By  Mowahid Hussain Shah

December 08, 2017


Mugabe’s ignominy in Zimbabwe ending a 37-year misrule is reminiscent of Pakistan’s own political history.
Overstay has been the core problem. And not knowing when to quit sets the stage for a slow-motion downfall.
It occurred with Ayub, Bhutto, Zia, Musharraf, and, now. Motivators for overstay have been: (1) amassing riches; (2) launching socio-political dynastic empires to ostensibly guarantee overextension to eternity, not realizing that time on earth is finite; and (3) trauma of relinquishment.
Trump owes thanks to Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush, who attempted to perpetuate the dynastic presidency platforms provided, respectively, by husband and father.
Any seafood lover can recount how repellent is the fishy odor of a stale fish. Extrapolating to the political realm is the scent of something new and fresh, which has its own popular appeal.
The first US President, George Washington, is revered because he twice rejected over-extension. First, in 1783, after securing independence from England, he rejected assuming power for himself and resigned as commander-in-chief of armed forces. Second, after his unanimous election twice as US president, he voluntarily resigned, setting an informal precedent for presidential term limits (incorporated formally into the US Constitution in 1951).
50 years ago, President de Gaulle quit the French presidency to lead a quiet and austere life in his village of Colombey-les-Deux-Églises, a two-hour journey by train from metropolitan Paris. His grave in the church graveyard is so unprepossessing that I could only find it with the help of a French cop. De Gaulle had the courage to take the risk of quitting Algeria, which many Frenchmen believed to be integral to France. To grasp the magnitude of what de Gaulle did then, would any present-day US politician dare to pressure Netanyahu to vacate the Occupied Territories?
In October 1968, sycophants of Ayub decided to trumpet his presidency with the “Decade of Development.” It triggered a public backlash and, within a matter of a few weeks, Ayub was out. Similarly, after 11 years in power, Zia overreached by sacking his hand-picked prime minister, Junejo, on May 29, 1988. It was a bridge too far and, less than 90 days later, Zia’s airplane went down in flames. Musharraf, driven by the ambition of overextension, overstepped by firing the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
Repeatable actions lead to repetition of past disasters.
The so-called Opposition is no better, recycling as it is the tired slogan of ‘Naya Pakistan,’ shamefully deployed by beneficiaries of the 1971 breakup of the original Pakistan.

The virus of over-reach is not limited to politicians. When the in-uniform Army Chief sought an extension from Zardari, it exposed the absence of internal institutional safeguards within the military, which would have thwarted an individual step deleterious to the morale of the armed forces. Parenthetically, it may apply also to the out-of-uniform step of another chief to join a dubious and divisive alliance, with its Pandora-box implications for security and governance.
The street is fickle. It cheers when leaders enter power and it cheers when they exit power. A simple way to avoid blame and shame is to avoid going past the expiry date.





Election 2004: Decisive but Divisive

Muslim Youth & Kashmir in America

The Big Picture: Wealth without Vision

Oxygen to Global Unrest

Punishing the Punctual

Change without Change

Don’t Be Weak

Passionate Attachment

The Confidence of Youth

The Other Side of Democracy

Campaign of Defamation

Pakistani Women & the Legal Profession

A Pakistani Journey

Farewell to Fazal

Mukhtaran and Beyond

Revamping the OIC

7/7 & After

Nuclear Double-Standard

Return to Racism

Hollywood – The Unofficial Media

The Sole Superpower

The UN at 60

A Slow Motion World War?

Elite vs. Street

Iqbal Today

Macedonia to Multan

Defending our Own

2006 & Maulana Zafar Ali Khan

Error against Terror

The Limits of Power

Cultural Weaknesses

Aggressive at Home, Submissive Abroad

Global Storm

The Farce of Free Expression

The Changing Mood

Condi & India


Looking inward


A Tale of Two Presidents

Close to Home

Flashpoint Kashmir

The Spreading Rage

Confronting Adversity

The Illusion of International Law

Other Side of Extremism

Five Years after 9/11

The Educated Ignorant

The Decline of Humor


Six Years of Insanity

The War Not Being Fought

Munir Niazi

Compliance & Defiance



The Goddess of Wealth

The Meaning of Moderation

The Tora Bora of Fear

Clash of Civility

The Early Race

Challenge & Response

Will & Skill


Movie-Media and Pakistan

Hug with a Thug

Quest for Integrity



Bringing Back the Past

Stuck in Iraq

Islam, Science and the West

Turmoil over Turkey

Leaders versus Leadership

Might Does Not Make Right

Kursi First

Vision & Will

Battle of the Billionaires

Assassination Alley

Extremism and Change

Rosy Expectations

Short-Term Gain, Long-Term Pain

Not Winning

Beyond Baghdad: Five Years after

The Hijab of Democracy

Hate, Fear & Hope

Weapon of Words

Hide N’ Seek

Yanking in the UN

Obama’s Breakthrough

Let Lahore Be Lahore

National Mood & Sports

Flirting with Fire

Trips Abroad

Georgia on the Mind

Duel for the White House

Zia to Zardari

Palestine: Avoiding the Unavoidable 

Not Working 

In the Ring 

Obama’s America

Smiles & Dreams

Quiet Deeds of Good

Crime and Indifference

Journey of Understanding


Terror via Counter-Terrorism

Umpires or Vampires?

