No number 1 or 2, only ‘Mother Sindh’ to prevail: Bilawal

Excerpt; …. Referring to Altaf Hussain’s speeches in Hyderabad and Karachi, Bilawal said that neither “50/50” nor “Sindh 1” or “Sindh 2” formula is acceptable to the people of Sindh.

“No50/50,No number 1 or number 2, only Mother Sindh.All men are created equal.All Pakistanis should b treated equally in the eyes of the Law.”

Read more » The Express Tribune
http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-133061-No-number-1-or-2,-only-Mother-Sindh-to-prevail:-Bilawal

Bilawal declares war on “hijackers of faith”

KARACHI: Chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, on Friday said he was declaring jihad (holy war) against “hijackers of the faith”, DawnNews reported.

Addressing his supporters at Karachi’s Karsaz on the occasion of the sixth anniversary of the Oct 18, 2007 bomb blasts that killed 176 people during a historic rally led by Benazir Bhutto, Bilawal promised supporters that he would fight for the people.

The PPP chairman said that on Oct 18, the Taliban had used a child in the suicide attack on the rally led by his mother on her return from Dubai.

Read more » DAWN

PPP downfall: Aitzaz Ahsan resigns from Senate

LAHORE: Senior Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) leader Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan announced his resignation from the Senate, reported Express News on Tuesday.

After announcing his resignation from the senate, Aitzaz Ahsan said that the resignation should be accepted and the rest of the decisions were in the hands of the party.

Aitzaz Ahsan’s wife, Bushra Aitzaz contested and lost elections from the NA-124 constituency against Rohale Asghar, a candidate from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

According to Aitzaz Ahsan, voting results were bizarre as some polling stations had recorded a 150% voter turnout.

Results given by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) should be reviewed, he added.

Wattoo resigns

Similarly Mian Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo, president of PPP’s central Punjab chapter submitted a letter of resignation to Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, accepting failure in delivering his duties.

In the letter addressed to Bilawal, Wattoo listed the problems of water and electricity scarcity, economic instability and media trials as the reasons for defeat.

Other PPP resignations

Sherry Rehman also resigned from her post as the Ambassador the US in a letter to the caretaker Prime Minister Mir Hazar Khan Khoso on Tuesday.

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Bilawal leaves Pakistan, not to lead PPP election campaign: officials

ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari will not be leading the party’s election campaign as party officials confirmed his departure for Dubai on Tuesday, days before the party launches its official campaign on April 4.

Speaking to Dawn.com, PPP leader Sharmila Farooqi confirmed that Bilawal had departed for Dubai. She also confirmed that the young Bhutto would not be ‘physically’ taking part in the party’s election campaign; however, she cited “security concerns” as the reason behind the decision.

The news comes as the Press Trust of India reported that the PPP chairman had left after an argument with his father, President Asif Ali Zardari.

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Malik Riaz ‘nabbed’ ? Dream Island crashes-X

zardari saleBy Amir Mateen

The good news is that the NAB finally woke up to stop Port Qasim Authority from giving further concessions to Malik Riaz of Bahria Town to build, if at all he plans to do that, the alleged Island City, 3.5 km off the Karachi coast.

Of course, Malik will continue to publish ads showing fabulous pictures of Dubai’s man-made islands besides announcements about building the world’s biggest Mall and the tallest building. No explanation is given about the equity; who will put in how much money and how. And this is about a whopping sum of $ 45 billion. But Malik Riaz keeps changing his figures as pennies in his pocket. After the Abu Dhabi Group backed out, Malik Riaz brought the figure down to Rs 15 billion investment through a news report from his ‘chosen’ editor and newspaper.

The figure was ballooned to $ 15 billion in six hours and then to $ 20 within 24 hours–interestingly propagated by the same media groups. Bahria rose the figure back to its original claim of raising $ 45 billion in its ads published by almost all mainstream newspaper. Only this time there was no name and face of the investor, except the promise that a consortium of Arab and Europeans will descend upon Pakistan soon to pledge the $ 45 billion just because “Bahria commits, Bahria delivers.”

Thousands of cases exist where Bahria has not delivered at all with people running from pillar to post to recover their life-savings– Awami Villas (DHA phase-2 extension), Bahria Town Phase 9, DHA Valley, REHC, just to name a few.

What we have on the table is the grand arrival of controversial US investor, Thomas Kramer, whose net worth is $ 90 million. How will he bring in the promised money is yet to be seen. Malik Riaz shows a loss of Rs 107 million in his personal income declaration for the last three years (2010-12). He owes another Rs 107 billion in taxes as documented by the Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) and much more to investors whom he is yet to ‘deliver’ despite taking billions in advance illegally. Yet he keeps buying jet planes, the latest being a $ 20 million worth hawker Beech craft that he bought last month, perhaps to facilitate the electoral candidates that he is supposed to ‘deliver’ from every political party. The likelihood is that he may not declare this as he has not declared the Rs 850 million that he declared on TV to have spent on Shahbaz Sharif’s Ashiana Scheme or the Rs 2 billion that he claims to spend on feeding people.

So the only concrete thing on ground is the dubiously acquired State land for which he invites investors.

The NAB, we are told, took notice of complaints under the Prevention of Corruption Initiatives regarding the award of contract by the PQA. This was done after several complaints from Transparency International, consumer watchdogs and nationalists. The Sindh Assembly opposition lodged explosive protest against the sale of the ‘motherland.’ It got provoked because nobody consulted the Assembly about giving the project, which, among other things, entails building the world’s tallest building on its soil. Sindhi nationalists got incensed over Prime Minister Pervaiz Ashraf receiving the US tycoon who is accused of rape, child-molestation and many other traits that he shares with his hosts here.

He was also received by the MQM contingent including Governor Ishratul Ibad, who went a step forward by offering him 4500 acres over and above the 1200 acres ‘delivered’ by the PQA. Malik seems everybody in his pocket. Who else can bring an alleged rapist and make the high and the mighty of this land receive him without any notice. “What is going on here?,” asked Sindhi activist Zulfiqar Halipoto who led a protest rally in Islamabad. A placard in the rally asked: “How stupid can we become?”

