Sunday, April 16, 2017

Mumtaz Qadri and his Janaza



I do not understand why are people bothered about janaza of Mumtaz Qadri? People who attended janaza thought that Mumtaz was a Muslim, or may be a Good Muslim. I do not find any problem if people attend a funeral because they think that the departed soul was a good Muslim. It is between them and their God, why do I judge that these people are wrong? Do I have the mandate to judge them? If I judge them, then how will I differentiate myself from those who judge me and think of me as a bad Muslim? Also, why do I need to know that Mumtaz Qadri went to Jannat or Jahannum? It is the matter to be decided by Allah; who am I to decide?


Another interesting thing is that after every few days I see posts and material against blasphemy law… I sometimes wonder why don’t I hear the same hue and cry regarding the laws about theft and murder, despite the fact that many innocents have been wrongly punished in false allegations of theft and murder.
 

Can we ever think positive? I wonder!!



Those Pakistanis who are trying to equate (knowingly, unknowingly, emotionally, rationally) the #Mashal Khan episode with the killing of Muslims in India for having beef or slaughtering cows, should see some clear differences:

  1. Unlike secular India, Islamic Pakistan has taken steps in reaction. Pakistan looks like a functional state after the event. This is not the first time that the state has taken action/steps in a similar situation, the state has punished (i.e. hanged) at least 3 people in recent past for killing others in the name of religion. Remember this is an Islamic state which is usually considered to exhibit apologetic behavior in similar situations.
  2. Cow is an animal whose meat is exported by India itself and there are many cows in the world. We do not see Muslims knowingly committing blasphemy against The Only Last Prophet (SAW).
The point here is not to start a debate, give an argument, defame India, or prove someone wrong… The point is that most of us have stopped thinking and seeing the positives. We only see negatives. Government taking action against people who kill others in the name of religion is a positive. Remain hopeful, and pray for more improvement, only if you have faith (in anything). Remain hopeless and keep shouting otherwise… But remember, things won’t change overnight…

May Allah guide all of us!!!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Five reasons why PTI lost NA-122 (and why it might fail again)

From an impartial election researcher's point of view, ‎NA-122‬ was always going to be a close contest between the PML-N and the PTI – pretty much a dead heat – however, PML-N did not win it as much as PTI lost it.
Yes, they put up a great fight but closing the gap with PML-N today means nothing in the long-term as public opinion changes over a matter of weeks. For those of you willing to consider something other than election rigging as the reason for this loss, one will be so bold as to suggest all roads lead to campaign failure.
It's been a really long time since May 2013 and the incumbency factor, plus any residual gains of the dharnas, should have been working against the PML-N (remember the 1990's? This population is pretty much done with the incumbent at the two-year mark).
The PTI has been building up momentum to change their baseline from “not winning” in urban Lahore to “winning” urban Lahore. Let’s face it, if the PTI is to be a formidable third force they have to be able to win in places where the demography (urban educated voters and high youth numbers) of their key constituents plays in their favour.
Simply put, if the PTI aren't winning urban Punjab yet, they're not winning any national elections in the next two and half years. 

Five ways PTI's campaign strategy failed:
1. Attack campaigns don't work if you don't have your ducks in a row
The PTI vilified Ayaz Sadiq (who remained rather dignified) to the extent that they made a martyr of him.
There is such a thing as taking your campaign to a point where it starts working against you, the effects of which you can see when your opponent’s voters show up in force.
2. Candidate selection is the holy grail of electioneering
The PTI clearly hasn't gotten the memo in the last 2.5 years.
Running attack campaigns will result in people hating your opponent, but at the same time, they also create higher expectations. Your voters are expecting a candidate who embodies the values YOU told them your opponent doesn't have.
Thus if that is the chosen nature of your campaign pick a benign gentleman/lady of known character (even if they are relatively unknown to the public) instead of a controversial electable.

3. Run a real campaign centered around WHO your candidate is
It's not enough to just be anti status-quo.
The undecided lazy voter just didn’t know enough about Aleem Khan outside of the PTI’s anti-PMLN campaign to come out and vote. Campaigns must give people something to vote for and not just something to vote against.
4. Put your house in order
The most deadly mismatch is that between a party's candidate selection vis-a-vis the values they claim to hold as a party. If your candidate is not (or at least, is not presented as) the epitome of your loudest values, the voter will question your ethos.
Answer me this, does the PTI, as a genuine harbinger of change, have as much traction today with voters as it did three years ago? I worry they don’t, and internal party politics are largely to blame for it.
5. Don't blame the media
If you didn't use them well, that's on you.

