Judicial Jitters in Pakistan, continued..

Two pieces from Dr Hamid Hussain on the higher judiciary in Pakistan. Well worth a read. Third piece is awaited.

What follows was written by Dr Hussain. 

Societies in general are becoming polarized and Pakistan is no exception. In times when main source of information is tweets, face book posts and a vlog by a youtuber, no one has the time or inclination to try to get information. Everyone picks his own set of facts that fits into his pre-conceived idea.  Facts are not shaping the opinion but it is the other way around where facts are adjusted to one’s opinion.

Judiciary has emerged as an important player in the power play. In the last few months, I have made an attempt to write about the subject that was a new ground for me.  I got educated and enlightened by many well informed folks.  This is first of the three part series on the subject matter.  Only for those interested in the background of unfolding events.

“Neither to laugh; nor cry

Just to understand”        Spinoza

Hamid Continue reading Judicial Jitters in Pakistan, continued..

On Centenarian Kissinger

Author’s Note: This is not an academic or objective essay; rather a personalised opinion on the soon-to-be centenarian former secretary of state.

On one occasion, a joke was made on television about how Fidel Castro survived attempts to have him removed by US presidents as well as the  downfall of USSR, who served as his main supporter. In 2023, a soon-to-be centenarian Dr. Henry Kissinger would be grinning and telling Castro’s soul to, as they say, “Hold his beer.” If the AI generator were asked to picturise “American foreign policy”, it would not be shocking if Henry Kissinger’s portrait or painting appeared. 

For decades, he was open and honest about his opinions on American foreign policy based on the pursuit of both national interest and power. In his own words: “A country that demands moral perfection of itself as a test of its foreign policy will achieve neither perfection nor security.” Kissinger has proven to be rich ground for historians and publishers. Along with business books about him as a deal-maker, there are also personality studies, tell-alls from former coworkers, and collections of his quotes.

Simultaneously, Kissinger had long been criticised by many as a ruthless realist. The critics would often quote Kissinger’s own words “when policy becomes excessively moralistic it may turn quixotic or dangerous”. Those words don’t seem all that offensive in retrospect after seeing so-called American moralist decisions made in places like Libya, Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. The critics would respond by citing Bangladesh and Chile as examples of how Kissinger was no better.

Weimar-Chile Connection 

For the last few years, Kissinger seems to no longer arouse widespread contempt. Instead, some individuals have since expressed some sympathy for him, tying Kissinger’s ruthlessness to his status as a former resident of Weimar Germany. Born Heinz Kissinger on May 27, 1923, to an Orthodox Jewish school teacher in Fürth, Bavaria. In 1938,  shortly before Kristallnacht, Kissinger and his family escaped to America, as did several German Jewish families.  Continue reading On Centenarian Kissinger

Book Review: लोक माझे सांगाती

This was only the second Autobiography I have read and I enjoyed it a lot.
Naturally no one should expect any autobiography to be frank and thorough, much more so incase of the autobiography being of an active politician.

Mr Pawar’s vision for development which often doesn’t get discussed gets due credit in the book. His putting his ideological commitment over electoral gains in the “Namantar” controversy, speech on Women’s rights and the anger at the Dabhol-Enron project stood out of the book for me.
His lack of explanations for his miscalculations (like supporting Sonia Gandhi in 90s), corruption allegations sticks out like a sore thumb. His (now) wrong predictions post 2015 and somewhat myopic view on Hindu-Muslim problems could highlight the shortcomings of his brand of Progressivism.

To really understand an autobiography, one must always read between and beyond the lines. Mr Pawar has also been linked with outfits like like Sambhaji brigade, especially in the 21st century. But brigade and their notoriety do not find a single mention in his book. Nor does the eponymous
second Chattrapati (unless i am mistaken).

In the final passage, Mr Pawar mentions his close friendship with the radical Muslim rationalist – Hamid Dalwai. Incidentally, after the tragic and early death of Hamid Dalwai, it was Sharad Pawar who ensured Mr Dalwai’s final wishes of cremation were followed, against his family/communities wishes. Given this history, its highly ironic that the NCP has among its ranks some leaders who couldnt be further from Mr Dalwai in their speech and action.

In end the reader is forced to acknowledge both the genius and underachievement of a brilliant career which wouldn’t contain national premiership. (YET)

Open Thread – 05/14/2023 – Brown Pundits

Finished my Iran sequence, Iran through the ages: civilization’s eternal crossroadsPre-Persian Iran: from the invention of agriculture to the Aryan onslaught and We are all Zoroastrians: how Persian empires of the mind touched all humanity and One door closes, another opens: the Persian Empire’s end and the rise of the Persianate world.

Major Amin on the current crisis, May 2023

Another Browncast is up. You can listen on LibsynAppleSpotify, and Stitcher (and a variety of other platforms). Probably the easiest way to keep up the podcast since we don’t have a regular schedule is to subscribe to one of the links above!

In this episode I talk to Major Amin, well knows to our listeners. Just a short chat about what is going on.

Pakistan Crisis: The Arrest of Imran Khan

Another Browncast is up. You can listen on LibsynAppleSpotify, and Stitcher (and a variety of other platforms). Probably the easiest way to keep up the podcast since we don’t have a regular schedule is to subscribe to one of the links above!

In this episode I talk to Maneesh about the latest crisis in Pakistan. We start with a little background and then discuss what is happening right now and what we may expect in the future. Comments welcome.


I promised to link some good articles:

Best summary of how we got to this point: What Imran Khan’s Ascent did to Pakistan 

Good as always from Dr Mohammed Taqi (@mazdaki on twitter) https://thewire.in/south-asia/imran-khans-arrest-will-exacerbate-pakistans-multi-system-meltdown

Probably the best news and analysis show on Pakistani TV these days (as in well prepared, logical, usually objective) is Shahzeb Khanzada. 

The corps commander’s peacock

A Sojourn to Swades

For a foreigner, India is an assault on the senses. A land of every extreme you can imagine, every data point you can parse, and every anecdote you can hazard is found in this heterogenous homeland. An opulent ancient structure makes way for decrepit shantytowns which morph into a 21st-century skyscraper. Blaring horns that find a home on every road transform into the blowing of a conch and eternal songs. Pollution stings your nose and strangles your throat until you find refuge in the appetizing aroma of an eatery. Every flavor is expressed in a single bite of a chaat, akin to instruments combining in an orchestra of taste. An omnipresent dust travels across your skin as you hold the hands of a loved one not seen in ages. At this point, I feel a bit like Rupi Kaur narrating a diaspora novella about a visit to the homeland, but I’m guessing you get the point.

Continue reading A Sojourn to Swades

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