Category Archives: Current Issues

UNDERSTANDING IRAN-PAKISTAN RELATIONS

By Sattar Rind

Persian, now Iran’s, history goes back to the Iron Age – the world’s oldest continuous major civilization, with historical and urban settlements dating back to 4000 BC, at least.

Iranians are assumed to be Aryan and lived in the existing central Asian steppe area. In ancient history they had observed different emperors. However, Cyrus the Great was the first Persian Emperor in history who embraced all the previously civilized states of the ancient Near East and vastly expanded Persian rule and made part of the existing Iran. It was the largest empire that had ever been seen in this world.

Seleucid emperors were the next to Cyrus, then the Parthian and the Sasanians who governed Iran for more than a thousand years.

Following the Sasanians, Iran once again unified as an independent state in the fifteenth century, this time from a Sufi saint family from Azerbaijan, a person named Ismail, who politically manipulated his followers – the Shiite militants Qizilbash, and had captured Tabriz and declared himself as Shah of Azerbaijan, becoming founder of the Safavid Dynasty in July 1501.

Since then this dynasty never looked back and ruled Iran until the Islamic revolution of Imam Khomeini on April 1st, 1979 ended their rule forcibly exiling the King Raza Shah Pahlavi from Iran.

At their peak the Safavid Dynasty ruled and controlled all of modern Iran, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Armenia, most of Georgia, the North Caucasus, Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Syria, as well as parts of Turkey, especially Anatolia, Macedonia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, the existing Afghanistan and Pakistan up to Indus valley.

His followers, Qizilbash, preferred to be called the ‘army of Haider’ – a name of Hazrat Ali – the first Imam of Muslim Shiites. Thus they developed Shiite Islam as the official religion of the empire which marked a great turning point in Islamic history.

However, the new Islamic state of Iran and its spiritual leader Imam Khomeini was the first head who enhanced more militancy in an already militant Muslim sect but was intolerable for the Arabs as they were for centuries rivals of one another.

But mostly it was the Arabs – being tribal oriented they used to taunt and hate civilized people. It is a trait of tribal people and could be observed still today in the same situation.

Iran undoubtedly has a great rich heritage – art, poetry, music and collective manners. They always remained proud to their civilization and history – what great philosopher Friedrich Hegel termed them “the first Historical People.”

Perhaps due to this or many other reasons, the Arabian people for centuries never liked the Iranians. It is not a secret but an open fact. It is even being said that the Iranians became Muslim, but in their own way. It was not ‘Arabized’. The Persian remained Persians. In a sense, Iranian Islam is a second advent of Islam itself, a new Islam sometimes referred to as Islam-i-Ajam.

Again this conflict and rivalry went in opposite directions to each other on the issue of the Islamic sect. The Shiites are the second largest Muslim sect in the Muslim world. Nevertheless in this conflict Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahhab worsened at a great level, especially if we look at a concise history then we could not forget the massacre of Karbala, believed to be led by the Al-Saud leader Abdul Aziz Ibn Al-Saud, the son-in-law of Ibn Wahhab.

He damaged Imam Hussain’s tomb (the Grandson of Muhammad (PBUH) and son of fourth Caliph Hazrat Ali of Muslim history), it is claimed, in return, one man killing him by a stiletto in revenge.

For the existing Pakistan, Iran was the first country that accepted Pakistan as a sovereign state and never went against one another. They developed the Regional Cooperation for Development (RCD) which later changed into the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) and widened with many other Central Asian countries as members.

Both countries when required supported each other either locally or internationally. As Iran was a natural ally and was given the status as ‘Most Favorite Nation’ for trade purposes, both helped each other in wars, in different ways. The relationship within the countries though remained very cordial but reached its peak in the days of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.

However in the Zia era even if both countries never intended to damage one other at state level, a resentment was for the first time noticed in the relationship between the two.

The reason was obvious in that Zia was the ultraconservative and very close to the Wahhabi school of thought and perhaps was the first Pakistani ruler of such mentality who tried to be part of the Saudi Arabian ideology and impose the same ideologue in Pakistan fearing the new Islamic revolution of Imam Khomeini may influence the people. It was him who sent 40 thousand army personnel to defend Saudi Arabia from the internal and possibly external threat in 1980, although it was condemned as an act and not accepted by the people of Pakistan, even including army personnel within the ranks.

Zia however was claiming the Iranian revolution as Islamic but he was the person who had created sectarian groups, protected and enhanced them to kill the Shiite Muslims in Pakistan. This could still be observed today. It is believed that when Zia met with Imam Khomeini in Iran he tried to recognise his role for Islamic service but Khomeini, without caring for diplomacy, snubbed Zia that he knew him and was the puppet of Saudi rulers, playing an important role on their behalf killing Shiite Muslims in Pakistan.

Following this Zia started believing that it would be better for him not to give any space to expanding Shiites in Pakistan. Another factor was also involved that somehow most Shiite communities or almost all were supporting Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto either directly or indirectly.

Whatever happened in the Zia era in the recent past or what is currently going on against the Shiite people in Pakistan, one thing it is very clear and important to note is that the people of Pakistan, from the depths of their hearts, are not interested in being part of any proxy war against the natural ally and neighboring country Iran. This is something every ruling authority in Pakistan knows.

Therefore on each occasion in the past, Pakistan has been a very close ally to the US and Saudi Arabia, but has never opposed Iran. In the recent action of Saudi Arabia killing a Shiite leader, Nimr al-Nimr, a spat between Iran and Saudi spread throughout the world, most Gulf Cooperation Council Countries (GCC) disconnecting diplomatic ties with Iran. But for Pakistan it would be impossible due to the people of Pakistan, as it would be difficult for security reasons.

