Tag Archives: political

Pakistan: A vanishing state

By Shabbir Ahmad Khan
Both empires and states fail or collapse. Examples include the Roman, Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, Mughal and British empires. From the recent past, the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and Sudan are the best examples. Professor Norman Davies, in his book Vanished Kingdoms: The Rise and Fall of States and Nations recounts the history of 15 European states which disappeared. Professor Robert Rotberg, in his book When States fail: Causes and Consequences provides empirical description on a state’s failure. Similarly, the Fund for Peace and Foreign Policy magazine publishes a list of failed states each year, on which Pakistan ranks 13. Pakistan’s score is just 13 points below that of the most failed state in the world, Somalia, and just five points below that of Afghanistan, which is at number seven on the list.Why do empires and states fail or fall? There are a number of factors for state decline, including social, economic and political. The most common factor is global; it includes intervention by external political agents or forces. In such situations, the empires or states first fail to cope with the new challenges and later collapse. There is a new challenge before Pakistan, which no state in history has ever faced. Today, the world community is unified against religious extremism of any kind and a nuclear Pakistan is heavily convulsed by internal violence linked to religious extremism. After World War II, colonial powers gave independence to many nations, including Pakistan, with a clear rationale or prime motive. At a very critical juncture in history, if states lose their rationale, they lose their right to survive. Pakistan is passing through a critical juncture of her history. If she loses her rationale, she loses her right to exist.Two questions are important to answer the above-mentioned query. Who creates states and what is their rationale — i.e., the cause of their birth? More than 140 states got independence after the two world wars. The winners of the wars designed the world map by decolonising nations. The process of giving self-rule to new states was intentional and purposeful. British rulers, in congruence with the US, wanted to split India for their long-term interests in the region. In my opinion, Pakistan — the same way as the state of Israel — was created as an independent state to guard Western interests in the region. In both times of war and peace in history, Pakistan proved herself as the guardian of vested interests of Western powers. In return, Pakistan also got the liberty to do a number of things, including attaining nuclear capability. Throughout history, Pakistan changed herself with the changing demands of the West to fulfill her utility and her indispensability.

Thus, a militant, extremist, rigid and nuclear Pakistan was in the larger interests of Western powers, particularly to contain the Soviets and its allies, i.e., India. Now, the Western world has changed its policy towards the region where Pakistan is located and has demonetised its political currency by putting immense pressure on the country to change her course accordingly. But Pakistan seems reluctant.

Continue reading →

A political economy of communalism in south Asia

Hyderbad: “You Strike & We will Strike back”.

The message of ‘21/2 Hyderabad serial terror attack

By Feroze Mithiborwala

The strategic& political target of the terror attack, is the historic 2-day Strike of the Working classes, where more than 12 core or 120 million workers both from the organized & unorganized sectors participated & brought India to a halt.

This working class strike surmounted all calculations due to the scale at which the enraged working classes participated. This strike has shaken up the corporate-political elite & that is why they have struck back with a serial terror attack, where now more than 15 citizens have died & 50 grievously injured. The terror attack was orchestrated in Dilsukh Nagar, where there is a busy market & many cinema halls.

If the working class unrest takes the proportions which we witness in many nations across the world such as Greece & Spain, the ruling elite will witness a massive crisis, due to the growing burdens of price-rise, decreasing wages, increasing scams, spiraling inflation, the growing insecurity of the peasantry, workers& laboring classes, as well as the ever-widening rich-poor divide.

Continue reading →

Violence and strikes sending businesses in Karachi down the drain

By: Ismail Dilawar

KARACHI – Frequent incidents of violence and the consequent sense of paranoia in the country’s financial hub have seriously jeopardized businesses, and put a majority of the traders and businessmen under heavy debts during recent years.

The traders claim to have become insolvent due to violence, such as politically-motivated targeted killings, and frequent strikes that partially or completely cease the businesses activity in the port city. “Almost 80 percent of the traders in the city are breathing hard under heavy debts which they owe to the goods’ suppliers,” said Muhammad Atiq Mir, chairman of the All Karachi Tajir Ittehad (AKTI), a body representing around 400 city markets. This, he said, was because of the politically and religiously motivated violence, which is now the order of the day.

Mir said most of the traders’ shops were filled with suppliers’ goods. “Due to consistently increasing inflation and violence, the traders’ income has been going down,” he said. “Irrespective of the reasons, each day of suspended businesses activity costs the city traders at least Rs 2.5 to Rs 3 billion,” he said, adding that this amount reflected the revenues only. “Daily trading activity can roughly be estimated at over a trillion rupees,” said Mir, who also chairs the Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (FPCCI) standing committee on small traders and cottage industries.

Continue reading →

International Community Raises Grave Concerns Over the Forced Disappearance and Killings of Political Activists In Pakistan

LONDON, World Sindhi Congress delegation participated in 14th session of Universal Periodic Review working group at United Nations on 30th October. WSC delegation was represented by Dr. Hidayat Bhutto and Dr. Rubina Shaikh.

