This is very sad that we have lost one of the great leaders when its hard to find a leader. That’s why we were afraid of. The people who she believed in were clearly not reliable rather thugs. May Lord rest her soul in peace and also have mercy on the poor masses.
Benazir Bhutto assassinated by bombing in Rawalpindi
RAWALPINDI, Pakistan – Pakistan opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated Thursday in a suicide bombing that also killed at least 20 others at a campaign rally, a party aide and a military official said.
“At 6:16 p.m. she expired,” said Wasif Ali Khan, a member of Bhutto’s party who was at Rawalpindi General Hospital where she was taken after the attack.
A senior military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment, confirmed that Bhutto had died.
Her supporters at the hospital began chanting “Dog, Musharraf, dog,” referring to Pakistan’s president Pervez Musharraf. Some of them smashed the glass door at the main entrance of the emergency unit, others burst into tears.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.
RAWALPINDI, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated Thursday in a suicide bombing that also killed at least 20 others at a campaign rally, a party aide and a military official said.
Source of News:
by Khalid Hashmani, McLean, Virginia
Those Pakistanis and their friends who stand for real democracy and non-partisan & independent judiciary would be pleased to know that yesterday US Congress passed a bill that puts pressure on General Musharraf and his cronies for real democracy.
The following are the key points from the recently passed bill that is expected to be signed by President W. Bush.
* Congress withheld $50 million until Secretary of State can certify that democratic rights and independent judiciary has been restored in Pakistan. The areas include are freedom of assembly and expression, releasing political detainees, ending harassment and detention of journalists, human rights defenders and government critics, and restoring an independent judiciary.
* Approved US Administration’ s earlier decision to deliver $200 million annual cash payment through USAID (and hopefully directly to Civil Society organizations) instead of direct payment to the Pakistan government. These funds will be directed to specific projects for the direct benefit of Pakistani people.
* Withheld a part of $250million military aid to counter-terrorism and law enforcement activities. According to newspaper accounts suggest that the language of the bill is such that it will make it difficult that money to acquire F-16 jets and naval equipment.
The Pakistan Embassy in Washington DC, which has very little representation of Sindhis and Baluchis, expressed unhappiness over these changes. According to a newspaper, one ironic comment from an embassy official said that “the government of Pakistan and the people of Pakistan were not happy with such conditionality. ” As if Pakistani people are very happy with the status quo and the destruction of independent judiciary. The details can be read in all leading newspapers including Washington Post at:
21 December, 2007
By Aziz Narejo, TX
It is true that an overwhelming majority of the civil society wants an end to the military rule and military intervention in civilian affairs. It wants the military to do its lawful duties and not to indulge in politics. It wants non-partisan judiciary. It also wants a non-partisan free press, rule of law, respect for human rights and an unfettered democracy.
It is also true that the stand taken by the majority of the higher judiciary led by the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, a remarkable movement by the lawyers, a just struggle by the media men and women and the increasing awareness and activism among the masses have greatly strengthened the civil society. It is finally finding its feet and wants to be reckoned with but it still has a long way to go before it can play its due role.
In the present fateful situation a heavy responsibility lies on the shoulders of the civil society leadership, especially when the dictator has donned civvies (wolf in sheep’s skin) and is playing a farce in the name of elections. Soon we may have a civilian government working under the dictator and he may try to derail the lawyers and journalists’ movement.
To defeat the dictator’s schemes and to fulfill aspirations of all sections of the society including the common men and women, there is a great need for the civil society to come together, take a joint stand and launch a well-organized and coordinated movement. It is the duty of each and every citizen to participate in such a struggle.
I am writing this as an ordinary citizen to call upon the leaders of the civil society in Pakistan to help bring the civil society leadership on one platform. I request them to host a conference of the forward looking and progressive pro democracy elements to:
1. Discuss and possibly set a brief agenda for the civil society.
2. Prepare an action plan for a struggle to end military intervention in civilian affairs, establish democracy, rule of law and non-partisan of judiciary and media, reach a just contract between the federating units and make sure the supremacy of the will of the people and the parliament.
1. It is the most catastrophic and the saddest tragedy that Pakistan was hijacked at the time of its birth by the people and the forces that imposed centralism, denied the core principles outlined in the “1940 Pakistan Resolution”, rejected the inherent rights of the minorities in a state and paved the way for a few in the elite to control the destiny of the country. These forces were soon joined by the military establishment that eventually took over the apparatus and started dictating every one else.
