Tag Archives: civil

Poets return highest civil award by Govt. of Pakistan in protest against controversial & apartheid local govt. law in Sindh

Dur Mohd. Pathan

By: Khalid Hashmani

I salute Dr. Dur Mohammad Pathan for returning Tamgha-e-Imtiaz award to express the hurt and disappointment of people of Sindh with the SPLGO 2012. His statement that both PPP and MQM have badly harmed the integrity and solidarity of Sindh is reflective of the feelings of almost all North American Sindhis. Dr. Pathan called SPLGO a “black law” and expressed his dismay at the unprecedented speed of “few minutes” in which this law was passed in Sindh Assembly.

He has called for a round table conference of the leaders of the factions that oppose SPLGO and those who oppose it do a cool assessment of what is at the stake and what the majority of people who live in Sindh really want. He said that he had accepted the award because it recognized his contributions through poetry and literature but now that this government turned out to be “undemocratic”, he finds no joy in keeping this award.

We all know that today many in Sindh feel that they have been conned into putting their complete trust in PPP and for that mistake they will always regret!

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Famous Sindhi Poet Late Mohammad Khan Majeedi’s daughter Marium Majeedi denies to accept Presidential Award from President Zardari due to controversial, Black & apartheid SPLG ordinance 2012, which is going to divide the Integrity of historical land of Sindh in future. The way the notorious SPLG 2012 ordinance was passed in a fraud manner through Sindh Assembly put a big question mark on PPP & MQM credibility as true representatives of the people of Sindh.

More details in Sindhi » Sindh Affairs

GRAND Civil Society Protest against notorious Black law of Divide of Sindh

By: Zulfiqar Halepoto

Hundreds of civil society leaders, human rights and peace activists writers, lawyers, intellectuals, students, women activists and concerned citizens joined first day of token hunger strike and protest by CIVIL SOCIETY of Hyderabad against the black BILL of SPLGO 2012 today on 02-10-2012 @ Hyderabad Press Club, Hyderabad, Sindh, Pakistan. Civil society called the bill a conspiracy to divide Sindh on administrative line to pay ways for further demographic and geographic divide of Sindh on ethnic basis- It was resolved that people of Sindh are prepared to bleed to save their historical motherland from being divided. Civil society appealed to Sindh-loving Urdu speaking Sindhis to get out of their homes against the bill and rural-urban divide and be counted in the list of those who love their motherland, its sovereignty and integrity- Civil society hunger strike and protest was joined and addressed by leading civil society and political leaders including STPP chairman Dr Qadir Magsi, Zulfiqar Halepoto, Amar Sindhu, Punhal Sario and others. On this occasion and resolved that they have planned to stage sit-ins, token hunger strikes, peaceful protests till this black bill is withdrawn. Civil society hunger strike and protest was attended by Please join us Dr Qadir magsi, Zulfiqar Halepoto, Punhal Sario, Inam Shaikh, Amar Sindhu , Mushtaq Mirani, Professor Tanveer Jnejo, Mukhtiar Abassi, Apa Nazir Qureshi, Gulshan laghari, Noor Memon, Muzaffar Chandio, Muzaffar Kalhoro, Javed Soz Halai, Jabbar Bhatti, Asghar Lagahri, Dilip Doultani, Abbas Khoso, Haseen Musratt Shah, Perveen magsi, Saleem Lashari, Niaz Chandio, Ayaz Chandio, Rbail Aziz, Hussain Bux Thebo, Advocate Inder Jeet Lohano, Ayaz Tunio, Hiader Shahani, Mr. Jamari Advocate, Nandlal Malhi and others.Civil society moot was joined by the leaders and workers of several political parties including STP, PMLN, AJP, JSQM and others

Courtesy: Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151267955529974.518472.580054973&type=1

Al-Qaida turns tide for rebels in battle for eastern Syria

In his latest exclusive dispatch from Deir el-Zour province, Ghaith Abdul-Ahad meets fighters who have left the Free Syrian Army for the discipline and ideology of global jihad

By: Ghaith Abdul-Ahad in Deir el-Zour

As they stood outside the commandeered government building in the town of Mohassen, it was hard to distinguish Abu Khuder’s men from any other brigade in the Syrian civil war, in their combat fatigues, T-shirts and beards.

But these were not average members of the Free Syrian Army. Abu Khuder and his men fight for al-Qaida. They call themselves the ghuraba’a, or “strangers”, after a famous jihadi poem celebrating Osama bin Laden’s time with his followers in the Afghan mountains, and they are one of a number of jihadi organisations establishing a foothold in the east of the country now that the conflict in Syria has stretched well into its second bloody year.

Continue reading Al-Qaida turns tide for rebels in battle for eastern Syria

Civil Society of Sindh deeply concerned over the operation against the whole community and unavailability of water, food, medicines, electricity and nonexistent of basic necessities of life due to the unofficial curfew in Lyari.

Punhal Sario, Mustafa Baloch, Zulfiqar Shah, Amar Sindhu, Kashif Bajeer, Dr. Ashothama, Rizwan Abbassi, Rabail Aziz, Jabbar Bhatti of the Civil Society of Sindh shows deep concerns over the operation against children, women, and common citizens in Lyari-Karachi, Sindh in the context of confined innocent citizen of the area. The Civil Society of Sindh deeply concerned over the unavailability of water, food, medicines, electricity and natural gas supply for thousands of innocent citizens of the area since couple of the days due to ongoing operation in the lyari and fear deaths and health damages of the innocent citizens due to nonexistent of basic necessities of life. Therefore, civil society of Sindh demands to stop the operation against the citizens of Lyari and government should ensure all basic necessities of living specially water, food, emergency medical support and gas supply as well as securities in the area where it plans to take law and order measures, it also demands immediate water, food and medical rescue to the residents of Lyari confined due to curfew in the area.

Courtesy: News adopted from Facebook

Khaled Ahmed: Pakistan has sought to appease terrorism by becoming anti-American and pro-Taliban. [The coming blowback]

Pakistan after the American withdrawal

By Khaled Ahmed

Most observers are worried about Afghanistan after the withdrawal of US-Nato forces from there in 2013-2014. It should be interesting to see what would happen to Pakistan once the Americans are gone.

