Tag Archives: Ethnic

A dangerous divide

By Zahid Hussain

It is not hard to guess why the MQM is often described as the enfant terrible of Pakistani politics. The party has once again stirred a hornet’s nest of ethnic politics by demanding the carving up of Sindh to create a new ‘Mohajir’ province [Refugees’ province]. After its failed experiment focusing on the creation of a new multi-ethnic identity for itself, the MQM has now returned to its original politics.

It is true that the division of Sindh on ethnic or even administrative lines is unacceptable

The MQM’s move to once again play the Mohajir card appears to be a desperate attempt to revitalise its support base that is being challenged by emerging political forces. This narrow political approach is a dangerous game that may further widen the divisions among various ethnic groups in the province.

It is a mistake on the part of the MQM to attempt to return to ethnic-based politics or use religion to settle political scores.

It is shocking the way the MQM has invoked the blasphemy law against PPP leader Khursheed Shah for making a rather benign remark on the term ‘Mohajir’. It is yet more surprising for it to mix religion with politics, since it is one of the very few political parties in Pakistan that genuinely espouses secularism.

This senseless campaign has only damaged the MQM’s own image and diverted attention from some more relevant issues that need to be addressed urgently to resolve the main source of discontent in Karachi. The old habit of throwing a tantrum and quitting the coalition government only to reverse the decision is making a mockery of the party. But this time the separation seems more serious, although one can never be sure it will agree to be the PPP’s political bedfellow again after some pampering.

Read more » DAWN
http://www.dawn.com/news/1141042/a-dangerous-divide

Altaf Hussain’s call for Separation of Karachi – By Saeed Qureshi

The MQM chief Altaf Hussain‘s conditional call for separating Karachi city from Pakistan comes closer to the independence of Singapore from Malaysia in 1965. The Singapore separation from Malaysia that it willingly joined in 1963, was the result of extreme strife, unbridgeable disagreements and ethnic bitterness between the Chinese origin population and the native Malayans mostly Muslims. Is it also the blue print of Jinnahpur that was later swept under the carpet?

Altaf Hussain the fiery and unbridled chief of MQM has enslaved or indoctrinated his Muhajir community, mostly settled in Karachi city after their migration from India in 1947. By his rigid and merciless authoritarianism, instead of integrating, he has isolated his community from the mainstream populace of Pakistan. MQM is basically a movement for the sake of Muhajirs as an ethnic entity and not for the Pakistani nation.

Since its formation in 1984 as Muhajir Qaumi Movement and later renamed as Muttahida Qaumi Movement in 1997, the imprint of MQM in the minds of the people is that of a kind of mafia or an entity of roughnecks or extortionists. It is believed that the special death and terror squads within MQM kill, kidnap and torture their rivals including the critics from within the MQM fold.

There has been also a prevailing impression that has gained ground, that the extortions or the obnoxious “Parchi system” was first started by MQM to raise funds for the organization to become financially robust for carrying out its political and apolitical activities. Undoubtedly Altaf Hussain has proven to be a great and unassailable master and unbending and strict lord of his party.

He can summon the multitudes of Urdu speaking Pakistanis and Muhajirs within a matter of hours and with one call. They all gather at a venue with their heads down and hands motionless unless raised to cheer or clap for the scathing tirade of their great master. They sit rather motionless for hours together listening to his long, dreary and high pitched discourses as if they have been bewitched or mesmerized. There is a gossip that anyone who does not clap or come to the assemblage is dealt with vindictively.

Several pioneering cohorts and companions are alleged to have lost their lives in all these years ostensibly due to their opposition of the ruthless leader with symptoms of indiscretion. Their names are in the public knowledge.

Continue reading Altaf Hussain’s call for Separation of Karachi – By Saeed Qureshi

Sindh after the SPLGA

By Naseer Memon

Impregnated with ethnic strife, the Sindh Peoples Local Government Act (SPLGA) created an unprecedented anti-PPP sentiment in its stronghold, Sindh. Proceedings of the Supreme Court, hearing a petition seeking annulment of the law, were indicative of an inclement outcome for the government. The recent experience of by-elections also sent waves of consternation in the ruling camp as its candidates faced pillories from opponents and disgruntled masses on the same law. All these factors constrained the PPP to cajole its ally to rescind the politically incendiary law. The belated adieu by the MQM to the government is viewed as an overtly cosmetic move under a premeditated script. On the day that acting governor of Sindh, Nisar Ahmed Khuhro, signed to repeal the SPLGA, the Karachi Stock Exchange recorded bonanza business — unimaginable if it was not a mock war between the two parties. Nevertheless, the interment of a divisive law averted a lurking ethnic frenzy in the province, already mired with unremitting violence, especially in Karachi.

In the presence of this law, the next general elections could have been a nightmare for the PPP in Sindh. Although the opposition has been disarmed of its would-be most popular slogan of divisive law, the lacklustre performance of the PPP during the past five years has sufficiently exasperated its voters. Rampant corruption, brazen violation of merit in postings and transfers, displacement of several million flood affectees, substandard quality of social sector services, ubiquitous lawlessness, shabby infrastructure and scruffy towns can provide ample ammunition for the election campaign of opposition parties. For the PPP, the past platitude of victimisation and martyrdom of the Bhuttos has lost its lustre to fascinate the masses this time. Portending this ominous fact, the party has embarked upon a medley of actions, including cajoling feudal lords in Sindh.

