Tag Archives: elite

The Corporate Assault on Direct Democracy

By Ron Fein, Truthout | Op-Ed

The direct democracy of ballot initiatives – where voters get to vote yes or no, without any politicians in the way – is a treasured part of the fabric of 24 states and many more cities. But around the country, there’s been a disturbing trend this year: When initiatives threaten corporate interests, lawyers run to court to prevent voters from even getting the chance to vote.

Read more » Truth Out
Learn more » http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/26982-the-corporate-assault-on-direct-democracy

Corporate Dictatorship

The Imperative of Revolt

TORONTO—I met with Sheldon S. Wolin in Salem, Ore., and John Ralston Saul in Toronto and asked the two political philosophers the same question. If, as Saul has written, we have undergone a corporate coup d’état and now live under a species of corporate dictatorship that Wolin calls “inverted totalitarianism,” if the internal mechanisms that once made piecemeal and incremental reform possible remain ineffective, if corporate power retains its chokehold on our economy and governance, including our legislative bodies, judiciary and systems of information, and if these corporate forces are able to use the security and surveillance apparatus and militarized police forces to criminalize dissent, how will change occur and what will it look like?

Wolin, who wrote the books “Politics and Vision” and “Democracy Incorporated,” and Saul, who wrote “Voltaire’s Bastards” and “The Unconscious Civilization,” see democratic rituals and institutions, especially in the United States, as largely a facade for unchecked global corporate power. Wolin and Saul excoriate academics, intellectuals and journalists, charging they have abrogated their calling to expose abuses of power and give voice to social criticism; they instead function as echo chambers for elites, courtiers and corporate systems managers. Neither believes the current economic system is sustainable. And each calls for mass movements willing to carry out repeated acts of civil disobedience to disrupt and delegitimize corporate power.

“If you continue to go down the wrong road, at a certain point something happens,” Saul said during our meeting Wednesday in Toronto, where he lives. “At a certain point when the financial system is wrong it falls apart. And it did. And it will fall apart again.”

Read more » Common Dreams
Learn more » http://www.commondreams.org/views/2014/10/20/imperative-revolt

 

Pakistan politics: The mythical feudal and the real elite

By Adnan Rasool

Reality is always hard to stomach. In the age of inflated self-worth and significance, societies start having delusions of grandeur. But when the delusions are questioned, the society either goes into denial or starts spinning a new narrative.

For the last two years, our people have been going through a process where there was initially a denial of the harsh realities of Pakistan, and then the passionate spinning of a false narrative. This narrative initially blamed the system, then blamed the government and now blames everyone for everything.

Too much time has been spent criticising this false narrative that many believe to be the truth. What has been ignored are the basic set of realities that Pakistan continues to face.

To start with, as much as I hate saying this, politics in Pakistan is not for the voter to decide.

Pakistan is a case of elite adjustment. It has never been a case where the voter will decide anything; the voters are simply not a significant enough part of the equation to leverage the situation.

Also read: ‘The real struggle in Pakistan is between the elite and the poor’

The form of governance does not matter either; be it a dictatorship or autocratic democracy, the political situation is a result of elite adjustment.

Read more » DAWN
http://www.dawn.com/news/1139412

Shipbuilding contract holds $250M mystery

Cost of Arctic patrol ships’ design sparks warning of another procurement ‘fiasco’

By Terry Milewski, CBC News

A CBC News investigation has uncovered a $250-million mystery at the heart of Canada’s ambitious shipbuilding program.

Public Works Minister Rona Ambrose and Defence Minister Peter MacKay announced March 7 in Halifax that Ottawa will pay Irving Shipbuilding $288 million just to design — not build — a fleet of new Arctic offshore patrol ships.

Irving will then build the ships under a separate contract.

However, a survey of similar patrol ships bought by other countries shows they paid a fraction of that $288 million to actually build the ships — and paid less than a tenth as much for the design.

In addition, the design of Canada’s new ships is based upon a Norwegian vessel whose design Ottawa has already bought for just $5 million.

The Norwegian ship, the Svalbard, was designed and built for less than $100 million in 2002.

Experts say the design price is normally 10-20 per cent of the total cost of the ships.

Another country with Arctic interests, Denmark, acquired two patrol ships for $105 million in 2007.

They have modest ice-breaking capability, similar to the Canadian project, which allows for the ships to crunch through “summer ice” – about one-metre thick.

The Irish navy now is building two offshore patrol ships for $125 million.

In all cases, these prices include the design.

Why is Canada paying more?

Ambrose, MacKay and Public Works officials running the Canadian project were not able to explain why Canada would pay so much more to get so much less: shelling out more than twice as much merely to produce a blueprint for similar ships, without building any.

Continue reading Shipbuilding contract holds $250M mystery

Democracies running on Stalinist lines!

The west’s crisis is one of democracy as much as finance

The spirit of dictators like Ceausescu is finding new life in the response of the European elite to pressures in the eurozone

By: Slavoj Žižek

In one of the last interviews before his fall, Nicolae Ceausescu was asked by a western journalist how he justified the fact that Romanian citizens could not travel freely abroad although freedom of movement was guaranteed by the constitution. His answer was in the best tradition of Stalinist sophistry: true, the constitution guarantees freedom of movement, but it also guarantees the right to a safe, prosperous home. So we have here a potential conflict of rights: if Romanian citizens were to be allowed to leave the country, the prosperity of their homeland would be threatened. In this conflict, one has to make a choice, and the right to a prosperous, safe homeland enjoys clear priority …

It seems that this same spirit is alive and well in Slovenia today. Last month the constitutional court found that a referendum on legislation to set up a “bad bank” and a sovereign holding would be unconstitutional – in effect banning a popular vote on the matter. The referendum was proposed by trade unions challenging the government’s neoliberal economic politics, and the proposal got enough signatures to make it obligatory.

