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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

US In Pursuit Of 4 Big Ones

First Published on LUBP

Secretary of State Clinton's visit to Pakistan left us pretty much where we were. Although the visit was supposed to be a "fence mender", but it seems like it is the usual diplomatic stuff. Yes we all are aware that, Pakistan has to step up its efforts to combat the poisonous monsters. On the other hand, the US has to respect its sovereignty and stop or at least slow down the pesky drones. 

The million dollar question is, has someone gotten the message or is it business as usual. Of course based on media reports, the Secretary looked a bit frustrated. The same media reported that US gave four names to Pakistan of their most wanted men after Osama. Those four names are Zawahiri, Siraj Haqqani, Ilyas Kashmiri and Atiya Abdel Rahman. Amzingly, Mulla Omar's name did not pop on that list. This sort of gives the impression, that either he is no more, as some rumors were suggesting, or there is some other reason, that we are not privy to.

Back to the issue of the meeting, of course at the end there was a notification pretty much restating the same old diplomatic riff raff. From what can be read between the lines is of course there is immense frustration on the US side.  The policy makers in Washington are looking for swift actions. Of course their patience is running thin. On the surface we are being told that, all is well and good, and the relationship with CIA is back on track. In reality is it so?

The post Osama events are pointing to one very conclusive thing. This war is far from over. Each day there is a bomb going off and people dropping like flies. 157 no more just in KP area, after the great Osama's demise. Even if miraculously the four names listed above are caught or killed, the hateful ideology will not be killed. That's where US and other allies need to focus heavily. Its the despair, which feeds into the rotten mind set. The mind set that fore goes any logic, rhyme or reason.

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Saturday, May 28, 2011

No Foreign Aid For Punjab, Ok Janab

So we have no dearth of laughable news at the expense of our political leaders. Latest came from the "Khadim e Aala", Janab Wazeer e Aaala, Shahbaz Sharif. Mr. Sharif made some quick headlines, by saying no to "faarun aid in Punjab."

I know after the Abbottabad operation, our honor, that was in deep slumber has woken up. As I said in one of my previous posts on another forum, any time it involves a "gora", we suddenly wake up. Our pains of the past and the narratives fed by our "muashrati uloom", textbooks give us the sudden surge of honor. We perceive the "Caucasians" as our villain number one, thanks to our media, Lollywood movies and the "half baked truths."

I posed the same question, when Raymond Davis saga happened. I will repeat the same question by altering the scenario a little bit. Suppose a couple of weeks back in Abbottabad, these were not American choppers, and if these were just Saudi choppers, coming in and getting rid of their former citizen. Will our "Ghairat Brigade", be out chest thumping and crying foul on a "faarun incursion." Truth is that we would have done the job for them ourselves. But even if push comes to shove, we would have dismissed everything by saying, "our brotherly nation has the right to seek justice from someone who is a fugitive."

So as the spin doctors are busy trying to rally up bunch of hypocritical honor again "faarun Umreeka", they would be working the entire opposite, in case of "faarun" yet "brotherly Saudi Arabia." In the wake of all this, of course, for the sake of rhetoric, "faarun dictation" and "faarun aid" are a no no. But one has to ask the honorable Chief Minister, what about "faarun ilaaj." Why go for a check up, treatment and surgeries to these "faarun countries." Sir, how about the "faarun exiles" and above all "faarun cars" that we love so much in our beloved country.

Shun everything "faarun", as it reminds us of the "faarun East India company walas", who came in for trade and did a "Raymond Davis" on us. Our so "righteous and honest", forefathers were fooled by these guys and the rest is all so crystal clear in our books. No narrative about our shortcomings and lack of control. Conspiracies of "evil angrez" is what you would typically find in our books, add more that we churn every day on our own and now you know, what our biggest crop is. If some one said wheat or cotton, they ought to quickly replace it with "conspiracies."

It is even more bemusing to read our Urdu headlines, where headlines say, "Shahbaz Sharif says no to kushkol." Hmm. Last I heard, the province of Punjab was still part of the federation. The federation has a Foreign Minister and a Finance Minister. The aid given to the country of course is for the entire country for a certain purpose. Technically, it is not a charity. It has certain objectives, or conditions attached to it.