Continue reading Sindh after the SPLGA

Burma acknowledges mass burnings and massacres of Muslims in country. The silence of Aung San Suu Kyi is troubling

Burma acknowledges mass burnings in Rakhine unrest

Burma’s president has acknowledged major destruction in the west of the country, scene of recent ethnic unrest.

“There have been incidents of whole villages and parts of the towns being burnt down in Rakhine state,” Thein Sein’s spokesman told the BBC.

He was speaking after Human Rights Watch released satellite pictures showing hundreds of buildings destroyed in the coastal town of Kyaukpyu alone.

It says the victims were mostly Muslim Rohingya, targeted by non-Muslims.

Presidential spokesman Zaw Htay told the BBC the government was tightening security in Rakhine state, which is also known as Arakan.

“If necessary, we will send more police and military troops in order to get back stability,” he added.

There is long-standing tension between ethnic Rakhine people, who make up the majority of the state’s population, and Muslims, many of whom are Rohingya and are stateless.

Continue reading Burma acknowledges mass burnings and massacres of Muslims in country. The silence of Aung San Suu Kyi is troubling

(SPLGO) 2012 is an apartheid act passed without due process

By: Khalid Hashmani, USA

My view we diaspora Sindhis should let everyone in Sindh, Pakistan, and rest of world know that (SPLGO) 2012 is an illegal act passed without due process and that it denies historic rights of Sindhis. For the time being, we should play a crucial role in creating awareness about this ill-conceived scheme among the following two groups:

1. Tell the heart-less PPP Assembly members that their action is a serious blunder which will hurt coming generations of people who live in Sindh and that they must go back to the Sindh Assembly and vote to withdraw this foolish regulation. We must make it clear to them that if they do not that as soon as possible, Sindhis will neither forget nor forgive them for this act of betrayal.

2. Create awareness in the general public of Sindh that (SPLGO) 2012 law undermines Sindh and will divide various ethnic people living in Sindh and keep rural Sindh under the shackles of poverty and dominance by urban and rural waderas/feudals. If PPP does not move fast to dismantle (SPLGO) 2012 immediately, we should play our role in encouraging them to vote for any one but PPP.

In doing so we must not align ourselves with any political party or a grouping of political parties. Our (SANA) actions should be transparent and inclusive and any appearance of supporting any faction must be avoided at all costs.

There are several actions that we can take but in the immediate future – for one we should call and write to PPP members to take immediate action to dismantle the ill-conceived action they took. We should also call other political and NGO leaders, writers, poets, teachers, student leaders, social writers, intellectuals, professors and other leading persons in Sindh and urge them to start and strengthen the movement to have one uniform system of local bodies in Sindh and restore equal rights for everyone who lives in Sindh.

I believe the above simple but focused actions will take enough of our time and encourage people of Sindh to rise on this critical occasion to force immediate annulment of (SPLGO) 2012.

Who wants to divide Sindh?

By: Zulfiqar Shah

Sindh is on the verge of widespread political violence due to newly announced local government ordinance. The situation can possibly be disastrous for the future political course of Pakistan and might even have disastrous impact on South Asia and the rest of the world.

SINDH IS undergoing an unending and nerve taking process of political standoffs since the creation of Pakistan, and therefore, has been continuously struggling since last six decades over the rights, sovereignty, security, and interests of the province and its indigenous underdeveloped majority population.

The recent issue of Sindhi-Hindu exodus is still waiting to be concluded positively, yet rise of another issue of People’s Local Government Ordinance (PLGO) promulgated by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Mutahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) may possibly open a new chapter of popular movement and possibly a slight degree of violence in Sindh. The dilemma of the issue is the violation of citizen’s right to information by the government through avoiding to public the text of the ordinance; however some features of the ordinance have been made public by the provincial information minister.

Continue reading Who wants to divide Sindh?

The spreading strife – Is the state unwilling or unable?

By:Arif Ansar

Ethnic and sectarian strife is spreading in Pakistan. Hindus are migrating to India; Shias are being targeted with impunity; Pashtuns are suffering immeasurably and disproportionally in the fight against extremists, while the saga of missing persons and target killing continues in Balochistan. By any stretch of imagination, the nations is going through a much more critical stage than is commonly perceived. If there were any doubts, Gen Kayani in a recent speech himself raised the prospect of civil war if the militancy is not tackled.

Continue reading The spreading strife – Is the state unwilling or unable?

MYANMAR: Muslims and Their History – By R. Upadhyay

Burma re-named as Myanmar in 1989 is a multi-ethnic country in Southeast Asia bordering Thailand, Laos, China, India, Bangladesh and Andaman Sea. Buddhism, which is professed by about 89% of country’s various ethnic groups like Burmans, Karen, Shan, Rakhine and Mon – has more or less become a part of their national identity. Various reports suggest that due to certain historical, social, political and cultural problems the Muslim minority had felt alienated and occasional communal riots have occurred.

Continue reading MYANMAR: Muslims and Their History – By R. Upadhyay

The Quaid and the Quetta massacre

By Haider Nizamani

If Muhammad Ali Jinnah happened to be on the Quetta-bound bus of Shia pilgrims on June 28, the self-proclaimed custodians of Islam would have killed him, along with 13 others. They would do so because Jinnah was a Shia and that would have been reason enough.

