Once, while discussing the history, a Sindhi writer Yousuf Shaheen said that, Sindh was not just an independent state but an empire before invasion of Arabs. It took Arabs 78 years to capture Sindh after 18 attacks.Continue reading Sindh was not just an independent state but an empire
BEIJING, Oct. 13 (Xinhua) — As U.S. politicians of both political parties are still shuffling back and forth between the White House and the Capitol Hill without striking a viable deal to bring normality to the body politic they brag about, it is perhaps a good time for the befuddled world to start considering building a de-Americanized world.
Emerging from the bloodshed of the Second World War as the world’s most powerful nation, the United States has since then been trying to build a global empire by imposing a postwar world order, fueling recovery in Europe, and encouraging regime-change in nations that it deems hardly Washington-friendly.
With its seemingly unrivaled economic and military might, the United States has declared that it has vital national interests to protect in nearly every corner of the globe, and been habituated to meddling in the business of other countries and regions far away from its shores.
Meanwhile, the U.S. government has gone to all lengths to appear before the world as the one that claims the moral high ground, yet covertly doing things that are as audacious as torturing prisoners of war, slaying civilians in drone attacks, and spying on world leaders.
Under what is known as the Pax-Americana, we fail to see a world where the United States is helping to defuse violence and conflicts, reduce poor and displaced population, and bring about real, lasting peace.
Moreover, instead of honoring its duties as a responsible leading power, a self-serving Washington has abused its superpower status and introduced even more chaos into the world by shifting financial risks overseas, instigating regional tensions amid territorial disputes, and fighting unwarranted wars under the cover of outright lies.
As a result, the world is still crawling its way out of an economic disaster thanks to the voracious Wall Street elites, while bombings and killings have become virtually daily routines in Iraq years after Washington claimed it has liberated its people from tyrannical rule.
By John Feffer, co-director of Foreign Policy In Focus
As people near retirement age, they enter the twilight years. Sometimes, they rebel against retirement. They want to keep working. They‘re not interested in shuffling out of their office never to return. And if they’re in fact the owner of the workplace, conflicts often ensue. Those who have power rarely want to give up that power.
The United States is relatively young as a country. It is even younger as the “leader of the free world.” But for at least three decades, reports have circulated that the American empire has entered its twilight years, perhaps even its dotage.
The U.S. government itself cautioned us to scale back our expectations in the late 1970s when President Jimmy Carter called on Americans to cut back on consumerism and adjust to an age of diminishing expectations. Then, after the Reagan rebound, we were warned by Yale professor Paul Kennedy of imperial overstretch in the late 1980s. The Clinton years saved us from bankruptcy and the George W. Bush administration again reasserted American power in the world.
But now, the United States has again sunk into economic malaise and the wars of the last decade have left the country badly bruised. Historian Alfred McCoy believes the U.S. empire won‘t make it until 2025. Norwegian sociologist Johan Galtung pulls the horizon a little closer to 2025. It’s also possible that the empire already ended and somebody forgot to make the announcement. In 2011, Standard and Poor‘s removed the United States from its list of risk-free borrowers, putting us below Canada and Australia. That could very well have been the death knell.
Predicting the end of American empire is complicated by the fact that the United States is not a traditional empire. It does not try to maintain territorial control over distant lands (though many residents of Hawai’i and Guam might disagree). It doesn‘t practice a straightforward policy of pillaging overseas possessions for their material wealth. It practices a form of consensual give-and-take with its allies in Europe and Asia.
But the American Goliath does straddle the globe militarily, with hundreds and hundreds of military bases and Special Forces operating in 71 countries. The United States remains number one in the dubious categories of overall military spending and overall military exports.
Economically, the United States attempts to use the size of its economy to negotiate favorable deals with smaller countries (think: NAFTA) and often defines its national security priorities by their proximity to valuable natural resources (think: oil). It wields disproportionate influence in international economic organizations like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
Culturally, Hollywood and the music industry and the television studios all set the standard for cool around the world. English is the world language, and the dollar (for now) is the world currency.
This is, in other words, an empire of consent. Other governments ask for our military bases (though often over the objections of their citizens). Other governments want to trade with the United States. No one makes people watch Avatar or Titanic, the top-grossing movies worldwide. No one forces consumers at gunpoint to eat at McDonald’s or drink Coca-Cola. It‘s true that Washington does what it can to tilt the playing field – through export subsidies, diplomatic arm-twisting, and the occasional show of force. And it can be a very lonely world for those countries, like North Korea, that consistently defy the United States. But this still remains a much more complex set of relationships than Pax Romana or Pax Brittanica.
However one defines U.S. power, though, a fundamental shift is clearly taking place in the world. China is slated to surpass the United States as the world’s largest economy as early as 2016. According to a recent Pew Research Center poll, many people already believe that China has done so. Indeed, if measured by purchasing power, China nosed past the United States a couple years ago.
