The men on horseback – Dr Manzur Ejaz

… Neither Altaf Hussain is going to change nor the Military

We can appreciate the military’s flood relief work but if this disaster is partly man-made, the military has to take responsibility because it has been ruling the country most of the time

The Pakistani military’s help during these devastating floods is appropriate but not outstanding because people have complained about its delayed response. The military’s flood relief work is not exceptional because no other institution in any country has such a large and organised force that it can take care of a disaster of the scale where one-fifth of the population is affected. Even the US had to bring in army engineers during Hurricane Katrina. The only difference is that in democratic countries, the civilian chief executive orders the military to help, but in Pakistan the military’s work is projected as the performance of an opposition party doing a better job than the civilians.

Continue reading The men on horseback – Dr Manzur Ejaz

Rural Sindh is the most backward area in all of Asia

A New Deal in Pakistan – By William Dalrymple

The province of Sindh in southern Pakistan is a rural region of dusty mudbrick villages, of white-domed blue-tiled Sufi shrines, and of salty desert scrublands broken, quite suddenly, by flood plains of wonderful fecundity. These thin, fertile belts of green—cotton fields, rice paddies, cane breaks, and miles of checkerboard mango orchards—snake along the banks of the Indus River as it meanders its sluggish, silted, café-au-lait way through the plains of Pakistan down to the shores of the Arabian Sea.

Read more >> The New York Review of Books

Advocate General for Sindh calls for scrapping of Objectives Resolution

Sindh AG calls for scrapping of Objectives Resolution

“I would request the apex court to be very cautious for the sake of the future generation while deciding these petitions,” said Sindh’s Advocate General Yousuf Leghari to the Supreme Court.

ISLAMABAD: Sindh’s Advocate General Yousuf Leghari surprised the Supreme Court bench hearing challenges to the 18th Amendment in the Constitution on Monday when he said he was against the inclusion of the Objectives Resolution in the 1973 Constitution because it had been made the preamble to the constitution by rightists during the period of a military dictator.

The Objectives Resolution (OR) was passed by the First Constituent Assembly in March 12, 1949, after it was proposed by then prime minister Liaquat Ali Khan.

It envisages that the constitution of Pakistan will be democratic and based on the fundamental laws of Islam.

The resolution was inserted as the substantive part of the constitution through the Eighth Amendment when Gen Ziaul Haq was in power.

In a brief but bold stance taken before the court, the AG Sindh called for deleting the Objectives Resolutions from the constitution, saying it had been included in the constitution in a dubious manner because it was very difficult to maintain the alleged hegemony of a particular province, especially in the presence of the then East Pakistan which was in majority at that time.

He severely criticised the basic structure theory and said that the petitioners who had challenged the 18th Amendment and relied on the theory were trying for the revival of the law of necessity under which the Supreme Court had always validated unconstitutional steps taken by military dictators. “Federalism is the only basic structure of the constitution,” he emphasised. He alleged that the Supreme Court had constituted the 17-judge bench only to hand down a law which would be very difficult to be overruled in future.

“Therefore I would request the apex court to be very cautious for the sake of the future generation while deciding these petitions,” Mr Leghari said.

He was of the view that the court had no jurisdiction to entertain these challenges under its jurisdiction on the enforcement of the fundamental rights because not a mala fide act by the parliament to amend the Constitution and adopt the 18th Amendment.

Read more >> DAWN

‘Pakistan—Marvelous people, dangerous confusions’ – By Shiraz Paracha

… While waiting for my turn, I heard the people around me talking about threats to Islam and how bad the Pakistani rulers were. Most people in the waiting area of the hospital had common opinions. They saw the world in black and white.

For the last 10 years, I visit Pakistan every few months. During each visit, I see that more and more of my friends and relatives have grown beards in a race to become ‘good Muslims’. Children are named after Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. The number of mosques and visits to mosques has increased tremendously in the past two decades. Young people are joining preaching tours of the Tabligi Jamat. There is a fear that Islam is in danger. Most ordinary people believe in a past that is glorified in school textbooks as well as in the media. People dream of an ideal Islamic society where all their problems will be resolved. Nevertheless, everyone appears to have his or her own interpretation of such Islamic society.

