By Saeed Qureshi
Throughout its existence since August 14, 1947; Pakistan has perennially remained in troubled waters. From the anarchy of the initial years to the interspersing of democratic stints, to military dictatorships, it has been overshadowed by a constant threat of disintegration as a state. This disintegration came off in 1971 when its eastern part then known as East Pakistan was truncated.
While East Pakistan changed her nomenclature to Bangladesh, the West wing came to be known as Pakistan. It was a cataclysmic event that happened in contemporary history when a state dismembered barely 24 years after its birth and independence from the colonial rule.
All these years, Pakistan earned strictures such as a failed state, a country not viable to stay on the world map and a nation moving towards eventual extinction or another disintegration a la East Pakistan. Pakistani society is infested with myriad chronic problems that range from poor social and utility services to unstable or dysfunctional institutions and sway of reactionary cutthroat religious militants. The competent, efficacious, egalitarian and public welfare oriented governance has ever remained elusive.
By Joel Brinkley
Distracted by the deadly violence in Mali and Algeria, no one seems to be paying adequate attention to the tragicomedy under way in Pakistan.
This matters because events of the last several weeks demonstrate without equivocation that Pakistan is an utterly failed state – but one that possesses nuclear weapons. The country is tumbling down the abyss. Where else could a fundamentalist Muslim cleric who lives in Canada draw tens of thousands of fans to a rally calling for dissolution of the government – speaking from inside a shipping container with a bulletproof window?
That’s just one in a litany of absurdities going on there.
At the same time comes the latest round of unresolvable acrimony between President Asif Ali Zardari and the country’s Supreme Court, which has been trying to bring him down for years.
Courtesy: San Francisco Chronicle
It’s been about a week since the Connecticut school massacre, and Americans are still grieving.
Yet we’re comforted by the thought that, with time, the bereaved community of Newtown will bounce back. Students will return to school, and victims’ families will somehow get on with their lives. This is because America, as politicians and the US media have intoned repeatedly in recent days, is a strong and resilient society.
For me, such words bring to mind another strong and resilient society — one that endures constant afflictions, tragedies, and privation. I can think of few nations that suffer more misery than Pakistan.
Why geography — unfortunately — is destiny for South Asia’s troubled heartland.
BY ROBERT D. KAPLAN
By: Manoj Joshi
On Tuesday, Foreign Policy and Fund for Peace published their fourth annual failed states index. The good news was that Pakistan had moved from the 12th position to the 13th in the rankings.
The bad was that on the same day, the Supreme Court of Pakistan had conducted a judicial coup and declared that Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani stood dismissed from his office. ….
Read more » Wichaar.com
Read more » DAWN.COM
Pakistan’s Kangaroo Court calls itself “Supreme Court,” but in fact is another front for the Mullah-Military complex
Pakistan’s puppet Court – By Shiraz Paracha
The Supreme Court’s controversial detailed verdict against the elected Prime Minister of Pakistan is one more bad decision by a Court that has a dark history of collaboration with the military in depriving the people of Pakistan of their fundamental rights.
The Supreme Court has been transcending its legal boundaries and constitutional role. Its decisions are biased, unfair and politicized. The Court is not a neutral and objective defender of law and judges have been acting as puppets.
The Judiciary is not independent and appears to be playing someone’s game. Indeed the Supreme Court is acting as a proxy for imposing a controlled democracy in Pakistan. It seems that characters such as Imran Khan and Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan are part of this game. The former ISI chief Lt. General Shuja Pasha was an architect of the latest effort to introduce ‘clean democracy’ in Pakistan. General Pasha was not alone in military’s one more political adventure.
Actually, the military considers itself the sole defender of Pakistan and generals have been trying to shape and control the Pakistani politics. In fact, the military never felt comfortable with parliamentary form of democracy. For this reason every few years new campaigns are launched to ‘clean’ the system.
Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan’s recent calls for the establishment of a technocrat government and Imran Khan’s Tsunami are reflections of military’s new efforts to bring a setup that ‘suits’ Pakistan. The Judiciary and media are means to complete that agenda. As the Parliament is about to complete its term, Imran Khan is threatening that he would not accept results of the new elections. Dr. Qadeer, dubbed by some as the future president, has joined hands with Imran Khan. The media and the Judiciary are taking cue from some in the military to pressurize the present government. All these actors want to maintain the status quo by imposing a controlled democracy.
U.S.-Pakistan Relationship Hits New Low
By: Walter Russell Mead’s Blog
The U.S.-Pakistan relationship is fraught in the best of times, but we may be approaching a new low. Pakistani politicians of all stripes have united in denouncing the $10 million dollar U.S. bounty on Hafiz Saeed, the man behind the 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai, who is currently living openly in Pakistan. Pakistan’s refusal to cooperate in turning over Saeed is the latest sign that the already chilly U.S.-Pakistan relationship is beginning to freeze over.
* Demonstrators denounce Pakistan Resolution of 1940 and chant slogans in favour of ‘Sindhu Desh’
By Asghar Azad
…. JSQM Calls For Independent Sindh: “We Sindhis now disown the Pakistan Resolution, say it good bye and demand independence of Sindh according to historical status”.
Hundreds of thousands attend JSQM ‘Freedom March’ in Karachi, Sindh.
Demonstrators denounce Pakistan Resolution of 1940 and chant slogans in favour of ‘Sindhu Desh’
Addressing the participants, Jeay Sindh Qaumi Muhaz Chairman, Bashir Qureshi said that Sindh had voluntarily merged itself into the country under 1940’s Pakistan Resolution but now its people were disowning it as the resolution had failed to protect rights and autonomy of the province during last 65 years.