2. The country has been under continued military domination for at least half a century now, at times under direct military rule and at other times under military dominated rule. It is interesting to see that the country has suffered the most when it had been under the direct military rule. It explains the ability and the competency of the military establishment.
3. The long military domination of the society has established the principle of “might is right”; it has polluted the minds of the people specially our youth, hastened the degeneration and retardation of the society, nurtured insanity and corruption, created a class of opportunists and collaborators and bolstered the feudalism in the country.
4. The uninterrupted 13-year military rule under Ayub and Yahya ended in the dismemberment of the country while the next military ruler Zia mutilated, disfigured and dismantled all the civilian institutions, nurtured extremism, sectarianism, terrorism, racism, use of force and left behind such deep scars that may never heal.
5. The present military ruler is no different from his predecessors and seems to be pushing the country and the people over the cliff and finishing off the job left behind by the earlier dictators.
His actions against judiciary, lawyers, media and other civil society activists are the most condemnable. Today the country is burning and an overwhelming majority of the people is outraged at his actions.
What to do?
It is the time that the civil society takes a stand and saves the people and the country from an imminent catastrophe. It is the duty of all the civilians to speak up and act. The things can’t be left to just the politicians and the political parties because:
1. The political parties have been severely weakened by the years of military domination of the society, which has subverted the political and civilian institutions.
2. It is simply beyond the much-hampered capabilities of any single political party or even an alliance of several parties to take on the might of the military establishment that it has acquired after the continuous domination of all spheres of political and economic activities in the country.
3. There is a gulf of mistrust among the politicians and between the masses and the politicians. The politicians lack credibility and stand divided and can not agree to a joint stand on their own.
In such a situation, it will help if a conference is called by independent civil society leadership. It may succeed in bringing all the pro democracy leadership together and agree to a joint action plan.
Such a conference should help and compliment the political parties and not compete with them and shouldn’t seek in any way to form a new or even an umbrella organization. It should strengthen the political parties and all other civilian institutions and organs.
We must understand that the fight is very important and at a very crucial stage. It is not the sole responsibility of the political parties to take up the fight. All the civilians, civil society organizations and institutions have to chip in and have to strengthen the political parties and other civilian institutions.
Such a conference should be held as soon as possible. I hope the civil society leadership would take an immediate action on this appeal.
By: Haider K. Nizamani, Canada
INDIA’S West Bengal and Pakistan’s Punjab are comparable provinces in terms of population. About 80 million people live in each.
Since 1977, the people of West Bengal have voted Communist Party Marxist (CPM)-led coalitions into office. It would be preposterous to imagine communists forming the provincial government in our Punjab after the January elections. The Left simply does not matter when it comes to Pakistan’s political chessboard.
Is there any Left left in Pakistan? What happened to it as an organised entity? What about the ideas it championed? Are the issues that provided the Left rationale for action resolved in today’s Pakistani society? Should we mourn or celebrate the death of the Left?
The fate of the Left in Pakistan from the very beginning was bound-up with the machinations of Cold War politics and the way Pakistan’s ruling elite firmly aligned itself with the West in that conflict. The role of the Left in the country varied in each decade of Pakistan’s history up-to the 1990s. This brief run-down on the changing fortunes and misfortunes of the Pakistani Left since independence is offered here in the spirit of initiating discussion on this issue. The overview is confined to the present day Pakistan which until 1971 had less than half of the country’s population.
What do we mean by the Left in Pakistani context? For this article it refers to self-identified Leftist parties and individuals who question the existing social property relations and the international order associated with them. Marxism in some form remained its intellectual inspiration.
The Left identified itself with the cause of economically exploited urban and rural classes of the country. The state was seen as a custodian of the interests of absentee landlords and the big capital at home and world capitalism led by the United States at the global level. At the time of independence, the Communist Party of Pakistan (CPP), an offshoot of the Communist Party of India (CPI), became the organisational base to coordinate efforts to dismantle what it viewed as prevailing unequal and unjust socio-political order.
The CPI had lent its support to the Muslim League’s demand of Pakistan invoking the principle of national self-determination. That support, however, did not translate into a congenial working atmosphere for the CPP in the newly created state. Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s poem Subh-e-Azadi (Freedom’s dawn) succinctly summarised the 1950s for the Left in Pakistan. He called it ‘the night-bitten dawn.’ In March of 1951 several high ranking military officers, including Major General Akbar Khan, and their civilian cohorts were arrested for allegedly planning the overthrow of the government to install a pro-Moscow regime.
