The ‘iron hand’ mentality – Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

The iron hand mentality has been the bane of the establishment and rulers and it is not something inadvertent, spontaneous or random; it is the natural consequence of the deeply etched religious and racist bias

The Balochistan Cabinet, reports say, in order to maintain the writ of the government, has decided to clamp down on anti-Pakistan elements “with an iron hand”. This ‘earthshaking’ decision implies that previously the Baloch people were being dealt with with velvety hands and utmost compassion. The art of dissembling and deceit should be learnt from this ‘establishment’; they should open another university similar to their ‘strategic depth university’, which teaches the finer points of terrorism in its ‘strategic assets’ department.

Continue reading The ‘iron hand’ mentality – Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

Dialogue only on Freedom Agenda, Pakistan is an Occupier, Intervention Continuing Since 1948! Hyrbeyar Marri & Khan Kalat

By Archen Baloch 30/03/2012

Baloch national leader Waja HyrBeyar Marri said that there would be no dialogue on anything except freedom, speaking in a private TV program, the patriotic Baloch leader said that foreign interference in Balochistan started the day one when Pakistan occupied it! Pakistan is the occupier! On a desperate remark of the anchorperson that Zardari would not give you

Freedom, HyrBeyar said that they would knock every door of international community for support, and pledge that every Baloch would work hard to regain the freedom!

HyrBeyar Marri, exiled in London, said that the name of Islam is manipulated to serve morbid interests. He said that the attitude of Punjabi elite has never been friendly, he added that Pakistani oligarch has always plundered and looted Balochistan.

Read more » http://www.twitlonger.com/show/gnsdep

Karachi: firing incidents claim 13 lives during 24 hours

Karachi: 13 more killed during 24 hours

KARACHI: Firing incidents in various areas of Karachi claimed seven more lives on late Friday night, raising death toll to 13 during last 24 hours, Geo News reported.

According to the report, four out of five victims of firing incident, occurred in Banaras, succumbed to their injuries on late Friday, hospital sources said.

The incident of firing took place on Banaras bridge where unidentified armed men opened fire at a bike and a car, resultantly five people got critical injuries. Later, four victims died during medical treatment.

Meanwhile, following the incidents of firing, MQM Rabita Committee has announced to observe day of mourning on Saturday.

After the Banaras firing incident, the situation got tensed across the city as one more person gunned down in Orangi #10. In UP Mor, unidentified armed men opened fire at a coach, killing driver.

In Defence Phase II, unidentified armed men opened fire at a car at petrol pump, resultantly driver Zohaib lost his life while another sustained injuries.

MQM Rabita Committee has ….

Read more » The News

 

Najam Sethi on how Pak army’s encouragement of anti-Americanism has come back to haunt it

GHQ must take joint-ownership of US-Pak relations

By Najam Sethi

The Parliamentary Committee on National Security has taken more than two months to get cracking. Now it is faced with the prospect of being left in the lurch by the PMLN that is backpedaling on certain proposals. Thus the PPP government finds it difficult to own the proposals recommended by the military, which imply, at the very least, a reopening of the NATO supply line without absolute US guarantees of an end to the drone strikes. Meanwhile, President Obama has hissed a word of advice to Prime Minister Gillani: ‘protect your sovereignty by all means but don’t undermine US national security interests’.

Continue reading Najam Sethi on how Pak army’s encouragement of anti-Americanism has come back to haunt it

Taliban are Pak Army proxies, not Pashtun nationalists – By Farhat Taj

One of the media and academia’s axiomatic constructions about Pashtun is that Taliban are Pashtun nationalists. This construction is based on distorted one-sided information and selective references to the Pashtun history that too are misrepresented to concur with the notion that Taliban are Pashtun nationalists. Drawing upon the current Pashtun ground realities and history, I will argue that Taliban, both in Pakistan and Afghanistan, are mere proxies of the Pakistani state to wipe out forces of entho-nationalism among the Pashtun as well as temper with Pashtun cultural identity on both sides of the Durand line in the state pursuit of the foreign and domestic policy objectives set and controlled by the military establishment of Pakistan.

Let me say on the outset that the Pashtun experience of having been assaulted with state proxies in garb of religion is not new. In the past the Mughal and the British states have done the same in order to force the Pashtun to behave in line with the states’ strategic interests. There are basically three big pan Pashtun nationalist movements in the Pashtun history. All the three movements were perceived as clashing with the contemporary states’ interests. Thus all the three were assaulted with states’ proxies and propaganda skillfully camouflaged with religion.

The first movement was initiated by mystic, Bayazeed Ansari, from Kaniguram, South Waziristan. He was called ‘Pir-Rooshan’ (the saint of light) by his followers. He lived during the reign of the Mughal Indian Emperor Jalaludin Akbar (1542-1605). The Mughal emperor imposed a ban on him and his followers. Above all the supposedly secular Mughal ruler, Akbar, tasked mullahs to launch a politically-motivated religious campaign against the teachings of Pir-Rooshan. Prominent among the those mullahs are Akhund Darveza (a mullah of Tajik origin) and another Pir Ali Tirmizi (of Uzbek origin). These two state sponsored mullahs declared him Peer-Tareek (the saint of darkness) and assaulted his movement with a sustained malicious propaganda apparently rooted in Islam.

The second Pashtun nationalist movement was launched and led by Khushal Khan Khattak, well-known Pashtun poet, political leader and warrior. The nationalist movement led by him was fully supported by two other influential Pashtun tribal leaders, Darya Khan in Khyber agency and Aimal Khan in Mohmand agency. Arguably, Khushal Khan can be regarded as the founder of modern Pashtun nationalism. For the ethno-nationalist inspiration of future generations of Pashtun, Khushal Khan, also known as lord of pen, has left volumes of his Pashto poetry that is full of Pashtun nationalistic motivation, aim and expression. In one of his well-known couplets, he says this: ‘Drast Pashtun la Kandahara tar Attoca sara yo da nang pa kar pat ao ashkar, pa yowa zhaba wail sara Pashto kro walay nashoo la yo bal khabardar’ ( All Pashtun from Qandahar to Attock speak Pashto language (and) are (socio-culturally) one and the same, but are (politically) oblivion to one another). Khushal Khan’s movement was suppressed by the most bigoted Mughal ruler of India, Aurangzeb Alamgir (1618-1707). One of the Khushal Khan’s couplets in which he condemns the Mugahl ruler’s atrocities is this in. ‘Che pa noom Pakhtanay ghuseegi pray khawkheegi, Aurangzeb dasay badshah de da Islam’ (He (Aurangzeb) derives pleasure from massacre of Pashtun, such is Aurangzeb’s kingdom of Islam).

The third great Pashtun nationalist movement was launched by Khan Ghafar Khan, popularly known as Bacha Khan. A prominent difference between Khushal Khan and Bacha Khan is that the former ran his movement with sword in form of armed struggle against the Mugahl army led by a fanatic Muslim ruler and the latter’s movement was non-violent. Essentially, Bacha Khan’s movement was for mass-scale social reformations in the Pashtun society in order to cleanse it from socio-cultural practices that hindered wide spread human development in the society, such as revenge or the inhibition towards modern education.

