P A K    P O L L

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Pakistan votes today in turning-point elections
Sharif, Imran & Zardari’s parties in 3-way fight
Poll pundits predict a hung National Assembly
Raj Chengappa in lahore
Pakistan has rarely witnessed an orderly transition of power of its civilian government in its independent history. But with its 86 million electorate, just one-seventh the size of India’s, voting on Saturday for the National Assembly and the four provincial assemblies, Pakistan is all set to usher in a new era for democracy that may prove to be a turning point for this troubled nation. An estimated 4,600 candidates are in the fray for the 272 directly elected seats in the 342-member lower house of the Majlis-e-Shura (Parliament).

Balle balle! People power on Pak doorstep
The Pakistan General Election is turning out to be a test of the country’s political maturity and democracy. Raj Chengappa, Editor-in-Chief, The Tribune Group of Newspapers, captures the heat, dust and flavour as the historic elections reach the climax
Entry by foot, mix masala & 'Urdinglish'

“Entry by air or by foot” was the cryptic stamp on the visa issued to me by the Pakistan High Commission in Delhi to cover the last mile of the 2013 General Election for which voting happens on Saturday. From Chandigarh it made more sense for me to drive to Amritsar and then enter “by foot” via the Wagah border late Thursday afternoon.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

on record
‘Big challenge ahead for Pakistan’
— Nawaz Sharif, president of the Pakistan Muslim League-N and former Prime Minister
Raj Chengappa 
Editor-in-Chief, The Tribune Group of Newspapers,
talks to Nawaz Sharif in Lahore on the day of polling
On Saturday, while the rest of Pakistan was in a whirl, Nawaz Sharif was a study in calm. The former Pakistan Prime Minister, who heads the Pakistan Muslim League-N, chose to spend a relaxed morning at his sprawling farm house in Raiwind. He showed no anxiety on the outcome of the polls and appeared confident of his party emerging as the single largest in terms of seats and of him forming the government. Excerpts from an exclusive interview over endless rounds of kahva:

Monday, May 13, 2013

Pakistan’s new dance of democracy
The successful completion of the 2013 General Election is a major turning point for Pakistan. Raj Chengappa, Editor-in-Chief, The Tribune Group of Newspapers, captures some of the highlights of its new dance of democracy
Super-cool Nawaz, smartphones and Amritsar callings
By Raj Chengappa
Like all good batsmen, Nawaz Sharif, who fancied himself as a cricketer of some standing when he was young, always seems to have enough time to play his political shots. When the voting began on Saturday, he spent his time relaxing at his Raiwind farmhouse rarely enquiring about the turnout at various booths.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

TURNING POINT: reviving THE flagging economy
As Nawaz Sharif gets ready to form the government, economy emerges as the most important factor for the country to rise above its challenges. In an exclusive series, The Tribune puts you in touch with the ground situation and the aspirations of the country and its polity, beginning with interviews by Raj Chengappa, Editor-in-Chief, with two personalities in the forefront of the economy. Excerpts:
‘Institutions, not whims, to run the country’
— Sartaj Aziz, former Pakistan Finance Minister
Sartaj Aziz has twice served as Pakistan’s Finance Minister during Nawaz Sharif’s first and second terms as Prime Minister. The veteran Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz ( PML-N) leader was a professor of economics and during his stints as finance minister is acknowledged to have driven Pakistan’s liberalisation and privatisation programme in the 1990s. He is considered a key PML-N ideologue on both economics and foreign affairs.

‘Indo-Pak business can provide cushion to relations’
— Mian Mohammad Mansha, chairman, Nishat Group
Mian Mohammad Mansha owns and runs Pakistan’s biggest conglomerate, the Nishat Group, widely regarded as the ‘Tatas’ of Pakistan for the way it conducts its business. With annual revenues of Rs 9,000 crore, Mansha holds diverse and major business interests in textile, banking, insurance, cement, power and aviation. The Nishat Group has operations across the globe, mainly in Sri Lanka, Azerbaijan, the UAE, USA, Hong Kong and Bahrain.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

TURNING POINT: Foreign policy overhaul
Pakistan is a country bedevilled by internal strife, a lot of which has roots in its relations with the neighbours. Raj Chengappa
Editor-in-Chief, The Tribune Group of Newspapers, speaks to two foreign policy experts in Pakistan to find out what to expect from the new government regarding its approach to the US, Afghanistan and, more particularly, India. Excerpts:
‘Cross-border interference against Sharif’s policy’"
— Tariq Fatemi, former Pakistan diplomat and PML-N adviser

Tariq Fatemi, 69, is a former Pakistani career diplomat, currently working as a political analyst. He is a foreign policy ideologue of the PML-N and has helped draft the party manifesto.

‘National strategy needed to deal with militancy’
— Ahmed Rashid, foreign policy expert
Ahmed Rashid, 65, is a journalist and best-selling foreign policy author of several books on Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Central Asia. Rashid’s 2000 book, "Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia," was translated into 22 languages and sold 1.5 million copies after the 9/11 attacks. His latest book, "Pakistan on the Brink: The Future of America, Pakistan, and Afghanistan," was published in 2012.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

TURNING POINT: defining the army’s role
Even with the advent of a democratically elected government with a clear mandate, the fear of military intervention at some stage continues to linger in Pakistan. In Lahore, Raj Chengappa, Editor-in-Chief, The Tribune Group of Newspapers, speaks to General Jehangir Karamat, who preceded Gen Pervez Musharraf as army chief, to read the temperature within the barracks as well as outside.
‘With democracy maturing, coup not likely’
— General Jehangir Karamat (retd), former Pakistan Chief of Army Staff
Gen Jehangir Karamat
(retd), 72, remained Chief of Staff of the Pakistan Army from January 1996 to October 1998. He resigned as army chief following differences with then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Having served as a professor of political science at the National Defence University in Islamabad, General Karamat is also an expert on defence and security matters, especially with his career in the military. In 2004, he was appointed Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US, where he served from November 2004 to June 2006.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Imran has a foot in, now to push the door open
By Raj Chengappa
EVER since Imran Khan was admitted to the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre after he fell off a forklift during an election rally on May 7, it is guarded like a fortress. The Punjab police’s elite counter-terror forces wearing black T-shirts with ‘No Fear’ emblazoned on them guard the hospital entrance and the wards that house him. It’s the hospital Imran built in memory of his mother who died of cancer.





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