Continue reading Democracies running on Stalinist lines!

Noam Chomsky Slams America’s Selfish Ayn Randian Elites

Chomsky explains how elites’ obsession with short-term personal gain threatens humanity.

In an interview broadcast on Al Jazeera English, Noam Chomsky argues that people who have the most privilege owe the most to society. “The more privilege you have the more responsibility you have,” says Chomsky, “It’s elementary.”

Asked why the opposite seems to be true in America, where many wealthy people refuse to give up their time or money to help those in need, Chomsky replies that the lack of public responsibility among many elites makes sense; after all, if you’ve devoted your life to enriching yourself and wealth is what you value the most, you don’t care as much about other people. But it goes beyond that, argues Chomsky. “It’s also institutional. In its more pathological form, it’s Ayn Rand ideology: ‘I just don’t care about anyone else. I’m only interested in benefiting myself. That’s good and noble.”

Continue reading Noam Chomsky Slams America’s Selfish Ayn Randian Elites

Pakistan – Death of democracy

By: Manzur Ejaz

It is usually worse to mutilate someone’s spirit than to kill them: the spiritless half-dead body keeps dragging itself waiting for the end game. This is exactly what the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) government has done to democracy in Pakistan. A long list of charges levelled against the PPP government led by President Asif Ali Zardari – an anomaly in a parliamentarian democracy – is not as serious as the way he has crushed the essence of democracy. It is reminiscent of the revered Naxalite Punjabi poet, Pash, murdered by extremist Khalistani extremists:

Robbing of one’s wages is not the most dangerous

Thrashing by police is bad but not the most dangerous as well

To be victim of treachery and greed is not the most dangerous either

The most dangerous is to be filled by dead tranquillity

Death of our dreams is the most dangerous

The PPP-led government has not only fatally injured the dream of democracy but has filled the entire ruling class with this dead tranquillity. Most political analysts are dazed by the tenacity that President Zardari has shown in hanging on to his office and keeping his party in power. But few have acknowledged how he has achieved such an ‘otherwise admirable’ goal by maintaining unholy alliances with parties that have opposing agendas, resulting in a hard-to-fix proliferating anarchy. He also achieved his goal by not honouring publicly announced agreements with his opponents: his agreements with Mian Nawaz Sharif were the preface to what was going to follow. By saying that fulfilling political promises is not a religious dictate, Mr Zardari committed a cardinal sin because democracy means upholding socio-political contracts – written or otherwise.

Continue reading Pakistan – Death of democracy

Global super-rich elite has hidden an extraordinary $21 trillion of wealth offshore

£13tn: hoard hidden from taxman by global elite

• Study estimates staggering size of offshore economy

• Private banks help wealthiest to move cash into havens

A global super-rich elite has exploited gaps in cross-border tax rules to hide an extraordinary £13 trillion ($21tn) of wealth offshore – as much as the American and Japanese GDPs put together – according to research commissioned by the campaign group Tax Justice Network. ….

Read more » guardian.co.uk

Via – Twitter

Pakistan: ‘Jihadi danger is from the elite, not the poor’

Muslims and modernity: ‘Jihadi danger is from the elite, not the poor’

By Aroosa Shaukat

LAHORE: Most global jihadis are not illiterates raised in poor slums, but from well-off families and with advanced education degrees. “Most of the danger comes from us,” said Majid Nawaz, founder of Khudi, at a seminar titled ‘Muslims and the Modern World The State of the Muslim Ummah’. Young people being educated at “elite” schools and colleges were joining the extremists, he said.

“Terrorists are not just from slums – statistically, a disproportionate number of global jihadis come from a higher education background,” said Nawaz, who was formerly a member of the Hizbut Tahrir (HT). He quit the group to found Khudi, which works to counter extremism.

Nawaz said there was a difference between the political and the religious definitions of the word ‘ummah’. He said there was no contradiction between being a Pakistani and being a Muslim. Pakistanis could carry multiple identities, he said, owing to religious or social affiliations. “People themselves organically determine who they are, as a group or a nation,” he said.

He said it was “politically naive” to demand the implementation of the Sharia, the main aim of the HT. He said that when imposing Sharia, a society chooses a particular interpretation of Islam and closes the door on ijtehad. “Islam must be kept free of political interference,” he said.

He called for a comprehensive national strategy to counter extremism. All political and religious factions should agree on “basic social principles”, he said.

He said that the National Counter Terrorism Authority needed to be activated. He said that the government had not even started the “de-radicalisation of society”.

Science and religion

Science requires free thinking, a mind that questions,” said Pervez Hoodbhoy in his talk on ‘The intellectual decline of the Muslims’. He said that Muslims had moved away from progressive scientific approaches over the last 700-800 years.

Continue reading Pakistan: ‘Jihadi danger is from the elite, not the poor’

Pakistan’s super-elite cannot find a piano tuner

A requiem for music

By: F.S.Aijazuddin

WHAT was a Czech violinist Jaroslav Sveceny doing in Lahore recently?