The Rawalpindi Conspiracy, as it is commonly known, was used as a ruse to suppress dissent and punish those individuals who were identified with the Left. It was also used to strengthen pro-West officers within the higher echelons of the armed forces. The subsequent witch-hunt led to the arrest of Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Syed Sajjad Zaheer, who had relocated to Pakistan in order to lead the CPP, and other intellectuals and trade unionists associated with the Left. And this, in Ayesha Jalal’s words turned Pakistan ‘into a veritable intellectual wasteland’.
The Pakistani Left, in term of organisational capacity, was in disarray during the 1960s. Consolation for this weakness came in the shape of issues which dominated the political discourse in the late 1960s. Spin-doctors of the Ayub regime organised celebrations under the banner of ‘the decade of development. ‘ All that ordinary West Pakistanis saw was growing disparity and pauperisation. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who had jumped the Ayubian boat, and the Pakistani left joined hands to express popular sentiments in the slogan of ‘roti, kapra, aur makan’ (bread, clothing, and housing). These were quintessential Left issues added by call for an independent, which meant less pro-American, foreign policy.
The 1970s started with the revolution of rising expectations which swiftly slid into the revolution of rising resentments and disillusionment. The political honeymoon between Bhutto and the Left didn’t last long. Imperatives of strengthening his hold on power compelled Bhutto to cozy up to Pakistan’s traditional power bases. The Left did not have the organisational capacity to match Bhutto’s populist polemics. In marked contrast with the 1970 elections where agenda revolved around roti, kapra, aur makan; the agenda of the 1977 elections was largely shaped by the clergy questioning Bhutto’s Islamic credentials. The Left had waned from the political horizon.
Then came General Ziaul Haq and his penchant to turn Pakistan into Islam’s fortress. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan resulted in what Fred Halliday calls ‘the second cold war’ with Zia teaming up with Ronald Reagan to bleed the Soviets. Support for the Mujahideen was matched by repression at home. Intelligence and police forces actively hunted down Leftists, often on trumped up or trivial charges. As a result, university teachers, students, journalists, and assorted other activists with actual or imagined connections with communism were more likely to be found behind bars during much of the 1980s.
The tenacity with which some of these individuals faced the Zia regime made up for their lack of organisational capacity and intellectual depth. When most of these towering individuals were released by 1987 their mystique evaporated as they struggled for political anchorage in changed Pakistan.
The collapse of the Soviet Union dealt the ideological and psychological blow to the Left for which it was least prepared. The folksy Marxism it subscribed to viewed Soviet Union as infallible. The West celebrated the end of the Cold War as the ‘end of history’ where capitalism and liberal democracy had triumphed as the organising principle for political communities.
Formal political space in Pakistan was now occupied by centrist and right of the centre parties. Where did the Left go in the 1990s? Individuals belonging to the Left ran helter-skelter and most of them eventually ended up in two fields; media, both print and electronic; and mainly externally funded non-government organisations (NGOs) working in areas of education, health, micro-credit, and women’s empowerment.
The remunerative edge of the NGO sector means it is more appealing. But the changed ideological milieu has made erstwhile opponents of capital into means of spreading its reach in far flung corners of society in the name of micro-credit. Whereas in the past the Left spoke of classes and contradictions the new jargon is centred on community and cooperation.
Anti-imperialism and the struggle for equitable and just order at home went hand-in-hand in the traditional leftist agenda. In today’s Pakistan the plank of anti-imperialism is occupied by overly-simplistic anti-Americanism as championed by assorted religious parties and individuals like Imran Khan. Concern for an equitable and just socio-political order is conspicuously absent from the current political discourse.
With the Left nowhere to be seen in the formal political arena, Pakistan’s political discourse revolves around phrases like ‘extremism versus moderation’ both of which leave the fundamental structures of the society untouched. ‘The night-bitten dawn’ Faiz lamented half-a-century back has indeed lasted for a long time and shows no signs of ending.
The writer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Courtesy: Daily Dawn, Dec. 4, 2007
By Shakeel Nizamani, Calgary, Alberta
After the fall of Soviet Union, many left-wing workers (accustom to comparing themselves as KHAHORI of SHAH) who used to convince simple folks by telling the fairy tales of flowing rivers of milk and honey in communist countries became so demoralized that either they became MULLAH or MAWALI and some even are basking under the sun of their former arch enemy-U.S.A.
Though some old guards sticking to their guns and believe that Marxism is still relevant and prophesy that it will make a come back.
Some Sindhi left-wing nationalists do see these Pakistan left-wing ideologues as usurper. Is the left wing struggle is also divided on ethnic lines?
