Thursday, 6 July 2017

PTI: from movement to Party

PTI: from movement to party
Apr 8 2012
The writer is the founder of

What was the most striking feature of the PTI’s March 23 Lahore rally? It was not necessarily the turnout nor was it the enthusiasm of the crowd nor was it what Imran Khan did or did not say.

If anything, the PTI’s second big Lahore rally showed an organisational ability that the party lacked before. It showed the party had broken away from being a one-man show to having a structure independent of the party leader. More importantly, it has become only the second political party after the PML-N to achieve mass appeal in post-1972 Pakistan.

To understand this perspective, we have to remember the most persistent criticism of the party was that it was essentially a ‘fan club’ and that supporters would only turn up to see the star and not vote for him. Despite this, it is often easy to forget where the party started from and how it has reached where it stands today.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf story begins in popular imagination with something as simple as a newspaper column. The first inkling of Imran Khan’s interest in politics begins with newspaper columns he wrote in the mid-1990s. The columns focused on the dismal state of affairs in the country and the ‘brown sahib’ culture, as well as Islam and people voting with their feet. There was also a scandal – unexplained to this day – of the role of Hamid Gul in the party’s formation.

Pundits at the time noted the similarity with the launch of another tehrik in the past. Air Marshal (r) Asghar Khan (who along with Sherbaz Mazari was cited at one time by Imran Khan as political ideals) had done something similar in the 1960s before launching his originally named Justice Party which eventually became the Tehrik-e-Istiqlal .

In 1996, Imran Khan launched his party from Lahore, but before it could find its feet Benazir Bhutto’s government was dismissed and elections were held. The party narrative was simple: ‘anti-corruption’. It was memorably explained to a group of lawyers in 1997 when Imran was allegedly asked how he would sort out corruption. He reportedly said it would stop after he hanged the corrupt. It was this and his subsequent appreciation for speedy justice via jirgas that would shock liberals while earning praise from many in the middle class.

Barely prepared, Imran Khan threw himself into electioneering, contesting from seven seats ranging from Karachi, Dera Ismail Khan (against Maulana Fazlur rehman), Mianwali, Lahore, Abbottabad, Islamabad and Swat.

Attempting to avert a split in the Punjab vote, the PML-N is said to have approached Imran Khan for a seat adjustment and offered 20 seats to his party. When Imran refused to take the bait, the response was swift and brutal with a major smear campaign launched against Imran Khan and his personal life. What little momentum the party had was shattered and the eventual result was a foregone solution.

Nationally polling just over two percent of the vote, the closest anyone from his party came to winning a seat nationally was Imran Khan himself when he polled his best performance in Swat. This seeming greater support from the then-NWFP was to be a sign of future trends in the province towards the PTI.

Attempting to reinvent the party from 1997-1999, a conscious decision was made to draw in electables and old party men with organisational abilities. This meant that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa ‘electables’, MPAs like Shehzada Gustasip and Mohsin Ali Khan joined the party on the one hand and on the other the old guard of the PPP like Meraj Muhammad Khan and Rao Rashid. This clash between the induction of ‘electables’ and the old guard triggered the resignation of many of the founding members of the party, including Nasim Zehra and Owais Ghani.

By 2002, Imran Khan and the PTI were facing a greater crisis. Many old PTI members with technocratic skills or electoral potential had through the carrot or the stick defected to the PML-Q. Despite having backed Musharraf in the notorious referendum, Imran Khan had turned down the offer to join Musharraf’s cobbled together national alliance.

Angering Musharraf and his allies, another smear campaign was launched against him by the PML-Q and a determined effort was made to ensure he was defeated in Mianwali. Despite this, Imran Khan managed to win his first national assembly seat from Mianwali and a solitary provincial assembly seat from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The party once again suffered a rout all across the country and its small share of the national vote dropped further.

Imran Khan’s decision to support the joint PML-N – MMA candidate for prime minister Maulana Fazlur Rehman antagonised many of the old liberals in the party and led to many quitting. This alliance with the religio-political forces invoked a level of confusion amongst many of his liberal supporters. A disillusioned Meraj Muhammad Khan quit the party, criticising the ‘fan club’ mentality of many supporters around their leader.