Jinnah, for most Pakistanis today, is the Quaid-e-Azam — the man above any sect in the Islamic Republic. As the Republic he founded increasingly becomes a place where minorities feel vulnerable, it would be remiss to forget that the founder of the country was a Shia. Born into an Ismaili family, he later converted to the Twelver (isna ashri) branch of Shia Islam. He died in 1948 and his sister, Miss Fatima Jinnah, filed an affidavit in the Sindh High Court stating that her brother was a “Shia Khoja Mohamedan”. Liaquat Ali Khan, the first prime minister of Pakistan, jointly signed the affidavit. Khaled Ahmed, in his book Sectarian War, documents in detail how the last rites of the Quaid were performed according to Shia stipulations. Jinnah’s Shia colleagues such as Yusuf Haroon and Hashim Raza attended the namaz-e-janaza (funeral prayer) at the Governor General’s House, while prime minister Liaquat Ali Khan waited outside in the adjacent room. After the Shia funeral prayer, the nascent state took the body for Sunni last rites at the grounds where now stands the Quaid’s mausoleum in Karachi. Miss Fatima Jinnah passed away in 1967 and in her case, too, private last rites were performed according to Shia guidelines and the state-sponsored namaz-e-janaza followed it.

Sunni militant outfits portray Shias as lesser Muslims and thus, lesser Pakistanis. This commandeering of state discourse on Islam from the 1980s onward has emboldened the militants to take up arms against their coreligionists in select parts of Pakistan.

Continue reading The Quaid and the Quetta massacre

At least 740 killed in Karachi in five months: HRCP

KARACHI: Ethnic, sectarian and politically-linked violence in Pakistan’s financial capital Karachi has killed at least 740 people so far this year, a human rights organisation said Tuesday.

Parts of the port city have become battlegrounds, with authorities unable to prevent violence blamed on activists from political parties representing rival ethnic groups.

“About 740 people have been the victims of violent shootings in the last five months,” Zohra Yusuf, chair of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), told AFP.

The HRCP said last year a total of 1,715 people were killed in violent flare-ups in the city, which is Pakistan’s biggest with an estimated population of 17 million.

Continue reading At least 740 killed in Karachi in five months: HRCP

The Punjabi hegemony on Pakistan

The Punjabi hegemony

By Raza Habib Raja

The selective way of presenting history in Pakistan conveniently ignores the fact that at its creation, there were two large sometimes contrasting and sometimes overlapping movements. The first was primarily centred around Muslim identity and tried to actually bargain a better position for its bearers. This movement though ended up in carving a separate homeland for the Muslims, nevertheless did not have that strong separatist thrust at least in the beginning.

Continue reading The Punjabi hegemony on Pakistan

The fascist terrorists want violence because their survival lies in it

By: Zulfi

We live in our Urdu speaking brothers dominated areas of Hyderabad for centuries and have very good connections and social relations with people of other linguistics and ethnic groups, especially with our urdu speaking brothers and sister – for the last couple of months I have been noticing a debate on the issue of new province in Sindh and an expected Sindhi-Urdu Speaking conflict. Most of the reports are coming from MQM related circles.

MQM has asked its people to get ready for any unexpected (which in fact is already planned by the fascist terrorists of MQM) fight with Sindhis, Balochs, Pakhtuns and other communities of Sindh.

Political parties working for Sindh interests should give as head to it issue.

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, May 13, 2012.

Mohajir Sooba (Jinnahpur) conspiracy is a new occupation in the 21st century. A big NO by the people of Sindh to this occupation.

By: Comments of Sindhis on facebook

A big “fitna” (trouble) is raising its head as some former MQM legislators, Rabita Committee members and others have addressed a press conference and demanded a Mohajir Province (Jinnahpur). This is indeed a recipe for disaster in Pakistan. A big trouble ahead that will result in unprecedented bloodshed, which will not have different results than in Sri Lanka. The foolish demand is not only Alarming but could be a lethal as well because the fascist city group is a culprit as they have facilitating these efforts only for the sake of power or rather because the Master is same .

Why MQM can not learn from mistakes of others? Why they would insist on dividing people instead of bringing them together?

This is tantamount to a new occupation in the 21st century…!!!… occupations result in glory for the occupiers & slavery for the occupied.. .the people of Sindh prepare themselves to say a big NO to this occupation …

Though we know the history’s course is brutal and painful. It doesn’t give SUBSIDY (wazeefo) to indigenous people of Sindh (Sons of the soil). Tomorrow may all fascist groups will join each-other for their SHARE (BOTTY) pushing Sindhis into isolation. Now  days it is impossible to crush aboriginal, indigenous people. Take the example of Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Cyprus, Kashmir and we have a long list to go on. Sindhis are the real and true sons of Sindh soil and let me assure you that  nobody can snatch our mother land.  yes, NOBODY. But I agree that JANG WADEE AAHEY SABHNEE KHEY QURBANI DIANI PAWANDEE.

PPP can’t afford to be hand in glove with the MQM in this conspiracy… international forces may push the MQM to do this to weaken the state of Pakistan. But the occupation of Sindh by the fascist city group is not so easy. It does not come by drawing maps. The capital city of Sindh, Karachi is inhibited by the people, belonging to each ethnicity in Pakistan. The MQM should be most worried from the deep state of Punjab than Sindhis. Majority of the population in Karachi belongs to Punjab and Pakhtunkhwa, who are otherwise well organized and have major economical interests in the city. Besides, Sindhis (the real sons of soil), MQM will have to face a lot from such ethnic population. We feel that the drama of division of Sindh is being staged by the deep state influenced by Punjab elite forces and the agencies, so as to create unrest in Sindh and at the same time garnering support against the creation of Seraiki province in Punjab.