Endlessly, we think. The NAB surprised everybody by advising “the PQA not to sign any concession agreement in violation of RFP, government rules and regulations.” It bragged that it has made mandatory for the PQA to get the contract vetted by a panel of experts also “give a presentation regarding compliance of all terms and conditions of agreement by the Bahria Town.”

The bad news is that nobody trusts the NAB, which is accused as “Bahria’s laundry shop” where they like to take their difficult cases to get a tag of piety. NAB Chairman Fasih Bokhari had his daughter working for Bahria Town earlier. Bokhari, who served in Pakistan Navy when Bahria was in partnership with it, was accused of having clandestine arrangements with Malik Riaz in a court of law. Many think that the NAB shows the interest to take the charge and give a clean chit t Malik Riaz. Only in movies, you might say.

Interestingly, Malik Riaz identifies himself with movie characters. His web site actually shows a long note in his own writing comparing his life with the hero of Bollywoods movie Guru (Abhishek Bachan). He writes, the chapter is titled “Guru or king-maker,” that as Guru he also grew against all odds. He particularly mentions the climax, where Guru thunders before an inquiry board that “I tried to play it straight but I was obstructed because nothing happened without bribery and corruption.” He goes on to describe that, as Guru, Malik Riaz also had to “open the doors” whatever it took from ‘sifarish’ to bribery to violence. In the process, he says, he made himself rich and everybody else. The crux is that, as Guru, that the ordinary courts could not judge him as it is for the people to decide.

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“Today They Sold Babies of Sindh (Twin Islands), Tomorrow They’ll Sale Mother Sindh!”

By Dr. Ahmed H. Makhdoom

For peanuts these savage sold the beautiful Twin Islands (Dingi and Bhandar (Bodha Island) of glorious Sindh to the Colonialists builder mafia! These Twin Islands were like ‘tiny babies’ in the lap of Mother Sindh, since centuries, which the noble Mother fed, cared for and preserved dear and near to her heart since times immemorial!

And, who are the perpetrators of this heinous crime, this shameless sale-out of Sindh, this perjury against the children of Mother Sindh, this criminal treachery against the Cradle of Civilization, Sindh, this apostasy against sacred Sindh, this back-stabbing and deception on the sanctimonious SOUL of Marvelous, Magnificent and Magnanimous Sindh! Yes, who are these perjures sinners, these perverted criminals who had sold their Mother for pittance?

Woebegone! These are the so-called ‘sons,’ the children of the vary mother that they have so obscenely SOLD in the market!

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, March 14, 2013.

Sindh after the SPLGA

By Naseer Memon

Impregnated with ethnic strife, the Sindh Peoples Local Government Act (SPLGA) created an unprecedented anti-PPP sentiment in its stronghold, Sindh. Proceedings of the Supreme Court, hearing a petition seeking annulment of the law, were indicative of an inclement outcome for the government. The recent experience of by-elections also sent waves of consternation in the ruling camp as its candidates faced pillories from opponents and disgruntled masses on the same law. All these factors constrained the PPP to cajole its ally to rescind the politically incendiary law. The belated adieu by the MQM to the government is viewed as an overtly cosmetic move under a premeditated script. On the day that acting governor of Sindh, Nisar Ahmed Khuhro, signed to repeal the SPLGA, the Karachi Stock Exchange recorded bonanza business — unimaginable if it was not a mock war between the two parties. Nevertheless, the interment of a divisive law averted a lurking ethnic frenzy in the province, already mired with unremitting violence, especially in Karachi.

In the presence of this law, the next general elections could have been a nightmare for the PPP in Sindh. Although the opposition has been disarmed of its would-be most popular slogan of divisive law, the lacklustre performance of the PPP during the past five years has sufficiently exasperated its voters. Rampant corruption, brazen violation of merit in postings and transfers, displacement of several million flood affectees, substandard quality of social sector services, ubiquitous lawlessness, shabby infrastructure and scruffy towns can provide ample ammunition for the election campaign of opposition parties. For the PPP, the past platitude of victimisation and martyrdom of the Bhuttos has lost its lustre to fascinate the masses this time. Portending this ominous fact, the party has embarked upon a medley of actions, including cajoling feudal lords in Sindh.

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Pakistan to do what it deems fit, says Khar

By Mariana Baabar

ISLAMABAD: As Islamabad and Tehran set up a joint contracting company to complete the construction of the $7.5 billion IP gas pipeline project within the next 15 months, Pakistan does not appear apologetic and says that any other government would have done what the PPP-led government did.

“Pakistan continues to suffer from huge energy deficiency and this directly affects our industry and GDP growth. Gas is the cheapest commodity to generate electricity. We need to look at all possible sources of energy including the proposed Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (Tapi) gas pipeline. The Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline will meet only half the shortfall of energy needs of Pakistan and not our full demand. Pakistan has to do what it deems fit and what is in its national interest. Lack of economic growth has also seen peace stalled in the region,” Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar told ‘The News’.

President Asif Ali Zardari is also credited widely for improving bilateral relations with Iran, investing in the region, and desperately seeking energy from a country facing severe sanctions from the West because of its nuclear policy under the guidelines of the IAEA.

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PPP Government’s 5-Year bad performance and National Interests of Sindh

Pakistan Peoples’ Party’s “Reconciliatory” Provincial Government’s Five-Year bad performance and National Interests of Sindh

SWTF will launch mass movement if SPLGA-2012 is not annulled before next elections!

Respected Journalists!

Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) is generally considered as the party mainly belonging to Sindh and Sindhis, which is enjoying the power of being the largest parliamentary party on the basis of Sinshi vote. However, unfortunately instead of safeguarding Sindh’s rights, it has caused fatal damage to the integrity, economy, human development and developmental infrastructure of Sindh through bad governance, corruption, nepotism and misuse of people’s mandate. PPP Government’s notorious decision of Sindh Peoples’ Local Government Act (SPLGA) 2012 has caused an unprecedented damage to ethnic harmony and social cohesiveness of society of Sindh.

We, the intellectuals, writers, poets, journalists, civil society activists and concerned citizens strongly believe that PPP’s sitting government has betrayed the democratic mandate of majority of people of Sindh.