In the period between 2002 and 2005 Imran Khan and his PTI cut a lonely figure in the country, ignored by the major parties and lacking the resources to broaden the party’s base. It was doomed to become a single-seat tonga party of the likes of Asghar Khan’s party or the late Nawabzada Nasrullah’s party.

Fate, however, had something else in store. This was the era of the massive media growth in the country. With Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif out of the country, getting Imran Khan on a TV show was usually a guaranteed ratings boost. With his long experience of working with the media, he was to become a regular on the talk show circuit and was gradually introduced to another generation of fans.

It was also an opportune time because Musharraf’s alliances with the US and the ‘war on terror’ allowed a new narrative to be built, moving away from corruption alone. The party was seen now as anti-American, anti-drone, anti-corruption particularly appealing to northern Pakistan and the middle class.

Cementing his alliance with the lawyers’ movement, it was this new constituency that subsequently decided to fall on its own sword and boycott an election where opinion polls had it doing well, especially in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Along with other members of the All Pakistan Democratic Movement, he boycotted the 2008 elections and was a bystander as the PPP and PML-N swept into power. Despite this, again with time and luck the party has once again seen opportunity land in its lap. The difference was that this time the actions that followed have left a lasting impression in the public’s mind.

Critics mock the party and its leader for faults perceived and real. The fact is that it has appealed across ethnic and religious lines to the urban voter in particular. It has created a positive precedent by holding intra-party elections and now has a party structure capable of functioning independent of its leader.

Where it lacks is something more systemic. It has shown a tendency to be intolerant to criticism from outsiders, and is often a victim of its own rhetoric as shown by the poor handling of issues like alliances and the inability to reach beyond its core support in northern Pakistan and Karachi. If that obstacle is not overcome, the party’s tsunami may end up as a high tide.

Azam Hoti: The Machiavelli of Mardan

It was in the early years of the Musharraf Government that the elderly Ajmal Khattak, acolyte of Bacha Khan, polymath and former president of the Awami National Party (ANP), sat in a press conference and thundered, “Accountability must be enforced even if it is someone’s brother.” Sitting not far from him was Naseem Wali Khan, provincial president of the ANP and sister to Azam Hoti, the ‘brother’ being referred to. It was an insult that would not be forgiven, and soon enough, Ajmal Khattak was expelled from the party to which he had dedicated his entire life. This story is one of the many that would earn Hoti his reputation. A highly polarising figure, Hoti was to his supporters a loyal Pashtun nationalist who bolstered the party in his home district and helped forge alliances that rehabilitated it. To his many detractors, however, he was one part of the Azam-Naseem duo, an unaccountable and manipulative politician whose only claim to office was family connections. Other than Wali and Asfandyar Khan, the son and grandson of Abdul Ghaffar Khan, the ideologue of the party (then known as the National Awami Party – NAP), it is Azam Hoti who has cast a long shadow over its image.

 Hoti’s father, Ameer Muhammad Khan, was a Khudai Khidmatgar (servant of God) and a minor tribal chief from the Hoti area of Mardan. He was also a close companion of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan (better known as Bacha Khan) and served as a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) in the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP). It was Azam’s father who arranged his daughter Naseem’s marriage to Ghaffar Khan’s widowed son, Wali Khan. It was this marriage that would give his son access to the party rank and file and transform the family’s future. Pakistan’s post-independence era was marked by a brutal crackdown on any expression of Pashtun nationalism. It was in this scenario of the changing nature of Pashtun identity politics and socio-economic dynamics that Azam Hoti joined the Pakistan army. He was commissioned in 1967 and became a captain in the Armoured Corps, serving in the 1971 war between Pakistan and India. His career in the military was cut short due to the increasingly violent rivalry between the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the NAP (the successor to the political wing of the Khudai Khidmatgars) which culminated in the infamous ‘Liaquat Bagh’ massacre and resulted in the death of dozens of their activists. Fleeing the crackdown that ensued, Azam Hoti remained in exile in Kabul from 1973 to 1979. It was during this period that he served as salaar (commander) of the Pakhtun Zalmay. By many accounts this was a difficult time for him and he had little by way of financial support. Little of any worth was achieved during his time in exile and he returned to Pakistan as part of an amnesty deal with Zia-ul-Haq. He was awarded a party ticket for the 1988 election, but was defeated by the local PPP candidate. In 1989 the former NAP, now retitled ANP, formed an alliance with the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI) of Nawaz Sharif. This proved fortuitous for Azam as many senior leaders quit in protest of the alliance, thereby removing any serious challenges within the party.

