Tag Archives: Better

Pakistan, courts Islamometer

Islamo-meter in the courts…and Anjuman Shahzadi

By Omar Ali

Back in the 1980, General Zia was “Islamizing” Pakistan, primarily by having several thousand people flogged (mostly for political offences..including a barber in,if i remember correctly, Faisalabad, for putting up Zia’s picture as one of the available hairstyles). I happened to chat with Sharif Sabir Sahib, an observant, reasonably orthodox Muslim (known as “Molvi Sharif Sabir”) and a great scholar of Punjabi (who also taught Persian). I asked him what he thought of this Islamization? He said “son, take an islamo-meter to the district court. The day it registers an even slightly positive reading, I will personally wash Zia’s feet with rose water”. Of course, both of us knew this was a safe bet.

Osama Sameer surveys how things look in the district courts today, further down the winding road that is taking us away from British India and towards Pakistan, fortress of Islam.

I am not posting this to help “the world understand us better”. How “the world” understands us is the least of our problems. Frankly (and I hope this does not strike anyone as rude) that is the sort of bullshit that buffoon Musharraf was known for. The idea that “the world” has misunderstood our lovable self. That if we can somehow “promote our soft image” (this was a phrase Mushie used several thousand times) and show the world that we paint trucks, we pray in petrol stations, we walk half naked down catwalks, then all will be well. I think this whole shtick is meaningless in the larger scheme of things. The world that matters (the people who start wars, sell oil, buy countries) doesnt care about any of that and neither do most Pakistanis. All of that is neither problem nor solution. Even the s0-called “ideology of Pakistan” (which i attack at every opportunity and Samosa and Riaz Haq sahib will defend till they have something more urgent to do) is a problem mostly because taking it seriously causes other, more real problems. If we can confine it to schoolbooks (preferably grade 5 and below) we can safely ignore it.

btw, If the world wants to understand ”moderate Islamic Pakistani” closer to street level, here is a Pakistani Mujra (an art form slightly older than catwalk modelling) by Anjuman Shahzadi, complete with “Hajji brothers” logo proudly displayed in the background (Hajji means someone who has been for Haj to Mecca). She died last year, apparently of infection and diabetes. Who knows.

She could be incredibly crude:

Read more » Brown Pundits

Zardari sub pey bhari..

By Omar Ali

Asif Ali Zardari’s astounding survival as President of Pakistan is captured well in this poem by Mohammed Ayub (Punjabi, with English translation).

A friend’s comment on this topic:

In an established liberal democracy, Zardari would never have come to power and probably would have been convicted. But so would be Nawaz Sharif. So would many associates of Musharraf and of Zia ul Haq. But I think one should give credit to Zardari where it is due. He was an accidental president but the way he handled himself and led his party after Benazir was killed was impressive. He tried hard to make a coalition with Sharifs and respected other political parties’ sphere. This tolerance of dissent was unprecedented in Pakistani politics. His biggest mistake was that he frittered away the good will by opposing the lawyers movement. His biggest achievement is the 18th amendment which if implemented fully will demolish the unitary centralised state. His failures are many but there are many others who bear MORE responsibility for those failures. If the economy has tanked, this should be laid at the door of our asinine generals who are responsible for the civil war that their trainees have started and the grandstanding they never tire off. I will sympathetic to Zardari because he is being singled out for failures that are not of his making in addition to his own. failures.
My own comments: I have a soft spot for budnaam Zardari. I wish he was just one shade less corrupt and his team was one shade more competent (and I REALLY wish he didnt have a team led by Babar Awan and Rahman Malik), but he is not the root of all evil. He has compromised with everyone including the army and does not deserve the endless invective against him….its like every corrupt and incompetent person in Pakistan (a nation built on corruption, like so many others) likes to think all problems will be solved if THIS incompetent and corrupt person leaves….and his foreign policy is orders of magnitude superior to the BS that flows out of GHQ. In fact, for decades GHQ has managed its domestic dominance by staying in a state of near-war and kidnapping and killing people for trying to undermine that narrative and here is someone who says let us trade and do business and just give me my cut…I think that is not ideal, but its superior to GHQ’s version of maintaining control… I am sure there are many many stories of projects shelved because capitalists dont want to meet his demands for money and prefer to wait till Uncle Jimmy and his friends in GHQ are back in full power…When the person in charge is from outside the main elite circle, his demands for an excessive cut do look painfully unfair …and maybe he IS too greedy and asks for more than Uncle Jimmy.. but his (President Asif Zardari’s) survival would be better for Pakistan than another coup or “behind-the-scenes-coup”..
And of course, the obligatory comment from Khalid Ahmed.
Courtesy » Brown Pundits

PAKISTAN: A single mother’s battle with her unborn child

An Article from the Asian Human Rights Commission

By Baseer Naweed

AHRC-ART-057-2011, November 8, 2011 -Miss Uzma Ayub, a single mother, who was repeatedly raped whilst being held captive by an army soldier and three police officials during an entire year, is currently seven months pregnant and will give birth soon. She … does not want to abort it; because she says she respects life. She is planning on giving her child up for adoption in the hopes of it having a better life.