Islamabad’s Jinnah Institute in its briefing (July 25, 2011) spelled out Pakistan’s ‘objectives’ in relation to post-withdrawal Afghanistan. The most outstanding point made in the report pertained to India: “Pakistani foreign policy elite accept that India has a role to play in Afghanistan’s economic reconstruction … but Pakistani security establishment [thinks] a reluctance to address Pakistani misgivings increases the likelihood of a growing Indian footprint, and in turn, New Delhi’s greater ability to manipulate the endgame negotiations and the post-settlement dispensation in Kabul”.

Will India get out of Afghanistan after the American withdrawal? From a statement by the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (“we will support the Afghan people”), it appears that it plans to retain its presence in Afghanistan.

The most likely post-withdrawal scenario is that there will be a civil war in Afghanistan. A parallel war will take place between the Afghan National Army and the non-state actors from Pakistan. The US commander in Afghanistan, General John Allen, has told Congress he thought a future 230,000-strong Afghan force, scaled down from a planned 352,000, was enough after 2017. That will historically be the largest army Afghanistan will ever have.

Continue reading Khaled Ahmed: Pakistan has sought to appease terrorism by becoming anti-American and pro-Taliban. [The coming blowback]

Judicial circus on memo

Legal solution to a political question

Whichever way one looks at it, the beginning and end of the ‘memogate’ controversy is political, as there is no constitutional issue to be resolved.

Ultimately, Asma Jahangir’s stance on the Supreme Court Order is exactly right

By Maryam Khan

The ‘memogate’ controversy is a political question, which means it is a question for political resolution between the political branches of government (the executive and the legislature) and other State institutions, like the military and the intelligence, which are subordinate to the government. The controversy requires political resolution because it has a direct nexus with structural issues relating to civil-military relations. To put it bluntly, the Supreme Court, in principle, has no role to play in this controversy. Let us see why.

Continue reading Judicial circus on memo

How painfully ironical that it is happening in PPP govt. in Lyari, the hub of PPP’s vote bank

Violence revisits Lyari: Three, including PPP leader, shot dead

SINDH – KARACHI: In a showdown between police and protestors on Monday, three people were killed while over a dozen sustained bullet injuries and were admitted to local hospitals.

Violence revisited Lyari as agitated residents took to the streets and clashed with police over what they described as ‘biased operation’ of law enforcement agencies against the residents of Lyari.

PPP leader dead

According to sources, PPP leader Hassan Soomro was also shot dead in this recent bout of violence.

Continue reading How painfully ironical that it is happening in PPP govt. in Lyari, the hub of PPP’s vote bank

Betraying the 1940 spirit?

The Pakistan Resolution promised to safeguard the rights of the Muslim minorities living in the Muslim-majority provinces of British India; it sought independence and sovereignty for those provinces outside the independent Indian Union.

However, the struggle took a new turn after the creation of Pakistan, when Bengali, Pashtun, and subsequently Sindhi and Baloch nationalist movements rose to press for provincial autonomy. Later, a powerful federation embracing the idea of the ideological state also led to alienating the country’s religious minorities. Many have come to live in fear because discrimination against them has been given legal cover, in effect, depriving them of equal rights. Here, leaders from various political parties speak of their respective party’s stance on the issues that haunt Pakistan’s minorities, and on ways to redress the problem…

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Mir Hasil Bizenjo, National Party

National party is secular, democratic & secular. We do not believe in minorities, all citizens are equal & must not be discriminated against on the basis of caste, creed or religion. It is matter of great concern for us that the state discriminate against own people in the name of religion.

We have to fight against this constitutionally by making Pakistan a secular state. National party has protested in each & every case of discrimination against Hindus & Christian. Hindus in Balochistan are being victimised by religious groups & criminals. Religious fundamentalism is a major threat to non-Muslim communities, against which political parties & civil society must rise. The solution is a strong, secular & democratic Pakistan.

Courtesy: http://www.dawn.com/2012/03/23/betraying-the-1940-spirit.html

Forced conversion of Hindus in Pakistan jolts US out of slumber

By Chidanand Rajghatta

WASHINGTON: Pakistan’s state-endorsed discrimination, and in some cases extermination, of its minorities has finally caught the eye of Washington lawmakers. Coming on the heels of support in Congress for a Baloch homeland in the face of Islamabad’s depredations in the region, a US Congressman has zeroed in on the abduction and forced religious conversion of Hindus in the country highlighted by the case of Rinkel Kumari.

In a sharply-worded letter to Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari, Congressman Brad Sherman urged him to take action to ensure the return of Rinkel Kumari to her family, pursuant to reports that she had been abducted with the help of a Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) lawmaker. In a case that has been widely reported in the liberal Pakistani media, Rinkel, who was abducted on February 24, was forced to marry one Naveed Shah and convert to Islam.

She was subsequently produced before a civil judge twice, but she was reportedly coerced into claiming that she had converted on her own will, even as her family was denied access to her in kangaroo court proceedings that revealed in video clips to be led by a frenzied mob of zealots, including armed followers of the Pakistani lawmaker. According to Pakistani civil liberties activists in Washington DC, Rinkel was allegedly threatened while in police custody that if she did not change her statement, she and her family would be killed.

”Rinkel Kumari’s case is just one case of abduction and forced religious conversion in Pakistan,” Congressman Sherman said in the letter to Zardari, citing the Asian Human Rights commission figure of 20-25 kidnappings and forced conversions of Hindu girls in Sindh every month. ”I urge you to take all necessary steps to bring an end to this practice and other harassment of Hindus in Pakistan.”

The Rinkel Kumari case was brought to the attention of US lawmakers not by Hindu activists but by the Sindhi American Political Action Committee (SAPAC), a lobby group that, like the Baloch groups, is increasingly asserting the secular and syncretic identity of Pakistan’s Sindhi community in the face of growing Islamization in the country. Sapac activists are telling US lawmakers that state sponsored discrimination against minority groups in Pakistan is rampant and is causing Hindus to migrate out of Pakistan in droves.