And allied closely with his sister Naseem Wali Khan, who had taken over the party’s provincial presidency following the resignation of Afzal Khan, the Azam-Naseem duo were increasingly seen as untouchable within the party. The 1990 elections proved a watershed moment for Hoti: he was elected a member of the National Assembly from Mardan. But this victory was not without controversy. There were widespread allegations of ‘ticket selling’ in the election, and many critics within the party placed the blame on Azam. In the 1993 election Hoti lost his seat at the hands of the PPP, only to be rewarded with a Senate ticket by the party. And in 1997 he would again stage a comeback, winning his National Assembly seat, and becoming the ANP’s sole federal minister in Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s new cabinet. Appointed to the powerful and lucrative Ministry of Communication for a second time, Hoti found himself facing a barrage of criticism. He was accused of being promoted as minister out-of-turn at the expense of many more experienced colleagues, and additionally, there were allegations of a large-scale misappropriation of funds.

His reluctant resignation from the ministry, following the collapse of the ANP-PML (Pakistan Muslim League) alliance, would be followed by further bad news for Azam Hoti. After Pervez Musharraf took over, Hoti was charged and convicted on two counts of corruption by the National Accountability Bureau. One conviction was on account of contracts handed out on the Lahore-Peshawar motorway, and the other regarding assets ‘disproportionate to income.’ The ANP’s rout in the 2002 election caused anger within the party, as many cited the politics of the Azam-Naseem duo as the cause of defeat. To save himself, Azam sided with party leader Asfandyar Wali Khan against his own sister. The end of the Azam-Naseem alliance revived some hope within the party that it would return to its ideological roots. However, this hope proved to be short-lived, as Azam’s support did not come without a price. Still in prison at the time he entered the new alliance, he was inexplicably released on ‘health grounds’ by the military government. This would again lead to another series of allegations that his support for the party leader was in exchange for a deal securing his release. Hoti’s release came at a providential time, as the ANP was staging a comeback and Azam held the chair of the ticket-awarding parliamentary committee. The party won its biggest-ever electoral victory in the 2008 election, and for the first time since 1947, the post of chief minister of the province was conceded to the ANP. It was widely expected that party veterans Bashir Bilour or Mian Iftikhar would be chosen for the post. But at this crucial moment, Azam Hoti was alleged to have used his influence to impose his son Ameer Hoti as chief minister. His son’s time as chief minister was marked by a wave of Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) attacks in the province and against the ANP. It was also marked by a multitude of development projects in Azam Hoti’s home district, but his Machiavellian reputation persisted and allegations of nepotism and corruption continued to be hurled against him. Yet, despite these changes, he was again elected as a Senator on an ANP ticket in 2012. By 2013, the ANP was crippled by TTP attacks in the run-up to the general elections, and it also faced a tirade of attacks on its record of governance by Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI). The PTI’s victory and the ANP’s rout in the 2013 election led to another family split. This time it was due to anger within his family at Azam Hoti’s personal life and his fourth marriage. In a reversal of circumstances from a decade earlier, Azam Hoti’s son allied with Asfandyar Wali Khan against his father. Hoti’s humiliating ouster from the party ranks would mark the end of his political career as a self-styled ‘Machiavelli of Mardan,’ but not without leaving an indelible imprint on the party he remained associated with throughout his political life. Azam Hoti died on April 15 in Peshawar. He was 69 years old.
This article was originally published in Newsline’s June 2015 issue.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Poems confessions of a terrorist & Children of a lesser God

Confessions of a terrorist.

Possessed by the devil,
I strode out to do evil,
With enmity written large on my face,
Somebody has to be clad in deaths embrace.
Just yesterday a child became an orphan,
And a couple were worried by the ransoms burden.
The fetters of depression behold the city,
Where everyday criminals like me enter captivity.
Karachi, Karachi of yore
Shall not surface, will not surface
Whilst I trigger my double barrel bore.
Zeenat Iqbal Hakimjee

Children of a lesser God.