Religious zeal has been rising in Pakistan since the 1980s when the country was under a US-backed military dictatorship …

To read full article >> criticalppp

Devastating Pakistan floods finally heading to sea

By ASHRAF KHAN, Associated Press Writer

KARACHI, Pakistan – Floodwaters that have devastated Pakistan for five weeks headed to the Arabian Sea on Tuesday after swallowing two final towns, but the challenges of delivering emergency aid to 8 million people remained.

The floods have moved down from the mountainous northwest, submerging or affecting almost one-fifth of the country at their peak. Waters have begun to recede in the north and in the eastern province of Punjab, but they have been submerging towns in southern Sindh province close to the Indus River over the last 10 days.

The scale of the disaster has raised concerns about the stability of nuclear-armed Pakistan, which is already reeling from al-Qaida and Taliban violence and massive economic woes.

Read more >> YahooNews

Nawab Bugti Remembered by the Baloch and Sindhis in the UK

London : Press Release – A remembrance meeting in London paid high tribute to Nawab Akber Bugti on his 4th martyrdom anniversary. The function was organized by the Baloch Human Rights Council (UK) and World Sindhi Congress in the London University Union Building on Sunday 29th August 2010. The meeting was presided over by the Baloch intellectual & writer and the Coordinator of Sindhi Baloch forum Dr. Naseer Dashti and was attended by a large number of Baloch, Sindhis and other human rights activists in the UK. Samad Baloch General Secretary BHRC (UK) conducted the proceedings of the meeting.

One minute silence was observed to pay respect to Nawab Bugti. A number of speakers paid tributes to Nawab Akber Bugti for his services to the Baloch and for sacrificing his life for the salvation of his nation.

Prominent among those who paid rich homage to the legendary Baloch leader included Dr. Lakhu Luhana, Mrs. Stella, Mir Aslam Buledi, Jamshed Amiri, Rahim Bandovi, Abdulla Baloch, Walid Garboni, Hashim Baloch, Mehrab Sarjovi, Ghulam Raza Hosseinbor, Dr. Haleem Bahtti, Mir Ghulam Hussain , Ms Suriya Makhdooom and Qadir Jatoi. The speakers urged the Baloch and Sindhi people to follow the legendary leader’s actions as the two nations are facing the most critical moment in their national history.

Continue reading Nawab Bugti Remembered by the Baloch and Sindhis in the UK

Flood devastation and fixing of responsibility

by Altaf Hussain, Hyderabad, Sindh

The deluge that brought immeasurable agony and destruction in the country was not unanticipated as China weather department had given forewarning of harsh monsoon months before the rains started. Whereas Sindh was even aware precisely about the magnitude of impending super floods as torrents which destroyed much of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and inundated southern Punjab was ultimately destined to discharge in Arabian Sea through river Indus.

Thus the super flood ultimately hit with full ferocity the fragile dykes of Sindh and inundated almost 1/3 of the province was not a surprise. Almost most of its northern districts have been submerged into flood waters leaving millions of people shelter less. Their only livelihood the standing crop and livestock has vanished. Once living contended in their huts and small houses since centuries these people are now nomads in their own homeland; malnourished sick and with no future in sight.

Now question arise as to who is responsible for the agony of millions of people? Although floods of high magnitude have pass through Indus system almost once in a decade but the scale of present destruction is unheard of in the history of floods. The reasons are obvious. Not only upkeep of protective Bunds was completely ignored and left to builders mafias to dig its gravel for construction, especially near big towns but the reverine forests existed on both sides of riverbed and used to protect the dykes were mercilessly slaughtered and virgin lands were allotted to influential people. They created there own dukes to protect their crops; one of the major cause of damaging the protective Bunds.

Obviously the maintenance and upkeep of Bunds is the sole responsibility of Provincial Irrigation Department. For which millions of rupees are allocated in the budget every year. The Irrigation Department not only failed to maintain the protective Bunds but when the crises unfolded abandoned its responsibility handing over maintenance to Pak Army. Now the senior irrigation people apart from justifying their failure sheepishly in talk shows are almost non existent on the sites.

The handing over safety of Bunds to Army at eleventh hour could not save millions of people from total ruin and obviously will not absolve Irrigation department from the destruction wrought by the river even in settled/pacca areas. This is clear cut case of dereliction on the part of irrigation department requiring independent judicial commission to fix guilt and take to task those howsoever powerful they may be who are found responsible.