The British-Indian and the successor Pakistan states used religious proxies to oppress Bacha Khan’s movement. Wali Khan’s book, Facts are Facts, contains interesting research about the role of mullahs against the Pashtun nationalist movement under the British Raj. Both the British-Indian and the Pakistani states never allowed Bacha Khan to enter the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) although despite all the states’ opposition, his movement did inspire countless people across FATA, including many parents who sent their children to the schools established by Bacha Khan in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa areas on the border with FATA.

Linked with Bacha Khan’s movement was the mass scale social reform and state building agendas of Amanullah Khan, the great Pashtun King of Afghanistan (1919-1929). The king made arrangements for compulsory education for all Afghans and gave right to vote to women. Pashto was declared the official language of Afghanistan. He began to build a strong Afghan armed force, including the air force with help of the Russians, and initiated a process of industrialization. He tasked the Russians to build a road linking Tashkand with Kabul and Khyber agency in FATA. The king regularly used to read Pakhtun, a Pashto language magazine launched by Bacha Khan, and used to advise other people in Afghanistan to do so. The Pashtun, although divided by the British drawn artificial Durand Line, had turned their faces towards progress, development and ethno-national unity.

All this was too much for the British rulers of India to bear because it was happening in the area that the British had assumed their buffer zones vis-a-vis Russia. Their first buffer zone, Afghanistan, and their second buffer zone, FATA, along with the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (formally NWFP) seemed going out of the British control coupled with a possible tilt towards the Russians. The British had to act to eliminate the reforms undertaken on both sides of the Durand Line. The British knew they could not do it militarily. It could have brought the British face to face with the Russians that the British never wanted. Secondly, the harsh experiences of the three Afghan wars had taught them that military intervention in Afghanistan is pointless. Thus they unleashed mullahs on Bacha Khan and King Amanullah Khan to rob their reform agendas of religious legitimacy. In case of the king the British lowered themselves to such an extent they made fake photos of his wife, Queen Soraya, showing her half naked. The photos were distributed in Afghanistan with the malicious propaganda that the king is not a Muslim in his personal and political life and hence cannot be king of the Pashtun, who are Muslim. Deadly chaos was created in Afghanistan in which Bacha Saqa took power who did with Afghanistan what the ISI backed Taliban did during their reign (1996-2001). Girls’ schools were closed down, Afghan Shias were massacred, the state building agenda was rolled backed and Kabul was ravaged. Similarly, mullahs were also unleashed by the British to discredit Bacha Khan’s movement as well.

King Amanullah Khan’s agenda for social reforms, imposed from above, was very vulnerable to conspiracies by anti-Pashtun forces, who exploited the vulnerability to the full. Contrary to this, Bacha Khan’s movement for social reforms was firmly rooted in people’s confidence that he and his followers had successfully won through direct interaction people in villages and towns. Thus his movement could be never rolled backed despite severe and prolonged oppression by the British-Indian and Pakistani states. Nevertheless, the implantation of the social reforms that both Bacha Khan wanted was thwarted by the successive states’ oppressions. Imagine where the Pashtun as nation would have been today if the reform agendas undertaken on both side of the Durand Line had been carried forward.

To be continued

Courtesy: The Friday Times

http://www.thefridaytimes.com/beta2/tft/article.php?issue=20120330&page=8

History of Forcible Occupation of Baluchistan – by Zafar Baloch

Zaffar Baloch Claims: Pakistan Occupies Balochistan. The language of the interview is urdu (Hindi).

Courtesy: Rawal Tv (BilaTakalluf with Tahir Gora Ep24)

Christian girl, 12, kidnapped, beaten and raped for eight months until she converted to Islam

Asian Human Rights Commission claim girl was lured on shopping trip by friend before she was kidnapped.

Abductors drove her 120 miles before raping her, then forced her to sign marriage papers

Victim managed to escape eight months later, but police refuse to prosecute rapists because they are tied to militant Islam group

By Wil Longbottom

A 12-year-old Christian girl was kidnapped and repeatedly raped for eight months in Pakistan by a man who then falsified marriage documents with her, it was claimed today.

The girl was lured on a shopping trip in Lahore by a friend, before she was driven 120 miles to Tandianwalla and raped by the friend’s uncle in January this year.

Two days later, she was forced to sign papers consenting to marriage with the man and beaten for refusing to convert from Christianity to Islam.

She was then held against her will for eight months, before managing to escape and contact her family.

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has said the rapists have not been arrested because of their affiliation with a militant Muslim organisation – the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba.

It claims the police have refused to order a medical check-up on the girl, and have warned her parents that it would be better for them to hand over the girl to her ‘legal’ husband or a criminal case would be filed against them.

An investigation into the kidnapping found the girl’s father reported her disappearance in January and made complaints against her abductors, but police took no action for eight months.

Last month, the girl – who has not been named for legal reasons – called her family from Tandianwalla and told them she had been abducted, but had escaped and was hiding at a bus stop.

The girl’s parents travelled to the town and rescued her, before taking her to a local magistrate to give a statement.

The rapists then contacted the police through their religious group and produced a marriage certificate that claimed to show one of them was married to the 12-year-old.

As a result of their complaint, the Christian family has gone into hiding as members of Lashkar-e-Tayyaba are searching for them.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2048261/Christian-girl-12-kidnapped-raped-beaten-converted-Islam.html#ixzz1qVn3aSFg

Pakistan: Demand for Independence of Sindh

By Aamir Raz Soomro

It was not long ago that a bill was tabled in the US Congress in support of giving Balochistan – the land of the Baloch – the right to self-determination against their ‘forced accession’ into Pakistan on March 27, 1948. The day is still mourned as a Black Day throughout the Baloch land, including parts of the provincial capital, Quetta.

In the year 1971, the erstwhile East Pakistan had already witnessed a bloody independence war with Pakistan, which culminated in the creation of the country now known as Bangladesh – it was a real bloody war since hundreds of thousands of people were massacred in this ‘genocide’ to crush the Bengali freedom-fighters.

In the present times, however, it is not just Balochistan which has the separatist sentiments, but Sindh under the leadership of Mr. G.M. Syed, has also been fighting for independence soon after the creation of Pakistan. From the platform of various nationalist political parties, Sindhis demand separation from Pakistan and creation of proposed, Sindhudesh, the Land of Sindhu (River Indus). They support their demand with the arguments that, 1., the British had invaded the independent Sindh and, 2. that they have a distinct rich history and secular culture which dates back to 5000 years. ….