Walking about in torn and tattered clothes,
Looking messy with a running nose.
Crippled, unable to walk properly,
The arrogant man, looks at him disdainfully.The other day the car almost ran her down,
As she leaped forward, begging for
an alm,
Hand outstretchetched, unable to see,
In the sun, wearing dark glasses,
Makes him look shady.
For a cheap rate, they are bought,
Are they, Children of a Lesser God?
Zeenat iqbal hakimjee

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Rescue on the Sea


Published 2004
Very little has been written about the ancient coastal people of Lyari – the irrepressible Makranis – who take their name from the Makran coast of Sindh and, Balochistan, which also indicates a common history of the two provinces; the Makran coast constitutes the South-East of Iran and the South-West of Pakistan; a 1,000 km stretch along the Gulf of Oman from RA’s (cape) Al-Kuh, Iran (West of Jask), to the Lasbela District of Pakistan (near Karachi). The Makran coast is on the Arabian Sea, to the North-West of Quetta in Balochistan.

The following is a story of one such coastal village:
Children on bare - back camels, watch the sea, its vastness spanning even beyond the grasp of their eyes. Fishermen on the beach watch the sky, like the city dwellers read their newspapers first thing in the morning. Through the knots of their nets hanging on the line, they seem to predict the weather. This exercise determines whether they should take a boat out or not on the deep sea, for their daily expedition to catch fish. The air is filled with the smell of rancid water that is due to the deposits of oil, resulting in decayed and dead sea-life. Music, which is a part of their lives, plays in the background. The sounds are a fusion of musical cultures from the Middle East, Indo-Pakistan and Africa.

​The shells on the beach look like the abandoned toenails of the old fishermen, and they are more beautiful there, than on the foot. The broken wings, the sand-logged crabs, a woman’s lonely shoe, a rusty toy damaged beyond recognition, the plank or sail from a doomed boat, all lay sprawled on the beach, each with a story behind it, cleansed and sterilized by the salt and iodine in the great hospital of the sea. In the night, the light from the tower was but a spot against the background of the sky and spectacular cliffs.

​The weather beaten villager’s munched dates from the interior while watching holidaymakers trying to teach their children to swim, like fish to water, amidst the shouts and screams of the children who are already submerged in the waters. The steps of the ladies faltered as they approached the sea, clad in shalwar kameezes filled with the wind, the Shalwar Kameez itself a deterrent for swimming.
​The story told here is that of a villager who because of his sharp sense of hearing helped in the rescue of a drowning man. The villager was alone and as he had no family to fend for, hence he had no responsibilities to drain his energy. Somehow he had also preserved his youth, which he owed to mother nature. Religion that usually comes into the house with the presence of a woman was lacking in his and he was quite oblivious of it.

​One evening when it was well after ten and the moon was full with black clouds scudding in ordered masses across the sky, he was still sitting on his wall, all alone. A cool wind suddenly sighed from an unexpected quarter and in its wake was a noise like that from a distant cavalry charge. His razor sharp ears picked up the sound. His brow creased up as his eyes searched the distance. He hobbled to his neighbours house and banged on the door of his traditional mud-hut – the two men, though natural life-guards, knew thoroughly all that was written in the books about rescue on the seas. The coastal blacks were descendants of imported slaves – the fishermen being known as the Meds and the seamen as the Koras – when there was no response; he banged on the door again. A groggy fellow soon appeared. He pointed towards the horizon and mumbled something in the Makranic dialect. The man’s eyes tried to see beyond the direction of the location being pointed at. A boat in trouble, he thought aloud. Without wasting any time they woke the other men.

​A rule of the sea states, that half the purchase price of the vessel of the sea is given to the rescue party. This prize money was quite a temptation, but since it was always dangerous the case required to be argued, all hands knew that the proposed journey was perilous.
​The village women all having gathered on the beach, saw their men disappear, reappear, disappear, reappear and finally disappear into the darkness. They were now a tiny speck in the vast vista of the sea – the ocean that is open to all and merciful to none, that which threatens even when it seems to yield, pitiless always to weakness.

​Many of the Makrani women now worked as domestic servants in Karachi; they were also experts in the art of massaging any mother and child after birth. Their traditional long dresses with hand-woven
Embroidery gave them a distinct ‘folk’ touch, separating them from the typical Karachiites. The skirt-like look, with its wide circumference, and the loose shalwar could be compared to the costumes of the pathan and Kabuli women.