Hindus, who constituted more than 15 per cent of Pakistan’s population soon after Partition, have now dwindled to less than two per cent, mostly in some districts of Sindh. There have been several reports in recent months of Hindu families seeking to migrate to India in the face of growing radical Islamization of Pakistan, including abduction and forcible conversions, but it is the first time that Washington, which literally slept over Pakistan’s genocide of Bengalis in 1970-71, is paying attention to the issue.

US interest in the Rinkel Kumari case comes close on the heels of sudden support in Congress for Baloch self-determination, an effort led by California lawmaker Dana Rohrabacher. That effort has rattled Islamabad to the extent that it has told American interlocutors that Pakistan-US ties will be deeply affected if Washington interfered in Balochistan, even though the Obama administration has clarified that support for an independent Balochistan is confined to the Hill, where lawmakers are free to introduce any legislation they deem appropriate. That in turn resulted in Sherry Rehman, Pakistan’s ambassador to the U.S.,, writing to House Speaker John Boehner, expressing deep concern over Congressional action on Balochistan.

Courtesy: TOI

Chinese bank pulls out of Pakistan-Iran pipeline project

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China won’t help finance the natural gas pipeline to Pakistan, apparently because of U.S. sanctions on Iran.

By Paul Richter and Alex Rodriguez, Los Angeles Times

Reporting from Washington and Islamabad, Pakistan—

China’s largest bank has backed out of a deal to finance a proposed Iran-to-Pakistan gas pipeline that is opposed by the United States, a potential sign of the lengthening reach of U.S. economic sanctions on Iran.

Pakistani officials confirmed Wednesday that Industrial and Commercial Bank of China had withdrawn from plans to head a consortium that would finance the $1.6-billion Pakistani portion of the cross-border pipeline, apparently over concern that the bank could be excluded from the U.S. economy.

Continue reading Chinese bank pulls out of Pakistan-Iran pipeline project

Kidnapped, Forced to Convert to Islam and Married to a Muslim – Sad Story of Rinkle Kumari

A friend on Facebook had status which said (Translated from Sindhi): “Mian Mithoo can harass a helpless, poor girl to say whatever he likes! Let us give this Pir of Bharchundi (alone) to the men of Bal Thackeray and he would convert (to Hinduism) in no time! (sic)”

Sindh has been known for its Sufi culture which has kept pushing the extremism off its borders. It has in it several shrines, religious harmony, coexistence and tolerance, not to mention the centuries-old civilization, Mohen-jo-Darro. Sindhis have always claimed to have secularism and Sufism to be present as if in their gene and, thus, they wouldn’t ever side with religious intolerance and extremism.

Well, this is true to a great extent since we can see that where Pakistan has seen surge in extremism throughout the post-9/11 period, Sindh has remained comparatively more peaceful and, especially, incidents of extremist activities have been equal to none. There definitely was an incidence of burning NATO oil tankers in Shikarpur, Sindh, but the same was condemned by the Sindhi nationalist parties attributing the incidence to the agencies trying to tarnish the soft image of Sindh; in fact, there were massive protests against the blazing up of the oil tankers throughout the land.

Sindh has been home to many religions, all coexisting peacefully. However, there have been certain incidents which would reveal the nature of the ‘rare’.

One such event which took place on the unfortunate day of November 02, 1939, which blotted the humane face of Sindh, was when a saintly Sufi singer and poet of humble and peace-loving nature, Bhagat Kunwar Ram was murdered at Rukk Station, Sukkur (Sindh) in the name of religion – for being a Hindu.

The person booked as the major perpetrator in the murder was Mian Abdur-Rahim of Bharchundi Dargah, a religious center in a small village of the same name. Bhrarchundi Dargah is famous for spreading hatred against the Hindus, and converting them to Islam forcibly for years now.

Thus, to many in Sindh, this news did not come as a surprise, but it did disturb them to come out on roads and protest against the Pirs of Bharchundi — what happened was that Rinkle Kumari, a Hindu teenage girl, was kidnapped on February 24, 2012, forced to convert to Islam and, subsequently, marry a Muslim boy, Naveed Shah (a Punjabi settler). And the person involved is none else than a Pir of Bharchundi Dargah, Mian Abdul Haq (popularly known as Mian Mithoo), the son of Mian Abdur-Rehman, the major perpetrator in the case of Bhagat Kunwar Ram’s murder in the past. Mian Mithoo also happens to be an MNA of the Pakistan People’s Party, the ruling party.

Continue reading Kidnapped, Forced to Convert to Islam and Married to a Muslim – Sad Story of Rinkle Kumari

American Marxism as a guide to action:

Marxist political advice and its discontents

By Omar Ali

Professor Vijay Prashad  is the George and Martha Kellner professor of history at Trinity college. He is also a prominent left wing activist. The two roles have different requirements. Here he tries to bridge the gap. 

Someone had commented on 3quarksdaily.com that this is “Another bucketload of gormless Marxist verbiage around a central anti-semitic core: forget the mountains of corpses and the decades of torture and oppression – Assad’s main crime is defined as “neoliberalism … and a practice of accommodation with both the US and Israel.”

That triggered the following comment (i have edited the original slightly for clarity)  from me: The real problem with neomarxist verbiage is not double standards or selective outrage, its the unbridgeable gap between being a professor and being an actor on the ground in a civil war in a faraway country.
Vijay Prashad as a professor in a first world University may eventually contribute to changing the way X or Y issue is framed in the mind of the elite, and that in turn will eventually have some impact somewhere in actual daily politics and political struggles but those are big “eventually-s”. Some professors are OK with that and focus on doing their research and writing their books and teaching their students in the hope that their analysis will eventually “trickle down”. But that (for obvious reasons) is not very satisfying for most of us. Hence the need to suggest practical courses of action in today’s clash, to pick sides, to “organize a relief column”. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your estimate of said professor’s wisdom and insight) this aspect of a professor’s work has near-zero real world relevance.
I don’t know how to fix this problem, but it does seem to be a real problem. Most right wingers are almost by definition closer to the ruling elites so maybe they dont feel the pain as much, but left wing professors are in a painful bind here..to have no opinion on proximate politics and wars seems silly, but to have an opinion that arises logically from their theoretical framework is frequently sillier, and any honest and good man may end up in Professor Prashad’s position. Its a real dilemma.