During a research paper writing on ‘ethnic conflict in Sindh and democratization of Pakistan’ (thanks to Shuhab Usto for his intellectual input) an Urdu speaking (and a proud Sindh lover) asked a question ‘ Do you know why a little town of Khartoum took too many days to get captured by Anglo-Egyptian garrison and why a huge city Damascus was surrendered in hours to French forces?’- I kept quit and humbly requested the great social scientist, town planner and historian to explain. He said because Khartoum’s water line (river systems) was complicated and Damascus water lines (river systems) were simple to invade and capture. Then he confidently told me that please don’t be defensive while fighting/ arguing/ debating the case of Sindh’s integrity and sovereignty. He taught me that those who lives with this foolish and wishful thinking that the capital city Karachi shall be separated from rest of Sindh don’t forget that the principle flow of water of Indus to Karachi is like Damascus’s water supply.

This is a precious time to organize a mass campaign to mobilize the public opinion towards a united stand that ‎”There is no Sindh without it’s capital city Karachi. If we don’t for Sindh, we don’t fight for any thing else. Sindh will not be divided – not half n half, not 60-40, not 75-25, nothing. Full stop.”

Courtesy: Facebook/ Social media

Lyari is burning

Karachi is burning

With hundreds already killed in ethnic, political and sectarian conflicts this year, the dynamics of violence in Karachi are becoming more complex

By Ali K Chishti

Of the 1,138 people killed in Karachi during the first half of 2011, 150 were political workers, according to the HRCP. This year, Sindh Home Ministry and Karachi Police report that 405 political workers have been targeted already. “More than 10,000 people have been killed in political and ethnic violence in the city since 2007,” says Aftab Rauf Khan, a senior security official. “What is worse is that there have been no prosecutions.”

Political and ethnic violence in Karachi has increased significantly since 2008. There were just over 200 target killings in the city in 2006, 318 in 2007, and 786 in 2008. At least 1,183 people died in political and ethnic violence in the city in 2009, more than 1,300 in 2010, and over 1,700 in 2011. ….

Read more » The Friday Times

In the shadow of the gun – I

By: Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

During the 1973-1977 army action in conflict zones, thousands of innocent people were killed, tens of thousands were internally displaced

Mr Ikram Sehgal’s “Of Empire and Army” (Newsline, March 2012) is a bundle of misinformation and bias against the Baloch. Perturbed that the media holds the security establishment solely responsible for the Balochistan crisis, he claims, “Most of our problems stem from jumping to conclusions that are based on misinformation, and then deliberately distorting those half-truths to suit mass perception.” He feels, “Disproportionate media projection of the separatist leaders encourages ethnic divisions and violence.” He probably thinks the Baloch struggle and the atrocities by the state are a figment of the media’s imagination.

The state’s brutal kill and dump policy seems justified to him. He half-heartedly admits, “No one denies the fact that targeted killings of the Baloch are taking place, that people are being picked up and that state actors are involved in the killing and the disappearances.” Then he offers a lame justification that “sons of the soil” are killing an equal number of settlers. Balochistan Home Department’s recent report said that the majority of the ones killed are ethnic Baloch.

Sehgal tells us that on December 29, 1973, as his son was being born in Karachi, his company came under heavy fire from Marri insurgents near Kahan, after the dismissal of Ataullah’s representative government. The Baloch considered them aggressors rightly, and could not be expected to throw a party. He then says, “Throughout that year, many soldiers were martyred and several injured,” and adds, “In one instance, the insurgents beheaded 19 of our soldiers.”

Well, I too was in the Marri area with the Baloch nationalists then and assuredly, the Marris never indulged in such abhorrent practices. His claim defies reason as no guerilla could possibly have time to ambush and behead soldiers. Ambushes invite response and with helicopters, jets and motorised transportation at the army’s disposal, only fools would linger after an ambush.

The columnist adds that the army could have retaliated against the Marris in kind but relented because they understood that their Sardar (tribal chief), who was living comfortably in Kabul, misguided the Marris. Incidentally, Sardar Khair Baksh Marri and other Baloch leaders, including Sardar Ataullah Mengal, were in jail until 1978. He blames the media for misinformation and distortion. During the 1973-1977 army action in conflict zones, thousands of innocent people were killed, tens of thousands were internally displaced, social and economic life was disrupted, flocks were stolen, crops destroyed, and the entire Balochistan was terrorised. Eight persons, whom I knew personally, including my dear friend, Daleep Dass, aka Johnny Dass, went missing, never to be heard of again. Sher Muhammad Aliani — a sept, an elder, a septuagenarian — was picked up because of an ambush in the vicinity of his settlement near Kahan; his brutally tortured corpse was later recovered. Murad Khan Ramkani of Tadri too was similarly killed. The valiant Asadullah Mengal and Ahmed Shah Kurd were abducted and killed in Karachi. The examples of the ‘consideration’ shown are too numerous to note.

Continue reading In the shadow of the gun – I

Why Karachi bleeds

Q: What type of conflict is taking place in Karachi?

A: The classification is “Ethno-political” – ethnicity, identity, politics and crime are all in conflict with each other.

Q: Who are the primary actors in the conflict?

A: MQM, ANP and PPP.

Q: Who are the secondary actors in the conflict?

A: Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), organised criminal gangs, sectarian entities and foreign intelligence agencies.

Continue reading Why Karachi bleeds

Why are they calling themselves Mohajirs (Refugees)?

By: Dr. Ahmed Makhdoom, Malaysia

A clique of hoodlums, urchins and loafers came out on streets of some wild gang-infested areas of Karachi, the bustling capital city and business-centre of Sindh. These nefarious and abominable elements gathered in groups, pasted and posted some slogans and posters on the walls of shops and houses and raised shrill slogans for the creation of a ‘Muhajir’ province. No Sir, it is not me who call them ‘Muhajirs,’ they themselves, call ‘Muhajirs,’ meaning ‘refugees’.