The present regime, which claims to have roots in the masses, has to take immediate action against the culprits for whose negligence entire Sindh has suffered incalculable destruction.

August 29, 2010

Manufacturing Martial Law?

We Pakistanis have a finely developed sense of conspiracy, so when we see the army’s usual supporters out in force, we naturally suspect that the army is behind this and is itching to take over

by Omar Ali

Pakistan is in the grip of one of its periodic eruptions of speculation about impending martial law. At least, it looks like that on TV. For weeks, the largest news channel in the country has been shamelessly promoting the army’s role in flood relief as if the army is an opposition party, bravely stepping in to do work that the “corrupt politicians” who rule the country do not want to —or  cannot —do. The fact that the army is an instrument of the state and that its efforts are part and parcel of the sitting government’s response to the emergency has not registered with the anchors at [ ] news.

It has not stopped there: various failed politicians who are unable to survive on their own, but always find a happy home under martial law, are crawling out of the woodwork to lament the terrible situation and endlessly repeat the phrase “after all, things cannot go on like this, something must be done”. But what is this “something”? Do they want the sitting government to resign? Do they want the opposition to bring in a vote of no-confidence? Do they perhaps want the president to dissolve the assemblies? No, none of these legal or quasi-legal alternatives will do in this hour of national emergency. What has set their tongues wagging is the possibility that “patriotic generals” may be forced to step in and save the country. And as if on cue, the MQM’s Altaf Hussain has stepped forward with the suggestion that a “patriotic general” may indeed be better than “feudal politicians”. Naturally all this has raised the hopes of some sections of the Punjabi middle class, who are eternally unhappy with the “illiterate masses” and “corrupt politicians” and apparently go to bed dreaming of Bonaparte riding in on his white horse to “create more provinces and increase national unity and sense of purpose”.

Read more >> OutLook

China’s Discreet Hold on Pakistan’s Northern Borderlands

By SELIG S. HARRISON

While the world focuses on the flood-ravaged Indus River valley, a quiet geopolitical crisis is unfolding in the Himalayan borderlands of northern Pakistan, where Islamabad is handing over de facto control of the strategic Gilgit-Baltistan region in the northwest corner of disputed Kashmir to China.

The entire Pakistan-occupied western portion of Kashmir stretching from Gilgit in the north to Azad (Free) Kashmir in the south is closed to the world, in contrast to the media access that India permits in the eastern part, where it is combating a Pakistan-backed insurgency. But reports from a variety of foreign intelligence sources, Pakistani journalists and Pakistani human rights workers reveal two important new developments in Gilgit-Baltistan: a simmering rebellion against Pakistani rule and the influx of an estimated 7,000 to 11,000 soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army.

China wants a grip on the region to assure unfettered road and rail access to the Gulf through Pakistan. It takes 16 to 25 days for Chinese oil tankers to reach the Gulf. When high-speed rail and road links through Gilgit and Baltistan are completed, China will be able to transport cargo from Eastern China to the new Chinese-built Pakistani naval bases at Gwadar, Pasni and Ormara, just east of the Gulf, within 48 hours.

Many of the P.L.A. soldiers entering Gilgit-Baltistan are expected to work on the railroad. Some are extending the Karakoram Highway, built to link China’s Sinkiang Province with Pakistan. Others are working on dams, expressways and other projects.

Read more >> The New York Times

Behind Altaf’s appeal to ‘patriotic generals’

Every news channel reported the alleged involvement of local feudal lords in diverting the flood to save their own lands but not even a single channel openly dared question how many villages were inundated to save Shahbaz Air Base?

Ever since its inception in 1978 just a year after the military coup spearheaded by General Zia, MQM (or its predecessor APMSO) has invoked controversies. Despite controversies, the MQM has always been a partner in every government one way or the other ever since 1988. Given the insecurity Muhajirs have felt in this country, the MQM furthers the interests of a certain class amongst the Urdu speaking population of Pakistan’s largest city while on the other hand, given the structure of politics in Pakistan where military and civil establishment has always been the decisive force, the MQM has always tried to maneuver a sort of win-win situation. This makes MQM an interesting case in Pakistani politics, a party popular and penetrating amongst its supporters and on the other hand a “front man” for establishment. It is only in this background that we can analyze the recent statement of Altaf Hussain regarding his “unconditional and open” support for a possible “martial law type” action intended to “purge” the political scene from “corrupt politicians” taken by “patriotic generals”.