In an attempt to pre-empt misunderstandings, let me add:

1. My question is not about the details of his analysis.

2. Its about this scenario. Lets say Vijay is Vladimir Lenin. Well, in that case he is not only a theoretician (though he would like to believe that his superior understanding of theory informs his practice), he is an organizer, a rebel, a leader, a politician with day to day decision to make. Very fine nuances and very involved calculations will come into play. Many of those calculations will be very cynical. All of them will be locally bound by existing circumstances. Theory will have to give way again and again. But Vijay (probably not even in his own mind, but I don’t know him personally, so I cannot say for sure) is not Lenin. He is a professor. He does research, he writes books. He has theories. And he is part of a broader left wing academic current that has its own internal dynamics very far from the ground in Syria. I am saying I don’t expect him to say things that are too useful as guides to action.
3. What do you think?

Courtesy: Brown Pundits

Waking up to the war in Balochistan – BBC

Attitudes are hardening in Pakistan’s restive Balochistan province against the government, but the state is now belatedly reaching out to the Baloch separatists. Writer Ahmed Rashid considers whether after years of civil war, talks could end the bloodshed.

It took an obscure United States congressman holding a controversial hearing in Washington on the civil war in Balochistan to awaken the conscience of the Pakistani government, military and public.

For years the civil war in Balochistan has either been forgotten by most Pakistanis or depicted as the forces of law and order battling Baloch tribesmen, who are described as “Indian agents”.

Just a few weeks ago, Interior Minister Rehman Malik even hinted that Israel and the US were supporting the Baloch separatists, while the army had totally ”Indianised” the Baloch problem.

On 23 February, Mr Malik did an about-face, saying that the government was withdrawing all cases against Baloch leaders living in exile and asking them to return home for talks. ”I will receive them in person,” he told journalists.

Don’t expect Baloch leaders to turn the other cheek at Mr Malik’s sudden shift – the Baloch have seen too many such U-turns before.

Brahamdagh Bugti, head of the separatist Baloch Republican Party and living in exile in Geneva, remains sceptical.

His grandfather Sardar Akbar Bugti, the head of the Bugti tribe, was killed in 2006 on the orders of former President Pervez Musharraf in a massive aerial bombardment, while his sister Zamur Domki and her 12-year old daughter were gunned down in Karachi in broad daylight just in late January – allegedly by government agents.

He told journalists last week: ”I have seen this all before… I am not an optimist.” Nevertheless, for the first time in years his face appeared on every Pakistani TV channel as he and other Baloch leaders gave interviews.

Broken promises

Continue reading Waking up to the war in Balochistan – BBC

The ‘anti-state’ Sarmachars of Balochistan – Marvi Sirmed

Excerpt;

After US Congressman Dana Rohrabacher’s sudden attention to Balochistan, the Pakistani media went bonkers to protect the proverbial ‘sovereignty’ of our country — a cause championed by the security establishment and most of its mouthpieces in the media as well as political circles and civil society. Emerging from the fathoms of near oblivion to almost a dozen Op-Eds in the mainstream press daily, Balochistan is now the darling of the prime time TV cupola as well.

If the anchors and columnists want to sound more profound, and if they run out of words to express the imperiousness of the US Congress for interfering in Pakistan’s internal matters, they would endlessly repeat almost clichéd references to 1971 with emphasis on giving ‘due importance to the Baloch problem’. The umpteen ‘political analysts’ and ‘Balochistan experts’ religiously recount the current government’s failure to address the issue despite the latter’s trumpeted mantra of ‘democracy, the greatest revenge’. Such talk would be garnished with admonishing the ‘irresponsibility’ of the Baloch nationalists in attacking innocent citizens of ethnicities other than the Baloch.

What goes completely missing from this narrative is the origins of the conflict, the response of the state to the centrifugal nature of Baloch nationalism and the ever deteriorating civil-military relations in Balochistan, which now seem to have reached the point of no return. The way Balochistan was made to accede to Pakistan goes missing from the textbooks alongside any reference to the military operations carried out in 1948, 1958-59, 1962-68, 1973-77 and the current surge starting from 2002 to date. The result is a general apathy towards Balochistan in the rest of the country with almost no understanding of the surges in historically seeded ethno-nationalism in Balochistan, described as ‘Baloch insurgencies’ in the mainstream media. The same media gives prime space to opinion makers who describe Taliban insurgents as ‘freedom fighters’. No wonder one finds so many people in upper Punjab and Islamabad who take Baloch nationalists as ‘traitors’, while the Taliban militants as flag bearers of Muslim nationalism. ….

Read more » Daily Times

Civil Society Calls for a Joint Stand Against the Undemocratic Overthrow of the Elected Govt in the Maldives

SINDH – Karachi, Feb 11, 2011: The civil society in Pakistan expressed grave concern over the events in Maldives where an elected government was ousted in a coup following political unrest in the country. The government of the now toppled President Mohamed Nasheed came to power after the 2008 elections ended 30 years of autocratic rule (by Maumoon Abdul Gayoom).

The political turmoil in Maldives and the unlawful overthrow of an elected government in the country remains a matter of grave concern for the South Asian neighbours and the partners of Maldives since the event may have a far ranging impact on the direction and the future of democracy in the region. The coup d’état is a condemnable act and all South Asian states and civil societies must join forces against this undemocratic move by the security forces of Maldives. At least two countries in South Asia – Pakistan and Bangladesh that have faced martial laws and coups in the past know very well how people suffer when democracy is brought down. Not only did the military rule in these two countries compromised political and administrative institutions, it took these countries several decades back in terms of economic and social development.

Continue reading Civil Society Calls for a Joint Stand Against the Undemocratic Overthrow of the Elected Govt in the Maldives

New York Times – Can Egypt Avoid Pakistan’s Fate?

By MICHELE DUNNE and SHUJA NAWAZ

ONE year after the revolution that ousted President Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian military is closing down civil society organizations and trying to manipulate the constitution-writing process to serve its narrow interests. Meanwhile, in Pakistan, where the military has also held sway for more than half the country’s existence – for much of that time, with America’s blessing – a new civil-military crisis is brewing.

For the United States, the parallels are clear and painful. Egypt and Pakistan are populous Muslim-majority nations in conflict-ridden regions, and both have long been allies and recipients of extensive military and economic aid.

