Why Islamabad and Punjab are against the devolution of HEC?

by Dr Azhar A. Shah

Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff (FAPUASA) held its two day annual meeting on April 9-10, 2011 and discussed the devolution of HEC. According to Dawn, “.. the federation had failed to take a firm stand so far because its Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan chapters were in favour of HEC`s devolution, while Punjab, AJK and Islamabad had opposed the move. Therefore, its office-bearers had decided to wait for the Supreme Court`s ruling” (http://www.dawn.com/2011/04/11/prime-minister-has-shelved-hec-devolution-for-now.html).

Though I am not aware of the bylaws of FAPUASA but it seems an open breach of the democratic rights of its three constituent units (Sindh, KP, Balochistan) whose voices are subdued by its single chapter and its territories (Islamabad and Kashmir). Instead of supporting the voice of three federating units, the FAPUASA has given weightage and honor to an appeal that is against the wishes of the three provinces! This act is by no means acceptable to us and we the faculty members of these three federating units/ states/ provinces demand an official apology from FAPUASA along with declaration of strong support for the devolution of HEC with immediate effect.

We are aware of the history of our country and we know it very well why Islamabad and Punjab academicians are against the devolution! Please stop glorifying and defending this discriminatory organization and don’t make hurdles in the implementation of the 18th constitutional amendment passed by federal assembly.

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, April 11, 2011.

Balochistan what way forward?

Sana Bacha is anchoring a program “Lekin” on very important issue of Baluchistan. Most of the grievances and demands of Balochs are valid. …

Courtesy: Geo TV (Program Lekin with Sana Bacha, 11 April, 2011)

via – Siasat.pkYou Tube

Bahrain or Bust?

Pakistan should think twice before meddling in the Middle East.

By Miranda Husain

Excerpt:

Less than three weeks after Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) forces, led by Saudi Arabia, entered Bahrain to aid the anti-democracy crackdown there, dignitaries from both oil-rich kingdoms did their separate rounds in Pakistan. The royal houses of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain are nervous, and they need Pakistan’s mercenaries, and—if necessary—military muscle to shore them up.

This is a remarkable turn of events for Asif Ali Zardari, who had been trying since he was elected president in 2008 to secure Saudi oil on sweetheart terms. He had been unsuccessful in his efforts because … Saudis view his leadership with some degree of skepticism. It also doesn’t help that Zardari, … is big on improving relations with … Tehran. Riyadh now appears inclined to export oil on terms that better suit cash-strapped Islamabad. Manama, too, wants to play ball. It wants increased defense cooperation and has pledged to prioritize Pakistan’s hopes for a free-trade agreement with the GCC in return. But Zardari and his Army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, should fight the urge to get mired in the Middle East. …

“The U.S. has counted on Pakistan to help control the Arab world and safeguard Arab rulers from their own populations,” says Chomsky. “Pakistan was one of the ‘cops on the beat’ that the Nixon administration had in mind when outlining their doctrine for controlling the Arab world,” he says. Pakistan has such “severe internal problems” that it may not be able to play this role even if asked to. But the real reason that Pakistan should avoid this role is so that it can stand on the right side of history, alongside those who are fighting for democracy.

To read full article : NewsWeekPakistan

Will It Be Punjab V/S The Rest Again?

Government Judiciary Row III, Reopening of Bhutto Case: Will It Be Punjab V/S The Rest Again?

By Aijaz Ahmed

Supreme Court of Pakistan has fixed initial hearing on 13th April in the presidential reference to reopen Zulfikar Ali Bhutto case and its decision is yet to come but the president’s move has already generated a heated debate is in the country. While some people have expressed their support for the reference calling it a chance for the apex court to correct a historic wrong, there are some people, groups and parties on the other side of the fence, mainly from Punjab, who have opposed the move and termed it as an attempt to further divide an already divided country.

Be it PML-N that took a surprising anti-establishment stance in the recent years after Musharraf ousted its leader from power and the country and a pro Iftikhar Chaudhry led judiciary stance since March 2007 or Tehrik e Insaaf, Jamaat e Islami or other religious parties, all are on same page in this case. …

Read more : Indus Herald

HEC issue to end up in the Supreme Court

By Zubair Shah

KARACHI: It is true that after the passage of 18th Constitutional Amendment, the Pakistani federation is inching towards the constitutional sketch made public in the Muslim League’s famous 1940 Lahore Resolution. However, this journey is not without a tough resistance by the country’s entrenched pro status quo centripetal forces, who would like to see a strong centre at the expense of federating units. Nothing highlights this phenomenon better than the drama around the planned devolution of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) announced recently.

Soon after the announcement, a smear campaign was launched by centripetal forces, who have been advocating and supporting the status quo based on numerous technical and legal grounds with apocalyptic predictions. …

Read more : Daily Times

Participants of dialogue advocate HEC devolution

PESHAWAR: Participants of a dialogue here Sunday advocated devolution of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) to the provinces.

They resolved to resist any hurdle in the way of devolving power to the federating units and said opposing the 18th Amendment was betrayal of the Constitution as the amendment had been passed by the elected parliament.