​The men in the rescue boat changed sides, so as not to tip the balance of the boat as the surf sprayed them from head to toe. The taste of salt lingered in their mouths during the voyage. They were not bothered by their appearance. On the contrary, they felt no different from when they started out dry.

​Suddenly, a dark object was thrown at them on the crest of a wave. It was a man. They held on to the poor fellow and eventually succeeded in dragging him aboard. Nobody felt sorry that this time, there was no prize. They rowed back to their village.

​Couples fought with each other to offer hospitality to this half dead man; and they almost came to blows in their struggle for this visa to heaven.
​They fetched a doctor from a nearby village, while the women sat all around him wearing their beads. The doctor was a Karachiite who had been sent to the village to serve them. The doctor prompted the man to speak. The man said, “Mahganj” very faintly. Repeated attempts, received the same response. The diagnosis stated that he was a victim of a traumatic shock and was suffering from amnesia, which meant a loss of memory, if only temporarily.

​The Priest, who was also a member of the village council, was also summoned, as was the case in other similar incidents. “What’s going on here?” he asked one of the ladies. “A miracle” said all the ladies together. The Makrani women are predominantly Muslim.

​The Priest was briefed about the rescue and what followed. Being
an elderly fellow, he recalled that a girl by the name of ‘Mahganj’ had been registered in the mosque some eighteen years ago.

​Now, it was easy to put two and two together. The man they found was associated with Mahganj and was discovered as belonging to the same village as her’s. He was also supposed to marry her.

​Mahganj was the granddaughter of the village tailor. Thus it was decided that the man be taken back to the same village that he originated from. Similar surroundings would help to revive his memory, it was hoped.

​A therapist was hired from the city and surely, slowly though, his memory came back in bits and pieces. Mahganj’s presence always evoked a response in the man, so strong was the bond of love. His memory did eventually return, which in turn led to their marriage. They led a happy married life.

Author profile: I am a housewife and grandmother and educated. I didn't want to let my education go waste so I started writing an art I inherited from my late father, Ahmed Jivanjee who was a well known writer of Karachi.


Monday, 26 June 2017

QK Archives: A case for Afghania

Circa 1998 published by Frontier Post

A case for Afghania

Afrasiab Khattak

Public debate over changing the name of North-West Frontier Province is entering a new and interesting stage as the high rhetoric and demagogy for and against proposition is coming to an en.d and a more realistic and business-like attitude is emerging. A consensus is already in right about the necessity of changing the name which was given to the province by colonial rulers and which represent the political realities of that time and which has become an anachronism with the passage of time with the growing urbanisation and increasing communication links, Pukhtoons are overcoming trible and territorial divisions creating an urge for cultural and political identity. Moreover, the changed regional political climate has helped all concerned to overcome the phobias of the past about renaming the province and the old polarisation on the issue has receded to to the background. These developments have brought us to the question as to what should be the new name, which they argue is also the original and ancient name of this area. They have got very strong and irrefutable evidence from history and literature to provide their point. support for renaming the province as Pukhtoonkhwa has considerably increased. So much so that if the issue is put to vote in the present provincial assembly, it is sure to get majority. But it would be more desirable to bring about the change with general consensus. It is evident that opposition to Pukhtoonkhwa stems mainly from partisan rivalries, the opponents of Pukhtoonkhwa think that as the main champion of it as Awami National Party (ANP), the credit will also be bagged by the ANP if and when such a change occurs. It would be only fair to add that ANP has also maintained a monopolistic attitude on the issue and has not made meaningful efforts to develop it into a national instead of a Pakistan issue. The opponents of Pukhtoonkhwa also respond in a narrow and rigid partisan way. This is not surprising in view of the limitations imposed by feudal and tribal culture and the ego-centric personalities of our society.

Be that as it may, the opponents of Pukhtoonkhwa say that they will accept any other name. Afghania is a name which has the potential of creating a consensus. There are controversies attached with this name. It is an established fact of history that the people of this area were also called Afghans for time immemorial. It was not a coincidence that the warrior-poet Khushal Khan Khattak gripped his sword Tto defend the honour of AfghansU. Throughout history, this area was different from India as it was the land of Afghans. Even now, in revenue record, which was prepared under British rule, most of the people living in the province are referred to as Afghans.

