Tag Archives: Hands

Fazlur Rehman angry at Imran Khan and establishment

Fazl lashes out against establishment, PTI

By Owais Jafri

DERA GHAZI KHAN: Warning the army against ‘intervening’ in political affairs, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam chief said on Monday that all ‘power hands’ showing the way to the ballot, will, in turn, be shown their way back to the barracks.

Addressing a rally in Dera Ghazi Khan, Fazlur Rehman said that threats, in the name of the Haqqani network, to the government and the attack on the Salala check posts are outcomes of a ‘one man show’ and secret pacts of the past.

These pacts, he added, have cost the country’s economy $80 billion and killed 35,000 people, and urged that the perpetrators should be held accountable.

Dismissing PTI’s popularity

Regarding the rising popularity of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the JUI-F chief said that the party is “just a paper, which will disappear soon”.

“All those with the illusion of power are joining PTI. They have no conscience and no fixed place as they are nomads,” he said, adding, “Today they are in PTI but tomorrow they will be with any other power giant.”

Talking about the strength of the rally in Karachi on December 25, Fazl said that his party will gather more people in a single procession of a district than PTI gathered from all over the country. ….

Read more » The Express Tribune

http://tribune.com.pk/story/312557/fazl-lashes-out-against-establishment-pti/

Baloch blood on our hands : DAILY TIMES EDITORIAL

Finally the Federal Ministry of Human Rights has woken up to the woes of the people of Balochistan and taken notice of the rising number of deaths in the province. The human rights ministry has decided to form a task force that will probe human rights violations in Pakistan’s largest province. A report was earlier compiled by the interior ministry’s Crisis Management Cell (CMC). According to this report, Rs 900 million has been spent by deploying 17 regular units and paramilitary troops to put an end to rising violence in Balochistan. This is astonishing considering that the money is being spent on the same forces that the Baloch people hold responsible for their miseries. A military operation is going on in the province and the ‘kill and dump’ policy being pursued by the military and its intelligence agencies is no secret. Various NGOs and human rights organisations, both local and international, have documented this in their reports. The human rights ministry’s task force needs to take into account how deploying more paramilitary troops is part of the problem, not part of the solution, to the ongoing crisis in Balochistan. Although it is not in the hands of the federal and/or the provincial governments to end the military operation since they do not call the shots when it comes to the military’s policies, it is pertinent for the human rights ministry to act according to its nomenclature by persuading GHQ that its policies in Balochistan are hurting the federation.

Killing innocent Baloch whose only fault is to ask for their basic and just rights is criminal. Thousands of Baloch are missing. Tortured and bullet-riddled bodies of Baloch missing persons are found every other day in the province. Under these circumstances, pursuing a repressive policy is not just the height of injustice but also a threat to the country’s unity. The military made the same mistake in East Pakistan. Instead of learning from past mistakes, our military keeps making new and more senseless mistakes.

The need of the hour is to stop the military operation at once. The Frontier Corps (FC) has terrorised the Baloch for many years now. It is time to stop their brutal activities. Kidnapping, torturing and murdering our own Baloch brethren is not something that can be allowed to take place. Baloch insurgents have taken up arms in frustration. The calls for ‘freedom’ are a result of the FC’s ‘kill and dump’ policy.

Trying to solve the crisis in Balochistan through military means is a disaster waiting to happen. This is the fifth military operation in Balochistan. The last four operations only alienated the Baloch further and this one could well be the last nail in the federation’s coffin. A political solution is the only way out of this quagmire. Talking to the Baloch leadership — those in the mountains and those in exile — can bring peace pack. The democratically elected civilian government may be weak but it should not sweep this issue under the carpet because in the end, the blood of the Baloch will be on the hands of the whole Pakistani nation that silently watched this massacre and did not raise its voice. Let us not bloody our hands any further; let us raise our hands for justice instead.

Courtesy » Daily Times

Systematic Genocide of Sindhi Hindus

By: Dr. Rajab Ali Memon, Secretary General, Sindh Taraqi Pasand Party – STP

We condemn the brutal murder of 4 Sindhi Hindu doctors in Shikarpur district by the criminals. The STP, being a strong advocate of secular politics, rejects the intolerance towards all religious minorities and the Sindhi Hindus in particular; since they are being continuously and systematically targeted & extorted by various agencies, dacoits, religious fanatics, and feudal/ tribal/ spiritual lords all over Sindh. We appeal all progressive elements in Pakistan to join us in condemning the rule of jungle, especially in the northern districts of Sindh; and the systematic genocide of Sindhi Hindus to compel them to leave Sindh and settle in India. We believe that the Sindhi Hindus are an integral part of Sindhi nation and equal citizens of Sindh & Pakistan. Hence, it is the foremost responsibility of the State as well as the Government (s) of Sindh & Pakistan to provide them guarantees of Life, Liberty and Property.

Courtesy » Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, November 8, 2011.

Imran Khan is playing in the hands of the military establishment – by Ali Aftab (Beygairat Brigade)

Lead singer of Beygairat Brigade, Ali Aftab, asks some tough questions about Imran Khan and the sinister role of Pakistani establishment behind his PTI. …

Read more » LUBP

Pakistan’s revolutionary youth join hands in the struggle: Meeting to form All-Pakistan Progressive Youth Alliance

– by Adam Pal

Events of the Arab Revolution and the movements across Europe and USA have once again vindicated the Marxist positions about the role of youth. It was the youth who initiated these revolutions and movements. Subcontinent and Pakistan have a rich history of the revolutionary role played by the youth. As the “best barometer of society”, the revolutionary youth of Pakistan have realized the need to join hands in their common struggle against oppression, unemployment, fundamentalism, discrimination, costly education and capitalism. …

Read more » Marxist.com

No clean hands

BAAGHI: No clean hands in AmAfPak – by Marvi Sirmed

The fact that the Taliban and al Qaeda had sanctuaries and freedom in Pakistan is largely responsible for their present position in the strategic equation ….

Read more » Daily Times

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\10\24\story_24-10-2011_pg3_4

MQM chief Altaf said that ARMY/ISI and MQM should join hands together as combined/united platform so that USA/UK can be challenged firmly and Pakistan will then survive!?

– In his televised press conference from London to Pakistani media, MQM chief Altaf Hussain has warned that if Supreme court will decides against then HE WILL GIVE FREE HAND TO ALL MQM WORKERS to demand and act accordingly.

Mr. Altaf spent a lot of time accusing the USA and UK of wanting to ‘cut Pakistan into pieces’. He said that ARMY/ISI and MQM should join hands together as combined/united platform so that USA/UK can be challenged firmly and Pakistan will then survive!??

Source → televised press conference → ZemTv.Com

http://www.zemtv.com/2011/09/09/altaf-hussain-video-conference-9th-september-2011/

Sindhi-Mohajir Rapprochement is possible

– Rapprochement is possible

By Abrar Kazi & Zulfiqar Halepoto

ONCE again, differences between the PPP and MQM have translated into a Sindhi-Mohajir confrontation. In fact, the reasons for this are inherent in the politics of both parties.

The politics of PPP which it calls ‘the politics of reconciliation’ is in fact politics without principles that negates its manifesto. For example, the party promised to undo the Musharraf-era division of Hyderabad district and the clubbing together of Karachi’s five districts, which Benazir Bhutto criticised as an administrative division imposed by a dictator. But the promise was never fulfilled.

The PPP’s major fault is, however, to take the support of Sindhis for granted. It has failed to recognise that the Sindhi people’s love for their motherland transcends party lines, all sacrifices rendered by the PPP or any other party notwithstanding, and that their unity of thought on major issues is phenomenal.

The MQM’s politics appears to be based on the ethnic sentiments of its voters, which when exploited, have the damaging effect of causing dislike for those who do not speak Urdu. The journey from ‘Mohajir’ to ‘Muttahida’ was considered a policy shift towards the integration of MQM supporters with the rest of Sindh. But it turned out to be more a change of strategy than of heart.

Such politics tend to paint all Urdu-speaking people with the same brush although most are progressive and liberal and desire peace and integration. Pakistan’s security establishment, the guardians of the ‘ideological and geographical frontiers’ of the country, have contributed their own bit to this confrontation so that the province has reached its present status of seemingly insurmountable problems.

Consciously or unconsciously, a large segment of the Urdu-speaking intelligentsia, civil society and media have either kept quiet or are perceived as supporting such an ethnic viewpoint thereby increasing the rift. Pervez Musharraf’s dictatorship further widened the gulf through deliberate design to give control of Sindh’s urban centres to the MQM as independent administrative units through the district government system. The LGO 2001 appeared to dovetail with the thinking of those who supported the idea of a Mohajir province in Sindh. This resulted in causing suspicion among Sindhis, who despite the numerous merits of the local government system, rejected the change as an attempt to divide Sindh.

Sindhis voted for the PPP and its manifesto which promised to undo all Musharraf’s actions including the local government system of 2001. Since then, there have been incessant demands for the promised actions.

One point must be noted here. Since 1988, the MQM and the PPP have shared power in Sindh three times. Without going into the deeper factors, the general acceptance of the power-sharing by the masses is indicative that by and large the voters and also the people are fundamentally in favour of coexistence between the Sindh- and Urdu-speaking-sindhis of the province.

Another point worth noting is that the ‘Sindh card’ often played by the PPP whenever it has been in trouble is in effect dead from this point on.

Rather than acting on people’s aspirations, the PPP government has resorted to unprincipled politics, refusing to understand the larger issues involved in the present controversy and thus further aggravating the Sindhi-Urdu (Mohajir) divide.

The angry reaction of Sindhis against the PPP and MQM must be seen against this backdrop. It is not about a few nationalist leaders, intellectuals and members of civil society agitating the people. Neither is it about the present district government controversy. It is the pent-up frustration and anger of many decades of authoritarian and military rule in Pakistan, especially in Sindh. It is about what is seen as the plunder of Sindh’s resources without corresponding benefits to Sindh.

It is about the ownership of two prosperous cities of Sindh, established and developed by a competent and dedicated mercantile and cosmopolitan Sindhi Hindu and Muslim class that flourished much before Pakistan came into existence. It is about the humiliation of seeing a provincial assembly passing a resolution to in effect put a ban on Sindhis getting admission in public-sector professional institutions and employment in the multinational companies. It is also about the frustration at the unending cycle of blood on the streets.This constant confrontation between Sindhis and Mohajirs (urdu-speaking-sindhis0 is a source of great loss to Pakistan and still greater loss to Sindh. Despite being secular and progressive, Sindh lags behind in terms of economic and social development because of the albatross of PPP and MQM policies. Sindh is a prosperous and resource-rich province. It is also a land of secular and liberal people who have given strong political leadership to Pakistan from Jinnah to Benazir Bhutto.

It presented the incumbent PPP government an unmatched opportunity to correct all the wrongs done to the country by the civil and military establishment of Pakistan. A strong democratic and plural society, could have been created to tackle terrorism, the sectarian and ethnic divide and violence in politics but the opportunity was lost by the PPP. The MQM’s alignment with the security establishment further damaged the cause.

There is still hope though. The present revolt against the PPP indicates that Sindhis can reject their own elected government if they fear a division of the province. This raises the opportunity for progressive Urdu-speaking Sindhis to join hands with the Sindhis to make the province an ideal homeland setting an example of peaceful coexistence and democracy.

Courtesy: DAWN.COM

Solution is internal: Stop blaming others

Solution is internal: Stop blaming the US

Excerpt:

Pakistan, it seems, is divided between those who glorify and those who demonise America. Some will construct elaborate theories to prove how America is hell bent upon destroying Pakistan while others would be willing to ignore the most strategic blunders of American administrations.

Truth, I believe, lies somewhere in the middle.

I don’t know how Brigadier (retired) Shaukat Qadir can state with mathematical certitude that “the US establishment (Pentagon/CIA) is compelled to destabilise Pakistan,” but reading similar analyses from Islamabad, I get a feeling that some within Pakistan’s ruling elite want to shift their servile alignment from the USA to China.

Qadir asks:

“Why does the US want to destabilise Pakistan?”

In order to continue enrichment of the top brass through military and its businesses, some try to construct realities that are at best, outlandish. This question leads us to nothing more than conspiracy theories.

A better question would have been:

“How Pakistan became such a dysfunctional state so easy to destabilise?”

If Pakistan had not violently crushed Baloch nationalists for four decades, would there still be an opportunity for foreign hands to take advantage of this Achilles heel? Had Pakistan not used terrorist networks as a cost effective extension of its armed forces for so many years, would it be in this predicament? …

Military rule

Some within Pakistan’s ruling elite think that China will feed their anti-India edifice. From their anti-Soviet cold war position to offering themselves as pawns in the regional rivalry, Pakistan’s rulers have shown complete disregard for the country and its people. North Korea’s dictators have accomplished something similar under China’s patronage. Both North Korea and Pakistan’s declines have occurred because military has been the countries’ top business priority.

I believe stability and strength comes from within and Pakistan must look inward for a solution and reflect how it became such a mocked and maligned nation. Pakistan can become a fiscally viable state by reducing defense expenditure. But, Pakistan’s spoon-fed elite cannot adopt this clear path towards salvation. Parasitic dependence on international predators to enrich the military and its business is such an addiction that 180 million Pakistanis could be starved for the fix.

Read more : The Express Tribune blog

Failing the Baloch

By Basil Nabi Malik

THE mutilated bodies surface quietly in various parts of the province, and usually without any forewarning. The killings take place sporadically but surely, the bodies dumped on unforgiving mountains or on deserted, half-constructed roads. Perhaps they are meant to constitute a message for certain segments of society.

On some occasions, the arms and legs of these corpses are found to have been snapped; often, their faces are smashed in and swollen. At other times, the flesh shows that severe torture was inflicted on various parts of the body, the wounds indicating the use of knives, electric prods or drills that tore gaping holes into the body. The remains are often unrecognisable. And all of them have a gunshot wound in the head.

These aren’t scenes from a battlefield in Afghanistan, Iraq or even the former Yugoslavia. Instead, this is the situation in the largest province in Pakistan: Balochistan. According to assessments made by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), severe human rights violations have been taking place in Balochistan since the onset of the latest phase of the insurgency.

Of the many incidents of torture reported by the organisation, one is the case of Alam Pirkani Baloch who belonged to the Pirkani tribe. Apparently, he was arrested and placed in the custody of the Federal Intelligence Unit (FIU). During his incarceration, he was allegedly hung upside down with some sort of sharp-edged tool between his thighs and in his hands.

After his hands and legs had bled for a while, he was taken down. Then chillies and salt were rubbed into his wounds.

In another incident, Ali Beig of the Marri tribe was said to have been arrested by personnel of the City Police Station, Quetta, and handed over to the FIU. He was made to stand naked in freezing weather, electric shocks were administered to him and he was beaten with strips of rubber. After two months of being in the custody of the Central Investigation Agency (CIA) and the FIU, he was transferred to a jail where the FIU would, allegedly, take him away at night for further torture. After a year, he was once again transferred to the FIU camp where he was subjected to torture with heavy steel rollers.

In another example of the types of activities taking place in Balochistan, Eid Mohammad, son of Haji Wali Jan, was arrested under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) Act. He was kept in custody for three months. At the time of his arrest, Eid was a student of class 8 and was only 14 years old at the time. Although details of what that happened to him during his detention are sketchy, it is reported that Eid can no longer go to school. He regularly suffers nightmares, during the course of which he screams hysterically and pleads that he should not be tortured.

These are just a few of the various incidents of alleged torture recorded by the HRCP in its fact-finding missions over the years.

Furthermore — and shockingly — these incidents of torture are not considered separate to and distinct from the instances of disappearances that are taking place in Balochistan.

In fact, many reports pouring in nowadays indicate that most of those desolate and mutilated bodies discovered on the uninhabited mountains or empty roads were actually persons reported as missing. Additionally, suspicion is raised by the fact that many such bodies come to light after there has been an attack on paramilitary or government forces that is blamed on nationalist forces.

Despite the seriousness of the situation in Balochistan, which is indicated by the examples given above, these incidents seem to have raised little concern in other parts of the country. The media appears more concerned about the presence of CIA agents in Pakistan than the actual damage that is being caused apparently by state agents in Balochistan. Meanwhile, the government of Pakistan is more concerned about completing its tenure than actually trying to heal the wounds of the Baloch.

The Supreme Court, on the other hand, appears more interested in issuing contempt notices to certain PPP leaders as compared to ensuring the fundamental rights of all those tortured and maimed souls who happen to call Balochistan their home. As for the people of Pakistan, sadly, they appear more interested in scrounging for national pride on the fields of Mohali rather than resurrecting the same on the shamed mountains and empty roads of Balochistan.

However, whatever the motives behind such dismissive attitudes, and civil society and the state authorities’ lack of reaction to such incidents, it is clear that the said acts have served to perhaps irreparably harm any possibility of the Baloch placing their trust in the state of Pakistan and attempting at reconciliation.In fact, it has unfortunately now come to such a head that the hatred that certain Baloch tribal people have long held for the state of Pakistan is seeping into other segments of society.

The educated classes, students as well as other parts of the middle class are all growing increasingly militant.

As stated by Jamil Bugti, son of the late Nawab Akbar, Bugti, “The next generation is all in the mountains, and they’re not willing to talk to anyone. People like me, and others, like the different nationalist parties that are in parliament, they don’t have any role to play. They look very good on TV. That’s about it.”

The writer is a Fulbright scholar and a Karachi based lawyer. basil.nabi@gmail.com

Courtesy: DAWNhttp://www.dawn.com/2011/04/12/failing-the-baloch.html

Pakistan’s Nuclear Folly

With the Middle East roiling, the alarming news about Pakistan’s nuclear weapons buildup has gotten far too little attention. The Times recently reported that American intelligence agencies believe Pakistan has between 95 and more than 110 deployed nuclear weapons, up from the mid-to-high 70s just two years ago.

Pakistan can’t feed its people, educate its children, or defeat insurgents without billions of dollars in foreign aid. Yet, with China’s help, it is now building a fourth nuclear reactor to produce more weapons fuel.

Even without that reactor, experts say, it has already manufactured enough fuel for 40 to 100 additional weapons. That means Pakistan — which claims to want a minimal credible deterrent — could soon possess the world’s fifth-largest arsenal, behind the United States, Russia, France and China but ahead of Britain and India. Washington and Moscow, with thousands of nuclear weapons each, still have the most weapons by far, but at least they are making serious reductions.

Washington could threaten to suspend billions of dollars of American aid if Islamabad does not restrain its nuclear appetites. But that would hugely complicate efforts in Afghanistan and could destabilize Pakistan.

The truth is there is no easy way to stop the buildup, or that of India and China. Slowing and reversing that arms race is essential for regional and global security. Washington must look for points of leverage and make this one of its strategic priorities.

The ultimate nightmare, of course, is that the extremists will topple Pakistan’s government and get their hands on the nuclear weapons. We also don’t rest easy contemplating the weakness of Pakistan’s civilian leadership, the power of its army and the bitterness of the country’s rivalry with nuclear-armed India.

The army claims to need more nuclear weapons to deter India’s superior conventional arsenal. It seems incapable of understanding that the real threat comes from the Taliban and other extremists. …

Read more : The New York Times

Benazir Bhutto Assassination : Faisla Aap ka

“Faisla Aap Ka” is an outdoor program and audience based show hosted by Asma Shirazi live from Liaqat Bagh Rawalpindi where Benazir Bhutto was murdered on 27 Dec 2007. The concerning guests and public wants to see the masterminds of assassination of Benazir Bhutto behind the bars. The public opinion is that the elected democratic government don’t have any authority or power to do something and it is unable to disclose the faces which were behind the assassination because it is lacking the power to take any action against real culprits, if the elected government of the PPP go to take any action against the powerful masterminds, the establishment will overthrow the fragile elected democratic government. … people are hoping for justice in Pakistan but they don’t know when will the dream come true …

Courtesy: SAMAA TV ( Faisala Aap Ka with Asma Shirazi, 26 December 2010)

via – ZemTVYou Tube Link

— — — — — — —

BBC urdu report on suspicious activities of government functionaries before the assassination of Benazir Bhhutto, CLICK HERE TO READ THE BBC REPORT

Joining hands for peace- Free India and Pakistan from the agencies!

Free India and Pakistan from the divisive roles of the agencies, read what the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi says.

By Raj Mohan Gandhi

– Daily DAWN, July 22, 2008

MANY in India have been troubled over the charge publicly levelled by a senior official that Pakistan’s agencies planned the bombing of the Indian embassy in Kabul, and over suggestions that Indian agencies should consider retaliating in like fashion against locations in Pakistan where hits against Indian targets are allegedly planned.

If New Delhi had found evidence of the ISI’s role in the destructive act in Kabul, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee should have confronted their Pakistani counterparts with it.

If the evidence was confirmed, the Indian premier should have solemnly presented it to the Pakistani and Indian peoples, and to the world.

Given the power and secrecy of the subcontinent’s intelligence agencies, anything, it is true, can occur. Yet if extremist pro-Taliban groups in Afghanistan and in Pakistan’s tribal areas have on numberless occasions targeted Pakistani leaders and its security forces for supporting the US-led war on terror, the Indian embassy in Kabul would also be a natural target for them.

Apart from the fact that Indian backing for the war against terror has been unambiguous and well known, India’s role in the reconstruction of Afghanistan’s infrastructure also invites the Taliban’s hostility.

Therefore assertions in New Delhi (or Kabul) that a Pakistani agency rather than one of Afghanistan’s Taliban-related extremist groups attacked the embassy have to be backed by solid evidence.

And if the ISI or sections of it are indeed in cahoots with the Taliban, it is the people of Pakistan who should worry the most and devise steps necessary to break the unholy alliance. In the struggle against the threats of extremism and terrorism, the people of Pakistan are the Indian people’s natural partners, and a key constituency for Indian leaders perturbed by the threats.In fact the Kabul incident should trigger a much-needed partnership between the people of Pakistan and the people of India.

Pakistanis should demand from Islamabad the truth about the charge that an intelligence agency was involved, and Indians should likewise ask New Delhi how its agencies quickly reached the conclusion that not pro-Taliban extremists but the ISI was responsible.People on both sides of the India-Pakistan border (and on both sides of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border) have the right to know the facts about the embassy bombing, for their security is at stake. And if security agencies are engaged in dirty work or in disinformation, then the peoples of Pakistan and India must jointly take up the daunting yet inescapable task of putting the agencies in their place.To take our countries back from the agencies may well be the need of the hour.

Ministers are our servants, and the agencies our servants’ mazdoors. Of course servants too are always entitled to respect, and to appreciation when they do their job well. I for one refuse to endorse the assessment of some of India’s Pakistan-watchers that elected leaders will prove worse than the military in dealing with extremism.

The late Bhutto’s powerfully articulated rejection of extremism is a strong legacy that is shared, as far as I can see, across the spectrum of mainline Pakistani politics, by PML and ANP leaders as by the PPP.

However, for figuring out effective ways of addressing grievances and defeating extremism and terrorism these politicians may need to consult more closely with one another across party, provincial and ethnic divides, and also with military and security experts.Perhaps intellectuals on both sides of the Pak-India border should prepare an updated manifesto for the subcontinent.

Some items on such a manifesto are obvious: mutual respect, including unreserved respect for the other nation’s independence; an equally unequivocal rejection of violence, whether direct or indirect, open or concealed, for solving internal, bilateral or international disputes; a clear rejection of the clash-of-civilisations theory; a solution for Kashmir acceptable to Kashmiris and to India and Pakistan; and a commitment to minority rights in both countries.

Also critical to such a manifesto, yet not so obvious in our dazzlingly globalised world, is a commitment to search for subcontinental and regional solutions instead of looking to global powers or a superpower for interventions.

The US and China are formidable countries, and both India and Pakistan have tried to build relationships with them. Given the history of India-Pakistan mistrust, such relationships have seemed attractive.Yet geography is stronger than history.

Oceans and mountains remain large impediments even in the 21st century. For years India and Pakistan have tried to involve distant powers in their dealings with each other, with poor results. It is time to put the subcontinent first. Whether we like it or not, geography mandates coexistence. We can decide to enjoy what cannot be helped and seek to profit from it.This does not mean that Pakistan should give up on its China links, or that India should turn its back on Afghanistan or on India-US relations.

What it does mean is that India-Afghanistan or India-US links should not grow at Pakistan’s expense, or Pakistan-China links at India’s cost. It also means that our peoples should be vigilant against inviting external conflicts to the soil of the subcontinent.We should acknowledge, in both India and Pakistan, not only the divisive roles of the agencies but also the hegemonic character of our societies.

The arrogance of the high-born, the high-placed and the man with the stick is known to both countries. While Pakistan may not formally accept caste hierarchies the way India continues to do (despite progressive laws and the emerging political power of the so-called lower or ‘untouchable’ castes), Pakistani society seems to tolerate armed elites and private jails.In India and Pakistan alike, muscle-power or gun-power is celebrated in posters and movies. In real-life interactions between the citizen and the policeman or the government functionary, the citizen usually comes off second best in both countries.

Correcting this equation, and honouring the listening policeman or politician rather than the macho one, has to be part of our subcontinental manifesto.

If despite disasters and misgovernance our economies have grown, the credit should above all go to the subcontinent’s hard-working and enterprising people. Our countries are on the move because of what our ‘common’ people grow, create, repair or remit, and the millions of vehicles they skilfully drive on hazardous roads.Should we be betting on the subcontinent’s civil society, on the sanity and energy of our peoples?

Though not permanent, hates and fears can after all continue for long, especially when politicians feed those fears and hates instead of working on education and healthcare. Still it may be a good idea to bet on our peoples and on their willingness to become partners. Better to bet thus and lose than concede that mutual destruction is the subcontinent’s destiny.

Joining hands for peace

Source: http://southasiatimes.blogspot.com/2008/07/joining-hands-for-peace.html