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Has a countdown begun in Islamabad?

By: Shaheen Sehbai

Zardari will have to make his decision very quickly on whether he wants to exit with dignity or become a martyr. The days, as they say, are in fact numbered.

ISLAMABAD: The crumbling presidential edifice in the bunkered palace with two green flags on the Constitution Avenue is giving rise to numerous stories, some fiction, some wishful thinking, and some partly true.

The man inside the house is reported by some to be collapsing while others say he is in a defiant mood and will fight till the last. One thing is clear though that a psywar is going on and President Asif Ali Zardari has not many friends who have unflinching faith and commitment to defend him.

The key role is being played by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and it is hard to figure out on whose side he really stands. His own political future is also at stake but his role has assumed the all critical importance because everyone is looking up to him, the civil and military establishment has put its power eggs in his basket as against the president, while his party remains confused and divided. The opposition and most of his coalition partners have abandoned the president but continue to back his handpicked prime minister.

The few who are still standing with Zardari include the Governor of Punjab Salmaan Taseer, whose latest brag that there would be no ‘minus-1’ but that if anything happened it would be a ‘minus-342’ (reference to total strength of the National Assembly) is considered by many as the final defeatist declaration that Zardari will not go alone but will take the entire house with him. There are not many takers for Taseer’s threats. On the contrary, the party which President Zardari considered to be his most dependable ally, the MQM of Altaf Hussain, has gone many steps forward to seek his removal from the top office. Almost everyone I met and talked to was surprised at the leap Altaf Hussain had taken from just opposing or abstaining from voting on the NRO to demanding the resignation of Zardari. It was like the last straw on the heavily loaded camel’s back and Zardari was stunned, those around him reported.

His attempt to save the sinking ship by calling Governor of Sindh Ishratul Ebad to Islamabad and then authorising Interior Minister Rehman Malik to fly to Dubai for urgent talks with an MQM delegation from London could be the last desperate effort but as someone who knows the scene reported, “The MQM has closed the doors and has gone to sleep,” meaning that it is no longer interested in seeing Zardari sitting in the Presidency.

Nice words wrapped in high sounding moral logic are being said by MQM to urge Zardari to make his exit dignified but Altaf Hussain is not backtracking from his demand of a resignation. He probably knows more than many in Islamabad. Even when Governor Ebad was rushing to Dubai on Wednesday night after meeting the president, the MQM made it a point to include the resignation issue in the agenda of the Dubai talks expected to begin on Friday.

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Imran Khan, PTI leaders Alliance with Tahirul Qadri

PTI leaders, Tahirul Qadri hold talks over reconstitution of ECP

By Ema Anis

LAHORE: Top leaders of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) met Minhajul Quran International (MQI) chief Dr Tahirul Qadri in Lahore on Wednesday to discuss their reservations over the current Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

PTI president Makhdoom Javed Hashmi told the media that the reservations were only discussed during the meeting, but the final decision will be taken by his party regarding the petition being filed in the Supreme Court by Qadri for the reconstitution of the election commission.

PTI vice chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that a transparent ECP is crucial for the upcoming elections, “but the government claims that it cannot dissolve the election commission as it is against Article 209”. ….

Courtesy: The Express Tribune
http://tribune.com.pk/story/503384/pti-leaders-tahirul-qadri-hold-talks-over-reconstitution-of-ecp/

Democracy!

By Farooq Sulehria

That Pakistan’s fragile democratic process has withstood yet another deluge unleashed in the form of Tahirul Qadri testifies to the maturity our political leadership has mercifully attained. More importantly, such was the mass pressure that even Imran Khan felt isolated and avoided joining hands with Qadri.

One hopes the people of Pakistan, for the first time in the country’s history, get the chance to vote out a government. Let all the messiahs, promising ‘change’ test their popularity in the forthcoming elections.

It is highly likely that the present setup will continue with some adjustments and the next government will fail to deliver anything tangible. But still I would not join middle-class fascists yearning for ‘change’ by ‘all means necessary.’ Democracy, even in its distorted bourgeois form, is a working-class gain.

It is true that the political parties have become family fiefdoms and the ruling politicians want to reduce democracy to polling booths. However, either to win reforms within the system or overturn the system altogether, the working classes stand a better chance in a democracy than under tyranny. A change takes place when workers, peasants, women, students, and marginalised communities organise themselves. It is not introduced by any well-intentioned messiah.

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Pakistan – a failed state on a tinderbox

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

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/brinkley/article/Pakistan-a-failed-state-on-a-tinderbox-4224701.php#ixzz2JBWx9ixN

Pakistan – The soldiers’ dangerous itch

There are fears that the army is thinking of moving against the civilian government. That would be a disaster

IN MOST countries the sight of 50,000 devout Sufis riding into the capital in brightly coloured buses and lorries would not raise the spectre of military intervention. But so convoluted are Pakistan’s politics that the march led by Tahir ul Qadri is read by many as an indication that the army is planning another intervention in government (see article). If that happens, it will be a catastrophe for the country.

Mr Qadri, a cleric who served briefly as a politician under the latest military dictator, has recently returned from Canada and says he wants a “revolution” against the civilian government. He has emerged from nowhere, yet organised a march which arrived in Islamabad on January 14th—no mean feat, since marches are usually banned in the city—and which was broadcast non-stop on television. Pakistan’s many conspiracy theorists, encouraged by the country’s many conspiracies, suspect that he may be the army’s latest favourite to replace the politicians with whom the soldiers have lost patience.

Mr Qadri’s rise is not the only reason Pakistanis have to worry about the soldiers. On January 15th the Supreme Court suddenly ordered the arrest of the prime minister, Raja Pervez Ashraf, over a long-running bribery scandal. The court, along with the army, has long been hostile to the government. There is talk in Pakistan of a “Bangladesh option”, a reference to a quiet coup in that country, engineered by the army in January 2007 and legitimised by the judiciary, leading to a two-year suspension of democracy in favour of unelected technocrats.