The first ever reformist movement which as established in the early twentieth century in Peshawar was the Association for Reformation of Afghans (Anjuman-e-Islaha-Afghania). And the most important thing is that Choudri Rehmat Ali who coined the word Pakistan as a name for a separate state of the Muslims of South Asia had Afghania in mind as a new name for NWFP so it is according to the original scheme of the creation of Pakistan. The founders of Pakistan knew fully well that Afghania will be a source of strength for the state of Pakistan as it will help the new Muslim country to establish a distinct Muslim cultural personality which is also evident from the poetry of Allama Iqbal. Had it not been for the unfortunate political confrontation which had developed in the NWFP at the time of partition of sub-continent, the province would have been immediately renamed as Afghania.

Even now, there is a strong case for Afghania. This is a name which represent the cultural identity of the area, but at the same time it stands above the narrow ethnic or linguistic divisions. There is no political dispute or controversy attached to this name. It was proposed by some people from amongst the founders of Pakistan, as according to them,the letter A in pakistan stands for Afghania. So renaming NWFP Afghania would would be only a stet forward both in letter and spirit in completion of Pakistan as envisaged by the founding fathers. As no single political party is the champion of the name or claim monopoly over the name, there is no partisan controversy about Afghania and no party can single handedly bag the credit for renaming the province.

Some people may question the wisdom of renaming NWFP as Afghania just on the border of Afghanistan. This would be typical of the old thinking based on the conspiracy theory of history, because even if we do not have the name Afghania, can any one deny the cultural, religious and historical affinity between the people living on both sides of the borders. Then there a number of examples where there are provinces bordering on the countries with a similar name. Both Pakistan and India have their own provinces of Punjab with geographical proximity India has the state (province) of West Bengal having common border with Bangladesh. Northern Island is a province of United Kingdom bordering on Ireland such examples are numerous and fully prove that such communalities are natural and can become a basis for developing close links between countries. Pakistan has got special relation with Afghanistan and under changed circumstances, these relations are expected to grow. Pakistan having the province of Afghania at the borders of Afghanistan will have stronger reasons to have the closest possible relations with the brotherly Muslim country. Such a relationship can become an important factor in developing economic cooperation in the region. Afghania as the new name of the NWFP will not only be acceptable at all parts of the NWFP and all segments of society of the province, but it will also become a bridge for the gradual integration of the FATA with this province. This is very important for the process of state and nation-building in Pakistan. Pakistan cannot indefinitely maintain the administration structures created by the British rule as these arrangements have already become in compatible with her developmental requirements. Bold and imaginative efforts are required to boost the process of nation building in Pakistan. This is particularly important on the North-Western borders where Pakistan is passed to build new strategic relations only a leadership with a distorcial vision can utilise the historic opportunities spring by momentus changes in the world in the region. We have to grow out of stride polarisations and political squabbles of the past. Petty politics have to give way to creative and statesman like approach. Renaming the NWFP as Afghania can be the fist step in this direction.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Tables on Selected Education Indicators in KP 2004-05 to 2015-16

Tables on Selected Education Indicators in KP 2004-05 to 2015-16
by Muhammad Saleem (Twitter @memzarma )

There is a renewed focus on KP education performance both in the mainstream media and on social media. While some of the commentators do speak about it based on authentic data, others (and they are in the majority) do not have a clue when speaking about education performance in KP. To have an informed debate, I tried to compile a few tables on the few important education indicators. These are all outcome indicators, which are a result of government policies in education sectors and the overall socio-economic environment in the province. The data here is presented with the hope that people may be able to participate in a more informed debate. The data is of 3 different regimes in the province so one can compare different political government performance as well.
Following are tables on selected education indicators in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa over the years [from 2004-05 to 2015-16]. The data is taken from the annual Pakistan Social & Living Standard Measurement (PSLM) surveys available here at collected by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics. This PSLM survey exercise was initiated, among other things, to track on the MDGs in Pakistan. As per PBS explanation, the data pertaining to each year is collected for the same year, though the reports came out late. For example, the data for the year 2015-16 is collected between September 2015 and June 2016. The data for the year 2009-10 & 2015-16 is not available for all indicators as it is not readily available on the PBS website. Some missing data points for these two years were looked into different issues of Economic Survey of Pakistan. The last table [Table 14] is headcount poverty measure taken from the UNDP report on Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) and is available here.