These belonged to a hitherto unknown wicked fraternity known as “Mohajir Sooba Tehrik (MST), which translated in simple English means, “Refugee Province Movement.” Is there any such parallel example anywhere in the world, where the ‘refugees,’conquer and demand a separate state within a state for themselves?

The numerous nations that formed a Federation of Pakistan were Bengali, Sindhi, Baloch, Punjabi, Seraiki, Kashmiri, and Pashto. Each of these nations had their own language, culture, heritage, history, arts, music, norms, traditions and historical land.

Millions of innocent lives were lost during unfortunate partition of the sub-continent of south Asia and then the urdu Language was imposed as a national language on the Nations who had formed the federation of Pakistan. This created restlessness in Bengal and after sacrificing millions of innocent lives on the question of language, Bengal became Bangladesh, a Sovereign, Independent and Free nation – free from unfair  rule of the security establishment of the deep state . Today, Balochistan is on the same path which was taken by East Pakistan (Banglades) yesterday. The security establishment of the deep state continuously working on its policies with their subjugation of Sindh and Balochistan and trying to convert Sindhis and Balochs into minority in their historical lands.

Gullible Sindhis who gave them shelter on their historical land but unfortunately it seems that they had no respect whatsoever, Sindh gave them honour and dignity. Sindh accepted them as her own children! Sindh called them ‘Sindhis’ not ‘Muhajirs!’

65 years on – they still have not adopted the language of Sindh. They had never respected and appreciated the glorious and peace loving Sufi culture, norms and traditions of Sindh.  They are remain thankless, ungrateful, unappreciative towards Sindh and calling themselves ‘Muhajirs’ and asking for the division of the land of Sindh which is providing them shelter and living.

Now, let me give a piece of advice to them: “Go read the glorious History of Sindh!” Many  conquerors entered in Sindh and each time the valiant sons of Sindh fought and sacrifice their lives for their beloved Motherland Sindh and then those tyrannical invaders all left with their tails tucked. If any one doesn’t adopt Sindh and calling and think themselves as invaders then the Sindhis will really treat them and would play their historical role as sons of the soil and sacrifice their lives for the defense of their motherland.

The Indus civilisation is centuries old  and the borders of this glorious, illustrious and exalted land of Sindh are historical and inviolable! If any one tries to violate this sanctity of Sindh, or any other force including the conspirators of the deep state, then it will destabilize whole of the region! Therefore, the loyal and filial children of Motherland Sindh are reminding those individuals, “Don’t think about the division of Sindh because it is better for them not to do so.”

Continue reading Why are they calling themselves Mohajirs (Refugees)?

We lost our identity first and then we lost our faith. Does it matter now what we lost first? We know we have lost both.

by Anwar Iqbal

We don’t know how it happened but it did. Somehow our generation became a faceless generation. But before that we lost our faith. Or perhaps, we lost our identity first and then we lost our faith. Does it matter now what we lost first? We know we have lost both.

Like other people we too had names; names that showed we had parents who cared for us. Our names reflected our bound to a family, a community and above all to humanity. But first we adopted new idols, those that sipped blood and spat fire and brimstone.

Those were fearsome deities that loved suicide-bombings, beheadings, and firing-squads.

And all of this was not done in the name of religion alone. We had many idols, each named after a sect, an ethnic group, or a political cult. They had one common trait, an insatiable lust for power.

Soon after we adopted those new idols, we lost our identity, or we may have lost our identity first and then we took these new symbols of worship, abandoning the loving, merciful and benevolent God.

Yes, we still lived in cities, towns and villages. But living was our only distinction. We had nothing to be proud of. There was no bond, no love among us. We did not trust each other. But did it only happen to those living in our city? No. People in cities around us stopped trusting each other too. It was a strange disease that spread across the region and affected everybody.

Continue reading We lost our identity first and then we lost our faith. Does it matter now what we lost first? We know we have lost both.

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

Sindh Stands-by Balochistan

By Dr. Ahmed Makhdoom, Malaysia

Balochistan is not an ‘internal matter of or for Pakistan!’ Balochistan was a Sovereign, Independent and Free nation when Pakistan was carved out from India in 1947. Since that fateful, ruinous and disastrous day, Balochistan has been tormented, tortured and terrorized. The peace-loving Balochs has been traumatized, kidnapped and massacred. Who is responsible for such brutal genocide and barbaric ethnic cleansing? None else, but Pakistan’s security establishment.

Balochistan is screaming in pain and the civilized world has heard and taken notice of the grievous pain of Balochistan in the shape of Sen. Rohrabacher’s Pro-Baloch Congressional Resolution. U.S. and the civilized world respect the wishes, demands and aspirations of the Baloch people, that are, Independence from the deep state.  Sindh is also not in a favour of the deep state.

اَڃا سي آهيِن، جي سَزاوار سڱين جا؍ ويٺــا وڄـــائين جي، سناسي! سُڻئين؍ شاھُ ڀٽائي

“Ancjaa sei aaheen, jei sazaawaara singgiyan jaa, Weitthaa wacjaain jei, Sanaasee! Sunniyein.” (Shah Bhittai)

“Still exist on this land, merrily they gave blood for motherland, Clarion call sound bugle in hand, whence Physician understand?” (Shah Bhittai: Translated by Ahmed Makhdoom)

Sindh was and is and shall always remain side by side, shoulder to shoulder with her brothers and sisters in Balochistan. Free Balochistan, is the demand of Sindhis and Sindh too! Long Live Balochistan! Long Live Sindh!