If the army were to try to get rid of the civilian government, now would be the time, for two reasons. An election is due this year, and a new administration with a decent mandate would be harder to bin than the tarnished Pakistan Peoples Party government of President Asif Ali Zardari. And this year, too, the chief of army staff, General Ashfaq Kayani, is due to step down. His term in office has already been extended; but he may wish to defer his retirement a little longer.

A recent Pew survey found that Pakistanis are the least enthusiastic about democracy among six Muslim countries polled. That is hardly surprising. After nearly five years of civilian rule, the country is in a desperate state. Terrorist bombings are horribly frequent. The latest, in Balochistan, killed 86 people (see article). The country’s politicians are venal, self-interested and chaotic. Its growth is feeble, its debt unsustainable and its tax revenues have collapsed.

Yet rather than being a solution to Pakistan’s problems, the army is a large part of the reason for them. Its frequent interventions contribute to corruption: politicians reckon they need to make money quickly. Its dominance distorts spending priorities: the government spends around ten times as much on defence as on education. And it undermines the country’s security: the threat of war with India provides a justification for army rule, which is why Pakistanis fear the recent flare-up on the border with India in which five soldiers died.

This could be its big chance

Pakistan could be on the verge of a breakthrough. If the election happens and if it is won by a coalition led by Nawaz Sharif, a former prime minister, then it will be the first time that an elected leader has served a full term and handed power to a successor. Such a peaceful transition would be a milestone in Pakistan’s journey towards democracy. It might even help the country get a decent government. It is to be hoped that Pakistan’s soldiers are not thinking of derailing the process. America, which in the past has shown a regrettable ambivalence towards military rule in the country, must make it clear that if they do they will get no support from Pakistan’s friends.

Courtesy: The Economist
http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21569733-there-are-fears-army-thinking-moving-against-civilian-government-would

Derailing Democracy in Islamabad

Qadri, the Brass, and the Judges Take on the Government

By: Aqil Shah

As the uproar in Pakistan this week shows, meddling in politics is a specialty of both the country’s judiciary and its military. There is a silver lining though. Pakistan’s two major parties — long enemies — have worked together this time to fend off the threat.

This month, Pakistan’s government is fending off a needless political crisis. On 14 January, Allama Tahir ul Qadri, a pro-military cleric turned revolutionary who once claimed to have a direct line to the Prophet Mohammad, marched into the capital with tens of thousands of supporters. He has since threatened to use whatever means necessary to implement his demands, which include the removal of the “corrupt” Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)-led government, the disbandment of the current parliament, and the implementation of constitutional clauses that lay down strict financial, religious, and moral qualifications for election to parliament. The move follows on an unusual media blitz last month, during which Qadri took to the streets and airwaves to save the state by demanding the creation of a clean technocratic government backed by the army and the judiciary.

The timing couldn’t be worse. In 2013, Pakistan is expected to undertake its first transition of power from one elected civilian government that has completed its tenure to another. When the current government came to office in 2008, reaching that milestone had seemed unimaginably difficult. All of Pakistan’s previous transitions to democracy had been cut short by military takeovers. As the date for the handover neared, many Pakistanis had started to hope to avoid that scenario this time. As it turns out, though, even cautious optimism might have been too much. It appears that Pakistan’s powerful military, aided by an aggressive Supreme Court, might well have just put a spanner in the works.

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Asma Jahangir sees democracy in danger

KARACHI: Prominent rights activist and former president of Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA)Asma Jahangir on Tuesday said that lawyers will not support any decision which is against the rule of law and democracy.

Addressing a press conference at Karachi Press Club, she said future generations will not forgive us if democracy was derailed in the country, adding it is about time that we should start resisting undemocratic decisions.

Jahangir said the lawyers’ community will announce their strategy after going through written order of the Supreme Court for arresting Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf and other accused in the rental power projects case.

President Sindh High Court Bar Association Mustafa Lakhani said an all parties’ conference was called to discuss the long march of Dr Tahirul Qadri a few days back in Lahore in which the participants, including lawyers, rejected it.

President Karachi Bar Association Naeem Qureshi said the lawyers had taken active part in the movement for independence of judiciary, adding the Karachi bar has given many sacrifices in this regard.

Courtesy: DAWN
http://dawn.com/2013/01/15/asma-jahangir-sees-democracy-in-danger/

Pakistan’s army lurks behind cleric

Pakistan’s army lurks behind cleric

We should be worried about the potential destabilization of a country with 200 nuclear-tipped missiles

By Tarek Fatah

A Canadian cleric, who has twice played a part in backing military juntas in nuclear-armed Pakistan, is back in that country. And once more, he appears to be facilitating a military takeover in Islamabad.

Tahir-ul-Qadri is better known for his role in the creation of the infamous “Anti-Blasphemy Law” of Pakistan, that has brought untold misery to religious minorities and agnostics.

In the 1980s, Qadri backed the military junta of the Islamist General Zia who had overthrown former prime minister Z.A. Bhutto. In 1999, he backed the administration of General Pervez Musharraf, which had staged a coup against former prime minister Nawaz Shariff.

By the time democracy was restored in Pakistan, Qadri had emigrated to Canada, where he went into political hibernation until he became eligible for a Canadian passport.

With that in hand, Qadri left Canada to manage his worldwide network of devotees, who believe the Prophet Muhammad has appeared in Qadri’s dreams and gives him instructions.

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The great Sindhi transformation

Swift changes in production and consumption are changing the society and politics in Sindh

By Dr Manzur Ejaz

Contrary to common belief that Sindh is a feudal-ruled primitive land, socio-economic transformation in Sindh is as fast as in Punjab. Rapid urbanization, mechanization of agricultural sector and commercialization has changed the very basis of Sindhi society. Such a transformation will have inevitable political consequences that may not be visible currently, but will materialize down the road.

The effects of this transformation are trickling down even to the common person, whether it is cellphone equipped goat herders or teens from small towns using motor vehicles. Colorful rickshaws have replaced tongas and tractors trollies have taken the place of centuries old wooden plows pulled by animals. Consumer goods have penetrated the Sindhi society deeply, uprooting and transforming the artisan classes and their skills. Consequently, the realignment of Sindhi class structure is duly underway.