The Sindhi nationalist leader announced that his party accepted Urdu speaking population in Sindh during the partition and considered them part of Sindh, adding, the Urdu speaking population would have to take steps for Sindh and its people sincerely and would prove their attachment with Sindh. …..
To read complete report » Daily Times
By Praveen Swami
Pakistan’s civilian rulers seem to have averted a possible coup with a little help from inside the army itself.
Eight weeks ago, as rumours of an imminent coup swirled around Islamabad, few seemed to doubt democratic rule in Pakistan would soon be marched before a firing squad.
Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s former Ambassador to the United States, had been recalled to face charges of conspiring to sack top military officials. There was even talk of a treason trial targeting President Asif Ali Zardari himself — with Mr. Haqqani as the Army’s star witness.
Events since, however, haven’t quite panned out as hardline Pakistani generals might have anticipated: instead of capturing power, the army has found itself in retreat.
Mr. Zardari, Pakistani media have reported, is almost certain to deny the Director-General of the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, Lieutenant-General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, an extension to serve until 2013 — a blow directed at Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, and a sign of civilian confidence.
In November, Pakistan’s military had shut down the Shamsi airbase, used to stage United States drone attacks against Islamist insurgents: actions intended to distinguish them from political rulers too-willing to please the United States. Last month, though, drone strikes resumed — directed by United States intelligence officers located at the Shahbaz airbase near Abbottabad.
Politicians have become increasingly defiant of ISI authority: even Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, who has long shied away from controversy, warned against efforts to run “a state within a state”.
The Generals’ consensus
LONG held together by a Generals’ consensus on the direction Pakistan ought to head in, the army now seems divided as never before. Last month, at a January 13 meeting of the corps commanders conference, where Gen. Kayani briefed generals on the evolving political crisis , he ran into unexpected in-house resistance, leading to a 10-hour debate.
The toughest questioning, a Pakistani government source privy to the discussions told The Hindu, came from Lieutenant-General Tariq Khan — the commander of the Mangla-based 1 corps, and a veteran of counter-insurgency operations who is considered among the most competent of the army’s commanders
Gen. Khan, the source said, made clear the army was unprepared to take power, and demanded to know how the army chief intended to resolve the still-unfolding showdown with the civilian governments. He noted that the army had no coherent plan to address its increasingly-fragile relationship with the United States, too. Backed by other key officers, like Gujaranwala-based XXX corps commander Raheel Sharif, Gen. Khan pushed for the army to pull back from the brink.
Ever since the killing of military ruler Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq in 1998, the corps commanders conference has been a key instrument of what Mr. Haqqani once described as “military rule by other means”. The resistance faced by Gen. Kayani within the institution is, therefore, of great significance.
Ever since he took office, Pakistan’s army chief had worked to rebuild the army’s relationship with the jihadist groups it had patronised for decades. Terrorism in Pakistan, he argued, had come about because the country had become enmeshed in the United States’ war against jihadists in Afghanistan. Building peace, he argued, necessitated reviving this relationship — even at the cost of ties with the United States.
In 2008, Gen. Pasha delivered an off-the-record briefing to journalists, where he described Tehreek-e-Taliban commanders Baitullah Mehsud and Maulana Muhammad Fazlullah — responsible for hundreds of killings in Pakistan — as “patriots”.
Following the raid that claimed Osama bin Laden last year, Mr. Pasha put the case for an aggressive anti-United States line to Pakistani legislators: “At every difficult moment in our history”, he said “the United States has let us down. This fear that we can’t live without the United States is wrong.”
Gen. Kayani’s line, the government’s decision not to allow his spymaster to serve on suggests, no longer represents the army’s institutional consensus.
The path to peace he envisaged involved costs the army isn’t willing to pay.
The ignored Baloch
By: Aziz-ud-Din Ahmad
As always, too little too late
Rehman Malik has announced the withdrawal of cases against the Baloch militant leaders driven to the mountains or forced into exile by what they call the brutality of the security forces. Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani wants to convene an All Parties Conference on Balochistan.
Had these cases been withdrawn four years back and a genuine reconciliation process initiated, this could have led to talks and arrested the situation from reaching a point of no return.
There was enough goodwill in Balochistan for the PPP-led government when it took over in 2008. There were also hopes that parliament would act forcefully and the courts would exert their authority to end the atrocities initiated by the Musharraf regime.
The PPP government simply failed to pursue the peace process meaningfully. Instead, it willingly agreed to follow the policy being pursued under Musharraf. This meant continuing the military-cum-FC operations in Balochistan that displaced thousands of people, allowing forced disappearances and the torture, killing and dumping of the disfigured corpses on roadside.
In June 2008, Senator Sanauallah Baloch who had returned from exile after the restoration of democracy resigned from the House after a speech that moved the entire Senate. Soon after Baloch leaders rejected the move by the government for an All Parties Conference. They instead demanded direct talks on issues highlighted by leaders like Akhtar Mengal that included end to operations in the province, tracing persons forcibly taken away and the ownership of Balochistabn’s resources by the Balochis.
Month after month, there were peaceful protests all over Balochistan to press for their demands. There were calls by nationalist parties for shutter down closures, hunger strikes, and hoisting of black flags. Baloch representatives in parliament underlined the dangers if no measures were taken to improve the situation. Year after year, the government continued to look the other way.
Raisani complained of being powerless and accused FC of running a parallel government that was harming the process of reconciliation. Gilani, however, failed to take any notice as the federal government had decided to follow the policy formulated under Musharraf. It was willing, as before, to bribe the tribal leaders in the provincial assembly and offer crumbs to the population. It was not willing to concede what Baloch considered their rights.