It‘s not just China. The other celebrated members of the BRICS – Brazil, India, Russia, South Africa – are more quietly building up their economic and geopolitical power. Then there’s MIST – Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, and Turkey – another group of rising powers. The proliferation of other groupings – the Next 11, CIVETS – all testifies to the transformation of world power.
Meanwhile, the United States is behaving like a country desperately trying to maintain its edge. It has proclaimed a “Pacific pivot” even though it doesn‘t have the resources to execute any significant shift from the Middle East to Asia. It has attempted to maintain unsustainable levels of military spending at a time of serious budget constraints. It has tried to maintain a surveillance state in the face of considerable challenges from both individuals and organizations. Detroit has gone bankrupt; bridges have collapsed in Washington state and Arizona; thousands in New York and New Jersey are still homeless after last year’s Hurricane Sandy; gun violence annually claims tens of thousands of lives.
And on the issues where the world truly needs leadership – global warming, global poverty, global militarism – the United States is either out to lunch or very much part of the problem.
An aging chief executive who resists calls for retirement will often whip out their trump card: apr?s moi, le deluge! In other words, if the top person goes, whatever their vices might be, the organization will collapse because no one else can provide effective leadership.
John Feffer is co-director of Foreign Policy In Focus (www.fpif.org) at the Institute for Policy Studies. His articles and books can be found at http://www.johnfeffer.com. His latest book is Crusade 2.0 (City Lights, 2012).
The views presented in this column are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Hankyoreh.
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By: Saad Rasool
His loyalty swears allegiance to the empire of law, not to the seat of any judge
I have been raised on the idea that a man keeps his distance from friends when they are in high places, and never leaves the side of a friend who has been knocked to his knees by life. In fidelity to this ethos, the following is a howl from my wounded heart, in defence of my friend, Babar Sattar, whose intellect, audacity and honesty, has cost him the wrath of the mighty and the powerful!
Let me emphasize at the very outset that I agree with, and endorse, every word written by Babar in his op-ed piece, “Hubris as Justice?”. And, as we customarily state in legal pleadings, ‘let the contents of that piece be read as an integral part of this article’. By that virtue, the fundamental principles of consistency and equality (in law) mandate that whatever is done unto him, be also done unto me. Anything else, in constitutional jargon, will be a violation of Article 25 of the Constitution (discrimination).
Let me begin with a slight background for those who are unaware of all that has transpired: On Tuesday, Babar wrote an op-ed piece, which was critical of some of the jurisprudential trends emanating from the honorable Supreme Court. The article was published in Dawn, since The News International refused to publish this piece (as Babar’s weekly column), alleging that it was ‘unbalanced’. That same day, the contents of this article were highlighted (with praise!) in a programme on Geo TV. Thereafter, almost instantly, the content and context of this article became the topic of discussion across all tele- and social-media waves. As expected, soon enough, this piece caught the attention of the honorable judges of the apex court, who viewed it as a tremendous act of insubordination (by a former of the legal fraternity). Immediately, contempt notices were issued to the publisher as well as the media-giant that telecasted Babar’s opinion. The matter, soon enough, will be taken up for ‘dispassionate’ adjudication.
By Ayaz Amir
….. America is still an empire but after Iraq and Afghanistan, a more sober empire. America’s determination to pull out of Afghanistan – they are now even talking of the zero option, no troops at all after 2014 – is a reflection of this sobriety.
The ghost of Bin Laden perhaps laughing soundlessly in the kingdom of the shades, and we scarcely aware of what awaits us… as, to the roll of muffled drums in the distance, another chapter in our colourful history begins to unfold.
by Glen Ford
The American atrocities in Afghanistan roll on like a drumbeat from hell. With every affront to the human and national dignity of the Afghan people, the corporate media feign shock and quickly conclude that a few bad apples are responsible for U.S. crimes, that it’s all a mistake and misunderstanding, rather than the logical result of a larger crime: ….
Read more » Common Dreams
Pakistan’s answer to the iPad is the PACPAD
By CHRIS BRUMMITT
Catch me if you can … Mohammad Imran holds a locally-made PACPad computer tablet at his electronics store in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.
Inside a high-security air force complex that builds jet fighters and weapons systems, Pakistan’s military is working on the latest addition to its sprawling commercial empire: a homegrown version of the iPad.
It’s a venture that bundles together Pakistani engineering and Chinese hardware, and shines a light on the military’s controversial foothold in the consumer market. Supporters say it will boost the economy as well as a troubled nation’s self-esteem.
It all comes together at an air force base in Kamra in northern Pakistan, where avionics engineers – when they’re not working on defense projects – assemble the PACPAD 1.
“The original is the iPad, the copy is the PACPAD,” said Mohammad Imran, who stocks the product at his small computer and mobile phone shop in a mall in Rawalpindi, a city not far from Kamra and the home of the Pakistani army.
The device runs on Android 2.3, an operating system made by Google and given away for free. At around $US200, it’s less than half the price of Apple or Samsung devices and cheaper than other low-end Chinese tablets on the market, with the bonus of a local, one-year guarantee.