Altaf’s party, as usual, is a coalition partner in the current set up but it seems all is not well for the MQM this time. Fight for control over Karachi has taken a new turn this time as we witness two provincial seats won by Pakhtoon nationalist Awami National Party (ANP) from Karachi. …

Read more >> ViewPoint

It will be in the interest of the army if it stayed away from politics: Chaudhry Nisar

PML-N seeks army, govt’s response to MQM remarks

By Amir Wasim

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Muslim League-N has urged the army to clarify its position on the appeal made by MQM chief Altaf Hussain to ‘patriotic generals’ to take ‘martial law-like action against corrupt politicians’.

“Ask ISPR (army’s public relations department) to make a comment on it. I personally believe that the army should present its viewpoint,” Chaudhry Nisar, Leader of Opposition in National Assembly, said in reply to a question at a press conference on Saturday.

Chaudhry Nisar said it would be in the interest of the army if it stayed away from politics. “Please, let the army do its job. It is in the interest of the army, country and all institutions as Pakistan’s future lies in democracy. Today, when they (army) have returned to their original work, don’t distract them.” …

Read more >> DAWN

Sindhis Scramble to Escape Floods

Pakistanis Scramble to Escape Floods

By CARLOTTA GALL

THATTA, Pakistan — This town had already been evacuated because of the threat of flooding, but it filled up again on Saturday with tens of thousands of people fleeing floodwaters that had inundated surrounding districts and villages after the Indus River broke its embankments in several places.

Families camped in front of the courthouse, in a park, in an ancient cemetery, in schools, at intersections and on scrub land for miles on the edge of the town. There was no organization to it: people tied their cattle to bushes, rigged up awnings with colored cloth on sticks or tipped rope beds on their ends to create shade from the stifling heat of 104 degrees. Within hours thousands more people had swarmed into the town, many of them on foot. …

Read more >> The New York Times

Pakistan – Rumour, rumour, everywhere

By Cyril Almeida

When gossip is your oxygen, expect all sorts of silly rumours to proliferate. And when politics is your national sport, the silliness tends to grow exponentially.

Like the monster hiding in the cupboard that parents use to scare their children, the government is being warned, ‘Shape up or Kayani will come and eat your dinner’. The MQM’s warning to the PPP has been lapped up by conspiracy theorists eager to see …

Read more >> DAWN

I’m Alive – Celine Dion

I get wings to fly

I’m alive …

When you call on me

When I hear you breathe

I get wings to fly

I feel that I’m alive

When you look at me

I can touch the sky

I know that I’m alive

When you bless the day

I just drift away

All my worries die

I’m glad that I’m alive

You’ve set my heart on fire

Filled me with love

Made me a woman on clouds above

I couldn’t get much higher

My spirit takes flight

‘Cause I am alive

When you call on me

(When you call on me)

When I hear you breathe

(When I hear you breathe)

I get wings to fly

I feel that I’m alive

(I am alive)

When you reach for me

(When you reach for me)

Raising spirits high

God knows that…

That I’ll be the one

Standing by through good and through trying times

And it’s only begun

I can’t wait for the rest of my life

When you call on me

(When you call on me)

When you reach for me

(When you reach for me)

I get wings to fly

I feel that…

When you bless the day

(When you bless, you bless the day)

I just drift away

(I just drift away)

All my worries die

I know that I’m alive

I get wings to fly

God knows that I’m alive

>> Link

Pakistan’s ugly secret – Pervez Hoodbhoy

There is a complete blackout on the effects of uranium mining in Dera Ismail Khan in south Punjab. Researchers too were defeated by the powerful nuclear establishment that keeps even health information as a national secret.