Was he just another Raymond Davis-type of subversive, camouflaging his weaponry like an Italian mafia hit man in a violin case? Or was he something more sinister, a musical reactionary intent on disturbing our cultural complacency?

The moment Sveceny tucked his prized violin under his chin that evening and began playing, he reminded his audience (all graying and on the wrong side of 40) that he did not simply come from another country. He came from a different world, a world in which its citizens express themselves in sound, in colour and in musical notes. We in Pakistan by contrast are reconciled to thinking in silence. We view life in monochrome. We speak in a monotone. The only notes we recognise are bank notes.

It was not always like this. For thousands of years, we have laughed and sang and danced. One needs to remind oneself that the female figurine discovered at Mohenjodaro was a dancing girl, not some lacquered doll pouting on talk shows.

Continue reading Pakistan’s super-elite cannot find a piano tuner

Washington Post : Why I support Baluchistan – By Dana Rohrabacher

Why I support Baluchistan

By Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican, represents California’s 46th District in the U.S. House.

Excerpt;

…. Well, to paraphrase Shakespeare, methinks Islamabad doth protest too much. In fact, Pakistani elites are upset not about lies but the truth.

Baluchistan is Pakistan’s largest province in area and lies in the south, near Iran and Afghanistan. It is replete with natural resources and treated like a colonial possession. Its natural gas, gold, uranium and copper are exploited for the benefit of the ruling elite in Islamabad; meanwhile, the Baluch people remain desperately poor. The province includes the port of Gwadar, on the Arabian Sea, which China has been developing and may turn into a naval base. The Baluch have been dispossessed of land and fishing as a result, while construction jobs and land grants have gone to Pakistanis from other provinces.

First carved up in 1871 by Persia and Britain, the area has a distinct identity that dates to ancient times. In 1947, the ruler of the nominally sovereign and largely autonomous Baluch state of Kalat, which was established in the 17th century, declared independence as the British empire gave way to the nations of India and Pakistan. The Pakistani army marched into Kalat and ended this brief national independence. A popular uprising against this takeover was crushed in 1950. Subsequent revolts in 1958, 1973 and 2005 — the last of which is ongoing — and the Pakistani army’s use of terror tactics against Baluch civilians, indicate continued popular discontent against rule by Islamabad.

With this resolution, I do not seek to single out Pakistan. I have long championed the principle of self-determination. For example, every Pakistani ambassador to the United States for the past 20 years is well aware of my support for the Kashmiri people. Indeed, at the Feb. 8 House subcommittee hearing on Baluchistan, I compared Baluchistan to Kashmir. In 1995, I introduced a resolution that stated in part: “a cycle of violence exists in Kashmir as a result of the Indian Government’s refusal to permit the people of Kashmir to exercise their right to self-determination.”

This is consistent with my commitment to support freedom and people’s right to control their own destiny in accordance with their cultural values and sense of identity. There are many good people in Pakistan who understand that the abuse of human rights by security forces in Baluchistan is a stain on the honor of their country. Such heavy-handed oppression is also counterproductive. It drives people away.

We should not remain a silent partner to a Pakistani government that engages in monstrous crimes against its people and has been an accomplice to terrorist attacks on Americans, including those of Sept. 11, 2001. The real irritant to U.S.-Pakistan relations is not my resolution but the policies of the Islamabad government and military. Consider the plight of Shakeel Afridi, the Pakistani physician who helped lead our Navy SEALs to Osama bin Laden. He has been arrested and threatened with a charge of treason. An inquiry commission deemed him a “national criminal” because he helped the United States put an end to the terrorist who plotted the deaths of thousands of Americans.

Islamabad has not only sheltered al-Qaeda but also provided a base of operations for the Taliban, who continue to kill Americans. With one hand officials thumb their noses at us and with the other hand they grab billions in our foreign aid. It is time Washington stopped aiding Pakistan and developed a closer friendship with India and, perhaps, Baluchistan.

I make no apology for submitting a resolution championing the oppressed people of Baluchistan in their dealings with a Pakistani government that has betrayed our trust.

Courtesy: The Washington Post

www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/why-i-support-baluchistan/2012/04/06/gIQAQ17Z0S_story.html

The ‘iron hand’ mentality – Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

The iron hand mentality has been the bane of the establishment and rulers and it is not something inadvertent, spontaneous or random; it is the natural consequence of the deeply etched religious and racist bias

The Balochistan Cabinet, reports say, in order to maintain the writ of the government, has decided to clamp down on anti-Pakistan elements “with an iron hand”. This ‘earthshaking’ decision implies that previously the Baloch people were being dealt with with velvety hands and utmost compassion. The art of dissembling and deceit should be learnt from this ‘establishment’; they should open another university similar to their ‘strategic depth university’, which teaches the finer points of terrorism in its ‘strategic assets’ department.

Continue reading The ‘iron hand’ mentality – Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

Dialogue only on Freedom Agenda, Pakistan is an Occupier, Intervention Continuing Since 1948! Hyrbeyar Marri & Khan Kalat

By Archen Baloch 30/03/2012

Baloch national leader Waja HyrBeyar Marri said that there would be no dialogue on anything except freedom, speaking in a private TV program, the patriotic Baloch leader said that foreign interference in Balochistan started the day one when Pakistan occupied it! Pakistan is the occupier! On a desperate remark of the anchorperson that Zardari would not give you

Freedom, HyrBeyar said that they would knock every door of international community for support, and pledge that every Baloch would work hard to regain the freedom!

