Afghanistan says Rabbani’s killer was Pakistani

– By: AFP

KABUL: Afghanistan said on Sunday that the suicide bomber who assassinated Afghan peace negotiator Burhanuddin Rabbani was a Pakistani national.

Tensions between the neighbours have been rising amid allegations from Afghan officials that Pakistan and its powerful ISI intelligence agency masterminded Rabbani’s assassination and are seeking to destabilise Afghanistan.

An investigative delegation established by President Hamid Karzai said evidence and a confession provided by a man involved in Rabbani’s killing on Sept. 20 had revealed that the bomber was from Chaman and the assassination had been plotted in Quetta, both on the Pakistani side of the border.

“It proves that the assassination of Professor Rabbani was hatched in Quetta and the man who carried out the suicide bombing is a Pakistani national,” the delegation, led by Defence Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak, said in a statement issued by the presidential palace.

“The documents and evidence in hand, details of other accomplices and their phone numbers have been handed over to Pakistan to make arrests,” it said.

Rabbani’s killing derailed efforts to forge dialogue with the Taliban to end the 10-year war, and raised fears of a dangerous widening of Afghanistan’s ethnic rifts.

The High Peace Council, which Rabbani headed, reiterated earlier comments by Karzai that negotiations should continue, but with Pakistan, rather than the Taliban.

“For the groups that are tired of conflict and want to end the killings and destruction inside the country, peace efforts must continue,” the council said in a separate statement issued late on Sunday.

“But because of those who hide in Pakistan with no known address, who send killers (to Afghanistan), we must negotiate with Pakistan instead.”

Hundreds of Afghans took to the streets of Kabul on Sunday to condemn recent shelling of border towns by Pakistan’s army and accuse the ISI of involvement in Rabbani’s killing.

Courtesy: → DAWN.COM

More details → BBC urdu

The rise of people’s media

– By Manzoor Chandio, Karachi, Sindh

A piece of news or information is no more the property of the so-called ministries of information or media barons. New technologies have set free the information from official controls and ‘mainstream media’ newsrooms.

Often called liberating technologies, the cell phone, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. have assumed the role of new modes of disseminating information. They have allowed every citizen to become a publisher or a journalist. Today the first source of information is a mobile, instead of newspapers or TV channels, where one receives breaking news. ….

Read more → Manzoor Chandio’s Blog

Read without prejudice – G.M. Syed – Sindh’s Tolerant Past & Sufism; Traitor saves the day

Traitor saves the day

by Nadeem F. Paracha

It is believed that Sindh, since it’s always been ‘the land of Sufis’, has shown the most resilience to the advent of various events over the decades that have turned Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa into becoming hotbeds of radical, exhibitionistic Islam. This is a very convincing thesis and if one travels across this province one cannot but help notice rather earthly, folk strains of liberalism among the majority of its people.

Yes, but whereas we are told that this is due to Sindh’s tolerant, Sufi past, very few remember that this historical narrative (about Sindhi history and culture) was not exactly constructed hundreds of years ago. Instead, this narrative, that today has kept much of Sindh at bay from puritan forms of the faith, was actually built by a controversial man who was also labelled by the establishment and the religious parties as a ‘traitor’. His name was G M Syed.

In the late 1950s, Syed was a leading part of the left-wing National Awami Party (NAP), a political expression of Sindhi, Baloch, Pashtun and Bengali nationalists opposed to the conservative West Pakistan dominated ruling elite. NAP was banned by the Ayub Khan dictatorship in 1959, and till its revival in 1962, Syed decided to lead a cultural Sindhi nationalist movement. In 1966 when he was released from jail, he did not rejoin NAP and instead formed a cultural organisation called Bazm-i-Sufia-i-Sindh.

The Bazm also boasted some other famous Sindhi scholars, who set out to create an elaborate historical, intellectual and political narrative of Sindhi culture and history, presenting it as distinct, yet based on pluralistic values. This definition ran counter to what had officially been propagated by Pakistan’s military-civilian elite as ‘Pakistani culture’.

The Bazm also tried to prove that the Islam practised by Sindhis was very different from the version that was being ‘enforced by the Pakistani state and the ruling elite’. Bazm scholars maintained that Sindh had always been the land of mystics (Sufis) and Sindhis have had a history of being extremely tolerant of Hindus and other faiths. The Bazm and Syed were clearly proposing that Sindh and the Sindhis could not be integrated by the state of Pakistan due to the stark cultural differences that they had with what became known as ‘Pakistan ideology’ (a term first used by the Jamat-i-Islami in 1967).

The Bazm went a step further when it published a controversial study in late 1966 which stated that Raja Dahir (the 8th century Hindu ruler of pre-Islamic Sindh) was actually a hero to  Sindhis and that Muhammad bin Qasim (the Arab Muslim commander who defeated Dahir and conquered Sindh) was regarded as a usurper. The ruling establishment (being dominated at the time by the Ayub led military regime) and the religious parties at once denounced Syed and the Bazm as traitors.

But this did not stop Syed. He asked the Bazm to create a student wing, the Sindhi Students Cultural Council, that held seminars and lectures across Sindh and imparted the Bazm’s radically revisionist history of Sindh amongst young Sindhis. At the start of the students and workers movement against the Ayub dictatorship in late 1967, the Bazm become part of the Sindh United Front (SUF) — an organisation of Sindhi nationalists that wanted to step in and play their role in the movement. Syed wanted to use the chaos resulting from the movement to bid for Sindh’s separation from Pakistan.