Continue reading PAKISTAN: A single mother’s battle with her unborn child

Pakistani Beer tasted better than German, Scandinavian, British and American beers

Pakistan overturns ban on booze . . . for export

IT IS an Islamic republic where alcohol is forbidden to 97 per cent of the population and drinkers can face 80 lashes of the whip under holy law – but in a move set to anger religious conservatives, Pakistan is poised to become an exporter of beer.

An official in the Ministry of Commerce in Islamabad told The Times that a ruling this month by its Economic Committee on Trade would allow Pakistan to export beer and spirits from next year.

“India would be the largest market for our alcoholic products. ….

Read more: http://www.news.com.au/business/alcohol-is-forbidden-for-its-own-people-but-pakistan-is-set-to-become-a-beer-exporter/story-e6frfm1i-1226171580996#ixzz1bXDVGY00

 

Occupy Islamabad!

For decades, we have heard, and chanted, slogans against the evils of capitalism. We have witnessed the monopolization of multinational corporates and intensifying ratio of starvation, growing side by side. We have seen so many wars, imposed in the name of peace. We have heard enough lies about the people’s struggle and their achievements of the past. We have watched the world transforming into a global village of miseries, poverty, bloodshed, hunger and oppression. Now, the masses, all over the world, seem to realize the root cause of all the miseries: exploitation of man’s labour by man. Capitalism is failing. The world is changing!

It is a historical moment for us. The advocates of free-market economy are shaken by the series of protests that, starting from the New York City, have captured the hundreds of cities all over the world. These protests represent the awakening class-consciousness of the masses that has culminated in the Occupy Wall Street Movement. These occupy activists have gathered to change the existing economic inequality of the system. They have always been taught that Marx was wrong in his critique of capitalism. They have realized the empirical evidence of the opposite.

Karl Marx, in the 19th century, had explained the inevitable presence of exploitation as an essential ingredient of capitalism. The German social scientist had proved that, in any society, the exploitation takes place when a few people own all the means of production and the majority, who doesn’t own anything, is bound to sell its labour to that minor class which accumulates private property. While, the state functions to protect that unequal distribution of wealth, assuring the widening class-differences.

The NY Post has referred the Occupy Movement as the New York’s ‘Marxist Epicenter’. It has countered the myth, propagated by the media, that the occupy activists are a breed of bored, hippie-like folks who are doing some adventurism to seek attention. According to their report, the flags depicting revolutionary icons can be seen everywhere, showing their ideological commitment. Moreover, the ‘occupiers’ openly refer to each other as ‘comrade’, a term used by the left-wing worldwide, meaning ‘friend’ or ‘ally’. Their literature openly declares Socialism as a cure of all the prevailing problems.

At this historical moment, the Pakistan’s left is reorganizing like their counterparts of the West. We have a long history of youth’s struggle against the dark military regimes. From the Democratic Students Federation’s front ‘Red Guards’ to the Lawyer’s movement, our young activists have always stood for the people’s cause. Continuing their legacy of internationalism, Pakistan’s left parties have decided to start anti-capitalist camps, initiating from Lahore, not only for the solidarity for the Occupy Wall Street movement, but also as a continuous struggle to change our indigenous problems. We need to realize the importance of this revolutionary wave. We need to be in the flow. For how long the people will continue to suffer and dream for a better society? The time has come to make those dreams an existing reality. The time has come to reject all the confused liberators. The time has come to chant, ‘Occupy Islamabad!’

But, unfortunately, the state is not the only thing to occupy, in our case. We are aware that Pakistan suffers from multiple complex issues. We don’t only have the corrupt feudal political families and their huge palaces to occupy; we have millions of minds to occupy which are burning in the flames of religious fanaticism. We have to occupy the rising sectarian mindset of the people. We have to occupy the religious rage to assure peaceful coexistence of everyone. We have to occupy the narcissistic prism and replace it with rationality and realism. We have to occupy the filth of the society and the filth within. And we, the people, can do that! We can do that because we are the 99 percent!