Sadly, absolutely nothing is known about disposal of nuclear waste in Pakistan. Are the authorities dumping low-level wastes in the sea or river? Where and how do they plan to bury the high-level wastes that will be lethal for thousands of years to come? Also, there is a complete blackout on the effects of uranium mining in Dera Ismail Khan in south Punjab. About 10 years ago, mine workers and other affected villagers had banded together after large numbers fell sick from lung disease and cancer. To the dismay of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, they managed to produce a petition for the Lahore High Court. But,as invariably happens, the powers that be forced them to withdraw their case and some token compensation was given. Researchers too were defeated by the powerful nuclear establishment that keeps even health information as a national secret.

There are, however, other aspects of Pakistan’s nuclear programme that I have focused upon earlier and bring up yet again:

Pakistan got nothing from The Bomb

About twelve years ago a million Pakistanis danced in the streets after six nuclear weapons had been successfully tested. They had been told that making nuclear bombs was the biggest thing a country could do. Burma is said to be trying to make a bomb and may succeed too, but surely the North Korean nuclear test gave rock-solid proof that we Pakistanis have been fed a diet of lies.

North Korea is a country that no one admires. It is unknown for scientific achievement, has little electricity or fuel, food and medicine are scarce, corruption is ubiquitous, and its people live in terribly humiliating conditions under a vicious, dynastic dictatorship. In a famine some years ago, North Korea lost nearly 800,000 people. And it has an enormous prison population of 200,000 that is subjected to systematic torture and abuse.

Why does a miserable, starving country continue spending its last penny on the Bomb? On developing and testing a fleet of missiles whose range increases from time to time? The answer is clear: North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missiles are instruments of blackmail rather than means of defence. Brandished threateningly, and manipulated from time to time, these bombs are designed to keep the flow of international aid going.

Surely the people of North Korea gained nothing from their country’s nuclearisation. But they cannot challenge their oppressors. But, Pakistanis — who are far freer — must ask: what have we gained from the bomb? …

Read more >> ViewPoint

Crush of Refugees Inflames Karachi

Local government says it can accommodate one million, but with some 30,000 in camps, ethnic tensions are rising

By TOM WRIGHT

KARACHI, Pakistan—Hundreds of thousands of refugees from Pakistan’s devastating floods are seeking shelter in this city of 18 million, exacerbating ethnic strife that has already escalated this year and threatens to destabilize the government of President Asif Ali Zardari.

Most of the refugees are ethnic Sindhis from areas outside Karachi, the capital of Sindh province, whose homes and livelihoods have been destroyed in the flooding that began more than three weeks ago.

Read more >> WALL STREET JOURNAL

The Anarchic Republic of Pakistan

by Ahmed Rashid

THERE IS perhaps no other political-military elite in the world whose aspirations for great-power regional status, whose desire to overextend and outmatch itself with meager resources, so outstrips reality as that of Pakistan. If it did not have such dire consequences for 170 million Pakistanis and nearly 2 billion people living in South Asia, this magical thinking would be amusing.

This is a country that sadly appears on every failing-state list and still wants to increase its arsenal from around 60 atomic weapons to well over 100 by buying two new nuclear reactors from China. This is a country isolated and friendless in its own region, facing unprecedented homegrown terrorism from extremists its army once trained, yet it pursues a “forward policy” in Afghanistan to ensure a pro-Pakistan government in Kabul as soon as the Americans leave.

For a state whose economy is on the skids and dependent on the IMF for massive bailouts, whose elite refuse to pay taxes, whose army drains an estimated 20 percent of the country’s annual budget, Pakistan continues to insist that peace with India is impossible for decades to come. For a country that was founded as a modern democracy for Muslims and non-Muslims alike and claims to be the bastion of moderate Islam, it has the worst discriminatory laws against minorities in the Muslim world and is being ripped apart through sectarian and extremist violence by radical groups who want to establish a new Islamic emirate in South Asia. …

Courtesy: >> NationalInterest

Sindh – Evacuation of 4 million people from Thatto district while flood water is gushing into the area

Sijawal -Thatta : Nusrat Javed and Mustaq Minhaas, the reporters of Dunya TV are reporting that there is a breach in embankment of river near Sijawal and Bbano at Bbalo point in Thatto district and flood water is gushing into area from mighty Indus river (Sindhu river).  Approximately, 2 to 4 million people are rushing from the area towards higher grounds. Evacuation of citizens are continue….

Courtesy: Dunya TV

Via >> Zem TV

>> Link