Category Archives: Agha Haider Raza

Should the PTI contest the senate elections?

“The PTI is finally going to become part of the same parliament [by contesting the upcoming senate elections] that Mr Khan protested against and derided for the 126 days of his sit-in outside Parliament House”.

Why would the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) contest the upcoming senate elections in March when the voters are the very same parliamentarians that the PTI claims are not legitimate due to electoral rigging in 2013? Why does the PTI want more seats when they have deprived 12,070,038 people of representation for the last 4 months as 67 members refuse to attend parliament. Continue reading

Imran Khan’s tsunami is flooding Pakistan!

By: Agha Haider Raza

Pakistan’s media airwaves have gone haywire over the spectacle that has emerged since renowned journalist, Hamid Mir, was shot at multiple times in Karachi a few weeks ago. In response to the audacious attack, Mir’s employer, GEO News openly hinted that the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was responsible for the attempt on Mir’s life.  As expected, the ISI sprung into action; flexing their muscles through the “independent” media and “civil society” by protesting against the allegations leveled by GEO News.  Rather than using the unfortunate attack on Hamid Mir as an opportunity to engage in a frank discussion on the safety of journalists in Pakistan (deemed one of the world’s least safe place for journalists), this incident has opened a debate on the credibility of Pakistan’s first democratic transition and reignited long-standing tensions between the incumbent government and the country’s most powerful institution, the Pakistan Army.  Using the bold attack on Hamid Mir as a springboard, Imran Khan is boycotting GEO News and has resorted to street protests to declare the sham of a democracy we have at present. Khan and his party claim that the general elections of 2013 were stolen from them via alleged rigging committed by the PML-N and GEO News and after exhausting all appropriate avenues have decided to utilize there street power.  This is not the time. What the country really needs are its politicians to embolden and strengthen Pakistan’s fragile Parliament by passing electoral reform and acting on the discrepancies in the last election to avoid repeating similar mistakes in the future.

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To Use or Not to Use Religion

By: Agha Haider Raza

With the first ever democratically elected Parliament nearly passing the baton to another parliament via general elections in the midst of our reach, we may just be witnessing history.  History is in the making because over the 66-year roller coaster ride, Pakistan has never observed such a transition.  Numerous military interventions, lack of assertive civilian leadership along with the involvement of non-state and foreign actors has made Pakistan suffer deeply.

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The Narrative Needs to Change

This morning, Pakistani’s found themselves standing in lines, shoulder to shoulder behind the coffins of a Shia doctor and his eleven year-old son.  Reason for death; bullet wounds.  The real cause for death however, was not the bullets that pierced through their bodies but rather the sect of Islam they believed in.  While the twitterverse and other social media outlets have openly expressed their disgust and shock towards the ease by which minorities and citizens are being hunted and slaughtered, the government seems to have their head in the sand, oblivious to reality.

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Pakistan Media Woes

By: Agha Haider Raza

During his near-decade of power, Pervez Musharraf introduced many different pieces of legislation.  The public at large admonished some laws, while few regulations were applauded.  However, one ordinance in particular, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA), signed in to law by 2002 is (should be) praised by all.  The said ordinance not only capsized Musharraf’s regime, but has also brought a vibrant and dynamic media sector to Pakistan. The beauty of an independent media, free from the ownership of the state, provides room for an accountability mechanism in a democratic setup.  Unfortunately the power players in Pakistan have not been able to understand and utilize this powerful domain.

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New Year, New Tasks

By: Agha Haider Raza

2011 has been a rather tumultuous year for Pakistan. There have been too many incidents to highlight and ponder over.  With the assassination of Salmaan Taseer in January to the deaths of Pakistani soldiers in November, the land of the pure has taken a lot of bruising. Despite suffering at the hands of homegrown and natural disasters, Pakistan continues to point fingers at the United States and other foreign intelligence agencies.  Now don’t get me wrong, the US has done its fair share to ruffle things up in the region, but I have to ask– how long can the country blame foreign powers for our own misery? Pakistan has failed to create a cohesive narrative at a time when it is most necessary.

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Narrator vs Narrative

By: Agha Haider Raza

Journalists across Pakistan have continuously stressed the importance
of protecting the freedom of speech as way of ensuring the media’s
role as one of the country’s most crucial accountability mechanisms.
However as of late the media seems to have overstepped the very
function they speak so highly of.

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