Tag Archives: hegemony

Sindh’s political temperature

By: Mushtaq Rajpar

Excerpt:  it is the MQM’s own politics and the use of other non-political means to maintain its hegemony on the city that have caused the party’s decline. An open political competition without an environment of fear – the fear of being kidnapped and killed – will definitely produce different results. If this had not been the case, why were violent means used against opponents? …

Read more >> The News
https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/315922-sindh-s-political-temperature

‘US hegemony in world has ended’ – Russia’s deputy security chief

The deputy head of Russia’s supreme security body says US international dominance is being replaced by multiple centers of power. He urged a global agreement on the results of the Cold War, warning that the world could otherwise become engulfed in chaos.

The United States has an impression that the breakup of the Soviet Union was the only result of the Cold War. This is arguable, and this is possible. But no one has attempted to analyze the results or make any conclusions from the situation. The unipolar world headed by Americans simply appeared,” Evgeny Lukyanov told the RIA Novosti.

However, this status quo was not built to last. New power centers have appeared on the international arena, including the BRICS nations, and Russia itself has managed to regain its stance. Nations openly declare their interests and demand respect to their basic rights. This is how the US hegemony on the international arena has ended and of course Washington officials cannot agree with this,” the Russian official stated. Lukyanov emphasized in the interview that the USSR was no more.

Read more » http://rt.com/politics/169860-us-hegemony-brics-russia/

US threatens Pakistan with sanctions over Iran gas pipeline

Pipeline undermines US hegemony in the region

The US has threatened Islamabad with sanctions over Pakistan’s partnership with Iran to construct a section of a gas pipeline. Washington said that the much-delayed $7.5-billion project violates sanctions on Iran, a claim denied by Pakistan.

Iran and Pakistan expect the completed pipeline will deliver 21.5 million cubic meters (760,000 million cubic feet) of gas per day to Pakistan from its giant offshore South Pars field in the Persian Gulf by December 2014.

Iranian contractors will construct the pipeline, which crosses Pakistani territory. Tehran has agreed to lend Islamabad $500 million, one-third of the estimated $1.5 billion cost of the 750-kilometer pipeline, according to Fars news agency.

After Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari launched the project on Monday on the Iran-Pakistan Border, the US threatened to respond with sanctions if the project “actually goes forward.”

“We have serious concerns if this project actually goes forward that the Iran Sanctions Act would be triggered,” State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said, commenting on the so-called ‘peace pipeline.’

Iran has completed 900 kilometers of the pipeline’s segment on its side of the border with Pakistan. Monday’s ceremony marked the beginning of work on the Pakistani segment, which will start at the Iranian town of Chahbahar near the border.

Continue reading US threatens Pakistan with sanctions over Iran gas pipeline

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 blurred vision of Imran Khan – Promising to end corruption in 90 days smacks more of autocracy than democracy

Eliminating corruption in 90 days

By Raza Rumi

Excerpts;

….  Much has been said about the great Khan’s sympathies for the militants who are resisting ‘America’s war’ in our region. Never mind that they also kill Pakistanis, attack mosques, shrines and funerals and are in bed with a global ideology that wants to decimate the ‘un-Islamic’ Pakistani state. The odd relationship between the PTI and the self-declared defenders of Pakistan — the ragtag Islamist parties, ex-servicemen and known terrorists — has also been highlighted. I will not dwell on these issues as several commentators have indicated the dangers of this populist discourse and the larger, intrinsic relationship between populism and authoritarianism.

My real worry is that Mr Khan is yet to offer an alternative agenda. His charisma, cricket connection, philanthropic record and the use of social media are at work. When it comes to policy, the plan ahead is almost farcical. Haven’t we heard of elimination of corruption in 90 days before? Corruption, as a slogan, has been used by almost every Pakistani government to undermine political opponents. As early as the 1950s, laws to disqualify politicians were enacted.

