It has been almost one and half year of PML (N) led Federal Government to complete but the situation is going from bad to verse. On the Economic front , it has achieved a tremendous success but on the Security front, it has been facing the constant internal and External threats . The Bomb blasts , extortion and Communal riots are on the rise and the whole country is going through the most dangerous and critical security situation which shows no sign of improvement .
Despite failure of dialogue with Tehreek Taliban Pakistan (TTP) after their conditional Ceasefire , So far no positive results have been experienced or observed as reported by the main stream Security analysts . Consequent upon the Presidential Elections in Afghanistan , the deadline of NATO forces withdrawal from Afghanistan is fast approaching and with replacement of Karzai Government , Pakistan will be facing the Security threats from the TTP factions existing in Tribal Areas , Punjab and long bordering Afghanistan . With aggressive attitude of Armed forces after the induction of General Pervez Musharaf in the high treason case of suspending the Constitution and imposing emergency in the country .
The Army as an institution is in aggressive mood as Renowned Analyst and Journalist Najam Sethi has predicted that Army will resist any capital punishment given to Former Chief of Armed Forces General Pervez Musharaf. As the later himself claimed and still claims that the Army is with him. The Statement of general Pervez Musharaf that he enjoys the support from the Armed Forces cannot be ruled out as Political parties have started consultations over giving the safe exit to former Armed Chief to avoid institutional confrontation .
The All of Sudden decision of Armed forces to initiate major Offensive against various factions of Taliban militants under the operation Zarab-e-Azab in North Waziristan and other Tribal Agencies clearly echoes the “all powerful institutional status” of the Armed Forces . The judiciary and The parliament are being overshadowed by the Mighty Institution with the passage of Protection of Pakistan Act 2014 which could be used against the anti state Actors and security personnel could detain any suspect or political Activist for the period of 90 days without reporting the whereabouts of the Detainee.
On other hand , After serious incident of Model Town Lahore which claimed 12 innocent lives and 90 persons got injured, has started a tug of war between the Strong man Shahbaz Shareef and Revolutionary Dr Tahir –ur-Qadri as the later has been criticizing the Punjab Government for bad governance and demanding the case may be registered against Punjab CM and Security Personnel considering them responsible for the Model town Shootout . To remove the stain from Shahbaz Sharif , Sharif Brothers ousted the Provincial Law minister Rana Sanaullah making him Sacrificial Goat . The Gullu Butt Mystery is yet another issue to be reckoned with. The PML (N) seems to be between devil and deep sea to deal with the issues popping up all of sudden.
The PTI’s head Imran Khan’s Saga is yet another pressure tool for the government to deal with since Mr. Khan has been demanding recount of four Constituencies of Lahore but the Government has not heeded to them as yet . The Demand has been supported by the PPP recently which might have confused the already under pressure Sharifs to make some tough decisions since PTI’s Announcement for Freedom March on 14th August might have compelled the PML (N) government to make some measures to cope with the Freedom March plan .
Asif Ali Zardari’s recent statement over PTI’s Demand may have shaken the PML (N) leadership since Zardari’s PPP enjoys the strong Position in the Assembly as well as in Senate which may create hurdles in the way of PML(N) and may create such a scenario where Midterm Polls looming Possibility , may become a reality as with MQM a coalition partner in Sindh with PPP , both may force the Sharifs to accept the demands and make some bitter Decisions which may change the entire situation .
Pakistan has become the land of controversies such as Dr Arsalan Iftikhar’s recent Blame game against PTI chief and challenging the Candidature of Imran Khan and PTI challenging the Candidature of Sharif brothers has other motives to disclose since the parties have been watching the situation very attentively and joint opposition Alliance Possibility could not be ruled out as every Political party has got some Common interest and every party wants to win the hearts of the people with their campaigns against the government .
Some mainstream Parties have initiated campaigns against Rigging , corruption and energy crisis , some have raised issues against operation , some has criticized the privatization road map for the State Institutions ,some have criticized the Economic and Human Rights Policies . Some have also criticized the nepotism and favoritism in the appointment of heads of various State Institutions. So much so, that almost every Political Party has a bone to pick with the Government. In this connection, Government has been compelled by the prevalent situation has decided to let the Freedom Marchers to March on Independence since the PML(N) think tanks have advised the Government that if government resisted to the Freedom Marchers led by Imran Khan , may have serious repercussion which may change the entire scenario and create such situation which may further aggravate the governance and PML(N) led Federal government days may be counted .