By Khalid Hashmani, McLean, Virginia
The 1983 history (MRD Movement) appears to be repeating itself. Some players are different, other players are the same but the establishment once again succeeds in their plan to deny the justice to Sindhis and other exploited groups of Pakistan. Supreme Court justices are gone, press and media has been clamped down, Baloch are dying, and the same machinery is busy in churning lies and propaganda against PPP only because the party is still the number one choice in Sindh and Baluchistan.
In addition to the full page advertisement in the Pakistani newspapers about fictitious letter by Benazir Bhutto to Peter Galbraith, who did not even work for National Democratic Institute for International Affairs in 1990, I have received venomous e-mails whose aim is to malign PPP and divide people. One in particular titled “Price Per Jialas” used baseless allegations and a lot of innuendo. It has sentences such as “stampeding bigwigs of PPP literally driving over the dead and injured party workers/Jialas in their luxury cars”, “Ms. Bhutto returned to Dubai. Her husband picked her up from the airport in their Bentley luxury-car. A single Bentley costs at least $264,000” and “Ms. Bhutto owns a pink family villa fringed by palm trees in an upscale Emirates Hills Dubai) neighborhood overlooking a lake and with a view to a golf course. Average price for a villa in Emirates Hills is said to be $6,000,000.” were clearly aimed at discrediting Benazir and part of the conspiracy create an environment where PPP can be declared as having lost elections.
The hurried elections under the emergency rule, whose nomination date starts today are all designed to defeat the true ballot box choice and ensure that the same unrepresentative groups continue to rule Pakistan and continue to deny due rights of the Sindhis and the people of Pakistan.
Alas, our jihad remains limited to declaring “enemies” of our “enemies” as true friends and joining hands with those who pursue the path of fundamentalism and want to strengthen military even further using resources of Sindh and Baluchistan.
I think the time has come for us to call spade a spade and leave the delusional world of securing justice through democracy and elections. This is not going to happen as the establishment controls are not easily breakable. It about time that we take an inward look at our strengths and weaknesses and formulate a strategy on how we would be able to protect Sindhi identity, political rights and culture in years to come!
(September 18, 1954- September 20, 1996)
Murtaza Bhtto, the elder son of Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, was a revolutionary. Bhutto campaigned as an independent in the 1993 elections, winning a seat in the assembly governing the Sindh province. In 1996, he accused police of unfairly targeting his organization. Several hours after the conference, he was shot and killed along with six supporters during an altercation with the police. Murtaza was killed by police in 1996 in Karachi, during the premiership of his sister, Benazir Bhutto.
Fatima Bhutto (born 29 May 1982) is a young poet, writer and columnist who came to fame after the appearance of her first book, a collection of poems, titled Whispers of the Desert. Fatima was only 15 years old when the collection was published.
She is now a columnist for The News in Pakistan. She received notable coverage for her second book. Fatima is the daughter of the Shaheed Murtaza Bhutto. She is the grand-daughter of former Prime Minister, Z.A. Bhutto. Fatima is not known to be very active political worker. She is however far more active as a political writer and spares no body in criticism. Fatima’s style of writing resembles that of “Arab News” jovial writer Jehad Khazin. Her writings reflect some Pan-arabism , Liberalism and a lot of multi-directional political sides.
NEW DELHI, INDIA: A three-day international Sindhi seminar held at New Delhi (India) from Oct 26 to 28, 2007 which was a great success…
The seminar organized by an NGO Maruee in collaboration with Sindhi Academy, Delhi was attended, among others, by a 12-member writers’ delegation from Sindh (Pakistan) headed by Dr Suleman Shaikh – associated with Sindh Graduate Association – SGA. This was the 5th seminar of its kind which was held in connection with the silver jubilee celebrations of Maruee and it was dedicated to the great Sindhi Sufi poet Hazrat Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai (1689 – 1752). Various Sindhi speaking people who were followers of Shah Latif and living in various parts of India specially came to Delhi to attend the seminar.
A musical show was also organized on the occasion in which renowned singers from Sindh Shafi Faqir, Ms Paroo Chawla and Ms Padma Gidwani (both from India) performed. An Indo-Pak poetic symposium dedicated to the two renowned Sindhi poets late Naryan Shyam and late Shaikh Ayaz held. Sant Kanwar Awards were also distributed on the occasion. Ms Veena Shringi, General Secretary of Maruee and Ms Shalini Sagar – Information Secretary made special efforts to make this seminar a great success.