Swift changes of economic production and consumption triggered mammoth urbanization from the 1980s onward. The newly urbanized masses have started playing their political roles as summed up by Zafar Junejo, chief executive officer of Thardeep – an NGO working for economic development – in an article published by Newsline.

He argues that recent protests against the new local governments system are led by these new urban masses rather than traditional nationalist groups.

Parallel to the great socio-economic transformation, Sindhi intelligentsia is cognizant of emergence of a neo-feudal class, led symbolically by Asif Ali Zardadri, Zulifqar Mirza, Pir Mazhar et al. These are people who do not come from the traditional feudal class but are rumored to have amassed huge tracts of land and industries by making money through illegal means, occupying public lands or forcing small land owners to sell their land. This is a class or type of ruling class which remains absent from their electoral constituencies and just show up at election times. They have nothing to do with the people and this is the main reason the major developmental projects are nowhere to be seen in the whole province. Hyderabad’s non existing metal roads are a manifestation of poor performance by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) government in the province and the center. This may lead an ultimate downfall of the PPP in Sindh.

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Qadri has returned to subvert electoral process: Nawaz

PML-N Chief Nawaz Sharif.

PML-N Chief Nawaz Sharif.

LAHORE: Referring to Tehreek-e-Minhajul Quran chief Tahirul Qadri, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif has said that the “Sheikhul Islam” had come to Pakistan to subvert the electoral process and create anarchy in the country. Talking to media after meeting with the Jamhoori Watan Party (JWP) chief, Talal Akbar Bugti, on Thursday, the former prime minister said that the threat to hold a long march by Dr Qadri just ten weeks before the general elections appeared to be a conspiracy to create hurdles in the election process. “The Canadian national (Qadri) wants to derail democracy, which will not be allowed. A few people cannot hold hostage the entire nation,” he said. Nawaz said that the long march would create chaos in the country, which had already been hit by severe challenges.

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Pakistan in 2013: a happy new year? — Dr Mohammad Taqi

TaqiThe deep state’s obsession with tripping democracy even in the last quarter of an elected government, using a charlatan speaking with forked tongue and twisting the MQM’s arm to join him, leaves little doubt that the security establishment is not about to mend its ways. The gruesome slaughter of the 21 levies personnel near Peshawar and the Mastung car bombing killing 20 Shia pilgrims by Pakistan’s jihadist proxies is virtually business as usual. As the news of these brutal inland attacks poured in the Army Chief was harping on how a strong navy was important for Pakistan!

The three-pronged Afghan jihadist conglomerate viz. Taliban proper, the Haqqani network and the Hizb-e-Islami (Hekmatyar) is what Pakistan continues to bet on

This week will mark the second death anniversary of the founder-owner of this newspaper. Salmaan Taseer was martyred in cold blood for the crime of speaking up for a just cause. Last week was the fifth anniversary of Benazir Bhutto’s martyrdom. Days prior to that, Bashir Bilour was martyred in a suicide bombing. He is the senior most Pashtun nationalist leader this side of the Durand Line to have been assassinated since Khan Shaheed Abdus Samad Khan Achakzai. Glowing tributes were and will continue to be paid to all of them. All these leaders died not just for their words but actions and resolute stand against bigotry and terrorism. Unfortunately, Pakistan and its military and many political leaders commemorate their ultimate sacrifice with inaction and paralysis.

After the assassination of the Khyber-Pukhtunkhwa’s senior minister Bashir Bilour, his party the Awami National Party (ANP) did take a very clear stance on confronting the terrorist menace. Last week, the ANP’s consultative committee released a policy statement, which not only recommended clear action but also laments the party being left high and dry by rest of the country. The communiqué notes:

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The future of Pakistan.. a view from the US

Stephen Cohen summarizes some views on the future of Pakistan.

excerpt:

Another Five Years: More of the Same

The most likely future for Pakistan over the next five to seven years, but less likely than it would have been five years ago, is some form of what has been called “muddling through”, and what, in 2004, I termed as an establish-

ment-dominated Pakistan. The military will play a key although not always and not necessarily central role in state and political 73 Quoted in The News (Lahore), May 31, 2009.

74 “Mapping the Global Future,” Report of the National Intelligence Council’s 2020 Project Based on consultations with nongovernmental experts around the world (Washington, DC: National Intelligence Council, December 2004), p. 21.

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decisions. This scenario could also include direct military rule. As several of the Bellagio participants have noted, it has not made much difference whether the military or the civilians are in power, since both had progressive moments, but each has also contributed to the long decline in Pakistan’s integrity as both a state and a nation.

In this scenario, the political system would be bound by certain parameters: the military might take over, but only for a temporary fix; it will neither encourage nor tolerate deep reform; and civilians will be content with a limited political role. The political system would be frozen in an intermediate, gray zone between full-fledged democracy and military autocracy. The state will always be in transition, but will never arrive ….

Read more » Brown Pundits
http://www.brownpundits.com/2013/01/02/10403/

Tahirul Qadri, the Bhutto boy, and the establishment’s last play

by Adnan Khalid Rasool

Based on the political events of the last 10 days, one of the most commonly asked questions in Pakistan is:

‘What is going on?’

As in what is going with the whole Qadri parade, what is up with Bilawal’s launch, and generally what on earth is going on in Pakistan?

Simply put, there are two sides going up against each other and all of these events, or whatever you want to call them, are just parts of that.

Who are these sides and what are they after?

One side to all this is the establishment.

For the last five years, the establishment has played one hand after another against a democratically elected government but failed, as for once, the largest opposition parties refused to play along with them. So a year ago, they launched their own horse in the race who initially did very well but later fizzled out like most of the establishment’s schemes.

The establishment learnt from this failed experiment and went back to the drawing board and came up with Tahirul Qadri. Tahirul Qadri, already having played a pawn multiple times in the establishment’s miscalculated moves, jumped right back on the horse and rode in promising to change the system. But as is the case with most of the establishment’s experiments, he came, he saw and he backed off from what he said.

So one side to this fight is these guys, but why are they doing this?

The answer to that is actually very simple but not very commonly discussed.