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a process which involves a review of the human rights records of all 192 UN Member States once every four years. This year Pakistan was under review on 30th October 2012.

World Sindhi Congress submitted two UPRs on Forced Disappearance and Extra Judicial Killings of Sindhi Political Activists and Violence Against Lesser Known Minorities in Sindh. Both UPRs were submitted on behalf of Liberation, an ECOSOC accredited NGOs. Information from both UPR was referred by a number of countries and became part of UN recommendations.

During UPR review a large number of countries expressed their grave concerns over Pakistan’s Human Rights situation in particularly forced disappearance of political activist, and human rights campaigners. Countries also shown their concerns over forced conversion of religions of young girls and bonded labor practices in Pakistan and called for abolition of death penalty and Blasphemy Law.

“Pakistan has ratified a several UN Human Rights Convents and Treaties, but continues to violate many of its fundamental clauses,” Said Rubina Shaikh, Secretary General of WSC. “International Community is greatly concerned over this lack of adherence during this review process,” she further said.

Continue reading →

The changing sociology of rural Sindh

By Arif Hasan

The media, print and electronic, are full of very important news and its analysis. Pakistan-US relations, the judiciary-executive conflict, the Karachi killings, sectarian strife, the Balochistan “insurgency”, and similar issues are regularly written about and/or discussed by well-informed experts. …….. …….

…….  From the early 70s to the late 90s, I have worked in rural Sindh and documented and published on the processes of change taking place in different areas of the province. After a lapse of 10 years, I visited a large number of rural areas with which I was previously acquainted. These visits were made between 2010 and 2012 and involved meetings with village communities, transporters, arhatis, real estate agents and local NGO staff and Community Based Organisation activists.

The change that I have observed and which has been articulated by the groups I interacted with, is enormous and that too in 10 years. The most visible and important change is the presence of women in development and political discourse. They are employed in NGO offices, they manage development programmes, they are social activists and the majority of them are from the rural areas. In some of the remote villages I visited, there were private schools and beauty parlours run by young village women. Blocking of roads to protest against the “high handedness” of the local landlords, bureaucratic inaction, and/or law and order situations, has become common. Women participate in these demonstrations and in some cases these blockages have been carried out exclusively by them.

Discussions with groups on the issue of free-will marriages were also held. The vast majority of individuals were in favour of such marriages even if they violated caste divisions. However, they felt that it is the parents that have to change so as to make such marriages conflict free. The non-availability of middle schools for girls was also discussed. Surprisingly, the village communities had no problem with the girls studying with the boys in the male middle schools. In addition, discussions with the Sindh Rural Support Organisation’s (SRSO) women groups, which consist of the poorest women in a village, revealed that about 20 per cent of them had mobile phones and almost all of them watched television although around 30 per cent households actually own a TV.

Continue reading →

Honorable Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney joins the Congressional Sindh Caucus

Previously two speeches one by Congresmen Brad Sherman and Adam Schif were circulated on You Tube. FW below is the speech by Honorable Congresswoman Carolyn Meloney during the SAPAC 3rd Annual Celebration, September 12, 2012. Congresswoman Melony has also joined the Congressional Sindh Caucus.Thanks to the efforts of Dr. A.W. Bhatti and Munawar Laghari. A many more news of SAPAC will be shared on You Tube. Congratulations to the SAPAC staff for their hard work and dedication.

Honorable Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney SAPAC 3rd Annual Celebration September 12, 2012

Continue reading →

Political and ethnic battles turn Karachi into Beirut of South Asia

By: Zulfiqar Shah

Pakistan is a federation of historical sovereign counties of pre-British occupation; therefore a necessary legislation should be made over the inter-provincial migrations, their right to vote in Sindh, contest elections, and holding of public offices. This is the time when indigenous populations’ right to rule in their historical homelands needs to be ensured in Pakistan.- Both MQM and Sindhi nationalists should accept and adopt the term of ‘Urdu speaking Sindhis’ rather than Muhajirs

In Pakistan, powerful ethnic minorities rule the under-developed majorities. In the context of Sindh, especially in Karachi, this ethnic contest of power has turned this historical land into Beirut of South Asia.

SINDH IS a volcano of ethnic frictions. The simmering violence in its capital Karachi during last ten years has taken 5549 lives, whereas 227 lost lives during first eight months of 2012. It can potentially explode into the higher scale conflicts, if authorities in the twin cities of Islamabad-Rawalpindi do not address it appropriately in time.

The conflict profile of Sindh and its capital Karachi is highly peculiar case study of South Asia. Like many other conflicts of the region, it contains partition legacy as well as ethnic contest for power and recourses, which are foundations of the antagonism. It has many peculiarities also. The important feature of the situation is the dominating recently migrated ethnic minority versus underdeveloped majority indigenous people.