The 1990s saw the military establishment orchestrate a ridiculous anti-corruption charade. Nawaz Sharif’s second tenure had a Himmler-wannabe as the chief of accountability, who turned anti-corruption efforts into medieval witch-hunts. Former President General Pervez Musharraf’s illegitimate rule was welcomed by the same urban middle classes, which now cheer for Imran Khan to eliminate the ‘corrupt’, old guard politicians.

Tackling corruption is not a 90-day job, for it will only result in high-powered accountability operations stuck in a dysfunctional legal system. It is a medium to long-term process involving restructuring of institutions — laws, formal and informal rules and conventions — which shape societal interaction and determine state behaviour. Pakistani politics and economics are defined by the military’s hegemony. The biggest expenditure items — defence and debt servicing — are virtually unaccountable. Has Mr Khan thought about these issues or will these disappear through ‘moral legitimacy’ — another wooly construct cited like a totem. ‘Clean’ civilians will make the khakis give up power. One has to live in wonderland to accept such postulates as even half-credible. ….

Read more » The Express Tribune

via – Twitter

Zulfiqar Mirza’s statement and resignation could be genuine

by Khalid Hashmani

Mr. Zulfiqar Mirza’s statement and resignation could be genuine or it could be simply a drama to convince Sindhis that at least some leaders of PPP are opposing MQM’s designs of hegemony over the matters of Karachi, Sindh. I am of the view that we should welcome all voices — be it from nationalist parties, PPP, or any other party that oppose violent means of MQM.

I believe that nationalist parties are neither strong enough nor unified enough to successfully oppose MQM’s armed cadres and a support from Urdu-speaking Mohajir population. They are no match to MQM’s 10,000 to 30,000 armed cadre who are ready to wedge terror in any part of Karachi, Sindh and harass any community in Karachi including their own Urdu speaking Mohajir population. Only PPP, having been in power for almost three years, has enough resources to credibly face MQM violence. The way I see the current situation, Pakistan’s military forces will not interfere in any matter that will burn their fingers with one or other section of populations. The rangers and police are largely afraid to pick on MQM. The only way to pressure MQM to shun the violence is if a unified force of all other communities oppose them. I hope you would recall that some nationalists criticized Mr. Zulfiqar Mirza when he gave very strong statements against MQM few months ago saying that PPP was dividing dividing Sindhi- and Urdu-speaking populations because they want to divide Sindh. Soon thereafter they turned around next to criticize PPP for not opposing MQM enough.

I am quite certain that once MQM realizes that they are facing a formidable and unified front supported by all other sections of populations in Sindh and particularly in Karachi, they might give up on violent methods and start acting in a civilized and democratic manner for resolution of issues.

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, 28 August, 2011.

PTV’s ‘Jihadi plays’ help army to maintain control over society

-by Farooq Sulehria

Ayesha Siddiqa is an independent social scientist with expertise in civil-military relations and political-economy. She has a doctorate in War Studies from King’s College, London. She has has authored two books on the military and Pakistani politics. Her book ‘Military Inc.’ was banned under the Musharraf dictatorship. She was the first Pakistan fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and a Ford Fellow. These days she is writing a regular column for the Express Tribune. In an interview with Viewpoint, she discusses Jihadification of Pakistan Television and Lollywood. Read on:

In the 1980s and the 1990s, the PTV aired plays like Sunahary Din, Alfa Bravo Charlie, Nishan-e-Haider series etc that glorified the Pakistan Army. If PTV being state-owned institution was bound to glorify the army in the 1980s when there was a military dictatorship, why the trend continued in the 1990s when there were elected governments running the country?

Military’s domination of the society does not end with the end of direct military rule. In Pakistan’s case the military represents one of the two key poles of power politics. Continued domination in power politics, in turn, is linked with control of the society which depends on intellectual control. These plays are one of the many ways employed by the army to maintain its control over the society. In fact, this is one of the many methods for exercising military hegemony as defined by Antonio Gramsci. Intellectual control helps dominate or shape the national discourse. On the one hand the military weakens political forces, and, on the other, it trains the youth and the general public to accept military as a credible social and political force.