Read more » Global Voices Online

Zardari, ‘sab par bhari’

By Khaled Ahmed

Excerpts;

President Zardari has survived against all odds and is expected to take the PPP to the end of its tenure in 2013 or earlier if he chooses. In this period, everybody has expressed his dislike of him. He is the wrong man for the party, for the presidency and for the country. He is without principles; will make a deal where he is required to stand up for the country’s honour and protect its ‘ghairat’; he will sell the country to India; he will sell it to the US; and he will sell out to the MQM, which is a terrorist organisation. …..

…. Wikileaks said Zardari was friendly towards the US. India after Mumbai thought Zardari was friendly towards India. Pakistan sensed it and was angry. Why was Zardari happy when the Americans killed Osama in Abbottabad? Why was Zardari trying to subjugate the ISI after Mumbai? He was going against the textbook but the textbook for once was wrong because it was based on the unwisdom of confrontation. Those who oppose him are overcome with dubious passions. Zulfiqar Mirza is his friend but has made a spectacle of himself, scaring his colleagues into running for cover behind Zardari. In the fullness of time Mirza will, equally emotionally, beg for forgiveness. Zardari, ever flexible, will pardon him. Nawaz Sharif couldn’t ever do that.

Zardari wins because he has no principles in a country where principles – strategic depth, two-nation doctrine – are morally dubious and harmful to the state. There is wisdom in survival; there is martyrdom in honour. Zardari chooses survival.

To read complete article : The Friday Times

http://www.thefridaytimes.com/beta2/tft/article.php?issue=20110923&page=3

Turkey’s ex-army chief on trial for coup plot – When the Pakistani generals will meet the same fate?

Turkey’s ex-army chief on trial for coup plot

Ilker Basbug is among 29 accused of being part of shadowy group plotting to overthrow government.

Ilker Basbug, Turkey’s former army chief, has gone on trial on charges of leading a terrorist group accused of plotting to overthrow the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the prime minister. ….

Read more » AlJazeera

In Pakistan, No Quick End to Islam Conversion Case

By DECLAN WALSH

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Hopes for the rapid resolution of a controversy over the conversion of a Hindu woman to Islam that has seized the Pakistani public were dashed on Monday, when the Supreme Court declined to decide the matter for at least three more weeks.

Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry ruled that Rinkel Kumari, a 19-year-old Hindu student who converted under disputed circumstances last month, should spend the next three weeks pondering her fate in protective custody, along with another Hindu woman in a similar situation.

During an emotional and sometimes rowdy hearing in a packed courtroom in Islamabad, the capital, Chief Justice Chaudhry noted that there had been “serious allegations of abduction and forced conversion” in both cases.

“Both ladies must have an atmosphere without any pressure to make a decision about their future,” he said.

Continue reading In Pakistan, No Quick End to Islam Conversion Case

Honorable Dana Rohrabacher a Chairman of US foreign affairs committee has announced to support Sindh’s Freedom movement

Honorable Dana Rohrabacher a Chairman of US foreign affairs committee has announced to support Sindh’s Freedom movement . A month ago he has tabled resolution for Baluchistan’s freedom. …..

آمريڪي سينٽ جي پرڏيھي معاملن جي ڪاميٽيءَ جي چيئرمين ڊانا روھرا بيڪر چيو آھي ته ھو بلوچن جيان جلد مظلوم سنڌين جي حقن لاءِ به آواز اٿاريندو ـ

Courtesy: Sindhi News Channel Sindh TV, Sindhi News Channel KTN » YouTube

Sindh’s Stolen Brides

On the other side of the Thar, Hindus, especially girls, are forced into Islam

By Mariana Baabar

Hindus In Pakistan

Hindus constitute about 2.5 per cent, or 26 lakh, of Pakistan’s population.

Though sprinkled all over Pakistan, 95 per cent of Hindus are in Sindh.

Only Tharparkar district in Sindh has Hindus in majority: 51 per cent.

Other districts with sizeable population: Mirpur Khas (41 per cent), Sanghar (35 per cent), Umerkot (43 per cent)

Nearly 82 per cent of Pakistani Hindus are lower caste, most of them farm labourers

Cities with some Hindu population: Karachi, Hyderabad, Jacobabad, Lahore, Peshawar and Quetta.

In Tharparkar, Hindus own land. Krishen Bheel, Gyan Chand and Ramesh Lal are the Hindus in the Pakistan National Assembly.

***

Let me confess at the outset: I’m travelling in rural Sindh to verify specifically the reported widespread menace of abduction of Hindu girls, their forcible conversion to Islam and betrothal to Muslim men. My first port of call is the district court of Mirpur Khas. I promptly mingle among the crowd waiting for the court’s decision on a kidnap-and-conversion case. Different voices narrate contradictory stories. I am befuddled for the moment.

Soon, a frisson of excitement sweeps through the throng, as a police van drives through the gate. Inside it is Mariam. She’s 13 years old—and married! Mariam was Mashu, and Hindu, till the night of December 22, 2005. I pick my way through the jostling crowd. Mariam is in a red burqa, her gold nose ring sparkles. She tells me, “I’m happy. I don’t want to return to my parents or brother.” What’s the fuss about, I wonder.

It’s quite another story under the pipal tree of the court compound. Huddled under it are the villagers of Jhaluree, 20 km from Mirpur Khas. Among them is Mashu’s father, Malo Sanafravo. He says that at 11 pm, December 22, four armed men barged into their room. One of them was Malo’s neighbour, Akbar. They picked up Mashu, bundled her into the waiting car. “She was taken to Pir Ayub Jan Sarhandi’s village in Saamaaro tehsil.” There Mashu became Mariam and was married to Akbar.

Not true, insists husband Akbar. “Mariam has been always in my heart,” he gushes, saying, at 11 pm, December 22, it was she who had come over to his house. But it’s true that the Pir converted her and married them—it was his idea that they issue statements in the court. “Mariam was sent to Darul Aman in Hyderabad, in judicial custody,” Akbar declares.

A 13-year-old choosing to convert and marry? A 13-year-old testifying in the court, without her family by her side? Suspicious, I walk over to the SHO, caught in the middle of a heated exchange between two groups. Someone suggests he should allow the girl to meet her relatives. Before the conversion yes, not now. She has now become Muslim, says the SHO. He argues, “There’s a huge crowd here. If Mariam breaks down after seeing her father, there will be a communal riot here in the compound.”

A little later, there are celebrations as the word spreads: the court has allowed the couple to live together. Standing next to me is Kanjee Rano Bheel. He works for an NGO in the education sector; volunteers for the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) as well. “In just two hours Mashu was converted and married,” Kanjee says incredulously.

Disappointment and helpless rage fleet across his face. “In Darul Aman the girls are kept away from parents and pressured into issuing statements favourable to the abductors. They tame stubborn girls through death threats.”

So, was Mashu abducted and forcibly converted?