Courtesy» The Express Tribune

The biggest hurdle to the better future of Pakistan

Survival of the self-centered

By Badar Alam

Excerpt:

…. In another indication that the army continues to overstep institutional boundaries, the press release has invoked popular endorsement for the army. The question is why it needs such an endorsement if it is carrying out its official functions of maintaining national defence and internal security as it should. Is it hankering after direct public support because it does not operate under a constitutional arrangement in which a people’s will is solicited and channeled into the policies of the government through democratically elected institutions? Effectively the army has become a supra-constitutional organisation that bypasses, and sometimes also subverts, the writ of the people in their very name.

If the army is a government department, with its rights and responsibilities laid down under the constitution mandated by the people of Pakistan, does it then perform as a government department? No, it is not. Postal services, for example, do not set ideological goals for them and they do not seek direct public support in discharging their duties; they just deliver letters as they are supposed to do under the legal, institutional and constitutional provisions that govern their functioning.

The army, indeed, needs to do what it is supposed to do under the law and the constitution – and that excludes a lot of what it is doing now. First and foremost, it needs to start observing its institutional limits and stop talking and acting beyond its constitutional mandate. If it cannot do that, and it seems it does not want to, no amount of loud declarations about its pious intentions and even louder condemnations of the ‘divisive designs’ of its alleged detractors will improve its image and performance.

To read complete article: DAWN.COM

Canada’s National Post columnist, Lawrence Solomon advocates the breakup of Pakistan

Lawrence Solomon: Pakistan would work better in pieces

by: Lawrence Solomon

Pakistan would be a more stable and peaceful place if its four component nations were unstitched from one another

Since Osama bin Laden was found living unmolested in a Pakistani military town, debate has raged over how to deal with this duplicitous, faction-ridden country. Should the United States and others in the West continue to provide Pakistan with billions in foreign aid, in the hopes of currying at least some influence among elements of the Pakistani leadership? Or should we get tough, and declare it to be the state sponsor of terrorism that it is, knowing this course of action could cripple our efforts to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan and drive Pakistan further into the Chinese sphere of influence?

Neither course would be satisfactory and neither should be adopted. Instead, the West should recognize that the muddle it faces stems from Pakistan’s internal contradictions. This is not one cohesive country but four entirely distinct nations, having little in common save their animosity toward one another, a predominantly Muslim faith and Britain’s decision to confine them within the same borders in partitioning the Indian subcontinent more than a half century ago. The West’s only sensible course of action today is to unstitch the British patchwork, let the major nations within Pakistan choose their future, and negotiate coherently with new national administrations that don’t have impossibly conflicted mandates.

Continue reading Canada’s National Post columnist, Lawrence Solomon advocates the breakup of Pakistan

HEC injustices: The weak PPP govt. has cowed down again on HEC issue

HEC: Story Of Gross Injustices To Smaller Provinces

HEC injustices: Out of the total of 61 scholarships, no scholarship was awarded to any university in Balochistan while only one scholarship was awarded to a student from the University of Karachi, Sindh. 36 scholarships went to Punjab, 19 to Islamabad and 5 to Pakhtoonkhwa.

By Aijaz Ahmed

Islamabad: The country witnessed a high drama in the past few weeks as certain people with vested interests, some pro-establishment media hawks, bureaucrats and few so-called intellectuals created uncalled for hype and misgivings against the government decision to devolve the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan & hand over some of its powers to the provinces according to the 18th Constitutional Amendment. The opposition has cowed down the present government, weak as it is, and it may delay the devolution of a federal agency, which doesn’t have any justification to exist anymore. The education is a provincial subject and all the relevant subjects need to be transferred to the provinces, sooner the better.

Higher Education Commission like all other federal departments and agencies has been widely accused of following policies detrimental to smaller provinces. It is also accused of gross injustices in awarding scholarships and carrying out other projects completely ignoring the smaller provinces.

Read more :  Indus Herald

Democracy, the god of our age

by Razib Khan

I have a post up at Secular Right which expresses some cynical skepticism about the popular revolutions in North Africa. I’m especially skeptical of Egypt, though I would be happy to be proven wrong by history. Democratic governance is better than the alternatives, all things equal, but all things are not equal. Tunisia is in many ways a more “Western” society than Egypt, so I have more hope that a conventional Western form of governance in liberal democratic form will emerge there. Additionally, unlike Egypt Tunisia has no minorities to oppress.

Because of the power of democratically in the American mind we often can’t conceive of the possibility that populism abroad may not shake out in a direction conducive to our own “national interests.” Or, further other values which we putatively cherish, such as individual liberty and tolerance of dissent and diversity. But it is no coincidence that we were founded a republic, and not a democracy.

Courtesy: http://www.brownpundits.com/2011/01/28/democracy-the-god-of-our-age/