Tag Archives: fundamental

The unholy troika

By D. Asghar

Looking back at 2007, people were under the so-called impression, that there was a genuine momentum, seeking the supremacy of the law in Pakistan. Granted that it is a novel concept, a nation that fails to respect, its basic law, called its Constitution, it was a far cry. Some think, that it was more of a “Go Musharraf Go” campaign in reality. It was cleverly dubbed as “struggle for the freedom of judiciary”, for a rather obvious reason. The strategy was to really unseat the dictator, who very cunningly usurped powers from an elected Prime Minister and promptly dispatched him to a ten-year-long exile to the Holy Lands. One has to sit in amazement and wonder, how could a citizen of Pakistan, otherwise convicted for a supposedly heinous crime of “hijacking a plane”, be awarded a speedy pardon and placed on an equally speeding jet, bound to the brotherly kingdom.

The honorable judiciary did not take any “suo moto” notice of such a fundamental violation of justice. Nor did they take any notice, when many Khaki men of honor, trampled over the ‘Constitution of Pakistan’. Again, what a travesty that our Supreme judiciary not only did not live up to the oath of their office at such instances, but aided and abetted in an otherwise illegal act.

The common theme invoked to white wash this otherwise act of treason by the generals was always the ‘Doctrine of Necessity’. What a necessity and what a strange solution! At all such occasions, the Khakis were truly at fault. Whatever justification was provided, it was.

Many able commentators have opined on this unique situation and rightly termed it as a deliberate build up of the ‘Security State’. The ‘Security State’ is provided ideological façade through the Muslim League.

Each time Khakis take over, they reinvent the Muslim League. Add a suffix [Quaid, Conventional, Council, Pagara, Junejo, Nawaz, Chatta, and so on…], and then place their surrogates at the helm of the re-invented Muslim League. General Zia-ul-Haq brought a Lahori businessman named Nawaz Sharif to the fore. Needless to say, he came up with a version of Muslim League, denoted by his initial N, as well.

The N League has had made its two stints in the government. One was dismissed by a ‘presidential coup’ engineered by the Khakis while the other directly conducted by General Pervez Musharraf.

By the way, the N League also has the distinct honor of sending its goons to vandalize the apex court of this nation. All because Mr. Sharif was miffed with the judiciary at one point, while he was in this glorious assumption, that he was the “Ameer ul Momineen.”

Amazingly, the same Military that created him at one point, sent Mr. Sharif packing too. All because Mr. Sharif was getting two big for his shoes. He decided to replace General Musharraf. A guy who perhaps was responsible for the “misadventure” in Kargil. Mr. Sharif opted for a fellow Kashmiri, General Butt. Ordinarily, it was within Mr. Sharif’s constitutional authority to do so, but he just totally forgot one golden rule. Never bite the hand that once fed you. Hence Mr. Sharif was deposed and incarcerated for acting too smart for his notoriety.

Come to think of it, the N League is the mother of all parties to the right. The rest of the religious and fundamental parties, are just there for the noise value. In reality, none of the others matter much, nor they have the ability to form any government. But clearly present to sing the chorus, as needed.

One was under the impression that Nawaz Sharif would have learnt his lessons by now. But politics is indeed a strange game. Nawaz Sharif who supposedly credits himself, for the restoration of deposed judiciary, seems to be back in action, playing for his former king makers. Fact is that, Mr. Sharif has realized, that he has to sing the Khaki tune to be back in Islamabad.

Read more » View Point

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Of memogate and precedence – By Waris Husain

As Habib Jalib said, “How can this desert be called a rose garden? How can I write a silver lining of this cloud? We have inherited this grief from the past, how can I write this grief anew?”

Critics argue that the Supreme Court’s decision to continue its probe of Memogate is a replay of past judgments which legitimised the will of the military over the people’s civilian government. Others contend that the will of the people demands that Zardari and his cohorts be punished in any manner for corruption, and the Supreme Court’s decision is one step in that political fight.

Though the Supreme Court judges and the Lawyer’s Movement acted as a political force to remove Musharraf, they should reexamine their roles in the battle for constitutional supremacy today. The Court has a valid interest in applying the rule of law equally to all, including Presidents and former Ambassadors, but they must also recognise the context of that judgment. The law, unlike politics, is powerful only when it follows precedent, and the precedent being set by the court today is quite a dangerous one for the future of civilian-military relations.