In a broader perspective, it is a plan of development. The critics and cynics who view the aid as a "begging bowl", should really re examine their stance. It is a temporary help, to put us back on our feet. The idea is to have our folks chart out the course, so we no longer need these crutches. It is not the fault of donor nations, that we are unable to come up with a tangible and realistic plan, which would take us to complete recovery.

When the aid trickles in, it is on a national level. Of course one would hope that, there is some mechanism of appropriation between the provinces. If the provincial government, decides to pass on the aid, it must have a sound economic plan to replace it with domestic resources. The sound bites seem catchy and interesting, make good headlines, but in reality don't mean much.

Honorable Chief Minister Sahib, did touch on a couple of items, like creating jobs and investments. Sounds good and promising, but how do you attract long term business and investment from all over the world? Even a novice of a person like me knows that you want the domestic and foreign investments increased exponentially, to get the desired returns.

What it boils down to is conducive economic environment. How do you create that, when political instability and terrorism are the major barriers, preventing the people from the outside to increase their stakes in our motherland. Mian Sahib Junior, is an astute politician and a seasoned businessman himself. He knows that in order to boost the economic activities, these impediments have to be tackled head on.

The so called, "America's war" is actually the war to put our country back to prosperity and ever lasting peace. A progressive, prosperous and developed Pakistan will be in the interest of the entire world. When tourism would replace the infamous terrorism. Self dependence is well and good, but it cannot happen in a self created imaginary world. We live in a global village and its high time that we become inclusive and create our positive niche within this shrinking world.
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Caught Between Emotions And Rhetoric

Those of us who have seen Punjabi flicks growing up, will tell you, those are such a fun to watch. Absurdity and stupidity unlimited. Yet there is nothing like it, that brings the amount of hearty laughter out so spontaneously. If you were to compare our current political situation, it almost feels like you are watching a Punjabi action "fillum. " There is plenty of verbal exchange, loud and deafening between the adversaries, then there is a "faight" and finally the film may end with a predictable ending.

After Osama's episode, one would conclude, that we would get our act together and put ourselves on the right path. But it seems like the entire chain of command, political or otherwise, has been an ardent fan of Punjabi movies. While the deranged lot, is busy with its lame conspiracy theories as usual, every spokes hole is giving the usual "barak" to the Americans. Of course knowing full well, that they are not able to take the "phats" from the Yankee "Jatts."

Let's take a quick look, shall we. So according to many, this was a drama to malign Pakistan and its mighty security establishment. So where did the wives and children of Late Bin Laden come from? Hollywood I guess. Gosh those choppers brought an armada of actors with them. Every one and their mother in law around the globe is willing to buy, that this was Bin Laden who perished, except a lot of our "ghairat mands." They are sort of hung in the middle, cannot swallow or spit this one. Almost gagging and with each passing day, exacerbating the whole situation.

The blood, DNA, physical evidence, videos do not mean anything to them. They are dismissing all of that as CIA job to avenge the Davis let down. Hmm.. Do they really think that a President would be able to pull this hoax, with ease. When the nay sayers can easily put a supposedly live Bin Laden to discredit Obama in minutes. Then there are those who swear up and down, he died long time ago. Well someone must have buried him, perfect opportunity to stick this one to the "Imperialists" by unearthing the remains and showing the world. Tough one I guess.

The ever mighty security establishment has accepted, the inept government has nodded, the militants with their ilk have offered their prayers in absentia, but the ones with over supply of ghairat are unwilling to yield. One has to ask them, what did Osama do for them or for Pakistan or Muslims? Did he donate his personal wealth to the poor Muslim nations? But nothing really matters to this crazy lot. It is called the infantile Islamic superiority (read stupidity) complex. No Muslim can ever do any wrong and the whole world is out to get Muslims, is their deduction. Go figure.

Even the children know this golden rule, when they play. If you have the ability to face off, then and only then instigate and invite trouble. Otherwise the opponent will pound you with full force. Remember our tall claims that we had pummeled the Indians in 1971 and in Kargil, the reality was to the contrary. How about the Gulf war (s), so much noise from Saddam. At the end of first one he retreated from Kuwait. What happened after the second one, brought a tight noose around his neck. The pretext to initiate the Second Gulf war in Iraq, may be wrong. But let me ask a simple question, wasn't Saddam given a fair warning? Only if he had the best interest of his people in mind, he would be sitting pretty somewhere in the world today in exile, sipping some hot coffee. How about our "strategic liabilities" across the border in Afghanistan. The rest is all history.

