Category: Pakistan


Who is this guy whose real name we have yet to find out and who has been given the name of Mr. Raymond Davis? Why is the US administration of President Obama ready to go to any extent to secure his release, even if it means abandoning of a strategic ally like Pakistan, sacrificing its core values and further tarnishing the US image as a bully and a bulldozer of the process of law? We are told that his real identity is being concealed which means that he was sent to Pakistan and the diplomatic status to him, if at all it was granted, was granted on a fake identity. Is it how the entire diplomatic staff is posted to the US posts around the globe or was it a special gesture shown for a country which made tremendous sacrifices to keep the West safe from terrorists? These questions are very intriguing and sometimes it sounds as if the man in question is a top US official whose release has become a matter of life and death for the US.

Pakistan and the US have been close allies in difficult times. US has always bailed Pakistan out in the times of economic crises and Pakistan is fighting a bloody war on its Western front so that US citizens could sleep tight without the fear of devastating attacks like the 9/11. But ignoring all this, the US is pressurizing Pakistan to free him at all costs. This pressure has divided the Pakistani society and those who always thought US to be a society respecting the rule of law are forced to review their love for Uncle Sam. The US pressure is being exerted in many forms. According to a report in the Financial Times, the US has postponed a meeting with Pakistani officials in Washington amid an escalating dispute over the fate of Raymond Davis, an American embassy official who shot dead two men. The Obama administration is placing mounting pressure on Pakistan to free Mr Davis, on the grounds that embassy staff are entitled to diplomatic immunity. Pakistan’s government has said the courts must decide his status.

According to the report, this stand-off has chilled relations at a time when the US is seeking to win broader co-operation from Pakistan’s military in its campaign in Afghanistan. The US State Department said at the weekend that it was postponing a February 23-24 meeting of senior officials from the US, Pakistan and Afghanistan. P.J. Crowley, a State Department spokesman, said the decision had been taken “in light of political changes in Pakistan” and after discussions with Afghan and Pakistani officials in Washington.

The postponement of the meeting has been interpreted in Pakistan as a snub designed to underline Washington’s growing impatience with the government of  Pakistan. The case places Pakistan’s leadership in an acute dilemma. Pakistan is the second biggest recipient of US economic aid and its government is rightly and justifiably reluctant to antagonize Washington. But the prospect that Mr Davis could escape punishment for the shooting, which occurred last month in the eastern city of Lahore, has crystallized widespread anti-American sentiment in Pakistan. The government fears unleashing popular anger if he is repatriated.

“It will be extremely counterproductive if one incident or one person … destroys a relationship of 60 years. It is simply unthinkable,” Reuters quoted senior Pakistani official as saying.

The case has raised questions over what Mr Davis, a former US Army Special Forces soldier, was doing in Pakistan. The US embassy has described him as a member of its “administrative and technical staff.” Unanswered questions over why he was armed and his precise role have fuelled speculation in Pakistan’s media that he may have been involved in some form of intelligence gathering.

In remarks that will complicate the government’s position even further, Pakistan’s former foreign minister said that the foreign ministry had no record of Mr. Davis being registered in Pakistan as a diplomat. Police arrested Mr. Davis after the January 27 incident in Lahore, the capital of Punjab province, but he has yet to be formally charged in connection with the deaths of the two men. A passer-by was killed when a US vehicle rushed to the scene.

If Mr. Davis is in a position to alter the relationship between two country, then he is simply not an intelligence operative or even a diplomat. The anxiety of US administration to secure his release at all costs shows that he is a very important person or was on a very important assignment.

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Pakistanis are a strange people. They hate America yet they love Green Cards and can pay any price to get them. Given an opportunity, every one of them will migrate to the land of opportunities. In spite of negative public perception about Americans, the USA has always rescued Pakistan in the time of need. However, Pakistan is not reciprocating the gesture when an American has landed himself in trouble by shooting two Pakistani boys and causing the death of a third young man. And look at the families of those killed. They have been offered money and Green Cards but they have rejected the offer. Pakistanis have one problem though; they are proud people in their own way. They can sell anything but blood of their loved ones.

According to media reports, the families had been offered Green Cards and money for withdrawing the case. Brother of a boy who was gunned down by Davis told the participants of a protest rally that the family did not want cash or any ‘rewards’. “We will not accept anything like that. I am ready to give money to the Americans if they hand over Davis,” he said.

