Hundreds of thousands of people are rallying in the Bangladesh capital Dhaka, calling for the death penalty for Islamists on trial for war crimes. The protests have been going on since Tuesday, when one of the accused, Abdul Kader Mullah, got a life sentence ….
By: Agence France-Presse
DHAKA // Riots broke out in several Bangladesh cities today after a court sentenced a Islamist opposition official to life in prison for mass murder during the 1971 liberation war against Pakistan.
Abdul Quader Mollah, 64, the fourth-highest leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, was the first politician to be found guilty by the International Crimes Tribunal, a much-criticised domestic court based in Dhaka.
Mollah cried out, “Allahu Akbar” and said the charges, which also include crimes against humanity, were false after the presiding judge Obaidul Hassan delivered the verdict in a crowded and tightly guarded court.
“He deserved death sentence because of the gravity of the crimes. But the court gave him life imprisonment,” said Mahbubey Alam, the attorney general, adding Mollah was found guilty of five out of six charges including mass murder.
The judgement sparked immediate protests by Jamaat, the country’s largest Islamist party which enforced a nationwide strike in anticipation of the conviction.
‘Genetic engineering’ in East Pakistan
By Khaled Ahmed
Pakistan’s name has been blackened by just one man: General AAK ‘Tiger’ Niazi. According to a new book by Oxford University Press, he is supposed to have pronounced the words that even Genghis Khan would have hesitated to use: that he would let loose his soldiers on the women of East Pakistan till the lineage/ethnicity of the Bengali race was changed.
The account has come from a true son of Pakistan, late Major-General (retd) Khadim Hussain Raja in his recently published book A Stranger in My Own Country: East Pakistan, 1969-1971 (OUP, 2012). The book is posthumously published probably because it was a hot potato in the times it was actually written. He was General Officer Commanding 14 Division in East Pakistan.
Balochistan and its ‘jealous husband’
By Malik Siraj Akbar
Unfortunately, ours is a history marked with lies, distortions, exaggerations and false glorification. Can’t we at least pay attention to some bitter truths and grim reminders? For all the flak that US Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (Republican from California) is getting from Pakistan’s media and official circles, the fact is that he is gaining popularity by the day, especially among the young people of Balochistan, some of whom have already set up a Facebook fan pagefor him. At last count, he had over 3,000 fans and this number will only rise.
So, the news channels are fooling and misleading the country when they show a ‘patriotic Pakistani’ from Islamabad or Khyber-Pakhtunkhawa, instead of a talking to a Baloch from Gwadar, condemning the developments taking place in Washington DC. Why is there such reluctance to trust the Baloch and speak to them to learnwhat has alienated them and what they demand? When was the first (and probably the last) time when the whole country demonstrated unity to address what is happening in Balochistan? How many long marches, breaking news stories and parliamentary resolutions are going to happen before the government addresses the matter at hand?
Let’s stop the ‘internal affair’ drama and focus on some historical facts? Since Pakistan’s inception, Islamabad has spied on the Baloch. Perhaps the Baloch did not respond to the fact that they were treated unequally and disrespectfully but over time they became pained by being billed as Russian, Indian, Afghan and even Iraqi agents. Of course, now they are going to be treated as ‘CIA agents’! Did Islamabad ever embrace the Baloch as respectful and dependable citizens of the land who could be trusted and given ownership and responsibility?
Surely, we all remember what happened in 1973 when the first-ever elected Baloch government was dismissed. As if disregard for the Baloch mandate of provincial government was not enough, the people of the province were then subjected to a horrendous military operation on the charge of having ‘extra-marital affairs’ with foreign countries. In six decades, Islamabad has not been able to present undisputed proof of Balochistan’s unfaithfulness while there are countless accounts of the formers patriarchal arrogance towards the province.
An ardent pro-Pakistan leader like Nawab Akbar Bugti was killed on suspicion of getting ‘foreign assistance’. Former chief minister Akhtar Mengal was literally put into an iron cage because General Musharraf thought he was not sufficiently patriotic. Bramdagh Bugti was called an ‘Indian agent’, and his sister and niece were killed. Hundreds of young Baloch have been found dead in recent months, dumped along roads in the province.
While a troubled relationship between a mother-in-law and her daughter-in-law can endure despite all flaws, marriage between a quarrelling couple has a painful, yet, internationally and legally acceptable choice: divorce. The Pakistani ‘patriots’ should ask themselves that are their actions pushing Balochistan to the brink of divorce.
To read complete article » The Express Tribune, February 22nd, 2012.
No respite – By Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur
The establishment and the armed forces here do not seem to learn from their mistakes. Obsessive self-interest has made them lose touch with reality
Establishments never tire of exploring ways and means to perpetuate their rule. Interestingly, the word ‘establishment’ is generally used in Pakistan to refer to those who exercise de facto power; it includes the military high command and the intelligence agencies, together with the top leadership of certain political parties, high-level members of the bureaucracy and business persons that work in alliance with them. The military high command and the intelligence agencies form the core of the establishment and are its most permanent and influential components. The real power rests with its ‘most permanent and influential components’, i.e. the armed forces. All is not hunky-dory within the establishment as struggles occur, but the most organised and powerful part is invariably the winner. The media dutifully paves the way by creating hysteria or gloom.
Their think tanks search suitable candidates for implementing their policy aims. The only hitch is that their skewed ideas do not quite correspond to reality and always backfire; yet, unfortunately, they remain unaccountable and all powerful. Unaccountability and de facto power allows them to continue experimenting while the masses pay the price of their follies.