The members of Sindh’s delegation were; Dr Suleman Shaikh (leader), Abdul Fatah Malik Advocate, Mohammad Khan Sial, Noor Ahmed Jhinjhi, Ali Haider Shaikh, Ms Najma Shaikh, Shafi Faqir (singer), Ms Mehrunissa larik, Ms Nusrat Lashari, Ms Nazir Naaz, Ms Mumtaz Fatah Malik & Ms Nahid Hingoro. The Group members visited various historical, religious & entertainment places in Delhi like Jamia Masjid, Red Fort, Gate of India, Mazars of Sarmad Shaheed & Abul Kalaam Azad, Mazar of Nizamuddin Olyae, Qutab Minar and most modern under-ground train system (metro train) which is still under construction but partially is in operation.
If two Germanys re-unite, why not Pakistan, India? Pro-govt. ex- parliamentarian Syed Khadim Ali Shah demands in Delhi seminar
NEW DELHI, INDIA: A pro-Govt ex-parliamentarian (Pakistan) Syed Khadim Ali Shah who belongs to Mirpurkhas district in Sindh has suggested that if two Berlins (Germanys) reunite, why not Pakistan and India? He was speaking in an inaugural session of Sindhi seminar held on Oct 26, 2007 at Delhi which was dedicated to the Great Sindhi Sufi poet Hazrat Shah Abdul Lateef Bhittai. Mr Shah attended the seminar in connection with launching ceremony of 04 books including his book written on Shaheed Bakhtaawar – a Sindhi lady who laid her life for raising voice against unjustified distribution of grain between peasants and landlords in Thar. It may be pointed out this was a literary and non-political seminar which held from Oct 26 to 28 in Delhi to celebrate silver jubilee celebrations of Maruee – an NGO in collaboration with Sindhi Academy, Delhi (Sindh). Later organizers of the seminar, informally expressed their embarrassment on such political demand in a literary programme dedicated to the Sufi poet Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai (Sindh)
International Sindhi Conference in Singapore – An important effort to keep Sindhis Connected
By Dr. Satish Rohra
Under the auspices of Alliance of Sindhi Associations America and Singapore Sindhi Association, a memorable Sammelan/Conference held at Singapore from 27th to 29th July 2007.
This conference was International in real sense. In former Sindhi conferences most of the time only a few delegates from neighboring country attend. But this Sammelan was attended by delegates from 35 countries including USA, U.K, India and Singapore around the world. …
It is necessary to mention here that beginning of these Sammelans was made by Sindhis of America. In beginning for many years this Sammelan was held in USA or Canada. The very first Sammelan was held at New Jersey near New York. New one was in New York. Later they were held at Chicago, Toronto (Canada), San Francisco, Los Angeles, Orlando, Las Vegas, etc. Three years ago it was held at London. Last year it was held at Mumbai.
… This was the first Sammelan, which was inaugurated by the head of the State. On the 27th July at 7pm, at Hotel Grand Copthorne, President of the Republic of Singapore, his Excellency Shri S. R. Nathan personally lit the lamp and declared the conference open. Mr. Presidnet Nathan had come together with Lady Nathan and some of his cabinet ministers and other officials. …
It was also the first time that India’s former deputy Prime Minister and Opposition leader in the present parliament of Indis, Shri Lal Krishin Advani graced the Sammelan with his presence…
President of Singapore, Mr. Nathan who inaugurated the Sammelan or conference praised Sindhi’s role in the development of Singapore. … The key note speaker, Professor Kishore Mahbubani, Dean of the Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at National University of Singapore and former ambassador of Singapore to the United Nations, said, so far Sindhis have been engrossed in “difficulties”, “achievements”, and “trade”; now they should pay attention to other three and they are “Globalization”, “Peace” and “Tolerance”.
High commissioner for India in Singapore, Dr. Jaishankar, welcomed all delegates and expressed his pleasure that this Sammelan was organized in Singapore.
Dr. Satish Rohra said that the Sammelans and conferences of this kind are very necessary in which we talk and strengthen ourselves as Sindhis. Dr. Rohra further said, “Sindhiat” is not a name of anything… Dr. Satish emphasized that there are many virtues in Sindhi Sanskriti which could bring about a “better world”. He further said, it is wrong to believe that Sindhis have no unity; in fact Sindhis are quite well united… Dr. Rohra also pointed out that for Sindhis “to stay connected to each other” is enough, and that itself is the unity.
