Tag Archives: background

Rough justice

By Asad Jamal

June 2012 will go down in the legal and political history of Pakistan as a watershed month as the Supreme Court (SC) of Pakistan intruded not only the domain of other state institutions and violated the code of conduct for the superior judiciary but also disregarded some of its own recent and not-so recent pronouncements.

It was the June 19 decision to disqualify Yousuf Raza Gilani as a member of the National Assembly (NA) and as Prime Minister of Pakistan that really stole the limelight. The decision, delivered through a short order which states that the reasons for disqualification will be recorded later, has been criticised on various grounds. The critics of the verdict variously call it legally infirm, an encroachment upon the domain of parliament and other constitutional offices, lacking impartiality and being potentially detrimental to democracy in Pakistan.

On the lack of impartiality first: while the decisions of a court may be debated and questioned, the judges should never lose the appearance of impartiality. In a 2006 speech during the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the SC, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa had said “… independence of judiciary is not an end in itself; it is only a means to the end, and the end for sure is impartiality of judiciary.” Unfortunately, the order for Gilani’s disqualification is a glaring example of the court’s transgression into the jurisdiction of other constitutional offices, if not outright bias.

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A bad movie plot

By: Irfan Husain

ANOTHER day, another crisis in Pakistan. What else is new? Given the roller-coaster ride we have been on these last few years, nothing has the power to surprise or shock anymore.

Even the fact that a warrant for the arrest of Makhdoom Shahabuddin has been issued just as he was filing his nomination papers for election to the prime ministership causes a big yawn.

If a screenwriter had crafted the script we have been following, a movie producer would have rejected it for being too unbelievable. The whole business about a tycoon bankrolling a series of multimillion dollar holidays for the chief justice’s son and his family is bizarre enough. But in a swift counterstroke, the prime minister is dismissed by the top judge, pushing his son’s scandal into the background.

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The laughing warrior

By: Nadeem F. Paracha

Born in 1956, Fauzia Wahab was enjoying a fiery career as a passionate human rights worker and one of the most prominent voices of reason in the often chaotic, judgmental and fiercely patriarchal world of Pakistani politics and sociology, when her life was cut short on June 17, 2012.

Belonging to Pakistan’s largest political outfit, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Fauzia’s fame was nothing like that of former PPP Chairperson, late Benazir Bhutto, and nor was she known so well outside of Pakistan like the country’s other famous women activists and democrats like Benazir or Asma Jahangir.

Fauzia’s fame was largely local, rooted deep in whatever that is left of the tradition of progressive politics and liberalism in the country’s urban middle-classes – a tradition that was triggered by the rise of the PPP in the late 1960s and gave large sections of the Pakistani middle-classes a left-leaning and almost revolutionary dimension.

Although Fauzia was in school when leftist student organisations and trade, labour and journalist unions rose to successfully challenge the rule of Pakistan’s first military dictator, Ayub Khan, in the late 1960s, she was quick to join politics when she entered college in 1972 and then the Karachi University in 1975.

A glimpse into her career as a student politician can be an insightful exercise to understand the kind of a charisma she possessed that continued to make her stand out without requiring her to be a leading political figure or an ideologue.

A PPP colleague of hers once described Fauzia as a smiling rebel who had a natural knack of balancing her traditional side with her rebellious streak without looking or sounding contradictory or confused.

The same colleague (who was talking to me late last year in an informal chat), thought that Fauzia’s first act of rebellion was actually against her own ethnic background.

Coming from an educated Urdu-speaking family settled in Karachi, Fauzia did not automatically support the Jamat-e-Islami (JI) or the Jamiat Ulema Pakistan (JUP) like most Urdu-speakers of Sindh and its capital, Karachi, did till the late 1970s.

Instead, when she joined college, she at once jumped into the ranks of leftist and progressive student groups, but without waving Mao’s Red Book or Marx’s Das Kapital.

Another colleague of hers who was with her in a progressive student group at Karachi University and then later joined the Mutahidda Qaumi Movement (MQM), told me that Fauzia was always more interested in solving the problems of the students and challenging those who used faith to impose their politics than she was in leftist theory.

It was this attitude of hers that placed her in the leading ranks of the Progressive Students Alliance at the Karachi University – an alliance comprising of various left-wing, liberal and Sindhi, Baloch and Pashtun student groups.

But battling opposing student groups, especially those on the right, through student union elections and campaigning, was where it all started and ended for Fauzia – in 1978 she met and married another passionate progressive student politician, Wahab Siddiqui, who soon went on to become an accomplished journalist.