Alongside the plays glorifying Pakistan Army, the PTV serials like Akhari Chattan, Shaheen, Tareekh o Tamseel which glorified Muslim past or Panah 1 and Panah II that depicted Afghan ‘resistance’ against Soviet intervention in Afghanistan, were a permanent PTV feature in the 1980s. Do you think this Jihadification of the PTV drama contributed to a militaristic culture in the country? If yes, how? ….

Read more → ViewPoint

The uniqueness of Sindh

– By Ayaz Amir

Just when the sector commanders had been put on the back-foot, and the MQM was vociferating in a manner not seen since 1995 (Gen Babar’s operation), who should come to their rescue but President Zardari’s personal emissary, Montecello University’s most celebrated doctoral figure, Dr Babar Awan.

He has brilliantly appeased the MQM by restoring Gen Musharraf’s  loaded [undemocratic, black, repressive & discriminatory] local government system – first just to Karachi and Hyderabad and then, when … Sindh rose up with one cry against this hasty move, to the whole of Sindh. The MQM can hardly believe its luck – perhaps it hadn’t counted on so swift a Zardari capitulation – but anger in … Sindh is on the rise.

Dr Zulfiqar Mirza’s outbursts had angered the MQM but secured the PPP’s vote bank in rural Sindh. Dr Awan’s gymnastics have pleased the MQM but poured fuel over the burning embers of Sindhi anger. From one extreme the PPP has swung to the other.

The choice of Dr Awan as PPP plenipotentiary was bizarre. How was he qualified to negotiate on behalf of Sindhi interests? The PPP is now on the back-foot. All the certificates of cleverness earned by Zardari for his supposed political sharpness have gone with the wind.

Dr Awan has proved adept at stalling and frustrating the Supreme Court. From the PPP’s point of view, he should have confined himself to that doctrine of necessity instead of floundering in the waters of Sindh.

In an ideal world, the PML-N should have been quick to exploit this opening. Alas, if wishes could be horses. It showed itself eager, a bit too eager, to embrace the MQM when the latter fell out with Zardari. But this proved embarrassing when the MQM’s falling-out proved to be less than definitive. Small wonder, it has yet to get its thoughts in order on the anger on the rise in backwater Sindh.

All of us could do with some clarity on a crucial issue: while the logic of smaller provinces applies to Punjab, because it is too huge and unwieldy, it does not, and cannot, apply to Sindh. Babar Awan and the PPP came perilously close to the idea of Sindh division when they proposed one dispensation for Karachi and Hyderabad – the restoration of Musharraf’s  [undemocratic, black, repressive & discriminatory] local body system – and another for the rural, revival of the commissionerate system. Sindh rural instantly saw red and the PPP had to back down immediately, in the space of a mere 24 hours. But the alarm had been sounded and Sindhi concerns have yet to be addressed or placated.

Carving a southern or Seraiki province out of Punjab will not endanger Punjab identity. Indeed, it will facilitate the task of governance and give a sense of belonging to the people of southern Punjab who feel left out of the orbit of Punjab affairs. But anything even remotely connected to the notion of Sindh division is almost an invitation to dangerous conflict in this most sensitive of provinces.

We should not forget the history of 1947 migration. If we leave Bengal out of the equation, there were two great waves of migration in northern India at the time of Partition: one from East Punjab to West Punjab, and vice versa; the other from Delhi, Lucknow and Bhopal in the north, and Hyderabad Deccan in the south, to Karachi. These migrations were dissimilar in character.

While Punjab suffered the most in terms of looting, plunder, killings and mass rape, when the dust settled and passions had time to cool, the process of assimilation was relatively quick because East and West Punjabis, minor differences of course apart, came from the same cultural stock. With minor variations of dialect, they spoke the same language and shared the same history.

This was not so with the southern migration to Karachi and Hyderabad. Karachi was a cosmopolitan city even then – a mini-Bombay, so to speak – but it was the capital of Sindh, the culture and language of whose native inhabitants was radically different from that of the people who were coming to it from India.