The PAC in the name stands for the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, where it is made. The PAC also makes an e-reader and small laptop.
By Haider Nizamani
PROPRIETORS of media houses dabbling in politics has a long history in South Asia. The power and propaganda nexus is nothing new.
What is somewhat different is the mushrooming of television channels creating new forms of this nexus. Understanding the multifaceted dynamics of this interaction is a relatively unexplored area for the social scientist in Pakistan.
The new kid on Sindh’s political block is Ali Qazi. His family owns the most popular, hence the most powerful, media house of the Sindhi language. Daily Kawish, its flagship newspaper, probably sells more copies than the combined circulation of all its competitors.
Kawish Television Network (KTN) runs a dedicated 24/7 news and current affairs channel and two other channels. Kawish and KTN are household names for the Sindhi reading and viewing public.
Ali Qazi’s recent foray into politics climaxed on Jan 22 in a public meeting in Bhit Shah, a small town in central Sindh where the shrine of the venerated Sindhi poet Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai is located.
English-language dailies treated this rally as a page three news item whereas the largest circulated Sindhi daily, Kawish, went into overdrive to cover the event and published plenty of Op-Eds before and after the rally.
The public meeting was preceded by a month-long campaign of 187 smaller meetings Ali Qazi and his associates held all over Sindh. The purpose? To convince the Sindhi masses to seek change on the lines Mr Qazi is proposing.
What does Mr Qazi’s entrance into politics signify and symbolise? Will he be as successful in politics as he has been in establishing a mammoth media house? Will his politics benefit from his media empire or will the latter suffer due to his politics? Is this a case of conflict of interest? His ambitious entry into politics throws up all these questions.
The Qazis of Hyderabad are no strangers to media and politics. Daily Ibrat, owned by this family, for a long time had the lion’s share of the Sindhi newspaper market. Its current owner, Qazi Asad Abid, has been a member of the National Assembly. His sister, Dr Fehmida Mirza, is the speaker of the National Assembly. Their father, Qazi Abid, was a member of the provincial and national legislatures and held various ministerial portfolios.
Ali Qazi is the nephew of Qazi Abid. In the 1990s, Ali Qazi and his brothers started their own daily, Kawish, which over the years not only challenged the dominance of Ibrat but eventually replaced it as the largest circulated Sindhi newspaper. Ali Qazi, until recently, steered clear of party politics and focused on building his media house. For the past few years, he has championed causes such as the celebration of Sindhi cultural days through his popular print and electronic media outlets. He makes regular, some would say excessive, appearances as an expert and anchor on current affairs programmes on his television channel, KTN.
He uses Op-Ed space in daily Kawish with impunity to share his thoughts with the readers. In these columns he started to float the idea that the Sindhi public aspires for change that mainstream political parties are either unwilling or incapable of providing.
He claims to have become the epitome of the change he has been seeking, thus the name of his group ‘Tabdeeli Pasand’ (change-oriented). The main ill afflicting Sindh, according to Mr Qazi, is the bhotaar culture. Roughly translated it means the politics of patronage. The answer lies in replacing it with a system based on merit, good governance and transparency.
In the prelude to his Bhit Shah show of Jan 22, the Op-Ed write-ups in Kawish went overboard in portraying Ali Qazi as the saviour Sindh has been waiting for. Contrary to the anticipated announcement of launching his own political party at the Bhit Shah public meeting, Ali Qazi chose to defer that move and stuck to criticising the politics of patronage in Sindh.
As he weighs his options, here are some advantages he enjoys and disadvantages he is likely to encounter should he decide to establish a new political party.
Among his three advantages, the most important is of having access to a well-oiled and sophisticated print and electronic media. He has an edge over any other new entrant in this regard as far as Sindh is concerned.
If the current trend is any indication then he has no compunction in using the KTN-Kawish combo to promote his viewpoint.
Secondly, politics in Pakistan is becoming an expensive undertaking and Ali Qazi has deep pockets to sustain his political venture.
Lastly, lack of effective performance by mainstream parties has created widespread anti-politics sentiment amongst various sections of the middle classes. Imran Khan is exploiting it in Punjab and Ali Qazi is attempting to do the same in Sindh.
The launch of a party by Ali Qazi on his suggested lines will face following hurdles. Firstly, since he owns the most powerful media house in Sindh, his competitors will not give the desired coverage to Ali Qazi’s party. In fact, if the KTN-Kawish combo chooses to become blatantly partisan in promoting Ali Qazi this may provide his competitors an opening to create healthy competition for Sindh viewers.
Left-of-centre politics in Sindh has organisations such as the Awami Tehrik of Rasool Bux Palijo with a political history spanning over several decades over which it has created a reasonably organised party cadre. Assorted Sindhi nationalist parties are a divided lot but they have a collective legacy of creating a secular ethos in Sindhi politics.