In Mirpur Khas, truth resembles the mirage of the surrounding Thar desert, teasing and tormenting me as I drive from Karachi into interior Sindh. It tests your credulity, it challenges your journalistic skills. Wherever I go, and whoever I meet, in disconsolate voices the Hindus talk about ‘missing girls’; their stories resemble Mashu’s—the theme of abduction, conversion, often followed by marriage, is common to most narrations. The girls then appear in courts to issue statements declaring their conversion was voluntary. All links to the natal family and the community are severed; they are lost to the family forever. On January 4, 2005, Marvi, 18, and Hemi, 16, were kidnapped from Kunri village in Umerkot district; three months later, on March 3, 14-year-old Raji was abducted from Aslam Town Jhuddo, Mirpur Khas. The script in their cases was similar to Mashu’s. “Only 10 per cent of all conversions involving girls are voluntary; because of romance,” says Kanjee.

Ten per cent of what? No official figures are available. The DIG in Mirpur Khas, Saleemullah, says, “If there’s need I’ll collect these figures.

Saleemullah, perhaps, should tap the HRCP for statistics. Its director in Lahore, I.A. Rehman, is an honourable man. Rehman told Outlook that the HRCP has, between Jan 2000 to Dec 2005, documented 50 cases involving conversion of Hindu girls to Islam. Its investigations too endorse what I had found in interior Sindh. In many cases where it was claimed the girls had eloped with their Muslim partners, the HRCP found that most were, in fact, abducted, forcibly married to Muslim men or sold to them. There have been cases of Hindu girls, usually from economically better off families, eloping with their Muslim boyfriends. Rehman says in most cases such marriages didn’t last long. With links to their families cut off, the girls were subsequently forced to marry another Muslim or sucked into marriage rackets.

Nuzzhat Shirin, who works for the Lahore-based ngp Aurat Foundation, understands why the girls don’t reveal their plight at the time they are presented in court. “When a Hindu is forced to become Muslim, such a ruckus is made that if the young kidnapped girl appears in court, the fanatics yell, scream, throw rose petals in the air and follow the youth into the building so that she’s intimidated and can’t speak,” Shirin explains.

Social stigma arising from the loss of virginity, and the consequent difficulty of finding a groom, prompt these women to accept their misfortune—and hope for the best.

Fifty incidents in five years represents just a percentage of the total number of cases, says Kanjee, pointing out that a majority of such crimes go unreported. “There have been 50 such incidents last year,” insists Krishen Bheel, who is a Hindu member of the National Assembly (MNA), the Pakistani equivalent of the Lok Sabha. He begins to rattle out the cases he remembers: two months back Sapna was kidnapped and converted in upper Sindh; seven months earlier it was 17-year-old Lakshmi in Nawkot, and then…. “The trend is increasing,” he says. “If these conversions are voluntary, then how come boys rarely ever convert?”

Only once did the popular resentment against abduction spill out in the streets of Mirpur Khas. It was in the ’80s: a girl named Sita had been kidnapped. Some 70,000 Hindus turned up to protest the kidnapping. The police opened fire, killing several. “Sita was never returned,” Krishen laments. “She had even told Justice Dhorab Patel, who later joined the HRCP, that she had been forcibly converted. We have now stopped agitating.”

Instead, the Hindus take the support of civil rights groups and the media to publicise abduction cases, hoping public scrutiny would goad the state into action.

On Dec 30, the day after the Mariam case was disposed, the Supreme Court took cognisance of the complaint Qosheela’s parents from Ghotki, Sindh, had filed. They claimed their 13-year-old girl had been kidnapped, converted, given the name of Hajra and married to a Muslim man. The girl, as in most other cases, had said she had converted of her own free will. A three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, ordered the medical examination of the girl to determine whether she had attained puberty (Islam permits marriage at that age). Should it be proved otherwise, the husband could be tried for rape.

Even cities are not immune to the menace. Last year, Sammo Amra and Champa in Karachi received a letter from their three missing daughters—Reena (21), Reema (17) and Usha (19)—informing that they had converted to Islam and were ordained under the dictates of their new religion not to live with infidels, including their Hindu parents. The letter bore the address of Madrassa Taleemul Islam, Karachi. It prompted Supreme Court Bar Association president Malik Mohammad Qayyum to petition the Supreme Court in the first week of December. He accused the religious seminary’s administrator of using coercive methods to convert the three girls. On December 16, the court ordered the police to shift the girls to the Edhi Welfare Centre and provide protection to them until the time it was ascertained they had been indeed compelled to convert to Islam.

Sensitive Muslim citizens feel the way to counter the menace is to reinterpret and widen the scope of law.

Major (retd) Kamran Shafi, an absentee landlord from Sindh, cites the case of 17-year-old Kochlia, who was kidnapped and gangraped in Jacobabad, Sindh, in Sept 2005. Four men were arrested for the crime. They were subsequently released because Kochlia stated in the court she had converted and was married to one of them. Shafi asks, “Isn’t something very, very wrong here? Suppose the poor girl was forced into changing her religion and marrying one of the assailants so that they get off the hook? Can’t the state prosecute the four on its own, for their original crime of rape?”

The three Hindu MNAs—Krishen Bheel, Gyan Chand and Ramesh Lal—raised the Kochlia case in the National Assembly. They claimed Kochlia’s statement was not tenable as under the local Hindu custom and law a girl can’t marry of her own will until the age of 20. Since Kochlia is a minor, her abductors should be tried for rape. Such an interpretation of existing laws could provide ample relief to Hindus.

Till then, though, the fear of kidnap stalks the Hindus of Pakistan. Krishen Bheel says Hindu girls are scared to go out; he has enrolled his own children into a Christian school. He points to Mirpur Khas’ strange predicament: there’s freedom to worship, there are 10 temples which bustle through the day with devotees; and yet Hindu girls here are kidnapped and converted—and the community humiliated.

Perhaps these abductions are part of the general scenario of crime against women in rural Pakistan (see box). Perhaps they are converted and married to criminals to enable the latter to escape the dragnet of the law. Yet, such arguments don’t comfort the Hindus. Sat Ram, of Shadi Bali village near Mirpur Khas, says Hindu girls are deprived of education because their parents are apprehensive of sending them to schools located at a distance. “They receive education only till the primary level. It isn’t safe to send them to school after that.”

But the plight of Hindu women can’t be seen just through the prism of gender discrimination rampant in rural Sindh. Reena Gul, of Sattar Nagar village, Mirpur Khas, says the boys too are converted but their numbers are very few. The community here feels it is the Islamist’s agenda to drive out non-Muslims from Pakistan. In fact, Krishen told the National Assembly that even Hindu businessmen are being kidnapped in Sindh for ransom. He said on the floor of the House, “Several religious parties are reportedly behind the move to convince the people that it is their responsibility to get rid of infidels from Pakistan, (that) taking ransom from non-Muslims is not a sin.”

I now set out to meet Pir Ayub Jan Sarhandi, whose name surfaces repeatedly in conversion stories. The drive from Mirpur Khas to Sarhandi village, Somarho tehsil, is through a picturesque landscape. Peacocks dance in the field and gypsies pitch their tents for the night. Even the Pir appears tranquil, his white flowing beard and winsome disposition camouflaging his mission.