HyrBeyar Marri, exiled in London, said that the name of Islam is manipulated to serve morbid interests. He said that the attitude of Punjabi elite has never been friendly, he added that Pakistani oligarch has always plundered and looted Balochistan.

Read more » http://www.twitlonger.com/show/gnsdep

Saroop Ijaz on Imran Khan and the 19/90 days promise. Lying or stupid?

The lies and triangulations of Imran Khan

By Saroop Ijaz

When the educated, prudent Imran Khan supporter is asked for her views on the unbelievably grand proclamation of the ‘dear leader’ stating that he will uproot corruption in 19 days and eradicate terrorism in 90 days, there are always two slants, often one after the other. The devotee will inevitably begin by arguing how Imran Khan will unquestionably and quite breezily achieve the said objectives in the self-stipulated time period. If the line of reasoning is further pursued (or reasoning used at all), they will gingerly and sheepishly concede that statements might not be susceptible to literal implementation, but making an invigorated comeback, state that he is better than everyone else and has built a cancer hospital and who else could they vote for etc? At this point a smirk breaks out on the face of the PTI foot-soldier; to them it is the clincher. The best argument for Imran Khan is something which can be vaguely phrased as some notion of the ‘lesser evil’. There is some difficulty in grasping the concept of how the subsequent quantitative judgment about less or more is precisely made, once the qualitative determination of ‘evilness’ has been reached.

Let me be plain on the matter, the proclamations of Imran Khan on corruption and terrorism and the arbitrary, flashy deadlines are untrue on their face. They require no elaborate refutation, and a child of 10 having average intelligence should see through them, unless of course they have uncritical love blinding them. This brings us to the question of motive, here again an unflattering binary is unavoidable; either he is lying by design or he does not possess the fortitude to understand and realize what he says. At a core level, it is a choice between deceit and self-deceit. I do not think Imran Khan is fantastically intelligent, but he is decent by cricketer/politician standard. Hence, because he is not severely mentally handicapped, it is safe to say that he does know what he promises is not only undoable, it is impossible that he will get anywhere close to these deadlines in the best of circumstances. The blatant misrepresentations cannot be attributed to Spartan simple-mindedness or childlike innocence; it is done with complete knowledge. Therefore, even to put it at its mildest, Imran Khan is deliberately and consciously lying.

Continue reading Saroop Ijaz on Imran Khan and the 19/90 days promise. Lying or stupid?

PAKISTAN – The burden of radicalisation

By Raoof Hasan

The radicalisation of society in Pakistan is an undeniable phenomenon which has gathered in pace and intensity in the recent past. Its gruesome symptoms are a daily occurrence which symbolise the regression shaping the way people have started reacting to events and situations. It is violent and wicked. It is abominable and depressing. Even worse is the extensively pervasive nonchalance with which it is greeted at every appearance.

The fragmentation of society on religious, ethnic, sectarian, social and economic basis has become a norm. For the rulers, it is a convenient means of securing and perpetuating their hold on power and for the ruled, it is a method for manifesting their allegiance to accrue benefits. It works to the mutual advancement of both. Should it, therefore, follow that this is the best that we have and this is the way it is always going to be? A scary thought of what one may actually have to live with! ….

Read more » The Express Tribune

God’s Soldiers

By Omar Ali

This is 6 months old, but I just happened to see it.  Praveen Sami is right as far as it goes, but I would add that there are many confused and self-contradictory elements within this God’s soldier world. Pakistan’s army high command is indeed heavily influenced by this Jihadist and Islamist ideology (more than friendly observers like Anatol Lieven or Indian liberals may realize), but some of the SAME people are also crooks, compromisers, confused liberals, “modernisers” and so on. The net effect is a persistent Jihadist initiative mixed with real clashes with hardcore jihadis, alliance with the CIA, and extensive mercenary, trade and cultural exchanges with infidels, including INDIAN infidels. Some people in the Pakistani elite do have an almost psychotic reaction to anything “Hindu” (the best analogy would be the psychotic ravings of some Bajran Dal and VHP types when Muslims are mentioned) but even the Jihad is not monolithic and clear-headed. And neither is the control of the state by the army. And neither is the politics of the civilian population. In that, there are opportunities as well as threats.
Yeh tehzeeb aap apney khanjar sey khudkashi karey gi.. (this civilization will kill itself with its own dagger).. the verse  is from Allama Iqbal Jihadi and refers to Western civilization, but applies with greater force to his own confused “dream of an Islamic state”. To regard them as incorrigibly and completely Jihadist would be to do the same sort of thing Arundhati Roy does when she thinks of American policymakers.  In the real world, there are opportunities as well as threats. Some people may be interested in what can be done…

See also: http://www.3quarksdaily.com/3quarksdaily/2011/05/pakistan-the-narratives-come-home-to-roost-by-omar-ali-.html

Courtesy:» Brown Pundits

BBC – “Will the generals and judges force the president from power?” Pakistan’s political soap opera – By Owen Bennett Jones

Pakistan’s political soap opera

By Owen Bennett Jones, BBC News

Islamabad – Earlier this week, Pakistan’s prime minister appeared before the country’s Supreme Court to defend himself against allegations of contempt – it is symbolic of a dispute that is on-going at the centre of the country’s powerful elite.

When great institutions of state clash, history is made. It is the stuff of school history lessons – the Magna Carta, the Star Chamber, the Great Reform Act – that kind of thing.

But while in the UK such milestones have generally been once-a-century type events, in Pakistan they have become a way of life. Constitutional crises have become business as usual.