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, February 22, 2012.

Al Jazeera – Balochistan: Pakistan’s other war

Baloch politicians and leaders share their vision of self-determination and freedom from Pakistani rule.

By Al Jazeera

In the rugged mountains of southwest Pakistan lies the country’s largest province of Balochistan. Far from the bustling cities of Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad, this remote region has been the battleground for a 60-year-long insurgency by the Baloch ethnic minority.

“The Baloch people now live in a state of war. Every day, they face injustice. The army and intelligence agents kidnap our young, and we know nothing about them for years. The Baloch people live in a state of war. We will not accept any offers until we regain control over this land. They burn down our homes and then ask us for peace? We are not stupid.” – Baloch Khan, Baloch rebel leader

The ongoing conflict is often called Pakistan’s dirty war, because of the rising numbers of people who have disappeared or have been killed on both sides.

But the uprising against Pakistan’s government has received little attention worldwide, in part because most eyes have been focused on the fight against the Taliban and al-Qaeda in other areas of Pakistan. …

Read more » al Jazeera

http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/aljazeeraworld/2012/01/2012121372863878.html

Ethnic cleansing of Christians in Pakistan

Christian children have become the victims of recent violence

The shocking protest of a Catholic Member of Parliament in Pakistan: “In Karachi children are being raped and tortured to eliminate the presence of Christians. Dozens of people have been reported as a result of the blasphemy law

By Vatican Insider staff

Rome –

Children raped and tortured, families extorted, abuse and violence taking place at the expense of terrified victims who remain silent: this is the reality of what is happening to the Christian community in some suburban quarters of Karachi, Southern Pakistan’s biggest city and the capital of the Sindh province.

Speaking to Catholic news agency Fides, Michael Shind, a Catholic MP working in Pakistan’s Sindh province, gave a shocking statement condemning the situation for Christians in the Country. Javed, whose statement was also reported by Vatican Radio, warned that for months now, Christians in the areas of EssaNagri, Ayub Goth and Bhittaiabad, have suffered indescribable violence perpetrated by members of political movements, such as the Pashtuns, which are characterised by a strong ethnic and Islamic identity. Christian families are going through living hell but “people are not reporting the abuse for fear of retaliation.”

Just last month, Javed told Fides, “We recorded 15 cases of rape.” In EssaNagri there are real “torture cells” where Christian children are imprisoned and tortured. “Captors ask for ransoms of up to 100.000 rupees and if families cannot pay, the little ones are tortured until they are beyond recognition.” The result of the violence that has been going on over the past six months is that numerous families have decided to leave Karachi. “These acts of violence are aimed at eliminating Christian presence in the area; it constitutes a kind of ethnic cleansing: we are seen as slaves who are unworthy of setting foot on Pakistani soil.”

In another case reported, a so-called “house of tolerance” was opened near a Catholic Church in Ayub Goth where “Christian girls from destitute families are forced into prostitution.” Although the authorities have been made aware of this, they have not taken any action yet. Javed is launching an appeal to ask “for an end to the oppression of our community.”

What is more, the controversial blasphemy law continues to provoke disputes and attract criticism in Pakistan and internationally, while the situation for religious minorities is very serious. They are suffering as a result of the rising extremism of Islamic fundamentalist groups. As reported by Fides, the numbers of people against whom charges have been pressed for allegedly committing blasphemy are shocking. In 2011, the blasphemy law (articles 295b and 295c of the Penal Code) led to at least 161 people being incriminated and 9 killed in extrajudicial executions after they were accused of blasphemy. These accusations “are false in 95% of cases,” says one Muslim lawyer, who wished to remain anonymous for security reasons.

According to a Report by the Asian Human Rights Commission, a human rights watch NGO operative in Asia, “Pakistan failed to guarantee respect for the human rights of its people.” The Commission documented the killings of 18 human rights defenders and 16 journalists in 2011. They had been involved in a process of denouncing evil in society, corruption and Islamic extremism.

Corutesy: Vatican Insider

CIA agents in Pakistan

By Najam Sethi

These are difficult times for professional journalists in Pakistan. Eleven were killed last year in the line of duty. They were either caught in the crossfire of ethnic or extremist violence or targeted and eliminated by state and non-state groups for their political views.

Saleem Shehzad, for example, was abducted, tortured and killed last year and a commission of inquiry is still floundering in murky waters. He had exposed the infiltration of the armed forces by elements affiliated with Al-Qaeda or the Taliban. Several journalists from Balochistan have been killed by non-state vigilantes sponsored by state agencies, others have fled to Europe or USA because they had sympathies with the nationalist cause in the province. Some from Karachi have taken refuge abroad because they were threatened by ethnic or sectarian groups or parties.

Now an insidious campaign is afoot to target senior journalists who question the wisdom of the security establishment on a host of thorny issues. They are being labeled as “American-CIA agents”. This is an incitement to violence against them in the highly charged anti-American environment in Pakistan today. Consider.

If you say the military’s notion of “strategic depth” in Afghanistan is misplaced, outdated or counter-productive, you are a CIA agent.