KARACHI: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry has said that the judiciary is working within the ambit of the constitution.
He said this while addressing the oath taking ceremony of newly elected representatives of the Karachi Bar Association (KBA) here on Saturday. ….
Read more » DAWN.COM
- Who killed Saleem Shahzad?
The purpose of government commissions, it seems, is to obfuscate rather than illuminate. They exist not to investigate but to give the impression of hard work. So, it was in the case of the judicial commission investigating the murder of journalist Saleem Shahzad. The commission was supposed to find out who was responsible for the killing but in its final report has declined to do so. It was meant to wrap up in six weeks but has ended up taking six months. In the end, all the suspicions everyone had after Mr Shahzad was murdered remain but we are no closer to the truth. The commission has recommended giving Rs3 million in compensation to the dead journalist’s family but it has denied them the opportunity of getting justice.
The investigative process of the commission was flawed from the start. It faced inordinate and unexplainable delays in getting Mr Shahzad’s email and cell phone data, information that may have been crucial in solving his case but which could well have been scrubbed of anything incriminating by the intelligence agencies. When he was murdered, the initial reaction among journalists and human rights groups was to blame the military, since Mr Shahzad’s reporting focused on its alleged ties to militants. Indeed, just two days before he was killed, he had written a story on the infiltration of al Qaeda in the Pakistan Navy. The commission’s inconclusive report will do little to allay those suspicions.
By failing its mandate, the judicial commission has also failed in its task to help out vulnerable journalists. Having seen that a prominent reporter can be killed with no consequences for those involved is sure to have a chilling effect on the profession. Will those who report critically on the military refrain from doing so in the future for fear that they may end up in a ditch somewhere? The commission has also shown Mr Shahzad’s killers, whoever they may be, that they can operate with impunity. Already, Pakistan has been described as the most dangerous place in the world for journalists by Reporters without Frontiers, with 10 journalists having been killed here in the last decade. The failure of the commission may have ended up making it just a little more dangerous.
Courtesy: The Express Tribune, January 12th, 2012.
Get out, leave Af to Pak
By Shekhar Gupta
The sharply polarised political debate on the nuclear deal was the most significant instance of the so-called holy national consensus on foreign policy breaking in India. Some of this spirit keeps returning vis-a-vis Pakistan any time the government reaches out to Pakistan, or when there is another terror attack. But beyond that, the larger consensus remains intact. It is not healthy for a democracy, and particularly not when it has a strategic community that has had even greater continuity than its establishment economists, defying all changes of government, leaders, ideology. That is why the time has come to question, or at least intellectually challenge, some other aspects of this lazy “consensus”. Even at the risk of inviting the charge of apostasy, therefore, the time might have come to question the wisdom and prudence of our totally unquestioned, un-debated idea of engaging in a dirty little cold war with Pakistan in Afghanistan once the Americans withdraw from there.
Today, everybody seems to be accepting the idea that Afghanistan is of great strategic significance to India, and we can neither cede it to Pakistan, nor leave them to fill the power vacuum that the Americans will leave behind. Similarly, that this is the Great Game country, and we are back to the Great Game, somehow inheriting the mantle of the British power in the 19th century, except that we might have to deal with an additional distraction called Pakistan. Further, that Afghanistan is a resource (mineral)-rich land where we have future commercial stakes, and is a gateway to Central Asia, making transit rights of such paramount importance for us.
There is some truth to some, but not all, of these. But the larger picture may look very different on closer examination. Also, engaging in a policy that puts us permanently and, inevitably, violently at odds with the Pakistanis is an idea that is being accepted much too readily. As if this is our destiny, part of an ongoing blood feud. As if we have no choice.
All of this, frankly, is lazy, self-serving rubbish, dished out by a strategic establishment that suffers terminally from a cold war mindset, and does not quite know, like all bigger powers (the US included), when to declare victory, and when to cut its losses.
The more curious thing is, some of this is happening under a prime minister who never tires of exhorting his policy-makers to “think out of the box” and a national security advisor who has built a formidable reputation for doing exactly this, not just now but over many decades of diplomatic service.
What kind of strategic importance does Afghanistan have for us now? Yes, we need transit to Central Asia. But to reach Afghanistan, we have to first persuade the Pakistanis to grant us transit. The more we jostle with them for influence in Afghanistan, the lesser the chances of their being so nice to us. Yes, Afghanistan is resource-rich and the Chinese may get there if we are not there. But what are we, meanwhile, doing with our own mineral resources? So many of our mines are shut, or not accessible. We might get a hundred times more value by either fighting, or bribing (as everybody eventually does with insurgents in Afghanistan), our own Maoists to be able to exploit our own mines. And the Chinese will get there before us anyway. And yes, there will be a power vacuum in Afghanistan. It will still be a country of great strategic importance. But for whom, is the question. It will be of no strategic importance to us. None of our supplies or trade come to Afghanistan. None of our bad guys hide there. No Afghan has ever been involved in a terror attack on India. In fact, almost never has a terror attack on us been even planned in the more precise Af-Pak region. They have all been planned and executed between Muzaffarabad, Muridke, Karachi and Multan. Almost never has an Afghan, Pakhtun, Baluch, Tajik, any ethnicity, been involved in a terror attack in India. It’s always been the Punjabis. Ask anybody in the Indian army who has served in Kashmir and he will tell you that the intruders he fought were exactly of the same ethnic stock as the bulk of the Pakistani army he may have to fight in a real war: the Punjabi Muslims.