A group of about 500 people including students, lawyers, doctors, and civil society members walked from Qartaba Chowk (where the incident had occurred) to the US Consulate. Once the protesters reached the Consulate they staged a sit-in and shouted slogans demanding a trial of the accused in the country. They demanded the Pakistani government not to hand over Davis to the US government, while asking that he be hanged “for causing the death of three innocent citizens”.

They said that they did not have any hopes from the government but were confident that the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) would ensure that justice is served.

All speakers, including family members of the deceased, also demanded CJP Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to take suo motu notice to ensure that the government does not “favour” the accused American. The protesters condemned the judicial magistrate’s court for granting bail to Davis for carrying illegal weapons.

The rally was led by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Lahore president, Mian Mahmoodul Rasheed.

Starting from Qartaba Chowk, the protesters reached the US Consulate after passing through Queen’s Road, The Mall, Race Course Road and Egerton Road. The participants shouted anti-US slogans through loud speakers installed on a mini truck. Announcements were also made to inviting passers-by to join the rally, which were somewhat successful.

Old Ravians would certainly refuse to believe that Deedar, a stage dancer popular for her vulgar dances, could ever be allowed to appear someday on the stage of the Bokhari Auditorium of Government College Lahore (now given a funny name of Government College University) and dance at the Bonfire Night. According to media reports, the event’s organizers said there was nothing vulgar about Deedar’s performance and it was all for a good cause, the university’s Help the Helpless campaign through which poor students can get financial aid. The GCU Welfare Society raised Rs1.5 million at Tuesday night’s event.

The reports say that this was perhaps the first time that a theatre actress, a profession considered indecent by some, has officially performed at an event at  Asia’s most prestigious institution. She danced to several popular Pakistani and Indian songs including Sheela Ki Jawani and Munni Badnam Hui Darling Tere Liye. Around 450 students bought Rs1,000 tickets for Bonfire Night. Men were instructed to wear a black suit, while women were required to wear a red dress and a rose. Couples were offered two tickets at the concessional rate of Rs1,800. Other performers at the event included singers Shafqat Amanat Ali, Arif Lohar, Annie, Jassie and Amanat Ali Khan and bands Raga Boys and Call.

Senior faculty members criticized Deedars’ performance, saying it was not worthy of an institution of GCU’s standing. They noted that in previous years, the performers had been classical singers and regional dancers practiced in historic art forms. Their performances had cultural and educational value, they said. “Deedar’s dance sends the wrong message across the world about the GCU. Half the audience was female students. What will they have learnt from Deedar’s dance?” asked one faculty member.

 

 

The economic managers are reported have painted a very gloomy picture of Pakistan’s economy. The common man does not need the wizards to tell them that Pakistan’s economy has entered the impasse. They taste the bitter medicine of all the declining indicators which grows bitterer by the hour. The government seems unable to do anything because of so many political weaknesses, the coalition system being one of them. All other parties, except the majority ruling party, have the luxury of criticizing government decisions and blackmailing the government through playing towards the galleries. Everyone is ever-ready to enjoy the fruits of power but no one seems to be ready to take the responsibility for difficult decisions. The people are suffering on both the counts. If the government takes a difficult decision, they will suffer but if it finds it politically expedient to defer such difficult decisions, the people suffer even more because of deficit financing.

And the sufferings on account of militancy are numerous which include loss of life, property, livelihood and for some the loss of relative prosperity. The state has also suffered by losing its sovereignty to the militants. A known proponent of institutional economics, Dr Akmal Hussain, has tried to analyze the economic situation and has identified the way the culture of violence is impacting the economy. In his latest article, the political economy of violence, he has listed three important features of Pakistan’s violence problem: (1) Armed militant groups have emerged as centers of power rivaling the state within its geographic domain. As Max Weber has argued, the defining feature of a sovereign state is that it has a monopoly over violence. So, unless Pakistan takes swift and effective action against these rival centers of power, the state can lose its sovereignty. (2) The timing of state action to counter violence is strategically important. This is because the operations of the armed militant groups to establish power are spreading from the isolated valleys of Fata to large urban centers. Evidence of this fact is provided, in recent years, by the tragic assassination of Benazir Bhutto, the terrorist attacks mounted against the institutions which are symbols of state power. The demonstrated capacity of armed militant groups to operate in dense urban areas shows that they can disrupt the economy, paralyze public services and constrain counter-insurgency operations. (3) The aim of extremists is nothing less than the capture of state power. Therefore, essential to their enterprise are the following objectives: Undermining public morale; winning the ideological space to influence the decisions of government and politicians through fear; motivating individuals in society to undertake violence at their behest in order to achieve widespread breakdown of law and order; penetrating the state apparatus to weaken its internal command and control.

