Tag Archives: Elections

Syriza split as elections loom

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Alexis Tsipras has become another austerity politician. Once the expression of the hopes of workers across Europe- Syriza have now joined the austerity consensus. Therefore the announcement that the left of Syriza are splitting to form a new party, Popular Unity, is to be welcomed.

Syriza were elected on a platform of reforms- promising to end the humanitarian crisis in Greece. But the leading members of Syriza believed that it was possible to both end austerity and save Greek capitalism- and this miracle was to be performed while remaining in the Eurozone.

The bullying of the EU exposed this political weakness and laid the basis for a complete capitulation by Tsipras. Syriza labour minister, George Katrougalos, said the government needed to “reconfirm its mandate” to implement austerity in the form of the third Greek bailout and that the party is “crippled by a number of dissident MPs”.

25 left MPs have quit to form the new party. The anti-capitalist coalition, Antarsya, of which the Greek SWP is part, has called for a united movement to oppose the bailout deal and the cuts. It’s vital that the new party links up with the anti-capitalists and helps to focus the battles ahead.

Continue reading Syriza split as elections loom

Sindhi Association of North America (SANA), welcomes recently concluded elections and the continuation of the democratic process in Pakistan

Houston, Texas – (Press release): Jamil Daudi, President of Sindhi Association of North America (SANA), welcomed the recently concluded elections and the continuation of the democratic process in Pakistan. In a statement issued in Houston, Texas, SANA said it was a good omen that an elected government completed its term & the transfer of power is taking place peacefully through elections as according to the Constitution. SANA congratulated the winning parties and candidates and expressed the hope that new federal and provincial governments will solve the problems faced by the people.

However, while welcoming the recently concluded elections and the continuation of the democratic process in Pakistan, it has expressed grave concern over the serious charges of rigging in Karachi, Hyderabad and other parts of Sindh. It demanded that fresh polls must be held in the two cities of Karachi and Hyderabad under strict security and better polling arrangements to avoid any election fraud. It also called upon the Election Commission of Pakistan to look into the election rigging complaints from other areas in Sindh, Balochistan and other parts of Pakistan. The Election Commission must take immediate steps to ensure that elections are never stolen and all the people get their fair chance to elect their representatives in a free and fair election without any duress.

SANA called for constitutional amendments to accord maximum autonomy to the provinces and giving them ownership of their resources. SANA said the people of Sindh face innumerable problems including the unemployment, poverty, lack of developmental works, lack of education and health facilities, unavailability of safe drinking water, unbearable load-shedding, deplorable law and order situation, shortage of irrigation water, lack of civic amenities, unjust distribution of resources, etc. The upcoming federal and provincial governments must give immediate attention to these and other problems faced by the people and solve them on the priority basis.

SANA is also alarmed and expressed its dismay over the delay and outcome of elections in Baluchistan and the general situation in Baluchistan. It appeals to federal government to resolve thorny issues with the Baloch nation peacefully, give Baluchistan its share of resources and work for the welfare of people of Baluchistan.

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, May 13, 2013.

On Eve of Pivotal Election, Pakistan Orders Times Reporter to Leave

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Pakistan’s Interior Ministry has ordered the expulsion of the Islamabad bureau chief for The New York Times on the eve of national elections, the newspaper said Friday. The Times has strongly protested the move and is seeking his reinstatement.

The ministry did not give any detailed explanation for the expulsion order, which was delivered by police officers in the form of a two-sentence letter to the bureau chief, Declan Walsh, at 12:30 a.m. Thursday local time at his home.

“It is informed that your visa is hereby canceled in view of your undesirable activities,” the order stated. “You are therefore advised to leave the country within 72 hours.”

The timing of the order means that Mr. Walsh must exit Pakistan on the night of the elections, the first in the country’s history in which one elected civilian government completes its term and hands over power to another elected government.

Continue reading On Eve of Pivotal Election, Pakistan Orders Times Reporter to Leave

Exclusive interview with Noam Chomsky on Pakistan elections

By Ayyaz Mallick |

Professor Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Noam Chomsky, is without doubt the most widely heard and read public intellectual alive today. Although trained in linguistics, he has written on and extensively critiqued a wide range of topics, including US foreign policy, mainstream media discourses and anarchist philosophy. Chomsky’s work in linguistics revolutionised the field and he has been described as the ‘father of modern linguistics‘. Professor Chomsky, along with other luminaries such as Howard Zinn and Dr Eqbal Ahmad, came into prominence during the anti-Vietnam War movement in the 1960s and has since spoken in support of national liberation movements (and against US imperialism) in countries such as Palestine, El Salvador and Nicaragua. In fact, his prolificacy in terms of academic and non-academic writing has earned him a spot among the ten most cited sources of all time (alongside Aristotle, Marx and Plato). Now in his mid-80s, Professor Chomsky shows no signs of slowing down and maintains an active lecturing and interview schedule. Here we caught up with him to get his views on upcoming Pakistani elections, American influence in the region and other issues.

As a country which has spent almost half of its existence under some sort of direct military rule how do you see this first ever impending transition from one democratically-elected government to another?

Noam Chomsky: Well, you know more about the internal situation of Pakistan than I do! I mean I think it’s good to see something like a democratic transition. Of course, there are plenty of qualifications to that but it is a big change from dictatorship. That’s a positive sign. And I think there is some potential for introducing badly needed changes. There are very serious problems to deal with internally and in the country’s international relations. So maybe, now some of them can be confronted.

Coming to election issues, what do you think, sitting afar and as an observer, are the basic issues that need to be handled by whoever is voted into power?

NC: Well, first of all, the internal issues. Pakistan is not a unified country. In large parts of the country, the state is regarded as a Punjabi state, not their (the people’s) state. In fact, I think the last serious effort to deal with this was probably in the 1970s, when during the Bhutto regime some sort of arrangement of federalism was instituted for devolving power so that people feel the government is responding to them and not just some special interests focused on a particular region and class. Now that’s a major problem.

Another problem is the confrontation with India. Pakistan just cannot survive if it continues to do so (continue this confrontation). Pakistan will never be able to match the Indian militarily and the effort to do so is taking an immense toll on the society. It’s also extremely dangerous with all the weapons development. The two countries have already come close to nuclear confrontation twice and this could get worse. So dealing with the relationship with India is extremely important.

And that of course focuses right away on Kashmir. Some kind of settlement in Kashmir is crucial for both countries. It’s also tearing India apart with horrible atrocities in the region which is controlled by Indian armed forces. This is feeding right back into society even in the domain of elementary civil rights. A good American friend of mine who has lived in India for many years, working as a journalist, was recently denied entry to the country because he wrote on Kashmir. This is a reflection of fractures within society. Pakistan, too, has to focus on the Lashkar [Lashkar-i-Taiba] and other similar groups and work towards some sort of sensible compromise on Kashmir.

And of course this goes beyond. There is Pakistan’s relationship with Afghanistan which will also be a very tricky issue in the coming years. Then there is a large part of Pakistan which is being torn apart from American drone attacks. The country is being invaded constantly by a terrorist superpower. Again, this is not a small problem.