The Balochs of Balochistan have been fighting for their independence since 1948 and have a long history of fighting against the Pakistani army. The total bordering area of Pakistan is connected with Iran from the Balochistan province. There is also a Baloch province in Iran. In the past, and especially in 1974 against the Baloch insurgency, Iran helped Pakistan giving guns, helicopters and fighter jets to curb such an uprising.

If Pakistan decided to go against Iran it could be possible that Iran supports Balochistan. We know the proverb ‘Enemy of the enemy is a friend’. Shiite Muslims are the second largest sect and cover more than 20% of the populace of Pakistan and would be aggravated by this, no Pakistani leader being in a position to provoke them. Thus it will be observed there is no possibility a Pakistan leader will stand up for Saudi Arabia, openly at least. However, it is said that only God knows the secrets of the inner core of the soul.

Courtesy & Thanks » Tuck Magazine
Read more » http://tuckmagazine.com/2016/01/12/understanding-iran-pakistan-relations12172/

 

Imran, Qadri in venomous outburst against police

By Irfan Haider

ISLAMABAD: On the second day of a purported crackdown against protesters of both the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT), both Imran Khan and Dr Tahirul Qadri decried the role of police and told them to “get your act together or face the consequences”.

Dr Tahirul Qadri, in an impassioned outburst, challenged the police to come after him. “Let them come to arrest me and we will see what happens. My protest will be the death of their regime, it’s just a matter of days,” he declared from atop his container on Constitution Avenue.

Know more: Only criminals being targeted, not political parties: Nisar

In his own outburst, Mr Khan called out the Islamabad police chief, saying, “I will not spare you Tahir Alam, when I become prime minister of Pakistan.”

Read more » DAWN
http://www.dawn.com/news/1131861

‘Overt ouster’ of Sharif may trigger sanctions: US report

By Anwar Iqbal

WASHINGTON: The anti-government protest in Pakistan has reversed the country’s struggle to establish a sustainable democratic system, says a report prepared for the US Congress.

The report — “Pakistan Political Unrest” — warns that “any overt military ouster” of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif “could trigger another round of democracy-related US sanctions on foreign assistance to Pakistan”.

This could put “an indefinite halt to what has been one of the highest-priority American aid programmes since 9/11”.

The report also warns that the unrest could impact Pakistan’s relations with India by increasing the army’s influence in foreign policies.

“The Pakistan Army’s more openly direct control of Pakistan’s foreign and security policies may, over time, shift Pakistan’s approach towards Afghanistan further into a policy framework that seeks to counter Indian influence there,” warns the report prepared by the Congressional Research Service (CRS).

Read more » DAWN
http://www.dawn.com/news/1130987/overt-ouster-of-sharif-may-trigger-sanctions-us-report

Army chief holds off generals seeking Pakistan PM’s ouster

By Mehreen Zahra-Malik

ISLAMABAD, Sept 5 (Reuters) – Weeks of mounting anti-government protests in Pakistan had been enough to convince five of the powerful army’s 11 Corps Commanders that it was time for them to step in and force embattled Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to resign.

According to a minister close to military circles, top generals met in the garrison city of Rawalpindi at the end of August as demonstrations raged in nearby Islamabad. Thousands of protesters had just tried to storm Sharif’s residence.
At the tense, four-hour conclave, Pakistan’s democratic process was once again in peril, with the military pondering another intervention in a country that has seen power change hands more often through coups than elections.
But army chief Raheel Sharif decided the time was not right to overthrow the civilian leadership, and moved to quell any disagreement in his ranks by overruling the hawks and declaring the crisis must be solved through politics, not force.
Soon afterwards, the army issued a brief statement, reaffirming its commitment to democracy, and the threat of a coup, at least for now, had passed.

The minister, who declined to be named due to the sensitivity of discussing the inner workings of the military, said at least five generals had been pushing for weeks for the army to take a more “active role” in defusing the crisis.
“The time for the army to be neutral is over,” was how the minister summed up the message from dissenters around the table.
Two military sources confirmed this version of events. They, like the minister, spoke on condition of anonymity.
A senior security source added: “Raheel Sharif is not interested in direct intervention. The tanks aren’t going to come rolling in. This army believes in compromise.”

The army’s media wing confirmed Sunday’s meeting but declined to share details. Defence Minister Khawaja Asif told Reuters the army was a “monolithic institution”. “What comes out from the army is ultimately one opinion,” he said. “And … they have supported democracy.”

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/reuters/article-2745005/Army-chief-holds-generals-seeking-Pakistan-PMs-ouster.html#ixzz3CS3QguyO
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The fall of the neutral umpire

While the security establishment had played footsie with domestic, regional and transnational jihadists for decades, it threw the decision to act against them in the PM’s lap

By Dr Mohammad Taqi

The so-called neutral umpire that the chief of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) Imran Khan had been looking up to for a decision was neither neutral nor an umpire and now has fallen flat on its face. None other than the veteran politician and the elected president of the PTI, Mr Javed Hashmi, took the wind out of Imran Khan and his umpire’s sails. Mr Hashmi vented his spleen not just about the dictatorial tendencies of Imran Khan but also ripped apart the PTI’s ‘clean politics’ facade. The maverick from Multan flayed to shreds the sordid collusion between certain leaders in the PTI, its fellow travellers and the establishment. What Mr Hashmi, popularly known as the baghi (rebel) for bucking both the civil and military demigods, said has been known since at least this past April. The original plan was to unfold right after Ramzan but was delayed due to the military operation in North Waziristan. However, hearing it from the horse’s mouth vindicates everyone who has suspected that Imran Khan was merely the establishment’s 12th man who had been fielded to do its dirty work.
The whispering campaign against the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) started when elected Prime Minister (PM) Nawaz Sharif refused to give the former military dictator General Pervez Musharraf a free pass in the treason trial. The PM, appointing Khawaja Muhammad Asif, a man that the security establishment has despised for his clear anti-dictatorship stance, did not go down well with the boots. Attitudes hardened when the PM made peace overtures at his Indian counterpart’s inauguration. The tipping point, however, was PM Sharif’s courtesy visit to the wounded television anchor-journalist Hamid Mir who had implicated an intelligence agency in the attack that he narrowly survived. The battle lines were thus drawn. It was more about the security establishment losing face due to General Musharraf’s trial and ceding domestic political space to the civilian PM in appointments such as that of the defence minister than just about foreign policy. A decision seemed to have been made then that PM Nawaz Sharif had to be reined in. The PML-N’s comfortable parliamentary majority and former President Asif Ali Zardari’s judicious decision to divest the president of his powers to dissolve the National Assembly, made undermining the PM ‘constitutionally’ impossible.