After marriage, Fauzia gladly became a housewife, raising her children and supporting her husband’s career as a journalist. But her love for politics, the liberal ideals that had driven her as a student and her romance for Karachi remained intact.

Some early recruits of the MQM claim that Fauzia almost joined the MQM when it suddenly rose to become Karachi’s leading party in the late 1980s. Though this was never mentioned by Fauzia herself, it is however true that she eventually became a kind of a pioneer of a little known but important strain in the workings of the PPP in Karachi, Sindh.

I can vouch for this because I, as an active member of the PPP’s student-wing, the PSF (in the 1980s), too got involved in what Fauzia would ultimately represent within the PPP as a Karachiite.

When Benazir returned to Pakistan from exile in 1986 and then went on to become the country’s first woman prime minister in 1988, she at once recognised the importance of having the MQM as a ‘natural ideological partner’ and a party that could keep governments afloat with the seats that it was able to win in Karachi and Hyderabad.

I was at the Karachi University in 1989 when Benazir constituted a team of Sindhi and Urdu-speaking members of the PPP to negotiate a coalition deal with MQM chief Altaf Hussain. I remember how this policy created a kind of a rift within the ranks of the PSF in Karachi.

One faction was totally against Benazir’s move, while the other faction saw it as a way to unite secular forces so they could reclaim the political space they had lost to the ‘reactionaries’ and religionists during Ziaul Haq’s dictatorship.

Though a Punjabi from my father’s side, I was born and bred in Karachi. So I decided to side with the latter group and was ultimately ‘expelled’ from the university by the former faction.

Of course, the coalition collapsed and dozens of students lost their lives in the deadly clashes that followed between the PSF and MQM’s student-wing the APMSO.

However, even while an operation was underway against MQM militants under the second Benazir regime (1993-96), I am witness to the fact that Benazir’s idea of creating a bridge (made up of ideological similarities as well as pragmatism) between Karachi chapters of the PPP and MQM was very much alive.

And here is where Fauzia came in. After the tragic sudden death of her husband in 1993, Fauzia found herself returning to politics. Her husband had played an active role as a journalist against the Zia dictatorship and this drew the attention of Benazir who made Fauzia the Information Secretary of the PPP’s women’s wing in Sindh.

An articulate and educated person from a respected Urdu-speaking middle-class family, Fauzia was to become that bridge between the PPP and Urdu-speakers in Karachi. Later on, Fauzia, along with another prominent PPP Karachite, Faisal Raza Abidi, would play a prominent role in helping Asif Ali Zardari strike a coalition with the MQM after the 2008 elections.

Though a passionate Karachite and proud of her ethnic background, Fauzia was first and foremost a Pakistani who wanted to use the platform of a large political party to continue raising human rights issues, especially those related to women.

Fauzia became a close confidant of Benazir Bhutto. Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, Fauzia was the person Benazir banked on to continue building links between the PPP and Urdu-speakers in Karachi as well as being one of the faces in the PPP the MQM was most comfortable with.

But it wasn’t until during the Musharraf dictatorship that Fauzia was thrown into the limelight of Pakistani politics. Being made an MNA during the 2002 elections, she played an active political role against the Musharraf regime.

This was also due to the eruption of privately owned TV news channels in the country. Fauzia became a prominent fixture in most political talk shows, passionately criticising the Musharraf regime and articulating her party’s understanding of the situation.

After Benazir’s shocking assassination in 2007, Fauzia managed to survive the PPP’s new chairperson Asif Ali Zardari’s changes within the party structure. In fact she became an even more prominent figure in the party.

Along with Faisal Raza Abidi and Qamar Zaman Kaira, Fauzia became one of the fiercest defenders of the PPP regime’s polices in the electronic media. But unlike many other politicians who also became regular fixtures on TV talk shows, Fauzia retained a cheerful witty attitude.

However, she wasn’t only about defending her party’s regime. Along with famous human rights activist and lawyer, Asma Jahangir, Fauzia was one of the few prominent Pakistani women who never held back while lambasting crimes of hate committed by religious nuts and terrorists.

She openly condemned the murder of Punjab Governor, Salman Taseer, by a crackpot who wrongly accused Taseer of committing blasphemy. She was threatened by a number of fanatical clerics and their supporters for this.

Fauzia continued highlighting the threat to Pakistanis, especially women and those belonging to minority religions, faced from radical religious groups. She continued to remain a target of the abuse and menacing threats that came her way from religious outfits.

But she marched on, still holding her balanced mantle that seamlessly mixed passionate oratory with reason and hearty wit.