Historically, several policy domains, including that of foreign policy towards the US and India, budget allocations etc, have been controlled by the Pakistani military, and the civil-military divide can be said to be the most fundamental fracture in Pakistan’s body politic. Do you see this changing with recent elections, keeping in mind the military’s deep penetration into Pakistan’s political economy?

NC: Yes, the military has a huge role in the economy with big stakes and, as you say, it has constantly intervened to make sure that it keeps its hold on policy making. Well, I hope, and there seem to be some signs, that the military is taking a backseat, not really in the economy, but in some of the policy issues. If that can continue, which perhaps it will, this will be a positive development.

Maybe, something like what has happened recently in Turkey. In Turkey also, for a long time, the military was the decisive force but in the past 10 years they have backed off somewhat and the civilian government has gained more independence and autonomy even to shake up the military command. In fact, it even arrested several high-ranking officers [for interfering in governmental affairs]. Maybe Pakistan can move in a similar direction. Similar problems are arising in Egypt too. The question is whether the military will release its grip which has been extremely strong for the past 60 years. So this is happening all over the region and particularly strikingly in Pakistan.

In the coming elections, all indications are that a coalition government will be formed. The party of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif is leading the polls with Imran Khan’s (relatively) newly-emerged party not far behind. Do you think an impending coalition government will be sufficiently equipped to handle the myriad problems facing the country that you have just pointed out, such as civil-military imbalance, drone attacks, extremist violence etc.

NC: Well, we have a record for Nawaz Sharif but not the others. And judging by the record, it’s pretty hard to be optimistic. His [Sharif’s] previous governments were very corrupt and regressive in the policies pursued. But the very fact that there is popular participation can have impact. That’s what leads to change, as it has just recently in North Africa (in Tunisia and Egypt). As far as change goes, significant change does not come from above, it comes through popular activism.

In the past month or so, statements from the US State Department and the American ambassador to Pakistan have indicated quite a few times that they have ‘no favourites’ in the upcoming elections. What is your take on that especially with the impending (formal) US withdrawal from Afghanistan?

NC: That could well be true. I do not think that US government has any particular interest in one or another element of an internal political confrontation. But it does have very definite interests in what it wants Pakistan to be doing. For example, it wants Pakistan to continue to permit aggressive and violent American actions on Pakistani territory. It wants Pakistan to be supportive of US goals in Afghanistan. The US also deeply cares about Pakistan’s relationship with Iran. The US very much wants Pakistan to cut relations with Iran which they [Pakistan] are not doing. They are following a somewhat independent course in this regard, as are India, China and many other countries which are not strictly under the thumb of the US. That will be an important issue because Iran is such a major issue in American foreign policy. And this goes beyond as every year Pakistan has been providing military forces to protect dictatorships in the Gulf from their own populations (e.g. the Saudi Royal Guard and recently in Bahrain). That role has diminished but Pakistan is, and was considered to be, a part of the so-called ‘peripheral system’ which surrounded the Middle East oil dictatorships with non-Arab states such as Turkey, Iran (under the Shah) and Pakistan. Israel was admitted into the club in 1967. One of the main purposes of this was to constrain and limit secular nationalism in the region which was considered a threat to the oil dictatorships.

As you might know, a nationalist insurgency has been going on in Balochistan for almost the past decade. How do you see it affected by the elections, especially as some nationalist parties have decided to take part in polls while others have decried those participating as having sold out to the military establishment?

NC: Balochistan, and to some extent Sindh too, has a general feeling that they are not part of the decision-making process in Pakistan and are ruled by a Punjabi dictatorship. There is a lot of exploitation of the rich resources [in Balochistan] which the locals are not gaining from. As long as this goes on, it is going to keep providing grounds for serious uprisings and insurgencies. This brings us back to the first question which is about developing a constructive from of federalism which will actually ensure participation from the various [smaller] provinces and not just, as they see it, robbing them.

Continue reading Exclusive interview with Noam Chomsky on Pakistan elections

Warning of Violence: TTP focused on ending democracy, says Mehsud

MIRANSHAH: In a letter to the media, leader of banned outfit Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has said that his group is focused on jeopardising democracy by hindering elections in the country.

“We have succeeded politically after we were asked to negotiate by the government,” said Hakimullah Mehsud.

He added that the group was now solely ‘focused’ on the next elections.

As elections are nearing, TTP’s aim would be to “end the democratic system,” the letter further said. Mehsud also urged TTP militants to target senior politicians and party leaders, while continuing the battle against security forces.

Furthermore, in a rare address from an undisclosed location, the militant chief claimed that the TTP was not just fighting a war on a tactical level, but were also able to ‘subdue’ politicians by making them negotiate.

TTP student union

A student union of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan was traced by the police while three of its members splashed posters and banners around Multan.

The publicity material was scripted with inflammatory messages, encouraging people to not vote in elections as democracy was ‘un-Islamic’. It demanded that the people of Pakistan should adhere to the shariah (Islamic law), and said that it was haraam for them to participate in the voting process.

Police claim that the three members were students belonged to Lahore, but were enrolled at the Bahauddin Zakarriya University in Multan. After posting 50 banners in the urban area, they were putting posters on the walls of the Multan press club when they were caught by the journalists.

Continue reading Warning of Violence: TTP focused on ending democracy, says Mehsud

Pakistan Elections 2013: The view from afar

by Omar Ali

If all goes well, Pakistanis will go to the polls on May 11th to elect a new national assembly and all 4 provincial assemblies.  The Pakistan People’s Party was the largest party in the outgoing parliament and under the guidance of President Asif Ali Zardari, successfully held together a disparate coalition regime in the face of multiple challenges to complete its 5 year term of office. Unfortunately, that huge achievement is almost their only major achievement in office. While things were not as absolutely abysmal as portrayed by Pakistan’s anti-PPP middle class (rural areas, for example, are better off economically than they have ever been), they are pretty awful.  Chronic electricity shortages (inherited from Musharraf’s Potemkin regime, but still not fixed), galloping inflation, widespread corruption and endless terrorism have tried the patience of even the most devoted PPP supporters and make it difficult for the PPP to run on their record. There are a few bright spots (including a relatively well run welfare scheme called the Benazir income support program) and with Zardari deploying his coalition building magic, it is not a good idea to completely rule them out.  Still, they are clearly not the favorites in the coming elections. The middle class excitement (especially in Punjab and KP) is all about Imran Khan, while more serious pundits seem to be betting on Nawaz Sharif and his PMLN. Being out of the country, I have little direct knowledge of what retail politics looks like on the ground; but there is such a thing as a long-distance view and I am going to take that view and try and make some predictions. We will know in 3 weeks how out of touch I really am.

If you do want to look up what is happening on the ground in detail there are several excellent sources available, for example:  Saba Imtiaz’s election watch, the Dawn newspaper’s election page (including an interesting motor cycle diary from Tahir Mehdi as he motors across Pakistan), an election page from journalist and public intellectual Raza Rumiand last but not the least, the wonderful young team at fiverupees.com, who don’t have a lot of coverage yet, but do have writers who prefer carefully checked facts and data to mere opinion.