Karachi soon became the centre not of Sindhi culture but of the culture of displaced Dehi, of Delhi as it had been before the tumult of Partition. Delhi today is a Punjabi city. Its old composite, Muslim-dominated culture, the culture from which arose the poetry of Mir and Ghalib, is a thing of the past, lost to the upheavals of time and history. No conqueror, not Taimur and not Nadir Shah, could destroy Delhi, or transform its character, as decisively as Partition did. Those who seek the old Delhi, authors like William Dalrymple, have to come to Karachi to catch a whiff of the past.

Pakistan would be the poorer without this infusion of Delhi, Lucknow and Hyderabad Deccan culture. True, there was a downside to it as well, …. brought with their culture also their own prejudices. Insecurity and fear were part of their migrational baggage and these were infused into the thinking of the new state. But in cultural terms the arid wastes of Pakistan were enriched by that influx of talent and learning.

Punjabis being Punjabis, no new centre of culture arose in Punjab. But in Karachi we saw the birth of a transplanted culture, its soul carrying the imprint of loss and nostalgia, the usual hallmarks of any migration.

The downside comes from this very circumstance. Sixty four years after Partition we continue to live in the past, beset by old insecurities even though the times have changed and the old certitudes which gave birth to those insecurities no longer survive.

Sindhis are entitled to be a bit upset by all these changes. After all, they too are the inheritors of a great civilisation. Moenjodaro is the oldest pre-historic site discovered anywhere in India. There are other mighty life-giving rivers in the sub-continent: the sacred Ganges, the winding Brahmaputra. But only the Indus, sacred river of Sindh, gives its name to India. Hindus migrating to India from Sindh in 1947 take great pride in their Sindh ancestry.

Sindhi anger, nay Sindhi anguish, is centred on a primal concern. Why must the transposing of cultures be at their expense? And there is a fear lurking in their hearts, the fear of the Red Indian and the aborigine, of becoming strangers in their own homeland. This is a concern which must not be scoffed at. The rest of us, and this includes the successors to the civilisation of Delhi, should avoid words or gestures that smack even remotely of designs against the unity and integrity of Sindh.

From the immortal land of the five rivers, now only three left with us, thanks to the vagaries of history, more provinces can be carved out and no harm will come to it [Punjab]. But let no Punjabi leader or politician say that if Punjab is to be divided the same logic should apply to other provinces. This is wrong thinking. The same logic does not apply to Sindh, it does not apply to Balochistan. It is relevant only to Punjab and Punjab will be doing itself and the nation a service if it takes the lead in this respect, illuminating the path that others can follow.

A word may also be in order about another fixation of the Punjabi mind: Kalabagh dam. If Kalabagh dam is right then there is nothing wrong with the dams India is building on the rivers Chenab and Jhelum. If we are objecting to run-of-the-mill dams in Kashmir, dams whose water is not stored but is allowed to run, how can we support a storage dam on the Indus at Kalabagh? The logic just does not hold.

History cannot be undone. We have to live by its consequences. But Sindh of all regions of Pakistan requires a balance and moderation in the conduct of its affairs. Any hint of an unnatural hegemony of one part over the other is an invitation to anger and despair.

Courtesy: → The News

The Chinese Cozy Up to the Pakistanis

by Selig S. Harrison

China’s expanding reach is a natural and acceptable accompaniment of its growing power—but only up to a point.

Beijing is understandably challenging a century of U.S. dominance in the Pacific and the South China Sea immediately adjacent to its shores. But the aggressive effort to block Indian hegemony in South Asia, reflected in its growing ties with Pakistan and its territorial claim to the adjacent northeast state of Arunachal Pradesh (for which there is no historical basis) is more ominous.