Ram Jawhrani said that although majority of Sindhis are financially well off … Kimat Israni talked of ten points on nourishing Sindhi Bhasha…
… Swami Swaroopanatida’s discourse on one way praised Sindhis but at the same time he talked the lack of unity in Sindhis. Swamiji’s talk was very powerful.
Dr. Ram Buxani had plenty to say. His main topic was “Talk Sindhi”, Live Sindhi” and keep “Sindhyat” alive.
In the concluding speech, Kamlesh Moorjani told in his loud and effective voice the achievements of this Sammelan and congratulated the organizers. ….
Musharraf in Contempt, Military in Politics, Politicians in Disarray: What is happening in Pakistan ?
By Aziz Narejo, TX, USA
In a landmark judgment on August 23rd this year, the Supreme Court of Pakistan had ruled that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had an inalienable right to return to the country, remain in the country and participate in political activities with the directions that the federal and provincial governments should not hamper his safe return. Everybody saw that the government violated the SC judgment and forcibly deported NS to Saudi Arabia .
The SC is now hearing a contempt of court case and it is surprising that the PIA and the government officials including the PM have submitted sworn statements that none of them had any hand in the NS deportation. PM is however in hot waters as the foreign office has pointed a finger at him saying that it was on his verbal orders that a plane was arranged to fly NS to Jeddah.
The Chief Justice in the hearing of the contempt case today reiterated that Nawaz Sharif can come to Pakistan any time and stressed for the implementation of court’s earlier judgment in letter and spirit. He said: “There was a clear-cut violation of our judgment.”
On one hand when the SC insists on the implementation of its order of August 23, Musharraf’s statement at a PML-Q meeting on Thursday Oct. 26 clearly shows his disrespect for the judiciary and a clear contempt of court. Please read his statement in daily The News of 26th October:
“Nawaz can’t return before polls: Musharraf
By Asim Yasin
ISLAMABAD : President Gen Pervez Musharraf on Thursday assured worried PML-Q legislators that Nawaz Sharif would not be allowed to return before the general elections.
The president said this while talking to MNAs belonging to the ruling party and its allies at a dinner hosted by Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz at the Prime Minister House on Thursday evening. …”
Now isn’t it clear violation of a SC judgment and a contempt of court?
You also read the news of the military ruler presiding over political meetings, corps commanders discussing and making decisions on political issues and military officials meeting politicians to discuss again political matters. Isn’t that violation of the Constitution that forbids military people from indulging in any political activities?
Then look at the politicians! How they are reaching for each other’s throats at such a critical time in Pakistan ‘s history. Can’t they put up a joint stand against the military regime?
Oct. 18 Tragedy: Blame the Victim for the Crime: Distorted Minds, Distorted Views
By Aziz Narejo, TX
It is shocking to see the emails and statements blaming Benazir Bhutto for the October 18 tragedy in Karachi . The accusations are absurd and outrageous but unfortunately they are not uncommon or unheard of in Pakistan . On the contrary, that is exactly what one expects in the country where military and undemocratic rule over the time has distorted the politics, polluted the minds and created an unnatural atmosphere.
Wasn’t it the military dictator Musharraf who blamed the rape victims to invite the violation of their bodies and souls to seek immigration to Western countries? (By the way, he made that wild and shameful accusation as the cases of Mai Mukhtaran and the Sui rape victim Dr Mrs. Khalid were getting wide publicity in the world media. I think it would be the first duty of any future civilian set up to open the Sui rape case and prosecute the rapist for his crime and Musharraf for unlawfully absolving the criminal and obstructing the course of justice).
Similarly the Chief Justice of Pakistan was blamed for 12th May Karachi massacre while the real culprits, the terrorists and Musharraf’s brothers in arms have conveniently been kept off the hook.
And now they are blaming Benazir Bhutto for the October 18 tragedy! It is bizarre to blame Benazir for an attack on herself and her own rally causing death and pain to her supporters and denying herself an opportunity to lead and address the biggest ever gathering of people in Pakistan.
This is the prime example of distorted polity in Pakistan. Will we ever change?
Adopting the path of failure
It seems like a big game which even BB herself is unaware of or has no choice. Don’t understand kissing off apparent victory and adopting the path of problems. This path apparently is a path to failure but we wish the best to democratic forces whatever they be.
Oct 18, 2007
Sindhi Leaders in Sindh Explore Joint Actions the Protection and Promotion of Rights of the people
By Khalid Hashmani, McLean, Verginia
Finally it looks like Sindhi leaders have realized that “divided we fall and united we become much stronger” and have taken first steps to at least start talking with each other on ways to promote and protect our rights . For too long, we have allowed ourselves to be manipulated by other alliances and minor political differences to divide us. Now is the time to ponder over that our unproven trust in others to deliver to us fairness and equality has not gotten us any where…
Few days ago some an ethnic organization’s activists surrounded Sindh High court.