If you say the military was either complicit or incompetent in the OBL-Abbottabad case, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that the civilians should have control over the military as stipulated in the constitution, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that the military shouldn’t enter into peace deals with the Taliban that enable them to reorganize and seize Pakistani territory, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that the drones have taken a welcome toll of extremist Al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that the military’s annual defense budget, which amounts to nearly half of all tax revenues, should be scrutinized by parliament or the Auditor General of Pakistan, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that the one and same resignation criterion should be applied to both Ambassador Husain Haqqani and DG-ISI Ahmed Shuja Pasha – the former is accused of trying to influence the American government to back up the civilian government of Pakistan in its attempt to establish civilian control over its army and the latter is accused of seeking the support of Arab regimes for the overthrow of the civilian regime ( both accusations come from one and the same individual) – you are a CIA agent.

If you say we should construct a social welfare state in place of a national security state, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that fundamental citizens rights enshrined in the constitution cannot be violated at the altar of a narrow definition of national security defined exclusively by the security state, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that human rights violations in Balochistan carried out by the security agencies are as condemnable as the ethnic cleansing of Punjabi settlers by Baloch insurgents, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that Pakistan’s foreign policy should not be the exclusive domain of the military establishment, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that the Pakistan military’s conventional and nuclear weapons doctrine amounts to a crippling arms race with India rather than a minimal optimal defensive deterrence, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that the ISI is an unaccountable state within a state, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that belt-tightening measures to control budgetary deficits and inflation should apply to wasteful aspects of defense expenditures no less than to wasteful aspects of civilian government expenditures, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that the Supreme Court should pull out Air Marshal Asghar Khan’s ISI-Mehrangate 1991 case from cold storage and adjudge it along with the Memogate 2011 case, you are a CIA agent.

The irony is that the Pakistan military remains the single largest recipient of American aid in the last sixty five years. The irony is that all military coups in Pakistan have drawn legal and political sustenance from America. The irony is that the Pakistani military has signed more defense pacts and agreements with America than all civilian governments to date. The irony is the Pakistan military has partnered America in Afghanistan in the 1980s, fought its war on terror and leased out Pakistani air bases and Pakistan air space corridors to America in the 2000s, and sent hundreds of officers for training and education to America in the last six decades.

The greater irony is that all those liberal, progressive, anti-imperialist Pakistani citizens who have opposed US hegemony and protested American military interventions in the Third World all their lives are today branded as CIA agents by the very state security agencies and non state religious parties and jehadi groups who have taken American money and weapons and done America’s bidding all their lives.

Courtesy: Friday Times

http://www.thefridaytimes.com/beta2/tft/article.php?issue=20120106&page=1

Pakistan: bombs, spies and wild parties

By Declan Walsh

Even before you reach Pakistan there’s reason to fret. “Ladies and gentlemen, we will be landing shortly, inshallah,” says the Pakistan International Airlines pilot, 10 minutes outside Islamabad. To the western ear this ancient invocation – literally “God willing” – can be disconcerting: you pray the crew are relying on more than divine providence to set down safety. But these days it’s about right – Pakistan, a country buffeted by mysterious if not entirely holy forces, seems to have surrendered to its fate.

Viewed from the outside, Pakistan looms as the Fukushima of fundamentalism: a volatile, treacherous place filled with frothing Islamists and double-dealing generals, leaking plutonium-grade terrorist trouble. Forget the “world’s most dangerous country” moniker, by now old hat. Look to recent coverage: “Hornet’s Nest” declares this week’s Economist; “The Ally from Hell” proclaims the Atlantic.

Continue reading Pakistan: bombs, spies and wild parties

An appeal to International Community – “We want to attend universities, not funerals” – Young Women of Balochistan

Below please see a letter from Young Women of Balochistan, forwarded by a friend who received it via email on Dec 10, 2011, Human Rights Day – a day commemorated around the country and dedicated to the people of Balochistan by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (See this report by Rabia Ali). Ironically and tragically, that very day, a young Baloch human rights activist, 35-year old Faisal Mengal, was gunned down in Karachi (details in this report). As Rabia Ali reports, from July 2010 to November 2011, around 300 dead bodies were found — some even of 14-year-olds, according to Tahir Hussain, Vice Chairperson of the HRCP’s Balochistan chapter. Those killed include two HRCP activists, while the number of people missing range from 5,000 to 6,000.  Read on for this brief appeal by the Young Women of Balochistan…

We are young women from Balochistan, belonging to Quetta, Pishin, Mastung, Khuzdaar, Lasbella, Sibi, and Qila Saifullah.

On International Human Rights day, we want to send forward our message.

Each of us has horror stories; each of us has lived through nightmares. We want to tell you our fears.

We want to tell you that we no longer sleep at night. Because we fear the midnight knock. We don’t sleep in the day either, because when men we love go out, we don’t know if they will ever come back or not.

We want to tell you that when our loved ones ‘disappear’, we don’t know what to pray for – whether we should pray for them to come back broken, tortured and maimed, or whether to pray for their quick and painless death. We know unharmed return is not a possibility.

We fear that our daily battles for dignity within our homes and communities will be lost; that our fight for equality and progress will vanish in our fight for survival as an ethnic group.

We fear our own blindness.

We fear the Frontier Constabulary, the army, the state, and the ‘unknown assailants’ that all FIRs record. We have now started to fear ourselves. We fear that years later, when others tell us ‘We didn’t know what was happening in Balochistan’, we will not be able to accept that.

We fear we will lose our capacity to forgive.

We need you to help us fight our fears.

We ask you to help us fight for our future. A future in which the FC and the army does not rule over our lives and deaths.

We want to attend universities, not funerals.