Here at home, when the Americans did what they promised they would, we are still playing the usual games. We are still trying to fool ourselves, knowing the Americans are not going to buy our double talk. Those of us who use to take great offense to the demands of "more" by the Americans, are busy doing "more of the same." Spin total Pakistani style.

At first it was the PM Sahib, who blamed the entire world for the faulty intelligence. Hmm..did some one ask him how in the world is the entire world responsible for the intelligence within Pakistan? Then the mighty security czars just brushed it off as an oversight, yet giving the usual "barak" to India. The so bright politicians traded barbs with each other on the floor of the wrestling arena (oops I meant the National Assembly) and tried to link one another to Osama. Although they were trying so hard to disassociate themselves from him in front of the world outside.

No we never did learn from the mistakes of the past. This recent episode is a testimony that we never will. Only a fool would think, that Americans will seek consent prior to taking down any additional high value targets within Pakistan. The sovereignty debate is so hollow that it is not even bemusing. Its the strategic depth gone wrong, which has become our strategic ditch. One would have thought that this time around, we would grab the bull by the horns. The way it looks like, not happening in my lifetime. Seems to me we are getting ourselves ready for a rather predictable end, much like our Punjabi flicks.

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Queuing Up With Q

The battle for "Takht e Lahore" as one of our illustrious leader calls it, is on. PPP with its recent move, to woo the Q Leaguers has proven that it is time to bury the hatchet with, what they once called "Qatil League", themselves.

Q League the brain child of the all mighty establishment, has now finally gotten some muscle, in this PPP versus PML-N game. The way things are going for PPP, it is the question for its survival. Even if it means, embracing the former adversaries to secure its waning grip, it has no choice, other than biting the bullet.

Who can forget the fiery claims of the Junior Chaudhry of Q, who had once categorically dismissed any reconciliation with PPP. His hard line stance was based on the assertion, that "reconciling with a party responsible for the break up of the nation, was out of question."

If Junior Chaudhry was really sincere, he would have raised the same question in front of his former Godfather. It is not PPP or ZAB that led to the inevitable separation of East Pakistan. It was not ZAB, who ordered the fellow Khakhis of former General, Yahya Khan to crush the so called "rebellion." The handwriting of decades worth of injustice and ruthless inequity was on the wall. But the million dollar question is, will any one ever hold the people who are truly responsible for this shameful episode? Many including the Junior Chaudhry would plead sheer ignorance, right! PPP should introduce another reference in SC and get this "historical wrong", right forever by getting their former Chairman absolved from this allegation as well.

Politics is a strange game, where no enmity is eternal and no difference is permanent. The PPP started its journey with a good momentum, after the 2008 election. Especially, the Murree Declaration was a great move. The nation finally came to some ease, with this historic patch up of PPP and PML-N. Finally, the two adversaries were ideologically aligned to keep the "military out for good."

What transpired from there on is common knowledge. The thorny issue of restoration of judiciary, was the prime reason for the rift. From there on it has been a downhill flight for both of them.

To many it almost seems like, if the alliance would have persisted, it would have been a turning point in Pakistan's political history. The two parties pretty much cover the major territory of the country. Both would have had their stint almost every five years. But to some, this rather predictable scenario, was too boring. So behind the scene forces, were busy in doing, what these forces or interests if you will, are famous for. You guessed it, creating a divide.

Slowly and gradually, PML-N parted ways. Then it was followed by JUI-F and MQM did its usual of "in and out and full round about" on a few occasions. At every such juncture, there were the usual rumor mills busy, trumpeting either "Martial Law" or "Mid Term Polls." Heck, even some TV anchors made some rather bold predictions of pack up for the PPP. Somehow, it weathered these storms and still made it through, which is nothing short of a miracle.

The same elements are busy spinning a web of another such bizarre scenario. One of our very senior politician, who should seriously take astrology for a profession, has predicted again, that this government will not last till its full term.

In the meantime, Mr. Sharif's absence from the scene, has not been very conducive for his party either. PPP's move to cozy up with Q League and taking them on board, may be a short term move. But in the longer run, this alliance may not last either.

The reason is fairly simple. Both parties are ideologically poles apart. Q League, with all due respect, was a party of N League deserters. It was carved out by former President Musharraf to divide PML-N and to get an endorsement for his Presidency. It is no secret either, that such opportunistic politicians are available in Pakistan, a dime a dozen.