Miniature of migrations

The migrations from divided India to Pakistan in 1947, and followed by the mass migrations from Bangladesh due to the partition of Pakistan in 1971 is a widely discussed background of the ethnic conflict in Sindh. The province is peopled by the human flows after 1947 from the Indian provinces which are today called Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Maharashtra; later on in 1971 and thereafter from Dhaka, Rajishri, Rangpur, Khulna and Chittagong divisions of Bangladesh; and finally after 1980s from Afghanistan, Burma and rest of the Pakistani provinces.

If analyzed, there are two indigenous ethno-linguistic groups in Sindh — Sindhis forming majority by being 65 percent of the province, Baloch of Makrani and Jadgali (Sindhi) origin mostly settled in Karachi-Sindh, and the third one is semi-indigenous Sindhi ethnic groups of Memons and Kutchis who migrated from Kutch and Bhoj – the Sindhi areas of Indian Gujarat.

The post-1947 mass migrations have three categories: Indian partition refugees, whose second and third generation is inhibiting Sindh; 1971 war refugees whose first and second generation is inhibiting the province, and finally post-1980 refugees, who either illegally migrated to Sindh or sought refuge due to Afghan war and Burmese crises.

Continue reading →

Be critical – By: Nadeem F. Paracha

In spite of the gradual infiltration of ubiquitous religious symbolism and mentality in the social spheres of everyday life, Pakistan has managed to remain afloat as a dynamically pluralistic society comprising various ethnicities, religions and Islamic sects.

However, starting in the late 1970s, an anti-pluralistic process was initiated by the Zia-ul-Haq dictatorship that soon spiralled beyond mere posturing and sloganeering.

With the ‘Afghan jihad’ raging against the former Soviet Union, Zia, his intelligence agencies, and parties like Jamat-i-Islami and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam started embracing a narrow and highly political version of Islam.

This was done to radicalise large sections of the Pakistani Muslims who had historically been a part of more apolitical strains of the faith — the kind that over the centuries had evolved within the largely pluralistic milieu of the subcontinent.

Continue reading →

Who wants to divide Sindh?

By: Zulfiqar Shah

Sindh is on the verge of widespread political violence due to newly announced local government ordinance. The situation can possibly be disastrous for the future political course of Pakistan and might even have disastrous impact on South Asia and the rest of the world.

SINDH IS undergoing an unending and nerve taking process of political standoffs since the creation of Pakistan, and therefore, has been continuously struggling since last six decades over the rights, sovereignty, security, and interests of the province and its indigenous underdeveloped majority population.

The recent issue of Sindhi-Hindu exodus is still waiting to be concluded positively, yet rise of another issue of People’s Local Government Ordinance (PLGO) promulgated by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Mutahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) may possibly open a new chapter of popular movement and possibly a slight degree of violence in Sindh. The dilemma of the issue is the violation of citizen’s right to information by the government through avoiding to public the text of the ordinance; however some features of the ordinance have been made public by the provincial information minister.

Continue reading →

M.Q.M. is allegedly involved in a number of high profile killlings of Urdu-speaking leaders

MQM terrorists kill Karachi organizer of National Party

By: Ahmar Mustikhan, Baltimore Foreign Policy Examiner

Terrorists allegedly belonging to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement gunned down a Baloch political organizer in Karachi Monday afternoon.

The victim was identified as Yaqoob Baloch, 45, Karachi Divisional organizer of the National Party. The deceased was an employee of the Karachi Electric Supply Corporation and a resident of Old Golimar.

“He was at his office at Nazimabad No. 1 when the killers came there and asked him if he was Yaqoob. When he replied ‘yes’ they shot and killed him,” Hameed Baloch, Sindh organizer of the National Party said.

He said identity of the killers are not known, but suspected that they belonged to the militant M.Q.M. as the area is the party’s stronghold.

Continue reading →

Statement released by 13 Sindh National and International Organizations on the occasion of 28th annual SANA convention

July 1st , 2012, New York, NY – We the representatives of Sindh Progressive National Alliance (SPNA),[Awami Tehreek (AT), Sindh Taraqi Pasand Party (STTP), Sindh United Party (SUP) Sindhi Sangat Middle East (SSME), International Sindhi Women’s Organization (ISWO), ], Sindh Democratic Forum (SDF), Indus Peoples’ Forum (IPF), Sindhi Association of North America (SANA), World Sindhi Congress (WSC), World Sindhi Institute (WSI) , and Sindhi Sangat United Kingdom (SSUK) , condemn the on-going human rights violations in Sindh and the systematic denial of social, political, and economic rights of Sindhis.

Sindh joined Pakistan in 1947 as an autonomous and sovereign state based on the agreement enshrined in the 1940 Pakistan Resolution. From inception however, the Pakistani state denied sovereignty to the Bengali, Sindhi, Baloch and Pushtun, Seraiki nations that joined the federation. Today, 65 years later Sindh is deprived of autonomy and the governance of its own affairs and has become a veritable colony of Punjab establishment.

The current composure of centralized Pakistan has made it an undemocratic, theocratic, and unstable state which has become a threat to the global security. The Nation of Sindh seeks support from the international community in the following major challenges facing Sindhis.