From: Young Women of Balochistan

Courtesy » Journeys To Democracy

http://beenasarwar.wordpress.com/2011/12/12/we-want-to-attend-universities-not-funerals-young-women-of-balochistan/

Sindh’s Centuries Old Tolerances Under Pressure Amid State Inaction

Sindh: Old Tolerances Under Pressure Amid State Inaction

The multiculturalism and peaceful coexistence between ethnic and religious communities that is traditional to Sindh is being tested as never before. However moves at the national and local level are being counted on to defuse a tense situation. ….

Read more » UNPO

Pakistani journalist given U.S. asylum tells of threats, disappearances in Baluchistan

Siraj Ahmed Malik, an ambitious young Pakistani journalist, was enjoying a stint last fall on a fellowship at the University of Arizona when he started getting chilling messages from home.

One after another, his friends and colleagues were disappearing, he learned, and their bodies were turning up with bullet holes and burn marks. A doctor’s son from his home town was arrested and vanished. A fellow reporter was kidnapped, and his corpse was found near a river. A student leader was detained, and his bullet-riddled body dumped on a highway. A writer whose stories Malik had edited was shot and killed.

“These were kids I had played cricket with, people I had interviewed, younger reporters I had taught,” Malik, 28, said in an interview last week in Arlington County, where he now lives. The final straw came in early June, when one of his mentors, a poet and scholar, was gunned down in Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan, Malik’s native province.

On Aug. 19, Malik applied for political asylum in the United States. In his petition, he said that his work as a journalist and ethnic activist in Baluchistan, where he had exposed military abuses, made him likely to be arrested, tortured, abducted and “ultimately killed by the government” if he returned. …

Read more » The Washington Post

Wake up Pakistan! – By Najam Sethi

– US-Pak relations have broken down. The United States has “suspended” military aid and all but closed the Kerry-Lugar-Berman tap of funds for the civilians. Proud Pakistanis have puffed up their chests and vowed to eat grass, if necessary, in order to defend the “sovereignty” of their country. What’s the big deal, they aver, US aid was peanuts anyway, and our traditional friends like China and Saudi Arabia are at hand to bail us out of our problems.

Continue reading Wake up Pakistan! – By Najam Sethi

Afghanistan says Rabbani’s killer was Pakistani

– By: AFP

KABUL: Afghanistan said on Sunday that the suicide bomber who assassinated Afghan peace negotiator Burhanuddin Rabbani was a Pakistani national.

Tensions between the neighbours have been rising amid allegations from Afghan officials that Pakistan and its powerful ISI intelligence agency masterminded Rabbani’s assassination and are seeking to destabilise Afghanistan.

An investigative delegation established by President Hamid Karzai said evidence and a confession provided by a man involved in Rabbani’s killing on Sept. 20 had revealed that the bomber was from Chaman and the assassination had been plotted in Quetta, both on the Pakistani side of the border.

“It proves that the assassination of Professor Rabbani was hatched in Quetta and the man who carried out the suicide bombing is a Pakistani national,” the delegation, led by Defence Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak, said in a statement issued by the presidential palace.

“The documents and evidence in hand, details of other accomplices and their phone numbers have been handed over to Pakistan to make arrests,” it said.

Rabbani’s killing derailed efforts to forge dialogue with the Taliban to end the 10-year war, and raised fears of a dangerous widening of Afghanistan’s ethnic rifts.

The High Peace Council, which Rabbani headed, reiterated earlier comments by Karzai that negotiations should continue, but with Pakistan, rather than the Taliban.

“For the groups that are tired of conflict and want to end the killings and destruction inside the country, peace efforts must continue,” the council said in a separate statement issued late on Sunday.

“But because of those who hide in Pakistan with no known address, who send killers (to Afghanistan), we must negotiate with Pakistan instead.”

Hundreds of Afghans took to the streets of Kabul on Sunday to condemn recent shelling of border towns by Pakistan’s army and accuse the ISI of involvement in Rabbani’s killing.

Courtesy: → DAWN.COM

More details → BBC urdu

Death threat Alert: Ethnic political group releases journalist “hit list”

Alert – Ethnic political group allied with ruling party releases journalist “hit list”

(PPF/IFEX) – The Mohajir Rabita Council (MRC), an ethnic political group in Pakistan’s southern province of Sindh, has issued a list of twelve Pakistani journalists it denounced as being “chauvinists”, and criticized their alleged role in the violence during protest rallies held in Karachi on 12 May 2007, during the visit of the suspended Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftekhar Mohammed Chaudhary to the city.

The MRC is considered to be closely associated with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), the party allied to President Pervez Musharraf and the main coalition partner in the Sindh provincial government.

In a press statement, the vice-president and secretary general of MRC said the organization had established a special unit to inform the new generation about their “enemies”. The statement also condemned certain television programmes and accused them of “playing a dangerous game to destroy Pakistan by igniting linguistic prejudices.”

The names of the journalists on the list include: Zafar Abbas of the daily newspaper “Dawn”; Azhar Abbas of Dawn TV; Mazhar Abbas of AFP; Ayaz Amir, a “Dawn” columnist; Sajjad Mir of TV One; Irfan Siddiqui of daily “Nawa-e-Waqt”; Dr. Shahid Masood of Geo TV; Aneeq Ahmed of ARY TV; Asfar Imam of Aaj TV; Zahid Hussain of Geo TV; Shaheen Sehbai of ARY TV; and Zarar Khan of AP. Also included in the list was Iqbal Haider, secretary general of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP).

A press release issued by the Karachi Union of Journalists (KUJ) expressed concern at the MRC statement, which it described as a serious threat to free media and an attempt to gag the press. ….

Read more → IFEX

http://www.ifex.org/pakistan/2007/05/24/ethnic_political_group_allied_with/