They always tow the line with either the establishment or whoever is in power, for that matter. Yes Punjab has its significance and along with a sizable majority PPP can not only sustain till 2013, but perhaps beyond as well. Needless to say, the demands for ministries by Q Leaguers to sign up for the nuptials carry the telltale signs.

The PPP really needs to focus on revamping its political priorities. It used to be equally popular in Punjab in the past. Maybe its time for induction of some fresh blood in the ranks for Punjab to re ignite the spark. The time tested "turn coats" are not going to be able to pay dividends, in the long run.

This marriage of convenience may turn out to be a very bitter and costly pill. If anything, it is high time for both PPP and PML-N to sit back on the table and revisit their Murree Declaration. The nation would be in much better shape, if the two major players are in sync with one another. It will keep the small irritants and the typical opportunist characters at bay.
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Obama Speaks: "I Was Born In the USA"

Even though he did not sing the unofficial anthem, but what President Obama said loud and clear, by releasing his detailed Birth Certificate, "I was born in the USA." Told you so. Of course its not adequate for the detractors, especially Donald Trump and company. Mr. Trump is all "fired" up, with this issue. Even with this, Mr. Trump, still sounded skeptical and wanted to see the Certificate, himself. It is high time that Mr. Trump focuses on, how to make us all richer much like him, or before you know it, the RNC, may be telling him, what he is famous for, you guessed it, "You're fired."

Yes Mr. Obama may have not been so successful of a President, but as this scribe has previously stated, any one even Senator McCain, would be facing the similar issues. Borrowing another phrase from another famous former President, " After all, Its the economy stupid."

On one of the Saturday radio addresses, the GOP spokesperson, was advocating and emphasizing on the "J" word, you guessed it, the "jobs." The well meaning politician was stressing on the need to create more jobs by giving small businesses, supply and access to credit. OK understood, well and good. But I wanted to ask the gentlemen, 8 years and two wars (one at least one was based on faulty intelligence and the other has no end in sight), what else did you expect?

The gentleman was emphasizing on "fiscal discipline", and I agree with him. But the control was the responsibility of the man in charge of the White House for 8 long years. You don't pick up a fight and drive your home to this situation. Have the monetary resources to engage in the conflict, if not then come up with another plan. Being penny wise always pays off.

Of course the proponents argue, well it has made America a lot safer. I beg to differ on that one, as we have this constant fear looming over our shoulders, no matter what. Even if we were to open war theaters all over the world to contain this menace, the fundamental question remains the same, "Shouldn't our first priority be our homeland?"

But like many other countries, our conservatives tend to put the blame on the other side very conveniently, and dodge their goofs with some lame excuse. The conservatives in my country of birth act rather similarly to their ideological partners in the US. They tend to waste valuable time on origin, religion and other unimportant stuff, which has no bearing on the long term viability and stability of the nation.

I picked up a blog, where some are criticizing the appearance of the President on Oprah. I read something on the cover of National Enquirer, where it was alleging that Mr. Obama was begging Oprah to save her from Trump. I laughed as it was comical. In politics, certain moves are " completely political." The aides in dark Armani suits, get paid to churn out these ideas.
I am sure if the Republican guy was in a similar political pickle, he would have reached out to someone with affinity, like Hannity. It is all Politics after all. Isn't it. For God's sake, let's focus on what we really should, making this country safer from the inside and bringing prosperity back. Rest is all talking points as usual.
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No Sir You Can't Have It Both Ways

Its a free country and yes every one has a say. Everyone has a right to have their voices heard. That's what democracy is all about. Stifling any dissenting viewpoint, goes against the basic tenets of the will of people.

Having said that, one has to give it to the so ever charged and emotional crowd, chanting and defending the sanctity of our "Armed Forces." The most ludicrous angle of this whole thing is that it is perceived a sacred cow and no one has the right to question its performance. Not even the public who almost gives their 50 paisas on every Rupee they earn to their Jawans. It is ironic that supposedly the defenders of the public, consider it "unpatriotic" to respond to those, who they have promised to protect and serve.

Let's dice this argument of sovereignty for a moment. So the Americans flew in to Abbottabad, got their job done. They were undetected by the radars, supposedly based on their technological superiority. But let's dig a bit further. What were they in Abbottabad for? What did they accomplish and what did they part with?