In the opinion of the author, each of these objectives is being systematically pursued which has been illustrated by the tragic assassination of Mr Salmaan Taseer, and its aftermath. First, assassinating Taseer served to undermine confidence in the ability of the state to defend its leaders, let alone ordinary citizens. Second, the objective of spreading fear was, to some extent, achieved as leaders in government failed to even make an outright condemnation of his assassination, much less enforce the law against those who continued to instigate violence against the critics of the blasphemy law. There was a similar failure to stand up against the ideological onslaught of the extremists by some of the icons of the lawyers’ movement and erstwhile flag bearers of the ‘rule of law’. Third, the Fatwas that preceded and followed Taseer’s assassination were an attempt to capture the ideological space and create an extra-legal authority to identify and kill individuals on ideological grounds. The current campaign to declare Sherry Rehman a ‘non-Muslim’ and instigate violence against her is further evidence of this tendency. Fourth, the fact that the assassin was a member of the Elite Force and that his colleagues in the unit assigned to protect Salmaan Taseer, did nothing to stop him, shows that the state apparatus has been penetrated by extremists.

The deafening silence following the assassination was broken however, by small groups of intrepid citizens who held vigils and demonstrations in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad to protest against Taseer’s assassination and the underlying wave of intolerance, bigotry and violence.

At this historic turning point, can the state, political parties and civil society wrest the initiative from the extremists and begin building a democratic polity based on the values of love, enlightenment and justice?

Please also read:  Politics overriding economics.

Who gave them license to kill?

Historical evidence suggests that the societies which lag behind in development, due mainly to wide-spread ignorance, are more susceptible to be attracted to self-appointed agents of God. These agents dictate illiterate minds and create an atmosphere of cheap passions in order to thrive on it. The same thing is happening these days on the issue of blasphemy. The offense of blasphemy is punishable under the law but the justice requires that before condemning anybody to the sentence of death, the requirement of due process of law should be fulfilled. However, those who have their own axe to grind do not let the law take its course. and announce the conviction and the punishment making it impossible for the courts to discharge their function. They glorify the criminal acts in the name of the faith in the same way the extremists try to justify their acts of mass murder of the hapless civilians.

Moreover, no one other than a certified and qualified mufti can interpret religion under the teachings of Islam and issue religious decree but it seems that in the highly polarized society of Pakistan, every Tom, Dick and Harry has assumed the role of a mufti and has started inciting murder.  It sounds as if these self-appointed muftis have acquired the license to kill anyone by declaring people infidel. According to news outlets, several clerics in Pakistan have issued fatwas against former Pakistani minister Sherry Rehman and declared her an infidel for calling for changes in the blasphemy law, prompting civil society activists to register a complaint with police.

Media reports said the imam of Sultan Masjid, one of Karachi’s biggest mosques, declared Rehman a ‘kaafir‘ [infidel] and ‘wajib-ul-qatl‘ [must be killed] while delivering a sermon after the Friday prayers on January 7, 2011. The mosque has close ties to the Saudi Arabian government and Wahhabis. Islamic fanatics who organized a massive rally in Karachi on January 11 also issued a pamphlet that named Sherry Rehman as a person who “has invoked the religious honor of Pakistan’s Muslims” for calling for changes in the blasphemy law. The threats came days after a police guard gunned down Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer for criticising the blasphemy law.

Following this fatwa, civil society activists in Pakistan filed a complaint against the imam of Sultan Masjid at the Darakhsan police station in Karachi. The complaint was registered on behalf of Sherry Rehman, a senior leader of the Pakistan People’s Party, Salmaan Taseer’s son Shaan Taseer and journalist Ali Chishti. In the complaint, the civil society activists alleged that the imam of Sultan Masjid had also lauded Mumtaz Qadri, the policeman who assassinated Salmaan Taseer. Chishti told the media that civil society groups feared for Sherry’s life following the murder of the Punjab Governor. The civil society activists said they were proud to be Muslims but rejected murdering people in the name of Islam.

