The newly appointed Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) government recently unveiled its first national budget, announcing a 15 percent hike in the defence allocation to reach $6.36 billion for FY2013-14.
There is a lot of visible excitement in the streets of most urban centres in Pakistan. The last time there was even greater public involvement was during the 1970 election when Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto promised change for the betterment of the downtrodden people against the 21 rich families of the country.
A government’s future is determined by the kind of people it partners with or employs. Despite all the sympathy one has for the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), it is difficult to appreciate some of its decisions, including peculiar appointments to the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII). No wonder the organisation recently shocked the progressive lot in the country with the decision declaring DNA testing in rape cases as inadmissible as primary evidence.
First it was a shoe, and then a chair. The lawyers — the fan club of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry — want to outdo each other to thrash former dictator Pervez Musharraf, who returned to Pakistan in March in hope of returning to power through the electoral process.
As Pakistan battles with militancy, part of the war is also being fought in the arena of ideas.
“We probably need maturity or a stick.” That’s how a frustrated Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader vented himself on the phone, talking about how things were manipulated to ensure his party’s defeat in Karachi and parts of Punjab. The poll results came as a great shock to the youth supporting the cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, who expected a landslide victory.