This week Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani was forced to appear before the Supreme Court. He was there to face contempt proceedings related to the president’s immunity from prosecution.

I will spare you the details. But as I sat in the court’s press gallery, I felt pretty sure that in 100 years, Pakistani school children would not be learning about the January 2012 contempt case.

Perhaps they will be studying something the Western journalists did not even know was happening: a debate between some clerics on what role Islam should have in the state.

But the court was colourful. There was the prime minister, alongside him his brilliant lawyer Aitzaz Ahsan and a throng of ministers showing solidarity.

And buzzing about all of them, the journalists – representatives of Pakistan’s new, irrepressible 24-hour news television culture.

For millions of Pakistanis, the constant wrangling of the elite has the quality of a TV soap opera.

I do not want to belittle the importance of politics. The failure of successive elected and military governments has left millions of Pakistanis highly frustrated. But still the TV news shows attract massive audiences – people both despair of their leaders and want to know all about them.

Because many of the political parties are little more than family businesses, the same names have been around for decades – with power passed from father to daughter, brother to brother, and so on.

All this is against a backdrop of corruption cases, the frequent imprisonment of politicians, the “war on terror”, suicide attacks, assassinations, US military incursions – there is so much going on.

Pakistani news anchors can pirouette from the big news such as “The Prime Minister’s Day in Court”, to the tittle-tattle – the affairs, the hair transplants, the family rows.

Will the generals and judges force the president from power?” …

Read more » BBC

Salivating for a coup..

By Omar Ali

Its always hazardous to comment on “proximate politics” and the threat of a coup has not yet disappeared in Pakistan, but it does seem to have receded a bit, even if the story is by no means over and the struggle continues. Still, the fact that it has not yet happened is a huge disappointment for some media persons (Kamran Khan comes to mind) who were all dressed up and ready for a coup a few days ago and now look visibly depressed (though still hoping that the paknationalist judiciary will deliver what the paknationalist army did not) and for sections of the middle class. And behind these disappointees there is another section of even more seriously heart-broken people: the young scions of Pakistan’s inbred military-bureaucratic elite, who were already imagining themselves taking over PIA or Pakistan Railways to “reform” the institution and fix the mess created by “corrupt politicians”. I feel their pain..

For background, a quick review; pressure for a coup in Pakistan comes from several sources, including:

Continue reading Salivating for a coup..

Should Sindhis join Imran Khan – Tehrik Insaaf?

By Khalid Hashmani

There is an item titled “Shah Mehmood Qureshi Jaa Kujh Anokha Taarikhi Hawala” “شاهه محمود قريشي جا ڪجهه انوکا تاريخي حوالا” written by Farooq Bijarani from Tagwani, Kandhkot, published in Sindhi daily newspaper and posted on Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, if true then would be an alarming development. That article quotes a statement by the Vice Chairman of Tehreek-e-Insaf Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi as saying at a public gathering in Ghotki that he is like Mahmood Ghaznavi, who is on mission to break the Somnath Mandar in Sindh. Those familiar with the history of Sindh know the historical account of cruelties that Mahmood Ghaznavi bestowed on Sindh on his way back to his home country after destroying the Somnath Mandar in Gujrat. He slaughtered many Sindhis and burned the capital city of Sindh.

Makhdoom sahib also said that there now lives a Pharaoh in Sindh (probably referring to his old mentor President Asif Zardari) and that he is coming to free the people of Sindh from his slavery. The article asks: Are we Sindhis so gullible or helpless that we need some one from Multan or Mianwalli to free us from the slavery of a Pharaoh? Replying this question, the author says “We Sindhis are neither slaves nor sleeping that we would allow a Pharaoh to rule us.

I agree with the author that every one has the right to present their views but they should think before they open their lips. They should be aware of the true history before comparing themselves to historical figures.

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, December 14, 2011.

Pakistan’s Modernity: Between the Military and Militancy

By Ayesha Siddiqa

In Pakistan economic progress does not automatically translate into liberal progressive modernity mainly due to the nature of the state. Pakistan’s modernity is structured along two axes: neo-liberal nationalism and right-wing radical nationalism. While the neo-liberal nationalism axis depicts an authoritarian and top-down model of economic and political development marked with the expansion of a national security-obsessed middle class and ruling elite, the right-wing radical nationalism axis denotes the growth of religious radicalism and militancy as symbols of geopolitical modernity that are anti-imperialist in nature. This analysis argues that liberalism is one of the many consequences of modernity, but not the only one. The meeting point of both trajectories has resulted in turning Pakistan into a hybrid-theocratic state which encapsulates a mix of economic neo-liberalism, pockets of social liberalism, formal theocracy and larger spaces experiencing informal theocracy.

View Full Article » http://epw.in/epw/uploads/articles/16890.pdf

The leadership conundrum

By Shahab Usto

It is the poor who suffer for state and government failures. They have hardly any political platforms of their own to protect and promote their interests, thanks to the long established authoritarian traditions and pro-elitist state policies

Though Pakistan has hardly ever seen normal times, these are supposedly the most dreadful and tragic times. …

Read more » Daily Times

9/11 and the Imperial Mentality Looking Back on 9/11 a Decade Later

by Noam Chomsky

We are approaching the 10th anniversary of the horrendous atrocities of September 11, 2001, which, it is commonly held, changed the world. On May 1st, the presumed mastermind of the crime, Osama bin Laden, was assassinated in Pakistan by a team of elite US commandos, Navy SEALs, after he was captured, unarmed and undefended, in Operation Geronimo.