If the Americans would have done something fishy to begin with, such as caused havoc in the capital or disarmed the "priceless nuclear assets", all the hue and cry was warranted. If anything, we should be thankful to them for getting a despicable character off the world. The same person who gave two hoots to the lives of many including our own brethren.

Going a bit further, what did Mr. Bin Laden do for Pakistan in the first place? Did Mr. Bin Laden build schools, hospitals, mosques, pharmacies, colleges, universities or flood control canals? No Sir, no such thing. The devoted lot of Mr. Bin Laden did one thing for sure. Took their personal vendetta towards the US, on center stage of this world by causing 09/11 and the rest is all history.

From there on what unfolded in Pakistan is common knowledge. We must be the most naïve nation in he entire world. The entire Arabian Peninsula is perhaps taking a sigh of relief, after his passing. However on our end we are mourning him like he was the best thing that ever happened to our gifted nation. The lawyers at Lahore High Court, who showered petals at a murderer, Mumtaz Qadri were going a step further by saying Bin Laden's prayers in absentia. Some deluded channels were glorifying him as the greatest martyr. The infamous Jamat ud Dawa with thousands of protesters were singing his praises.

So this great martyr and his followers have put thousands to sleep, in and around Pakistan. Many suicide bombs have shattered families and created a living hell for our countrymen. All because the martyr and his followers were not happy with this Pakistan and its forces siding with the "Imperial America."

The same martyr had openly declared a war against our forces, ever since Musharraf made the tough choice. Now our uniformed forces are speechless, as the same man was found in our backyard and was killed by the Americans. So the protest and solidarity with our forces is in a way an admission that, "yes you screwed up, yes you were asleep when Americans came in, yes five plus years the special guest was here and yes the entire world is staring at us with disgust, but we still love you."

To take a step further, the same people who are singing praises of our Khakhi's epic failure are also diminishing the villainy of the infamous martyr by singing his praises as well.

This is the most perplexing angle of this entire episode. This is what the rest of the world is questioning. How could you glorify a mass murderer who has killed thousands of people around the world, including Pakistan and then absolve your armed forces for their blunder, of keeping a special guest with a unique notoriety. By raising the hollow sovereignty slogan, all these demented "so called patriots" are saying, Americans had no right to come in, our forces are capable of taking such characters down. So please make up your mind, was this a martyr or a villain, who our valiant soldiers would have targeted in no time. No Sir, you can't have it both ways.

The biggest blunder is not that our heroes were unable to detect the American choppers. It is their inability to protect their own citizens from the enemies within. The enemies who strike ruthlessly at any place with rather impunity. If a citizen feels unsafe in its own country, then what are the "armed forces" for in the first place?

The dilemma is, now the whole world is unwilling to buy our excuses and honor laced sob stories. The war on terror is not a "war in error." It is for Pakistan and for every Pakistani's survival. Even our parliamentary hearings were a major disappointment. Where the same old drum was beaten and over beaten about faith in our forces. It is about time that elected officials and the forces listen to their people and protect them. As it is part of their duty and a sacred covenant of their oath.


About The Author:

D. Asghar is a Pakistani American. A Mortgage Banker by profession who loves to write as well. He blogs frequently at popular South Asian websites. A repository of some of his scribbles is http://dasgharspoliticalprism.blogspot.com/. He can be reached at dasghar@aol.com.
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Friday, May 27, 2011

SMQ: New Rebel With An Old Cause

Qureshi Sahib is sounding more and more like some one with the "sour grapes" syndrome. Undoubtedly, as a Foreign Minister he had a considerable clout. He was seen with world leaders and made his efforts to portray the Pakistani image abroad, to the best of his ability. To some extent, he was seen as being successful.

But with the portfolio gone, he is sounding more and more like a typically traditional politician at home. In a recent address, where he has claimed that PPP has an in internal split, over forming an alliance with PML-Q, is perhaps a new move to create fissures within the party. This scribe has touched on the nuptials of PPP and Q, in a daily newspaper's online edition.

Of course the marriage of conveniences very rarely get to live in the everlasting bliss and very rarely, get to "live happily ever after." The trade of the usual "give and take" fails in the longer run. Especially, when the agendas of two parties are totally opposite.