Some political analysts are comparing today’s Pakistan with Taliban ruled Afghanistan. As expected, the courageous Sherry Rehamn has told media that she wont leave the country following any such threat. She wants any rewritten version to shift the burden of proof from the accused, who she says frequently face prosecution witnesses who have “tailored their evidence on prejudice or malice.”nInstead, all blasphemy charges should automatically be tried by the high courts to prevent possible miscarriages of justice. The new law should include penalties for false accusations. The blasphemy law has become a political card radicals play to manipulate public opinion in a devout and “largely pacifist country.”

Please also read:

“Issuing fatwas is a mufti’s job and I am not one.”

In Realm of Religion, Women Lose Out

It was in 2006 that the most irresponsible act of blasphemy was committed by a religious person like Pope Benedict XVI when he made certain uncalled for and objectionable remarks against the person of the Prophet of Islam (PBUH). Although he had to cut a sorry figure after condemnation of his remarks, he has now again thrown caution to the wind and tried to provoke the sentiments of Muslims by demanding to scrap the law. According to media reports, Pope Benedict XVI on Monday called on Pakistan to scrap a blasphemy law after the murder of the governor of Punjab, saying the legislation was a pretext for “acts of injustice and violence”.

The Pope did not realize that all the rational people in Pakistan are mindful of the implications of the law but no one is demanding its outright repeal, all of them are peacefully struggling to improve the law and the procedure so that the extremists are deprived of the space to misuse it to target hapless minorities. In the present charged atmosphere, the demand of the Pope is like showing a red rag to the bull. It is also like adding fuel to fire and he has done disservice to the millions of Christians living in Pakistan’s society now sharply divided on religion.

The pope, who was speaking at a traditional New Year‘s meeting with foreign ambassadors to the Vatican, said the anti-blasphemy legislation was an example of “norms prejudicing the right to religious freedom.”

More than 50,000 people rallied in Pakistan’s southern city of Karachi on Sunday against the controversial reform of the blasphemy law that was behind the shooting of Punjab governor Salman Taseer last week.

Taseer had called for reform of the blasphemy law that was recently used to sentence a Christian woman to death. But his outspoken liberal stance offended the country’s increasingly powerful conservative religious base.

Controversy over the law flared when former information minister Sherry Rehman tabled a bill in November calling for an end the death penalty for blasphemy, after Christian mother-of-five Asia Bibi was sentenced to hang.

Pakistan is on the path of international economic isolation. The serious analysts are in a state of shock with their fingers crossed. They are not ready to believe what is now unfolding before their eyes. A decision taken today in national interest is reversed the next day under pressure, again in the national interest. The ruling party of Pakistan has finally decided to sacrifice economy and the well being of the common man along with it, at the altar of power. The price for staying in power was huge but who cares as long as someone else (read: common man) is paying the price.

The government was relying on imposition of RGST for sailing through the economic problems but all the mainstream political parties have opposed it tooth and nail, for their own reasons which include safeguarding the interests of the elite and putting the government in a difficult situation. Ironically those who opposed this new levy had no alternative strategy except the vague rhetoric of minimizing the institutional corruption in the tax machinery. It seems that the government will work overtime to print notes during the remaining two years. Incidentally, governor of the central bank has already warned against the devastating implications of deficit financing.

Has the government decided to abandon the economic reforms? The instant reaction of US and IMF to reversion of increase in the petroleum prices confirms it.  The government has embarked on the path of economic isolation internationally simply to remain in power. These are short-cut methods and will badly affect the life of common man.

According to Financial Times, Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Yusuf Raza Gilani, announced the deferral of an IMF-backed tax reform on Friday. The reformed general sales tax, which Pakistan has been discussing with the IMF for more than a year, was supposed to be introduced in July last year to boost tax revenues.

“We will not go forward [with the RGST] until consensus is evolved,” said Mr Gilani during a visit to the southern port city of Karachi, where he visited the headquarters of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement.