Notes for Table 1: (A) Population aged 10 years and older that has ever attended school as a percentage of the total population aged 10 years and older. (B) Attended School: All those individuals who have ever attended school (either currently attending, or attended in the past) were taken to have attended school.

 Notes for Table 3 and subsequent tables on NER: (A) Net Enrolment Rate (NER): Number of children in age bracket mentioned attending primary school divided by total number of children in that bracket multiplied by 100.  

Notes for Table 4: This is the main table, which is taken as the normal primary level enrolment rate and which the government pledged to increase it to 100% as per the MDG goals and now the SDGs. Economic Survey of Pakistan also report this table regularly each year in its annual reports.

Notes for Table 6: This table depicts a picture of government-run primary schools. Any improvement in government schools will show its results here.

Notes for Table 7: Again, this tables shows that how much of school going kids go to government-run primary schools. The table shows that over the years, enrolment in government schools is on the decline. The year 2005-06 is seems to be an outlier. In 2006-07, Only 21% kids were enrolled in private schools out of total enrolled kids which is now at 31%. 

Notes for Table 8: In 2004-05, 78% of the total enrolled kids were going to government schools, which now drops to 68%. Every year in KP, government schools loose out 1% of its enrolment to private schools. Multiple reasons are here to be blamed such as missing facilities in government schools, less government schools (especially girls’ schools) as against the demand and low quality of the government-run schools. There is a caveat to the last one though: Most of the private primary schools are no better than the government schools in terms of quality education but then due to ‘the culture of admitting kids in private schools as a symbol of status’, most middle class parents send their children to private schools. This is off course anecdotal (the write observe this in district Swabi where 90% of the private schools results in the SSC exam was as poor as government run high schools) and a proper research in this area is needed.    

Notes for Table 13: (A) Population aged 10 years and older that is literate expressed as a percentage of the population aged 10 years and older. (B) Literacy: For all surveys, literacy is taken as the ability to read a newspaper and to write a simple letter. 

This table is taken from the UNDP report of 20th June, 2016 on the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) which is being calculated with the data taken from PSLM surveys. The MPI index is a composite index calculated from various indicators of education, health and living conditions. The overall weightage given to these three variables is equal (1/3 of total) which is further divided into the following sub-variables.  

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

QK Archives: Habib Jalib Baloch

Originally published by Daily Times July 2010
COMMENT:Knight, not pawn: Habib Jalib Baloch —Dr Mohammad Taqi

More striking than Habib Jalib's flowing long hair was his political maturity that was certainly beyond his years. This transition from a student politician to a statesman is rather rare in our part of the world

“Aiy haak ki may nagrin qawm e jis o gor int,

Aiy haak a pa maa taah e jatag shaklein zinday” — Mir Gul Khan Nasir.

“This soil has been our home, after death it has been our grave,

So, for evermore, I am this soil’s slave.”

In the parlance of nationalist movements in Pakistan, the motherland (watan) has often been described as the place where one’s home and grave are (kor and gor, respectively in Pashto, for example). The Baloch revolutionary poet Gul Khan Nasir’s above verse, however, took the concept to a new height. And in his death, on July 15, 2010, Comrade Habib Jalib Baloch immortalised the verse, the concept and the struggle that is befitting of this ideal.

In their February 2000 monograph titled ‘Knights, not Pawns: Ethno-Nationalism and Regional Dynamics in Post-Colonial Balochistan’, Paul Titus and Nina Swidler note that, “In the pivotal years of 1947 and 1948, the Muslim League was able to outmanoeuvre and suppress these ambitious young (nationalist) movements, but they did not die. In subsequent decades, Baloch and Pashtun nationalism became key elements in the political discourse and the equation of power in Balochistan, and they remain so today.”

These movements did not die simply because they have had in their ranks revolutionary dervishes like Ajmal Khattak and Habib Jalib Baloch. These knights have overshadowed almost all pawns that the Pakistani establishment has produced and used to derail the nationalist movements. Their shining armour has been nothing but dedication to their cause and its adornments are their intellect, humility and contact with their people. A sense of pride in their self-chosen, dignified poverty and shunning material incentives is the Teflon that kept every blemish away from their armour and person.