Above all, Ali Qazi will have to challenge the PPP’s mighty emotional and electoral support base in Sindh. The PPP has jealously guarded its vote-bank in Sindh for four decades and in the process has weathered many challenges. It has unmatched expertise in constituency-based politics backed up by the Bhutto charisma. Ali Qazi has remained careful in not naming the PPP as the culprit.
If Ali Qazi wants to be an alternative to the PPP in Sindh then he will have to confront the most popular party head-on. If not then his dream of being a change-seeker backed up by his media empire will serve as valuable pressure on PPP politicians to pay closer attention to the kind of issues Ali Qazi is raising.
The writer is a Canada-based academic. He can be reached at, firstname.lastname@example.org
Relations between the United States and Pakistan have reached an all-time low. The Khyber Pass is closed to NATO cargo, U.S. personnel were evicted from Shamsi airbase and Pakistani observers have been recalled from joint co-operation centres.
Much more importantly, senior officials in Washington now know that Pakistan has been playing them false since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and understand that Pakistan was sheltering Osama bin Laden a few hundred yards from its version of West Point. The recent shelling of Afghan troops inside Afghanistan by the Pakistani army, and the NATO counterstrike, cleared in error by Pakistan, has further embarrassed the Pakistani military.
A new paper shows 18th- and 19th-century Ottoman rulers decriminalised homosexuality and promoted women’s education
by Tehmina Kazi
Hardline Muslim groups often portray the Ottoman empire as a magic template for a global caliphate. This is then used as a springboard for grandiose arguments that paint a caliphate as viable, and deem it as the only credible model of governance for the future. These arguments are based on a belief that the empire adhered to a single interpretation of sharia (Islamic law) for over 600 years, and – crucially – that its success was contingent on this.
But a paper by Ishtiaq Hussain, published by Faith Matters on Saturday displays a very different picture. Ottoman sultans, or caliphs, in the 18th and 19th centuries launched secular schools and promoted the education of women. The period of reformation known as the Tanzimat saw customary and religious laws being replaced in favour of secular European ones. More surprisingly, homosexuality was decriminalised in 1858 (long before many western states took their cue, and over a century before the American Psychiatric Association declassified it as a mental illness in 1973). Contrary to the claims of hardline groups, religious authorities approved many of these measures.
In terms of broader social change, the Ottomans made strong attempts to integrate non-Muslim communities. On the cultural front, it is well known that a minority of people claim that Islam frowns upon artistic expression. However, the last sultan/caliph, Abdulmecid Efendi (1922-1924) has numerous paintings on display in Istanbul’s new museum of modern art; many others were also keen musicians and played a variety of musical instruments. It is therefore clear that the sultan/caliphs enunciated a progressive vision for a secular Muslim society, many years before al-Qaida and similar groups came into existence.
by Malik A. Rashid
BBC reported, “The US is so concerned about security in Pakistan that it is considering plans to enter the country to prevent extremists getting hold of nuclear material”. According to Senator McCain, Pakistan’s ISI has connections with the Haqqani network. In his confirmation hearing Lt. Gen. John Allen said he is aware that explosive devises used against American forces in Afghanistancome from Pakistan. Adm. McRaven thinks Pakistanis know where Mulla Omar is. So, the US-NATO has enemies in Pakistan in their cross-hair.
But the war is not the root cause of the predicament Pakistan finds itself in. Declared #12 on the list of failed nations, Pakistan is the 3rd most dangerous country for women. Out of 70 million between 5 to 19 year old Pakistanis, only 30 million go to school. On education and health care together, government spends about 1% of the GDP. Pakistan’s rulers prescribed a low quality education for their public school system to keep commoners from joining the ranks of army officers and bureaucrats.
US have cut aid to Pakistan. Installment of IMF’s loan was declined because the government could not raise taxes. Pakistan’s economy grew by 2.4% in 2010-11, slower than Somalia’s economy which grew 2.6%. Population of the cities continues to rise; so does joblessness.
Since 75% of supplies to US and NATO troops in Afghanistan will be re-routed through North of Afghanistan by the end of this year, not only the war has turned unrewarding for Pakistan’s rulers, it challenges their power and state’s existence.
Army relied heavily on proxy-warriors to influence other countries in the region and manipulated international aid through terrorism, while the generals indulged in enriching themselves. The business empire of the Military Inc. continued to grow at the expense of dwindling electricity supplies while millions of citizens fell below the poverty line. A conflict with the world-powers has shaken the brazen and brutal power structure of Pakistan. …
Read more → ViewPoint
The language of the talk show is urdu (Hindi).
Courtesy: Geo TV (program 50 Minutes with Hasan Nisar), YouTube
Notes From My Memory, Part VIII: G. M. Laghari, Syed’s Birth Day in Jail, Living With Enemies, Palijo’s Ideology, Life in Jail
By Mir Thebo
…. Living with ideological enemies: It is very difficult to live with an ideological enemy in one compound especially when there is just no way to avoid or escape him. And what do you do if that ‘ideological enemy’ is Rasool Bux Palijo who is always eager to pinch you with sharp and dreadful remarks? When we were in jail together (1968), as I mentioned in my previous note, R. B. Palijo came with the idea on 17th January to celebrate G. M. Syed’s Birth Day! I thought it was his ploy to criticize and condemn us [Communist Party (CP)] on the national question. Palijo arranged a birthday cake and some refreshments for the day. We all sat together including two muhajir comrades and paid rich tributes to Saaeen G. M. Syed.