Yes, as we said earlier, Afghanistan is still a country of great strategic importance. But for Pakistan, and certainly not for us. Pakistan has a long, unsettled border with it and a more-than-latent irredentist Pathan sentiment on both sides of the Durand Line that it dreads spinning out of control as (and if) Afghanistan breaks up along north-south-west ethnic lines. From tribal ties, to funny trade-links, like gun and drug-running, an unsettled Afghanistan will be a permanent thorn in Pakistan’s side when six divisions of its army are already not able to get the measure of the armed anarchy in FATA. Why should India then get into this unwinnable mess? More importantly, why should India give the Pakistani army and the ISI just what they need, a great, holy, moral justification to pour into Afghanistan to “fight the Indian challenge”?
Leave Afghanistan to the Pakistanis. If the Pakistani army thinks it can fix, subdue and control Afghanistan, after the British, Soviets and Americans have failed to do precisely this at the peak of each one’s superpower-dom, why not let the Pakistanis try their hand at it? If they pour another ten divisions and half of the ISI into that hapless country now, isn’t it that much of a relief for us on our western borders? What could serve our strategic interests better than having the Pakistanis discover a permanent strategic threat/ challenge/ opportunity along their western borders? Won’t that be some relief?
And if the Pakistani army thinks it can succeed in a mission in which their mightier predecessors, the British and the Soviet empires and the Americans, failed, good luck to them. Because it will fulfil a fantasy of “strategic depth” they have nursed since they were rocked by totally fictional visions of massive Indian tank assaults through the desert cutting their mainland into two during General Sundarji’s Operation Brasstacks in 1987. It is since then that the Pakistani strategic establishment has been seeking “strategic depth” in Afghanistan. Now, if any army wants to seek the “depth” of Afghanistan for its armour, vital air force assets, or even nukes, good luck to them. In fact, it would be interesting to see how the rest of the world, particularly the Americans, would react if such a thing was even contemplated. Far from being a security asset ever, Afghanistan, for the Pakistani army, will be exactly what it has been for any other invading army in its history: a permanent Waterloo in slow motion.
So shall we leave the Pakistani army and ISI to their own devices in Afghanistan? Whether they fail or succeed, it will confirm only one widely held view in the global strategic community: that howsoever dashing it may be tactically, the Pakistani military-intelligence establishment’s strategic thinking emerges not from its brains but that some place lower down in human anatomy. Maybe then, the best way we can serve our own strategic interests in Afghanistan is to stay out of their way.
Courtesy » Indian Express
By Khaled Ahmed
States released from colonial rule in the 20th century have by and large not done well. Today, most of them are either failing or failed states. Only a few have reached the finishing line of liberal democracy with a survivable economic model beyond the 21st century. Most of the Muslim states are included in the failing postcolonial model. Dictators with mental bipolar disorder — historically mistaken for charisma — who aimed to achieve romantic goals have crumbled, leaving in their wake equally romantic mobs of youths demanding what they presume is liberal democracy.
After Saddam Hussein, Iraq is in disarray; after Hosni Mubarak, Egypt is teetering; Libya promises nothing better. And after Musharraf, Pakistan’s democracy is dysfunctional. Among Muslims, only the market state in the Gulf may survive. In the Far East, too, it is the market state that looks like marching on. Muslim Indonesia and Malaysia may survive if they don’t exterminate their entrepreneur Chinese minorities under the spur of Islam. In Europe, when the dictator quits, civilisation takes over and the state survives. No such thing happens in the Muslim world. The premodern seduction of the Muslim mind prevents return to democracy. The blasphemy law is more powerful than any democratic constitution. …
Read more » The Express Tribune
- Saggaan ra kushaada-and, ‘o’ sing ra basta – by Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur
Half-hearted denials and condemnations are not going to appease the tormented and agonised families who lose their dear ones nor hoodwink the people who struggle for their rights
Dissembling, deceiving and denying are the coveted tools of statecraft for those who essentially fear people and their rights. These tools have been the cornerstone of the state policy in Balochistan with which the state tries to convince the world that it is the Baloch people who are to blame.
Talking to the press recently, Lieutenant-General Javed Zia denied that the missing Baloch were kidnapped and killed by the army, the FC or the ISI. He said some people, who for monetary gains burnt the Pakistani flag or carried out subversive activities, were hit by ‘patriotic elements’. Well, well if the gentleman knows that these Baloch were hit by ‘patriotic elements’ then he surely must know who these ‘patriotic elements’ are. If they deny knowledge of these ‘patriotic elements’, how on earth do they know that these atrocities-committing elements are ‘patriotic’? Not a single soul among the obsequiously compliant media bothered to ask this touchy question.
One wonders how is it that those who consider “killings of missing persons as abhorrent acts” and rule the roost for all practical purposes in Balochistan fail to see the weapons and activities of these ‘patriotic elements’? Certainly these ‘patriotic elements’ are not characters from Harry Potter movies wearing invisibility cloaks; how come they always successfully carry out the abductions and killings in spite of numerous checkposts that dot Balochistan?
This indeed is an extraordinary situation because ordinary Baloch suffer ordeals of numerous restrictive checkposts but somehow the ‘patriotic elements’ evade detection. It so happens that the ‘flag burners’ and ‘subversives’ neither adorn fortified palaces and mansions nor ride the bulletproof Mercedes and BMWs like the ‘patriotic’ politicians and Generals. ….
Read more → Daily Times
Concerns about growing religious extremism in the neighbouring Islamic republic have been growing since 2001
By Aakar Patel
How is Pakistan seen by India’s Muslims? Since 2001, the view has turned increasingly negative. Let’s have a look at such views in three very different Indian publications. One is the conservative Urdu daily Inquilab, read almost exclusively by Muslims. The second, the liberal online paper New Age Islam, published in Urdu and English. Lastly, the Hindu extremist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s organ Panchjanya, published in Hindi and read almost exclusively by Hindus.