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Once upon a time in Afghanistan

PART THREE – THE LOST HISTORY OF HELMAND

By: Adam Curtis

When you look at footage of the fighting in Helmand today everyone assumes it is being played out against an ancient background of villages and fields built over the centuries.

This is not true. If you look beyond the soldiers, and into the distance, what you are really seeing are the ruins of one of the biggest technological projects the United States has ever undertaken. Its aim was to use science to try and change the course of history and produce a modern utopia in Afghanistan. The city of Lashkar Gah was built by the Americans as a model planned city, and the hundreds of miles of canals that the Taliban now hide in were constructed by the same company that built the San Francisco Bay Bridge and Cape Canaveral. Here is what Helmand province looks like today. ….

Read more » BBC

The current Political crises in Pakistan – CPP’s analysis

By CPP

The Pakistan’s current political crises, is the most horrific tussle among its top institutions, has morphed grievous consequent deadlocks for the running of the affairs of the state. In order to understand its fundamental reasons, here, we would need to analyze its background circumstances.

1). The Pakistani military is no more a mere security agency , but an industrial and business corporation, in real terms. The economic and business positions of the army Generals, has over taken in many folds, the volume of the civilian business enterprises  on the basis of these economic interests, being a class in stalk ,the political privileges, advantages and access to power or supremacy over the political dispensation is for now realized to be an oxygen for them . Therefore , military, as a class no way can afford any civilian government to deliver things  independently without their prior approval .

2). Among ,the many businesses of the army, apart from industries and import -exports , “JEHAD” is adapted to be the most credible business corporation ,which has been for long greatly flourishing in leaps and bounds , under US imperialist’s patronage for the last 40 or so many years ,as a result almost all 5 stars Generals and Major Generals have turned billionaires and down to the rank of Majors ,have become Millionaires ,in quite short span of life.

3). The Obama’s administration ( democrats ), seems interested to work out some settlement for the Afghan issue, in order to cut down its colossal expenditures , there . They earnestly aspire for to have been successful in installing a US amicable government in Kabul, which would mean for the Pakistani Generals to wash off hands from the Jihad dividends . Consequently, the Generals have to resort, applying every means to keep up the past madcap policy on Afghanistan intact, so as to let the Jihad business go on . The present elected government, has opted, greatly, a US harmonious policy on this issue.

4). There is also, exists a profound contradiction between the army and the civilian government over the establishment of relations viz a vis, India concerned . The Pakistani government desires to normalize relations with India, which is a total opposite perspective to the basic policy stand of the Generals. Keeping the Kashmir issue alive at all costs to legitimate the false security apprehension from India, so as to justify the persistent un-auditable increase in military budget and its personnel strength . This is subject to keep intact the security state, status of Pakistan, through enhanced empowerment and role granted to play by the military institution.

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Memogate: Two psychopaths a ‘new threat’ to Pakistani democracy? – by Shiraz Paracha

Excerpt;

…. Mansoor behaves like a psychopath and has been intimidating Pakistani politicians and military leaders, who always look towards Washington for support. Mansoor cashes on their weakness and makes exaggerated claims about his connections and influence on the Hill. Benazir Bhutto was bitten by Mansoor Ijaz’s inflated claims and was thus very sceptical of Mansoor.

Mansoor criminal-minded business associates made tones of money through questionable business deals. Interestingly, Mansoor uses his Muslim and Pakistani background to promote his business and career interests in the United States. Precisely on these grounds, he acts as a friend of Israel and his role suits Zionist lobbies. Mansoor is also a self-appointed flag carrier for American crusaders. Mansoor’s ideas and plans often hurt Pakistan, yet he wants to be loved and appreciated in Pakistan. Thanks to some Pakistani media outlets, Mansoor gets out of the proportion attention in Pakistan where the majority of the public is unaware of his real motives and agenda. ….

…. Upon my return to Pakistan when we published our interview with Mark Segal, Benazir Bhutto’s spokesperson Farhat Ullah Babar called and congratulated me on having an interview with Mark Segal, this time I was sadly surprised. The point is that in Pakistan exaggeration and distortions about people and events are common.

Now, Husain Haqqani and Mansoor Ijaz are central in the so-called memo scandal. The memo that was allegedly written back in May could be a new excuse to justify the dismissal of the civilian government in Pakistan as some forces have been trying to windup the fragile democratic process in Pakistan.

The timing of the leak about the alleged memo to a U.S general is interesting. Rather than questioning the role of the Pakistani military in bringing troubles for Pakistan, some Washington-based Pakistani journalists like Shaheen Sehbahi always blame President Zardari. ….