When my turn came to speak, I compared Syed with other historical personalities like Dr. Sun Yat Sen, (Chinese nationalist leader, who played a great role in 1911 Chinese nationalist revolution, which overthrew the Qing dynasty in China), Jawahar Lal Nehru and Khan Ghaffar Khan. When Palijo’s turn came, he brutally attacked my comparison of Syed with those leaders and said, ‘Syed is far above than these leaders. Mir has tried to minimize G. M. Syed’s stature and his role.’ In rhetorical manner, he continued: ‘G. M. Syed is equivalent to Marx, Lenin and Mao’. He said: ‘these people don’t know how great G. M. Syed is’. I was flabbergasted by Palijo’s remarks. We knew how Palijo used Syed’s personality for his own narrow political interests. He himself knew very well the place of Syed. But, alas, that has been Palijo’s style all along.
R. B. Palijo’s political ideology: For political purposes, Palijo used Mao Tse-Tung whose little red book was
compulsory for every Chinese to carry during the cultural revolution (1966 to 1976) otherwise one will be labeled as counter revolutionary or an agent of the enemy. Thousands of people were persecuted especially the writers, intellectuals and middle class people. They were ruthlessly taken from their homes in the cities and were uprooted and sent to far-flung rural areas. They were humiliated under the guidance of the so-called vigilant party committees and people were forced to confess that they were anti-party and reactionary to bring them to shame in the public. Same thing was practiced in the Soviet Union during the Stalin period. They called it ‘The Great Purge’ to purify the party and the society.
Palijo found it easy to convince his workers through this sacred red book that all are enemies except his party people and that he can expel any leader or worker in the name of the great cause or the party. The same practice was common in our party too. It was actually a common practice in 3rd. world countries. Therefore almost all parties were divided in many groups and during that period Euro Communism emerged. The Western European parties denounced the Soviet system of one party rule and the dictatorship of the proletariat and the concept of democratic socialism and multi-party system emerged. New ideas emerged in 1980s in the Soviet Union too. They were called Glasnost and Perestroika (openness and restructuring) and M. Gorbachev declared a famous quote for the liberals that ‘Man is above the Ideology, the ideology is not above the man’. Those who are still Marxists and glorify the former USSR, consider Gorbachev the traitor and the one who brought down the grand empire of the UNION OF THE SOVIET SOCIALIST REPUBLIC.
Palijo brought Mao’s thoughts to his workers and Sindhi peasants and mixed it with Sindhi nationalism and formulated the idea of a Chinese model revolution in Sindh and repeatedly told his innocent workers the famous quote of Mao that “all political power comes from the barrel of the gun”. But Mao’s revolution was typical Chinese revolution. Mao didn’t copy the Russian model and he was against Russia. Both the communist powers even went to a war in 1969 over some piece of land along one of the longest international borders between the two countries although they both believed in the ideology that in future states will wither away and only universal communism will prevail. More funny thing is that it was America, the big capitalist enemy, who stopped Russians from attacking Chinese nuclear installations and Russians backed off (US journalist Harrison Salisbury reported that Soviet sources implied a possible first strike against the Lop Nur basin nuclear test site; and military documents of the time indicate that the USSR had more nuclear-attack plans against China than against the US. The United States warned the USSR against launching a nuclear strike against China. WIKI). Mao didn’t use even Marx very much. He brought the revolution in his own way as he convinced Chinese people how to fulfill difficult task through this old Chinese saying, ‘The foolish old man who moves the mountain’. ….
To read complete article: Indus Herald
Lovers tiff, impending divorce or trial separation?
by Omar Ali
…… 2. The romantic Left delusion. This is the belief that Pakistan’s corrupt elite deserves to be overthrown by the lower classes and the Taliban are (an unfortunate but expected) instrument of this necessary revolution. Actually the first part of this delusion is not a delusion. The Pakistani elite is not just corrupt, they have been practically suicidal. Where other corrupt third world elites have mismanaged the state, provided poor governance, oppressed the poor and failed to evolve a stable political system, Pakistan’s elite (which in this case means the army high command and their supporters) have done something no other third world elite has managed. They have armed, trained and encouraged their own executioners in the course of a demented scheme of trying to wrest Kashmir from India while laying the foundation for a mini-empire in central Asia. But the second part of this delusion is the real delusion here. The Pakistani Taliban is not the Bolshevik party; in fact, they are not even the Iranian Mullahs. They were created by the army as an outgrowth of the American-sponsored Afghan jihad. Their leadership is derived from the Madrasahs and think tanks sponsored by Saudi money and inspired by Syed Qutb and the most virulent Wahhabi and Salafist clerics in the world. They were guided by the jihadist faction of GHQ, men inspired by Maudoodi and his children, not by Marx or even Ali Shariati. They have absolutely no workable social or economic plan. If they do overthrow the elite, what follows will be a nightmare of historic proportions. If the whole thing does not dissolve into anarchy, it will be stabilized by an army coup. After purging liberals and hanging Veena Malik, the dictatorship of the mullahtariat will degenerate into an Islamic version of Myanmar, not revolutionary Iran or Castro’s Cuba.