In India’s biggest Urdu newspaper Inquilab, Khalid Sheikh wrote under the headline ‘ Pakistan ka kya hoga?’ He felt Pakistan’s current problems were the result of its own doing (” jaisi karni waisi bharni“). The nation should have known the consequences of using terror to combat India, he said. The world was not unaware of its breeding of Al Qaeda and the Taliban (” sanpolon ko doodh pilaya“). Now the snakes were poised to swallow Pakistan (” nigalne ke dar pe hain“).
Pakistan’s leaders were unconcerned (” kaanon par joon tak nahin rengi“). But the world was watching it. The ease with which the Taliban had attacked and destroyed the P3C Orions in Karachi had worried America, Sheikh wrote. It was now concerned about how safe Pakistan’s atom bombs, which numbered between 70 and 120, were.
In 2001 Pakistan was viewed as a failed state (” nakaam riasat“). After Osama bin Laden’s killing, it won’t be long before it is seen as a rogue state (” badmaash riasat mein tabdeel hote dair nahin lagegi“).
At the time of Partition, it had been predicted by the wise (” sahib-e-baseerat“) that Pakistan would find it difficult to exist (” apna wajood rakhna dushwar hoga“). Sheikh quoted Maulana Azad as writing in ‘India Wins Freedom’ that Pakistan would be unable to find its bearings (” Pakistan kabhi paedar aur mustahkam na reh sakega“). Its foreign policy consisted of hating India (” Hindustan dushmani“) and pleasing America (” Amrika khushnudi“).
The writer thought Pakistan’s insistence that relations with India would improve if the Kashmir issue was settled was untrue (” dhakosla hai“). Pakistan was an unreliable neighbour (” ghair-mu’atbar padosi“) which was a master of creating tension. If Kashmir was resolved, something else would be conjured up.
Sheikh praised Nawaz Sharif’s statement that Pakistan had to stop hating India if it had to progress. US President Barack Obama had said the same thing and America ought to, as France had, terminate military assistance to Pakistan.
Answering the question he had first raised, Sheikh said it was difficult to say what would become of Pakistan because it seemed beyond redemption (” aise mulk ke bare mein kya kaha jaye jahan aawe ka aawa hi bigda hua hai“).
In New Age Islam, Dr Shabbir Ahmed wrote on the blasphemy law under the headline ‘ Pakistan mein tauhin-e-Rasul (PBUH) ka wahshiana qanoon‘. Ahmed said Pakistan was obsessed by this issue (“ hysteria mein jakda hua hai”). Narrow sectarianism had divided the nation, and every sect thought of others as faithless and hated them.
This frenzy was plunging Pakistan into a state of barbarism (” jahiliyat mein ghota zan hai“). Ahmed feared Pakistan might succumb to civil war (“ aisa na ho ke Pakistan khana jangi mein gharq ho jae“).
He said Pakistanis had divided Islam (” deen ko tukdon mein baant diya hai“), and quoted verses from the Holy Quran on the Romans (30:32) to support his argument. It was unfortunate that the majority of Pakistanis, including the educated, were in agreement with disagreeable mullahs. Even intellectuals and lawyers had signed on (” scholars aur wukla ne tauhin-e-Rasul (PBUH) qanoon ki puri himayat ki hai”).
People believed that punishing blasphemy with death was law in five out of 54 Islamic states, but when asked, only two could be named: Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. It was difficult to name other states with such harsh laws, though Afghanistan, Sudan and Iran came to mind.
Ahmed wrote that the Holy Quran prescribed no punishment for blasphemy. No one could be ignorant of the clarity of the ayat ” la ikraha fi ad-deen” (there is no compulsion in religion) because Allah had sent this message to all humanity. This principle was independent and absolute (” is usool mein kisi tarah ki ki riayyat bhi nahin hai“). With many examples, Ahmed pointed to the pardoning and gentle nature of Islam and of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), which he felt was being distorted by Pakistan’s law.
In Panchjanya, the RSS Hindi weekly, Muzaffar Hussain wrote on May 22 under the headline ” Adhikansh Pakistani Islami khilafat ke paksh mein” (A majority of Pakistanis favours khilafat).
He reported the findings of an opinion poll. The market research company MEMRB had surveyed Pakistanis to ask them what sort of government they wanted. Did they want khilafat as prescribed by Islam? They were also offered the option of tyranny (” anya vikalpon mein janta se poocha hai ke kya woh tanashahi pasand karenge?”). Hussain wrote that by this was meant martial law, and it was related to something found commonly in Muslim nations. This was the presence of sheikhs and kings (” Islami deshon mein aaj bhi raja aur sheikh hain”) who ruled through lineage for generations. The last option offered was democracy “as the world knew it”.
The results were unsurprising to Hussain. The majority of Pakistanis picked khilafat, for which the Taliban were also agitating. How was it possible, then, that anybody could defy the Taliban?
Neutral Pakistanis (” Tattastha log”) were merely being realistic in staying silent against extremism. Why should anyone endanger their life by opposing khilafat? (” Islami khilafat ka virodh karne ki himmat kaun kar sakta hai?”)
The survey was conducted in 30 cities and 60 villages. Those in favour of khilafat were 56%. These people said that Pakistan’s creation was rooted in religion and the state should therefore be Islamic. Those favouring dictatorship were 22%. They felt Pakistan had progressed only under military strongmen (” jo pragati hui hai woh keval sainik tanashahon ke karan hui hai“). Only 11% of Pakistanis preferred secular democracy. These figures did not vary significantly between urban respondents and those in villages, those who conducted the survey said. There was some difference however with respect to the residents of Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi and Islamabad. In these cities, 40% preferred martial law and 39% preferred khilafat. In Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, those who wanted khilafat were 60%. In Balochistan and Sindh, about 35% preferred martial law.