Democracy!

By Farooq Sulehria

That Pakistan’s fragile democratic process has withstood yet another deluge unleashed in the form of Tahirul Qadri testifies to the maturity our political leadership has mercifully attained. More importantly, such was the mass pressure that even Imran Khan felt isolated and avoided joining hands with Qadri.

One hopes the people of Pakistan, for the first time in the country’s history, get the chance to vote out a government. Let all the messiahs, promising ‘change’ test their popularity in the forthcoming elections.

It is highly likely that the present setup will continue with some adjustments and the next government will fail to deliver anything tangible. But still I would not join middle-class fascists yearning for ‘change’ by ‘all means necessary.’ Democracy, even in its distorted bourgeois form, is a working-class gain.

It is true that the political parties have become family fiefdoms and the ruling politicians want to reduce democracy to polling booths. However, either to win reforms within the system or overturn the system altogether, the working classes stand a better chance in a democracy than under tyranny. A change takes place when workers, peasants, women, students, and marginalised communities organise themselves. It is not introduced by any well-intentioned messiah.

Continue reading Democracy!

A Peaceful Islamic Revolution in Pakistan?

By: Malik Siraj Akbar, Editor in Chief, ‘The Baloch Hal’

A Pakistani Muslim scholar with Canadian nationality has announced to transform Islamabad into “the world’s biggest Tahrir Square” on January 14th ahead of this year’s upcoming general elections. Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri, a cogent public speaker, has made an abrupt but a robust comeback in Pakistan’s politics after spending nearly five years in Canada. Qadri, previously an unpopular politician but still a cleric with a large following of religious disciples, is asking for electoral reforms prior to the next polls.

There are two fundamental problems with Qadri’s demand.

First, he has given an absolutely unrealistic ultimatum of mere two weeks to the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (P.P.P.) to carry out vague electoral reforms, for example to ensure the election of ‘honest people’ to the parliament. In order to conduct these reforms, Dr. Qadri, while citing the Article 254 of the Pakistani constitution, justifies the postponement of the general elections which are expected to take place in May. The mainstream political parties, such as the P.P.P. and the Pakistan Muslim League of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, want to go for elections without any interruptions soon after the completion of the current term of the parliament because they oppose any kind of derailment of the democratic process.

Second, Dr. Qadri is asking for representation for the powerful Pakistani military and the politically active judiciary in the interim government, a demand that clearly clashes with the very spirit of democracy.

Continue reading A Peaceful Islamic Revolution in Pakistan?

Pakistan – government, allies agree to amend constitution again

ISLAMABAD: The government and its coalition partners late on Friday agreed to bring 21st and 22nd constitutional amendments, which will also allow dual nationals to contest elections, DawnNews reported.

The meeting at the Presidency was chaired by President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf and former premier Yousuf Raza Gilani also attended it.

Federal Law minister Farooq H. Naek briefed the meeting over proposed bills regarding contempt of court and dual nationality before tabling it in the National Assembly.

The meeting approved 21st and 22nd amendments in the constitution. The latter will allow people having dual nationality to participate in general elections.

The law minister also informed the meeting that process of related lawmaking was in progress over contempt of court issue.

The meeting also decided to protect decisions taken by former PM Gilani between April 26 and June 19.

Continue reading Pakistan – government, allies agree to amend constitution again

Amid haggling, PTI delays intra-party elections

 

ISLAMABAD: Differences in Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) party cadres have reportedly led chairman Imran Khan to indefinitely delay intra-party elections, according to some sources.

To justify his decision, the PTI chairman has extended the party’s ongoing membership campaign, without setting a clear deadline for its conclusion.

“Imran assented to the point of view of two party leaders, who had asked the PTI chief to first prepare for the general elections,” said a party leader while talking to The Express Tribune.

According to sources, party president Javed Hashmi and Additional Secretary General Saifullah Niazi, as well as some influential members of the steering committee, had recommended ‘putting off party elections’ for now.

Earlier, Imran had dissolved all regional bodies by constituting regional steering committees in all the provinces, a move that aimed to pave way for holding party elections.

However, the party’s top leadership held many meetings to resolve all outstanding issues but failed to generate an agreement to hold intra-party polls before the next general elections. …

Courtesy: The Express Tribune

What a lier! Gen. Beg blames IsI for poll rigging

Asghar Khan petition: Gen Beg blames ISI for poll rigging

By Azam Khan

ISLAMABAD: Former army chief Gen Mirza Aslam Beg has blamed the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) for distributing money among various politicians to rig the 1990 elections as alleged in air marshal Asghar Khan’s petition.

Maintaining his innocence, Beg submitted another statement before the Supreme Court, in which he claimed that the ISI was a separate entity from the army and was not under the command of the army chief.

Beg insisted he was not directly involved in maintaining accounts and distributing funds during 1990 elections. “…In fact, the accounts were maintained by the ISI and (Beg) only instructed then DG ISI Gen (retd) Asad Durrani to maintain accounts ….

Read more » The Express Tribune

‘Face the truth, Musharraf’ – Mark Siegel on BB’s assassination

‘Face the truth, Musharraf’ – Will there be justice for Benazir Bhutto?

By Mark Siegel / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

I was with Benazir Bhutto on Sept. 25, 2007, when she received a call from Gen. Pervez Musharraf, who was then Pakistan’s president. She was visibly shaken when she hung up the phone: Musharraf had threatened her with dire consequences if she returned to Pakistan to lead her Pakistan Peoples Party in the upcoming elections, where she was the major threat to defeat him. Bhutto quoted him as saying that she would be responsible for what happened to her.

Three weeks later, she returned to Pakistan after eight years in exile. She was greeted in Karachi by 3 million people — and two suicide assassin bombers. Within hours of her arrival, a failed assassination attempt took the lives of 170 of her party workers. Afterward, she emailed me to say that if anything happened to her, she would hold Musharraf responsible. Two months later, she was dead.

Earlier this month, Pakistan’s government, after a four-year investigation, requested that Interpol issue an international warrant for the arrest of Musharraf for Bhutto’s murder. He has been summoned before the Supreme Court of Pakistan tomorrow. No one expects him to appear.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/face-truth-musharraf-article-1.1047729#ixzz1pl4l6Kq5

Mother of all scams? Will justice be done by the Supreme court that called itself “Aazad Adliya”!?

Mother of all cases?

A testimony of the slim, short, veteran businessman-cum-banker, Yunus Habib, may come in handy when the Supreme Court starts hearing the almost decade-old petition of Air Marshal Asghar Khan on Feb 29, 2012. Habib hit the headlines in the 1990s for his key role in the release of Rs14 million (or maybe more) from his own Mehran Bank to defeat the Benazir Bhutto’s PPP in the next elections.