A number of analysts have observed that although bin Laden was finally killed, he won some major successes in his war against the U.S. …

Read more → commondreams

We are living in a Taliban state – by Nayyer Khan

The ‘forced fasting’ of Zia’s time, like many other such laws, was never reversed by the PPP despite its third time in power. The reason could be that during Zia’s years, the fundamentalists became so powerful that they were now the masters of the country’s fate

Recently, a police SHO barged into Nairang Gallery located on Jail Road, Lahore, which is an art gallery-cum-rendezvous spot for the city’s social and cultural elite, intelligentsia and artistic and bohemian classes, and harassed the staff as well as visitors and customers present for violating the ‘holiness’ of Ramzan. According to him, food and beverages were being served there during fasting hours. He also objected to the attire of the female staff and customers there, calling it revealing and thus un-Islamic, and against the sacredness of Ramzan. He did not like both genders mixing freely either. He misbehaved with and even manhandled the female curator of the gallery. This incident has stirred a wave of condemnation and protest from civil society and the cultured classes.

This kind of forced ‘sanctification’ of Ramzan is a routine matter in small cities and towns in Pakistan. Such highhandedness by the authorities in small places is seldom reported in the media. For instance, the following incident, which, somehow, did get reported in a leading daily may give a faint idea as to what kind of thrusting of one’s values on others is prevalent in our society.

On September 16, 2009, during the month of Ramzan, about two dozen people were made to parade semi-naked in a market place in Mianwali, with their hands tied by the clothes stripped off their bodies, on the orders of a deputy district officer before they were put into the lockup. The guilt of those subjected to this humiliation was that they were caught sipping tea at some tea stalls at the railway station and bus stands during fasting timings.

This act of disgracing human beings reminds one of the black days of General Zia when ‘Ramzan violators’ were given similar treatment by the authorities, by painting their faces black or shaving their heads in public. But the irony of the matter is that this practice continues even during the government of a supposedly secular and moderate political party. However, with events like the one that took place in Mianwali, one fails to find the difference between the present regime and that of Zia.

According to the present laws, the administration grants special permission to some eateries to serve food and tea to patients, travellers, etc, during the fast. The above action against alleged Ramzan violators by the local administration of Mianwali raises two questions. First, how did the police establish that the alleged Ramzan violators were not patients or travellers? Second, how would a patient or a traveller know that the eatery serving food and beverages during fasting timings does not have such permission from the administration? Obviously, a customer would presume that such an eatery has permission. He would not demand to see the license first before ordering any eatables. The customer could be an uneducated person who may not even be able to read such a paper issued by the administration to the eatery. Then why were those citizens of Pakistan punished by the authorities?

Before the black year of 1977 — when Zia took over Pakistan — all restaurants here served food and beverages during fasting hours in Ramzan. The only difference was that during Ramzan, the doors and windows of the eateries were covered with thick curtains so that those who were fasting and passing by the restaurant were not tempted by the eating and drinking activities going on inside the eatery.

Since the inception of Pakistan till the government of the PPP before Zia’s coup, the above-mentioned norm remained in practice. After the PPP’s regaining of power in 1988, many draconian laws and practices from Zia’s regime were undone. Unfortunately, however, the ‘forced fasting’ of Zia’s time, like many other such laws, was never reversed by the PPP despite its third time in power. The reason could be that during Zia’s years, the fundamentalists became so powerful that they were now the masters of the country’s fate.

In any civilised society, it is considered an individual’s prerogative to follow a certain religious practice or not. Many people in the cities of Pakistan live forced bachelor lives away from their native towns. Even living in their home towns, many people have their work places situated far away from their homes. The only source of food and beverage for such people is the eateries. Many from amongst them suffer various medical conditions that force them to eat and drink regularly. For instance, a diabetic person has to eat at regular intervals to maintain his blood sugar level. A kidney patient has to take a lot of liquids to flush his kidneys. A person suffering from low blood pressure can faint without sufficient salt intake. There are so many other instances where the old, sick and weak have to indulge in a normal food and beverage intake to live. Where would such people go if they are not even allowed to drink water outside their homes? Thirst and hunger can be felt at any time whether one is in the concealment of a house or moving out in the open.

If fasting is a religious duty then so is offering prayers. In the ‘model’ police state of Saudi Arabia, clergymen called mutawas go about the streets and market places with sticks in their hands during prayer times and harass and even beat up people to join prayer offerings in the nearby mosque. Why is Pakistan this one step behind Saudi Arabia? If laws here force people to follow one religious duty, why do they not make them follow the other one too?

What is a Taliban mindset? It is to impose one’s religious values on others. The laws of Pakistan overlap with Taliban laws. Let us admit that we are living in a semi-Taliban state, which may become a full Taliban state one day.

Courtesy: → Daily Times

SDF urged MPs to reject dictator Musharraf’s undemocratic, repressive & discriminatory local govt ordinance

– MPAs urged to reject revival of LB system

HYDERABAD, Aug 11: The Sindh Democratic Forum (SDF) has appealed to the members of Sindh Assembly not to vote in favour of the ordinance promulgated about revival of the district government system in Sindh.

It urged MPAs to protect sanctity of their legislative power and defend the bill they had passed to get rid of a dictatorial system to divide Sindh.

It congratulated those legislators of Sindh Assembly who revived the commissioner system, adding that it was the time for every legislator to prove his loyalty to Sindh.