The Supreme Court’s order calls for a three judge panel to collect evidence and present findings within one month. In the Order, the Supreme Court stated that it was protecting fundamental rights recognised in Articles 9, 14, and 19A of the Constitution. These articles protect the right to due process, dignity of man, right to information of matters of public importance.

Continue reading Of memogate and precedence – By Waris Husain

A French minister of Arab origin says ‘there is no such thing as moderate Islam’

By AFP

Paris – A French minister said there was no such thing as moderate Islam, calling recent election successes by Islamic parties in Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia “worrying” in an interview published Saturday.

Jeannette Bougrab, a junior minister with responsibility for youth, told Le Parisien newspaper that legislation based on Islamic sharia law “inevitably” imposed restrictions on rights and freedoms.

Bougrab is of Algerian origin, whose father fought on the French colonial side during Algeria’s war of independence, and said she was speaking as “a French woman of Arab origin.”

“It’s very worrying,” she was quoted as saying. “I don’t know of any moderate Islam.”

“There are no half measures with sharia,” she added. “I am a lawyer and you can make all the theological, literal or fundamental interpretations of it that you like but law based on sharia is inevitably a restriction on freedom, especially freedom of conscience.” ….

Read more » AL ARABIYA NEWS

The dream of a new start in Pakistan

By Omar Ali

The rise of Imran Khan and memogate have enthused those who dream of a “reformed” democracy under the guiding hand of the army.

A few days ago, I was planning to write about Imran Khan. Pakistan’s most successful cricket captain and philanthropist had been trying to add “successful politician” to his resume since 1996, but after many years in the political wilderness he finally seemed to make a breakthrough with his large public meeting in Lahore. Pakistan’s educated youth, in particular, appeared to be very excited about a politician for the first time in their young lives. But they were not alone; even the ageing British Marxist, Tariq Ali, threw caution to the winds and announced that Mr. Khan’s gathering was a sign that the “Arab Spring” had finally made it to Pakistan and was even larger than the huge rallies of Benazir Bhutto and her father in days gone by. Comrade Tariq seemed to have forgotten that the Arab Spring had come to Pakistan many decades before it belatedly reached the Arab world and never mind the size of the rally, which bore no comparison to Benazir’s historic 1986 rally. But, Tariq Ali’s flights of fancy notwithstanding, the rally was clearly large and the arrival of Mr. Khan as a politician with crowd support was a major event.

But then President Asif Ali Zardari called his U.S. ambassador Hussain Haqqani to return to Pakistan to explain his role in “memogate,” the still mysterious affair in which he apparently gave international fixer Mansoor Ijaz a memo that was passed on to Admiral Mullen. It is not yet clear who was behind the memo and what he hoped to accomplish; did the Zardari regime really fear a coup at a time when the army was on the back-foot and faced real public humiliation in Pakistan in May 2011? And if it did, why pick this circuitous route to look for American help? And how would a regime that is unable to control the army and fears a coup be able to turn around and completely defang the same army with U.S. help a few days later? Is there more to the story? We don’t know, and may never know, but the story is not over yet.

Both stories may even be related; there are suggestions that Mr. Khan’s sudden rise is not just spontaneous combustion but involves some help from “the agencies.” Circumstantial evidence in favour of this suspicion includes the obvious sympathy he is receiving from pro-military websites and the fact that his extremely “liberal” and reasonable interview with Karan Thapar has not ignited any firestorm of protest in the “Paknationalist” community — a community generally quick to jump on anyone who talks of improved relations with India or admits that we do have militants and that they do need to be eliminated. Memogate is even more obviously a story about the civilian-military divide in Pakistan and it is no secret that it is the army that is asking for his removal. Is this then the proverbial perfect storm that will sweep away the current civilian dispensation and replace it with that old favourite of the army and the middle class: a “caretaker government” that will rid us of “corrupt politicians” and “unpatriotic elements” and make Pakistan the China of South Asia?