The affidavit submitted by the then ISI chief, Lt. Gen. Asad Durrani, is the first ever confession by any official of Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency of the role it played in pre-poll rigging and its direct involvement in political matters. But there is much more to it and all facts must come to the surface.

Though there was an unusual delay in the case being taken up for hearing, one hopes it will proceed as fast as other petitions like the ones dealing with NRO, NICL, the infamous Memo Case or the Haj scam.

Continue reading Mother of all scams? Will justice be done by the Supreme court that called itself “Aazad Adliya”!?

Save us from our defenders – Irfan Husain

THE Difaa-i-Pakistan Council (DPC) has announced its aim of defending us against the dangers we face today.

But given the fact that the biggest threat to Pakistan comes from the extremist ideology of many of those who constitute the DPC, the question arises whether these holy warriors will confront the militants.

Don’t hold your breath: during a recent DPC rally in Karachi, speaker after speaker made it clear that their real enemies are India and America. This assembled galaxy clearly failed to notice the uncomfortable fact that over the last decade, well over 30,000 innocent civilians and 5,000 security personnel have been killed in terrorist attacks launched by jihadi militants. Such mundane truths often escape our religious brigade. While focusing on American drone attacks, which while controversial, have been the most effective weapon against the militants in the tribal areas, they have conveniently overlooked the real cause of militancy. The moment these realities are pointed out to them, they go on about how these casualties are the result of the American war in Afghanistan.

The composition of the DPC is interesting as it brings together a number of reactionary elements under one umbrella. Some of these, like Sheikh Rasheed and Ijaz ul Haq, have a semblance of respectability. However, this is based on the dubious proposition that cabinet positions, past or present, in Pakistan confer some degree of social acceptability.

On the other side of the DPC spectrum, we have characters like Malik Ishaq, released by the Lahore High Court and accused of committing several murders for the banned Sipah-i-Sahaba, an extreme Sunni outfit.

Hafiz Saeed is one of the stars of the DPC and head of Jamaatud Dawa, a supposedly charitable organisation banned for fronting for the Lashkar-i-Taiba. This terrorist group has been accused of being behind the deadly Mumbai attack of 2008, as well as other atrocities in India.

Qari Yaqub, the darling of admirers of his sermons on YouTube, also spoke at the DPC rally in Karachi where he warned journalists that he would turn the ground where he spoke into “a graveyard for the media” if they did not give the DPC ample coverage. So here I am, writing about the DPC to avoid an early grave.

Sheikh Rasheed, leader of his Awami Muslim League spoke at the rally, as did army dictator Zia’s son, Ijaz ul Haq. Hamid Gul, the retired general who was sacked as head of the ISI by Benazir Bhutto in 1989, also enlivened proceedings with his rant about the bright future ahead without a western presence.

So Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf, felt right at home in this august company as the PTI’s senior vice president Ejaz Chaudhry’s presence showed.

Clearly then, the 40-odd (some would say very odd) members of the DPC at least appear to be on the same page where extremist thought is concerned. The question is what and who brought them together. Pakistan’s history is littered with the bleached bones of right-wing alliances formed and then ditched by their creators. The IJI, the PNA, the IDA, and the MMA spring instantly to mind.

Add to them the various incarnations and iterations of the Muslim League, and you have a veritable alphabet soup of political aspirations: Q, N, Z and Awami are only the current manifestations.

The common thread running through all these parties and coalitions is the past or current connection with our intelligence agencies. Retired general Asad Durrani, another erstwhile ISI chief, has admitted before the Supreme Court that he funneled millions to anti-PPP candidates during the 1988 elections. This confession emerged years ago as a result of a writ filed by Asghar Khan, but the case has been on the back burner until the Supreme Court resumes hearing it later this month. Watch this space for further developments.

Given the stellar credentials of these stalwart defenders of our country, we can all sleep easy. They have vowed to save us from those nasty Americans and Indians, but before I cancel my life insurance policy, I’m still waiting to hear that they will protect us from the Pakistani Taliban as well.

Seriously, though, what is this circus all about? Why have so many extremist-minded elements and their fellow-travellers suddenly emerged from the woodwork to muddy the political waters? Who’s paying for all these expensive rallies? Actually, scratch that last question: we’re paying for them via whatever shadowy agency that has cobbled this latest alliance together.

And why is Imran Khan’s PTI part of this reactionary group? I know he’s in lockstep with people like Hamid Gul and Maulana Samiul Haq, but why does he need to identify himself with the most violent and unsavoury characters in this coalition? Does he not see that after his recent reinvention as a popular, mainstream politician, he no longer needs to cosy up to the likes of Qari Yaqub and Hafiz Saeed?

Continue reading Save us from our defenders – Irfan Husain

Bound by hatred of the US, Pakistan extremists and politicians join hands to shake government – Chicago Tribune

By: ASHRAF KHAN

Associated Press – KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) — Bound together by hatred of the United States and support for insurgents fighting in Afghanistan, a revived coalition of supposedly banned Islamist extremists and rightwing political parties is drawing large crowds across Pakistan.

The emergence of the “Defend Pakistan Council” movement has raised suspicions that the group has approval from elements in the powerful military and security establishment, aiming to bolster public support for a hardline position. The group’s rise comes as the military is trying to assert its position in renegotiating its troubled relationship with the United States and as Pakistan prepares for elections likely to take place later this year.

Some of the leading lights in the Defend Pakistan Council have traditionally been seen as close to the security establishment, which has a long history of propping up radicals to defend its domestic interests or fight in India and Afghanistan.

On Sunday, the group’s bandwagon rolled into Karachi, the country’s commercial heart.

Between 20,000 and 30,000 men gathered close to a monument to Pakistan’s founder, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, whose vision of a liberal, secular Pakistan is often contrasted to the rise of hardline, often violent groups in the country.

The star of the gathering was Hafiz Saeed, the head of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a front group for Lashkar-e-Taiba, the militant group accused by India and the West of sending Pakistani militants by boat to Mumbai in 2008 where they killed 166 people in attacks on a hotel and other sites.

“We demand Pakistani rulers quit the alliance with America,” said Saeed, who was placed under house arrest after the Mumbai attacks but has slowly re-emerged in public, without a response from authorities. “There can be no compromise on the freedom and sovereignty of the country.”

Members of Dawa patrolled the rally, some armed with automatic weapons, others on horseback.

Also represented on stage and in the crowd were Sipah-e-Sahaba, a feared Sunni extremist group that has carried out scores of attacks on minority Shiites in recent years. Its members have reportedly formed alliances with al-Qaida operatives in Pakistan.

A large banner that hung over the stage read “Wake up, countrymen, break the shackles of American slavery.”

That anti-American message has been amplified by the Pakistani army since U.S. airstrikes along the Afghan border in late November killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. The Pakistani army accused the U.S. of deliberately targeting the outposts, rejecting American assertions it was mistake.

Pakistan retaliated by closing its western border to NATO and U.S military supplies into Afghanistan, a key supply line for the war. Saeed and other speakers threatened civil disobedience if Pakistan reopens it. Their stance could hamper American hopes that Islamabad will quietly reopen the route in the coming weeks.