Cia So, coming back to our original topic: does the Raymond Davis affair reflect a lover’s spat or an impending divorce? My guess is that its not a divorce. The US has few options and neither does Pakistan. We are probably in for more of the same, but with a chance that one of these days the ISI will find itself the victim of too much success and will not be able to pull back from the brink of divorce. Meanwhile, when the only tool you have is a hammer, everything is a nail. So I expect the state department to pass out more money to GHQ, I expect the CIA to fund some new insane lunatic fringe to counter their last lunatic fringe, I expect the Pentagon to ask for more money for weapons and a good hard “shock and awe campaign”, I expect professors in San Francisco to blame colonialism, and I expect Islamists to blow themselves up with even greater devotion. May Allah protect us from anything worse.
To read full article : 3QuarksDaily
Robert Fisk: The destiny of this pageant lies in the Kingdom of Oil
The Middle East earthquake of the past five weeks has been the most tumultuous, shattering, mind-numbing experience in the history of the region since the fall of the Ottoman empire. For once, “shock and awe” was the right description.
The docile, supine, unregenerative, cringing Arabs of Orientalism have transformed themselves into fighters for the freedom, liberty and dignity which we Westerners have always assumed it was our unique role to play in the world. One after another, our satraps are falling, and the people we paid them to control are making their own history – our right to meddle in their affairs (which we will, of course, continue to exercise) has been diminished for ever.
The tectonic plates continue to shift, with tragic, brave – even blackly humorous – results. Countless are the Arab potentates who always claimed they wanted democracy in the Middle East. King Bashar of Syria is to improve public servants’ pay. King Bouteflika of Algeria has suddenly abandoned the country’s state of emergency. King Hamad of Bahrain has opened the doors of his prisons. King Bashir of Sudan will not stand for president again. King Abdullah of Jordan is studying the idea of a constitutional monarchy. And al-Qa’ida are, well, rather silent.
Who would have believed that the old man in the cave would suddenly have to step outside, dazzled, blinded by the sunlight of freedom rather than the Manichean darkness to which his eyes had become accustomed. Martyrs there were aplenty across the Muslim world – but not an Islamist banner to be seen. The young men and women bringing an end to their torment of dictators were mostly Muslims, but the human spirit was greater than the desire for death. They are Believers, yes – but they got there first, toppling Mubarak while Bin Laden’s henchmen still called for his overthrow on outdated videotapes.
But now a warning. It’s not over. We are experiencing today that warm, slightly clammy feeling before the thunder and lightning break out. Gaddafi’s final horror movie has yet to end, albeit with that terrible mix of farce and blood to which we are accustomed in the Middle East. And his impending doom is, needless to say, throwing into ever-sharper perspective the vile fawning of our own potentates. Berlusconi – who in many respects is already a ghastly mockery of Gaddafi himself – and Sarkozy, and Lord Blair of Isfahan are turning out to look even shabbier than we believed. Those faith-based eyes blessed Gaddafi the murderer. I did write at the time that Blair and Straw had forgotten the “whoops” factor, the reality that this weird light bulb was absolutely bonkers and would undoubtedly perform some other terrible act to shame our masters. And sure enough, every journalist is now going to have to add “Mr Blair’s office did not return our call” to his laptop keyboard.
Everyone is now telling Egypt to follow the “Turkish model” – this seems to involve a pleasant cocktail of democracy and carefully controlled Islam. But if this is true, Egypt’s army will keep an unwanted, undemocratic eye on its people for decades to come. As lawyer Ali Ezzatyar has pointed out, “Egypt’s military leaders have spoken of threats to the “Egyptian way of life”… in a not so subtle reference to threats from the Muslim Brotherhood. This can be seen as a page taken from the Turkish playbook.” The Turkish army turned up as kingmakers four times in modern Turkish history. And who but the Egyptian army, makers of Nasser, constructors of Sadat, got rid of the ex-army general Mubarak when the game was up?
And democracy – the real, unfettered, flawed but brilliant version which we in the West have so far lovingly (and rightly) cultivated for ourselves – is not going, in the Arab world, to rest happy with Israel’s pernicious treatment of Palestinians and its land theft in the West Bank. Now no longer the “only democracy in the Middle East”, Israel argued desperately – in company with Saudi Arabia, for heaven’s sake – that it was necessary to maintain Mubarak’s tyranny. It pressed the Muslim Brotherhood button in Washington and built up the usual Israeli lobby fear quotient to push Obama and La Clinton off the rails yet again. Faced with pro-democracy protesters in the lands of oppression, they duly went on backing the oppressors until it was too late. I love “orderly transition”. The “order” bit says it all. Only Israeli journalist Gideon Levy got it right. “We should be saying ‘Mabrouk Misr!’,” he said. Congratulations, Egypt!
Yet in Bahrain, I had a depressing experience. King Hamad and Crown Prince Salman have been bowing to their 70 per cent (80 per cent?) Shia population, opening prison doors, promising constitutional reforms. So I asked a government official in Manama if this was really possible. Why not have an elected prime minister instead of a member of the Khalifa royal family? He clucked his tongue. “Impossible,” he said. “The GCC would never permit this.” For GCC – the Gulf Co-operation Council – read Saudi Arabia. And here, I am afraid, our tale grows darker.
We pay too little attention to this autocratic band of robber princes; we think they are archaic, illiterate in modern politics, wealthy (yes, “beyond the dreams of Croesus”, etc), and we laughed when King Abdullah offered to make up any fall in bailouts from Washington to the Mubarak regime, and we laugh now when the old king promises $36bn to his citizens to keep their mouths shut. But this is no laughing matter. The Arab revolt which finally threw the Ottomans out of the Arab world started in the deserts of Arabia, its tribesmen trusting Lawrence and McMahon and the rest of our gang. And from Arabia came Wahabism, the deep and inebriating potion – white foam on the top of the black stuff – whose ghastly simplicity appealed to every would-be Islamist and suicide bomber in the Sunni Muslim world. The Saudis fostered Osama bin Laden and al-Qa’ida and the Taliban. Let us not even mention that they provided most of the 9/11 bombers. And the Saudis will now believe they are the only Muslims still in arms against the brightening world. I have an unhappy suspicion that the destiny of this pageant of Middle East history unfolding before us will be decided in the kingdom of oil, holy places and corruption. Watch out. ….
Read more : The Independent.co.uk
Jesters and destinies —Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur
– Whenever armies become unanswerable to the state and become a ‘deep state’, the irreversible rot sets in and results in the disintegration of the state they are supposedly safeguarding and protecting.
In his book, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon (1737-1794) tells about a Roman emperor who, angered by the actions of his favourite jester, orders that he be put to death. The jester, hearing this, mournfully shakes his head and says that a wish of his would remain unfulfilled. Inquisitive, the emperor inquires and after some persuasion the jester tells that he has the knowledge and the ability to teach the emperor’s favourite black stallion to speak.
The emperor asks how long would it take and is told a year is enough. The death sentence is temporarily waived and the condemned jester allowed to fulfil his promise. The jester’s well-wishers tell him that he has committed a great folly as there was no way that he could make the stallion speak. He replies, “There is a possibility that in the intervening time I may die a natural death or maybe even the emperor could die and I would be free. Moreover, a year is long enough a period; who knows, the black stallion may learn to speak.”
Sixty-three years are a long enough period to change destinies but it seems the jesters here who took up the task were incompetent, corrupt and dishonest to the core, whose concept of a tryst with destiny remained limited to accumulating power and pelf for their dynasties. They neither had compassion for the people nor the wisdom to understand that they were establishing the groundwork for the eventual catastrophe. They felt if they could muster the support of their various masters and mentors for undisputed authority and power to rule, then for all intents and purposes the masses and their problems were irrelevant. They simply ensured by deceit and fraud that loans would continue to pour in to make their lives luxurious even if that meant burdening the people with irredeemable debts. These jesters have brought this place to this pass and the only route open is the way down. …
Read more : Daily Times
The New Great Game
The New Great Game is a term used to describe the conceptualization of modern geopolitics in Central Eurasia as a competition between the United States, the United Kingdom and other NATO countries against Russia, the People’s Republic of China and other Shanghai Cooperation Organisation countries for “influence, power, hegemony and profits in Central Asia and the Transcaucasus“. It is a reference to “The Great Game“, the political rivalry between the British and Russian Empires in Central Asia during the 19th century.
Many authors and analysts view this new “game” as centering around regional petroleum politics. Now, instead of competing for actual control over a geographic area, “pipelines, tanker routes, petroleum consortiums, and contracts are the prizes of the new Great Game”.The term has become prevalent throughout the literature about the region, appearing in book titles, academic journals, news articles, and government reports. Pakistani author Ahmed Rashid claims he coined the term in a self-described “seminal” magazine article published in 1997, however uses of the term can be found prior to the publication of his article.
Addressing the Ambassador directly, Prince Andrew then turned to regional politics. He stated baldly that “the United Kingdom, Western Europe (and by extension you Americans too”) were now back in the thick of playing the Great Game. More animated than ever, he stated cockily: “And this time we aim to win!
–WITHOUT DEVELOPING A SECULAR AND TOLERANT STATE IDENTITY THAT CAN PROVIDE EQUAL PROTECTION TO ALL ITS CITIZENS REGARDLESS OF THEIR BACKGROUND, INCIDENTS LIKE THE ASSASSINATION OF GOV. TASEER WILL BECOME COMMON-PLACE.