The survey did not vary much by age. Those between 16 and 60 preferred khilafat by 66%. Surprisingly, both the illiterate and the very literate approved of khilafat.
Hussain felt that the collapse of the Turkish caliphate had left Muslim nations in disarray (” Islami jagat titar-bitar ho gaya hai”). Both Bhutto and Gen Zia had wanted Saudi Arabia’s king to be crowned caliph of all Muslims.
Aakar Patel is a director with Hill Road Media, Mumbai.
Courtesy: → The Friday Times
By DONNA CASSATA, Associated Press
…. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, acknowledged the frustration of his colleagues.
“But at the end of the day, if you want to create a failed state in Pakistan, one of the best things to do is sever relationships. It is not in our national security interest to let this one event destroy what is a difficult partnership but a partnership nonetheless,” Graham said. …
Read more : Yahoo News
Not much is going to change in Pakistan – same hopelessness, where only mighty will prevail and prosper
By Khalid Hashmani
It quite disappointing that the present Government surrendered to the pressure from vested interests and decided not to implement an important provisions of Pakistan’s constitution. As I explained in my last e-mail on this subject, the constitution does not allow the central government to have any role in education (Higher or lower) matters except to be involved in standards for higher education, research and technical institutions and foreign ministry related matters pertaining to foreign students in Pakistan and Pakistani students in foreign countries.
I had thought that there was a chance that return of democracy and parliamentary rule will lead to a negotiated end of denial of rights of Sindh, Balochistan and others. But, this is not to be and I am sure many of us who fought for the return of democracy are wondering what should be done next? The undue pressure from the un-elected and those who benefited from the current faulty Higher Education Commission (HEC) system joined hands to force the Pakistani government in making this terrible decision. I have no doubt in my mind that this short sighted step is going to have long term repercussions as many would conclude that the vested interests are too strong to defeat no matter what.
I find an element of truth in what a friend said few years ago when I argued that Sindhis could get a fair deal. He said “There is no use to expect much good from an arrangement that has failed Sindhis for so many times.
Incidentally, it was claimed that Higher Education Commission (HEC) only gives scholarships to those who secure admission to world’s top 50 institutions. I took the list of 61 candidates who were approved for scholarships around November 10, 2010 http://www.hec.gov.pk/InsideHEC/Divisions/HRD/Scholarships/ForeignScholarships/ISSIP/Pages/results_16_meeting.aspx) and compared it to top 100 schools listed on (http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/world-university-rankings/). I found that a substantial majority of those approved did not have admission in any of the top 100 universities/colleges. Only the intended universities of 17 out of 60 (the intended university of one student is not listed) were on the top 100 list.
I feel that this setback on the HEC devolution is a sign that not much is going to change in Pakistan – same hopelessness, where only mighty will prevail and prosper and the weaker will continue to come on loosing end.
By Rasul Bakhsh Rais
The passage of the 18th Amendment has set into motion, a remarkable, though slow, political revolution in restructuring Pakistan’s polity. This is far more momentous than restoring the parliamentary character of the constitution, or even granting provincial autonomy. The word autonomy cannot capture the true letter and spirit of the new federalism that is unfolding before us. Rather, it is about remodelling Pakistan’s political system according to a new principle of distribution of power, with the provinces as new centres of authority, power and resources.
Thinking of provinces as new centres of power and laying something down into the constitution to make them powerful, runs counter to both, the colonial tradition of supervising political evolution, and the centralised state and nation-building strategy followed for the past six decades. It goes to the credit of political parties and their leadership that they have realised that the old ways of governing Pakistan have failed and they needed to give a greater part of the power and resources of the centre, which had grown arrogant, paternalistic and insensitive to the provinces.
This structural change in the political order has created new conditions in which some groups and sections are bound to lose, while others will make gains. Who loses and who gains is an issue that will greatly impact the ongoing process of shifting power to the provinces, as the old, deeply entrenched political and bureaucratic groups fight to the last to save their little turfs and fiefdoms. In our case, the federal bureaucracy is the loser, as it cannot hope to rule the provinces under the guise of national integration, solidarity and security anymore. It will take a great deal of internal reflection on the part of the federal bureaucracy, as well as time, to adjust to the power shift. …
Read more : The Express Tribune
By Raza Rumi
April 21, 2011 will be remembered as a black day in Pakistan’s history. Not because this was the day when the Supreme Court acquitted the alleged rapists of a poor, marginalised woman. It will be marked as the day when, once again, Pakistan’s colonial criminal justice system failed to protect the vulnerable, thereby rendering a heinous crime such as gang rape almost unpunishable.
Nine years ago, a misogynistic panchayat of south Punjab ordered the gang rape of a woman for no sin of hers. It was her (then 12-year-old) brother who was sodomised and then accused of illicit relations with the sister of the powerful rapists. This low-caste family had to be ‘fixed’. Thanks to the media frenzy, the state had to act when what happens in subaltern Pakistan was exposed. Suo motu notices by the courts, police investigation and faulty prosecution ultimately led to no justice. At every step of the legal process, powerful men obstructed the cause of justice. …
Read more : The Express Tribune
Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff (FAPUASA) held its two day annual meeting on April 9-10, 2011 and discussed the devolution of HEC. According to Dawn, “.. the federation had failed to take a firm stand so far because its Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan chapters were in favour of HEC`s devolution, while Punjab, AJK and Islamabad had opposed the move. Therefore, its office-bearers had decided to wait for the Supreme Court`s ruling” (http://www.dawn.com/2011/04/11/prime-minister-has-shelved-hec-devolution-for-now.html).