“We vow that the NATO supply will never be restored,” he said.

The alliance groups many of the same parties and clerics that banded together after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, capitalizing on anti-American sentiment. It formed a political alliance that won 50 seats in elections that took place in 2002.

The current government, which is broadly pro-American and doesn’t espouse political Islam, is under pressure from the courts and opposition parties. Elections are now seen as likely later this year, and the revival of the “Defend Pakistan” group appears to be a push by politicians grouped within it to win votes among the legions of Pakistanis who subscribe to Islamist views.

It could also be attempt by the army to put pressure on the ruling Pakistan People’s Party, which has repeatedly clashed with the generals since taking power in 2008 and has tried to get closer ties with India. The group has organized large rallies in several Pakistan cities; next week it plans a gathering in the capital, Islamabad.

Many of the speakers in Karachi rallied the crowds with warnings that Pakistan was under threat, and Islam its only defense.

Do you swear to fight back with Islamic spirit, honor and dignity if anyone, whether American, NATO, Israel or India attack Pakistan?” asked Maulana Sami-ul-Haq, head of a hardline school that has sent thousands of people to fight in Afghanistan over the last 10 years.

Jihad! Jihad!” the crowd roared.

Speaker after speaker also touted the army line on India, saying the neighboring country represents an existential threat to Pakistan. This stance justifies the security state that has been established since the two nations broke apart from the British-ruled subcontinent in 1947.

Liberals, democrats and peace activists have been trying for years to bring India and Pakistan closer together. But in the past, the army has funded and trained Islamic militant groups and their umbrella organizations to battle Indian forces in Kashmir, the disputed territory at the heart of the rivalry between the two countries.

The security establishment of this country desires that ultra-radical parties should be brought into politics so that their doctrine against India, America or Israel could be infused to the masses,” said Tauseef Ahmed, the head of the Mass Communication department at the Federal Urdu University.

Also at the Karachi rally was Hamid Gul, a former general who headed the country’s spy agency in the late 1980s when Pakistan and the U.S. were supporting militants in their fight against the Soviets in Afghanistan. He has since become a leading voice in the media against America and in support of the Taliban. Documents released by the whistleblower site Wikileaks alleged he retained ties to the insurgency there, a charge he has denied.

Ejaz Haider, a security analyst, said the security establishment should be “checked for serious dementia if it was using the council for its own purposes, given that many of its members have been linked to terrorism that is taking a deadly toll inside Pakistan.

Continue reading Bound by hatred of the US, Pakistan extremists and politicians join hands to shake government – Chicago Tribune

New York Times – The Dregs of Dictatorship

By MOHAMED NASHEED, Maldives

my government asked the United Nations to help us investigate judicial abuses

DICTATORSHIPS don’t always die when the dictator leaves office. The wave of revolutions that toppled autocrats in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen last year was certainly cause for hope. But the people of those countries should be aware that, long after the revolutions, powerful networks of regime loyalists can remain behind and can attempt to strangle their nascent democracies.

I learned this lesson quickly. My country, the Maldives, voted out President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, its iron-fisted ruler, back in 2008, in historic elections that swept away three decades of his authoritarian rule. And yet the dictatorship bequeathed to the infant democracy a looted treasury, a ballooning budget deficit and a rotten judiciary.

I was elected that year, and with the help of the International Monetary Fund, my government worked to cut the deficit, while also building a modern tax base. For the first time in its history, the Maldives — a group of islands in the Indian Ocean — had a democratically elected president, parliament and local councils.

But it also had a judiciary handpicked by the former president, which was now hiding behind a democratic constitution. These powerful judges provided protection for the former president, his family members and political allies, many of whom are accused of corruption, embezzlement and human rights crimes.

Continue reading New York Times – The Dregs of Dictatorship

Judiciary always supports army rule, rues Asma

LAHOREFormer president of the Supreme Court Bar Association Asma Jahangir condemned the judiciary on Wednesday, saying it has always approved military rules in the past.

She said if judges wanted a hand in politics, they should contest elections. Talking to reporters at the Lahore High Court, she said that Parliament, not judiciary, was the supreme body in the country.

The judiciary should not consider itself as all knowledgeable, Asma said, while expressing her reservations over many decisions of the Supreme Court.

The judiciary also disregards decisions of Parliament, she said, while pointing out the annulment of the parliamentary committee’s decisions on judges’ appointment.

She further expressed her inability to understand the SC’s January 10 judgment on the NRO non-implementation case. She said that while the NRO was a complicated issue, she never favoured it.

Asma regretted that state institutions were being politicised and added that no institution was clean.

Continue reading Judiciary always supports army rule, rues Asma

ANP leaders being paid by US to win polls: Altaf

SINDH – KARACHI: MQM Chief Altaf Hussain has addressed his supporters and the media in a televised press conference.

He had said that there are various conspiracies at work that want to harm Pakistan and that he would make a number of important revelations. He said that he may not be able to have another chance to make a speech.

Altaf Hussain commiserated with people who had lost their loved ones during the violence that has engulfed Karachi.

He said that a number of MQM workers have been targeted in Karachi and that many of them had been subjected to torture before being murdered. Altaf Hussain said that his party workers had been ruthlessly killed.

Altaf Hussain also accused the Peoples Aman Committee of being involved in the gang warfare taking place in Lyari and of being responsible for target killings in Karachi.

The MQM chief said that he is not the enemy of Pashtuns and paid tribute to political figures such as Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan.

He said that the MQM had always stood against feudalism in Pakistan and that he opposed the exploitation of the resources of the country.

Altaf Hussain also said that anti-state elements want to dismember Pakistan and accused ANP Chief Asfandyar Wali Khan of being on the payroll of the Americans and that he had been given millions of dollars by the United States to win elections.

He also accused other politicians in Pakistan of following orders that were given to them by America.

MQM leader Altaf Hussain also accused the ANP of misleading its workers in Karachi. He said that the PPP and PML-N have both failed to live up to the Charter of Democracy agreement that was signed between the two political parties.

Altaf Hussain said that the PML-N was in possession of a large cache of weapons in Punjab.

The MQM chief also said that former prime minister and PML-N Chief Nawaz Sharif withdrew forces from Kargil after being told to do so by the United States. …..

Courtesy: DAWN.COM

Link → http://www.dawn.com/2011/09/09/mqm-chief-altaf-hussain-addresses-supporters.html

Sindhis should rethink their priorities before it is too late!

by Khalid Hashmani, McLean, Virginia

The Sindhi political analysts and thinkers in Sindh continue to provide further insight into thinking of educated and middle class Sindhis who live in Sindh. These should help Sindhi Diaspora to better understand the ground realities in order to chalk out their actions about their supporting role in awakening of Sindhi society. Indeed, only the determined resolve and courageous actions by masses of Sindh would bring about enough changes to thwart the ill designs of internal and external anti-Sindh forces. Yesterday, I have shared my review on Naseer Memon’s article published in Sindhi daily Kawish on August 13, 2011 under the title “PPP’s recent decision to revive Local Government Ordinance 2001 is violation of its own manifesto‏”. Today, I am reviewing an article by Zulfiqar Halepoto that was published yesterday (13 August 2011) in Sindhi daily Awami Awaz. I am currently reviewing Jami Chandio’s article “PPP & a New Sindh” that was published in Sindhi daily Ibrat on 13-14th August, 2011. The purpose of these reviews is to provide a compilation of what Sindhis in Sindh so that Diaspora Sindhis can assess the need and formulate their actions in support of Sindh interests.