…. Some Pakistani generals groomed and harboured bin Laden and others calling them Pakistan’s strategic assets. Such generals should be brought to justice, not an elected President and the civilian government. Pakistani generals have been violating the constitution and have no regard for the law. They disobey and disrespect elected representatives of people. Instead of exposing misdeeds of the military, the Pakistani media support and strengthen generals’ wrongdoings.

In such an environment trivial matters and non-issues become serious threats for the future of democracy. Now an alleged personal and unofficial communication between two individuals is presented as another reason for derailing democracy in Pakistan. Can two rightwing psychopaths be a threat to democracy? One wonders for how long such nonsense will continue in Pakistan?

To read complete article » LUBP

http://criticalppp.com/archives/63301

Govt Prepares For Post-MQM Scenario

Govt Prepares For Post-MQM Scenario: Suddle, Mirza May Get Top Slots

By Aijaz Ahmed

It is believed that the central government has prepared ‘Plan B’ to deal with any eventuality in case MQM finally refuses to rejoin the coalition and creates any law and order situation. The sources say that the government may resort to strong action, which may be contrary to the so far soft image of President Asif Zardari as the PPP may be losing patience with the ‘my way or highway’ attitude of the relatively immature ex-coalition party.

Teasers are already being sent to MQM, but at the same time, efforts to bring the ex-coalition partner back to the government’s fold are also underway, sources reveal. ‘Indeed Plan ‘A’ is to bring MQM back in the government’, sources told IH. Ch. Shujaat Hussain, Rehman Malik, and some common friends from UK are assigned the task.

The first priority to bring MQM back in the fold is mainly for two reasons, say insiders in the power corridors. The first reason is very obvious that government wants to avoid any confrontation and thus did not want to create an image that the leading party in the ruling coalition does not have ability to resolve the differences and thus unable to maintain relations with coalition partners.

Second reason is more interesting and strong according to the sources: the leadership of the ruling coalition according to the sources was astonished at the way the PML-N and MQM came closer, and the reaction of Imran Khan and other opposition forces. The inclusion of MQM in the opposition with PML-N and other parties may result in creation of stronger and vibrant opposition.

Grand opposition of PML-N, JUI-F, Jamaat i Islami, PTI, the Sindhi Nationalists and MQM embedded with a section of intelligence agencies can pose threats to the very survival of the elected government and also can assert more pressure on the President. The government – judiciary relations strengthen the view that all may not be well for PPP, Mr. Zardari and his allies if the grand opposition is allowed to come into existence, sources maintain.

There are also clear indications that a section of the intelligence agencies influenced by Hameed Gul mindset is providing some backing to Imran Khan and partly to PML-N as well, and this may lead towards disastrous end to the present set up.

MQM may be offered the seat of deputy speaker in the AJK Assembly along with a slot of advisor in AJK government. These offers will be apart from some concessions the party may be offered in Sindh once again. The MQM, according to the sources, intends to get some of its workers released, closure of few investigations and withdrawal of PPP’s stand on Municipal system in Karachi. The PPP wants to return to the previous system and remove existing 18 towns and restore commissionerate system in Karachi, Hyderabad and rest of Sindh, sources maintain.

Although the hopes of MQM’s return in the government’s folds are very slim as according to the assessment of PPP hawks, Altaf Hussain and his party intends to make political inroads in Punjab, Pakhtoonkhwa and Kashmir and to get better results it has to be out of the government, adopt ‘Majha’ (macho) style of politics in Punjab and adopt harsh tone against policies disliked by the people.

Thus the PPP and PML-Q are chalking out the plan B. Functional League, The National peoples Party and few leaders of ‘Hamkhyal’ (like-minded) League are being approached and some new faces from all these forces may be included in the Sindh Cabinet if Ch Shujaat and Rehman Malik failed to get favorable results. However it may take more than 6 weeks.

The most important part of the Plan will be the top slots in Sindh. The name of Zulfikar Mirza is being mentioned for the position of CM and everybody is talking about his new role in Karachi and Islamabad.

However the name of the new Governor of Sindh could be a surprise. Although Faisal Raza Abidi is being tipped as new Governor of Sindh for very obvious reasons, in the final count down he may not be the ultimate choice. Although he has abilities to give tough time to his arch rivals in Karachi and MQM, the man who can win the confidence of both the President and the Military Establishment, which is a settled norm when a governor is appointed, former police official Mr. Shoaib Suddle may be the elevated to the job. Mr. Suddle has a background of a successful action against terrorists in Karachi, majority of them was believed to be associated with MQM. He is also known to be honest and impartial but believed to have some grudges against MQM. He is also supposed to be close to the president.

