Pakistan’s prize bluffer —Dr Mohammad Taqi

While the disaster management efforts of the present government in the wake of the massive floods are shoddy at best, to call for a quasi-military rule in a country that has suffered four martial laws is to submerge it in a bigger deluge

“Mussolini is the biggest bluffer in Europe. If Mussolini had me taken out and shot tomorrow morning, I would still regard him as a bluff. Get a hold of a good photo of Signor Mussolini sometime and study it. You will see the weakness in his mouth that forces him to scowl the famous Mussolini scowl that is imitated by every 19-year old Fascisto in Italy. Study his past record” — ‘Mussolini, Europe’s prize bluffer’, Earnest Hemingway, The Toronto Daily Star, 1923.

While the discussion about who breached which river embankment and why goes on, Pakistan’s prize bluffer has attempted to breach the bulwark of democracy itself.

The undisputed leader of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Mr Altaf Hussain, has called for patriotic generals to take action similar to a martial law against corrupt politicians. Is this a cry for help from a bleeding heart or a vicious threat? The past record says it all. All the scowling, verbosity and thunder — part theatrics and part cheap imitation of the late Allama Rasheed Turabi — cannot hide an inherent insecurity that a chauvinist enterprise feels in a functional democracy.

Packaged to look like a statement made at the behest of the military brass, the sinister pot shot at democracy is a bluff by an arch-Bonapartist looking for a strongman to protect his fiefdom in southern Sindh. Add to it the August 20, 2010 meeting — a diplomatic routine — between Mr Hussain and the US State Department functionary, Bryan Hunt, and one has all sides thinking that the other wants a change of guard. But the timing could not be worse: Mr Hussain has added insult to the massive injury caused by the floods. On one occasion where the MQM had an opportunity to jettison its neo-fascist baggage and help the nation recover and rebuild, its leader has stuck to his myopic agenda pursued through intrigue.

Read more: → Daily Times

Don’t act surprised

by George Fulton

Oh, the shock! Oh, the disgust! Oh, the outrage over the barbaric killings in Sialkot! The media, the blogosphere, facebookers have been going into hyperactive overdrive to out condemn one another over the senseless killings of the two teenage boys. Some have frothed with self-righteous anger, some have put the blame on poverty and illiteracy (a self-serving defence that ignores the violent solutions advocated in many a swanky drawing room discussion), some on the breakdown of the social contract between the state and the individual. But all seem shocked by the barbarity on display. But why are we surprised? Why the denial? Hasn’t it always been thus?

We are, and have always been, a barbaric, degenerate nation revelling in bloodlust. Our nation was forged during a bloody partition — in which up to one million people were massacred. One just has to read eyewitness accounts of the riots, the train butchery, the brutal rapes and slaughter of that period to get a feel of the heady, almost orgasmic, delight that the perpetrators of these crimes revelled in as the nation was born.

The lynching itself is nothing new. Read any report by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and you will see that this is a fairly regular occurrence. Christians, Hindus, homosexuals, suspected paedophiles and robbers have been killed at the hands of mob justice. And what about Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and his daughter Benazir? Were they not just killed by a more sophisticated form of mob justice? …

Read more >> The Express Tribune

MQM call of martial law in Pakistan

Sindh Democratic Forum (SDF) has noted with grave concern, the statement made by MQM chief Altaf Hussain regarding imposition of martial law and has demanded that under article 6 of the constitution a case of high treason be lodged against him and he should be brought back to Pakistan through Interpol to face the charge.

SDF has expressed the surprise on the supporting statements of Pir Pagara and Imran Khan and says that these forces are the protégés of the agencies, created by military dictators like Ayub, Yahya, ZiaulHaq and Musharraf and they feel suffocated in the democratic rule in the country.

The present democratic system has come to the country after the great sacrifices of the people of Pakistan, where unfortunately nation has lost its finest daughter Benazir Bhutto and hundreds of other political workers and citizens in the war against military rule of Musharraf. Today MQM being partner of the democratic government is adding salt to the injuries and insulting the mandate of the millions of people of Pakistan who have voted for a democratic Pakistan.