SMQ and Ms. Wahab, both got axed for the Davis issue. Both spoke their minds, although with differing opinions. But many turned this into the fissures within the party. Both got reprimanded rather heavily.

The spin masters made their fate as the President and also the party Co-Chairperson's wrath for going against the party discipline. The reality is that political leadership in Islamabad was following the queues of the real leadership in Rawalpindi. Very rarely you see, people focusing their ire, where it rightfully belongs.

A true party loyalist, even at odds within the party, tries to stick to the party line, at least in public. Of course, if and when he decides to leave the party, then open criticism is fair game and the right of a political leader.

As a participant in this forum has rightly pointed, that over propping of Imran Khan sounds more like the modern day rehashing of the old IJI formula. IK is perhaps being made the new Nawaz Sharif. SMQ's newly critical viewpoint of PPP, the scenarios of a "national government" by some, may be part of the same end game. Who plays those behind the scene games, is well known. Very rarely, you get to see public anger towards those players.

The recent verdict of SC on Mukhtaran Mai rape case, where "lack of evidence" was the major issue, the spin masters are putting its blame back on the government. The reason given is that government's law enforcement agencies are the main culprits, according to those spinners. Well very few are focusing on, under whose term and watch, these agencies did a pathetic job. Very rarely we get to focus on the real culprits. Right. It is under the same watch, where physical and crucial evidence of Benazir's murder was washed, within hours.

SMQ may be also be the new rebel with the old cause. The days ahead will demonstrate, where all of this is headed. The telltale signs are rather apparent.

Source: http://www.dawn.com/2011/04/25/ppp-has-split-into-two-groups-qureshi.html

Sharing The Pie With King's Men

Four years ago, a man who had been languishing in Landhi jail for too long, living under the shadows of his illustrious wife, perceived as a political liability of the largest party of the country, would emerge as its savior and would become the President of Pakistan, was totally unbelievable. Yes life is all about surprises, and it turned out to be a rather rude surprise for many of his die hard haters and detractors.

Benazir's untimely and ill fated demise in Rawalpindi left the baton in the hands of highly loathed, despised and criticized Zardari. Who took the shattered party with the slogans of "Pakistan Khappey", and ousted a rather cornered and paralyzed former General. The timing perhaps was on his side. Or was it a gift of fate for years worth of incarceration for unsubstantiated charges. After almost 10 years of dictatorial regime, it was a strange coincidence, that a man once remembered and scorned with the digit of 10, took the oath of the highest office of the land.

Yes democracy turned out to be the sweetest revenge for him. Plagued, chastised and demoralized endlessly by the detractors, he remained determined to rewrite a new chapter. Pragmatism replaced the usual victimization of the rivals and dialogue not dislodge took the center stage. The long and stained history of political enmity was buried and bitter rival, Nawaz Sharif was invited to join hands.

The Murree Declaration was signed by both which was a follow up to the Charter of Democracy, envisaged by late Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif. All was going well. However for a nation full of tragic and beleaguered political history, these festivities were fairly short lived. The thorny issues such as restoration of the Chief Justice and other partisan bickering became the reason for their divorce.

The unseen yet the most powerful forces of the nation, were delighted with this break up. If this union would have survived, it could have potentially dismantled the myth of their dominance for good. In the end, it was the good old game and the forces in the shadows, beaming with pleasure.

Asif Zaradari and his list of political blemishes (real or perceived) may be long, but he deserves credit for taking Pakistan back to the path of democracy.
Even a fragile democracy is a million times better than a dictatorial rule. In a fragile democracy, parties of common interests form a coalition to govern. Often the parties may be poles apart on ideological frontiers, but circumstances bring them closer to form a rather weird alliance. Differences are hashed out and common grounds are negotiated and achieved through dialogue.

Left in lurch without the coalition partners, Zardari made some tough choices. It was more of a do or die. A big gamble in the political casino by joining the former rivals and bitter adversaries, created and crafted by the former General. Once termed as "Kings Party" and "Kings Men", the Chaudhrys of Gujrat, who were once considered bitter rivals, brought on board to save the withering coalition. Survival is the end game and swallowing of this bitter pill was necessary to remain alive. At the cost of constant ridicule, he embraced the same Chaudhrys, who were once accused by him, for being somewhat behind, the murder of his wife.