I have no way of knowing if the time is nigh, but the dream of a new start is not a figment of my imagination. The military and its favourite intellectuals (and large sections of the middle class) seem to be in a permanent state of anticipation of the day when the military will sweep away this sorry scheme of things and then we will have order and progress. If pressed about the nature of the system that will replace the current system, the naïve foot soldiers may think of the late lamented (and mostly imaginary) caliphate if they are on the Islamist side of the fence; or of “reformed” and real democracy, the kind that does not elect Altaf Hussains and Asif Zardaris, if they are on the smaller westernised liberal side of the fence. But the army’s own house intellectuals are more likely to point to China. That the history of China and the ruling communist party has no resemblance to GHQ’s own history of inept and retrograde interference in Pakistani politics is something that is never brought up; apparently this time, the GHQ will start where the Chinese are today, having conveniently skipped an intervening century of mass movements, civil wars and revolutions, not to speak of 4000 years of civilisation and culture.

Of course, the system as it exists is unnatural. Either the army has to be brought to heel under an elected civilian regime or civilians have to be pushed aside for a more efficient form of military rule (even if it is in the garb of a civilian “caretaker regime”). The current “neither fish nor fowl” system will have to evolve in one direction or the other, or crises like memogate will continue to erupt. Since most people think the army has the upper hand, the second outcome appears more likely to them. It could be that Mr. Khan offers them the chance to have their cake and eat it too; he is genuinely popular and if his party wins the elections and comes to power, the army may have the regime it wants in a more legitimate manner. But this middle-class dream outcome also seems unlikely. It is hard to see how the PTI can win a majority in a genuine election. And with no plan beyond simplistic patriotic slogans, any such regime will soon face the same problems as the one it replaces.

That brings us to the second prediction: the current atmosphere of crisis will continue unabated no matter what arrangements are made by the army. The really critical problem in Pakistan is not “corrupt politicians.” In that respect, we are little different from India, Indonesia or many other countries not thought to be in terminal existential crisis. The real problem is that an overpopulated third world postcolonial state has not yet settled even the most fundamental issues about the nature of the state and its institutions. The “hard” version of the two-nation theory and its associated Islamism have helped to create a constituency for millenarian Islamist fantasies. And 20 years of training militants for “asymmetric warfare” against India has created an armed force and a safe haven for that force. These two streams have mingled to the point where the state faces civil war against its own creations. It is also a war for which the deep state lacks an adequate narrative, having spent decades nurturing a virulent anti-Indian and Islamist ideology that glorifies the very people they are now forced to fight. But fight them it must because its own interests lie with globalised capitalism, not militants. They may imagine they can again direct the war outwards to Afghanistan and Kashmir, but the militants have other ideas, and will not go quietly into the night. Even if they did, the legitimacy of the 1973 constitution and its institutions within the elite remains low and so the crisis of governance would continue.

So, after this doom and gloom, a faint “positive” prediction: There are better than even chances that eventually the deep state will be compelled to claw its way past all these problems to defeat the militants, make peace with India and establish a straightforward near-secular democratic system to run the country. All of that may look less than the paradise many Pakistanis are waiting for, but it’s what the world has to offer at this point in history and it is unlikely that the intellectual resources of GHQ will somehow produce an alternative that the rest of the world has not yet found. It will not be pretty, but it will be done.

Or they will fail, with unpredictable dire consequences for their own people and the region. Either way, India would do well to help positive trends and resist negative ones without losing sight of the big picture. I think Manmohan Singh realises that, I hope others do too.

Continue reading The dream of a new start in Pakistan

Ahmadis expelled from school

By Shamsul Islam

FAISALABAD: At least 10 students, including seven girls, and a female teacher were expelled from Chenab Public School and Muslim Public School, Dharanwali area of Hafizabad, for being Ahmadis.

“It is extremely unfortunate that my daughters are being deprived of the most basic and fundamental human right such as education … all because of religious intolerance,” Khalil Ahmad, whose three daughters were expelled, told The Express Tribune. “I have no alternative to ensure that their education continues,” he added.

