‘Of people and strength’: Five ways you can defend PPP


The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) is considered centre-left in the country’s political spectrum owing to its support towards public ownership, egalitarianism, equality and a strong national defence.

Since its foundation in 1967, it has been a major political left-wing force in the country. Although the party’s leadership has been dominated by the members of the Bhutto family, it has been voted to power on five separate occasions on the basis of the close affiliation it has had with the masses.

While the fate of one of the country’s largest political entities hangs in balance amid the entire fake accounts case fiasco against party President Asif Ali Zardari and co, here are five ways you can defend the PPP.

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5. Bhutto’s UNSC video:

On December 15, 1971, Bhutto walked out of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) after accusing it of “legalising aggression”.

The then foreign minister Bhutto strode down the carpeted main hall past milling groups of surprised diplomats and was followed by seven members of his delegation.

While the positive and negative impacts of the move remain debated till date, it is a bit too hard to get over Bhutto’s boldness.

4. Call for maximum provincial autonomy:

PPP has always been a staunch supporter of provincial autonomy, which it proved by passing the 18th Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan in 2010.

The 18th Amendment has led to a significant increase in provincial autonomy on the basis of ethnic diversity, multiple political parties and diverse political spectrum.

The major crux of the 18th Amendment with regards to political autonomy was the dissolution of 17 ministries, including education, food, agriculture and health, from the centre to provinces allowing the latter to formulate policies and projects in their own domain.

3. ‘Lionhearted’ leaders:

The PPP, in its own words, has always been led by courageous leaders; from its founding chairman, the late Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, to his daughter the late Benazir Bhutto.

While Zulfikar Ali Bhutto did not strike a deal during the dark days of dictatorship and preferred to lay down his life, Benazir returned to the country, knowing her life was in danger.

The unfortunate series of events that followed Benazir’s return are known to all, however, the legacy lives on.

2. Undeterred activism:

At a time when Pakistan witnesses a significant surge in political awareness, PPP is the only political party that speaks for the rights of people, including minorities, missing persons and women, while not succumbing to any pressure.

A recent example is Senator Mustafa Khokhar urging the authorities concerned to lodge the long-pending First Information Report (FIR) into the murder case of teacher and activist Arman Loni, who was allegedly killed in a police crackdown on peaceful protesters.

Raising its voice for the rights of minorities and openly speaking against the misuse of blasphemy laws, as now accepted by the state as well, is another reason for the PPP to be loved.

1. Senator Krishna Kumari:

PPP’s Krishna Kumari Kohli is the first-ever senator from a scheduled caste. Krishna was elected to the Senate after campaigning for women’s rights, having previously been forced into bonded labour for three years.

Hailing from Nagarparkar, a village in Tharparkar where women are to date deprived of basic facilities, Krishna continued to strive for a better future, all of which paid off after she was awarded a ticket to contest the polls for the upper house of the parliament by PPP in 2018.

She also chaired the Senate session on International Women’s Day 2019.

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‘Qatari emir brokering deal for Nawaz, Maryam to leave Pakistan’


Senior journalist and analyst Arif Nizami has said that Qatar is reportedly brokering a deal between the government and former prime minister (PM) Nawaz Sharif to secure the latter’s release.

Speaking to a private media outlet, Nizami said that Qatar was an old friend of Pakistan and previously involved in securing Nawaz’s release when former military dictator General (r) Pervez Musharraf had arrested him after the 1999 coup.

“When Musharraf came into power and detained Nawaz, the emir of Qatar was the first person to initiate the process for his release,” he said.

Nizami added that up to 90 per cent deal had been processed to let the former PM and his daughter Maryam live in London, while sources had informed him that the “recent visit of the emir of Qatar was also linked to this task”.

Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani had arrived in Pakistan earlier this week and announced $3 billion worth of new investments in the country. He had also announced that Qatar may invest another $12 billion later on.

“Sources have claimed that Nawaz’s health is not stable and according to his daughter Maryam, he has already suffered a stroke thrice,” Nizami said further.

He claimed that under the deal, Nawaz will be allowed to pay the fine to secure his release so that he and his daughter can go and live in England. “Shehbaz and Hamza will stay here to run the party affairs and face cases leveled against them.”

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Indian MP wants Abhinandan’s facial hair declared country’s ‘national moustache’


An Indian parliamentarian has demanded that Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman’s gunslinger moustache be declared the “national moustache of India”.

“Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman should be awarded and his moustache should be made the national moustache,” Indian National Congress (INC) leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury was quoted as saying by India Today.

On February 27, the IAF pilot was captured after Pakistan Air Force (PAF) shot down two Indian jets for intruding into Pakistan’s territory.

Pakistan, as a goodwill gesture, had handed over the captured pilot to Indian authorities at Wagah border on March 1.

According to Indian media reports, the opposition party’s leader has now argued that the pilot should be given a national honour “for his bravery”.

Earlier, the shot down and captured Indian pilot’s facial hair had become the talk of the town as India hailed him as a “war hero”.

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Over 2,000 Afghan families told to vacate Mansehra refugee camps for CPEC security


As many as 2,397 Afghan families living in Mansehra have been served a final notice to vacate their refugee camps for the security of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), ARY News reported.

According to reports, Mansehra Assistant Commissioner (AC) Talat Fahad has directed the refugees to leave the three camps situated in the area latest by June 30.

“The decision has been taken to ensure the security of CPEC”, the AC said in a notification issued in this regard.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Pakistan is hosting over 1.4 million Afghan refugees, making the country the second largest host of the refugee population in the world.

Some refugees have been living in Pakistan for three generations. They have established their business here while some of them have married locals and been deeply integrated into Pakistani society.

The interim stay of Afghan refugees extended by the Pakistani government is coming to an end on June 30, and Minister of State for States and Frontier Region Shehryar Khan Afridi has affirmed that the country supports voluntary repatriation.

In a recent meeting, Pakistan, Afghanistan and the UNHCR have agreed to launch an awareness programme to enable Afghan refugees to make a decision to voluntarily return with Pakistan’s facilitation.

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