1. Sindh is the historic motherland of the Sindhi Nation since millennia; we believe in the integrity of Sindh and its geographical division is unacceptable to Sindhis under any circumstances. We condemn all the conspiracies being waged against the integrity of Sindh.

2. Sindhi and other major languages of Pakistan have always been discriminated against. We demand that all the national languages of Pakistan i.e. Sindhi, Baluchi, Pushto, Seraiki and Punjabi be declared the national languages of Pakistan.

3. Pakistan state policies have been designed to render Sindhis into a minority in their own homeland. The orchestrated influx of populations from other provinces as well as outside the country since 1951 and flawed house census of 2010 has disenfranchised native Sindhis. A new census under supervision of an international body must be carried out.

Continue reading →

Bangladesh model » By Najam Sethi

As expected, the Supreme Court has sent PM Yousaf Raza Gillani packing. As expected, too, the decision has been hailed and decried by the opposition and government respectively. But independent opinion at home and abroad is uniformly critical of the court’s unprecedented political activism that has relentlessly targeted the PPP – the decision has been variously described as a judicial “soft-coup“, “vendetta-judgment” and “political victimization“.

Certainly, some of the SC’s recent judgments have dampened our enthusiasm for its “populism”. In the contempt case against Mr Gilani, for example, the 7-member court which convicted him with a 30 second punishment did not expressly disqualify him in its detailed judgment on April 26th, yet a 3-member bench did so summarily in a short order on 19th June on the basis of a highly dubious clause of the constitution which has never been used before according to which Mr Gilani has been deemed not to be a good Muslim or Amin! It is significant that the two petitioners in the case were PMLN and PTI leaders and the SC blithely entertained and adjudged their prayers directly instead of forwarding them to the election commission as expressly ordained by the constitution.

Earlier, the SC’s approach in the case of Arsalan Chaudhry, son of the Chief Justice, had raised many sober eyebrows. The CJ took suo motu note of it, chaired a two judge bench, put a copy of the Holy Quran on his desk and declared that justice would be done in an Islamic fashion a la Hazrat Umar, disregarding the very code of conduct for judges that he had personally helped to formulate in 2009 in which a judge may not sit in judgment in matters such as the one before him. Then he gagged the media and accuser, hauling up both for contempt. No less disquieting was his decision not to set up a neutral commission of inquiry of either the bar or bench as demanded by many, instead passing the buck to the controversial Attorney General, a clear deviation from his decision to set up a judicial commission to investigate Memogate. Under the circumstances, if the AG’s Joint Investigation Team comprising the FIA and NAB holds against Arsalan Chaudhry and or the CJP and his family, it will be denounced as a vindictive attempt by the government to hurt the CJP and SC. The decision against the PM comes on the heels of the Arsalan case and has swiftly diverted public attention from it. What next?

Continue reading →

CMKP Rejects Judicial Coup in Pakistan

In his statement Dr. Taimur Rahman, General Secretary of the Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party Pakistan (CMKP) opposes the recent judicial coup against the elected Prime Minister of Pakistan. This decision by the SC, which is completely outside of the power of the Supreme Court, is simply one more coup in a series of coups that have been organized time and time again in the history of Pakistan against elected governments. These successive coups have destroyed the democratic process in Pakistan, destroyed any chance of the development of a mature political leadership. And finally contribute to nothing except to further fragment politics along reactionary right wing lines.

We would have been the first to support a change in government if it was the product of a mass movement of workers and peasants fighting for their rights. But nothing of the sort is taking place. In fact, the elected government and the right wing judiciary have been trading punches only within the framework of their own narrow class interests for the last four years.

When little over a week ago the moral authority of the judiciary was questioned in a fundamental manner over serious charges of corruption, the judiciary decided to act immediately before its own corruption was completely exposed to the public. Today all those allegations of corruption of the judiciary have been buried in an avalanche of right wing propaganda hailing the decision of the Supreme Court as a great step against corruption. Nothing of the sort has been achieved. In fact, a new PM will be elected very soon. The same case of writing a letter to the Swiss authorities to open cases against the President will be opened against the new Prime Minister. And the musical chairs will continue.

Continue reading →

Enemies of reason – Dr Mohammad Taqi

While by design it may wish to apportion itself the imagined and tangible glory, by default such a judiciary ends up transferring all its gains to its supporters directly and/or indirectly

“Suspicion is the enemy of reason, but the persons who suffered from this prejudice include judges of the superior courts, leaders of the Bar, generals, intelligence services and all the right of centre parties” — Justice Dorab Patel.

The Bahria torpedo a la Malik Riaz Hussain nearly sank the self-styled flagship of virtue and the ensuing maelstrom sucked in more victims than one could imagine. Free fall of many media anchors and journalists, along with their ethics, threatened and did manage to take down many with them. However, with the Supreme Court of Pakistan firing back, to fire the prime minister, Mr Hussain may eventually be forced to remember Tuco’s words from The good, the bad and the ugly: when you have to shoot, shoot, don’t talk. Nearly sank does not count.