The Long Road

Yesterday’s Reminder

Appeasement and the Real Threat

Israel’s Washington Agenda

New Challenges

Cairo and Beyond

Re-fighting Old Battles

America ’s Super Villains

Activism in America

Style without Substance

Overcoming Barriers

Ashes to Afghanistan

The Looming Change

Fear and Possibilities

What Is Not Debated 

Hired Guns

Rampage at Fort Hood

Manmohan in Washington

The Long Duel

Green Nukes

Vision and Division

Avoiding Why

Striving to Matter


Anxiety and Opportunity

Putting Iraq in America

The Right Strategy

Looking Beyond

Rot at the Top

Strategic Folly

Daring & Caring

Over-Stepping on Turkey

Sudan : Perils of Provincialism

Old Fears, New Target

Europe ’s Stain

The US-Pakistan Enigma

The Status Quo Is Unacceptable

9 Years after 9/11

License to Steal

US Muslims at the Crossroads

Tumor of Terror

An Arab Voice

Disastrous Decisions

Double Game

Sticky Wiki

What Quaid Was Not

Money Conspiracy

Pharaohs & Pirates

Greed and Cricket

Change & Challenge  

Forty Years after 1971

Abandoning Our Own

Rewarding Failure

Osama and Obama

Tsunami of Tolerance

Representation and Presentation

Meek and Weak

Change or the Same?

No Easy Exit

Nation to Non-Nation

10 Years after 9/11

Shining India?

Big Power, Small Politics

Rule of the Gun

Proxy of the Powerful

Fight for Fairness

Republican Race

Actors or Directors

Speaking out

Professional Sycophants

More Provinces?

Too Much Information

Soft Separation

Soft Poison

Unemployment & Over-Population

Seize the Day

The Arab Awakening

Ben Bella

At University of Gujrat

Good People Behaving Badly

Playing Over-Smart

Do Less

Resisting the Resistible

Performance, Not PR

Home-grown Havoc

Salutation to the 65 th Year

Plague of Provincialism

USA Elections 2012


Fight or Flight

Rift and Drift

Obama II

Me and We

Small Role or Small Actors?

On Losing

Who Will Guard the Guards?

Loyal to Their Loot

Prevail or Fail

Perceptions and Reality

Toll of Occupation

Re-think, Re-examine, and Self-correct 

The Washington Tribe

Voice and Vision

Moral Slump

Wall of Illusion

Under One Banner

Bitter Harvest

Gallows and the Throne

Scent of Power

At a Standstill

Leaders and Leadership

The Deadline

Fighting Darkness

Distant Connections

Governance: The Long View

Discussion in DC

Darkness in the Mind

Killing Kennedy and Liaquat Ali

Yahya Khan Speaks on 1971

Quaid & Xmas in Washington

150 Years of FC College

Tyranny of Money

50 Years of Ali

A Dose of Truth

Little Guy, Big Impact

A Reassessment in Washington

Crimea & Kashmir

Democracy or Oligarchy?

Afghan Elites: Blaming Pakistan

Pitfalls of Intervention

Arabs in America

Never Give up

German Journey

Tyranny of Today

Manipulating Language

March & Match


Out of Darkness

Modi in America

Awareness or Fairness?

Mideast Maze

Easy Scapegoats

Freedom to Insult

Journey of Recovery

Mental Colonialism

Letters from a Grandfather

Power Imbalance

Discord and Division

Colloquium at Capitol Hill

Washington Lauds Gharib Nawaz

Balkan Lessons

Pivot from the Mideast

American Campus & Mideast Turmoil

Muslim Father; Two Americans

Challenging Fear

Victim Mentality

X & Ali

Fake Democracy?

Irresponsible Passivity

Erosion of Ethics

Dragon of Hate

Extreme in the Mainstream

Ugly Times

Pakistani Summer in England

Speaking Haq

At the Oval

Britain Beware

East in West

Trump Turmoil

Tiny Nation, Towering Figure

Realities: 2016

End of an Innings


Embarrassment to America

Dishonest Media

Purana Pakistan

Media Unleashed

Mental Walls

Quarantining Qatar

Vizier or Fakir

70 Not Out

70th in Washington

England in September

White Rage

Daughter of the Quaid



Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
2004 . All Rights Reserved.