Historically, American aid tapers off in Pakistan whenever civilians come to power. And in Egypt, Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama both resisted pressure from Congress to cut aid to Mr. Mubarak despite his repression of peaceful dissidents.

It is no wonder that both Egyptians and Pakistanis express more anger than appreciation toward the United States. They have seen Washington turn a blind eye to human-rights abuses and antidemocratic practices because of a desire to pursue regional objectives – Israeli security in the case of Egypt, and fighting Al Qaeda in the case of Pakistan.

The question now is whether the United States will, a year after the Egyptian revolution, stand by and allow the Pakistani model of military dominance and a hobbled civilian government to be replicated on the Nile.

Pakistan and Egypt each have powerful intelligence and internal security agencies that have acquired extra-legal powers they will not relinquish easily. Pakistan’s history of fomenting insurgencies in neighboring countries has caused serious problems for the United States. And Egypt’s internal security forces have been accused of involvement in domestic terrorist attacks and sectarian violence. (However, Washington has long seen Egypt’s military as a stabilizing force that keeps the peace with Israel.)

The danger is that in the future, without accountability to elected civilian authorities, the Egyptian military and security services will seek to increase their power by manipulating Islamic extremist organizations in volatile and strategically sensitive areas like the Sinai Peninsula.

Despite the security forces’ constant meddling in politics, Pakistan at least has a Constitution that establishes civilian supremacy over the military. Alarmingly, Egypt’s army is seeking even greater influence than what Pakistan’s top brass now enjoys: an explicit political role, and freedom from civilian oversight enshrined in law.

Continue reading New York Times – Can Egypt Avoid Pakistan’s Fate?

Let’s Talk Civil-Military, NOW!

By Marvi Sirmed

Atiqa Odho needs to change her name. Not only her name but also the prefix if she wants to avoid further humiliation that she possibly could not and would not want, just because she is a woman and does not bear the right prefix before her name. Brigadier Zafar Iqbal had both — the right name and the right prefix.

The good brigadier embarked on a PIA flight from Karachi to Lahore on Saturday night, intoxicated with the ‘sherbet’. The captain of the plane handed him over to the Airport Security Force (ASF) after the brigadier publicly harassed one of the female crew members. The ASF, obviously, could not hold him for more than a few minutes when they discovered the full name of the detainee. No wonder the news item merited just a few lines in Sunday newspapers. I am still waiting for the ‘suo motu’ and media-panic that we saw in Atiqa Odho’s case. Pertinent to remind here, Ms Odho was neither drunk nor did she harass anyone on the flight.

This points to two serious maladies of this society: one, a strong gender bias that women of this country have to endure everywhere, including the courts; and two, unjust and unfair partiality that society confers on the military. It is not only about an overly powerful military but also about an extremely weak civil society. It would be naïve to believe that civil society in Pakistan is powerful enough to foil any attempt to usurp power from the civilian entities. This is mainly because the military here never departed from power. Irrespective of who occupied the buildings of the Prime Minister Secretariat and the Presidency, the military always ruled in the country through its incontrovertible influence over political decision-making and social phenomena.

The way things happen in the court, and outside of it, memo scandal is a case in point. In the memo scandal, Husain Haqqani was treated as an accused by the media and society at large because the military thought so. Everything else had to be in sync with what the military wanted or at least, was perceived to be wanting. The same ‘evidence’ (the BBM conversations claimed by Mansoor Ijaz that took place between him and Husain Haqqani) implicated the head of the ISI who was accused in the same BBM conversations to have spoken to the leaders of some Arab states and gotten their consent to sack the present government. But no one from the media, politicians (even the ones who portray themselves as most committed to civilian supremacy) and the judiciary could ever point a finger towards General Pasha, the accused. Husain Haqqani was an easy target because he was not a general. Or even a brigadier.

Later, the chief of army staff and the head of ISI submitted their affidavits in clear departure of the government’s point of view — the same government that both of them are accountable to. The prime minister was openly criticised by everyone for calling this action of the two generals as unconstitutional. So much so that the media wing of the Pakistan Army, the ISPR, attacked the prime minister — their boss — by issuing a strongly worded statement warning the government of grave consequences and serious ramifications. So there were two statements, one by the chief executive of a country castigating his subordinate generals for unconstitutional actions, and the other from the subordinate generals threatening their boss with grave consequences. Guess who had to retract the statement? You got it right, it was the boss. The Islamic Republic is unique in its construction.

What can be more worrying for a people whose representative is humiliated by an agency that should be subordinate to the people. The agency, it is more perturbing, does so with popular consent. The absence of popular outrage amounts to consent if one could decrypt public reactions. We can go on endlessly criticising hungry-for-power generals, selfish politicians, corporate media and an ambitious judiciary, but what remains a fact is Pakistani society’s utter failure — rather refusal — to grow from a Praetorian state to even a half decent egalitarian democracy.

Continue reading Let’s Talk Civil-Military, NOW!

Negligent dereliction of duty – By: Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur.

Excerpt;

….. All the misdeeds and misdemeanours of the army here have gone unchallenged and mostly misreported or under-reported. One cannot expect bumbling civilian prime ministers who regularly eat crow after blurting out against the army to hold them to account. The judiciary dilly-dallies on missing persons and kill and dump issues because it has never been people-friendly. Atrocities and injustices are possible because people have become too docile and too obedient and have abdicated their right to protest.

Howard Zinn rightly said, “Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves…(and) the grand thieves are running the country. That is our problem.”

As long as the people continue to accept injustices and atrocities being perpetrated against them or others, the ‘grand thieves’ will remain in power everywhere and atrocities will not cease. The plea of ‘negligent dereliction of duty’ will always come in handy to the perpetrators if those judging them are of their ilk. Only when people will give up their docility and obsequiousness will justice be done and be seen to be done. And therein lies the solution to the injustices and atrocities anywhere in the world.

To read compete article » Daily Times

Unfortunately, “The Nation” forgot to mention that this drunk man who was caught harassing the air hostess, is a serving Brigadier of Pak army

Man held for ‘misbehaving with airhostess

By: Israr Ahmad

RAWALPINDI – A passenger was arrested by Airport Security Forces (ASF) for misbehaving with an airhostess, as she stopped him from smoking in the plane here on Saturday.

The arrested passenger, a resident of Kotli Satian, was being interrogated by the ASF while police have also been called by Benazir Bhutto Islamabad International Airport (BBIIA) management. As per details, the flight of Pakistan International Airline (PIA) PK-308 was coming from Karachi to Islamabad when a passenger lit a cigarette in the plane. The airhostess, Sanan Arbaz, barred him from smoking in the flight which made the passenger angry and he started misbehaving with the airhostess.

The flight staffers also tried to stop the passenger from misbehaving with airhostess but in vain. On this the pilot of the flight informed ASF, which took the passenger into custody after landing the flight.

Courtesy: The Nation

http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/national/17-Apr-2011/Man-held-for-misbehaving-with-airhostess

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For more details » Marvi Sirmad » Baaghi

Via – Twitter

Setting the house in order

By Saroop Ijaz

The difficulty of maintaining a pretence of conducting a profound analysis in Pakistan is that nothing ever ends. So the event one seeks to comment on is always underway hence, exposing the commentator to the real possibility of indignity in misinterpreting the happenings. The mayhem of the last few days is not over yet. It does, however, point out the fragility and precariousness of this architecture of democracy. It is almost as if this period of democratic governance is a momentary armistice, a feebly vulnerable interruption to the continuous military rule. Another disturbingly striking thing is the complete abandonment of core principles on the first sight of attack. In all fairness, none of this is unprecedented but it manages to make one cringe every time.

The prime minister is empowered to terminate the contract of a federal secretary and to comment on the conduct of the army and intelligence chief and for this reason it is hardly news worthy enough of interrupting the nation in frenzied tones. There has been some feeing of triumphalism and jubilation on being able to thwart or possibly delay a coup. Perhaps rightly so, yet the most recent episode is unique in the public manner in which the whole episode was conducted. Gone are the days where out of the blue, one will see a pompous general creeping out of nowhere and saying ‘meray aziz humwatanon’ on national television. This time, the intimidation and bullying was deliberately done in the full view of the public eye, the ISPR press release cautioning of “dire consequences” had the unmistakable slant of blackmail. The utter absence of embarrassment was unbelievable. It was like being subjected to the ISPR version of O J Simpson’s, “If I did it.” The response by the media and the politicians failed to ask the most basic question; did the ISPR posses any justification, legal or moral to threaten an elected parliament. Toni Morrison, once writing about the progress of African Americans in the United States said, “The question is whether our walk is progress or merely movement.” All this coming after four years of democratic rule, ours seems to be an awkward stationary wiggle.

If one is compelled to identify a positive coming out of this fiasco, it will probably be the fact that most of the media and major political parties refused to welcome the khakis. I have a mild suspicion that many of them did it grudgingly; it was the sheer impracticality of a ‘direct’ military takeover which guided their comments as opposed to any meaningful commitment to democracy. In any event, they merit whatever small congratulation is due. Nevertheless, whereas, it is a ridiculously easy and even intuitive question when asked to choose between an elected parliament and the khakis, I believe the real test lies ahead and not so far ahead. It would be if the same demagoguery is garbed in an intervention obtained through a judicial order or some other permutation of what has been somewhat suggestively named, ‘soft coup’. I have a feeling, the response by those agreeing to the abstract notions of democracy in such an event would be more of a waffle and exposing — I certainly hope I am wrong.

The prime minister has already formed the undesirable habit of displaying almost schizophrenic alternating bouts of gallantry and meekness. The ostensible reason is to avoid institutional conflict. It is not a ‘conflict’, it is capitulation in the face of assault, certainly not self-preservation in any long-term meaning. A lot of ink has been spilled (or at least the word processor equivalent) on how to set the civil-military balance incrementally right by people having considerably more expertise on such matters than myself. Yet, the answer to me, at least, is fairly simple. The prime minister should sack the army chief and the director general ISI for gross misconduct and insubordination. To put it at its harshest, their performance records, especially recently have been humiliatingly ordinary. Even otherwise, they cannot claim to be not given a fair innings, they have served, perhaps more accurately commanded for a period reasonably exceeding the normal. In any event, they have considerably overstayed their welcome. I know this proposal seems incredibly naïve even reckless, but I am afraid that needs to be done, even if it means staking the government on it. To romanticise it a bit, “Conscientious Objector” is a beautiful poem by Edna St Vincent Millay, some of its verses go,” I shall die, but/ that is all I shall do for Death/ I hear him leading his horse out of the stall/ I hear the clatter on the barn-floor/ ….But I will not hold the bridle/While he clinches the girth/ And he may mount by himself / I will not give him a leg up.”

I do not in any way suggest a literal scenario as terminally grim as that in the poem but Mr Prime Minister, at least, do not give them a leg up. Trying to maintain a wobbly equilibrium, a false feeling of reconciliation and shallow coexistence will not work, it never has, never does. In terms of basic economics, it is the case of Gresham’s law, the bad would drive out the good, if it is overvalued long enough with a clear preference. Negotiating or plea bargaining the way in and out of situations where you are strong-armed is not survival or diplomacy. It has now become a question of modalities and timing, rather than “if”. Stories both in real life and fiction are remembered inordinately by the ending. Albert Camus ends his La Peste (The Plague) by observing that though the plague was over and the city had returned to normalcy, “the plague bacillus never dies … that it can lie dormant in furniture and linen chests… perhaps the day would come when,… it roused up its rats again and sent them forth to die in a happy city”. Fire the two generals and make a point, the bogus feeling of security is going to end soon anyways.

The writer is a lawyer and partner at Ijaz and Ijaz Co in Lahore saroop.ijaz@ tribune.com.pk

Courtesy:  The Express Tribune, January 15th, 2012.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/321514/setting-the-house-in-order/

Pro-democracy protest: Protestors threaten civilian unrest if govt toppled

LAHORE: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Civil Society Network and Center for Peace protested against the judiciary and army on Thursday, warning the two institutions of civilian unrest if they tried to topple the PPP led coalition government.

Talking to The Express Tribune, Abdullah Malik, advisor to the Punjab governor, said that “The participants sensing the current democratic to be in danger have decided to come out on the roads to show their solidarity with the democracy.”