Zulfiqar Halepoto articulates the need for “paradigm shift” in Sindh where one political party has been looked upon as the only capable force that can protect their interests and Sindh’s integrity. Where once PPP leaders were honored and welcomed in their communities, most Sindhis are angry and hold PPP responsible for many of their problems.

According to Zulfiqar Halepoto, people of Sindh overwhelmingly voted for PPP in 2008 with the following four expectations:

1. The government of Sindh will be formed without the participation of those that had ruled Sindh for the several years in immediate past. During that time, the Sindhi interests suffered the most as the regimes became oblivious of the collective interests of Sindh and focused on only their personal gains. Sindhis expected PPP to adhere to its pledge not to share power with MQM and dissipate impression that in order to have peace and prosperity of the people of Sindh, MQM must be made a part of the government.

2. The PPP government will find the killers of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto and bring them to justice.

3. The PPP government will bring about the required constitutional and administrative changes that the dictatorial regime had brought to weaken native Sindhis and allow only one ethnic group to control Sindh’s larger cities.

4. The governance in Sindh that had suffered greatly in the last 12 years under the regimes that violated Sindhi Rights on all fronts will end. Sindh’s government would be an example of an exemplary governance in Pakistan ensuring welfare of all those who live in Sindh.

Unfortunately, the government of PPP has gone even beyond the status quo and has made sufferings of Sindhis much worse. Sindhis often express that they are now lost and wonder who will protect their interests? PPP thinks that Sindh vote bank is in their pocket and they are not afraid of any backlash from their actions that regularize injustices of previous regimes and further compromising on Sindhi Rights. Like the previous regime headed by a Sindh Chief Minister, PPP too has surrendered its power to MQM whose discriminatory policies against all groups of Sindh not only continues unabated but has worsened. There is an increasing feeling among the people of Sindh that PPP has become part of problem and looking at it as a solution provider is a big mistake!? Most Sindhis think it would be far easier to wedge struggle against a dictator and racist political parties without PPP’s presence.

It would seem to me that PPP had been, at minimum, a silent partners of those who do not wish Sindh & Sindhi identity to survive in Pakistan. These forces want Sindhis should leave their mother tongue and centuries old culture of peace & communal harmoney and to adapt the language of minority as their first language.

Sindhis are angry with PPP and with themselves for misplacing their trust and hopes in PPP. Sindhis do not understand why a PPP which won 90 seats in Sindh would forget their voters within a span of less than three years. Sindhis are disappointed that on the pretext of saving their regime at the center, they have been continually ignoring aspirations and hopes of Sindhis. Instead of creating more opportunities for Sindhis, doors for Sindhis continue to shut, particularly in those areas where they are controlled by MQM. People of Sindh can no longer tolerate this situation and a determined movement towards forming a genuine unity of Sindh on the point that “protection of interests of Sindh is their first priority” is fast spreading among Sindhis living in villages, towns, and cities.

President Asif Zardari has played Sindh as “Sindh card” whenever his rule faced a threat from opposition and the Pakistani security establishment. The “Sindhi Topi Day” was also a part of that gimmickry. It is said that most people in Pakistan think that regardless of what happens, Sindhis will continue to support PPP? This myth is now to great extent shattered as people of Sindh are able to see through the politics of exploitation of Sindhis by internal and external forces. Some non-Sindhi Pakistanis are noticing that a change is brewing among Sindh. Sindhis are now condemning the decisions of PPP that are counter to the interests of Sindh. They are also realizing that Sindhis are not against the integrity of Pakistan and that main demand is to secure equitable rights in Pakistan and preserve their identity, culture, and language.

The anger of Sindh is lost on other political parties in Pakistan as most are now taking steps to seek support of Sindhis. Awami National Party, Jamat-e-Islami, and Sunni Tahrik are now supporting Sindhi demand for cancellation of former dictator Musharraf’s undemocratic, black, repressive, & discriminatory Local Government Ordinance. MQM is staying silent about the demands of Sindhis. On other side, Sindhis have notice support of Pir Pagaro on this issue. However, Sindhis have not forgiven for his pro-Kala Bagh stand and his support of General Musharraf’s policies that hurt the interests of Sindh.

The Sindhi nationalist parties are remain divided. Although most Sindhis respect those nationalist parties for their their stand on the interests of Sindh, some of these political parties are likely to keep themselves away from the upcoming elections. Their divergent views including the separatist leaning of some have kept their voter bank constrained.

Zulfiqar Halepoto urges Sindhis to look at all aspects of this complicated situation, weigh all options before jumping on any bandwagon. Sindhis should think and formulate strategy, long-term plans and be ready to effectively respond to any tactical challenges. One should look at the success of Pakhoons, who have more than one credible options for exercising their vote. Without a fundamental change in the political landscape of Sindh, Sindhis still only have two serious options – Muslim League and PPP. The Sindh chapters of these two parties are dominated by anti-Sindh waderas, who together with MQM and anti-Sindhi business owners will continue to damage the interests of Sindh.

It is imperative that Sindh nationalist parties create a formidable political party or group that will become a credible second alternative for Sindhis. If this is achieved, it will be an important paradigm jump for Sindhis that will likely bring about a positive development for not only Sindh but also for Pakistan.

Courtesy: → Sindh e-lists/ e-groups, August 14, 2011.

Why to blame MQM, when PPP leadership is there for capitulation to preserve their narrow personal short-term interests and has nothing to do with the welfare of the people

– Potters’ wares – by Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

Watayo Faqir is to Sindh what Mullah Naseerudin is to Turkey, Afghanistan and Central Asia. Once someone informed Watayo that his mother had gone crazy and was writhing in the dust in the city centre; knowing his mother acted oddly at times he was nonetheless surprised. Reaching home he inquired; she replied that having seen a rupee coin in the path and thinking that if she picks it up someone would claim it, the best way was to act crazy and pocket it without anyone suspecting. Watayo said, “I knew my mother would not be all that crazy without a very good reason.”

What the PPP leadership terms as the policy of reconciliation is in fact a policy of capitulation for preserving their narrow personal short-term interests and has nothing to do with the welfare or benefit of the people in general and Sindhis in particular. But then nothing better can be expected from people whose politics are based on self-interest.