The recent Popularity Survey conducted by Gallop and other Organization show that PTI enjoys the First Position , PPP second and the PML(N) has slipped to number three as PML(N)’s popularity graph has been constantly maintaining downward trend which is not suitable for already criticized party by the leaders of mainstream party . The People of Pakistan has been fed up with “you –n-me” turns and want this to be changed with performance indicators and visionary leadership. The people have become fatigued to elect same legislators from the same constituency for consecutive three decades and want the old faces to be replaced with new ones .
As the oldies have become controversial due to corruption , nepotism , favoritism , influence on security agencies and other state machineries and inefficiency and lack of clear policy and vision to materialize the promise they had made with the people during their Election campaigns or those written in their Election Manifestos .Election manifestos are written to attract the voters to cast their votes in the favor of Parties candidate as nobody takes any responsibility to review the previous manifestos and update the manifestos with clear vision .
For instance , PML(N) had promised to end load shedding in six months but failed miserably and heavily criticized for setting illogical targets without any consultation with Power Sector Specialist or doing any research on any issue since Except the PTI ,No any party has any strategic Policy unit to address the key issues and do some research present and future issues related Human Rights , Development , Planning , Demography , Social Development , Economic Development , Natural Resource Management , Security , foreign Policy , Democracy and Governance and come up with lasting solutions to those issues of higher importance and drafting their manifestos on the basis of Research and Situation analysis rather than just exaggerated calculations and making illogical conclusion which be the basis for criticism at a time when these same issues may become the cause of the Government failure .
So why not take some initiative in advance to address the issues and find out lasting solutions after Research, analysis and consultations. This will change the whole picture of the governance and bring in innovations in Democratic Process rather than just traditional Politics .
Tribal Clashes and the Bloodshed
Tribal Clashes in the parts of Baluchistan and Sindh bring miseries and destruction as warring tribes go on Killing Sprees and do not stop until they equal the numbers.
They go on a massive scale and target indiscriminately, the young and old are consumed in the fire of revenge and vengeance.
Tribal clashes create several socioeconomic problems that compel the tribes men to adopt criminal activities for instance armed robbery, mobile snatching, motorbike snatching and stealing in the rural areas where police patrolling is not available.
Sindh, Baluchistan, KP and Punjab are embedded in the Feudal fabric that is controlling the social, cultural and political arena of these provinces.
This is obviously the great game of some sardars and politicians to incite the tribes to fight to settle their dispute. The disputes are triggered from trivial issues like water share, agriculture land disputes, grazing of animals in somebody’s farmlands, marriage, illicit relations and Karo Kari (honour Killings).
These tribal feuds have already consumed thousands of innocent lives since our judicial system fails to provide relief so people are forced to seek justice from the traditional jirga system, run by the tribal chiefs. Regrettably, the Jirga’s decisions are unmerited in most cases,women are given in exchange to settle the disputes,and the verdicts are binding on both parties.
During the colonial era British conferred various benefits to these feudals due to their allegiance to the British Empire. They were awarded lands and properties along with various titles that still exist in today’s Pakistan.
Titles such as sardar,Mir,Nawab, Khan Bahadur, rais and Muqdum are used even today. The princely states were also classified as Salute and Non-salute states, depending on their favorability with the British.
These states were controlled indirectly by British India. Some examples include Bahawalpur, Khairpur, Makran, and Kalat.
For a long time these entitled elite have been ruling and controlling Sindh, Baluchistan and Punjab, for more than seven decades they have had a stronghold in these areas socially, economically and politically.
There are several sardars who traditionally hold hereditary Turbans (pug) of Tribal chief and control their community along with other communities.