The deal was sealed with the usual give and take. Q Leaguers wanted ministries and a role of a Deputy Prime Minister. As the saying goes, everything was accepted and thrown in along with the kitchen sink to bring the Q Leaguers on board. What was termed as the "deal to strengthen democracy", got a bit shunned by much bigger news, that consumed the masses around the globe about Pakistan, around that time about a mansion in Abottabad.

The political pundits have written off this alliance as a non starter. The PML-Q camp that signed the dotted line, has a history of opportunistic politics. They have deserted their former parties to go along with the pied pipers of the moment. This reality was perhaps factored into the equation, when PPP decided to yield to this supposedly political low.

For those who have been watching all of these developments from the sidelines, it appears a very well and thought out plan. PPP, despite its waning popularity has the real players in its bag. On one hand it has MQM in Karachi and urban Sindh and the other they have the crutches of Q Leaguers in Punjab. Not to mention the ANP in KP and in its own presence in rather volatile Balochistan. It seems like the landscape around the nation has been covered.

All this corners PML-N and reality of the matter is that it leads Sharif with no other option, but to rally his former ideological partners of religious right. Despite their constant and never ending rhetoric, the religious parties do not have a winning vote bank. With all the upheavels caused by the "honorable", historically they have been dismissed as a real political entity, come election day.

This leaves Mr. Sharif with the emerging blue eyed boy of the establishment, Mr. Imran Khan. If truth be told, Mr. Sharif will probably have to partner with Mr. Khan to gain some mileage. Needless to say the remaining Q Leaguers, who did not go along with this deal, will have to make a choice to jump in bed with Mr. Sharif as well. Giving heed to his recent statements, Mr. Sharif is playing safe on all frontiers. On one day he criticizes the establishment for Abbotabad security lapse and the other, he chimes with the message of Mr. Khan, giving some anti US statements pertaining to its affairs in Pakistan.

The million dollar question, which remains unanswered at this point is, where will all this leads for another leader to return from his self imposed exile. Yes Mr. Musharraf has made some announcements to make his comeback prior to March 23, 2012. Only some one with a really accurate crystall ball can predict, which side will he end up with. It will be an interesting 2012 and if one can read between the lines, the maneuvering has begun.

Post Osama: Time To Get Our Act Together

Some learn from their mistakes, others only learn to deny their mistakes. We tend to belong in the latter category. When the neighbors used to point fingers at us and accuse us for harboring terrorist, we used to rebut, deny and refute. Our simple comeback was, "good old malicious Bharti propaganda."

We released many hard core and well known terrorists, due to "lack of evidence." Our political leaders and security establishment categorically denied any information on any "high value" and most wanted targets at many occasions. Amazingly, some very well known names in the global terrorist networks, such as Libbi, Zubaida, and Khalid Sheikh Muhammad were found within our territories.

Was that a coincidence or was that a strange set of circumstances, that we were able to attract such characters in the land of Jinnah. Any time the obvious was pointed at us, we twisted the story the other way around. We called others liars and blamed them with a nefarious agenda. Their sole aim and objective was to disarm the nukes of the only Muslim nation with such unique capability.

When OBL was killed in Abbottabad, a few days back, we were totally shocked, surprised and embarrassed. Immediately we went into the spin and denial mode. Refusing and rebutting. The whole world on one side and Pakistan on the other. Within a day, when the obvious began apparent, then some of us began glorifying the one who had openly declared a war against our people and warned us of dire consequences.

We tried very foolishly to shift the blame on the entire world by calling it the failure of the intelligence community of the entire world. The fact is that land from Karachi to Khyber is ours. The whole world is not responsible for it. We may brush this one. We may warn others, to not plan any future misadventures. But it will not change the perception. Let's face it there is a trust deficit now. It is world vs Pakistan.

Until or unless we intend to isolate ourselves from the rest of the world, we have to live by the rules of the world. Fact is that we have been on many misadventures and expeditions at the cost of our land, our people and their prosperity. It is high time, that we accept our mistakes and chart our course for the future.

Yes our first priority should be how to redeem ourselves. How to let the world know that we are the Pakistan where unity of all Pakistanis is our faith and we are disciplined to follow the path of our founding fathers. Its high time to get our act together. The world is not against us, its us against the world now. It is now or never that we will be able to get our act together. The first step is swallowing our false pride and tendering an apology to the world. The rest will follow on its own.