Continue reading The fall of the neutral umpire

Govt should voluntarily step down to avoid bloodshed, says Altaf Hussain

By Dawn.com

LONDON: Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain terming all demands of Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Dr Tahirul Qadri as ‘valid’, has said that it would be in the country’s interest if the government voluntarily stepped down to avoid any bloodshed, DawnNews reported.

Talking about the anti-government sit-ins being held in the federal capital city and a possible government reaction, Hussain said that the government should consider the safety of women and children, participating in the sit-ins.

He further cited that the ‘third force’ would have to intervene, if Tahirul Qardi did not step back voluntarily.

Read more » DAWN
http://www.dawn.com/news/1128264/govt-should-voluntarily-step-down-to-avoid-bloodshed-says-altaf-hussain

Pakistan’s Federal minister for Planning & Development, Ahsan Iqbal’s son Ahmed Iqbal’s remarks against Pak Army

“The responsibility of all terrorist attacks falls squarely on the armed forces & intelligence agencies. People of Pakistan have made enough sacrifices. It is time that that these institutions start doing their job of protecting Pakistan & not themselves. There would no war, no Taliban, no external threat if they would have done their job. It is high time to not only hit back at terrorists but to secure Pakistan’s future by dealing with this menace. Spend on education, health, development, people & …. the army!”  “Warna, yeh Taliban Ko Paalnay Waali, India Ko Ukssanay waali, Jamhoriat Ko Lapaytnay waali Fauj apnay bojh talay Is Mulk Ko Kuchal day gi.” ~ Ahmed Iqbal Chaudhary

Read more » http://pakobserver.net/detailnews.asp?id=244363

More details »» Roznama Dunya
http://e.dunya.com.pk/colum.php?date=2014-06-16&edition=LHR&id=31946_74196307

Other voices: An ominous sign

DR Hameed Soomro writes: a tragedy took place near Naushahro Feroze claiming the lives of Maqsood Qureshi, brother of late nationalist leader Bashir Qureshi and Salman Wadho. … After [being] shot the bodies were dumped in their car and set on fire. … Earlier Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz chief Bashir Qureshi also died in mysterious circumstances. …Maqsood belonged to a nationalist group which … [does not] … pose a threat to the state. … The group did not announce any armed struggle. Still Maqsood was killed. There are speculations that … this might be a message to the group to remain within its limits. … This incident [sends] the message that Balochistan-like conditions are being created in Sindh. … It is the responsibility of the government … to solve this mystery. … — (March 23) ~ Selected and translated by Sohail Sangi.

Courtesy: DAWN
http://www.dawn.com/news/1095465?fb_action_ids=10152130818119830&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source=other_multiline&action_object_map=[1481293392099200]&action_type_map=[%22og.likes%22]&action_ref_map=[]

Analysis of gruesome murders of Secular Sindhi Nationalist Leaders and biggest-ever peaceful rally of Freedom March by the people of Sindh

Must watch analysis of gruesome murders of liberal and secular Sindhi Nationalist leaders of Maqsood Qureshi and Saleman Wadhu and the biggest-ever, 5 million peaceful rally of Freedom march by the people of Sindh. The language of the video clip is in Sindhi language. Discussion by Naseer Memon and Moeson Baber.

Courtesy: Sindhi Tv channel Aawaz Tv

Sindh marches for freedom

By Kirshna Y.

About five million Sindhis marched in Karachi and demanded United Nations and the world community for their intervention for the freedom of Sindh.

Numbers matter. Opinions matter more. If combined together, they determine a vast arena of matters. This is what one can say about the South Asia’s populist and the peaceful most freedom movement ongoing in Sindh. No doubt, the movement has been giving the sparkly glitz since last a few years.

On March 23, 2014, millions of Sindhi people from across the Sindh province held a ‘Freedom March for Sindh’ on the call of Jeay Sindh Qomi Mahaz (JSQM) in Karachi, the capital city of Sindh. They demanded “Independence of Sindh” by appealing the world community especially the United Nations, USA, UK, Russia, France and China for their ‘support and intervention” for the freedom of Sindh to attain its sovereign and independent country. It is worth mentioning here that JSQM is one of secular most political parties in Pakistan.

The march was held on the Republic Day of Pakistan on March 23, 2014. It was also held on the same day in 2012 and was attended by at least two million people. The popular most Sindhi nationalist leader of the last two decades, Bashir Qureshi who was Chairman of Jeay Sindh Qomi Mahaz (JSQM) was poisoned to death by Pakistan?s military establishment and died within a couple of week in April 2012 after holding the freedom march.

After his death, his son Sanan Qureshi, who is in his twenties, was elected as Chairperson of JSQM. Bashir Qureshi’s younger brother Maqsood Qureshi was already a member of GMist Council, the higher most forum of the organization.

 

Continue reading Sindh marches for freedom

Strength in numbers: JSQM’s ‘Freedom March’ turns into party’s biggest-ever rally

KARACHI: Supporters and activists of the Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM) converged at MA Jinnah Road in Karachi for the Freedom March on Sunday. The party managed to attract a respectable crowd, despite the recent killings of two of its leaders and the threats of possible attacks at the rally.

“Is it a sin to love your motherland? Have we ever adopted the path of violence?” questioned the party’s chairperson Sunan Qureshi while addressing the rally. He alleged that his uncle, Maqsood, and another party leader, Wadho, were killed by ‘hidden hands’.

Speaking about the province’s natural resources and its share in the country’s revenue, Sunan said that despite contributing 82 per cent of the country’s natural gas, 69 per cent of its petrol and 80 per cent of the total budget, children were dying in Tharparkar due to starvation. He said that 6.1 million children in Sindh were out of schools. “About 28 per cent people of the total population of Sindh have hepatitis and because of contaminated water and food shortage, the average life expectancy in Sindh is just 43 years,” he claimed.

Sunan also alleged that Sindh’s water is being stolen, saying that the continuous arrival of outsiders in Sindh had created an alarming situation.

“We consider Urdu-speaking people as permanent residents of Sindh. We accept you as our brothers,” he announced, amid of slogans of Jeay Sindh. “But don’t take Sindh as a policy. Sindh is our motherland and we won’t accept its division at any cost.” The youngest leader of any Sindhi nationalist party, Sunan addressed the huge crowd in front of Rimpa Plaza. Leaders of different nationalist parties attended the march, including Riaz Chandio, Khaliq Junejo, Zain Shah, Ameer Bhanbhro and Dodo Mehri.

Sunan said that religious harmony existed in Sindh before the partition of the sub-continent and that religious hatred was now being instigated deliberately.

The funerals of the party’s leaders, Maqsood and Wadho, who were killed on Friday, were also performed after Sunan’s address. Their bodies were later taken to Ratodero, where both will be buried today (Monday).

The area from Tibet Centre to Numaish Chowrangi was cordoned off and all roads were blocked with containers. Participants from different parts of the city joined the main rally which started from Qureshi’s residence in Gulshan-e-Hadeed.

“Both our leaders were shot dead and their bodies were set ablaze,” said party vice-chairperson Dr Niaz Kalani. “We will register an FIR after the burial rites,” he confirmed to The Express Tribune.

Sagar Hanif Burdi, one of the party’s leaders, confirmed that Waseem Akhtar and Ashfaque Mangi of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement had also joined them for the rally.

“The Sindh government has not contacted us yet,” he revealed, saying that only statements have been issued.

This was the second such rally on March 23 by the JSQM – the first was led by Sunan’s deceased father, Bashir Khan Qureshi, in 2012. Bashir died under mysterious circumstances soon after the rally on April 7.

Courtesy: The Express Tribune, March 24th, 2014.
http://tribune.com.pk/story/686523/strength-in-numbers-jsqms-freedom-march-turns-into-partys-biggest-ever-rally/

JSQM’s ‘Freedom March’ in Karachi

Meanwhile in Pakistan, the natives (Sindhis) of the largest revenue-generating province, Sindh, of Pakistan took to the arteries of Karachi to demand independence from Pakistan. They alleged that Pakistan was not acknowledging their culture and historical status of a ‘nation’, whose roots are in the Mohen-jo-Daro, the ancient Indus civilization.

A couple of days back, while on work for the ‘Freedom March’, two leaders, Maqsood Qureshi and Salman Wadho, of the organizing Sindhi nationalist party, Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM), were found charred in a burned out car in Sindh. The post martem report holds it that they were shot multiple times before the car was set on fire. JSQM alleged that the Pakistani intelligence agencies were involved in the dual murder.

The Freedom March started back in 2012 when the then-party chairman, Bashir Khan Qureshi led the Freedom March in Karachi on March 23rd. The specific day is chosen because, on this day, Pakistan celebrates the passing of the Lahore Resolution, in which official demand for a separate country was upheld; however, unlike the status defined for the federating units to be ‘autonomous’, Pakistan violating the resolution itself made the federating units as ‘provinces’ and tried to paint all nations — Sindhi, Bengali, Baloch, Punjabi — as ONE single nation which all but Punjabis resisted and, consequently, the East Pakistan turned into Bangladesh.

Mr. Qureshi died two weeks past that march ‘mysteriously’.

So, two freedom march at the cost of two central leaders — brothers to each other.

Despite being the richest province of Pakistan, recently, scores of children died in the Thar area of Sindh due to what was being labelled as ‘famine’. Joblessness is prevalent. Poverty is at its bloom in Sindh. Natives are barred from decision-making process and migration from other parts of the country and the world is threatening the natives to turn into minority in their own historical homeland.

The so-called national (Read Urdu-language) media completely blacked out the coverage of the thousands of the Sindhi marching in the country’s largest commercial city, Karachi.

Read more » http://networkedblogs.com/VaNfS

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More details » BBC urdu
http://www.bbc.co.uk/urdu/pakistan/2014/03/140323_jeay_sindh_freedom_march_sa.shtml

23rd March: Sindhis Towards Freedom March

Ahmed MakhdoomBy Dr. Ahmed H. Makhdoom

Today, “Freedom, Freedom, Freedom for Sindh” is the only Echo thundering in Karachi, the capital city of Sindh, and valleys, hills, plains and the corridors of Sindh!

Everyday, simple, innocent, and peace-loving sons of Sindh are abducted by the savages and scavengers of the deep security state – mercilessly and brutally tortured, massacred and then their mutilated and mangled dead bodies burnt beyond recognition! Such is the brutality, inhumanity, wickedness and barbarism happens in this ill-gotten, ill-conceived, corrupt, rogue, and dark deep state every day.

Yesterday, they burnt, disfigured, lacerated and crushed bodies of two of Sindh’s worthy and filial sons – Martyr Maqsood Quraishi (younger brother of Martyr Bashir Quraishi, who was Martyred not very long time ago) and a young Martyr Salman Wadho’s bullet riddled charred bodies – were found in a burnt car, in which they were travelling!

Why? What was their fault? Their ONLY ‘crime’ was that they loved their Motherland, and sang songs in praise of the brightness, beauty and brilliance of their gregarious Land! They demanded justice for the people of Sindh – which is a right of every citizen to do so!

Condemnations for such barbarism and savagery and appeals for justice for the people of Sindh to the ‘civilised’ world has proven futile, useless and in vain! World had presented a “Deaf Ear” to the screams of “Help” from the tortured, tormented and terrorised citizens of Sindh and Balochistan!

People of Sindh are being suffocated! But sadly, tragically and unfortunately  – NO ONE CARES A DAMN!

Today, on 23rd of March, through the freedom march people of Sindh have denounced the Lahore resolution of 1940 and have demanded sovereignty and Freedom for their Ancient and historical Land, Sindh – a 7,000 to 10, 000 years old Indus Civilisation! Millions of people of Sindh have marched towards the Capital City of Sindh, Karachi where they have formally declared Freedom from the slavery and servitude of this miserable, devilish dark deep security state!

Dr. Ahmed H. Makhdoom
23rd March, 2014

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups + social media

CNN report – Millions of Sindhis Want freedom

By ShoukatZ

SINDH – Karachi: Pakistan is under the threat of Disintegration and after Baluchistan Now Sindh is also demanding freedom from the state of Pakistan. To show this demand Politically one of the Sindhi Nationalist Party Jiye Sindh Qomi Mahaaz (JSQM) called for a freedom March in the provincial capital of Sindh Province.

The leaders in there speeches were telling the audience about the atrocities of the State and specially brought recently burnt after being Shot dead two of the leaders bodies in protest.

Sanaan Qureshi a young leader and son of the slain Nationalist leader Bashir Khan Qureshi told the audience that we are betrayed and our rights are violated by the state of Pakistan. Demanding own right to live is not a Sin but when we demand it we get killed. He said enough is enough. our survival is in freedom and the state of Pakistan has to demolish.

Niaz Kalani the vice chairman again reminded about the extra judicial killing of Nationalists leaders by state agencies and condemned it. He said our province meets the demands of Pakistan like 70% of Tax revenue, 83 % of natural Gas, Sea ports and the biggest coal mines in thar Desert but our people are dieing of Hunger.

He said this is the right time to show the world and world should see this that millions of peoples are on streets but except regional Sindhi media there is no media Coverage. He further said how long will you suppress our voice, how many people will you kill??. The leaders demanded World Community to Take notice of Extra judicial killings & human rights violation of Sindhi People

The rally was attended by almost 5 million people and the majority was youth of Sindh. After speeches they performed the funeral prayers of their slain leaders whose bodies were brought in the rally.

Courtesy: CNN
http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-1111164

Sindh: JSQM Freedom March

Comment by Manzoor Chandio, Karachi

How deceitful are the leaders of so-called mainstream political parties when each year on March 23rd they call for realisation of Pakistan’s ideals. Sixty-seven years on, they have paid no heed to the fact that the 1940 Lahore Resolution adopted by the League in Lahore envisaged “sovereign and autonomous” federating units to be the part of the federation of Pakistan. Much water has flown under the bridge since then and Pakistan has become a festering cesspool by deviating from the charter. Now the recognition of provinces’ right to self-determination would only be the correct decision.

Courtesy: via Facebook

Is Larkana not Gojra?

In an opinion piece written recently on the attack on a Hindu temple in Larkana, the writer was of the opinion that the issue must not be taken too seriously. Larkana is not Gojra, Punjab. Thank God for that! But Gojra didn’t happen in a day. The burning of the Hindu temple is an indicator of the gradual transformation of, what was once, a peace-loving society. Like Charles Napier, who sent a telegram after winning the final battle in this area, saying that “I have sinned”, indeed, the extremist forces have Sindh and will gradually challenge plural sociocultural norms, just the way it happened in South Punjab.

Continue reading Is Larkana not Gojra?

Why Malaysia Will Say Almost Nothing About the Missing Plane

By

With an international team of investigators still seemingly baffled about what happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, which disappeared over the weekend, relatives of the passengers and diplomats from countries touched by the mishap have vented their frustration with the Malaysian government. For days, it seems, Malaysian officials and the state-owned carrier have released almost no information about the flight or working theories of why it vanished. Malaysia Airlines did not even inform relatives for 15 hours that the plane had disappeared, sending the distraught families to a hotel in Beijing to wait, and Kuala Lumpur’s envoys still have mostly kept the relatives in the dark days later.

More than 100 friends and relatives of the vanished passengers signed a petition on Monday calling on the Malaysian government to be more transparent and answer questions. Several of the relatives threw bottles at Malaysia Airlines employees who came to speak with them in Beijing, where the missing plane had been headed, but mostly the officials maintained their tight-lipped approach.

The frustration felt by families of the missing is understandable and reasonable, but no one should have expected much better from the Malaysian government. Although theoretically a democracy with regular, contested elections, Malaysia has been ruled since independence by the same governing coalition that has become known for its lack of transparency and disinterest—even outright hostility—toward the press and inquiring citizens. For a relatively wealthy country, Malaysia is also unusually prone to corruption. Since the Sept. 11 attacks and the revelations that al-Qaeda members had convened planning meetings in Malaysia, the government has become intensely controlling of any information about potential terror threats

Read more » Business Week
http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-03-12/why-malaysia-will-say-almost-nothing-about-the-missing-flight

The Dominant Economic Model of the 21st Century: Pain and Suffering for — Almost — All

March 3, 2014  |  This article originally appeared on TruthDig.com, and is reprinted here with their permission.OXFORD, England—The morning after my  Feb. 20 debate at the Oxford Union, I walked from my hotel along Oxford’s narrow cobblestone streets, past its storied colleges with resplendent lawns and Gothic stone spires, to meet  Avner Offer, an economic historian and Chichele Professor Emeritus of Economic History.Offer, the author of “ The Challenge of Affluence: Self-Control and Well-Being in the United States and Britain Since 1950,” for 25 years has explored the cavernous gap between our economic and social reality and our ruling economic ideology. Neoclassical economics, he says, is a “just-world theory,” one that posits that not only do good people get what they deserve but those who suffer deserve to suffer. He says this model is “a warrant for inflicting pain.” If we continue down a path of mounting scarcities, along with economic stagnation or decline, this neoclassical model is ominous. It could be used to justify repression in an effort to sustain a vision that does not correspond to the real world.Offer, who has studied the rationing systems set up in countries that took part in World War I, suggests we examine how past societies coped successfully with scarcity. In an age of scarcity it would be imperative to set up new, more egalitarian models of distribution, he says. Clinging to the old neoclassical model could, he argues, erode and perhaps destroy social cohesion and require the state to engage in greater forms of coercion.

“The basic conventions of public discourse are those of the  Enlightenment, in which the use of reason [enabled] us to achieve human objectives,” Offer said as we sat amid piles of books in his cluttered office. “Reason should be tempered by reality, by the facts. So underlining this is a notion of science that confronts reality and is revised by reference to reality. This is the model for how we talk. It is the model for the things we assume. But the reality that has emerged around us has not come out of this process. So our basic conventions only serve to justify existing relationships, structures and hierarchies. Plausible arguments are made for principles that are incompatible with each other.”

Offer cited a concept from social psychology called the  just-world theory. “A just-world theory posits that the world is just. People get what they deserve. If you believe that the world is fair you explain or rationalize away injustice, usually by blaming the victim.

Major ways of thinking about the world constitute just-world theories,” he said. “The Catholic Church is a just-world theory. If the Inquisition burned heretics, they only got what they deserved. Bolshevism was a just-world theory. If  Kulaks were starved and exiled, they got what they deserved. Fascism was a just-world theory. If Jews died in the concentration camps, they got what they deserved. The point is not that the good people get the good things, but the bad people get the bad things. Neoclassical economics, our principal source of policy norms, is a just-world theory.”

Offer quoted the economist  Milton Friedman: “The ethical principle that would directly justify the distribution of income in a free market society is, ‘To each according to what he and the instruments he owns produces.’ ”

“So,” Offer went on, “everyone gets what he or she deserves, either for his or her effort or for his or her property. No one asks how he or she got this property. And if they don’t have it, they probably don’t deserve it. The point about just-world theory is not that it dispenses justice, but that it provides a warrant for inflicting pain.”

Read more » Alternet
http://www.alternet.org/economy/dominant-economic-model-21st-century-pain-and-suffering-almost-all

Crimean parliament votes to join Russia

Ukraine calls proposed Crimean referendum ‘a farce, a fake’

By: SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine — Reuters

World leaders are decrying a proposed referendum in Crimea on joining Russia as illegal and illegitimate.

President Barack Obama warned Thursday the referendum would violate Ukranian sovereignty and international law while Prime Minister Stephen Harper said the Canadian government will not recognize the results of the referendum. And German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday the referendum was “illegal and incompatible with Ukraine’s constitution.”

Read more » The Globe And Mail
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/crimean-vice-premier-says-referendum-on-status-set-for-march-16-report/article17341409/

Obama: ‘There will be costs for military intervention in Ukraine’

International community scrambles to  Russian moves in Crimea

President Barack Obama said the United States stands with the international community in affirming that “there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine” and defended the country’s citizens’ right to “determine their own future,” at a press conference Friday.

A senior U.S. official said Obama and European leaders would consider skipping the G8 summit in Sochi, Russia, if the country intervenes militarily in Ukraine. He also said a possible response could include avoiding deeper trade and commerce ties Moscow is seeking. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor called for sanctions against “Russian individuals and entities who use force or interfere in Ukraine’s domestic affairs.”

Read more » Aljazeera
http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/2/28/obama-there-willbecostsformilitaryinterventioninukraine.html

Voice of Baloch Missing Persons’ Long March Arrives in Lahore: warm welcome for Baloch marchers.

Comrade Irfan stood head and shoulders above the entire left in Pakistan. An organic representative of the most advanced and progressive section of the working class, he literally risked his life safeguarding the Baloch. He came in front of a truck to protect the march and escaped because he came under the truck and between its two front wheels. He cared for their every need from Harrapa onwards. He took care of their food and shelter. And finally he organised the most incredible reception that they have received in the entire Punjab.

Lahori workers lifted Comrade Irfan on their shoulders as he spoke passionately against the injustice of the Baloch. Surrounded by red flags he welcomed the Baloch march to Lahore on behalf of the working class movement. The enthusiasm and the energy was a sight for sore eyes to see. In one big gesture, workers brought together people of all communities in the fight against all forms of oppression. Lahori working women draped their Baloch sisters in chadors. People showered petals until the road was red with rose petals. Media surrounded the march and took pictures from every angle. Everyone was disciplined, there was no pushing or shoving. Women were safe in the centre. Workers made a human chain around the march to protect their Baloch brothers & sisters. The Baloch said to us “this was the best reception we have received anywhere in the Punjab. We thought we would not return alive from the Punjab but we did not expect that so many people had so much love for us.”Altogether united people shouted “We want, justice” “Baloch want justice”. There were representatives from the Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party, Bonded Labour Liberation Front, Peoples Democratic Front, National Students Federation, Baloch Students Federation, Shahvar Ali Khan representing musicians, Rise for Pakistan and so many others whose names I cannot remember right now. This was not your caste of usual suspects. This was a real proletarian gathering for the Baloch. And I think that is what made it genuine and wonderful.

The entire left should join us in awarding comrade Irfan with a medal as a “Hero of the Working Class”.

Courtesy: Facebook

Is Pakistan Going to Become a Taliban State?

Distinguished anchor of Rawal TV, Tahir Aslam Gora, discusses the current negotiations of Government of Pakistan & Taliban, with Arshad Mahmood an astute political commentator in Bilatakalluf (Straight Talk). The language of the talk show is Hindi (urdu).

Courtesy: Rawal Tv » Bilatakalluf with Tahir Gora, Episode 131 »» YouTube

Multi-crore tax scam at American Embassy School

by Rajeev Sharma

India is on the verge of gaining some leverage in the Devyani Khobragade case with the unearthing of what looks like a gigantic multi-year tax evasion scam by the American Embassy School here. Even as the US has declined to drop charges against Khobragade on the ground that it does not mess around with domestic law, India now can pressure the Americans to do so, given the growing dimensions of the tax evasion. The Khobragade visa fraud case is now counterbalanced by what seems to be an American tax fraud in India that either went unnoticed or was ignored in the general need to defer to Uncle Sam in the past. In fact, there is some evidence—quoted in a New York Times story—that the spouses of American diplomats may have been encouraged to lie about their status to avoid having to get a separate work visa in India. Just as Devyani’s maid may have lied about her wages, US diplomats’ spouses may also have misrepresented their status. US Embassy in Delhi.

The Americans who threw the rule book at Khobragade and preached visa ethics are now finding themselves on the wrong side of the law here. Washington needs to be worried, very worried, on two counts. First, credible sources told this writer that the American Embassy School (AES) has been violating a number of Indian laws and fraudulently evading income tax since 1972. The cumulative tax evaded thus far and the penalties would easily run into scores of crores, if not more. The American diplomats in India have also been found to be indulging in an institutionalised mechanism of visa and tax frauds for decades. Worse, unlike the Devyani incident, which was a one-off case, the AES scam has been routinely perpetrated at the behest of top officials of the US embassy in New Delhi.

Read more » First Post
More at: http://www.firstpost.com/india/multi-crore-tax-scam-at-the-american-embassy-school-unearthed-1343915.html?utm_source=ref_article

Injustice with Sindh continue

Ecnec approves nine projects of Rs43 bn

ISLAMABAD: The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) that met here on Monday with Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, accorded approval to nine projects valued at Rs42.92 billion in the energy, education, health, transport and communications, irrigation and water sectors.

The meeting approved two projects for Punjab amounting to Rs24.84 billion, three projects for Balochistan valuing to Rs 8.70 billion, one project for Sindh of worth Rs2.08 billion and two projects for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa costing Rs4.40 billion and one national scholarship programme of Rs2.90 billion.

Read more » The News
http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-206926-Ecnec-approves-nine-projects-of-Rs43-bn

Balochistan under siege — Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

. The government admits that 18,000 persons were displaced from Dera Bugti. Such a large exodus results from the terror that military operations and presence create

The headline, “Election security: Balochistan braces for surgical operation” in a national daily left me amazed at the deviousness media uses in its reporting of distressing events and issues to make them look completely innocuous, or even praiseworthy. The crafty employment of words and phrases is truly beguiling and lethally effective in constructing or deconstructing opinions and views about issues. These clichés deceive people into believing that the ‘establishment’ or institutions’ favoured narrative is the absolute truth. This deception is done with such dexterity and panache that readers have no idea that they have been duped and deprived of the truth; moreover, they find themselves applauding and cheering something that is patently obnoxious, brutal and destructive. The ease and frequency with which this trickery succeeds demands that people be informed and educated about this farce, otherwise, we will find people following these sophisticated pied pipers without ever understanding the fatal consequences that follow from blindly believing spurious and misleading ideas, policies and actions to be the truth.

Continue reading Balochistan under siege — Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

Twin Islands Dingi and Bhandar (Bodha Island) are the property of Sindh

Another hitch pops up for foreign investment

By: Ramzan Chandio

SINHD: KARACHI – The controversy over the ownership of twin islands near Karachi has been resurfaced between the Sindh government and Port Qasim Authority, which allotted islands to the UAE-based company for establishment of Island city here.

The Bahria Foundation and UAE firm inked an agreement of US$20 billion to establish Island City on twin islands-Bundal and Buddo in sea near Karachi.

The controversy over the ownership arose during the PML-Q-led Sindh government of former Sindh Chief Minister Dr Arbab Ghulam Rahim and Port and Shipping Ministry of federal government in 2006, when federal government unilaterally allotted the islands to the Emmar Company of UAE.

Then opposition and present ruling party PPP, nationalist parties and fishermen had launched a protest campaign against the allotment of twin islands to the foreign firm, which compelled the foreign company from taking over the control of islands.

However, the issue resurfaced between the Sindh government and Port Qasim Authority when foreign company and local company Bahria Foundation of Malik Riaz inked a deal just two days ago. Sources said that Sindh Board of Revenue has moved a summary to the Sindh chief minister, urging him to take a position not to allow the allotment of islands to the foreign company as federal government sealed a deal with the foreign company even without asking from the Sindh government, which is the owner of the islands. Sources said that the Sindh government had taken notice of the recent deal between the foreign firm and Bahria Foundation and decided to take up issue with the federal government.

The Sindh PPP ministers led by Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah met with President Asif Ali Zardari on Tuesday evening at Bilawal House and urged the President to resolve the matter.

It may be recalled that a committee comprising of then Attorney General Makhdoom Ali Khan from federal government and Sindh law secretary Ghulam Nabi Shah and officials of Board of Revenue Department held meetings in 2006 as both sides remained stick to their views and issue could not be resolved. The Board of Revenue Department through their documentary proof has been argued that the area of sea was given to the Port Qasim Authority during the government of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto for operational purpose but ownership rights were reserved with the Sindh government. The PPP-led Sindh government while pleading same arguments raised the issue with President Asif Ali Zardari.

Meanwhile, the PPP ministers and MPAs have shown strong reaction over the sudden deal on the Sindh government’s property of twin islands-Bundal and Buddo near Karachi.