More importantly, however, the current turbulence has reopened or exposed the existing fault lines in the body politic of Pakistan. The military establishment and the politicians have traditionally been at the opposite ends of the tug of war in Pakistan. The superior judiciary has acted as the military’s sidekick in most instances, barring a couple of notable exceptions where an individual judge worked to appease a particular civilian ruler. While the separation of the executive, parliamentary and judicial powers has conceptually and constitutionally existed, a pliable judiciary has almost always acted as a proxy for the military establishment that has never had a constitutional role in this trichotomy.

Continue reading →

More of a political vendetta than a legal crusade – Los Angeles Times

Pakistan highest court ousts Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani

The ruling stems from a conviction involving a graft case against Pakistan’s president. It sets up a clash between President Asif Ali Zardari and the judiciary.

By Alex Rodriguez, Los Angeles Times

ISLAMABAD, PakistanThe Pakistani Supreme Court ousted Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Tuesday, leaving an important U.S. ally without a chief executive and setting up a showdown between the country’s president and judiciary that could lead to political chaos.

The ruling, triggered by Gilani’s contempt conviction in April for failing to revive an old corruption case against Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, potentially sets up a constitutional clash between the judiciary and parliament, which is controlled by Zardari’s Pakistan People’s Party, or PPP, and a fragile coalition of allied parties.

For now, Zardari’s party appeared to accept that Gilani and his Cabinet are no longer in government.

“Technically, after this Supreme Court decision, Gilani is no longer prime minister,” Qamar Zaman Kaira, a top party leader who up until Tuesday was information minister, said at a news conference. “And if the prime minister isn’t there, then the Cabinet is no longer there.”

Though Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry is revered in Pakistan as a bulwark against corruption, many experts believe his pursuit of the graft case against Zardari may be more of a political vendetta than a legal crusade. ……

Read more »Los Angeles Times

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-pakistan-gilani-20120620,0,2429553.story

The Wall Street Journal on Islamabad’s Judicial Coup

Islamabad’s Judicial Coup

The Pakistani Supreme Court’s decision Tuesday to dismiss Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani signals the unnatural death of another civilian government. While less dramatic than the military variety, this judicial coup—carried out on the pretext that Mr. Gilani refused to pursue corruption charges against President Asif Ali Zardari—perpetuates the cycle of unelected institutions “rescuing” Pakistanis from their own chosen leaders.

The man responsible for this constitutional crisis is Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry,

Continue reading →

Democracy under threat

By: Asma Jahangir

THE masks are off and daggers drawn. Pakistan’s democratic process may once again become a part of history, leaving the world to wonder how we could so willingly poison ourselves in the belief that it would lead to better days.

Those in power have consistently let their people down — ruthlessly. But no one is being fooled. They may feel helpless in the face of manipulation by everyone trying to save their skins — the judiciary included — but as the courts have often held themselves the truth does eventually prevail.

In the meanwhile, the country is headed for another phase of political instability that may finally lead to yet another autocracy. Sense may prevail at the end, but in the process, many heads will roll and hopes will be demolished. These are sad days for Pakistan.

Continue reading →

The case against Hizb ut Tehrir

By: Abdul Majeed Abid

Founded in 1953, in Jerusalem by Taqiuddin al-Nabhani, Hizb ut Tehrir considers itself to be the largest political party in the Muslim world. This is in spite of the fact that they do not believe in democracy and do not contest in elections. Despite its non-violent methods, Hizb ut Tehrir today is a dangerous entity. Hizb has made inroads in the elite educational institutions of Pakistan and UK.

The infiltration of armed forces is also a major part of their agenda. Due to involvement in subversive activities, Hizb has been banned in most countries including Pakistan. The agenda and propaganda of Hizb ut Tehrir is very alluring for an ambitious youth that form about 45 per cent of this country’s population. Based upon my reading, understanding and interactions with Hizb ut tehrir over the last 4 years, I want to point out some of the logical fallacies in the narrative of HT (Hizb ut Tehrir):

1. They want to form a caliphate for the Muslim Ummah.

2. They favor transfer of power through a military route.

3. They want to implement sharia across the caliphate.

4. According to their ‘constitution’, Arabic would be the language of the Caliphate.

5. They believe that a global Jewish conspiracy that is obstructing the path of formation of the caliphate.

6. They want the ‘liberation’ of Palestine.

7. They take inspiration form Syed Qutb’s book, Milestones.

First things first. The historical narrative, on which the ideology of Hizb ut Tehrir (and for that matter, Muslim Brotherhood, al Qaeda, JI and similar organisations) is based, is deeply flawed. The narrative is a mixture of historical fiction and historical revisionism. According to that narrative, the reign of the pious Caliphs (Khulafa-e-Rashideen) was the brightest time in Muslim history and there was peace and prosperity all around. After those pious caliphs, the reign of Banu Umayya and Banu Abbas is also considered very superior, as Muslim scientists and scholar and philosophers reached the pinnacles of their respective fields in that duration. It is believed that till the dissolution of the Ottoman Caliphate in 1924, Muslims of the world were ‘spiritually’ if not physically ruled by the Caliph and since then, there has been a downfall for the Muslim ‘Ummah’.