63 years, four martial laws and six major military operations later, the Baloch struggle for autonomy, self-governance and the right to self-determination continues while the fringes of the movement now demand outright independence from the downright knaves of the establishment. It is highly unlikely that silencing a voice of reason like Jalib Baloch will succeed in gagging the demand for rights. In the poem quoted above, Gul Khan Nasir goes on to express the resolve of his people:

“Dastanai bebanday ta ke chammani bebanday,

Kohani zirab a che pa aram a na nenday.”

“Tie our hands behind our backs or blindfold our eyes,

our seething furious mountains will always make us rise.”

By physically eliminating the moderate leaders, the oppressors of Balochistan stoke the fury of mainstream individuals. We keep hearing the ‘foreign hand’ being involved in Balochistan and how the ‘evil’ nationalist chieftains seek and get help from India or Afghanistan. Selig Harrison, however, noted decades ago: “In contrast to [Khair Bakhsh] Marri who is uneasy and ambivalent about seeking Soviet or other foreign help for an independence struggle, [Ghaus Bakhsh] Bizenjo stated that ‘in a crisis, naturally we will seek help from somewhere, and if we get it, we will accept it. When a nationality is fighting for survival, what do you expect?’”

One should bear in mind that Marri was considered the hardliner and the late Bizenjo was considered the perennial moderate. In fact, so great was Bizenjo’s penchant for talks that instead of Baba-e-Balochistan (father of the Baloch nation), his detractors called him ‘Baba-e-muzakraat’ (negotiation). Jalib Baloch belonged to the same league of towering intellectuals of a moderate political persuasion of the likes of Bizenjo. While Jalib remained committed to the political process, his assassination might push those with similar views to the fringes.

I had an opportunity to briefly interact with Jalib Baloch during the lawyers’ movement. We shared a good laugh at an APDM rally in Islamabad when I asked if Nur Muhammad Tarakai’s sartorial preferences had inspired him to don the long black overcoat. As most obituaries have pointed out, he indeed was a humble, soft-spoken and unassuming man who appeared younger than his age. However, more striking than his flowing long hair was his political maturity that was certainly beyond his years. This transition from a student politician to a statesman is rather rare in our part of the world. In this, he ranked right up there with the greats of the past like Ghaus Bakhsh Bizenjo and contemporaries like my good friend Afrasiab Khattak of the ANP.

One can argue about Jalib’s political views and what he perceived as the correct means to achieve the rightful place for the Baloch people in the political economy of Pakistan and the region. However, what he would not have wanted is the bickering that has apparently broken out between various Baloch political and resistance groups.

The obscure group, Baloch Musallah Defai Tanzeem might have accepted the responsibility for Jalib Baloch’s murder but history points its finger towards forces that have been implicated in the systematic killings of their political and intellectual opponents from Hassan Nasir, Zahir Rehan, Shahidullah Kaiser, Mir Lawang Khan, Asadullah Mengal, Nazir Abbasi, Ayaz Sammo, Munir Baloch and Maula Bux Dasti to Abdus Samad Khan, ZA Bhutto, Dr Najibullah, Nawab Bugti and Benazir Bhutto.

Once Sardar Ataullah Mengal said, “That man [late Bizenjo sahib] cannot live without politics. I can do without it, but he has to have it all the time or he will perish.” I would plead with Sardar sahib, Nawab Marri and other senior Baloch elders and leaders that without their taking up an active role in politics to help banish the factionalism among the Baloch, the chances of everyone perishing together are very real. The state apparatus is going full steam ahead with its colonisation of Balochistan while the civilian government stands by. Without a swift agreement on a minimum common programme, the Baloch may not survive this wave of oppression. No armed resistance can succeed without a robust political leadership.

S T Coleridge once wrote:

“The knight’s bones are dust,

And his good sword rust,

His soul is with the saints, I trust.”

I have no doubt that Habib Jalib Baloch’s soul is with the saints but it is up to the Baloch leaders to protect his life’s work from tarnish and rust. Knights must not become pawns.

The writer teaches and practices Medicine at the University of Florida and contributes to the think-tanks and Aryana Institute. He can be reached at