment, which devolved legislation on women’s rights to provinces. When the bill was presented in the joint sitting on April 4, 2012 after a long wait, it was deferred again ostensibly because of covert opposition by the JUI-F and the PML-N.
Technically, with the devolution of women’s rights subject to provinces, the bill, if passed by the Senate, will turn ineffective outside the territory of the federal capital. Furthermore, since the Senate did not take up the bill in the stipulated 90 days, now it could only be passed by a joint sitting of the parliament. And on political front, the JUI-F has threatened to launch countrywide protests if the bill was tabled. It also demanded action against the women of NGOs who are supporting the bill.
Under the current circumstances, the shaky PPP government will not risk the danger of street protests against it and that too on an issue that could provoke public sentiments. The bill’s mover is not hopeful of its passage from the current parliament and the NGOs, supporting the bill, are planning to move courts in support of legislation on domestic violence.
Despite all bottlenecks, the PPP is still in a position to get the bill passed because all of its allies and opposition parties, except for the JUI-F, support the bill, which has been put on the backburner apparently to avoid confrontation.
Talking to TNS, PPP MNA Yasmin Rehman, who is also mover of the bill, says the government wanted to get the bill passed unanimously by taking all of its parliamentary parties on board. “Our all efforts were dashed when three women of NGOs stormed the meeting of the parliamentary body discussing the bill on April 6, 2012 and enraged the JUI-F chief.” She says a consensus was expected to be evolved in the meeting as Maulana Fazlur Rehman was attending the meeting after holding comprehensive meetings with his lawyers. “Even women members of the JUI-F told us that Maulana was ready to give his nod to the bill. But women rights activists who stormed the meeting spoiled the whole process by misbehaving with the JUI-F chief. They wanted to get support for the bill by force,” she adds, parrying a question about whether PPP, a liberal party, has reached understanding with the JUI-F, a rightist party, over the bill. Rehman hopes if the federal territory criminalises the domestic violence offense, other provinces would also follow suit.
PML-N MNA Saira Afzal Tarar, who is also part of the committee reviewing the bill, says her party fully supports the bill after its recommendations have been incorporated in it. She says the PPP-JUI-F ‘unholy alliance’ is delaying the passage of the bill. “We are making efforts to get passed an anti-domestic violence bill from the provincial assembly of Punjab. We are committed to the cause of criminalising domestic violence while remaining within our religious and social boundaries.”
Farzana Bari, director at Quaid-e-Azam University Centre for Gender Studies and an active women’s rights activist, says all the parties with patriarchal mindset are opposing the bill tooth and nail as they want to maintain male dominance in the society. She says domestic violence is in fact the violation of fundamental rights protected in the constitution and state intervention is necessary to check it. “Outwardly, no party opposes Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Bill. Why do the JUI-F and the PML-N oppose it on the floor of the parliament every time and why don’t they resolve their reservations at the forum of the parliamentary committees concerned where the bill is presented before being tabled in the parliament. In fact, the problem is with their mindset, intentions and they give lame excuses to delay the bill,” she laments.
Farzana Bari, who was among the women rights activists who allegedly stormed the meeting of the special committee which was discussing the bill on April 6 at the parliament, says, “We wanted to attend the meeting as an observer. And we left the meeting quietly when we were asked to leave.” About the allegation that they raised slogans against Maulana Fazl, Bari says: “When Maulana Fazl opposed the bill in the Senate, we chanted ‘Aurat Doshmany Na Manzoor’. Is this slogan against Maulana Fazl? In fact, this is an excuse to delay the bill.”
Questioning the stand of the PPP, she says the ruling party is oscillating between right and left wings, and the bill was being delayed only to appease Maulana Fazl to win the JUI-F support on the recommendations of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security on new terms of engagement with the US. “We are ready to seek apology from Maulana Fazl and even hold a rally in his favour, if he lends his support to the bill.”
The supporters of the bill have countless arguments to criminalise domestic violence. But those opposing the bill, apparently on religious grounds, are even unable to explain how this bill goes against their religious beliefs as most of the provisions which could be branded un-Islamic have been removed.
The week-long siege
of Lyari in Karachi by police during the end of April and early May to arrest
the “outlaws” miserably failed, causing embarrassment to the PPP
government as it has virtually lost its political support of the local
residents who complain of prolonged suffering.