Two lawyers have been murdered in Karachi in recent days.
Few days ago, some unidentified people did chalking on the walls of SHC and banners against the Chief Justice, Sindh High court at main entrance get of Sindh High court near Sindh secretariat and Sindh Assembly building. Same day at the night some unidentified people had opened fire and on city court. Now City Court’s Secretary and four Lawyers have arrested when they were coming to Sindh High Court.
Seminar in Washington DC
By: Khalid Hashmani
Once again, Washington DC witnessed another interesting and informative session. The “Pakistan and Its Army: A Changing Relationship? ” event was held on Friday, September 28, 2007 and organized by the South Asian Program of Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies. The key panelists at this event included Shuja Nawaz, author of “Crossed Swords: Pakistan, its army, and the wars within” and Colonel (ret) David O. Smith, Country Director for Pakistan in the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense (Policy).
Mr. Shuja Nawaz, who is writing a new book on Pakistan Army, comes from a Pakistani military family and is a brother of a former Chief of Staff of Pakistan Army. He began with the statement that “Pakistan is a country that is still struggling to become a nation”. With the separation of half of the country in 1971, a divide between religious and moderate segments of Pakistan has allowed military to rule Pakistan.
He said that although the country was created in the name of religion, the founders of Pakistan were unanimous that it was not to be a religious state. The power of military has grown mainly on account of fear and relationship with India. In the past, people had utmost respect for Army and considered it a strong non-corruptible institution but with time people has come to see it as a one of the root causes of country’s problems. The successful military rules have left national institutions so weak that these institution cannot even work during civilian governments. He said that Army does not have any close relationship with religious elements or attached to a particular ideology. He called Army’s rule as “controlled form of democracy” in which a Parliamentarian form of government becomes more like a de-facto Presidential form of government. He criticized the increasing involvement of Pakistani military in running businesses and industries and said these involvements often lead to decisions that are counter to national interests.
Mr. Nawaz tried to convince that present day military is changing as it is no longer predominantly from the three districts of Punjab. He said that the current trends show that its composition mainly comes from those who are from large urban areas. To emphasize that Army is no longer a Punjabi Army he said that the recent figures show that recruits are being hired in all provinces. It is only after I questioned him about the numbers of native Sindhis and native Baloch in Army that he conceded that many of these recruits may have come from those families that migrated from India, Punjab, and Pakhtonwa and are now settled in Sindh and Balochistan.
Talking about the perception that Pakistan should adopt the Turkish model where military has a special role, Mr. Nawaz said that such a model is not going to work because neither the Pakistan Army is as homogeneous nor the people of Pakistan are passive any longer.
Comparing the past and current financial burdens imposed by military, he said that in 1965-70 period, Pakistan spent about 2.8% of GDP on military and in 1970-75, it grew to 4% compared to only 3% that went to the “development” expenditure. He added that today only 14% of all revenues remain available for investment on the social needs.
Talking about one of a critical “governance” changes that has occurred in Pakistan since the start of military rule was in the “warrant of Precedence”. Before Ayub Khan, the senior most military position was at the 20th position in the order of precedence and now the Chief of Staff is at the number one (1) position. He commented that not even periodic civilian regimes have tried to change this order precedence.
Mr. David Smith, started his remarks by saying that he was proud to have attended the Pakistani Army Staff College in Quetta. He said that like the US military, Pakistan Army too is ill prepared to deal with insurgency type of warfare as it requires decentralization in decision making, creativity, and taking risks. He added that “centralized” system has roots in the South Asian culture (from father to his son – to his son –) and poses the greatest challenge in successfully introducing serious changes. Citing an example from his stay the the Quetta staff college, he said that he was impressed with many things but felt that his fellow student did not show much creativity. Often in certain exercises, even though the students were told to think on their own and come up with own solutions, invariably, students came up with the “cookbook” solutions.
In the Question-Answer session. a member of audience citing the recent event where 280 soldiers including officers and one Lt. Colonel surrendered to insurgents without firing a single shot, asked if the Pakistani Army has lost its will to fight against stronger adversary. One of the panelists responded that the actual facts have not come out in public so we do not know the real story and added that newspapers quote some soldiers as saying that they could not fire on fellow Muslims because if they died in the return fire, they would not go to heaven. To which, another member from audience said, that such stories do not make sense as soldiers from the same Army did not hesitate in firing on and killing innocent Baloch men, women, and children who too were Muslims. In conclusion a panelist said that he would agree that we really don’t know who is being recruited and who is joining Pakistan military.