In Baluchistan, the most active Sardari tribes are Bugti, Marri, Mengal, Bizenjo, Jamali, Magsi and Rind, In Sindh Sundrani, Bijarani, Mahar,Chandio, Mazari, Lund, Pitafi, Arbabs, Khoso, Chachar, Teghani, Jatoi, Bhayo and Shar. Syed tribes have been ruling the roost in Sindh for several decades, the most important seat of CM falls in their domain.
The heads of these tribal chiefs are autocratic princes and have totalitarian control over the people of their tribes;they enjoy the full authority in their respective areas.
These jirgas are not only lucrative businesses for the sardars, but they also aid them in consolidating their influence over their tribe members who then vote them to assemblies and the Parliament
The Sundrani, Bijarani, Mahar and Chandio Tribal chiefs control the greatest number of tribes in Sindh whereas Rind, Marri, Bugti and Mengals control most of the Baloch tribes in Baluchistan.
The extent of their control can be assessed on the following point that no one can have even matrimonial proposal without their consent and their verdict is final in all matters.
Feudal influence persists in these areas only because of the absence of writ of state and of law and order.Therefore, the tribesmen are compelled to opt for the Jirgas to settle disputes.
The Jirga process is very slow,both warring tribes must mutually agree to end the dispute, this may involve several sittings. Sometimes, the tribes resume their clashes soon after a settlement and pursue the killing spree owing to resentment by one tribe.
The women especially the young girls bear the brunt of these tribal clashes as unmarried girls are exchanged for compensation in case of murder settlements.These girls live in misery as the family members treat them as the daughter of the enemy and resort to domestic abuse and violence.Consequently, the innocent girls become the victims of these tribal jirgas.
The school going children also become victims of these tribal clashes amid fear of attack if they go to school, the enemy may target these students. Such incidences have been reported in the past.
In a recent incident between the Teghani and Bijarani tribes, two innocent students of matriculation were killed they were prepared to appear in the exams this March, unfortunate death took care that.
In another ironic incident a 70-year-old man was shot in the head when he was riding his donkey cart to work so he could feed his minor children and wife. Instead of getting food on the table in the evening the family received his dead body.
One recent incident still resonates in the minds of many when 30 innocent lives were lost in exchange of fire between two tribes owing to a trivial issue of illegal grazing of a cow. This continues to happen due to widespread illiteracy and unrestricted use of sophisticated weapons.
This was the one of the worst examples when dozens of men, women and children got butchered in a single day,in a blatant display of barbarity.
The role of Police is very dismal rather dubious since such incidences also occur in cities,in broad day light. Police usually arrive late giving these trigger happy thugs a license to kill innocent people.
The open display of sophisticated weapons like fully automatic fire arms to rocket launchers makes one question how these communities manage to purchase such expensive arms when their purchase requires official approval and some are not even meant for civilians.
In some instances the police becomes an accomplice taking monetary benefits form the tribe that intends on attacking it’s rival turning a blinds eye.
The Government is clueless or an accomplice like the police in these incidents or deliberately avoids legislation against this butchery of humanity since most of the MPA’s and MNA’s are tribal chiefs themselves. They will never legislate against these crimes as they are well aware that legislation means curtailing their own powers and monetary losses.
It is high time that civil society, legal fraternity, and human rights defenders must come forward to stop this massacre in the name tribal disputes and the Supreme Court of Pakistan must take notice of this cold-blooded murder.
The Government should ban the jirgas completely and all murders under the guise of Honour Killings and Tribal disputes should be treated as a crime against humanity with exemplary punishments. Government should also control issuing of licenses to civilians.
The civil society must create awareness against and promote love and harmony among the communities so that they may settle their differences peacefully and never engage in fighting.Precious human lives need to be preserved especially those of the youth.
Global Socio-Economic Impact of Covid-19
The Pandemic originating from Wuhan China has enveloped the whole world and the catastrophe caused by covid-19 is beyond speculation. Schools, Colleges, Universities and business are closed for an indefinite period and the World has gone into self-isolation while the countries imposed lockdown in the world in the severely hit areas to contain the outbreak at massive scale.
The pandemic has affected all the countries especially China, France, Italy, Germany, US, UK, Iran, Egypt and third world countries i.e Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan and some African countries.
There are some countries which are severely impacted socially and economically while some countries have sustained moderate impact owing to taking timely preventive measures as per circulated guidelines of WHO and Local Health ministries of respective Countries.