SDF further expresses that Pakistan has faced complete destruction of democracy, political systems and constitutionalism in Pakistan at the hands of the military dictatorships especially under the martial laws which has weakened the federation and democratic process. The seed of hatred among the federating units and nations was sown by the military rules under martial laws. The separation of east Pakistan, the creation of one unit, conflict on water and natural resource distribution have also been the results of long military interventions in the country.

The critical challenges country is facing today including talibanisation, religious fundamentalism, sectarian and ethnic divide, rise to poverty, hunger, unemployment and corruption are the result of anti-people and anti-democratic rule in the country.

SDF resolves that the present style of governance is not satisfactory as there is not much progress on both internal and external fronts but this does not mean that army rule should be welcomed. It is only democratic government which is accountable to the people of Pakistan.

SDF says that the democracy and progress loving people of Pakistan has a firm believe that martial laws and dictatorship has never been a suitable alternate to democracy in any scenario and that’s why they keep on voting for democracy in the country and support peoples rule through political parties.

SDF welcomes the straight forward statement of PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif and says that he has spoken the sentiments of millions of peace and democracy loving people of Pakistan.

SDF shows great surprise over the hypocrite silence of PPP and asks the government to stop the so-called policy of reconciliation and get MQM out of the government at federal and provincial levels and demand removal of the signatures of MQM representatives from the documents of 18th amendment, which took oath that only rule of law, constitutionalism and democracy will be supreme in the country.

Pakistan’s human cockroaches

By Fasi Zaka

Pakistan, you are a failed state. Not because of Zardari. Not because of America. But because you are a failed people, all of us undeserving of sympathy. We are diseased, rotten to every brain stem, world please make an impenetrable fence around us, keep us all in so we don’t spread it to other people, other countries.

These were words I posted on a social networking website. I have an unusually negative mindset these days. It happened after I saw the video of the two teenage brothers brutally clubbed to death by a crowd frenzied with blood thirst in Sialkot. The police watched gleefully. The video has blurs at certain parts, but even this sensible sensitivity does not prevent one from seeing mists of blood flaying from the heads of these teens as they are hit relentlessly, and remorselessly, again and again.

The murderous crowd was truly representative of the richness of Pakistan. Some wear jeans, others shalwar kameez, some were bearded, others clean shaven. The Pakistanis had gotten together to have some fun.

Do not be shocked. This wasn’t isolated, it’s just that the crowd wanted to make sure their orgasmic moment could be captured for later viewing, at one’s pleasure. We blame our ill-educated brethren for the barbarity we witness, but that’s a self-serving lie.

The middle and upper classes are immune to education it seems. They hold opinions of everyday violence even if they have never raised their hand at anyone. If you believe Jews are the scum of the earth, all Ahmadis deserve to die or that Hindus are inferior, well why not two teenage boys?

I want Pakistanis to feel shame …

Read more >> The Tribune, Karachi

Karachi under siege – Eric Ellis

IT IS a measure of the limited appeal of Karachi, Pakistan’s bumptious commercial capital, that eager taxi drivers try to lure their few tourist passengers to a laundry.

Admittedly, Karachi’s ”dhobi ghats” are perversely impressive in a modern world of Whirlpools; kilometres of downtown riverbank are strewn with shalwar kameez, carpets, undies and so on being pounded, washed and bleached under burning sun by scores of minions, a scene an Asian Hogarth might have conceived.

But a more eloquent statement of how Pakistan struggles to appeal, and why that is a worry for us all in an age of Islamist terror and suicide bombers, is that in a city bursting with a population equal to Australia, this supposed hub of south-Asian banking and business has just two international-standard business hotels. Both are shabby embarrassments to their global brands and neither have been full for years. By contrast, even Manila – capital of south-east Asia’s most infamous economic basket case – boasts the usual 30-odd Hyatts, Shangri-Las and Hiltons.

Is it any wonder? The Pakistani family that owns the Karachi Marriott has seen several of its other properties in Lahore, Rawalpindi and Peshawar devastated by suicide bombings in recent years, killing scores. Their Karachi flagship is sited next door to the US consulate here, which might provide comfort to travellers.

Or might not. Breakfast titter among the Marriott’s few foreign businessmen – usually bluff resource types sussing out Pakistan’s underdone energy sector – has a disquieting morbidity about it, diners speculating when, rather than if, this hotel will be bombed too….

Read more >> SMH