Pakhtunkhwa Civil Society Network (PCSN) had organised the dialogue on ‘18th Amendment and Institutional Arrangements at Provincial Level after Devolution of Higher Education Commission’ attended by people from different walks of life including professors, doctors, activists of NGOs and representatives of political parties. …

Read more : THE NEWS

Problems of Sindhi Nationalism – What way forward?

Written by Dr Beenish Shoro

Excerpt:

…. In Pakistan the national question exists in its worst form because Pakistan itself is an example of a failed nation state. Pakistan was created as a result of the partition of the Indian subcontinent as the British imperialists and the local/national bourgeois leaders feared that a united national liberation would not stop there but would move towards a social transformation that would overthrow landlordism, capitalism and the imperialist strangle hold. To avoid a socialist revolution they conspired and split the movement along religious lines that led to the reactionary and traumatic partition of a land that had more than five thousand years of common history, cultural and socio economic existence.

Pakistan was founded not as a nation state, but as a state made up of nationalities. Even the abbreviations which form the word Pakistan are a testimony to this fact. This corresponds to its belated character. … National oppression has been brutal and rough ever since the country came into being. ….

….the separation of Bangladesh, the inability to resolve regional and sectarian disputes, the inability to sustain a clear concept and direction to Pakistan’s Nationalism and finally failure to create a modern cohesive nation state.

Pakistan’s political system is dominated by elite groups. In addition it faces the dilemma of chronic military rule. ….

….Sindh, the southern most province of the state possesses one of the most varied demographical set-ups in Pakistan. There is a very fragile ethnic balance between Sindhis and non-Sindhis. After partition many of the immigrants from Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh in India moved mainly to Karachi, but also to Hyderabad, Sukkur and other cities of Sindh.

This massive influx of Mohajirs from India and other nationalities resulted in a greater control of people from this transmigration over the economy, jobs and posts in the state apparatus. Although this phenomenon had a greater impact on urban Sindh, the deprivation was felt also in rural Sindh especially amongst the Sindhi middle classes. The acquisition of State and other lands by Punjab Generals and other settlers further aggravated this feeling of national deprivation amongst the Sindhi populace. There are several other factors which fuelled these sentiments. ….

….At the heart of nationalist sentiments in Pakistan is the perception by non-Punjabis that the Punjabi nationality dominates the economy, politics, society and the state. There is considerable evidence to support this perception. First, Punjabis constitute a majority of the population, approximately 60%; second, they dominate the civilian bureaucracy and the military; third, the Punjab is by far the wealthiest and most developed province in the state. And this perception is ironically fuelled by governmental policies designed to assuage such perceptions. ….

…. G. M. Syed can rightly be considered as the founder of Sindhi nationalism. He formed the Sindh Progressive Party in 1947 and demanded provincial autonomy within a socialist framework. In 1953 he formed the SindhAwami Mahaz. G. M. Syed himself a middle sized landlord represented the grievances of that class as well. …

… There have been several movements in Sindh over the last 60 years but there are three very significant mass upsurges that shook the echelons of power in Islamabad. These are the movements of 1968-69, 1983 and to some extent that of 1986. All these movements had different intensities, character, orientation and motivations. …

Zia was the son of a Mullah who had migrated from Eastern (Indian) Punjab and was American-trained at Fort Bragg. His atrocities, his make up and his background were enough to provoke massive hatred from the masses in Sindh. Zia’s repression of the Sindh was no less than the brutalities of British colonialists inflicted upon the mass of the subcontinent and other colonies. All this unleashed a glorious movement of the Sindhi masses against the military dictatorship. Although this movement had significant nationalist overtones, fundamentally it was linked to the general class resentment against this regime.

The movement failed because the regime was able to foster ethnic and nationalist discord especially in urban Sindh and in other main cities and provinces of Pakistan. In Karachi the Pakistani state devised the instrument of the MQM, the Punjabi Pushtoon Ittehad, Islamic fundamentalists and other reactionary outfits to break the momentum of struggle that was developing along class lines.

Still the movement raged on. In such circumstances whenever national antagonisms coincided with class contradictions they became especially hot. According to the official figures 1263 innocent people were slaughtered by the army in rural Sindh while thousands more were injured. There are heroic episodes of resistance that have now become legends in Sindhi folklore. …

… In 1986 the movement in Sindh was actually the last nail in Zia’s coffin. …

… If we in Sindh should achieve “freedom” through the same phenomenon as in Bangladesh we may well get freedom from non-Sindhi capitalists, but we will be all the more cruelly exploited by Sindhi capitalists and landlords. These nationalists do not want freedom from poverty, misery, unemployment; they just want freedom to establish control over their own market where they could extract a huge surplus by squeezing the last drop of the workers’ blood.

The feudal landlords want freedom to exploit the peasants and working class …

… We will take revenge for the crime of partition of India through the formation of a Red Revolutionary Subcontinent. As Comrade Lal khan says, “The unification of the Indian subcontinent will be on a much higher plane than the 1947 Partition.” …

To read full article :→ Marxist.com