He added that only people had the right to change the government through their vote in a democracy and not the judge or the generals.

PPP members along with prominent representatives of civil society demonstrated in favour of the current democratic government at the Liberty roundabout.

Participants warned the judiciary and army that if it tried to topple the PPP led coalition government by using the Memogate affair as an excuse, then the civil society will protest on the streets.

Civil Society Network and Center for Peace members, including IA Rehman, Hussain Naqi, Shah Taj Qizilbash, Abdullah Malik along with South Asia Free Media Association’s (SAFMA) Anjum Rashid, Imtiazul Haq, Shoaib Adil and Amina Malik participated in the demonstration.

Other PPP members at the protest included Deputy Parliamentary Leader in the Punjab Assembly, Azma Bukhari and Altaf Qureshi. …

Read more » The Express Tribune

India polio free? Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria still to go

By Omar Ali

Almost certainly, yes!

That leaves three countries with active endemic polio: Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria.
All three are also infected with Islamist fanatics who claim that oral polio drops are an anti-viagra produced by the CIA to decrease Muslim population (I am not making this up). That propaganda, and the difficulty of organizing a vaccination campaign in the middle of a civil war, makes it hard to totally eliminate polio in these countries. ….

Read more » Brown Pundits

Memogate: an attempt to thwart democracy, and threatening the representative system is an attack on sovereignty of the people of Pakistan

Civil Society of Pakistan’s stand on So-called Memogate

Civil society terms memogate scandal an attempt to thwart democracy; Says threatening the representative system tantamount to attack on sovereignty of people.

Karachi, Sindh – 17 December 2011: We, the representatives of the Civil Society including non governmental organisations, labour organisations, academia, women’s rights bodies, and media persons express deep concern over the current political situation in the country where a crisis is being manufactured on frivolous grounds, and is being referred as the so-called Memogate. This has the potential of subverting democratically elected Parliament and the Constitution.

It is time all conspirators against democracy and the sovereignty of the people be called to account. Sovereignty belongs to the people who have agreed to exercise it through their representatives in a federal, parliamentary, and a democratic system. Any attempt at arbitrarily altering this arrangement is tantamount to an attack on the sovereignty of the people. Various institutions of the state are supposed to function within their defined constitutional parameters and complement each other but they seem to be working at cross-purposes, to the determent of public interest.

We emphasise that the role of political parties and political leaders is to represent their constituents’ interests and arrive at negotiated agreements to differences in agreed political forums.

The role of state’s security organizations is to serve the people through stipulated constitutional arrangements, under the command of the executive, and not to define what is or is not in the national interest.

The role of the judiciary is to protect the rights of the citizens from arbitrary abuse of executive power, and not to itself become a source of arbitrary executive power.

The role of the mass media is to help citizens hold powerful interests groups within and outside the state to promote their legitimate interests and hold violators of rights accountable, and not to itself act as an unaccountable interest group.

In our opinion, parliament is the appropriate forum to discuss and investigate this issue and come up with findings.

We believe that any attack on the sovereignty of the people will be unjust. It will necessarily lead to conflict and must be resisted.

We appeal to the people of Pakistan to stand united and firm in support of democracy and to resist all attempts aimed at its subversion. The people of Pakistan have made great many sacrifices for the cause of democracy and they should not let any vested interests trample their right to have a democratic and an elected representative system run the country.

Continue reading Memogate: an attempt to thwart democracy, and threatening the representative system is an attack on sovereignty of the people of Pakistan

What next for Pakistan’s army? By Sadanand Dhume

Excerpt;

…. On November 30 we’ll host a panel discussion at AEI to discuss the situation in Pakistan and what it means for the United States. Our focus will be on the Pakistani army, the country’s most powerful institution by a long measure. If the United States and Pakistan are to avoid the recurrence of incidents like this weekend’s, their armies will need to work out clearer ways of communicating along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. At the same time, if Pakistan’s fledgling democracy is to have a chance of flowering, its generals will have to give up their virtual monopoly on their country’s policies toward Afghanistan and India, and also develop a keener appreciation for the idea of civil supremacy than they have managed thus far.

To read complete article » http://blog.american.com/2011/11/what-next-for-pakistans-army/

‘Memogate’ scandal reveals civil-military splits – Conspiracy of Establishment against Democracy in Pakistan. Is President Zardari himself in danger?

‘Memogate’ scandal reveals civil-military splits

By AP

ISLAMABAD: Publication of a secret memo asking Washington for help reining in the Pakistani military further ignited a scandal Friday threatening Pakistan’s US ambassador and exposing the rift between its shaky government and the country’s powerful generals.

The ambassador, Husain Haqqani, has denied having anything to do with a memo delivered to the US military chief asking for help with the military because of the domestic turmoil triggered by the US raid that killed al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden.

The ”memogate” scandal is adding to pressures on the already deeply unpopular government.

Some analysts have speculated that President Asif Ali Zardari himself could be in danger if charges that he signed off on the memo gain traction.

”The target is not me, the target is President Zardari and Pakistani democracy,” Haqqani said.

Though Pakistan has a civilian president, the military retains vast political and economic power.

It has ruled Pakistan, directly or indirectly, for most of its six-decade existence, and fiercely resisted attempts by civilian leaders to curb its role. …

Read more » DAWN.COM

Zero Tolerance for Religious Extremism in Sindh – Hundreds March against Murders of Hindus

Hyderabad: Hundreds of protesters marched in Hyderabad city against the murder of three Hindus in Shikarpur on the call of Joint Action Committee for Peace and Justice. The protest march began from the Besant Hall, a 20th century Theosophical Society icon of Sindh under the slogan of “Fill the Besant Hall against Religious Intolerance.”