Interior Minister Rahman
Malik claimed that al Qaeda and Balochistan separatist elements are behind
the Lyari gang war and his claim that the operation was aimed to arrest the
members of these banned outfits proved misleading — because political and
civil society activists say it was simply a case of political control over
the area. The criminal gangs, they maintain, have political support and it
was an attempt to implant one group by overthrowing the other.
“It is not so easy to
understand the Lyari issue,” says Usman Baloch, a veteran political worker
and trade union activist. “Since the Partition, political parties have been
using the criminal elements of Lyari for their benefits and the present
crisis is of the same political nature.”
Comprising the oldest
quarters of the Karachi city and densely populated Lyari has been kept
economically and politically deprived by successive governments, including
the PPP. In the devolution plan of General Pervez Musharraf, Karachi was
divided into 18 towns under the City District Government of Karachi. Lyari
was also made a separate town with 11 union councils.
But political analysts
allege many economically strong areas, which were actually part of Lyari,
were included in the Saddar town to keep the Lyari town economically starved.
Lyari has diverse
population. “It is incorrect to say only Balochs live in Lyari. Many older
communities like Katchis, Pashtuns, Mianwalis, Meghwars, Laasi and Marwaris
live here in large numbers,” said Zahid Farooq of Urban Resource Centre.
Most of the locals are actually port workers or fishermen.
According to 1988 census,
Lyari’s population was 1.2 million, but “the population has now increased
to almost 1.7 million,” says Farooq.
Lyari has been the PPP’s
stronghold. However, after the recent police operation, it seems to be coming
out of the ruling PPP’s political influence. Many staunch supporters of the
PPP have openly started disassociating themselves from the party. The angry
youth have reportedly burnt pictures of late Benazir Bhuto and Asif Ali
Zardari to vent their anger during the operation.
“The PPP will not win a
seat from here in future,” claims Habib Hassan, a political and civil
society activist from Lyari. He says the police operation was actually a
drama — PPP wants to get Owais Muzaffar Tappi elected as MPA from Lyari in
the coming elections.”
Hassan further alleges the
police operation was being supervised by Tappi from Bilawal House to see his
favourite group in power.
The streets of Lyari are
smeared with anti-PPP graffiti and posters of Uzair Baloch of People’s Amn
“Media showed people in
plain clothes alongside the police during the operation. They were actually
from Arshad Pappu group, which the government wants to install in Lyari,”
During the operation, the
police told the media it wanted to arrest Uzair Baloch, but surprisingly he
escaped and also appeared in media during the operation. In an interview,
Baloch offered his arrest to Rangers because he feared his extra-judicial
killing by the operation leader Chaudhry Aslam of CID.
Before the operation, the
police sealed the entire area. Cheel Chowk and Afshani Galli remained the hot
spots during the Lyari police operation yet the police failed to arrest
leaders of the criminal gangs in the eight-day long operation.
The police resorted to
firing and the criminals retaliated with rockets. Around 50 people lost their
lives including police officers, and properties owned by innocent locals were
damaged. The services of all cellular phones were jammed. Thousands of people
left their homes in fear. Although the government announced a relief package
for the affected people, no respite has so far been provided. “Many have
lost employment,” says Sahiba Shah, a social activist. People have spent
days and nights without food, water and electricity. “Women are still in
the grip of fear as their sons and husbands have lost their source of income
— like donkey carts,” she adds.
There was no doctor or
paramedic in the Lyari General Hospital during the police operation and
people were left at the mercy of mafias or police. “We have taken bodies of
many innocent youth, who were hit by bullets,” Shah says. “Even rickshaw
drivers were reluctant to enter our area and if one agreed to go, he’d
charge exorbitant fare.”
Started after a meeting at
Bilawal House, the police operation was initially aimed to arrest the
“criminal elements” of People’s Amn Committee (PAC), an outfit created
by PPP itself under the supervision of former home minister Zulfiqar Mirza to
gain control over the area. PAC was allegedly involved in criminal activities
in the area including extortions from traders and industrialists and land
The outfit has recently
gone out of control of the PPP and its leaders including Uzair Baloch have
started challenging the government’s writ. The elected parliamentarians of
PPP from Lyari, Nabeel Gabol and Rafiq Engineer, were unable to visit the
area because of fear of PAC.