Former IB Chief Mr. Masood Sharif could have been a natural choice for the post but he developed some differences with the president because of Rehman Malik sources said adding that Appointment of Mr. Wajid Durrani as IG Sindh Police is a clear indication in this regard. The Police and Rangers have been asked to mark people from MQM who according to the reports could make trouble in Karachi, but this time a direct action will be avoided only targeted action will be taken and only against all trouble making elements, but elements believed to have MQM connections will be on top of the list for which preparations are being made.

The party sources also maintain that the leadership wants a strong man in the Governor House Karachi having different background from CM Sindh, most probably from the Urdu speaking community, as has been the norm. Any other name may also come up in the race, but Mr. Saddle is the strongest contender for the slot at the moment, sources believe.

Courtesy: → Indus Herald

Imran hints ‘conditional coalition’ with MQM

KARACHI: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) or Pakistan Movement for Justice’s Chief Imran Khan on Thursday said that ‘conditional coalition’ with Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) is not completely ‘out of question,’ DawnNews reported. …

Read more: → DAWN.COM

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Why India Is Democratic and Pakistan Is Not?

The Indian-Pakistani Divide

Why India Is Democratic and Pakistan Is Not

By Christophe Jaffrelot

Many comparisons of India and Pakistan attribute India’s democracy to Hinduism and Pakistan’s autocracy to Islam. Philip Oldenburg’s new book steers clear of this argument, focusing on historical, political, and external factors to explain how India came out ahead. …

Read more : Foreign Affairs

Waris Shah on Mullah .. Background

by Manzur Ejaz

Besides possessing a mastery of the Punjabi language and comprehensive knowledge of all aspects of life, Waris Shah’s greatness lies in his philosophical discourse. He understood the role of the different institutions of 18th century of Punjab (and India) and used the epic Heer Ranjha story to debate and expose them.

His technique, as shown by Najm Husain Syed, is to show an institution from a distance and then take you inside. From a distance every institution looks perfect but from inside it is dirty and rotten. In the process, Waris Shah exposed the institution of property, qaza (judiciary), religion (through mullah and qazi), capitalism (mallah), and feudalism (Heer’s father, Jog and the crown (raja) …

Read more : Wichaar

 

Tariq Ali’s backhanded tribute to Salmaan Taseer

by Mahvish Afridi

Is Tariq Ali a reporter, a Marxist activist or an author of fluffy Islamist novels reminiscent of Nasim Hijazi? Or is he just an ideologue past his sell by date, cashing in on his Communist Cows.  Nonetheless, he clearly has his prejudices and his article “Salman Taseer Remembered” (London Review of Books) reveals some of them.

In what should have been a tribute to a childhood friend, Tariq Ali can’t help himself and resorts to his typical petty digs based on his own prejudices and neurosis. He remembers their childhood memories but cannot bring himself to appreciate the late Salman Taseer’s business success and political activism.  I suppose that is natural given that Tariq Ali comes from a privileged feudal background and ran off from Pakistan instead of facing any consequences for being part of the Left movement of the late 1960s. Tariq Ali’s grandfather Sir Sikandar Hayat Khan was a leader of the Unionist Muslim League, a feudalist political party formed to represent the interests of the landlords of Punjab. It is the same feudal lord about whom Allama Iqabl wrote: nigah-e-faqr mein shaan-e-sikandri kia hai

In Tariq Ali’s elitist lexicon, being a self made and highly successful businessman is far inferior to being a paid lecture circuit mouthpiece for Hamas and Taliban and their supporters that reside on the fringes of the Far Left.

His glossing over the incarceration that Taseer had to face for his political affiliation with the Pakistan Peoples Party and its leadership are probably an indication of his insecurity for running away to England at the first sign of trouble. Not unlike other members of Pakistan’s ‘fake civil society’, Tariq Ali hates the PPP and the Bhuttos because they deprived him and his likes of the imaginary revolution that Tariq Ali so much wanted to lead but never possessed the guts and heart to do so.

In his back handed tribute to Shaheed Taseer, Tariq Ali reveals more about himself and his prejudice than about the late Governor’s successful life. …

Read more : CriticalPPP

Current wave of extremism in Pakistan

Statistical ambiguity society

Just how some recent events of our surface politics offer an interesting study of the deep politics

By Dr Ahsan Wagha

It started with the worst ideological polarisation promoted by the military generals in the 1970s when Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was forced to invite Saudi ambassador Riaz Al-Khatib to mediate between him and the opposition, a practice that was reverberated during the Musharraf-Nawaz conflict and has almost culminated into becoming one of the basic features of our foreign policy. The phenomenon can be investigated in the background of the history of Arab colonisation of this region.

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