Tag Archives: imran khan

Pakistan a wicket away from Authoritarianism

I want to dive into a topic that has been keeping me up at night: the current situation in Pakistan. Specifically, I’m deeply concerned about the suppression of journalistic freedoms and the erosion of democracy happening over there. It’s not just a distant issue either; as a British Pakistani, it hits close to home and raises serious worries about the safety of our loved ones.

Let’s start with the alarming case of journalist Imran Riaz Khan, who was detained without proper justification. It’s a blatant attack on free speech and a direct threat to transparency and accountability. When journalists can’t do their jobs without fear of retribution, it shakes the very foundations of democracy. We need to stand up and fight for their rights, not just for their sake, but for the sake of a free and open society.

One incident that shook me to the core was Imran Khan’s arrest, right from the premises of a court hearing. The aftermath of this arrest was devastating, with riots erupting and tragically leading to the loss of 50 innocent lives as security forces opened fire on protestors. It’s incredibly disheartening to see such violence and a blatant disregard for human life in the pursuit of political agendas.

But let’s not forget that the challenges faced by PTI politicians go beyond this shocking event. They are subjected to immense pressure and intimidation, forcing them to abandon their parties merely to secure bail. It’s truly unfathomable to think that elected officials, who should be representing the voices of the people, are being subjected to physical abuse and torture simply for standing up for their beliefs. It’s a stark reminder of authoritarian regimes, where political dissent is suppressed, and individual freedoms are trampled upon.

As members of the Liberal Democrats, we have a duty to protect democracy and uphold human rights. Our historical ties with Pakistan, combined with the significant British Pakistani community, give us a unique opportunity to make a difference. We need to be vocal advocates for press freedom and condemn any erosion of democratic values. By doing so, we can contribute to the well-being of British Pakistanis and support a stable Pakistan that embraces democratic principles.

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Observations of an expat: Pakistan – next to recognise Israel?

Embed from Getty Images

Wafting through the Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and across the parade ground of military headquarters in Rawalpindi is an interesting political rumour: Will Pakistan be the next Islamic country to recognise Israel?

If it does it will not be so much a feather in the Israeli-American cap as a full-sized Native American war bonnet. Only Saudi recognition would beat it as a diplomatic coup.

But is the rumour likely to become a reality? Diplomats say that such a move is possible. But set against the brick wall of political realities it is highly improbable.

For a start, the political, social, economic and cultural conditions in Pakistan are completely different from those in the countries that have recently recognised Israel—Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Sudan. The UAE is an extremely wealthy states ruled by absolute monarchs. Their largely pliant population is happy to stay out of politics as long as the oil money keeps rolling in. Bahrain is not enormously wealthy, and its population is divided between Sunnis and Shias. But the ruler is an absolute monarch and in lock step with the UAE.

Sudan is not so wealthy. But its diplomatic position has been bought by Washington. As one of the centres of Islamic terrorism, it languished for years on America’s economic blacklist. US aid and investment is now pouring in.

Pakistan, in comparison is poor and its politics are Byzantine. The per capita income of the 212.7 million Pakistanis is below that of Sudan at $1,357 a year. They are 154th in the world wealth stakes.

Prime Minister Imran Khan is a perfectly competent and charming man, but he is politically circumscribed. The real power in Pakistan is the military—the sixth largest in the world. The prime minister is allowed to operate freely, but only within parameters established by the military, especially the army. If he steps outside the parameters than he runs the risk of removal—even a military coup.

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