Some political analysts
believe Uzair Baloch-led group had also challenged the control of another
dominant political force of Karachi city, the MQM, and that the recent
operation was also part of a “reconciliation” process by President
Zardari to keep the MQM in the government fold. The MQM had also launched a
campaign against “bhatta mafia” in the recent months and had openly
supported the traders’ strike call in Karachi against the bhatta mafia on
Indirectly, the operation
was launched under pressure from the MQM, claimed Yousuf Laasi, a political
worker from Lyari.
“The collection of bhatta
from businessmen is the main cause of the conflict between the mafia groups,
who enjoy support of the political parties,” said Habib Hassan Baloch,
another political activist of Lyari. He said the present operation was aimed
to remove a group from the area and to place a “favourable” group in
People complained that
instead of targeting the criminals, the police made the lives of common
people more miserable, who are already suffering at the hands of criminals
due to frequent firing incidents and gang wars.
So, what is the solution?
“A political solution — where all stakeholders sit on a table and all
political parties withdraw their support for the criminal elements,”
suggests Usman Baloch.
According to Article 25-A of the Pakistani constitution, every child in Pakistan from age five to 16 has a right to a free education. But according to an official report titled “Education Emergency” published in 2011, “7 million children are not in primary school at the moment and an abysmal 1.5 per cent of GDP is devoted to education. The cost of not educating Pakistan is the equivalent of the losses from annual floods.”
Given the public sector’s inability to redress the situation, there is a void to be filled in by private sector actors. Recognising education as the most critical emergency of the nation, 20 active citizens including Hajira Khan, a graduating student of Kinnaird College with a track record of involvement in grassroots education and women’s leadership activities, have launched ‘Ilmpossible’. This initiative aims to create widespread awareness about the right of every Pakistani child to free education. It is hoped that such awareness will be the first step towards forging a partnership between the public and private sectors to ensure the delivery of this basic service to all.
The Ilmpossible movement has been in force since December 2011 when the steering committee first converged to put the process in place. In March this year, the founding group combined forces with a group of British citizens, many of whom are of Pakistani origin, who had volunteer experience with social enterprises like the British Youth Council, Oxfam and The Citizenship Foundation. The group resolved that their cause needs to draw global attention and be considered as critical as the war on diseases like polio and HIV/AIDS.
Beyond the founding team, several celebrities like Aisam-ul-Haq, Ali Moeen Nawazish and Omair Rana have agreed to serve as ambassadors for the cause and added the Ilmpossible logo to their profile pictures on Facebook. Social media has been at the heart of the movement with appealing YouTube videos and viral Facebook photos chronicling relevant data and success stories. Those who are supporting the movement are described as Ilmbassadors and take responsibility for bringing others into the fold.
In few months, the organisation has chalked up several success stories. Consider volunteer Faisal Idrees who has managed to promote the cause among scores of people in the Multan region by targeting bus stops. Every week, his team coordinates to interact with the public at bus stops where many are in a state of transit towards rural areas. The group encourages dialogue as a way to create awareness about article 25-A and obtains contact information so that it can be kept up to date on the progress on education in such communities. Mapping out the success, or lack of it, is an important part of the Ilmpossible agenda of helping people realise the scale of the problem.
Rashid Mehmood of Karachi is a key member of the advocacy campaign. He operates a non-profit organisation in Karachi which focuses on the rights of blind people. He organised the First Pakistan Blind Youth Conference earlier this year including over 200 participants and 60 NGOs. His collaboration with Ilmpossible has focused on identifying the special educational needs of the blind and handicapped who require special teaching methods and resources to exercise their right for free education.
23rd March this year was recognised as an official Ilmpossible Day. Mehak Ameer of Karachi used the occasion to put up Ilmpossible posters on rickshaws around Karachi as a means of spreading awareness among the local community. Such innovative methods of advertising have been a key part of this campaign.
Given the national scope of the message, it has been important to bring Balochistan into the fold. Jan Muhammad, an ambassador in the Quetta area, visited Sarrar Bahadur Khan Women University in Quetta and conducted a session with over 200 students to discuss related issues and brainstorm strategies to raise the literacy rate. Several students agreed to serve as Ilmbassadors in their respective communities.
