Sunday, January 31, 2016


Since the disclosure that Government of Pakistan and Gilgit- Baltistan administration are in the process of exploring different options for changing the present status of GB, a lot of discussion is going on in the country on the merits and demerits of different options. The most critical aspect of the discussion relates to the implication of the change on Pakistan’s long established stance that Jammu and Kashmir is a disputed territory and its people should decide through a plebiscite under UN auspices whether they want to be part of India or Pakistan in accordance with the resolutions passed by UN Security Council. It is being emphasized in the discussion that the change must in no way negatively affect Pakistan’s long established stand or give India an excuse to strengthen its present stance that Jammu and Kashmir is part of India and that the UN resolutions have become obsolete or irrelevant.
I think it is time for Pakistan to take a courageous step that is also in line with its stated policy. It should approach UN for holding a plebiscite in Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan under its auspices as the first step towards the implementation UN resolutions on Kashmir. It should fulfill all the requirements of the resolutions in letter and spirit and show to the world its bona fides. If Pakistan succeeds in this endeavor it would not only highlight the Kashmir issue,  put more pressure on India, but also in case through the plebiscite people of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit- Baltistan vote in favor of Pakistan there would be no legal hurdle left in their becoming province/provinces of Pakistan.

Tasneem Hameed 

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Decrepit Political System.

It is really depressing to find that instead of any improvement new and innovative unethical practices are creeping into our decrepit political system.
At present selection of candidates by political parties for contesting elections is mostly based on loyalty, electability and relationship with big guns of the party instead of merit. Previously party members used to accept the decision of the party, but of late some aspirants who think that they are the most suitable candidate, especially if their party is in power are not willing to accept the decision. To overcome this problem these parties have formulated an innovative policy. In case there is more than one candidate in a constituency and the party is unable to decide who has the best chance to win party does not issue party ticket to any of the candidates and tell them to contest as independent candidates. The objective is that if anyone from this lot wins the party has the option of owning the winner. If later the party is able to reach a conclusion about selecting one of these candidates as its nominee it asks others to withdraw and issue its ticket to the selected candidate.  But, when some or all of these candidates refuse to oblige, they are offered incentives in the form of doing some favor in the future. If they still do not agree they are threatened with disciplinary action. If still these candidates remain adamant and contest elections as independent candidates their fate depends on the result of the election. If they lose they are expelled from the party. If anyone of them is the winner, violation of party discipline is forgotten and he is approached by the party for his rejoining. If the party is in power mostly the offer is accepted.
Do these practices have any legal or moral base? Are these in accordance with democratic norms, values and traditions?
Is democracy being strengthened by adopting these practices?
After the recent first phase of local government election in Punjab, two political leaders of PML(N) triumphantly declared that the elections were not between PML(N) and PTI, but between PML(N) and PML(N). Could there be a bigger moral bankruptcy?