With President Donald Trump clipping the wings of UN’s apex health body by cutting the financial support amid the Global Pandemic, the catastrophe is expected to go from bad to worse as WHO will experience the funds’ shortage that will ultimately contribute to a deep humanitarian crisis.
The world posts a bleak picture already as all business activities have been suspended, the markets have been closed for an indefinite period, the stock markets crashed and the unemployment ratio suddenly jumped to historical high due to covid-19 Pandemic. Even OPEC members have decided to cut the oil production given the pandemic situation.
The Global economy has been severely impacted by the shocks of the deadly virus that prompted companies like Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Face book, Twitter to ask their employees to work from home to avoid contracting Covid-19.
All the industries have been impacted badly that include entertainment, Sports, food franchise has completely shutdown creating panicking situation all around as once busiest streets and markets have started presenting deserted look.
This global economic warrants that if the early remedy to cure covid-19 is not discovered, the future will be dreadful to predict. The mighty economies such as China, the US, France, Italy, UK, Germany has been seriously impacted by this deadly virus. The situation is haunting the people around the world, bringing misery of greater proportion as compared to Word War II, Ebola, SARS, MERS, Plage and Yaws.
The Daily Wage workers, Private workers, drivers, hawkers, shop keepers and thousands of similar workers have lost their jobs and the opportunity to earn their livelihood. The companies have preferred work from home option for their employees to limit the outbreak and avoid contracting covid-19.
It is alarming that hundreds of workers have filed as unemployed. The lengthy lockdowns have created serious humanitarian and economic crises and the experts are of the view that the circumstances are fast moving towards the global recessions and may take a long time to recover from this catastrophe.
Though China has been able to contain Covid-19 and even lifted restrictions on outgoing flights with some strict SOPs, yet the Covid 19 seems to be an invisible predator waiting for its prey regardless of any region. The virus has impacted all the zones i.e with the cooler, hotter or moderate atmosphere.
The only solution to fight this pandemic is social distancing, maintaining the hygienic environment and avoiding crowdy spaces. The Governments around the world have imposed strict lockdowns and the frontline fighters (Health workers) around the world doing a marvellous job to protect their fellowmen even at the cost of falling prey to this deadly virus.
While fighting this pandemic. Many health workers have been tested positive. Even, some frontline soldiers lost their fight to this pandemic and laid down their lives to secure the future of their respective country.
Education is being imparted through digital platforms as online education is increasing for students. Though students are facing some issues such as the connectivity, Sound quality, Video Quality, yet in this emergency, the Schools, Colleges, Universities and other online course websites are striving to provide some light of Knowledge in these difficult times.
The booming industries such as restaurants, hotels, motels and Aviation have been closed for an indefinite period.
Unfortunately, despite 151598 deaths worldwide and over 2.21 Million confirmed cases covid-19, all eyes are hooked towards the discovery of vaccine to treat the patients and save their lives. At the moment, only plasma therapy is being conducted and some common medicines are being used such as cough, flu fever-related medicine.
Though human trials have been started by some Pharmaceutical companies, the experts are of the view that it may take one and half year for the vaccine to be available in the market. It is also estimated to be the costliest vaccine ever keeping in view its global implications and rapid speed of pandemic spread in the world.
It is estimated that Europe, Asia, Middle East to suffer a lot especially, Italy, France, UK, Iran and US as the ratio of deaths is higher than other countries especially US where average deaths per days have surpassed all other nations that prompted Trump to cut funding to world health Organization accusing it of mishandling the pandemic and delayed response to mitigate its implication while WHO head has refuted the allegations.
The covid-19 has also impacted Sports, News & Media, Entertainment and Services Industries to the extent that. All the sporting events have been suspended, series and Leagues have been rescheduled and big events such as PSL, IPL, FIFA World Cup, Olympics Games and others have been completely cancelled raising concerns among the players. Even the players are facing the trauma having travel history to the epicentre of Covid-19 Pandemic and tested positive.
The Entertainment industry has been heavily impacted as all the dramas, Films and comedy shooting and recording has been postponed till indefinite period and all the events including concerts have cancelled due to covid-19 and actors have lost the source of living.
Finally, the Print and Electronic Media are partially impacted though they are a very vulnerable community as they have been busy in coverage of the pandemic around the world and are prone to contracting the deadly virus due to close contact with Patients at Quarantine Centres and the Health specialists working at the hospital and temporary health centres specially set up for an emergency.
The Print Media has been hit hard as people consider it risky to read a Print copy of newspapers over covid-19 fears and prefer paper or online edition of the newspapers. Hence, such a trend has impacted the Newspaper Sales badly.
On the other hand, electronic media such as News Channels, Radio and Digital Media such as Websites, YouTube are grabbing people’ attention.
The Social Media is also buzzing with Covid-19 updates though Social Media and Silicon Valley companies have asked their employees to work from home and follow the preventive measures these include Twitter, Yahoo, Facebook, Microsoft and Search Giant Google.
The world should be united to fight this global pandemic that is haunting the world. The US should release funds to help WHO work effectively for global health and expedite the process of vaccine discovery as each day will deprive the near and dear ones of the families around the world. With collaborative efforts, the world can win this war against the pandemic.
Social Media and Polarization of our Society
Social Media has witnessed a mushroom growth that has impacted the discourse of political, cultural and religious systems by providing the equal opportunity of freedom of expression and of sharing an opinion or viewpoint on any issue.
Social Media has played a greater role in right-wing politics that paved the way for populist politicians to reach out to their voters.
Though Social Media has connected the people around the world, at the same time, it is causing division or disintegration and facilitating the social media lobbyists to polarize the communication so much the people support the arguments or opinions or political tirades against leaders without fact checking.
The world has been rocked by social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube because the users of these social networks have already surpassed millions and are growing, but due to the limited regulatory framework, fake news, cyberbullying, extremism and terrorism has reached new heights.
The influencers’ interactions with social media users have polarized the political and social circles that led to the formation of online echo chambers, a tactic of social media recommendations by politicians to influence the users to strengthen their narrative regardless of facts that whether it is right or wrong, but it is knit in a manner that echo chambers appear to be normal for the people thus changing the way of thinking and increasing the supporters base.
The echo chambers post such content that we enjoy a lot while reading, while keeping us away from the content that may stir a debate or arguments or expression of our disagreement over certain social, economic, religious, cultural or policy matters.
The echo chambers keep ideas flowing on a regular basis to the one side –the positive side of the argument, while its negative side is deliberately concealed to hide the facts.
This is the big issue that might be discussed with students, who should be informed and taught at school, college or degree level so that positive and constructive use of this digital medium could be ensured.
Social media connectivity around the world is undoubtedly amazing but the problems it created for both people and students are very dangerous, and need to be addressed and regulated.
Digital media, especially social media, for a long time remained unbridled to post any content that may fall in the purview of hatred, racism, bullying, derogatory remarks, character assault, rebellion, or anti-state elements instigating people to create chaos using the olive branch of social media. Since it was not monitored given the type of content being circulated and the information of people posting such content, including their motives behind such content as may have a constant flow of information that is recommended by the users pretending to be professionals, experts and mentors.
Alarmingly, people without fact-checking go on sharing the content and thus creating hype for such an issue as does not have a basis and was the result of a conspiracy to exert pressure on some person or leaders to get some favours.
“The schools and colleges should chalk out the initiative to create awareness and practice of fair use so that social platforms should not post single or one-sided opinions or arguments but should welcome both so that positive use could be ensured. This will further the importance of social media.“
Sometimes, the active echo chambers or volcanoes erupt over such issues as may be beneficial for the wider circle of society, but this finds serious criticism masterminded by people with an individual approach. They term it detrimental for them since it did not serve their interests, though it might have been beneficial for general people.
Humans have an intuitional inclination to communicate with like-minded people or the people with the same choices on social media, thus the echo chambers get even stronger. The discourse that discourages dissenting voices always comes under fire from the thinkers and intellectuals of the nation since it is tantamount to concealing the facts from the people.
The world is coming closer after the covid-19 pandemic that engulfed the entire world, bringing misery and economic crisis. The social media debates go with biased and unbiased approaches regarding getting the vaccine. Some optimists termed it great, while some pessimists or biased approaches raised questions.