Those are just some basic criteria to a successful campaign that weren’t met here.
While one has your attention, let’s just call a spade a spade – this was NOT a contest between Ayaz Sadiq and Aleem Khan – this was a referendum on the righteousness of the PTI versus the evil of election rigging.
It's an absolutely terrible idea to link victory in one constituency to vindication of your party’s broader message. It’s simply too much pressure on one campaign and the problem with that paradigm is that elections have less to do with right or wrong and more to do with mathematics.
That kind of messaging raises the stakes for victory and increases the impact of defeat, where one constituency can sink your entire cause.
Little victories sustain causes, not losses! Little victories are the fuel for your supporters and the incentive for those undecided voters.

"Rigged elections of 2013" consequently doesn’t resonate the same way it did back in August 2014.

Furthermore, using that rhetoric will again alienate the critics and distance the swing voters. With each loss you failed to walk on water, you didn't emerge from the fire unscathed, and the children are crying because you just showed them Santa isn't real.
And finally, let’s address the expectation that somehow changing the process (election reform) will yield a different electoral outcome. That simply is not going to happen, not when political parties are choosing candidates that the public has a hard time getting behind. 

Processes and rules don’t change anything. They are just necessary to prevent deviations in behavior that might influence the outcome.
Campaigns, on the other hand, actually influence the outcome.
Campaigns have the power to change preferences. But the power to give the voter really good reasons to choose you lies with ... well ... you.
Published: http://www.dawn.com/news/1212615/five-reasons-why-pti-lost-na-122-and-why-it-might-fail-again

Should the PTI continue to grieve over ‘stolen’ seats? DAWN Blog



“One cannot lose if he does not accept defeat ... and in PTI’s dictionary, defeat does not exist.”
Imran Khan said to his supporters in Lahore on October 4th, while other PTI leaders standing behind him softly chuckled.
In the context of a democratic election, does this statement hold true?
Despite the rhetoric, on Sunday, by a close margin of 4,031 PML-N’s Sardar Ayaz Sadiq held his seat against PTI’s Aleem Khan in NA-122.
In George Orwell’s Animal Farm, a satirical allegory on Russian totalitarianism, lead character Napoleon plays to the base needs of his followers who chant, “Napoleon is always right.” They are told to envision a utopia, where there would be no corruption and equality amongst the classes. But goals promised are never truly defined nor real solutions offered.
It becomes a dangerous thing when citizens fail to ask tough questions, developing a cult of personality following to their leader. Ultimately, left unchecked, Napoleon becomes a tyrant worse than the original leaders of Animal Farm.
Khan also promotes a utopia: a corruption free Naya Pakistan. During his rallies, he rouses his young followers with catchy slogans and lofty promises (and here and there makes some unconstitutional demands).
In between each promise made, a neutered version of the unruly Gullu Butt, a tame DJ Butt, plays a carefully synchronised song. The crowds are encouraged to chant and dance, before having much opportunity to reflect on what was said.
Playing upon religious and historical references of purana Pakistan’s founders Quaid-e-Azam and spiritual head Allama Iqbal, Khan urges for a more “Islamic” and idealistic state; a state that prides itself in the stern implementation of justice.
But, is there justice in this dystopia for women killed in honour killings, for minorities deprived of religious freedoms, or millions of childrenenslaved in forced labour? No.
The party’s leadership does not rally in the streets to end these injustices. Justice is also not reserved for those killed by the Taliban. Khan has advocated forgiveness and talks as the solution, even after the horrifying APS school attack.
The stern justice he wishes to unleash is preoccupied with seizing the power of the rulers. Like the revolutionaries in Animal Farm what the advocates of a Naya Pakistan may not have realised is that in Celebrity Khan’s idyllic new world, “naya” soon means old and “justice” ultimately means to usurp the country’s democracy.
Khan’s politics of agitation, allegations of rigging, and long marches are nothing new for Pakistan.
Had he and Tahirul Qadri been successful in overthrowing the government (and system) it would’ve proven a dangerous transition back to the real status quo in Pakistan, in which a weak democracy is usurped by a military dictatorship. This has been the case for nearly half of the nation’s short history.
In one of his recent press conferences, Imran Khan openly invited the armyto conduct operations to “cleanse the nation” referring not to terror groups up in arms against the country, but to politicians.
And if one had any doubts after he pleaded with a third umpire to raise his finger and meddle into political affairs, over 20,000 costly posters covered the streets of Lahore, propagating candidate Aleem Khan alongside General Raheel Sharif. It is a stark reminder to the haunting posters, not yet forgotten, of Nawaz Sharif alongside General Zia.
The verdict by Justice Kazim Malik for NA-122, ruled for re-elections based on irregularities but cleared Sadiq Ayaz, or the PML-N, of any wrongdoing. This was widely celebrated as a victory for the PTI by its supporters.
The judicial commission’s report also laid to rest any allegations of systematic rigging. But this has not stopped the PTI’s continued cries of a stolen mandate by the ruling party PML-N.
Can the PTI continue to say their mandate has been stolen, when they have lost many by-elections to various parties oftentimes failing to retrieve even the same vote bank they had in the “rigged” 2013 elections?
A celebration would make sense had the PTI won the re-election for NA-122 but they now face another loss to Sadiq Ayaz.
In 2002, in the same constituency, Imran Khan had lost to Ayaz Sadiq by a substantial margin of 18,893 votes.
Similarly in 1997, when both he and Imran Khan were running under the banner of the PTI, both losing to PML-N candidates, Sadiq still received more votes than the widely popular Khan.
In the 2013 General Elections, Sadiq won against Khan by a margin of 8,945 votes. An audit of the votes later confirmed Sadiq’s win. The audit report found 3,642 invalid votes and 180,000 verified votes, which included 23,639 votes missing signatures of presiding officers and/or stamps but were otherwise ordained as verified and legitimate votes by the commission.
These were referred to repeatedly as “bogus” votes by the PTI, although this is not what the report claimed. (Had they been declared bogus, it would constitute approximately 17 per cent of the total votes, leaving 83 per cent as valid.)
The soft spoken Sadiq not only seems to have a sustained mandate throughout the years in his constituency, but has also earned the confidence of his fellow parliamentarians who voted him speaker of the house with a majority of 258 out of 313 votes. Still, the PTI put up a considerable fight and the gap is getting tighter.
Aleem Khan fared better than Imran Khan against Sadiq and, had he won it, would have been a big blow to the ruling PML-N party.
Like a cruel joke for a country used to seeing it’s elected officials sacked by military rulers, Sadiq was the third National Assembly speaker to be de-seated.
Still, Imran Khan continued to ask for a more “entertaining match”, as he wished to be competing against Nawaz Sharif, not Sadiq.