Though I am not aware of the bylaws of FAPUASA but it seems an open breach of the democratic rights of its three constituent units (Sindh, KP, Balochistan) whose voices are subdued by its single chapter and its territories (Islamabad and Kashmir). Instead of supporting the voice of three federating units, the FAPUASA has given weightage and honor to an appeal that is against the wishes of the three provinces! This act is by no means acceptable to us and we the faculty members of these three federating units/ states/ provinces demand an official apology from FAPUASA along with declaration of strong support for the devolution of HEC with immediate effect.
We are aware of the history of our country and we know it very well why Islamabad and Punjab academicians are against the devolution! Please stop glorifying and defending this discriminatory organization and don’t make hurdles in the implementation of the 18th constitutional amendment passed by federal assembly.
Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, April 11, 2011.
Written by Dr Beenish Shoro
…. In Pakistan the national question exists in its worst form because Pakistan itself is an example of a failed nation state. Pakistan was created as a result of the partition of the Indian subcontinent as the British imperialists and the local/national bourgeois leaders feared that a united national liberation would not stop there but would move towards a social transformation that would overthrow landlordism, capitalism and the imperialist strangle hold. To avoid a socialist revolution they conspired and split the movement along religious lines that led to the reactionary and traumatic partition of a land that had more than five thousand years of common history, cultural and socio economic existence.
Pakistan was founded not as a nation state, but as a state made up of nationalities. Even the abbreviations which form the word Pakistan are a testimony to this fact. This corresponds to its belated character. … National oppression has been brutal and rough ever since the country came into being. ….
….the separation of Bangladesh, the inability to resolve regional and sectarian disputes, the inability to sustain a clear concept and direction to Pakistan’s Nationalism and finally failure to create a modern cohesive nation state.
Pakistan’s political system is dominated by elite groups. In addition it faces the dilemma of chronic military rule. ….
….Sindh, the southern most province of the state possesses one of the most varied demographical set-ups in Pakistan. There is a very fragile ethnic balance between Sindhis and non-Sindhis. After partition many of the immigrants from Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh in India moved mainly to Karachi, but also to Hyderabad, Sukkur and other cities of Sindh.
This massive influx of Mohajirs from India and other nationalities resulted in a greater control of people from this transmigration over the economy, jobs and posts in the state apparatus. Although this phenomenon had a greater impact on urban Sindh, the deprivation was felt also in rural Sindh especially amongst the Sindhi middle classes. The acquisition of State and other lands by Punjab Generals and other settlers further aggravated this feeling of national deprivation amongst the Sindhi populace. There are several other factors which fuelled these sentiments. ….
….At the heart of nationalist sentiments in Pakistan is the perception by non-Punjabis that the Punjabi nationality dominates the economy, politics, society and the state. There is considerable evidence to support this perception. First, Punjabis constitute a majority of the population, approximately 60%; second, they dominate the civilian bureaucracy and the military; third, the Punjab is by far the wealthiest and most developed province in the state. And this perception is ironically fuelled by governmental policies designed to assuage such perceptions. ….
…. G. M. Syed can rightly be considered as the founder of Sindhi nationalism. He formed the Sindh Progressive Party in 1947 and demanded provincial autonomy within a socialist framework. In 1953 he formed the SindhAwami Mahaz. G. M. Syed himself a middle sized landlord represented the grievances of that class as well. …
… There have been several movements in Sindh over the last 60 years but there are three very significant mass upsurges that shook the echelons of power in Islamabad. These are the movements of 1968-69, 1983 and to some extent that of 1986. All these movements had different intensities, character, orientation and motivations. …
… Zia was the son of a Mullah who had migrated from Eastern (Indian) Punjab and was American-trained at Fort Bragg. His atrocities, his make up and his background were enough to provoke massive hatred from the masses in Sindh. Zia’s repression of the Sindh was no less than the brutalities of British colonialists inflicted upon the mass of the subcontinent and other colonies. All this unleashed a glorious movement of the Sindhi masses against the military dictatorship. Although this movement had significant nationalist overtones, fundamentally it was linked to the general class resentment against this regime.
The movement failed because the regime was able to foster ethnic and nationalist discord especially in urban Sindh and in other main cities and provinces of Pakistan. In Karachi the Pakistani state devised the instrument of the MQM, the Punjabi Pushtoon Ittehad, Islamic fundamentalists and other reactionary outfits to break the momentum of struggle that was developing along class lines.
Still the movement raged on. In such circumstances whenever national antagonisms coincided with class contradictions they became especially hot. According to the official figures 1263 innocent people were slaughtered by the army in rural Sindh while thousands more were injured. There are heroic episodes of resistance that have now become legends in Sindhi folklore. …
… In 1986 the movement in Sindh was actually the last nail in Zia’s coffin. …
… If we in Sindh should achieve “freedom” through the same phenomenon as in Bangladesh we may well get freedom from non-Sindhi capitalists, but we will be all the more cruelly exploited by Sindhi capitalists and landlords. These nationalists do not want freedom from poverty, misery, unemployment; they just want freedom to establish control over their own market where they could extract a huge surplus by squeezing the last drop of the workers’ blood.
The feudal landlords want freedom to exploit the peasants and working class …
… We will take revenge for the crime of partition of India through the formation of a Red Revolutionary Subcontinent. As Comrade Lal khan says, “The unification of the Indian subcontinent will be on a much higher plane than the 1947 Partition.” …
To read full article :→ Marxist.com
By S. Akbar Zaidi
THE country which was considered to be a basket case in 1971, is today offering a mirror to others on how developing countries can become a development state and is being referred to as the `development surprise` of the 21st century.