Mr Gilani reversed a plan to increase oil prices on Thursday to win back the support of MQM, after the party withdrew from the ruling coalition in a move that denied the government parliamentary majority. MQM confirmed on Friday that it would rejoin the coalition.

Analysts warned that the decision to delay the RGST would further intensify concerns over the government’s ability to reform Pakistan’s troubled economy.

“This is a near fatal blow to the reform process,” warned Sakib Sherani, a former adviser to the finance ministry. “The RGST was meant to finally begin documenting the vast informal economy in a country with an alarmingly low tax to GDP ratio.”

Mr Gilani’s decision will only cause more problems with the IMF. Pakistan does not have much to show in the form of successful reforms being undertaken currently. The RGST is a key part of Pakistan’s agreement with the IMF and its postponement could put the $11bn loan package in jeopardy. The IMF said that raising the ratio of government revenue to national income was essential to returning Pakistan’s public finances towards sustainability and the sales tax was an indispensable component in this effort.

It is widely believed that Salman Taseer was killed to punish him for raising voice against injustices meted out to members of hapless strata of the society, both Muslims and non-Muslims. Similar punishments were awarded previously to members of legal fraternity for representing blasphemy suspects. The problem with the offense of blasphemy in Pakistan is that the accused is convicted by the accuser and the society before the court passes any judgment. Then no judge can dare to acquit the accused.  With Taseer murder, Aasia Bibi, the Pakistani Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy has lost all the hopes of getting any justice from the courts or clemency from the President. According to media reports, she broke down in her prison cell and wept inconsolably when she learnt of the assassination of Salman Taseer, the liberal politician who had visited her in jail and demanded that she be pardoned.

“She kept crying throughout the day. She kept saying. ‘That man came here and he sacrificed his life for me’,” The Independent quoted a prison source, as saying.

“She said: ‘I know that everything that has happened is because of me. I know in my heart of hearts, that person came here for me and what I feel now, no one else can feel’,” the source added.

Aasia’s husband, Ashiq Masih, who is living in hiding, fearful for his life, echoed her grief, saying: “[When Salmaan Taseer visited], both of us felt very happy after the meeting and we were hopeful that she was going to be set free.”

“Now, the [Punjab] Governor has given his life. It’s a huge sacrifice,” he added.

Since she was first accused of blasphemy in 2009, Aasia has been held in an isolation unit within Sheikhpura prison. But after Taseer’s own bodyguard killed him on Tuesday, and Aasia’s case was subsequently thrust ever deeper into the public consciousness, a guard has been placed directly outside her 8ft by 10ft cell to provide additional, round-the-clock protection, the report said.
She is allowed out of cell No 2 for two hours a day to exercise, but is prevented from meeting or speaking with other prisoners, purportedly for her own well-being, it added.

“We just try and treat her like any other prisoner,” said prison superintendent, Khalid Sheikh.

Aasia’s husband, who has three other children from an earlier marriage, has supported his wife since her incarceration, moving his family to a single-room house located at little more than a mile from the jail. But within hours of Taseer’s assassination, and amid mounting concerns from other Christians about their own safety, Masih was forced to flee and go into hiding and use an assumed identity.

Speaking on mobile phone, he said that even if Aasia were cleared by the appeal process, they would no longer feel safe living in Pakistan.

“We are feeling very scared and we feel it will never be safe for us in Pakistan,” said Masih.

“I get my strength from Jesus Christ and I am hopeful that he is going to save my wife. But now the circumstances have changed. We will have to wait and see what happens,” he added. (ANI)

Now things are becoming clearer and more understandable. We should forgive those journalists, TV anchors and political leaders who support or avoid opposing and condemning extremists. They have a very genuine reason to live in hypocrisy. Someone who dared to oppose extremism, had to pay the price with his own life; a price for being forthright, honest, bold and outspoken. In spite of his failings and weaknesses as a human, he went down fighting a menace Pakistan has created itself. Punjab’s slain governor Salman Taseer had refused to accept that Pakistani society is no more a society of rational people; it is a jungle where you have to accept the command of those capable of killing. You must bow down to them or get perished. Period. The world is in shock at the gory incident but it fails to understand the fact that the act is being glorified by those elements who claim to profess a religion of peace. This is the most disgusting thing, more than the murder itself. And look at the attitude of the lawyers, the so-called custodians of “rule of law” who kissed and garlanded the accused when he was brought to the court. These are all very disturbing signs. Even Islam would not condone this attitude of showing disrespect to the due process of law.