But one must ask, considering Pakistan’s fragile democracy, its current war against terrorism, and a population suffering from poverty, is there room for a never ending cycle of “entertaining” (yet very expensive) election matches, which may be toying with the mandate of the people?

Could all that money and time be better spent on education and alleviating poverty?
For a party claiming the country’s fight against rotten apples as its very own, controversial Aleem Khan was an unlikely choice for an important reelection which serves as a decisive battle for the PTI. Having a notorious reputation of being part of the land mafia, it is clear he was not picked on merit as much as on the fact that he is one of the biggest donors to PTI.
In an alarming social media message defending his decision, Imran Khan silenced dissent, calling those not in favour of the appointment of Aleem Khan as Trojan horses and the “worst of enemies” of the PTI.
As the popular saying goes, be cautious when you are promised too much too soon. Would Aleem Khan being elected into Parliament, the same onePTI once referred to as fake, really bring back Ibn Khaldun’s glory daysand would Imran Khan’s Prime Ministership bring about the emergence of a Pakistani Caliphate? Probably not.
Imran Khan often says he has everything, but the one thing he has never had is power. That is the one of the greatest lusts of man which he is now seeking. At the rally on October 4th he even alluded to the “patience” with which he has been waiting for it. Such lust can corrupt the very best of us.
Hence, PTI supporters must be open to criticism of their leadership, engage in critical thinking, and demand better decision making.
Shouldn’t they demand Khan apologise to his own followers first and foremost that much of his allegations about systematic rigging simply didn’t prove to be true?
The Judicial Commission categorically declared Pakistan’s 2013 General Elections, “...in accordance with the law,” as well as “a true and fair reflection of the mandate given by the electorate.”
Pakistan’s May 2013 elections were also monitored by over 40,000 independent observers. Such is the protocol in fragile democracies to settle cries of rigging and to offer much needed legitimacy to elections. Along with the country’s most esteemed judges comprising the Judicial Commision, that Imran Khan himself praised, these independent organisations saw no evidence of systematic rigging.
There was consensus that the irregularities found were largely due to human error and not on a large enough scale to deem the election not transparent. Unfortunately irregularities to some degree even exist in the elections of the most stable and oldest of democracies, including that of the United States.
Yet, remarkably, mesmerising Khan has managed to continue the rhetoric that massive rigging took place. Is it that hard to fathom that the then bedridden Imran Khan did not win the elections of 2013? Even if he were certain of his loss, would he not accept defeat anyway?
If the PTI is to be a formidable force for much needed change in the country, it’s up to its promising wide-eyed followers to take lead of their party, hold its own leadership accountable, and not buy into rhetoric when it ceases to make sense.
In the meantime, we can at least thank the PTI for pressurising the ruling PML-N party into action.
Pulished at: http://www.dawn.com/news/1212602/should-the-pti-continue-to-grieve-over-stolen-seats