–However, the inability of the general public to see the nakedness of Pakistan is due to the inter-generational brainwashing towards conservative orthodoxy.
The heinous murder of Governor Taseer was shocking, but one should consider the reactions in support of his assassin amongst some Pakistanis as a sign that the society is at a crossroads. Governor Taseer’s life was stolen from him because he rejected a blasphemy law based on a narrow-minded view of Islam that subjects the nation’s minorities to discrimination. Laws such as these reveal the increasingly conflicting view of Pakistan’s future: either as a nation that is able to adapt to modern times and protect the rights of all its citizens or one destined for devolution into chaos through a medieval view of Islam and the state. …
Read more : SOVEREIGN MINDS
If the house where Julian Assange of Wikileaks is staying is destroyed by a Predator drone, and the United States denies any involvement … Well, I’ll believe them. …
Read more : KillingHope
“YOU MAY BELONG TO ANY RELIGION OR CASTE OR CREED THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE BUSINESS OF THE STATE.” – JINNAH
By Mazhar Khan Jadoon
First published in The News on Sunday, August 29, 2010
The News on Sunday: How do you view secularism as having evolved in the particular case of India where the kings did not run their empires on the clergy’s instructions but according to political exigencies?
Mubarak Ali: Secularism has been in evolution since medieval times and if you go back to the ancient Ashoka period in India, you will find the ruling pattern to be entirely secular. It was a requirement for all the empires in India, including the Mughal Empire, to be secular and tolerant towards different religions under their rule. Ghauris, Mughals, Durranis and all other emperors had to opt for a secular approach to keep their vast dynasties intact. Clergy was not allowed to interfere in state matters and all the decisions were taken according to practical political exigencies. Allauddin Khilji was one of the great rulers of India who did tremendous welfare work for his people. Once he asked the Qazi whether his acts were according to Shariah or not. The Qazi said no. Khilji told Qazi, “I am illiterate and I don’t know whether my acts are according to Shariah or not, but what I am sure of is that I work for the betterment of my people.”
TNS: Does secularism have any place in Muslim history?
MA: Yes. Almost all the rulers in Muslim history applied the model of secularism during their rule. During the Abbasid period, ulema were not allowed to interfere in the political affairs of state and the caliph was not allowed to meddle in religious affairs. The Abbasid came to power with the help of Iranians who wanted the caliph to remain secular while the clergy at that time wanted the caliph to adhere to Islamic laws and impose Shariah. The conflict was resolved with the signing of a pact regarding state and religion being separate. Great historian Ziauddin Burney, in his book Fatwa-e-Jahandari, also emphasises that state and religion should be kept separate.
by: Ayaz Amir
– The News
If Islam stands for anything, it is for a just society, free from want and oppression. There is, thus, in Islam no blasphemy greater than a child dying of hunger, a child begging for bread, a woman drowning herself and her children, as has frequently happened in the Islamic Republic, because the burden of life was too much for her, a man throwing himself before an onrushing train because of poverty.
By Aftab Kazi, PhD
Silk was among the items exported from the ancient Indus Valley emporiums to Mesopotamian city-states approximately 4000 years ago through both land and sea-borne silk-routes. Historically China has maintained cross-continental trade through the port cities of the Indus Basin River state, i.e. Sindh, Ind, Hind, Al-Hind respectively, the land areas that are now called Pakistan. Most recent early medieval example is that of the Kushan Empire (included land areas comprising modern Central Asia, Pakistan with a thin inland incursion into Bharat up to Mathura) which also had an excellent relationship with China. Both empires traded silk, spices, malmal (cotton cloth made in Sindh), indigo, etc all the way to Roman Empire through the Indus port city of Barbarikon (ruins of Barbarikon are likely to be that of Bhambhore located approximately 50 klometers from modern Karachi. This was the sea-borne silk-route link. Suez Canal did not exist then.
Ships sailed from Barbarikon via the coast of modern Oman and Arabia, entered Red Sea, from where they used the delta canals of River Niles to enter Mediterranean, hence traveled to Greece and Rome. There were two routes to sail. One for winter and the other for summer. I have cited this sea-borne Silk-route in my chapter on Pakistan in SF Starr (ed.) New Silk Roads:…, (Washington, DC: Central Asia-Caucasus Institute, Johns Hopkins University, 2007). Earliest records of ancient Silk-routes are available in the travel accounts of Sindhbad, an inhabitant of Sindh (modern Pakistan) under the title of “Sindhbad’s travels”, also spelled as “Sindbad”. Although somewhat fictionalized, this book is the most earliest treatise available on ancient Silk Roads. This book was translated from ancient Sindhi to Persian in medieval times and has been further translated into several modern languages including the English language…
Source – http://www.silkroadstudies.org/new/inside/staff/staff_ web/aftab_kazi.htm