What the establishment is after is something dubbed as the ‘Bangladesh formula’. For years, our army and their army have been messing around in politics without much success. No matter how many times they took over, they were always kicked out eventually and in this process they ended up earning a bad name. But about four years ago, the Bangladeshi army finally cracked the code to solve this complicated riddle. The play was that the army does not get involved; instead a caretaker government needs to be formed that would include all branches of the state including judiciary and the military.

This way the army would get a seat on the table, but it would not be the bad guy as the caretaker government would make it a ‘joint effort’. And just to make things more ‘legitimate’, smaller insignificant parties would be invited to become part of the caretaker setup. That would then decide the rules for elections which would be delayed from their actual date as the new structures being designed just happen to take about two years to complete.

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Terrorism in Pakistan: A View from Moscow

By: Andrei Volodin, specially for RIR

Russia should make every effort to help recover the pattern of civil society in Pakistan by supporting the role of political parties, civil groups and any organisations that aim to fight terrorism.

Terrorism has grown into probably the most destructive phenomenon in today’s Pakistan. The sorrow list of victims of terrorist attacks is expanding rapidly, going up from 164 casualties in 2003 to 40,000 in 2011. According to official data, damage suffered by the country from 2000 to 2011 exceeded $70 billion.

The official government acknowledgement of terrorism as the main threat to the unity and integrity of Pakistan has proved unable to reverse the situation as terrorist efforts retain their momentum.

The sources of terrorism in Pakistan are usually linked to the policy of Islamisation of the country by General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq (years in office: 1977 to 1988). An important element of the then emerging terrorist activity was Pakistan’s direct involvement in military actions in Afghanistan and the actual creation of the mujahideen units, who after the end of the military actions rose to prominence as a military and political force first in Afghanistan and then in Pakistan.

The government and society at large have no clear understanding of the strategy and tactics of fighting terrorism. The point of view of George Friedman, a U.S. analyst, is that Pakistan is losing its “trajectory into the future.” This opinion is underpinned by the increasingly chaotic social and political life in Pakistan, the army’s involvement in domestic processes, the poorly regulated government economy and the inability of political parties to set up adequate political life for more than five years. This “institutional vacuum” is inevitably filled up by other organisations, in case of Pakistan, terrorist structures.

Experts often describe Pakistan as a “pendulum state,” meaning the country’s typical alternation of military and civil government. However, following the resignation of Pervez Musharraf and with certain influence from the US, which disrupted the usual cyclicality, this constraint of political struggle was withdrawn from the political process. As a consequence, Pakistani parties were made even more fragile and unpredictable in their actions. There are basically personal problems that are substituting the existing controversies in the diverse social and political programmes of the Pakistan People’s Party, on the one hand, and the Pakistan Muslim League, on the other hand.

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Pakistan – Death of democracy

By: Manzur Ejaz

It is usually worse to mutilate someone’s spirit than to kill them: the spiritless half-dead body keeps dragging itself waiting for the end game. This is exactly what the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) government has done to democracy in Pakistan. A long list of charges levelled against the PPP government led by President Asif Ali Zardari – an anomaly in a parliamentarian democracy – is not as serious as the way he has crushed the essence of democracy. It is reminiscent of the revered Naxalite Punjabi poet, Pash, murdered by extremist Khalistani extremists:

Robbing of one’s wages is not the most dangerous

Thrashing by police is bad but not the most dangerous as well

To be victim of treachery and greed is not the most dangerous either

The most dangerous is to be filled by dead tranquillity

Death of our dreams is the most dangerous

The PPP-led government has not only fatally injured the dream of democracy but has filled the entire ruling class with this dead tranquillity. Most political analysts are dazed by the tenacity that President Zardari has shown in hanging on to his office and keeping his party in power. But few have acknowledged how he has achieved such an ‘otherwise admirable’ goal by maintaining unholy alliances with parties that have opposing agendas, resulting in a hard-to-fix proliferating anarchy. He also achieved his goal by not honouring publicly announced agreements with his opponents: his agreements with Mian Nawaz Sharif were the preface to what was going to follow. By saying that fulfilling political promises is not a religious dictate, Mr Zardari committed a cardinal sin because democracy means upholding socio-political contracts – written or otherwise.

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From Jeeay Zardari to Bhej Pagara: is it a progress?

By: Shahab Usto

While I am writing this a hugely big gathering is taking place in Hyderabad against the controversial local government law. The stage is adorned with the leaders belonging to NPP, PML-N, the Nationalists and the PML-F. The atmosphere is echoing with a slogan: Bhej Pagara! which originates actually from a war cry of the followers of Pir Pagaro during the British era. But in the present context, the slogan has less a political message and more a shown of personal allegiance to the person/institution of Pir Pagaro. And that is worrisome. For one, we need a political leader whose popularity is rooted in the common masses on his political rather than religio-sectarian appeal, of which Sindhi masses have already suffered much in the past. The oppressed people need not just a powerful person but a political leader who should also be a social reformer, humanist, and eternally committed to the redemption of the downtrodden masses from the feudal, state and ethic fascist tyranny.

For another, the leaders who are claiming to be the custodians of Sindh and its people’s interests don’t hold an enviable political past. They have always been in alliance with a powerful establishment and even today except for this catchy and populist anti-local bodies ordinance, they have nothing else to offer to the common men, the unemployed youth, the oppressed minorities, the crime-ridden cities and towns, the kidnapping-for-ransom-afflicted middle class traders, professionals and government employees, the people who have lost their lands to Qabza mafias in the towns and villages, the poor hapless women who have been killed in the name of karo kari, and forced marriages, the poor hapless Sindhi people who took to Karachi after being ejected from their villages and towns by the increasing law and order and worsening economic conditions during the Musharaf-era and present government’s urban-based politics of appeasement, the rural students who were denied admissions in Karachi against all norms of law, ethics and constitution. Indeed, they have always thrived no matter which government/system has prevailed because they have never opposed the status quo and always bargained with the powers that be for their own individual, class and personal interests.

