Tag Archives: Brave

Sindhi U.S Marine

By Hanif Sangi

This is little over due, but I want to congratulate Washingtonian Sindhi family for successful enlistment of their son Umer Bhutto in bravest force, The U.S Marines. Our elite Marines have long history of service to this greatest nation. Sindhis have repeatedly proved to be the finest warriors in the world, many have served the United States Armed Forces and number of Sindhi service members continues to grow. I share the pride of service to our adopted country and THANK him for volunteering to go above and beyond the call of duty. Its not easy to leave the luxuries of life, put boots on and be on duty 24 hours a day. Indeed, freedom is not free.

Courtesy: SANA list, September 28, 2013

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.

Continue reading The laughing warrior

How Long Can Sindh ‘n Sindhis Endure?”

By: Ahmed Makhdoom

Bashir Khan Qureshi, the roaring and raging voice of Sindh, the versatile leader of Sindh, the brave and courageous person, the humble and loving human being is no more with us! He fought for Sindh, he agitated for the rights of downtrodden Sindhis, he vociferously, vehemently and valiantly declared Independence and Freedom for Sindh and, sadly, he paid the ultimate price – the martyrdom.

جي تُون وِڙھٞندي تہ مَا رِيو ويندين؍

سَڄي سِـنڌُ تان وارِيو ويندين؍

دودا؍ تُنھِنجو ساھُ ثہ وِيندو؍

پَرَ قومَ جو ويساھُ نہ وِيندو؍

(شيخ اياز)

“Je tuun wirrhandein ta maaryo weindein,

Sacjee Sindhu taan waaryo weindeinn;

Dodaa, tuhinjo saah ta weendo,

Para qoma jo weisaahu na weendo!”

(Shaikh Ayaz)

“Fight, and sure to die on field art thee,

Sacrificed for Sindh, thy life admirable be;

Oh Dodo, breathe thy last will certainly thee,

Never shall diminish Nation’s trust in thee!”

(Shaikh Ayaz: Translated by Ahmed Makhdoom)

How long can the sacred and sentient land of Sindh continue to be desecrated, demeaned and debased? How long can the effervescent and exuberant children of Mother Sindh keep on being poisoned, murdered and butchered? How long can Sindhis keep on tolerating the savagery against their Motherland? How long would the peace-loving Nation of Sindh continue to witness the ethnic cleansing and genocide being perpetrated against them ruthlessly by the demonic forces of evil?

How long Sindhis will continue to turn the other cheek when their language and culture, values and way of life, history and heritage are systematically being punched, punctured and pulverized by the uncivilized marauders, tyrants and terrorists of deep dark forces? How long peace loving Sindhis continue being taken for a ride in the caravan of fraud, deceit and duplicity by the looters, liars and loafers?

Yes, how long might the Sindh and Sindhis continue to endure with patience? How long will Sindhis keep on suffering in acute pain and anguish? Till the Sindhis in Sindh have become extinct? Till the Sindhi language and Sindhi culture of peace, values and way of life, history and heritage has been deleted, destroyed and dumped by the deep dark forces of the security establishemnt?

Continue reading How Long Can Sindh ‘n Sindhis Endure?”

Bashir Qureshi: “Such is my Love for Mother Sindh, Other Beloveds all Forgotten”

By: Dr. Ahmed Makhdoom

Extremely saddened and shocked to learn about the passing-away of one of the most cherished, loved and illustrious son of Sindh, Saaeen Bashir Khan Qureshi.

The glorious ship of our motherland, Sindh, was so ably, bravely, passionately and fervently and, of-course, single-handedly, steered and guided by the indomitable, invincible and indefatigable will and leadership of Bashir Qureshi, the ardent believer and follower of the great Sindhi leader, Saaeen G.M. Syed’s legacy, and philosophy. Now, Sindh is left alone, bewildered, broken, shocked and in extreme pain and anguish.

Each and every time that I had an honour and privilege to visit my beloved Motherland on an annual pilgrimage, I was always blessed, illuminated and enriched by the few serene and tranquil moments that I had spent with Bashir Qureshi at his house at Gulshan-e-Hadeed, Karachi, Sindh just a walking distance from my brother’s house, where I used to stay.

