Monday, April 29, 2002

... the company he keeps

This post pre-dates this blog and I've put an appropriate date on it.

One of the traditional (English?) proverbs, my father is fond of quoting is "A man is known by the company he keeps." And along the way, I have also found that it is interesting to see who hates a person -- especially if you know why.

It was really interesting to see the following two news stories one-after-the-other in the news update from Dawn today. There has been some discussion among the group -- with some worried about Musharraf's well-being as he takes on the Religious Right, etc. and others worried about the democratic implications of his legal-constitutional shenanigans.

As I have said before, I sincerely believe that the focus of people like us should be how all this affects the life of the common man. I remember that when the last elected Prime Minister of Pakistan took office, most of us were very happy with the things he did in the beginning: economic liberalization, moving the weekly holiday back to Sunday [from Friday], reducing the number of national holidays, and so on. But I also remember when he virtually forced through parliament [and I mean physically] the most draconian Police Law in our history -- military or democratic -- and I remember writing an e-mail to friends and compatriots saying that then on, I could not be counted as one who is generally supportive of his actions.

As a key to the names of the alliances and parties below:

ARD is the alliance of The Usual Suspects [Nawas Sharif's Muslim League; Bhutto's PPP; and so on. Imran Khan and his Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf seems to have broken with this group -- his going into alliance with people he usually condemns as absolutely corrupt is a discussion for a whole other session]

PONM is a group of small ethnic movements like the Baluch National Movement, the Saraiki National Movement and so on.

MMA is the new coalition of the Religious Right -- of various shades of green, so to speak.

Muttahida/the MQM is third largest political party in Pakistan -- the ethnic movement of the Muhajirs, or immigrants from other parts of South Asia.

The other two parties supporting Musharraf's referendum, by the way, are Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf and the Pakistan Awami Tehrik of Allama Tahirul Qadri.

As that greatest of South Asian poets put it:

banaa kar faqeeroN ka hum bhais Ghalib
thamasha-e-ehlay karam dhaikthay haiN!

[Adopting the demeanour of dervishes, we, oh Ghalib
Observe the spectacle, of The Powerful, The Wealthy]

Balochistan alliances' strike on 30th
Staff Correspondent
QUETTA, April 28: Leaders of three main political alliances - the Alliance for Restoration of Democracy (ARD), Pakistan Oppressed Nations Movement (PONM) and Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) - announced here on Sunday evening to observe shutter-down strike in Balochistan on April 30, against the presidential referendum......

Muttahida steals Musharraf show
By Shamim-ur-Rahman
KARACHI, April 28: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement on Sunday threw
its weight behind General Pervez Musharraf when its activists,
carrying party flags and photographs of Altaf Hussain, virtually took over Musharraf's last public meeting, disregarding the feeble security cordon, just two days ahead of the April 30 referendum.

While it was General Pervez Musharraf's 23rd public meeting, very few of his photographs could be seen on the ground as compared to the photographs of Altaf Hussain.....