It is not important that Governor Taseer was a politician and that he was killed at a point in time when his party’s government at the Center was facing worst ever crisis of its survival. The most important thing is that we have come to a pass where you cannot question a menace, particularly the one which was created to please a more dangerous menace, the clergy. The world which was worried about Pakistan’s political crisis is now in shock and unable to think what will happen next. The New York Times says that the assassination of an outspoken secular politician by one of his elite police guards on Tuesday plunged the government deeper into political crisis and highlighted the threat of militant infiltration even within the nation’s security forces.

The killing of Salman Taseer, the prominent governor of Punjab Province, was another grim reminder of the risks that Pakistani leaders take to oppose religious extremists, at a time when the United States is pushing Pakistan for greater cooperation in the war in Afghanistan by cracking down on militant groups like the Taliban.

Mr. Taseer, recently took up a campaign to repeal Pakistan’s contentious blasphemy laws, which were passed under General Zia as a way to promote Islam and unite the country. The laws have been misused to convict minority Pakistanis as the Islamic forces unleashed by the general have gathered strength. The laws prescribe a mandatory death sentence for anyone convicted of insulting Islam.

Religious parties staged vigorous demonstrations of thousands of people across the country last weekend to protest the campaign by Mr. Taseer, even burning him in effigy. Mr. Taseer countered in comments on his Twitter account and elsewhere.

“Religious right trying to pressurize from the street their support of blasphemy laws. Point is it must be decided in Parliament not on the road,” he wrote on Dec. 26 in the imperfect shorthand typical of such posts.

“I was under huge pressure to cow down before rightist’s pressure on blasphemy. Refused. Even if I’m the last man standing,” he posted on Dec. 31.

Mr. Taseer’s death will serve as a chilling warning to any politician who speaks out against the religious parties and their agenda and will certainly end immediate attempts to amend the blasphemy laws.

The paper also reports that Obama administration officials worry that even if Pakistan’s government survives the upheaval — which they believe it might, for a while — the turmoil could kill any chance for political and economic reforms. The assassination, one official said, leaves not only the repeal of the blasphemy laws in doubt, but also possible reforms to increase tax collection. Under pressure from Secretary of State and other American officials, the Pakistani government submitted a new tax law in Parliament. But it may abandon the push as a way to lure back coalition partners.

Nobody is sure if Prime Minister Gillani’s government will survive the current political crisis but everyone wishes him well because no one, particularly those sitting in the Parliament can afford an early election. At this critical juncture, the largest opposition party does not want any political instability because for them PPP’s government means “system” and “democracy” and they say they would not derail either the system or the democracy. But there is one gentleman who sees his chance in Gilani’s looming dismissal. He is accused of many crimes including dismissing the heavy mandate and bringing Pakistan’s economy back to stability. According to media reports, former President Pervez Musharraf on Monday said his newly formed party was prepared for possible early elections as the government in Islamabad scrambles to save its ruling coalition. Musharraf, who launched the All Pakistan Muslim League APML in October, said he will return to Pakistan “before the next election”.

“We are ready to contest elections,” Musharraf told reporters at his apartment in Dubai.

“A little more time would be useful, as we are a new party. However, we will definitely try if the elections come early.”

Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s government lost its parliamentary majority on Sunday when the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) announced it would sit on opposition benches over fuel price policies. The opposition has not yet sought a no-confidence vote against Gilani in parliament but analysts say that is the biggest worry for the government.  The next election is not due until 2013.

“For the government to survive, the PML-N or the PML-Q (parties outside the coalition) have to support them. Such support will have a lot of consequences,” Musharraf added.

Musharraf said: “I must return (to Pakistan) well before the next elections, whenever that may be. I strongly believe the real momentum for my party will start once I reach Pakistan. So we are trying to create an environment for me to reach there.”

Musharraf claimed he did not rule out alliances with other political parties in the future.

“Many parties want to be with us. But I want my party to get a simple majority in the next elections so that we do not have to rely on others.” He said he had made “mistakes”, including actions against The judiciary and imposing a state of emergency, but dismissed the possibility of another military takeover, saying he wanted to come to power with “the mandate of the public”.