What about the constitutional provisions which ensure equal rights for all? What about the rule of law that says no discrimination can be made on the basis of faith, race, cast and creed, he questions. …

Read more » The Express Tribune

States formed on the basis of religion can never survive a peaceful future (Bertrand Russell) e.g; Pakistan and Israel!

Pakistan’s identity war — II

By Saleem H Ali

What does it mean to be an Islamic state? Was there ever such an entity? Can modernity, as it pertains to developing a functional society in a globalised world, be realised within the context of a theocracy? These are fundamental questions which Pakistanis need to resolve, within this generation, in order for Pakistan to develop and reach its potential.

Pakistan shares the distinction, along with Israel, as being one of only two states to have been crafted, in the post-colonial worlds, on the basis of religion. In both cases enormous migrations were involved with questionable legitimacy for the migrants. The ‘muhajir’ identity continues to be perpetuated, as such, on this basis. The creation of both Israel and Pakistan present a perplexing paradox: Created on the basis of religion, their champions were largely secular individuals. The founders of Zionism as a political force, such as Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben Gurion, were secular. So too were Pakistan’s founders, most notably the Quaid-i-Azam. I would argue that Ben Gurion and Jinnah made a dangerous bargain when it came to conflating cultural identity on the basis of religious adherence.

Pakistan and Israel — two states which don’t recognise each other diplomatically — are facing a similar radicalisation because of that initial crisis of identity which was never fully resolved. Theocratic forces are gaining power in both countries. …

Read more : The Express Tribune

US policy in Egypt: potential and pitfalls – Dr Mohammad Taqi

Frank Wisner and his ilk are dead wrong, as the only opportunity Hosni Mubarak has is to write his own political obituary. On the other hand, history has afforded Barack Obama a chance to write his legacy — at least as far as the Arab world is concerned. He must avoid being on the wrong side of history.

Whenever there is any political turbulence in the world, especially in Muslim countries, planners in the US become jumpy and draw parallels to Ruhollah Khomeini’s rise to power. They simply do not wish to be caught off guard again

Revolutions, historically, have remained a geostrategic forecaster’s nightmare. For starters, revolutions are difficult to define and identify. What may appear, prima facie, to be a revolution in the making, may stop short of achieving any significant change. Unless a popular socio-political movement results in fundamental transformations in a society’s state and class structures and relationships, it may not qualify as a revolution.

Read more : Daily Times

Justice for Few

U.S. And Justice for Few – William Fisher

NEW YORK, 14 Dec (IPS) – Poor defendants on death row, immigrants in unfair deportation proceedings, torture victims, domestic violence survivors and victims of racial discrimination – all these groups are consistently being denied access to justice while those responsible for the abuses are protected, according to a new report by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Jamil Dakwar, director of the ACLU Human Rights Programme, told IPS, “Access to justice is a fundamental human right and bedrock tenet of American democratic system – it was even codified by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which the U.S. championed 62 years ago.”

“Unfortunately, access to the courts and effective remedy have been severely curtailed over the last decade, especially for those who need it most,” he said. “It is time for our government and judiciary to recommit to respecting and promoting this essential right.” …

Read more : ipsnorthamerica.net

UNESCO’s Director-General condemns murder of Pakistani journalist Abdul Hameed Hayatan in Baluchistan

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, has called on authorities to investigate the murder of Pakistani journalist Abdul Hameed Hayatan, whose body was found with gunshot wounds on 18 November outside of Turbat, in western Pakistan’s Baluchistan province.

“I condemn the murder of Abdul Hameed Hayatan,” said Ms Bokova. “An act of violence on a journalist is not only a crime against the individual victim. It also represents an attack on freedom of expression, which is a fundamental right and a cornerstone of democratic society. I call on the authorities in Pakistan to spare no effort in investigating this murder and bringing the culprits to justice.”

Known also as Lala Hameed Baloch, Hameed, 25, was found dead in a canal alongside his friend Hamid Ismail after they disappeared from their home town of Gwadar, in Baluchistan’s west, on October 25, according to the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ). Hameed reported for the Urdu-language Daily Intikhab, and worked as a stringer for several other news outlets.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) notes that Hameed’s murder brings to 11 the total number of reported deaths of media workers in Pakistan this year. Four of these deaths have been in Baluchistan. …

Read more : UNESCO