Continue reading →

Sindh after the ‘Love for Sindh’ rally

By Haider Nizamani

The killing of Sindhi political activists in Karachi on May 22 by masked gunmen laid bare the fault lines that may define the future political landscape of Sindh. That the violence against peaceful demonstrators was not followed by attacks on Urdu speakers in various towns of Sindh shows the perpetrators of violence are still on the fringes.

Politicians issued customary condemnations and formed committees. Some spoke of creating a new province in Sindh, while others vowed never to let that happen. It needs a deeper understanding of the issue by Sindh’s politicians and intelligentsia to tone down the rhetoric that emphasizes differences between Sindhi and Urdu speakers.

Sindh can easily do without antics such as Interior Minister Rehman Malik’s statement that Nawaz Sharif is responsible for the killings carried out by trained snipers in Karachi. The allegation is a dangerous mix of political expediency, incompetence and insensitivity that neither helps us understand the dynamics of politics in Sindh nor instils confidence about the government’s ability to apprehend the real culprits behind the killings.

What happened in Karachi on May 22 indicates enduring features of the city’s politics, but this time it can have repercussions well beyond the metropolis. It was yet another proof of an increasing trend of instantaneously resorting to violence to make a political point.

The rally was called Mohabat-e-Sindh (Love for Sindh) and the participants were unarmed. The stated objective of the rally was opposing the demand for dividing Sindh on linguistic lines and expressing solidarity with the people of Lyari, Karachi’s predominantly Baloch locality. Groups that do not carry weapons are an easy target in Karachi’s violence-ridden political milieu. The message is loud and clear: get armed or get out. The space for nonviolent political expression is fast shrinking. In that way, the attacks on late Benazir Bhutto’s rally in October 2007 and the violence against the supporters of Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry on May 12, 2007 were not very different from the May 22 Napier Road incident.

The level of political mistrust between Sindhi and Urdu speaking communities is also very high. Ignoring this reality by meaningless rhetorical statements of an imagined unity will not resolve the problem. What is required is a higher degree of political acumen to bring the two communities together because their fate is conjoined whether they like it or not.

Continue reading →

Congressman Sherman Urges Secretary Clinton to Press Islamabad on Muzaffar Bhutto and Enforced Disappearances of political activists of Sindh

(Washington, DC) June 8, 2012 – The Sindhi American Political Action Committee commends the Honorable Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA) for continuing to bring to light to an issue that continues to plague the country of Pakistan. Congressman Sherman is a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the founder and co-chair of the Congressional Sindh Caucus.

Congressman Sherman wrote a letter to the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton regarding his concerns of the enforced disappearance and eventual murder of Mr. Muzaffar Bhutto. Sherman stated that he was “deeply concerned about the state of the rule of law in Pakistan.” Last year, Sherman expressed the same concern about Mr. Bhutto to the President of Pakistan, Mr. Zardari, who was abducted. Over a year later, Mr. Bhutto was found dead near Hyderabad. Mr. Bhutto’s story is one of many instances in where enforced disappearances have become common in Sindh & Balochistan. The Sindhi American Political Action Committee is ever so grateful of the Honorable Brad Sherman’s dedication to raising awareness about this issue in Pakistan.

A letter from Rep. Brad Sherman to Secretary Clinton regarding the recent death of Mr. Muzaffar Bhutto in Pakistan. The letter mentions a previous letter from Rep. Sherman to President Zardari of Pakistan in April 2011, warning that Mr. Bhutto’s life was in danger.

More details » BBC urdu

At least 740 killed in Karachi in five months: HRCP

KARACHI: Ethnic, sectarian and politically-linked violence in Pakistan’s financial capital Karachi has killed at least 740 people so far this year, a human rights organisation said Tuesday.

Parts of the port city have become battlegrounds, with authorities unable to prevent violence blamed on activists from political parties representing rival ethnic groups.

“About 740 people have been the victims of violent shootings in the last five months,” Zohra Yusuf, chair of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), told AFP.

The HRCP said last year a total of 1,715 people were killed in violent flare-ups in the city, which is Pakistan’s biggest with an estimated population of 17 million.

Continue reading →

China’s ‘Bad Emperor’ Problem – Francis Fukuyama

For more than 2000 years, the Chinese political system has been built around a highly sophisticated centralized bureaucracy, which has run what has always been a vast society through top-down methods.  What China never developed was a rule of law, that is, an independent legal institution that would limit the discretion of the government, or democratic accountability.  What the Chinese substituted for formal checks on power was a bureaucracy bound by rules and customs which made its behavior reasonably predictable, and a Confucian moral system that educated leaders to look to public interests rather than their own aggrandizement.  This system is, in essence, the same one that is operating today, with the Chinese Communist Party taking the role of Emperor.