At the same time, it has also ensured that democracy is developing as a strong and permanent alternative to military rule, under which it has had many years of painful repression.
That this overwhelmingly Muslim country is also constitutionally and increasingly in practice politically secular is also a lesson for other Muslim majoritarian countries to emulate. The Supreme Court struck down a 31-year-old constitutional amendment and restored the country to its founding status as a secular republic, banning the writings of some radical Islamic ideologues.
The country which in the mid-1960s was heralded as a role model for other developing countries, where the international press had praised its military-led development model no end, stating that it might just reach the levels of development achieved only by the United States, has just appeared as the world`s 10th most failed, or failing, state. On the course towards reaching this rather ignominious distinction, this country has also been called “the most dangerous place in the world”, and a “rogue state with a nuclear arsenal”.
Read more : DAWN
Pakistan: A country created & being destroyed in the name of religion
by Aziz Narejo
It was not long ago when some Indian Muslim leaders had gathered in Lahore and had adopted a resolution at their meeting to demand a brand new country in the name of religion. They systematically created a mass frenzy in the support of their demand and finally achieved what they wanted – ‘a brand new country in the name of religion’. It was born in a pool of blood and was accompanied by the misery and the mass migration on a scale never seen before in the Sub-Continent.
But creating hysteria and dividing population in the name of religion was very easy compared to running and managing a new country. The leadership failed at all levels – and in all sections of the society. The rot started early. They couldn’t bring the country to the people. Couldn’t keep it together. Couldn’t agree on a Constitution or a form of government. First it was Mullahs, feudals and bureaucrats. They were soon joined by the military, which lost no time to enslave everybody else. It became the ‘praetorian masters’, the ‘powers that be’ and the ‘establishment’. The military became the ultimate master of the destiny of the country.
To stop the people from getting their due rights, the establishment created a fake ‘ideology of Pakistan’. When pressed to accept demands of the people, especially from the eastern wing and the smaller provinces, it first created One Unit and then encouraged the rightists to fight the progressive elements and the people of various nationalities demanding their rights. The religious right and the establishment would readily dub them unpatriotic, anti-state, anti-Islam and enemies of the country.
What was the result? They lost half of the country in just 24 years. They still didn’t learn. Created some more monsters in the name of religion and ethnicity. Today everything seems out of control. The rightist groups, which were supported in the name of religion to fight the nationalist and progressive elements in the country and to wage proxy wars on the borders and in India and Afghanistan, have started working on their own agenda. They now think they are in a position to claim the whole pie – ‘why settle for less’?
These groups hold the whole country hostage now. They have made the governance impossible and the country is fast moving to complete anarchy. The establishment still seems to be oblivious of where these groups may take the country and what havoc they may create. It still supports part of these groups considering them as its ‘strategic assets’.
Along with the establishment, some in media and other sections of the society have also developed soft corner for the rightist groups. They think that country could be brought together in the name of religion, which can actually never happen. Religion as it is today can only further divide an already divided country. It may create some more fissures and chaos. Most of the religious groups and parties are at loggerheads with each other and frequently issue edicts dubbing the followers of rival sects as infidels and liable to be eliminated.
Country is clearly on a path to self-destruction. Many of the people would still not realize the seriousness of the situation. They are in the constant state of denial and blame every misfortune either on America or India ….
Read more : Indus Herald
By George Fulton
For the past nine years, I have been in a dysfunctional relationship. My liaison started somewhat unexpectedly, quickly becoming an all-consuming passionate love affair. My partner reciprocated strongly, bestowing deep affection and adoration upon me. Blinded by love, I was naive to her failings. Yes, at times she was self-destructive, irrational and grossly irresponsible, but I hoped by appealing to her nature’s better angles she could change. Instead, as the years progressed, and, supported by her ‘friends’ in the media, she corroded, simultaneously displaying signs of megalomania and paranoia. Once the relationship turned abusive and I feared for my life, I decide to call it quits. Today, the divorce comes through. Her name is Pakistan. And today, I am leaving her for good.
This was not a difficult decision to make. In fact, I didn’t make the decision. It was made for me. You do not chart your own destiny in Pakistan; Pakistan charts it for you. …
Read more : The Express Tribune
by Muthamizh Vendhan for Salem-News.com
(NEW DEHLI) – People from across the globe are condemning the Human Rights violations of the Sri Lankan government, and civilized society is fighting hard to establish a level of justice for the Tamils.
At hand, the killing of too many innocents; war crimes, the ongoing slaughter of journalists, moderates, reformists, artists and others. Having the opposition leader behind bars makes Sri Lanka a criminal and a failed state.
An effort to raise awareness is underway, targeting the President of the United States, the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. It is important that this horrible treatment of people is brought to the world’s attention. ….
by Nizamuddin Nizamani
General Ziaul Haq organically changed the socio-political landscape of the state and turned the country’s mass into a ticking bomb by planting the seeds of religious fundamentalism. To counter the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy, he initiated a military operation in Sindh and created sectarian and ethnic militant groups in Karachi and other parts of the country
The world community celebrates Human Rights Day on December 10. The envisaged purpose seems to accept the truth that despite the claims of modern, scientific, human-friendly development and globalisation, still some heinous human rights violations are the order of the day in some regions, while realising the universal truth that all humans without discrimination have equal rights to live and develop.
It seems that the UN and related bodies have bitterly failed to guarantee access to basic amenities for common people globally in general and the global south specifically. Even the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) seems a distant dream. …
Read more : Daily Times