But alas, today some of our friends are agog with this new ‘anti-PPP alliance”, because they believe, and are therefore even ready to glorify this alliance of the so-called ‘friends of Sindh’. But they forget that the stalwarts of this alliance very well know that the Sindh card has been recharged by the PPP’s disastrous economic policies and the politically treacherous local government law and that the Sindhi masses are very angry with the PPP, hence, they can once again manipulate and exploit the electorate in the elections.

Thus the situation is really tragic. On the one hand, the Sindh’s urban areas are becoming an ethnic slaughter-house due to the mushrooming of fascist ethnic and criminal militias; on the other hand the Sindh’s vast swatches of rural society inhabiting millions of age-old exploited people are once again being targeted by the same retrogressive political forces who have always maltreated and dehumanized the Sindhi masses.

Indeed, this is not the first time. Sindhis have been exploited by various ruses and subterfuges—national security, democracy, Islam, the trickle-down economics, Sufi culture, tradition of worship and so on. But now the time has come to reflect:

  • For how long are we going to allow our larger historical and human rights to be trampled by this predatory and unscrupulous elite?
  • Since when have the PML-F, N, Q or NPP, or Jamiat-e-Islami and so on have, become ultra-Sindhi nationalists?
  • Aren’t they are using the nasty and unpopular local government ordinance for their narrow political and class interests in the same way as the PPP has for decades used the popular Sindh-related causes: anti kalabagh dam, and anti-thal canal movements?
  • Therefore, aren’t the PPP and these born-again nationalists (PML-F et al) the two sides of the same coin?
  • Isn’t it time that we, those who understand the currents of history and broader principles of politics, must not let ourselves to be taken in by the hollow nationalist semantics and slogans used by the PML-F et al.
  • Aren’t our political elites very clever, if not devious; they coalesce with each other when needed and they oppose each other too but never allow their political hostilities to threaten the socio-political status quo in the province and beyond?
  • Isn’t the PPP’s national reconciliation an apt case in study? Imagine, when the PPP brought all the pro-status quo forces, including the PML-F and Q, under the government:
  • When the country had undergone major cultural shift from closed to open society, and per force, effected constitutional reforms to check the egregious corporate and political strangleholds of the military establishment,
  • When for the first time the international community, led by the USA, for its own interests, also seemed sincerely to be invested in the country’s democratic system,
  • When the judiciary, civil society, media and varied interest groups were closely allied to protect, if not strengthen, the fledgling institutional reforms and democratization of society.
  •  When for the first time the Sindhi intelligentsia, nationalists, and other sections were finding their independent political moorings, rejecting the tradition political leadership, and building up intellectual and political mass to defend Sindh’s political and economic rights which had long been denied by the Musharaf regime; and when they were at the same time countervailing the urban-based politics of violence and blackmailing,

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Sindh nationalist parties to observe Nov 30 as ‘black day’

By Hassan Siddiqui

Karachi: The nationalist parties of Sindh have announced to observe PPP’s formation day (November 30) as ‘black day’ and lodge protest during the president’s address in Sindh Assembly.

Awami National Party, Functional League and opposition parties have agreed to support the protest. Moreover, chief PML-N, Nawaz Sharif has phoned Chairman Sindh Bachayo Committee (Safe Sindh Committee), Jalal Mehmood Shah and assured him of complete support on the issue.

The protest of nationalist parties seems to be against the controversial local government ordinance in the province.

Courtesy: The News Tribe

http://www.thenewstribe.com/2012/11/26/sindh-nationalist-parties-to-observe-nov-30-as-black-day/

Sindh is changing; effects to be visible during polls: Ayaz Palijo

KARACHI: Awami Tehreek President Ayaz Latif Palijo has claimed that Sindh is changing and the effects of this change will be visible during the upcoming general election in the country. He feels the National Assembly should have at least 1,000 seats so that people from poor and middle class segments of society could also contest the elections.

He believes the PPP-led government may hand over charge to anyone to prolong its rule. He regrets that the government has not implemented even a single part of the Supreme Court verdict on the Karachi law and order situation.

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SPLGB 2012 announced in Sindh Assembly amid uproar

KARACHI: Speaker Sindh Assembly Nisar Khoro Thursday announced the approval of Sindh People’s Local Government Bill (SPLGB) 2012 amid opposition’s uproar in the assembly.

During the assembly session, the speaker announced that the Sindh Governor Ishratul Ebad signed the draft of SPLGB 2012 turning it into an act.

Following the announcement, member of the opposition Nusrat Sehr Abbasi tore copies of the agenda which lead to a heated exchange of words with Sharjeel Memon.

Abbasi was also told to shut up by Pir Mazhar-ul-Haq and by Murad Ali when she was interrupting his speech.

MPAs of the government also chanted slogans against the enemies of democracy.

Earlier, PML-F, PML-Q, ANP and NPP had staged walkout from the assembly session in a protest for failing to get opposition benches in the assembly.

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Ayaz Latif Palijo in Awaam ki Adalat on Geo news

The interview of Ayaz Latif Palejo available at ZEM-TV is quite interesting and worth listening in terms of content, articulation by Ayaz Latif Palejo, aggressiveness of interviewer and reaction of audience.

In my view, Ayaz Latif Palejo is one of the most able Sindhi leaders unmatched by any with an astute presence of mind and the ability to articulate very difficult points with ease and in an extremely audience-friendly manner. He explains very well the ill effects of discriminatory and black SPLGA, particularly SPLGA’s current aim at dividing Sindh and dividing Pakistan in the long term. Although, I do not agree with Ayaz’s assertion that SPLGA is part of grand scheme put-together by Western powers to create a separate country consisting of Karachi, Gawadar, and other areas of Baluchistan out of present-day Pakistan. How would Baloch nationalists and MQM-wallas are going to eat from the same plate is mind boggling! I believe there is not a single Baluch leader or common man who would opt for an arrangement that make Baluch to jump from Punjabi frying pan into the MQM fire. The cruelties the Baluch are suffering now would be a chicken feed when they have to deal with MQM having seen the brutality of MQM-wallas on Baloch-Sindhi areas of Karachi. However, his explanation that argues that SPLGA creates two different systems in Sindh just appease MQM is quite convincing. He makes an excellent case that the SPLGA is a discriminatory law comparable to South Africa’s apartheid regulations. He says how come Karachi mayor will have control over fisheries around Karachi’s shoreline but not the mayor of Thatto? He correctly argues that no mayor in the world has such insane powers and mind-boggling unaccountability as allowed in the SPLGA. Elected only by few Union Council members (in case of Karachi about 40-50), removing a mayor from office is more difficult than any other office including that of the President, Chief of Joint Staff, and Prime Minister of Pakistan and elsewhere in the world. On top of of this SPLGA imposes a draconian provision that in the event that an impeachment proceeding against a mayor fails, the union council member who introduces the impeachment motion will have to resign from his/her seat. There is no where in the world where such an undemocratic law exists. He also makes a clear case that PPP’s only manifesto is to prolong its rule. They would barter away any right of Sindhi people only if they can extend their rule for three more days – these three days would mean millions of more being transferred to Lisbon and other cities of Europe.