National interest and preservation of democracy is mendaciously bandied about as the reason behind the vacillations, oscillations, dithering and capitulation of the PPP, which would shame even the most brazen politician of any country, to appease the MQM. The sole purpose behind these brazen transmogrifications is the self-interest of the elite of these two parties who do not even bother to ask their colleagues’ opinions. Syed Zafar Ali Shah, Taj Haider and Nabeel Gabol have come out openly against this ludicrous pantomime. Naturally, no one from the MQM wants to end up in a gunny bag so there has not been a squeak from anyone; any way why would the victors complain?

The resentment amongst the people of Sindh is palpable and their anger at the PPP’s capitulation was expressed by the success of the strike called by the nationalist parties on August 8 and 13. Even PPP members have taken to the streets against the latest capitulation. This pusillanimous and chronic backtracking has made them an object of ridicule and derision for common people because those who forge and implement these preposterous decisions live in inaccessible mansions away from the grubby masses. This habitual volte-face along with the carefree attitude towards the views and problems of workers is isolating the PPP from whatever support that has survived.

The MQM is a different entity; it is ruled from London and only absolute submission is the rule — dissenters are meted out horrible punishments. It is a party that is based on terror, oiled by terror and thrives on terror. This is how this organisation is run and there is no other way for its survival. A quote by George MacDonald (1824-1905), a Scottish poet and author, fits to a T all fascist organisations and individuals. He says, “A beast does not know that he is a beast, and the nearer a man gets to being a beast, the less he knows it.”

The terrorism perpetrated after Zulfiqar Mirza’s statement left a trail of destruction in its wake because the call to teach him a lesson resulted in a score killed and properties and vehicles destroyed. This carnage was one of the sequels of the May 12 incident; there have been quite a few follow up episodes of that successful run of the show by the MQM during the Musharraf era. Oddly, no one is ready to blame the real culprits in Karachi.

The much flaunted powerbase and mandate have been acquired by sowing terror. All elections are massively rigged and manipulated and all parties practice it in places where they can cow the election staff. The MQM always boasts of a mind-boggling number of votes cast in their constituencies and this they do through fraudulently stuffing ballot boxes. The number of votes that the MQM claims cannot physically be cast in the limited time period and the cumbersome procedure that is required to cast a single vote. This rigging is done to lay claim to being the majority’s representative. This comes in handy to intimidate others into submission through threats. A heavy and unhindered presence of international observers during the elections could expose this mandate farce any day. …

Read more → Daily Times

Imran hints ‘conditional coalition’ with MQM

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

Read more: → DAWN.COM

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Click here → Do you want to know the background of Imran Khan: Do you want to know whose “peshkash” he is? Read a column in urdu language by renowned journalist Nusrat Javed & get the answer.

Elections in Pakistani colony – Azad Kashmir

by Dr Shabir Choudhry

28 June 2011 – In a parliamentary form of government a party that gets majority forms the next government; and the party leader becomes a Prime Minister. This happens in every democratic and civilised country. However, rules in a Pakistani occupied territory known as Azad Kashmir (independent Kashmir) are different.

PPP emerged as the winner in the elections. It was expected, as always is the case, a ruling party in Islamabad gets the desired results in Azad Kashmir to suits its needs. Barrister Sultan Mehmood, former Prime Minister of Azad Kashmir and a leader of the PPP was interviewed by a Pakistani TV. He happily claimed to have got the majority to form the government. The TV journalist asked him who is going to be the Prime Minister. Barrister Sultan Mehmood with a fake smile on his face said: Zardari Sahib will decide who is going to be the Prime Minister’ (of Azad Kashmir). ….

Read more: → Dr. Shabir Choudhry

Anniversary: What if Pakistan did not have the bomb?

By Pervez Hoodbhoy

Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan has spent the last few years confined by the Pakistan Army to one of his palatial Islamabad residences where he whiles away his days writing weekly columns in newspapers. This venerable metallurgist, who claims paternity rights over Pakistan’s bomb, says it alone saves Pakistan. In a recent article, he wistfully wrote: “If we had had nuclear capability before 1971, we would not have lost half of our country – present-day Bangladesh – after disgraceful defeat.”

Given that 30,000 nuclear weapons failed to save the Soviet Union from decay, defeat and collapse, could the Bomb really have saved Pakistan in 1971? Can it do so now?

Let’s revisit 1971. Those of us who grew up in those times know in our hearts that East and West Pakistan were one country but never one nation. Young people today cannot imagine the rampant anti-Bengali racism among West Pakistanis then. With great shame, I must admit that as a thoughtless young boy I too felt embarrassed about small and dark people being among our compatriots. Victims of a delusion, we thought that good Muslims and Pakistanis were tall, fair, and spoke chaste Urdu. Some schoolmates would laugh at the strange sounding Bengali news broadcasts from Radio Pakistan.
The Bengali people suffered under West Pakistani rule. They believed their historical destiny was to be a Bengali-speaking nation, not the Urdu-speaking East Pakistan which Jinnah wanted. The East was rightfully bitter on other grounds too. It had 54% of Pakistan’s population and was the biggest earner of foreign exchange. But West Pakistani generals, bureaucrats, and politicians such as Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, feared a democratic system would transfer power and national resources to the East.

Denied democracy and justice, the people of East Pakistan helplessly watched the cash flow from East to fund government, industry, schools and dams in the West. When the Bhola cyclone killed half a million people in 1970, President Yahya Khan and his fellow generals in Rawalpindi’s GHQ could not have cared less.

The decisive break came with the elections. The Awami League won a majority in Pakistan’s parliament. Bhutto and the generals would not accept the peoples’ verdict. The Bengalis finally rose up for independence. When the West Pakistan army was sent in, massacre followed massacre. Political activists, intellectuals, trade unionists, and students were slaughtered. Blood ran in street gutters, and millions fled across the border. After India intervened to support the East, the army surrendered. Bangladesh was born.

That Pakistan did not have the bomb in 1971 must surely be among the greatest of blessings. It is hard for me to see what Dr AQ Khan has in mind when he suggests that it could have saved Pakistan.

Would the good doctor have dropped the bomb on the raging pro-independence mobs in Dhaka? Or used it to incinerate Calcutta and Delhi, and have the favour duly returned to Lahore and Karachi? Or should we have threatened India with nuclear attack to keep it out of the war so that we could endlessly kill East Pakistanis? Even without the bomb, estimated civilian deaths numbered in the hundreds of thousands if not a million. How many more East Pakistanis would he have liked to see killed for keeping Pakistan together?
Some might argue that regardless of the death and destruction, using the bomb to keep Pakistan together would have been a good thing for the people of East Pakistan in the long term. A look at developmental statistics can help decide.
Bangladesh is ranked 96th out of 110 countries in a 2010 prosperity index compiled by an independent London-based think-tank, the Legatum Institute, using governance, education, health, security, personal freedom, and social capital as criteria. Pakistan is at the 109th position, just one notch above Zimbabwe. By this measure the people of the East have benefited from independence. ….

Read more : The Express Tribune

Kayani & Pasha with Haroon Rashid & Imran Khan can draw whatever they want in drawing room but …?