We talked about Sindh, nothing but Sindh, because Sindh was his passion, the struggle for Free, Sovereign and Independent Sindh was his mission and the guiding of Sindh to take its historically-proclaimed rightful place amongst the community of the nations of the world was his vision as he always used to recite, with great gusto and fervour as well as tears in his eyes, this couplet of Saaeen Ustad Bukhari:

“Sindhu saan ahrree jindu jarree, jo mbiyaa dil waaraa wisree w1yaa,

Jiyei Sindhu sadaaeen jiyei, mbiyaa sabhu naaraa wisree wiyaa.” (Ustad Bukhari)

“Such is my love for Mother Sindh, Other beloveds all forgotten, ‘Long live, forever live, dearest Sindh!’ Yes, other slogans all forgotten.” (Ustad Bukhari: Translated by Ahmed Makhdoom)

Bashir Khan Qureshi was a leader par excellence and a human being extraordinaire. Personally, he was a wonderful friend and a very generous and hospitable carer and comforter to his guests at his home. As Chairman of Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM), (the Long Live Sindh National Front), he carried himself with great sense of responsibility and immaculate character.

I will sadly miss his inspiring company during my next and subsequent pilgrimages to my Motherland! The glorious land of Sindh and the generous and gregarious Sindhis will miss his wise helmsman-ship, courage, enthusiasm, patriotism and charismatic leadership.

Bashir Qureshi joined the movement for the liberation of Sindh from the ignominious chains of slavery brutally tightened around the neck of Sindh by the Punjab-dominated Pakistan in 1976 when he was just 17 years old. This movement known as Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM) – Long Live Sindh National Front – was founded by the Great Helmsman of Sindh, G.M. Syed. As an ordinary worker and member of this Front, Bashir carried out his duties and responsibilities with great zeal and patriotic ideals, fervour and ardour, enthusiasm and exuberance and with remarkable energy and prowess.

During the 1980s, Saaeen G.M. Syed was jailed, even though he was old and feeble, and Bashir through has sagacity and love for Syed and Sindh organised many protest rallies and hunger strikes, where he was always in the forefront. After the passing-away of Saaeen G.M. Syed, the baton of leadership was passed over to Bashir Khan Qureshi, who performed his duties as a successor of the great Syed with so much bravado and competence, earnestness and eagerness and with complete reverence and loyalty to his Motherland, Sindh. During his Long March for the Freedom of Sindh he was threatened by the Pakistani Security establishment, shot at by the heartless and senseless Pakistani Armed Forces and savagely jailed for several years by the dictatorial Punjab-dominated Secret Service and Intelligence agencies of the failing state.

And, despite all brutalities and animal-like behaviour of Pakistani vile and arrogant authorities, Saaeen Bashir never lost his patience, calm-nature and candour. He mobilised Sindhi masses to carry out peaceful, non-violent Gandhi-like protests on the streets of cities, town and villages of Sindh from Karachi to Kashmore, many times bringing the heavily-armed savage Pakistani civil and martial authorities down onto their knees. He vociferously demanded the economical, linguistic, cultural, political and hereditary rights for the hapless, helpless and long-suffering people of Sindh.

Continue reading Bashir Qureshi: “Such is my Love for Mother Sindh, Other Beloveds all Forgotten”

Why The Chinese Love Their Death Penalty

Blood, Justice And Corruption: Why The Chinese Love Their Death Penalty

Editorial: There’s nothing that the Chinese people hate more than a corrupted official. But the government should do more to root out corruption than play to the public’s basest instincts for revenge. Still, don’t expect China’s death penalty to disappear anytime soon.

By Teng Biao

经济观察报/Worldcrunch

Of all the criminal cases in China, those involving corrupt officials sentenced to death arouse the greatest interest. The morbid examples abound: from the public cheering for the recent death sentences for the two deputy mayors of Suzhou and Hangzhou to the executions of the head of the State Food and Drug Administration, of the Secretary of Justice of Chongqing City, and of the vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress.

China is the global leader for the number of corrupt officials who are sentenced to death, and actually executed each year. But, judging by the seemingly endless “public demand” for this kind of punishment and the surging popular anger, it would seem that there is actually not enough of it. While so many people are “beheaded,” executives at all levels are still determined to brave death by trying to make the most of corruption. …

Read more : WorldCrunch

Asma Jahangir on Pakistan Army Generals in Cross Fire program

Wow!!! What a brave woman. Asma Jahangir giving her straight forward opinion about the political role of Pakistan Army generals in Duniya News program ‘Cross Fire’ with Mehar Bukhari. Pakistani generals have looted the country since 1958. People are living in poverty and they have all the luxuary of life. Their children go to the best schools and poor have no access to schools. THis is all done on poor Pakistan’s budget. The language of the talk show is urdu (Hindi).