The interviewer of the discussion was extremely aggressive, often engaging in pressing Ayaz Latif Palijo and insisting on getting the answer he wanted from Ayaz Latif Palejo. I must compliment Ayaz Latif for not loosing his cool and while smiling and telling the interviewer again and again as to why he insists on receiving a reply that he likes. Nevertheless, in the end, one could see from the face of the interviewer that although he failed to ruffle Ayaz Latif Palejo, he had an expression on his face that showed that the interviewer felt that Ayaz’s arguments were rational and would resonate with all people except the die-hard MQM-wallas and their most ardent PPP supporters.

The reaction of audience when Ayaz made points was the most surprising aspect of this interview. I was pleasantly surprised to see majority of audience rooting for Ayaz Latif. They showed their support for annulment of SPLGA with each point Ayaz made. They laughed rousingly as Ayaz would joke about the foolishness of the arguments of the proponents of SPLGA.

Indeed, I would recommend that it would be worthwhile to invest 30 minutes of your valuable time to listen to crisp and crystal clear explanation of the arguments that SPLGA is indeed a black and apartheid law, only worthy of dust bin to which it rightfully belongs. Indeed, only the narrow-minded and shallow minds can conceive such a badly written law that violates many democratic norms, without any adequate checks and balances, and discrimination unseen thus far in Pakistan.

About the writer – Mr. Khalid Hashmani is a Washington DC-based veteran human rights activist. He is the founding President of Sindhi Association of North America (SANA) and Chief coordinator of Sindhi Excellence Team (SET) that participates in advocacy activities on behalf of the people of Sindh.

Grand Congress of Sindhi writers and intellectuals against draconian & black ‘SPLGA’ law

Sindhi writers lend voice to opposition’s movement

HYDERABAD: Over a hundred Sindhi writers, poets and intellectuals who attended the Sindhi Writers and Thinkers Congress have criticised the Pakistan Peoples Party for enacting the new local government law that was detrimental to the unity of the province. The gathering on Sunday, arranged by the Sindhi Adabi Sangat, dealt another blow to the PPP, whose leaders have claimed in the past that opponents of the new law are “illiterate nationalists”.

PPP MNA Zafar Ali Shah was the only political leader who was invited to the event, and he did not disappoint the participants by going all-out against the policy of his own party. Shah termed the new local government system “a big injustice to Sindh” and said that it would “serve the interests of a minority [population]”. Outgoing Pakistani ambassador to the United Nations, Abdullah Hussain Haroon, said that the new law was passed contrary to the wishes of the people of Sindh.

Sindh Democratic Forum’s Zulfiqar Halepoto presented a list of “anti-Sindh” pieces of legislation that were adopted by the present government. They included the Zulfiqarabad Development Authrotiy Act, Thar Coal and Energy Board Act 2011, Colonisation of Government Lands (Amendment) Act 2010 and the Sindh Peoples Local Government Act 2012.

He added that the Sindh Assembly had passed a law in 2005 which asked the provincial government to ensure that multinational companies and other private enterprises in Karachi recruit people that have local domicile. “It meant that residents of 22 districts of Sindh were not allowed to come for jobs to Karachi, which is the only commercial and industrial city in the province.

Jami Chandio, a researcher, stressed upon his fellow intellectuals to continue to acquire knowledge and to impart that to the people. “We need to make people understand these things, so that they can choose their leadership while keeping in mind the threats and opportunities that we face.”

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Human-chain from Karachi Press Club to Sindh Assembly Building to protest discriminatory, dual, black and apartheid SPLGA-2012.

Sindhi Adabi Sangat and Sindh Writers and Thinkers Forum jointly organized a human chain from Karachi Press Club to Sindh Assembly Building on Sunday to protest against passage of Sindh Peoples Local Government Ordinance (SPLGO) 2012. A large number of writers, poets, journalists, civil society activists and politicians took part in making the human chain. Amid tight security by police around the Sindh Assembly building the participants also comprised of women and children who were restricted at the Arts Council round-about, where they gathered and the leaders addressed to the participants. The police had closed down the gates along the road leading towards Sindh Secretariat and Sindh Assembly. Dr. Mushtaq Phul, General Secretary of Sindhi Adabi Sangat, noted writers and authors Agha Saleem, Irshad Memon, Noor Ahmed Memon, Inam Shaikh, Ishtiaq Ansari, Gul Hassan Kalmati, Qabool Abro, Manzoor Solangi, Murtaza Sial, veteran Sindhi poets Akash Ansari, Hidayat Baloch, authors journalist Dastagir Bhatti and G. N. Mughal, Hamsafar Gadahi politicians Ismail Rahu, Ali Hassan Chandio, Shafi Mohammad Jamote, civil society activists Prof. Mushtaq Mirani, Muzaffar Chandio and Zulfiqar Halepoto were the prominent among the participants of the human chain.

Even Faryal Talpur is scared

KARACHI: While the city continues to lose its citizens by the dozens to sectarian and targeted attacks, MNA Faryal Talpur, who is the sister of President Asif Ali Zardari and head of the Pakistan People’s women wing, has filed a petition at the Sindh High Court and complained that she has not been provided adequate security. ….

Read more » The Express Tribune

http://tribune.com.pk/story/463925/even-faryal-talpur-is-scared/