Enter the Midwife: Haroon Rasheed

by By Col. (r) Ikramullah Khan

Anyone who has tuned into a talk show or read an opinion piece in the last few weeks knows that the ghosts of the old IJI are dyeing their hair, whistling into the mirror and preparing to come out of retirement. The parade of news stories involving ISI plans to cobble together an alliance of different political parties to rout both PMLN and PPP in the coming elections is unending. The usual suspects that have frequently been mentioned are PTI, MQM, JI, PMLQ, PML-F and JUI-F.

Great political leaders of the Pakistani people such as Altaf Hussain and Imran Khan have decided to bury the hatchet (along with the Scotland Yard investigations) and have vowed to work together from now on. Weather vanes like Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Peer Pagara have been active, and pointing towards the direction of the wind.

Pakistanis are used to the quick leaps, somersaults and pole vaults which are a characteristic feature of the lucky Irani circus which is our politics. But even hardcore supporters were left babbling by the strange noises that come screeching out whenever Imran Khan has tried to speak recently. There had been rumors of Imran Khan meeting with the American ambassador, General Pasha and General Kiyani for weeks. PTI has been denying these rumors suspiciously noisily with understandably counterproductive results.

As new details are coming to light, few will believe the depths being plumbed by some in our media and politics. Asia Times Online writes:

“In the second week of March, Khan held a long meeting with the US ambassador in Islamabad, Cameron Munter. A few days later a major shift in his politics surprised many. Khan produced a statement supportive of MQM policies despite formerly filing a money laundering case against MQM leader Altaf Hussain in a British court.

A prominent Urdu media commentator of right-wing leanings, who is close to both Khan and army chief Kiani, arranged a series of meetings between the two which eventually led to a consensus around Khan becoming the next leader of the country.”

According to the information in the article, the conspiracy has Imran Khan in the starring role and involves:

  • ISI is working towards mid-term elections before the scheduled date of February 2013
  • A new political alliance of MQM, PTI, JI and JUI etc. is being planned resulting in a simple majority under prime minister Imran Khan.
  • Haroon Rasheed arranged a series of meetings between Imran Khan and Gen Kiyani
  • If plans for a political alliance fail, Imran Khan will become the interim prime minister.

This brings us to the role of Haroon Rasheed, the one-man propaganda machine of the army and a suitable alternative to ISPR in case of downsizing. Balancing his gushing and embarrassing adulation of the military boot, Haroon Rasheed has made promoting Imran Khan a personal cottage industry, often in the same breath.

Just to illustrate the point, here is a recent display of pro-army douchebaggery (Jang, April 16th, 2011). Haroon Rasheed takes the politicians to task for everything wrong under the sun and salutes the army for smacking the Kerry Lugar Bill away, shooting down drones, interrupting the NATO supply lines, kicking out CIA agents and completely distancing the army from politics.
Well. Not exactly, but you have to read it to believe it.: ….

Read more : PkPolitics

http://pkpolitics.com/2011/04/22/enter-the-midwife-haroon-rasheed/

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Read more details on above issue in urdu : Daily Jang

Thailand: Military makes threats against pro-democracy Red Shirts

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

April 12, 2011 — Red Thai Socialist — One year after Thailand’s military gunned down nearly 90 pro-democracy civilians in Bangkok and in the run-up to the promised first election since the 2006 coup, the military have been very active in increasing the obstacles to a free and fair election. They are seriously worried about the outcome of this election.

Naturally the Democrat Party government and its bosses in the army will not be stuffing ballot boxes or inflating the number of votes for the government. That would be too obvious and they would be quickly found out. But what they have been doing since the 2006 coup has been waging a war of attrition to gradually destroy Thaksin Shinawatra’s Thai Rak Thai Party and the Peua Thai Party, which is its new incarnation. The courts and the election commission have been used in a biased manner to destroy the chances of a Red Shirt election victory. Bribery and threats have also been used to get politicians to change sides. Added to this we have blanket censorship and the use of the lèse majesté law against government opponents. The military have also used bloody violence and threats.

Read more : Links International

Communist Party of Egypt resumes open political activities

March 24, 2011 — People’s World — On March 15, the Communist Party of Egypt announced that after many years underground because of repression, it will be assuming open, public political activities once more. The announcement came after “an extensive meeting with all of its bodies” and was unanimous.

The original Communist Party of Egypt, the Hizb al Shuvuci al-Misri, had been founded in 1922 when Egypt was still a monarchy and very much under the thumb of British imperialism. The last king of Egypt, Farouk, was overthrown by an uprising of young army officers in 1952. Out of that revolution came the 14-year regime of Colonel Gamel Abdel Nasser, a radical nationalist who worked to break Egypt away from subservience to Western capitalist powers. In 1965, the Communist Party of Egypt merged into Nasser’s own movement, the Arab Socialist Union.

A number of former Communist Party activists dissented from this merger and formed their own independent journal, Al-Inisar (Victory), starting in 1973, which led to their re-founding the Communist Party in 1975. Under the governments of Anwar Al Sadat and Hosni Mubarak, the re-founded Communist Party of Egypt faced repression and was not allowed to run in elections. However, it did not disappear and did not abandon the struggle for democracy and socialism.

When the demonstrations against the Mubarak regime began earlier this year, the Communist Party of Egypt, working in unity with other left-wing dissident groups, quickly gained public visibility as a key voice in the secular opposition. Its February 1, 2011, proclamation read as follows. ….

Read more : Link International

HOW FASCIST IS YOUR COUNTRY? Pakistan scores 13, India scores 9 and USA scores 8 out of 14 points

Fourteen Defining Characteristics Of Fascism

By Dr. Lawrence Britt

Dr. Lawrence Britt has examined the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia) and several Latin American regimes. Britt found 14 defining characteristics common to each:

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism – Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights – Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of “need.” The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause – The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

4. Supremacy of the Military – Even when there are widespread

domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

5. Rampant Sexism – The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.

6. Controlled Mass Media – Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

7. Obsession with National Security – Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

8. Religion and Government are Intertwined – Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government’s policies or actions.

9. Corporate Power is Protected – The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

10. Labor Power is Suppressed – Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.

11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts – Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.

12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment – Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption – Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

14. Fraudulent Elections – Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

From Liberty Forum

http://www.libertyforum.org/showflat.php?Cat=&Board=news_constitution&Number=642

109&page=&view=&sb=&o=&vc=1&t=-1

Source Free Inquiry.co

Courtesy: http://www.rense.com/general37/char.htm

Court issues arrest warrant for ex-president Musharraf for his involvement in the killing of ex-prime minister Benazir Bhutto

ATC issues arrest warrant for Musharraf

ISLAMABAD: A Pakistani anti-terrorism court on Saturday issued an arrest warrant for former president Pervez Musharraf over the assassination of ex-prime minister Benazir Bhutto, a public prosecutor said.

Musharraf, who was president when Bhutto was killed in December 2007 in a gun and suicide bomb attack, is in self-imposed exile in London. He will not be going back to Pakistan for any court hearing, his spokesman said.

The former president and military ruler is alleged to have been part of a “broad conspiracy” to have his political rival killed before elections ….

Read more : DAWN