The fact that people, in spite of resentment, do not resist injustices gives the decision-makers a free hand in creating an irresolvable mess. Mumia Abu Jamal’s quote unequivocally illustrates the situation here: “When a cause comes along and you know in your bones that it is just, yet refuse to defend it — at that moment you begin to die. And I have never seen so many corpses walking around talking about justice.” Hoping for the ‘Arab Spring’ here is a fantasy.
People and institutions create problems by setting themselves delusional goals. While individuals pay with personal losses, the adverse consequences of institutional delusions are permanent, colossal and harsh for the people. The establishment and the armed forces here do not seem to learn from their mistakes. Obsessive self-interest has made them lose touch with reality.
Delusional thinking, however, is not new here; the civilian rulers in the initial days were obsessed with India and acquiring evacuee property and paid no heed to people’s welfare. They were then replaced by the army obsessed with the idea that ‘Mumlikat-e-Khudadad’ was an end in itself and there was no need to bother about people’s rights and welfare. Naturally the people suffered and continue to suffer. ….
Read more » Daily Times
By Faisal Shakeel
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Saturday issued notices to President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lt General Ahmed Shuja Pasha on a letter – which has been converted into a petition – expressing concern over the security of the citizens of Pakistan on the presumption that the government and the president were involved in the Memogate affair.
A Canada-based Pakistani, Shafqat Ullah in his letter said: “If contents of the letter are true then each and every Pakistani is at security threat because of the present government. This government is not safeguarding the interest of its own people and departments but it is securing the interest of other nations or enemies of Pakistan.”
“This is an anti-state act and how come a person involved in this matter is sitting on the key post of Pakistan and is supreme commander of Pakistan forces,” Shafqat wrote.
“As this (Memogate affair) is directly related to the security of Pakistan and armed forces of Pakistan… so it is a matter of national security and national interest. Our national security is at stake now and politicians are just making fun of each other by asking so called committees to probe the Memogate affair,” the letter said.
“The committees will delay the outcome rather than (doing) justice.”
“My family members are in Army and all family members are in Pakistan so I feel insecure from this government as they can invite our enemies to kill us,” the letter stated.
The chief justice converted the letter into a petition and listed it for hearing along with the Memogate case.
Read more » The Express Tribune
You have ruled us enough
You have ruined us enough
You have raped our beloved country enough
You have destroyed our future and shattered our dreams
Enough is enough.
Your concepts are weird, your plans are insane
You are devious and deceitful
You are cowards and timid
You are cruel and ruthless
You are cunning and conniving
You are criminals and corrupt
Enough is enough
We are no longer afraid of long boots
We have no fear of big guns
You can’t bully us any more
Enough is enough
You have found new shoulders to take away our freedoms
Bigwigs are on your side and fake journalists speak your lies
But you all should know it is enough, it is enough
No more insults, no more intrigues enough is enough
No more blackmail, no more intimidation enough is enough
We will not let the Justice spread injustice enough is enough
Go away, go away it is enough, it is enough
Stay away, stay away it is enough, it is enough
We will fight you till the end
Enough is enough
Inattention of the international community will further aggravate the current instability and a rapidly developing Darfur and Somalia-like situation in Balochistan will have serious implications for long-term peace and stability in the region.
The appalling poverty, desolation, unemployment, worsening health conditions, malnourishment, tribal in-fighting, mounting corruption, support for drug barons and religious fundamentalism in historically peaceful and secular-oriented Baloch society are the domino effects of systematic policies imposed by the Islamabad super-establishment
Although the British Raj ended in 1947, under Pakistan’s ethnically structured and politically over-centralised state, the concept and practice of second-class citizenry remains a common practice by the dominant group against the underprivileged people.
Initially, the East Pakistani population was the prime victim of this policy of systematic second-class citizenry; they were discriminated against because of their ethnicity, origin, and political aspirations. They were denied legal rights, civil rights, political rights and overall economic opportunities in a country that came into being through the extraordinary contribution of the Bengali political and intellectual elite.
Rebuffing West Pakistan’s neo-colonial policies, the Bengalis took a non-violent path to change their destiny. They voted in favour of the Awami League and sent a clear signal to the power base in Lahore, GHQ and Islamabad that the days of institutionalised slavery are over. The dominant civil-military establishment’s hawkish response to Bengal’s political verdict was ruthless, which resulted in millions of deaths, destruction and separation of East Pakistan.
After the fall of Dhaka, the same hawkish elite apprehended another opportunity to continue its policy of second-class citizenry, and this time the Baloch people became a soft target. Balochistan was wealth-looted, people-killed, land-grabbed for strategic use and its people were systematically kept underdeveloped.
Furthermore, the hawkish elite and ethnically dominant policy-making institutions imposed new methods to further suppress the ‘Baloch second-class citizenry’. Thousands of people were recruited in Frontier Corps (FC) from FATA, Punjab and other provinces, denying the right of employment to the locals. The same FC established hundreds of check posts during the 1980s to date, just to restrict people’s social, economic and development movements.
The appalling poverty, desolation, unemployment, worsening health conditions, malnourishment, tribal in-fighting, mounting corruption, support for drug barons and religious fundamentalism in historically peaceful and secular-oriented Baloch society are the domino effects of systematic policies imposed by the Islamabad super-establishment.