Continue reading Twin Islands Dingi and Bhandar (Bodha Island) are the property of Sindh

Arbab declares twin islands property of Sindh.

Business Recorder | February 28, 2007 – After consulting with legal advisers, Sindh Chief Minister Dr Arbab Ghulam Rahim on Tuesday declared that 300 islands, including Dingi and Bhandar (Bodha Island) were the property of Sindh. “The national as well international laws support our contention, therefore, I declare ownership of Sindh over these Islands,” he said.

Talking to electronic-media after holding meeting with former federal law minister Abdul Hafeez Pirzada, advocate; former Sindh law minister Justice E. Abdul Qadir Halepota, and Dr Amjad Bukhari at the Chief Minister House here, Arbab Rahim said: “Such issues used to develop between the center and the provinces, therefore, there was no need to approach the court, however, if required, wewould certainly do it.”

“We have consulted with our legal experts and they have unanimously opined that all islands seen above the sea level were provincial property while those submerged in the sea were federal property,” the chief minister said.

Continue reading Arbab declares twin islands property of Sindh.

If a Shia, you are on your own

By Ejaz Haider

Let me make it simple: if you are a Shia in Pakistan, you are on your own. This fact I state for the benefit of all those citizens of this country, Shia and Sunni, who are grieving the slow demise of Mr Jinnah’s Pakistan and expecting that the tide could be reversed through state action.

Now for the longer answer.

There is no doubt about who is killing the Shia. The Lashkar-e Jhangvi (LeJ) has repeatedly taken responsibility for it. Its captured terrorists have often stated before courts that they have killed Shias and, given the opportunity, will do it again. The identity of the killers is a settled issue.

Nota Bene: The issue of the proxy war between Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states and Iran, the funding to Sunni extremist groups and whatever is left of Shia extremists, and circumstantial evidence of indirect involvement of hostile agencies is important but peripheral to the main issue, i.e., the terrorists are Pakistanis and killing on the basis of centuries-old denominational differences. The current murderous spree, of course, has a modern political and geopolitical context.

A more relevant question is: if the group that is involved in these killings has not only been ID-ed but IDs itself, what is stopping the state from acting against it, and effectively?

This is where the problem begins.

The LeJ was begotten from the dark womb of the Sipah-e Sahaba Pakistan (SSP). The SSP, banned by Pervez Musharraf, has reincarnated itself as the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat. It has a certain political presence. It is technically not the LeJ, even as de facto it is. LeJ terrorists, along with the hardline splinter group of Jaish-e Mohammad (JeM), have over the last five years, come to form the backbone of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) conglomerate. The TTP is an entity that political parties now — the ANP included (in desperation) — want to talk to, even as the state considers the LeJ a terrorist entity.

So while the LeJ is a terrorist organisation providing manpower to the TTP, the state is being pressured to talk to the latter and give it the legitimacy of an insurgent group.

But this is not all. In Punjab, the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz is in talks over seat adjustment with the ASWJ, the Dr Jekyll to its Edward Hyde, the LeJ. Leaving aside the PML-N’s petty lying about the issue, it is a fact that it wants to placate the LeJ through a dangerous liaison with the ASWJ. The general impression is that this is being done to win votes. That’s only partially true. The primary reason is that the PML-N doesn’t want mayhem in Punjab, its central vote bank, where it wants to win and win big through a lot of development work (even if lopsided) by Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.

Continue reading If a Shia, you are on your own

Has a countdown begun in Islamabad?

By: Shaheen Sehbai

Zardari will have to make his decision very quickly on whether he wants to exit with dignity or become a martyr. The days, as they say, are in fact numbered.

ISLAMABAD: The crumbling presidential edifice in the bunkered palace with two green flags on the Constitution Avenue is giving rise to numerous stories, some fiction, some wishful thinking, and some partly true.

The man inside the house is reported by some to be collapsing while others say he is in a defiant mood and will fight till the last. One thing is clear though that a psywar is going on and President Asif Ali Zardari has not many friends who have unflinching faith and commitment to defend him.

The key role is being played by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and it is hard to figure out on whose side he really stands. His own political future is also at stake but his role has assumed the all critical importance because everyone is looking up to him, the civil and military establishment has put its power eggs in his basket as against the president, while his party remains confused and divided. The opposition and most of his coalition partners have abandoned the president but continue to back his handpicked prime minister.

The few who are still standing with Zardari include the Governor of Punjab Salmaan Taseer, whose latest brag that there would be no ‘minus-1’ but that if anything happened it would be a ‘minus-342’ (reference to total strength of the National Assembly) is considered by many as the final defeatist declaration that Zardari will not go alone but will take the entire house with him. There are not many takers for Taseer’s threats. On the contrary, the party which President Zardari considered to be his most dependable ally, the MQM of Altaf Hussain, has gone many steps forward to seek his removal from the top office. Almost everyone I met and talked to was surprised at the leap Altaf Hussain had taken from just opposing or abstaining from voting on the NRO to demanding the resignation of Zardari. It was like the last straw on the heavily loaded camel’s back and Zardari was stunned, those around him reported.

His attempt to save the sinking ship by calling Governor of Sindh Ishratul Ebad to Islamabad and then authorising Interior Minister Rehman Malik to fly to Dubai for urgent talks with an MQM delegation from London could be the last desperate effort but as someone who knows the scene reported, “The MQM has closed the doors and has gone to sleep,” meaning that it is no longer interested in seeing Zardari sitting in the Presidency.

Nice words wrapped in high sounding moral logic are being said by MQM to urge Zardari to make his exit dignified but Altaf Hussain is not backtracking from his demand of a resignation. He probably knows more than many in Islamabad. Even when Governor Ebad was rushing to Dubai on Wednesday night after meeting the president, the MQM made it a point to include the resignation issue in the agenda of the Dubai talks expected to begin on Friday.

Continue reading Has a countdown begun in Islamabad?