Continue reading →

What happens when organized crime takes office? The rise of the mafia states

Mafia States – Organized Crime Takes Office

By Moisés Naím

The Rise of the Mezzanine Rulers

Michael Crawford and Jami Miscik

Governments across the Middle East and South Asia are increasingly losing power to substate actors that are inserting themselves at a mezzanine level of rule between the government and the people. Western policymakers must address the problem systematically, at both a political and a legal level, rather than continue to pursue reactive and disjointed measures on a case-by-case basis.

Continue reading →

Beastly elements are certainly doing everything to ignite another 1947 in Sindh

By: Bolta Pakistan

Beastly elements are certainly doing everything to ignite another 1947 in Sindh. We must stay vigilant and dispassionate. We are first humans than anything else and poor passengers in buses are ordinary mortals; working day and night to provide bread and butter to their hapless dependents. They must not be used as pawns in dirty games of vicious political actors.

More details » BBC urdu

http://www.bbc.co.uk/urdu/pakistan/2012/05/120525_killings_twitter_a.shtml

Via – adopted from Bolta Pakistan facebook page

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.

Continue reading →

Zardari once again the “political maestro” – the government that wouldn’t fall

The government that wouldn’t fall

By: Cyril Almeida

WITH all the paper and crayons the PML-N carried to parliament the past week, you’d think a Leaguer or two could have spared some time to write a little letter.

Dear Madam Speaker, The PML-N believes that a question has arisen that Yousuf Raza Gilani stands disqualified as a member of parliament under Article 63(1)(g) of the constitution for bringing the judiciary into ridicule as stated by the Supreme Court in its conviction of Mr Gilani for contempt of court on Thursday, April 26, 2012.

Accordingly, under Article 63(2) of the constitution it is required of you as Speaker of the National Assembly to forward the question of Mr Gilani’s disqualification to the Election Commission of Pakistan for a final decision.

With kind regards, The PML-N.

A letter short enough to be written with a crayon on the back of a protest placard and handed over to the Speaker during one of the PML-N’s noisy protests on the floor of the National Assembly.

A letter that would have triggered the only constitutional process for declaring Gilani disqualified.

But in seven days of protests until the Assembly session was prorogued Friday, the N-League avoided the legal route and demanded Gilani’s resignation instead.

Behind that choice lies a political calculation. Take the legal route and the N-League risks its anti-PPP message being buried under an avalanche of legalese. The technicalities of Article 63 — can the Speaker decide no question of disqualification has arisen? If so, is there any appeal against the Speaker’s decision? Wouldn’t the matter ultimately return to the Supreme Court for an inconclusive answer? — are confounding.

Better a simpler message that the electorate can understand: the prime minister is a convict, his boss is corrupt, the Supreme Court tried to do the right thing; ergo, the prime minister should resign.

However, catchy as the slogans may be and fun as charged-up rallies will be, they also betray the opposition’s impotence.

This was originally a fight between the PPP and the SC [Supreme Court]; the PML-N are Johnny-come-latelies. Once the court baulked at pulling the trigger, the N-League’s ability to force the very outcome the court wasn’t willing to force was always going to be limited.

The reality is that the fundamentals that have been in place since 2009 have not changed. And until those system fundamentals change, regime change isn’t going to happen.

Think of it this way. At the centre is the PPP, surviving through a combination of unexpected political acumen — Zardari the political maestro, anyone? Gilani the heroic defender? — and luck.

The luck is that surrounding the PPP, as with every other civilian government, are three traditional rivals — the political opposition, the judiciary and the army — who can agree that they don’t like the PPP but can’t quite bring themselves to work in concert to attain the desired outcome.

For reasons of history and politics and systems, to engineer the downfall of a government you need at least two of the three forces opposing the government to align. PPP conspiracy theories aside, this time that combination just refuses to emerge.

With memogate there was, briefly, an almost perfect alignment. The army raised the alarm over Haqqani’s alleged antics, Sharif petitioned the court to take notice, the court swung into action, drawing out the blunt affidavits from the army chief and DG ISI and just like that, everyone seemed poised to plunge the knife into the PPP.

But then Sharif pulled back. He realised that he’d been lured into a trap to make an army vs PPP fight look like a PPP vs everyone scrap. Next, the army relented when the PPP refused to budge and another chapter in their frenemy relationship had been inked.

The court was the one which had formally gone the furthest, setting up a high-powered commission to investigate the silliness that was Mansoor Ijaz and his claims, so it’s taken the longest to extract itself from a battle that its fleeting allies have long since abandoned.

For all their dislike of the PPP, the problem is that the presumptive allies are also suspicious of each other. Nothing new there but it tends to get forgotten each time a political crisis erupts.

Nawaz doesn’t like the army, the army doesn’t trust Nawaz, neither would want a judiciary that would make life difficult for them if they have to run the show and the judiciary knows that when push comes to shove, it’s usually the judiciary that’s trampled underfoot.