The marchers that walked on in various roads of the down town for a few hours culminated into congregations in front of Hyderabad Press Club. The prominent of which were Punhal Sariyo (Sindh Harri Porhiyat Council), Zulfiqar Shah (Institute for Social Movements), Rasool Bux Palejo (Awami Tehreek), Amar Sindhu (Women Action Forum), Mustafa Baloch (Strengthening Participatory Organization), Dr. Ashothama (Human Rights Commission of Pakistan), Jabar Bhatti (Indus Institute for Research and Education), Mahesh Kumar (We Journalist, Pakistan), Jaffer Memon (Hyderabad Press Club), Iqbal Mallah, Shehnaz Shidi (South Asia Partnerships Pakistan), Akash Mallah (Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz) Noor Nabi Rahoojo and Vishno Mal(Awami Jamhoori Party), Jan Mohammad Junejo (Sindh Tarraqi Pasand Party), Nawaz Khan Zaunr (Jeay Sindh Mahaz), Seher Rizvi (Sindh United Party), Hafeez Kumbhar, Noor Mohammad Bajeer (Civil Society Support Program), Parveen Magsi (Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum), Kashif Bajeer (SPARC), Taj marri (Awami Party), Zahid Messo (Bhandar Sangat), Ikhtyar Tunio (SDPD Nawabsha), Rahmatullah Truk (VISWA – Matyari), Advocate Sajjad Chandio, Advocate Inderjit Luhano, Abass Khoso (IRADO) and others.

A declaration was read out and was unanimously carried by the participants. The resolution is as under:

Continue reading Zero Tolerance for Religious Extremism in Sindh – Hundreds March against Murders of Hindus

Imran Khan – hollow hoopla and the Evil Quad

VIEW: Imran’s inane ideas – By Elf Habib

Excerpt;

….. His elixir to cure the police, patwari (land record officer) and court cultures was equally naive. Representative sheriffs could mean even more mistrust and vengeance among the local clans. In our society, the lack of tolerance and a dignified deference to the rights and authority of a winner through a democratic election are vividly exemplified not only by Imran’s own continuous and cantankerous confrontation but also by the excessively inflated Sharifs. The local government system has not yet effectively evolved even at the district level and extending it to the thanas (police stations) would further erode their impartiality at the initial routine cognizance and investigation steps. The patwari culture is already being phased out through computerisation while his assertions to stop the ‘sale of justice’ in the courts was contradictory to the claims of an independent judiciary as the responsibility of inefficiency and corruption in the lower judicial tiers evidently rests with its higher tiers. The rest of his address was merely a volley of threats to stir further discord and disturbance, including a movement of civil disobedience. Imran Khan’s speech failed to present any vision or viable new option that the masses, mauled by inflation, inadequate income and amenities, so anxiously yearned for. There is of course an evident new option to save Pakistan by making the people the real pivot of state policies, shedding the decades-old obsession to match the military might of a far larger neighbour, seeking strategic depth in alien lands through proxy demons and neutering all shades of terrorism through a sincere and active coordination with the international fraternity. It involves an extensive and symbiotic interaction with the advanced world to acquire excellence in engineering, science, technology, manufacturing, marketing and social welfare imperatives. But leaders like Imran Khan, invariably perceived to have been propped up by the establishment to keep the PPP and the PML-N players in proper allegiance, would perhaps never strive for this option.

Read more » Daily Times

MURDERS OF THREE SINDHI HINDU DOCTORS: CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY

By Javed Qazi

Hardly a day of the great murder of the history of Sindh passed by, that 72 years back, Sindhi Sufi mystic singer, Bhaghat Kanwar Ram, was killed near Shikarpur, that we always remember him on his anniversary day, 1st Nov. We have got a blow due to another shock that three Hindu doctors have been killed by the Bhayo Tribe in Shikarpur. Prima Facie it is due to the fact that recently the persons of this tribe had kidnapped a Sindhi Hindu girl and wanted to convert her religion to escape from the crime of kidnapping. The Sindhi Hindu community, who was in majority in the area prior partition of India, is still living by about 50000 houses, in Shikarpur. They couldn’t let this happen and they got the girl back from the Bhayo tribe. In the tribal context it was shameful for Bhayos that the most weak community, forced Bhayos and got the girl back. In a ray of revenge on very Eid day, just to send a loud and clear message to the Sindhi Hindu community, three Hindu doctors in Shikarpur were killed while they were performing their routine professional work in their respective clinics.

This is same Shikarpur where the great leader of Sindh, Shaheed Allah Bux Soomro was murdered on same grounds, almost 68 years back. Shikarpur was Hub of trade and commerce, which even Karl Marx has acknowledged on his notes on India as colony of British Empire. Prior partition it was either Karachi or Shikarpur which had colleges and best education institutions and hospitals that even Hyderabad and Sukkur was far behind it. Shaheed Allah Bakhsh Soomro was the first premier of Sindh, who was against the formation of Pakistan, was from Shikarpur city. This was due to the fact that communal groups of Manzil Masjid Gah were spread. The symbol of religious harmony, Bhaghat Kanwar the great mystic singer was murdered at that time. Allah Bux soomro another symbol of religious harmony and secularism was murdered at that time.

Continue reading MURDERS OF THREE SINDHI HINDU DOCTORS: CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY

‘Occupy Islamabad’ rally tomorrow

– Amir Wasim

ISLAMABAD: Inspired by worldwide protest demonstrations against capitalism, a group of political workers and representatives of trade and student unions has announced that they will launch an ‘occupy Islamabad movement’ and hold a rally on Wednesday.

Coordinator of the recently-formed Anti-Capitalist Committee and secretary general of the Labour Party Pakistan Nisar Shah told Dawn on Monday that the march would start from Aabpara Chowk and culminate at the World Bank building, situated near the Constitution Avenue.

He said activists of Labour Party Pakistan, Workers Party Pakistan, Awami Party Pakistan and Socialist Movement Pakistan, representatives of the Pakistan Postal Union, PTCL Union, National Trade Union Federation, National Students Federation, Progressive Youth Organisation and a large number of civil society members, intellectuals and citizens would participate in the march in line with the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ campaign in the US and other such protests going on in more than 900 cities around the world. ….

Read more » DAWN.COM

Past glory? What past glory?

– by Harris bin Munawar

We need to reconsider our notions of Islam’s lost glory. What kind of glory was it? Of the four people we consider the rightly guided caliphs, three were brutally murdered. The murder of one was indirectly blamed on another, and that led to a civil war between revered figures of Islam that ended in the brutal murder of the Prophet’s (P.B.U.H) Grandson …..

Read more → View Point