29 September, 2007
Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups,
The New Ray of Light : Young Sindhi Leadership is rising
– Sohail Kalhoro
Educate Sindh forum organized a get together dinner at my residence in London on the evening of 15th Sept 07 which presented an opportunity for many SINDHI PROFESSIONALS to personally come together and participate in a vibrant evening which saw friends with diverse backgrounds ranging from: Information Technology, Law, Medicine, Chartered Accounting, Satellite Communication, Business Administration, Environmental studies, Civil, Electrical, and Telecoms Engineering.
Sincere thanks to all friends who took time out of their busy weekends and joined us from London, Slough, Bristol, Birmingham,Surrey as well as Pakistan. Group members started arriving 17:00 onwards on a warm London evening. The event started with an informal introduction of the participants and their respective professional fields. Dinner was served following which an interactive suggestions/recommendations session was initiated focusing on;
1) AIMS/OBJECTIVES: Responding to a query by a member it was informed that the objective of EducateSindh is to channel the resources and capacity of the SINDHI PROFESSIONALS in the field of education, employment opportunities, and career counselling.
2) TARGET AUDIENCE: Again, in response to another question put up by a friend regarding who the target audience is which would be benefited from the services provided by this group.It was elaborated that the group’s expertise and resources is not confined to a single segment and in order to maximize the benefits of the participation of SINDHI PROFESSIONALS as many audience should be catered to.
3) EDUCATESINDH STRUCTURE: It was informed that the credibility and success of EducateSindh is due to the fact that it is an open forum, having no hierarchical boundaries which makes it an inclusive and participative platform for all.
4) ORGANIC GROWTHIt was unanimously agreed that the benefits of this group should be extended to wider community audience and thus the participants agreed to share their contacts by providing a minimum of 5 to 10 new members and thus helping this forum to grow organically. In this regard it is down to the responsibility to each individual of this group to similarly help add new members.
5) EMAIL AS AN EFFECTIVE MODE OF COMMUNICATION It was emphasized that exchanging emails should be made a habit as it provides the most efficient and productive means of communicating as well as encouraging friends and social contacts to stay in touch over this medium. QUICK, EASY & EFFECTIVE.
6) “SINDHI PROFESSIONALS” AS A BRAND The essence of this group is the participation of highly motivated, qualified & enthusiastic Sindhis and this should be made the unique selling point (USP) of our endeavours hence the association with the brand “SINDHI PROFESSIONALS”. Furthermore, it is a step forward in helping relate the common link between sindhis world over.
7) SHARING EXPERIENCESEducateSindh provides a flexible & friendly platform to SINDHI PROFESSIONALS where they could share their practical experiences not just limited to the exchange of emails but also by actually personally talking to the local community including schools, colleges, universities which would benefit the most from the sharing of these experiences.
Each one of us can contribute by sharing whatever little experience we have gained whether it is just by visiting Sindh, Khairpur, Nawabshah & other Universities and talking to a handful of students and guiding them on the spot about their path to being qualified & successful in their respective fields or even just visiting our own primary/secondary schools in villages and talking to the teachers and headmasters. This trend should be encouraged as it will maximize each of our individual capacity to help. The idea here is to not limit ourselves to large gatherings or wait for such opportunities but to utilize whatever little time we have at our hands to broaden the horizon of many.
The get together which went on until around 22:30 was concluded with an aim to further continue holding these interactive get togethers extending to different geographical and wider audience which began with the successful meeting of SINDHI PROFESSIONALS in Karachi on the 12th Sept 07 following onto 15th Sept London dinner with a view to organize a seminar in sindh after Eid.
Special thanks to our friends who attended last night’s dinner. Abdullah Abbasi, Ahmed Kamran, Amar Jalil Metlo, Asad Palijo, Ashraf Lakho, Dr Ali Gul Metlo, Dr Shoaib Qazi, Gul Laghari, Haleem Junejo, Hassan Junaid, Imran Mahar, Imran Soomro, Junaid Ahmed Narejo, Khalid Jamali, Manzoor Unar, Mohammad Ali Shaikh, Mujeeb Metlo, Razzak Solangi, Roop Panjwani, Saboor Mahar, Saeed Soomro, Shabbir Mallah.
News courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups,