Tag Archives: fundamentals

Secularism is necessary for a prosperous and peaceful Pakistan

– Different perspective – The Baloch and Sindhis certainly believe that Pakistan should be more than an Islamic monoculture

By Raza Ahmed

Pervez Hoodbhoy is a familiar name among critics who see Pakistani society in the context of extremism and terrorism. A distinctively fierce critic of nuclear weapons and technology, Hoodbhoy is a professor of nuclear and high energy physics at the Department of Physics, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad. He has delivered lectures at US and European research centres and universities. In addition to his BS, MS, and PhD degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he has received Baker Award for Electronics and Abdus Salam Prize for Mathematics.

He was awarded UNESCO’s Kalinga Prize in 2003 on science. The same year, he was invited to the Pugwash Council. He has also received the Joseph A. Burton Award from the American Physical Society.

His book, Islam and Science — Religious Orthodoxy and the Battle for Rationality, has been translated into seven languages. Understandably, Hoodbhoy is one of the most sought-after commentator on nuclear and related issues today. Recently, TNS sat with Pervez Hoodbhoy and focused on various aspects of Pakistani state, society, and regional affairs. Excerpts follow. The News on Sunday: What, in your opinion, is the root cause of religious extremism-terrorism in Pakistan?

Pervez Hoodbhoy: It came from Pakistan’s foreign policy in the early 1980s. The US and Pakistan, with Saudi funding, created the deadly jihadist machinery after the USSR invaded Afghanistan. For over a decade, they armed, financed, and trained the mujahideen. Once the USSR withdrew and disintegrated, the infrastructure should have been disbanded. But then Pakistani generals, like Mirza Aslam Beg, decided to use jihadists to conquer Kashmir and establish strategic depth in Afghanistan. Those mujahideen, “assets” as they were called, are now slaughtering our soldiers and officers whenever and wherever they can.

TNS: Has Pakistan been misdirected because no political or intellectual input seems to have gone into policy making?

PH: Civilian and military governments are to be blamed for today’s catastrophic situation. Although he denies it now, let us remember that Nawaz Sharif was thick with Musharraf on Kargil and had accompanied him to visit the troops there. Our insistence on Kashmir being the number one problem is the cause of many of our sorrows. We did not realise that the well-being of Pakistan, and addressing the grievances of Balochistan and Sindh, is more important than liberating Kashmir from Indian occupation. …

Read more → The News

via → Secular Pakistan

Pakistan : Turning villains into heroes

Turning villains into heroes

The Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) is the mother of religious terrorism in Pakistan. It is the only party that has ideologues, strategists and operators. The JI knows how to, directly or indirectly, use the religious parties to its advantage.

When killer Mumtaz Malik Qadri was shooting at Governor Salmaan Taseer (shaheed) his security colleagues remained mere spectators. After committing this act he was safely handed over to the police. After a few minutes, his confession statement was leaked to the media. Up until then the media was using the word “martyred” for Governor Taseer but after his confession statement was whipped up by everyone, suddenly the words “assassinated” and “killed” replaced martyred, and the killer was declared a “ghazi”. In no time the killer was being compared with Ilm Din who had been praised by Allama Mohammad Iqbal and defended by Mohammad Ali Jinnah in court. In short, the martyred was turned into a villain, and a killer into a ghazi.

You must be thinking how all this happened so quickly, as if the angels themselves were directing the TV channels. Divine inspiration cannot explain the turn of the media. However, this rhetoric can be attributed to organised groups — agencies or operators of political parties and terrorist groups — deputed to take care of the media. Such elements use all kinds of methods like threats and enticements to force the media to use their language. The Salmaan Taseer case shows very well how the planners quickly got hold of Qadri’s confession and put it all over the media.

Salmaan Taseer’s martyrdom reminds me of the early 1970 period of Punjab University (PU). Then the Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba (IJT) was testing its initial model of Islamisation in PU, which was later implemented in the rest of the country by various religious and political parties. Incidentally, members of the Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba (IJT) have penetrated many political parties, particularly the PML-N, MQM and some others. The etymology of religious terrorism is very different in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa from Punjab where the Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba (IJT’s) PU model is self-evident. This is one of the reasons why 90 percent of blasphemy cases have been registered in Punjab where the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba (IJT) are most powerful.

I vividly remember how the IJT used to plan before terrorising a student or a teacher. For example, a night before action they would prepare posters condemning the ‘Surkha ghunda gardi’ (terrorism of the Left). They would then assign people to go to the police station to file a report against the Left. It was rumoured in those days that the JI managed to have their chosen police officers employed in the Wahdat Colony police station, which covered the university’s jurisdiction. The next day, within minutes, after breaking the bones of some of its opposing students or insulting a teacher, they would put up these posters on every wall of the university. In no time, a police report would be filed and the police would be moved to arrest the victims. Sometimes press statements about the incidents were sent to the media even before the action. This is how methodically the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), through the Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba (IJT), terrorised the left-liberal students and teachers.

Now review the chronology of events on the day Salmaan Taseer was martyred in this backdrop. You will see that it was all pre-planned. The planners knew how the governor was going to be gunned down, how the killer would be handed over to the police and how his confession statement was to reach the media. It seems that the planners had prepared teams to manipulate the media through threats or enticement. Without planning, media portrayal does not get reversed so quickly. …

Read more : WICHAAR

Pakistan’s Road to Disintegration?

Interviewee:
Stephen P. Cohen, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution
Interviewer:
Bernard Gwertzman, Consulting Editor

In the first few days of this year, Pakistan’s coalition government was thrust into crisis after losing a coalition partner, and then a top politician–Punjab Governor Salman Taseer–was assassinated. A leading expert on the country, Stephen P. Cohen, says these incidents are symptoms of the profound problems tugging the country apart. “The fundamentals of the state are either failing or questionable, and this applies to both the idea of Pakistan, the ideology of the state, the purpose of the state, and also to the coherence of the state itself,” Cohen says. “I wouldn’t predict a comprehensive failure soon, but clearly that’s the direction in which Pakistan is moving.” On a recent trip, he was struck by the growing sense of insecurity in Pakistan, even within the military, and the growing importance of China. …
Read more : COUNCIL on FOREIGN RELATIONS