Continue reading →

The contours of a changed, unwritten script Situationer

By: Shaheen Sehbai

ISLAMABAD: In a week of intense behind the scenes political and diplomatic activity in the federal capital, key new lines have been added to the so called ‘script’, the unofficial, unwritten roadmap drawn up and preserved in the minds of the concerned people, to get rid of the despicable grip on the country of a few powerful highly placed individuals and their friends. After my meetings with most of the main stakeholders in the present system during the last few days, including top people sitting in the Presidency, the PM House, Senate, National Assembly, Raiwind, the highly charged drawing rooms of Islamabad and the excited corridors ruled by career bureaucrats, the broad contours of the script have become identifiable. This assessment will purely be an analysis and conclusions drawn up by a journalist, but it will have many elements which have either come directly from the people I have met or from circles associated intimately with the real wielders of powers, political and non-political.

Continue reading →

Lyari is burning

Karachi is burning

With hundreds already killed in ethnic, political and sectarian conflicts this year, the dynamics of violence in Karachi are becoming more complex

By Ali K Chishti

Of the 1,138 people killed in Karachi during the first half of 2011, 150 were political workers, according to the HRCP. This year, Sindh Home Ministry and Karachi Police report that 405 political workers have been targeted already. “More than 10,000 people have been killed in political and ethnic violence in the city since 2007,” says Aftab Rauf Khan, a senior security official. “What is worse is that there have been no prosecutions.”

Political and ethnic violence in Karachi has increased significantly since 2008. There were just over 200 target killings in the city in 2006, 318 in 2007, and 786 in 2008. At least 1,183 people died in political and ethnic violence in the city in 2009, more than 1,300 in 2010, and over 1,700 in 2011. ….

Read more » The Friday Times

The origins of political Order

By Francis Fukuyama

….Once humans considered surrendering their nomadic way of life to create states will solve their problems…they lost many rights for the sake of state…but the formation of states without a political order gave birth to tyrant ruling classes…now it has been proved that political order without the concepts of accountability and the rule of law has no meaning.

Francis Fukuyama in his new book ‘THE ORIGINS OF POLITICAL ORDER’ (Dawn B&A) says “every society needs a balance between ‘power grabbing centralising forces’ and ‘rights disseminating decentralising forces’ to establish political order otherwise anarchy and chaos prevails…

this is very well relevant to today’s Pakistan situation…there’s need to strike a balance between the power-hungry military which has ruled this country for more than 30 years and indirectly controls foreign and security policies even today and the weak political class…this country can come on the right track only by establishing a judicious political order which should be democratic and egalitarian in nature

Source – adapted from facebook wall

Indians & many in Pakistan also want President Zardari to act firmly against jihadis.

WELCOME MR PRESIDENT

By Vikram Sood

Benazir Bhutto made five pilgrimages to the Dargah Sharif of Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti, the last being in 2005. She wanted to visit one more time in 2007 but this did not materialise. Instead, she went home to Pakistan to a tumultuous welcome but ultimately to become yet another Bhutto martyr. Her friends had cautioned her that her return to Pakistan could be dangerous for her but Benazir insisted that the country needed her. Quite apparently, there were powerful figures in her country who did not want her alive. So she became the fourth Bhutto to die a violent unnatural death.

Continue reading →

Judicial circus on memo

Legal solution to a political question

Whichever way one looks at it, the beginning and end of the ‘memogate’ controversy is political, as there is no constitutional issue to be resolved.

Ultimately, Asma Jahangir’s stance on the Supreme Court Order is exactly right

By Maryam Khan

The ‘memogate’ controversy is a political question, which means it is a question for political resolution between the political branches of government (the executive and the legislature) and other State institutions, like the military and the intelligence, which are subordinate to the government. The controversy requires political resolution because it has a direct nexus with structural issues relating to civil-military relations. To put it bluntly, the Supreme Court, in principle, has no role to play in this controversy. Let us see why.

Continue reading →

Why Karachi bleeds

Q: What type of conflict is taking place in Karachi?

A: The classification is “Ethno-political” – ethnicity, identity, politics and crime are all in conflict with each other.

Q: Who are the primary actors in the conflict?

A: MQM, ANP and PPP.

Q: Who are the secondary actors in the conflict?

A: Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), organised criminal gangs, sectarian entities and foreign intelligence agencies.

Continue reading →

Political cases are wasting precious time of courts & embarrassing Pakistani state

Beyond the memo affair

By Raza Rumi

The memogate inquiry shows how political cases are wasting the precious time of the courts and creating one embarrassment after another for the Pakistani state. If media reports are to be believed, the military and the ISI have already backtracked on their earlier zeal to get this issue further explored. The architect of the memo controversy, General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, has retired and one hopes better sense will now prevail. At the same time, the principal character, Mansoor Ijaz, has been exposed as a vacillating, and an unreliable ‘witness’ during the proceedings. Yet, our Supreme Court wants to proceed with the case and the inquiry commission has been given additional time to investigate the unsigned memo. …

Read more » The Express Tribune