Yet, when he begins to talk, he conceals nothing. Yes, the Pir declares, he has been converting the Hindus for the last 30 years. Perhaps his claims of converting a 1,000 families a year is a boast. “There’s a surah in the Quran which speaks specifically about conversion, especially about conversion of women,” he says to justify his mission. “Recently, three Hindu girls were brought to me. I named them Benazir, Sanam and Nusrat,” he reveals, with the righteous air of someone who had bestowed a favour. “These Hindu women are mistreated by their husbands who do nothing but watch TV.”

The Pir rubbishes the allegation that he converts abducted Hindu girls. The unwilling are sent back. Yet, he adds in the same breath, “In many cases Hindu girls are kidnapped and kept as keeps. But these keeps are not converted. But believe me, they are very happy.”

I express the desire to meet the women whom he had converted and found sanctuary with him. The Pir agrees, even allows us to photograph them, contrary to the local tradition. Into the room, the women walk. Rehana, 50, was earlier Nabee; she converted three years ago, after the death of her husband. “I had no one to turn to. If we do not convert we would not be helped by this family.” It was the same reason for 35-year-old Mariam, who came here seven years back. “Under the Pir’s protection, I earn at least Rs 200 a month.” Ruksana was earlier Chotee, and hails from Umerkot. Extreme poverty and a drug-addict husband persuaded her to take the extreme step. “I brought my four kids as well,” she declares.

As I talk to these women, I realise most of them are widows or wallowing in poverty. I mention this to the Pir. He says, “The government is responsible for all Hindus and non-Hindus. When the government doesn’t help them, they come to us.”

Forced or economically enticed, the Hindu converts do not symbolise Islam’s appeal. Rather they represent the state’s failure to provide succour to the poor and protect their religious rights. Perhaps it’s also symptomatic of the sickness afflicting the Pakistani state. As they say, the condition of the minorities is an indicator of a nation’s health.

Courtesy: OutLook

http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?229886#.T3IYtTDwlfl.twitter

Via – Twitter

Today the Baloch nation is observing black day, I cry with the Balochs?

27 March I celebrate or I cry with the Baloch? – by Salma Jafar

Today the Baloch nation is observing black day to mark its annexation to Pakistan. For me it is not a black day it is a day I want to celebrate. I want to celebrate because it gave me the occasion to grow up with these lovely people known as the Baloch. I want to celebrate my Baloch friends, my Baloch students, my Baloch relatives and many of them are my Baloch family. Had it not been for 27th March I wouldn’t have been a part of the Baloch culture, the Baloch music, the Baloch valour, the Baloch courage and the Baloch tolerance that when combined with the culture and valour of my own nation Pashtuns becomes the most beautiful combination ever. We have lived together, suffered togther hoped together, despaired together, dreamed together, and at times have been nasty to each other too – in this Baloch-Pashtun land. Well I would never want to live without them. So I don’t support Baloch independence for this very selfish reason of mine.

But yet the bitter-bitter truth is that for Baloch this is not a day of celebration it is a black day; by definition a day when something really bad and unpleasant has happened. They are observing it as a black day for being a part of Pakistan. They are angry and estranged and want freedom but why? Am not going to delve into the theory of forced annexation here but would share how Baloch have been treated, (I will today not say Balochistan as that covers Pashtun areas also and despite that Pashtuns have suffered equally but today is not our day) they have been treated as slaves (I hate to use this word but this is what Baloch think and feel) who should only obey the orders of their masters; in this case of course Punjab who has been running the shots. Unfortunately they didn’t understand the Baloch psychology they are not born to take orders or take dictations it is not in them. And that too not for any welfare but to usurp rights and carry out injustice. Balochistan is a dismal picture of social injustice all over. But if you visit the Baloch areas which I have; your definition of poverty and misery will change. People are subjugated to primitive lives with no development whatsoever.

But the Baloch did not ask you to give them anything; all they demanded is their right to their own resources. As if denying them that right and pushing them into abject poverty, illiteracy and disease was not enough the atrocious state bombarded them if they asked for controlling their own resources and controlling their own destinies, this is all they asked for; and bombarded them again and again and again. Trying new tactic to subjugate them further for last several years started the kill and dump policy, where young activists are picked up and after some time their dead mutilated bodies are found. There has been no end to this horrific game whereby hundreds of Baloch have been killed and dumped, many of them target killed and thousands are still missing; the internally displaced persons as a result of this conflict are mere refugees as the state has not granted them a refugee status to access humanitarian response; only cause they are Baloch. Raising voice for the Baloch is considered treachery by those in power; yes camouflaged as democrats.

What adds insult to injury is that amidst this very dreadful background Balochistan discourse remains as an economic and political discourse for most. There is a violent and ferocious insurgency going on in Balochistan; the Baloch are being shut up by killing them and they are killing in return too – their demand is now independence.

The wounds and scars of the Baloch are deep and the pain and agony are hard to touch – their silent screams I can hear; and a tear I shed with a prayer for their pain to end.

Courtesy: LUBP

What kind of justice is this?

By: From the facebook wall of Aziz Narejo

Kill me here in court, but don’t send me to Darul-Aman” The words of Rinkal Kumari: “Everyone in Pakistan is hand in glove, there is justice only for Muslims, there is no justice for Hindus. Kill me here in court, but don’t send me to Darul-Aman, all these people are hand in glove, they will kill us”.

Even after repeated pleas by Rinkal Kumari & her parents, the court didn’t allow her to go with her parents. Instead the court sent her to shelter home in Karachi where she said that she faces threat to her life. What kind of justice is this?

Who will be responsible now if something happens to her? I think the Chief Justice & the other two members of the bench should be held directly responsible if something happens to her. A direct FIR should be registered against them in case something happens to Rinkal Kumari.

After Rinkal Kumari’s statement in the Supreme Court today & her cries to go with her parents, it is established beyond any doubt that she is separated from her family against her will & that she had been kidnapped & forcibly converted to Islam. Now it is the duty of the govt & the Supreme Court to immediately order the arrest of kidnapper Naveed Shah, his accomplices, MNA Mian Mithoo, Mithoo’s family members & armed men who harassed a Sindhi Hindu girl.

Shame on those Sindhis & Pakistanis who still support Mian Mithoo brand of forced conversion to Islam of non-Muslim girls.

The Supreme Court should immediately order a complete inquiry in the case & punish all the culprits.

Courtesy: Aziz Narejo’s facebook wall.

RInkle Kumari and her precedents

Brides of contention- (article from 1994..the more things change..)

Also see this article from a few days ago..and don’t miss this video celebrating Rinke Kumari’s conversion (reversion?) to Islam, complete with poetry by Allama Iqbal Jihadi. Click here

By Hasan Mujtaba (btw, notice that communists and socialists in both India and Pakistan have been more consistent than most in fighting such evils, sometimes at great personal risk)

( I wrote this story about forced conversion of Hindu women in Pakistan of 1994. So far forced conversion of Hindu women nothing has been changed. Even the modus operandi of forced conversions and its operaters remain as the same)…… …… ……… …….

On January 19, a Hindu girl named Daya Bai disappeared from her house in Daharki, district Ghotki (Sindh, Pakistan). She surfaced ten days later outside the deputy commissioner’s office, wearing bridal clothes,and accompanied by several hundred strong gathering (MANY OF WHOM WERE ARMED WITH AUTOMATIC WEAPONS) led by pirs of Bharchundi chanting Allaho – Akbar. During the nikah (wedding) that followed, Daya Bai’s mother wept inconsolably, repeatedly striking her head on the floor in anguish,”let me meet my daughter even if she is getting married’ she implored but her pleas fell on deaf ears.

For the Hindu community in Sukkur and Larkano, Daya Bai’s disappearance, conversion to Islam and subsequent marriage with a Muslim in suspicious circumstances is not unpresedented occurance. Between January and February at least 3 Hindu girls, Daya Bai from Daharki, Shakuntala from Pano Aquil, and Bhagawanti, the daughter of a Larkano professor were allegedly kidnapped from from their homes at the gunpoint. Of the three, Daya Bai and Bahgawanti converted to Islam and married muslim men whereas Shakunatala’s whereabouts are not known. Shakuntala, allegedly kidnapped from her home by a man named Kalhoro, she embraced Islam and married to someone other than her abductor. Speculation abounds that she may have been sold. The story of the daughter of Koro Mal, Hindu trader from Larkana, is similar. THERE ARE SEVERAL SUCH INSTANCES IN WHICH GIRLS BELIEVED TO HAVE ELOPED WITH THEIR MUSLIM LOVERS ARE NOT MARRIED TO THEM BUT WERE EITHER MARRIED OFF TO SOMEONE ELSE OR KILLED.

The increasing incidents of forcible conversions and marriages of Hindu girls have compelled some Hindus to migrate to India to protect their daughters and family honor. ‘The parents of girls who have met this fate are like the living dead’ says Ghanshyam Das a social worker in Kashmore.

Similarly, as Mukhi Nihalchand, a Hindu community leader in Rohri points out forcible conversion of Hindu men continues unreported and unabated. The conversion at Bharchundi of a Hindu boy from a wealthy Umerkot family sometime back is a case in point. After a while, the boy reconverted to Hinduism and migrated to India with his family.

Continue reading RInkle Kumari and her precedents

In Pakistan, Hindus Say Woman’s Conversion to Islam Was Coerced

By DECLAN WALSH

GHOTKI, Pakistan — Banditry is an old scourge in this impoverished district of southern Pakistan, on the plains between the mighty river Indus and a sprawling desert, where roving gangs rob and kidnap with abandon. Lately, though, local passions have stirred with allegations of an unusual theft: that of a young woman’s heart.

In the predawn darkness on Feb. 24, Rinkel Kumari, a 19-year-old student from a Hindu family, disappeared from her home in Mirpur Mathelo, a small village off a busy highway in Sindh Province. Hours later, she resurfaced 12 miles away, at the home of a prominent Muslim cleric who phoned her parents with news that distressed them: Their daughter wished to convert to Islam, he said.

Their protests were futile. By sunset, Ms. Kumari had become a Muslim, married a young Muslim man, and changed her name to Faryal Bibi.

Over the past month, this conversion has generated an acrid controversy that has reverberated far beyond its origins in small-town Pakistan, whipping up a news media frenzy that has traced ugly sectarian divisions and renewed a wider debate about the protection of vulnerable minorities in a country that has so often failed them.

At its heart, though, it is a head-on clash of narratives and motives.

Hindu leaders insist that Ms. Kumari was abducted at gunpoint and forced to abandon her religion. ….

Read more » The New York Times

“Eqbal Ahmad saw the Taliban as a social cancer that, if unchecked, would reduce Muslim society to medieval primitivism

File photo

US defeat won’t be Afghan victory

By Pervez Hoodbhoy

Excerpt;

…. Eqbal Ahmed, who worked for Muslim causes from Palestine to Algeria, was by far the most perceptive and knowledgeable social activist and intellectual I have known. We had occasional disagreements but he too saw the Taliban as a social cancer that, if unchecked, would reduce Muslim society to medieval primitivism. ….

Read more » The Express Tribune

Is this justice??

By Beena Sarwar

Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan has ordered Rinkal Kumari and Dr Lata Kumari to be sent back to Karachi shelter home for 3 weeks to give them time to “think”. Would he have done that if they had given statements in favour of their kidnappers?

Here is the account from a family friend of Rinkal’s” “When Rinkal came into court, without letting her meet her parents/mother, she (Rinkal) was brought to give statement in front of CJP, she only stated that she doesn’t want to go anywhere, BUT her mother. Then CJP met with Rinkal alone for about 20 minutes, and then let her mother meet her for only 10 minutes. Afterwards Rinkal was crying before CJP, she wanted to go to her parents. CJP said, girl wants to go with her parents but there is confusion as the girl had embraced ISLAM and had spent married life, so how can she turn around from her previous statement? Therefore, he ordered Rinkal to be sent to shelter home for more 3 weeks to think, along with Dr. Lata, who was sent to Shelter home on same grounds. Is this justice?? Chief justice should have backed innocent girls, supported them and should have ordered immense and appropriate action against Mullah and involved culprits, BUT after all he is a Muslim as well, he has intentions to book a plot in heaven as well…”

Rinkal Kumari said in court:..” Pakistan mein sab log ek doosre ke saath mile huwe hain, yahan insaaaf sirf muslaman ke lye hai, Hindu ke lye koi insaaf nahee hai, mujhe yaheen court room mein maar daalo, lekin Dar-ul-aman nahee bhejo, yeh sab log mile huwe hain yeh humein maar daalen ge“. Translation: (Everyone in Pakistan is hand in glove, there is justice only for Muslims, there is no justice for Hindus. Kill me here in court, but don’t send me to Darul-Aman, all these people are hand in glove, they will kill us) – KTN news channel live reporting captured on a personal camera – the reporter repeats Rinkals words quote-un-quote.

Courtesy: Adopted from Beena Sarwar’s facebook page

Pak Must Stop Atrocities in Balochistan: Asma Jehangir

New Delhi: Prominent Pakistani human rights activist Asma Jehangir wants Pakistan to put its act together for a time-bound mechanism to address the unrest in Baluchistan while appealing for ending “hair-raising” atrocities in the troubled province.

Jehangir , who is in India as part of a delegation of Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan (SCBAP) attending a seminar organised by Supreme Court Bar Association, said her country was going through a “very difficult” phase which was not comprehended here properly.

“I think that the government (of Pakistan) has to put its act together. First of all, the atrocities which are very tragic, which are hair-raising have to stop,” Jehangir told PTI on the sidelines of a dinner hosted in her honour by South Asia Free Media Association (SAFMA) and South Asian Women in Media (SAWM) here.

Read more » http://news.in.msn.com/pakistan/article.aspx?cp-documentid=5939005

Punjab/Pakistan denies Sindh’s share of water

Pakistan/Punjab: Water is life! But, life in Pakistans Sindh province has become extremely difficult due to unavailability of sufficient water. The problem has been created by Punjab, which is getting the lions share of Indus waters while denying Sindh’s rightful share. Sindh and other constituent units  in Pakistan are battling serious water shortage, even as Punjab is going ahead with Chashma-Jhelum and Taunsa-Panjnad link canal projects. It is estimated that by June Sindh will face water shortage to the tune of 54 per cent as compared to 14 per cent by Punjab. A recent move by Punjab government to control water flows and forcible opening of flood canals has triggered widespread protests in Sindh and even Balochistan.

Courtesy: South Asia News » YouTube

Mullah, Military and Media – ‘Punjabi Nationalism’ Dominates Pakistani National Discourse

‘Punjabi Nationalism’ Dominates National Discourse

Pakistan’s ‘jaundiced’ media is full of terms such as ‘Baloch, Pashtun, or Sindhi nationalism’ and ‘Mohajirs’. What is missing in defining Pakistan’s ethnic groups in the mainstream media is ‘Punjabi nationalism’.

The electronic media, newspapers and communication flood on the social media had printed on the masses’ minds that demands coming from Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and Balochistan are speaking of the nationalists in those provinces. However, Punjab’s gains in development, education, health, and communication infrastructure are portrayed as national achievements of Pakistan.

In politics, a term like ‘Sindh card’ is widely used with PPP despite its presence in all four provinces, FATA and Gilgit-Baltistan. ANP is hardly defined in terms of its secular agenda or the only anti-Taliban forces in the volatile northwest Pakistan. Political forces from Balochistan—JWP, BNP and others are presented as soft names of the Baloch rebel groups in the national media. Political parties in Sindh are paraded in the media with the available negative tags attached to their names and causes.

All national traitors Pakistanis have known so far through media are either the Bengalis of the pre-71 Pakistan or the non-Pujabi nationalities of the post-71 era–Sindhis, Pashtuns, Balochis and Mohajirs. Starting from the latest case, Dr Shakil Afridi (the doctor whose small efforts had allegedly got rid the South Asian Islam off the terror godfather Osama bin Laden and Wahabism) is Pashtun. Former Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (Sindh), former opposition leader late Khan Abdul Wali Khan (Pakhtunkhwa), late GM Syed (Sindh), late Ghaus Bakhsh Bizanjo (Balochistan), to name a few, all are defined as traitors in the mainstream media. Altaf Hussain of MQM can’t come back to Pakistan and leaders like Nawab Akbar Bugti don’t deserve life.

Contrary to this, the Indian-specific media and text books are defining Major Aziz Bhatti, Captain Muhammad Sarwar, Major Muhammad Tufail (a total of 11) as Pakistan’s national heroes. All of them died while defending Punjab in four wars against India from 1948-1999. However, the state and ‘yellow’ media of Pakistan have yet to produce a single hero in the 10- year war against Terrorism in a comparatively tough terrain and tricky battlefield known as the Wild Wild West of Pakistan.

Over 160 million Pakistanis, today, can’t recall a man or a woman that they know who might have been fallen against the Arab, Central Asian or Pakistani fanatics in the mountains in FATA while defending Pakistan against militancy. One apparent reason for this nation-wide apathy towards soldiers fighting Terrorism is that Pakistan not owning the ongoing war despite its claims of higher causalities at international fora.

The decades long control of the Punjabi mindset and ‘Maulvis-turned-journalists’ on media has locked Pakistani journalism in ‘Punjabi Box’. The journalists living in that particular box can hardly imagine the sensitivities of people and regions existing out of the Punjabi Box. They don’t see Pakistan Muslim League (N) or (Q) as Punjabi nationalists nor they define Sharif brothers as leaders of Punjabi nationalism when they allocate more development funds for Punjab or deny due shares of the other three provinces from the national pool of resources.

Whether it’s a political fight between PPP or Muslim League, differences on NFC award (national resources), provincial autonomy, militancy, royalty rights, blasphemy law, or women rights, Pakistani media shows Punjab’s voice as protagonist and those of other provinces as antagonist in its narration of events.

As if that is not enough, they cover up Punjab’s causes as Pakistan hard core national interests and label others as Pashtun, Baloch, Sindhi or Mohajir nationalists in a bid to deny them a space on the minds of media viewers, listeners and readers.

The irony is that the state institutes and Pakistani intellectuals call it a ‘media revolution era’ of Pakistan though a reader of the Jang newspapers in 1970s and viewer of Geo TV in March 2012 doesn’t see a difference in contents and description of facts (Punjab vis-à-vis others). The media revolution in Pakistan has, unfortunately, reinvigorated the Punjabi voice and its outreach, however, and has successfully avoided the ‘Punjabi nationalism’ label for itself while defending the interests of one major ethnic group at all levels in a multi-ethnic country.

Courtesy: Mullah Military Media

http://mullahmilitarymedia.blogspot.ca/2012/03/punjabi-nationalism-dominates-national.html

Local mullahs and fundamentalist people think that if the Hindus leave they can take their properties

Pakistan supreme court to decide fate of Hindu woman in Muslim marriage row

Rinkle Kumari, 19, claims she was kidnapped, converted to Islam and married against her will

By Jon Boone in Islamabad

The fate of a Pakistani Hindu woman who claims she was kidnapped, forcibly converted to Islam and married against her will is to be decided this week, after weeks of campaigning by the country’s Hindu minority.

The case of 19-year-old Rinkle Kumari has outraged Hindus from her small town in the south of the country, where community leaders accuse Muslims of preying on Hindu girls of marriageable age.

Continue reading Local mullahs and fundamentalist people think that if the Hindus leave they can take their properties

Hekmatyar as an engineering student in Kabul University, he became known for throwing acid at women dressed in Western clothes

In Afghanistan: Embracing Gulbuddin Hekmatyar Is No Method at All

By Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould

Excerpts;

…. By the early 1970s Hekmatyar had become radicalized by extremist Islam and joined the Nahzat-e-Jawanane Musalman (Muslim Youth Movement). As an engineering student at Kabul University he became known for throwing acid at women dressed in Western clothes and for murdering a fellow student from a Maoist faction of the PDPA. Imprisoned by King Zahir Shah’s police for the murder, Hekmatyar was freed following a 1973 coup by the King’s cousin Mohammed Daoud and communist PDPA leader Babrak Karmal and fled to Pakistan.