In contrast to its studied neutrality on the Kashmir issue in past decades, Beijing is now openly supportive of Pakistan and is establishing its economic and political influence both in Pakistan-occupied Azad (Free) Kashmir and in the Himalayan state of Gilgit-Baltistan. …

Read more : The National Interest

The New Great Game: Afpak, blood, & oil in central Asia

The New Great Game

The New Great Game is a term used to describe the conceptualization of modern geopolitics in Central Eurasia as a competition between the United States, the United Kingdom and other NATO countries against Russia, the People’s Republic of China and other Shanghai Cooperation Organisation countries for “influence, power, hegemony and profits in Central Asia and the Transcaucasus“. It is a reference to “The Great Game“, the political rivalry between the British and Russian Empires in Central Asia during the 19th century.

Many authors and analysts view this new “game” as centering around regional petroleum politics. Now, instead of competing for actual control over a geographic area, “pipelines, tanker routes, petroleum consortiums, and contracts are the prizes of the new Great Game”.The term has become prevalent throughout the literature about the region, appearing in book titles, academic journals, news articles, and government reports.[3] Pakistani author Ahmed Rashid claims he coined the term in a self-described “seminal” magazine article published in 1997, however uses of the term can be found prior to the publication of his article.

In a leaked US Embassy cable released by WikiLeaks, it was reported that Prince Andrew, Duke of York, supports the concept of a New Great Game:

Addressing the Ambassador directly, Prince Andrew then turned to regional politics. He stated baldly that “the United Kingdom, Western Europe (and by extension you Americans too”) were now back in the thick of playing the Great Game. More animated than ever, he stated cockily: “And this time we aim to win!

Courtesy: wikipedia

Times we live in

In order to make sense of the atmosphere of fear, it is important to distance oneself from essentialist readings of Muslim culture as being inherently intolerant.

By Ammar Ali Jan

It is difficult to point out what is more painful to witness; the brutal murder of a Governor of the largest province of the country because he had dared to express dissent on a controversial law or the public celebration of this violent act by extremist forces, with complete impunity from the state. What is particularly shocking, however, is the muted response of secular political parties in the country in the wake of this assassination. Despite enjoying complete electoral hegemony over religious forces in Pakistan, mainstream parties are finding it increasingly difficult to speak out against discriminatory practices in our society, owing to the growing domination of religious forces in setting the contours of our cultural discourse.

Continue reading Times we live in

Why not be willing to talk to MQM to create a win-win solution?

by Khalid Hashmani

Washington : The question as to why some Sindhis are not willing to engage in negotiations with MQM to create a win-win solution for the benefit of all those who live in Sindh was raised. One opinion expressed in the discussion said that to achieve Sindh Rights, Sindhi-speaking Sindhis should formulate a joint alliance with Urdu-speaking Sindhis and other non-Sindhi speaking Sindhi populations but that MQM would not be a fair-minded and trust-worthy partner as it has so many faces. MQM has a suspicious record in dealing with that oppose MQM hegemony and as well as other communities living in Sindh. It is imperative that Sindhis protect and work together with all those who live in Sindh in peace and oppose those who practice and promote violence. The other point of view was that a majority of Urdu-speaking Sindhis have elected MQM to be their representative. Sindhis cannot and shoud not choose the adversaries with whom they wish to talk and with whom they do not wish to talk. Another argument made was that MQM wins elections mainly through manoeuvring and by threatening common Urdu-speaking men and women was countered that some also say that among Sindhis, elections are mainly won by large landlords and using non-visible coercing techniques. Does this mean that other parties refuse to accept PPP as a representative of Sindhis?

In concluding part of the discussion, the consensus appeared to be that when MQM demonstratively shows that it has shunned violence, Sindhis should have no hesitation in working with MQM in order to solve the problems of Sindh. It was hoped that MQM will soon get rid of all their arms and ammunition, and genuinely adapt a path of peace, tolerance, harmony and non-violence.

About Author: Mr. Khalid Hashmani is a Washington DC-based veteran human rights activist. He is the founding President of Sindhi Association of North America (SANA) and Chief coordinator of Sindhi Excellence Team (SET) that participates in advocacy activities on behalf of  Sindhis.