The echo chambers try to influence their opinions and win support.Similarly, echo chambers of both Democrats and Republicans only canvassed for their candidates but the leaders instigated the masses to attack Capitol Hill through social media and emotional speeches using their influence on social media, especially Twitter .
Some researchers have found that echo chambers influence people to win support but social media influencers have a follower-base of millions, and may polarize the public and politics, since influencers share success stories like internet marketers compelling you to buy their products.
The opinion leaders and experts reveal that for the last two decades, the percentage of American people having consistently holding liberal or conservative beliefs— rather than a blend of the two, which is the case for most people— has increased from 10 percent to over 20. Beliefs about the other side are becoming more negative creating an alarming situation.
Since 1994, the number of people who see the opposing political party as a threat to “the nation’s well-being or security” has doubled, which heralds how deepening polarization has predictable results raising eyebrows.
The government shutdowns, violent protests, scathing attacks on elected officials, the capitol Hill incident –all indicate that social media have been polarizing the political system and divided the nation each passing day due to echo chambers of both mainstream parties regarding the issues of health, security, human rights, employment and environment.
According to evidence from empirical research conducted on US politicians, politicians following extreme ideologies attracted a larger public audience than those who were moderate, which is the real example of echo chambers.
Usually, messages containing extreme thoughts, emotional instigation, patriotism, or criticizing the opposition received a warm welcome on social media platforms than those messages reflecting merely information.
The polarization of issues and political ideology will have serious repercussions in future that should be addressed on a timely basis so that societies could be saved from further isolation and disintegration.
The issues could be resolved through educating the people and creating awareness about the fair and professional use of social media channels for advocacy for winning support for legislation, an issue, a policy or employment.
Instead of showing the dark side of the issue, we have to educate people regarding both pros and cons of matters of importance for the general public rather than misleading the people with biased approaches to oppose the initiative of the government, community or civil society for the general benefit.
Social Media network operators are the bigwigs and the most influential in this.They cannot be controlled but only be regulated by framing such laws that may ensure fair use of this digital platform and are careful so that users may not face any legal issue by discussing sensitive issues such as desecration of holy places, religions, personalities, anti-state tirades, rebellion, terrorism, extremism and so on. The sensitive issue may stir protests and cause legal proceedings, if the cyber-regulatory laws are implemented to discourage the influence of one-sided opinions or campaigns.
We cannot deny the importance of social media platforms as they provide equal opportunity to people to express and share their thoughts or opinions, but safe and thoughtful use of these platforms will encourage healthy discourse and prove pivotal in promoting dialogue to discuss social, economical and cultural issues peacefully without hitting the sentiments of other communities.
Thus, echo chambers will be less powerful to build a narrative that is appealing but the readers will be engaging themselves in the debates that need interaction.
Undoubtedly, social media platforms have changed the political and social approach of the people and enabled face-to-face digital interaction through video and audio conference calls, so their fair use will mitigate their cons manifold.
The social media networks apply algorithms to connect you with like-minded people but it is up to you whether your engagement in communication is either unbiased or biased.
Social media should be promoting positive discourse to explore the political and economic solutions to the problems of people by reflecting the two sides of the coin so that the discourse be constructive and problem-solving. Social media has given a voice to marginalized people and governments are compelled to resolve the issues of people on a priority basis due to trending topics of social media.
Even the populist leaders may face resistance from social media as the public makes the most of the freedom of expression and criticizes the role of politicians for their failure to address the issues of the public.
In recent times, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter have been creating history in highlighting issues of both public and national interest but at the same time such platforms have been taken by storm by those influencers who continue to feed the news about their vested interests and create psychosocial hype for any issue that may jolt the power corridors of Government.
The politicians always take to Twitter for their precise viewpoint and policy debate and are usually followed by millions of followers. Even the print and electronic media take the tweets as policy statements or the narrative of some party or group.
The schools and colleges should chalk out the initiative to create awareness and practice of fair use so that social platforms should not post single or one-sided opinions or arguments but should welcome both so that positive use could be ensured. This will further the importance of social media.
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