According to Hajira, immediate goals for the campaign include enrolling the maximum number of children into schools by the end of 2012 with a special focus on reducing gender disparity in educational opportunities. The hope is that by 2015, 2 million children will be in schools.
Over the coming weeks, Ilmpossible will select ambassadors from various school and university campuses across Pakistan. These ambassador posts are being designed in collaboration with the British Council and will charge students with the responsibility of conceiving innovative means of creating awareness within their communities, facilitating the process of setting up educational endeavours and encouraging children to avail these opportunities.
Politics has been revolving around Prime Minister Yousaf Gilani’s conviction these days. The announcement of detailed judgment the day Gilani flew to UK for an official visit has further accentuated the already existing political conflict in the country. Major political parties, both within the parliament and outside it, have been threatening the government with “long march” and “tsunami march” if Gilani fails to comply with the court’s orders. Both the PML-N and the PTI are demanding Gilani step down as he does not have the moral and legal authority to carry on as the chief executive.
There is a difference of opinion between the PML-N and the PTI over Gilani’s contempt issue. The PML-N believes that after the court’s decision, Gilani has been automatically disqualified while the PTI is of the view that he has the right to go into appeal against the decision though morally he ceases to be the prime minister. The PPP and its allies, on the other hand, say that the PM has the right to appeal against the decision and cannot be disqualified until the final decision. It has also started playing ‘the discrimination and victim cards’, implying that judiciary never provided relief to the PPP leadership starting from Zulfikar Ali Bhutto to Benazir Bhutto and now Gilani. For many leaders of the PPP, the decision is a victory and would help unite the PPP workers for the next general elections.
“After the court’s short order on April 26, Gilani has no legal and moral ground to remain in his office and he should immediately resign. The detailed judgment has strengthened our stance. We have already launched a protest movement against the prime minister and will continue till his ouster,” Senator Mushahidullah Khan, Information Secretary of the PML-N, tells TNS. “This is most unfortunate that a convicted person is occupying the office of chief executive of the country illegally. This attitude of not respecting the orders of SC is extremely dangerous for the future of politics in the country.”
The PTI, on the other hand, is of the opinion that the PM has the right to appeal. Talking to Geo TV on May 8, PTI Chief Imran Khan had said that in principle his party did not accept Gilani as the prime minister after his conviction, but under the law he had the right to go into appeal against the court’s decision. “If the SC rejects his appeal and he refuses to leave the office, the PTI will have no other option but to go for a final push against the government,” Khan had said.
Fawad Chaudhry, the newly-appointed special assistant on political affairs to the PM, hopes the decision will unite the PPP workers. “There is a legal consensus after the detailed judgment that now the court is out of Gilani’s disqualification process. It will be decided by the Speaker of National Assembly”. He believes the PML-N has different standards of morality for their leadership and the PPP leadership. “Nawaz Sharif should apologise to the nation for attacking the SC building during his second tenure. Rafique Tarar, who bribed the judges of higher court to divide judiciary at that time, was made president of the country by the PML-N and Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui who revolted against his chief justice was made presidential candidate against Asif Zardari in the last presidential elections.”
Chaudhry says, “Everybody knows this is an election year and all the political parties are trying to mobilise their workers before elections. The PML-N is using this “conviction drama” to mobilise its people because it has no other issue to talk about.” He says the PPP has also announced schedule for its political rallies and all the coalition partners are standing by the party. “Our leadership believes in coalition building while the PML-N leadership believes in solo flight.”
Political analysts believe the SC decision against Gilani has added a new dimension to politics in Pakistan. The decision, according to them, has brought more political polarisation in the country. “There is consensus among political parties that no third force would be supported under any circumstances which is good for democracy,” political analyst Suhail Warraich tells TNS. “The PML-N’s dilemma is the PTI. It knows that the PTI has nothing at stake while it is part of the parliament at all levels.” He believes the PML-N will not resign, because after the 20th Amendment, the opposition has a lot of say in the appointment of chief election commissioner and caretaker governments.
Warraich says, “The PPP, if ousted unceremoniously, would play the ‘victim card’ and if allowed to complete its term, it will use the next budget for coming elections. It is also good at making alliances.” The PML-N leadership, at present, does not seem in a mood to make alliances with those who are not close to them ideologically, he says.