In a statement issued here on Thursday, the SDF alleged that the district government system was introduced by a dictator to hand over cities of Sindh to a specific group as independent administrative units. Under the system, a city of 20 million people was made a district while another city of Sindh was divided into four districts.

It said the commissioner system would ensure decentralisation of power and Karachi would come into its former position of five districts, which would ensure fair delivery of service to all, including minorities and other ethnic groups living in the metropolitan.

It criticised what it termed somersault of the government, saying that it revealed that the present government was so weak and baffled that it had succumbed to the pressure of killings in Karachi by a political group with terrorist outfit. The sons of Sindh were bewildered on the statement and actions of the person who was sitting in London, heading a political group and calling himself son of Sindh, but his actions were against the wishes and rights of Sindh.

It demanded that he should demonstrate his sincerity towards Sindh by denouncing Musharraf`s ordinance and should support the demand of Sindhis to restore five districts of Karachi and revival of Hyderabad district in its original position.

It supported the strike call for Aug 13 and requested all the people of Sindh to wear black armbands and demanded from the MQM leadership to denounce the Local Government Ordinance 2001 and demonstrate solidarity with the people of Sindh.

DEMONSTRATION: Activists of the Awami Tahreek, its women wing Sindhiani Tahreek, and students wing Sindhi Shagird Tahreek held a demonstration outside the press club here on Thursday to pay tribute to Zafar Ali Shah, Nabeel Gabol, Nawab Mohammad Yousuf Talpur, Ms Humera Alwani, Nawaz Chandio, Ayaz Amir and Hakeem Baloch for their courageous stand on the local bodies issue.

Speaking on the occasion, the leaders said that the PPP had committed treachery and treason with Sindh just to prolong its rule.

They said that by abolishing commissioner system throughout Sindh and restoring the local bodies system of the dictator, the PPP was trying to appease an ethnic terrorist organisation.

Those legislators who had raised their voice with the people of Sindh were true sons of the soil, they said and expressed the hope that other MNAs and MPAs would also emulate their brave and courageous colleagues.

JST: In view of the strike call given by the Sindh Bachayo Committee for Aug 13 throughout Sindh, the Jeay Sindh Tahreek has postponed its protest rally scheduled to be held in Karachi on Aug 15.

In a joint statement faxed to Dawn here on Thursday, the president JST, Dr Safdar Sarki and others said that the Aug 15 rally by the party had been postponed to ensure the success of the strike called for Aug 13. They called upon the party workers to fully participate in the strike call.

They paid tribute to Zafar Ali Shah, Nawab Yousuf Talpur, Mir Nadir Magsi, Ms Humera Alwani and Ms Sassui Palijo other brave sons and daughters of Sindh for taking a brave and courageous stand against the local bodies` issue.

They pledged to foil all anti-Sindh conspiracies through practical struggle.

Courtesy: → DAWN.COM

Oslo tragedy

by Farooq Sulehria

Thus it is not a coincidence that Breivik has unleashed his puritan terror on AUF activists. The AUF (Labour Youth Club) is Norwegian Labour Party’s youth wing. Both Labour party and AUF have been campaigning against racism. Ever since the 1950s, a summer camp at holiday island of Utoya has been a regular feature of AUF’s activities.

One does not expect funeral processions coming out of a paradise. The horrific July 22 events in Norwegian capital of Oslo, a bomb blast outside Prime Minister’s office followed by a shoot spree claiming 92 lives, delineate such an unusually disastrous tragedy.

The Oslo massacre has bereaved Norway of her innocence the way Olof Palme’s murder in 1986 marked end of Swedish myth.

“Norwegian democracy is unique in that the Prime Minister along with other Ministers can go about their daily lives without security by their side. Norway’s King can travel by public transport without anyone batting an eyelid and it is this democracy which is under attack,” writes Toni Usman in an email to his friends. A successful TV-stage actor and an engaged activist, Toni Usman himself is a shining example of Norwegian tolerance and ingenuousness where not merely royals, elite politicians and celebrities freely mix with commoners, ordinary citizens also live a life unheard of even in Europe let alone South Asia. Living without the fear of theft or violence, the Norwegian lifestyle may appear naive to even Europeans. ….

Read more → ViewPoint

Fantasy land and killing fields of Pakistan

by Dr. Manzur Ejaz

Excerpt;

…. It is self evident that Pakistan’s pathetic conditions are due to internal causes and have nothing to do with the US, India, Israel or anybody else. And, yet our intelligentsia, media and political operators pay more attention to foreign powers than on the real culprits. A small friction with the US becomes the main topic of talk-shows, newspaper columns and political circles.

Pakistani opinion makers have chosen to buy into a fantasy land where they can blame the foreign powers for everything and not pay attention to the inner dynamics of the society. South Korea is much more aligned with the US—the superpower has military bases in that country—and yet it has become a well developed, industrialised society. The difference is that South Korea had thorough land reforms and its ruling elite are much more focused on domestic development than blaming the imaginary or real foreign enemies. As a matter of fact, many East Asian countries have followed this model and are industrialised by now. It’s about time we turn out backs to the fantasy land or else things will only continue to worsen.

To read complete article → WICHAAR.COM

Someone There to Rescue Pakistan!