Hekmatyar joined with Ahmad Shah Massoud’s Jamaat-e-Islami (Islamic Party) in a Pakistani plan designed by their Directorate of Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) to destabilize Afghanistan with cross border raids. Dissatisfied with the radical Jamaat’s political approach after failing to stir an uprising in Afghanistan, Hekmatyar formed his own more radical party, the Hesb-i-Islami (Islamic Party) and came to the attention of the CIA. In 1979, Hekmatyar helped to precipitate the Soviet invasion by engaging Afghanistan’s desperate Marxist President Hafizullah Amin in a power sharing arrangement. According to the April 1981, (No. 282) edition of British publication The Round Table the Soviets panicked when they realized Amin had set December 29th as the date for dissidents of the regime and their tribal supporters to march on Kabul.

Hekmatyar would go on to become the darling of the agency and receive the bulk of the U.S. and Saudi aid coming in for the war against the Soviet Union, including a monopoly on Stinger missiles. Although an ISI and CIA favorite, Hekmatyar’s legitimacy as a fighter, his effectiveness, his loyalties and even his goals raised doubts in the Peshawar-based American press corps. According to CBS News stringer Kurt Lohbeck in his book, Holy War, Unholy Victory, Hekmatyar’s reputation was an elaborate ruse concocted by the CIA and Pakistan’s ISI to elicit Congressional support for the Mujahideen, and little else.

Gulbuddin had no effective fighting organization. He had not a single commander with any military reputation for fighting the Soviets or the Afghan regime. He had made alliances with top regime military figures. And he had killed numerous other Mujahiddin commanders. Yet the United States government and the covert agencies were doing their best to convert that lie into reality.

Read more:  http://www.rawa.org/temp/runews/2010/01/27/in-afghanistan-embracing-gulbuddin-hekmatyar-is-no-method-at-all.html#ixzz1q9IgMUmk

Via – Twitter

The blurred vision of Imran Khan – Promising to end corruption in 90 days smacks more of autocracy than democracy

Eliminating corruption in 90 days

By Raza Rumi

Excerpts;

….  Much has been said about the great Khan’s sympathies for the militants who are resisting ‘America’s war’ in our region. Never mind that they also kill Pakistanis, attack mosques, shrines and funerals and are in bed with a global ideology that wants to decimate the ‘un-Islamic’ Pakistani state. The odd relationship between the PTI and the self-declared defenders of Pakistan — the ragtag Islamist parties, ex-servicemen and known terrorists — has also been highlighted. I will not dwell on these issues as several commentators have indicated the dangers of this populist discourse and the larger, intrinsic relationship between populism and authoritarianism.

My real worry is that Mr Khan is yet to offer an alternative agenda. His charisma, cricket connection, philanthropic record and the use of social media are at work. When it comes to policy, the plan ahead is almost farcical. Haven’t we heard of elimination of corruption in 90 days before? Corruption, as a slogan, has been used by almost every Pakistani government to undermine political opponents. As early as the 1950s, laws to disqualify politicians were enacted.

The 1990s saw the military establishment orchestrate a ridiculous anti-corruption charade. Nawaz Sharif’s second tenure had a Himmler-wannabe as the chief of accountability, who turned anti-corruption efforts into medieval witch-hunts. Former President General Pervez Musharraf’s illegitimate rule was welcomed by the same urban middle classes, which now cheer for Imran Khan to eliminate the ‘corrupt’, old guard politicians.

Tackling corruption is not a 90-day job, for it will only result in high-powered accountability operations stuck in a dysfunctional legal system. It is a medium to long-term process involving restructuring of institutions — laws, formal and informal rules and conventions — which shape societal interaction and determine state behaviour. Pakistani politics and economics are defined by the military’s hegemony. The biggest expenditure items — defence and debt servicing — are virtually unaccountable. Has Mr Khan thought about these issues or will these disappear through ‘moral legitimacy’ — another wooly construct cited like a totem. ‘Clean’ civilians will make the khakis give up power. One has to live in wonderland to accept such postulates as even half-credible. ….

Read more » The Express Tribune

via – Twitter

Goodbye Pakistan Resolution, says JSQM chief

By Ammar Shahbazi

Karachi – As the nation celebrated the 72nd Pakistan Day with much enthusiasm across the country, Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz chairman Bashir Qureshi bade “farewell” to the 1940’s Pakistan Resolution and demanded independence for Sindh.

Speaking at a rally, which was, ironically, organised on M A Jinnah Road close to the mausoleum of the founder of Pakistan, Qureshi said that Sindh contributed 80 percent of revenue to the federal budget and the Sindhis had therefore the right to make their own decisions.

He said that “Punjab has usurped the resources of Sindh in the name of Pakistan [and Islam]” and that there was no country named Pakistan in history. “Pakistan is not a country and Pakistanis are not a nation.” The JSQM leader said that for the past 65 years “the Punjabis have usurped the resources of Sindh.”

The party had announced an “Azadi March” on the 8th of this month and since Friday morning activists of the party, carrying their red party flags on motorbikes, private cars and trucks, had been reaching the rally site from various part of the city.

The activists were shouting the party slogan: “Tunjho Desh, Munjho Desh, Sindhu Desh Sindhu Desh” on their way to the rally. The rally caused a major traffic jam on Sharea Faisal bringing vehicles to a standstill.

Addressing a crowd holding the party flags, the JSQM chief said that the he believed that the Urdu-speaking people were part of the Sindh nation and that “their future lies in Sindhu Desh”.

On the issue of Balochistan, he said that the largest province of the country deserved freedom from Punjab’s hegemony as did the province of Sindh. He said his party did not believe in violence.

Delving into history, he said that the British merged Sindh with Bombay. Warning the people of Sindh, he said that the “enemies always have had an eye on Sindh’s quota”. Qureshi also warned that projects like Zulfikarabad City were a conspiracy hatched against the people of Sindh to turn them into a minority in their own province.

Courtesy: The News

http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-4-99166-Goodbye-Pakistan-Resolution-says-JSQM-chief

Someone donates heart to Dick Cheney.

Dick Cheney recovering at hospital after heart transplant

By NBC News

Former Vice President Dick Cheney was recovering Saturday at a Virginia hospital after receiving a heart transplant, his office said.

Cheney was in the Intensive Care Unit of Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, his office said.

Cheney, 71, who served as vice president in the George W. Bush administration, has had a long history of heart trouble and has been on the cardiac transplant list for more than 20 months.

“Although the former Vice President and his family do not know the identity of the donor, they will be forever grateful for this lifesaving gift,” aide Kara Ahern said in a written statement that was authenticated by several close associates of the former vice president. ….

Read more » msnbc

Pakistan – Minister for Inter faith harmony says around 100 forced conversions of girls from minority communities

Harmony minister speaks out: Gill wants tougher legislation against forced conversion

By Qaiser Butt

ISLAMABAD: The minister for national harmony has alleged that about 100 non-Muslims, mostly Hindus girls, were forced to convert to Islam in recent months. The minister, Akram Masih Gill, told The Express Tribune that stronger legislation was required to protect minorities from forced conversions. ….

Read more » The Express Tribune