But since by 1968 the movement was revolving around Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (a Sindhi) and his Pakistan People’s Party, G M Syed advised the SUF to incorporate in its ranks those who were not only against Ayub but also against Bhutto. Syed feared that Bhutto would become the biggest hindrance to Sindhi separatism. He was right. Though the Bazm withered away in the early 1970s, its works and ideas have continued to inspire various Sindhi nationalist organisations and the youth.

It is ironic that from 1972 under Bhutto’s rule, his regime heavily borrowed the more moderate aspects of Syed and the Bazm’s Sindhi nationalist thesis and it was during Bhutto’s regime (1972-77) that Sindh began being (officially) called the ‘land of Sufis.’

In another twist of irony, not only is it still called that in Pakistan’s history text books, but is accepted as that by none other than Altaf Hussain’s Mohajir-centric, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and many Punjabi politicians. Also, it is this (once denounced) narrative and its widespread proliferation across the decades in Sindh that has kept the province relatively safe from the kind of puritan radicalisation that Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkha have been witnessing ever since the Zia dictatorship, from the 1980s onwards.

One is not sure what the Sindhis thought about Dahir or Qasim before the 1960s, but it is true that ever since the 1970s, Muhammad Bin Qasim is not so hot as a historical entity in Sindh as he is elsewhere in Pakistan — a fact that, for example, greatly tormented the pro-Jamat-i-Islami ‘historical novelist’ Naseem Hijazi, who had spend a good part of his career turning various Arab commanders into pious supermen.

Courtesy: → DAWN.COM
http://www.dawn.com/2011/10/02/smokers-corner-traitor-saves-the-day.html

Via → Indus Herald

Senior journalist, writer, tv host, analyst & intellectual Sohail waraich on Pakistan’s foreign policy towards Afghanistan

The language of the discussion is urdu (Hindi).

Courtesy: Geo Tv News (Mere Mutabiq with Sohail Waraich – 1st October 2011)

via → Siasat.pkYouTube

Occupy Wall Street rediscovers the radical imagination

– The young people protesting in Wall Street and beyond reject this vain economic order. They have come to reclaim the future

• Police tactics attacked as officers pepper-spray women
• Occupy Wall Street: the protesters speak

by

Why are people occupying Wall Street? Why has the occupation – despite the latest police crackdown – sent out sparks across America, within days, inspiring hundreds of people to send pizzas, money, equipment and, now, to start their own movements called OccupyChicago, OccupyFlorida, in OccupyDenver or OccupyLA?

There are obvious reasons. We are watching the beginnings of the defiant self-assertion of a new generation of Americans, a generation who are looking forward to finishing their education with no jobs, no future, but still saddled with enormous and unforgivable debt. Most, I found, were of working-class or otherwise modest backgrounds, kids who did exactly what they were told they should: studied, got into college, and are now not just being punished for it, but humiliated – faced with a life of being treated as deadbeats, moral reprobates.

Is it really surprising they would like to have a word with the financial magnates who stole their future?

Just as in Europe, we are seeing the results of colossal social failure. The occupiers are the very sort of people, brimming with ideas, whose energies a healthy society would be marshaling to improve life for everyone. Instead, they are using it to envision ways to bring the whole system down. ….

Read more → guardian.co.uk

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via → guardian news blogYouTube

Sluggish Response to Sindh Flood Victims – Oxfam Warns of Second Disaster

– Sluggish donor response to Pakistan floods is another disaster in the making: Oxfam

Islamabad – International aid agency Oxfam expressed alarm over the floods in Sindh and Balochistan provinces, as only $1.30 has been committed per person by international donors in the first 10 days of the UN appeal as opposed to $3.20 committed in the same period during last year’s floods.

Oxfam calls on the Government of Pakistan and the international donor community to dig deep into their resources and rapidly increase their funding to prevent the disaster from deteriorating further. The agency warns that the situation of millions of people in Sindh and Balochistan will worsen unless more aid arrives.

According to the latest figures, more than 8.8 million people in Sindh and 14,000 people in Balochistan so far have been affected by the 2011 monsoon rains. The human impact of this disaster in terms of the number of people affected is more than the combined impact of the Haiti earthquake and the Pakistan earthquake of 2005. Reported losses are being estimated at $215 million, and that number is likely to increase as some areas are inaccessible, and the impact of the floods cannot be assessed. ….

Read more → Aboard the Democracy Train

SHAHEED ZULFIQAR ALI BHUTTO – SINDHI SPEECH

In 1969, Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto addressed students at Liaquat Medical College, Jamshoro, Sindh. He was allowed to speak on the condition that he would not talk about politics. However, in his speech, he said being a political animal, he could not refrain from speaking on the subject. He said the following:

If Shah Lateef were alive today, he would be behind the bars. For all his poetry is based on democratic ideas.

One unit is an evil. Were Shah Bhitai alive today, he would oppose One Unit.

– A child’s education should be in his/her mother tongue. No doubt Urdu and Bengali are national languages, I feel and as a minister I tried that Sindhi children be educated in Sindh.

Via → Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups → Mohammad Ali Mahar → YouTube