By Saeed Qureshi

Excerpt;

Is there someone who can rescue Pakistan and its hapless people from the bloody clutches of Wolves and predators in the garb of humans? A massive deep drift and deadly decay is caving into the fabric of Pakistan and debilitating it like slow poisoning. …

…. Lawlessness in Pakistan and pointedly in Pakistan’s leading city Karachi seems to be a blood soaked legacy of the Rwandan massacre. There is no let-up in bloodletting between the rival factions or by the trigger happy shooters. One can draw the only conclusion from incessant wanton killings that either the government is an accomplice or it is not concerned about such manslaughters and target killings that have become the order of the day. ….

….. There is no use of projecting ourselves as nuclear power when the common man is caught in a fatiguing struggle of earning two loaves of bread for his starving children.

Why is the army fighting a war to serve the interests of other nations? It is a supportive fight for establishment of neo-colonialism whose agenda is to establish military bases, capture markets and to further their nefarious objectives of robbing and exploiting the untapped resources of the captive nations for their factories and mills.

The Pakistan armed forces are mandated to protect Pakistan and its people from external aggression. It is not obligated to fight in submission to the wishes and designs of foreign powers that nurse their own blighted concepts of self protection and priorities.

Why should Pakistan a poor and economically weak country become pawn and part of the global diabolic game that is hollowing her from inside like termite and one day the edifice would crumble to the ground?

Can the leaders of Pakistan both in power and out of power think rationally and patriotically to apprehend and foresee the horrendous dangers and threats lurking over its stability and existence? Would they continue their sinister and insidious musical chairs game of intrigue and greed to take turn in ruling the country and grabbing power by foul and dubious means?

Do they realize that Pakistan is in deep and dire straits? Do they have an iota of commonsense to comprehend the hurricanes that are ferociously blowing to tear this country into pieces?

Can they feel the pains and sufferings of the oppressed people of Pakistan passing every day through a life and death ordeal due to hunger, poverty, disease, unbridled and galloping cost of living and scarcity of items of daily use?

Do they know people are losing their lives because of bomb blasts and vendetta killings and gang wars? Do they know young girls are kidnapped on the way to schools and colleges and subjected to rape and sold to prostitute dens? Do they know every day 22000 young boys are molested by the sex predators in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan?

We call ourselves Muslims and that is what the Islamic demagogues exhort us from the pulpit and from lavishly decorated religious congregations, to become. What is the ground reality? These religious orators incite their followers and sect fellows to slander their opponents and even kill them.

These religious zealots never initiate or start a campaign or float a mission against the social crimes, against the blood-thirsty mafias, against the evil doers, the rapist, the thugs, the looters of public funds, the adulterators, the bribe takers and bribe givers, the up to neck corrupt parliamentarians, the easy to buy jurists, the corrupt bureaucrats, the sleazy generals and the robbers occupying the power corridors.

These religious preachers can interpret to hang a powerless woman for adultery but do not want to punish a muscular and powerful man who kidnaps her and ruins her life at gun point or knife. We believe in distorted version of religious injunctions that hardly bring us any relief, redemptions and justice against the heinous culprits. Where are we heading to?

How can a woman produce four witnesses to prove that she was raped or molested? How a young and teen age girl molested by savage men can brace against the perpetrators for dishonoring her? Why, in the first instance, the laws are not implemented in letter and spirit.

To read complete article → Upright Opinion (Saeed Qureshi blog)

Unnecessarily provocative statements, violence & attempts by anyone to divide people shoud be condemned. Find ways to bond together irrespective of the languages

Courtesy: Geo Tv (Capital talk  with Hamid Mir, Haroon-ul-Rasheen and Nazir Laghari – 14th july 2011 part – 4)

via → ZemTVYouTube

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To read more about PPP and MQMBBC urdu

Pakistan: The Power of Intelligence Agencies

by Hassan N. Gardezi

Excerpt;

Preamble – The discovery of Osama bin Laden in Abbotabad and his killing by US commandos has raised serious concerns about the performance of Pakistan’s intelligence agencies. The country’s interior minister Rehman Malik, besieged by allegations of incompetence and complicity went on the defensive, pleading that his government was not aware of Osama’s whereabouts until the US attack on his fortified mansion on May 2. He insisted that it was just a case of accidental failure of Pakistani intelligence agencies, similar to the failure of the US intelligence to detect the perpetrators of 9/11 as they planed their attacks within America.

While giving a briefing on the Abbotabad incident to the in-camera session of both houses of parliament on May13, Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, chief of the Inter-services Intelligence Directorate (ISI), also reportedly admitted the “failure” of his agency, offering to resign from his post while adding that it was “not intentional” failure. ….

…. It will be naive to conclude that these happenings in Pakistan are accidents of history or failures of the country’s ruling elite who do not know what they are doing. These incidents and other events which have brought Pakistan to where it stands today are part of the logical unfolding of the paradigm of governance adopted consciously and purposefully by successive governments of Pakistan since the inception of the state in 1947. More on this later, but what is pertinent to note here is that the core of this ruling paradigm is the political use of Islam, the essence of the Islamist enterprise. In this respect the present governing establishment is in competition with the militant Islamists, not in conflict.

To read complete article → SOUTH ASIA CITIZENS WEB

Pakistan: Drifting towards fascism

Dictator Zia

by Mazhar Arif

Retreat of socialism, particularly in former Soviet Union, and rise of “Ziaism” in Pakistan depressed the progressive (Leftist) and secular forces in the country which resulted in fading of “battle of ideas” in media and educational institutions. The consequences are the general intellectual bankruptcy and emergence of media-obsessed intelligentsia and the result is the “Ziaized” elitist intellectuals are on the center-stage …

Read more → ViewPoint