Courtesy: Duniya News (Cross Fire with Mehar Bukhari), You Tube

The hijacking of culture

by Dr Manzur Ejaz

After the mid-1970s, rural migration to urban centres increased manifold. A new middle class, which had recently become urbanised, provided the basis for Zia’s Islamisation and, later on, jihadi projects.

I am not sure if Veena Malik was the most articulate person in characterising the mullah and questioning the cliché of Pakistani culture, but I do know that she was brave in speaking the plain truth. If our media is concerned about how Pakistani culture is portrayed abroad, then they should ask the world whether Veena Malik or the jihadis of different stripes and their supporting network of religious parties are giving a bad name to the country. They should ask the world if sentencing Aasia Bibi to death is more troublesome than Veena Malik’s entertainment stint in India.

Ms Malik was not the first one to have said that mullahs sexually exploit in the mosques, it was the greatest Punjabi poet, Waris Shah, who created the mullah’s character in the epic love story of Heer Ranjha to denounce the theocracy, and said the same thing. In one of the dialogues with the mullah, Waris Shah (stanza 37) characterises the mullah and in the last line he says exactly what Veena Malik said:

“(Mullah) Your beard is like a pious scholar and you act like a devil. You condemn (even) the travellers for nothing. …

Read more : Wichaar

Flight of Reason – by Aamer Ahmed Khan

We published two photo galleries on BBC’s Urdu website last Friday. One on the Jamaat-e-Islami’s youth wing Shabab-e-Milli’s tribute to Mumtaz Qadri’s father in Rawalpindi and the other on the candlelit vigil in Lahore in memory of the slain Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer.

As expected, comments started to pour in almost instantly. The most telling among them simply said: “Please compare the crowd in the two, for every Taseer mourner, there are at least 50 Qadri supporters.” If nothing else, it says a lot about the state of siege in which liberal opinion finds itself, as more and more people flock behind Mr Qadri, a cold-blooded killer who had been painstakingly planning Taseer’s murder for weeks before he struck.

Irrespective of the number of people who gathered for the vigil in Lahore, I am stunned at their courage in standing up to a crazed mob that neither understands its religion nor the man who brought it to them. It is a mob of moral cheats that has become religiously, politically, intellectually and morally so bankrupt that it seems to have convinced itself that its only salvation lies in baying for innocent blood.

Let us give ourselves some idea of how courageous the dozens who flocked to the vigil in Lahore really are. Since the glowing tribute paid to Qadri by lawyers at his first court appearance, we have been trying to contact the lawyer leadership that spearheaded the civil society movement only three years ago to bring down General Musharraf’s dictatorship. In that movement, millions around the world saw the seeds of a politics that Pakistan has desperately been waiting for all its life — a politics that flows from the combined intellect of the mobile middle class instead of dynastic politics, hereditary constituencies and endemic corruption.

Justice (retd) Wajihuddin Ahmed, Aitzaz Ahsan, Ali Ahmed Kurd and Justice (retd) Tariq Mahmood became household names as tens of thousands of people rallied behind them wherever they went. For weeks, no political talk show in the country was considered complete without at least one of them in the chair. Since Taseer’s murder, they simply seemed to have vanished into thin air.

We finally managed to get through to two of them: one simply said that we are free to call him a coward if we want to but he doesn’t want to comment on the issue at all. The other one went even further: he said he would not even allow us to report that he was contacted for his opinion on the issue.

Predictably, Asma Jahangir was the honourable exception who not only spoke in detail about the atrocity against Taseer but was candid and unambiguous in her criticism of the legal fraternity’s sudden gush for a killer. But then, one has always known her to be one of the bravest women in the country.

Which brings to mind another brave woman who dared to bring a bill to the National Assembly aimed at amending some of the more draconian provisions of a law that has spawned nothing but injustice in the quarter century of its existence. Our crazed mob has distributed pamphlets advocating that she must meet the same fate as Mr Taseer. I am proud to have worked for her at Herald for six years. She was one of the bravest editors I know. Today, she has been forced into abandoning her public life by the tyranny of bloodthirsty criminals masquerading as religious zealots.

President Asif Ali Zardari’s administration has already surrendered to these criminals. It is pointless to expect him to fight this battle. However unfortunate as it may be for the liberals, they do not have the luxury to follow suit. They have to go on fighting even if their battle is far more dangerous than the one Pakistan has been fighting in its tribal areas for the last 10 years.

Courtesy: http://www.columnspk.com/flight-of-reason-by-aamer-ahmed-khan/