Tag Archives: History

First Pakistani women paratroopers make history

RAWALPINDI: Pakistan Army, in another landmark achievement, successfully completed the first ever Lady Officers Para Trooping Course at Para Training School, Peshawar, said a statement issued here on Sunday.

Besides challenging physical training, Para jumping course involved training in exit, flight and landing techniques.

Read more » The News
http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-109317-First-Pakistani-women-paratroopers-make-history-

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A freedom fighter lost in the pages of history

By Shaikh Israr

KARACHI: Seventy years ago this day, a forgotten freedom fighter was hanged in Sukkur Jail (now Central Jail Sukkur 2) under the British Raj.

Hemu Kalani, originally from Sukkur, was given the option of relaxing his sentence for a simple written apology — but he remained steadfast and unapologetic.

His valour still echoes in the pages of history, his determination, many say, knew no bounds.

Just 18 years old when he was caught red-handed, imprisoned and tortured for attempting to loosen the fixings of the railway track in his hometown in a bid to derail the train which was carrying special troops of the European battalions.

Young Kalani was informed on October 23, 1942 that a train was carrying weapons which would be used against freedom fighters in Sindh. He along with friends decided that the train will not be allowed to go ahead.

Perhaps lost in history, it is still unclear who caught him.

But according to writer Dr Amir Abbas Soomro, a security guard of a biscuit factory near the track caught him and handed him over to the police (information the writer says he gathered from Kalani’s younger brother Tekchand).

Accounts of his story reveal that Kalani asked his friends to run away before being caught by authorities and never disclosed their names despite being tortured mercilessly.

His case was being heard in a Martial Court and his lawyers, Pirzado Abdul Sattar, failed to prove him innocent before the British Raj.

Sattar made an offer to Kalani’s paternal uncle, Dr Manga Ram: If Kalani could sign a written apology, the British would relax his death sentence but Kalani simply refused.

Upon hearing the news his mother, Jethi Bai, rushed to the Sukkur jail and begged her son to accept the terms of the apology.

Kalani refused to apologise for saving his land.

Today, 70 years on it seems the hero of Sindh has been lost in translation.

While India pays homage and celebrates his death anniversary as a sign of resilience, very few are aware of his sacrifices here except a few nationalist parties who take him as a hero.

A post stamp of Kalani’s name was issued by former Indian premier Indira Gandhi in 1983 and several roads, schools and parks have been named after him in different cities of India.

So highly placed is this historical legend that the Indian parliament boasts a statue of Kalani on its premises.

His uncle Dr Manga Ram was also a freedom fighter and Kalani was inspired by his struggle against the British Raj.

According to Kalani’s neighbours, his family migrated to India after the partition of the subcontinent and resided in Chamber Camp, Mumbai. His younger brother, Tekchand, still lives in Mumbai and is 71 now.

At one point in time, Jawaharlal Nehru himself visited Kalani’s family and announced pension for his mother after his death.

Today, Iftikhar Shah possesses the house that once was home to Kalani in old Sukkur.

Courtesy: The Express Tribune, January 21st, 2013.
http://tribune.com.pk/story/496835/a-freedom-fighter-lost-in-the-pages-of-history/

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

One suo motu too many – By: Tausif Kamal

Whenever some of our preconceived myths are shattered by a stark, unyielding and yet truthful reality, we tend to revert to denial and a refusal to face up to the facts as they are

The Supreme Court’s short order in the Arsalan Iftikhar case absolving the Honourable Chief Justice (CJ) without any investigation or examination of any evidence in the underlying imbroglio is premature. It is in fact contradicted by the Supreme Court’s own statement in this order: “…the Supreme Court (SC)…cannot judge the guilt or innocence of the parties without evidence or trial…” So how is this ruling not applicable to the CJ, who is so intertwined in this scandal being the father of one of the main suspects, and whose judicial power is at the heart of this corruption scandal?

This is in way to imply that the CJ is guilty but there cannot be an exemption from inquiry and investigation along with other participants and witnesses, for possible criminal violations based just on mere words of one of the parties. Who is Malik Riaz to give a clean bill of health to the CJ? It is strange that the SC is relying on the good word of Malik Riaz whom the former considers to be an accused fit to be prosecuted for some serious criminal offences under Pakistan’s criminal laws.

To contend that the media is maligning the judiciary by highlighting this scandal is to blame the messenger and not the message. Let us not be sidetracked, for now at least, by corruption in the media, which no doubt prevails, but which is less important than the imperative of our judiciary to have an unassailable reputation and an image above reproach. Conducting a thorough probe or inquiry of all those allegedly involved, including the Honourable CJ, will clear rather than tarnish the judiciary’s reputation and remove the dark clouds hanging over our most esteemed institution.

The nation has a right to know answers to such vital questions as how long the CJ knew about his son’s involvement with Malik Riaz and how many meetings the CJ had with Malik Riaz before the matter was seized through a suo motu action. The only other acceptable alternative to such an inquiry would be for the CJ to quit honourably in the larger interests of the judiciary and the country.

Continue reading One suo motu too many – By: Tausif Kamal

Asma Jahangir rejects memo report. “Under what law the commission can declare anybody a traitor”?

Asma Jahangir rejects memo inquiry report

LAHORE: Asma Jahangir, counsel for former ambassador Husain Haqqani, has expressed reservations over a report presented by the memo commission to the Supreme Court and accused the panel of being biased.

Talking to reporters at the Lahore High Court here on Tuesday, she questioned the commission’s jurisdiction in relation to its several findings and said “under what law the commission can declare anybody a traitor”?

Continue reading Asma Jahangir rejects memo report. “Under what law the commission can declare anybody a traitor”?

Video of discussion about Baloch freedom fight struggle with Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

The aim of the Balochistan Series at T2F is to encourage open and informal dialogue about the Balochistan conflict, and especially to bring out voices that are generally not heard.

The first event in the series took place at T2F on Friday, 18th May, 2012 and featured BM Kutty and Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur. The session aimed to discuss the rise of Baloch nationalism and the major features of its history, and was moderated by Nazish Brohi. The language of the discussion is urdu (Hindi).

Courtesy: YouTube

Pakistan blew its chance for security

By: David Ignatius

As America begins to pull back its troops from Afghanistan, one consequence gets little notice but is likely to have lasting impact: Pakistan is losing the best chance in its history to gain political control over all of its territory — including the warlike tribal areas along the frontier.

Pakistan has squandered the opportunity presented by having a large U.S.-led army just over the border in Afghanistan. Rather than work with the United States to stabilize a lawless sanctuary full of warlords and terrorists, the Pakistanis decided to play games with these outlaw groups. As a result, Pakistan and its neighbors will be less secure, probably for decades.

This is a catastrophic mistake for Pakistan. Instead of drawing the tribal areas into a nation that finally, for the first time since independence in 1947, could be integrated and unified, the Pakistani military decided to keep the ethnic pot boiling. It was a triumph of short-term thinking over long-term; of scheming over strategy.

America has made many blunders in Afghanistan, which will have their own consequences. But U.S. problems are modest compared with those of Pakistan, which nearly 65 years after independence still doesn’t have existential security as a nation. Like most big mistakes people make in life, this is one that Pakistan’s military leaders made with their eyes wide open.

The Group of Eight and NATO will hold summits in the coming days and announce the exit strategy from Afghanistan. Fortunately, President Obama is planning a gradual transition, with at least 20,000 U.S. troops remaining until 2024, if necessary, to train the Afghan army, hunt al-Qaeda and steady Afghans against the danger of civil war.

But what can Western leaders say when it comes to Pakistan? Basically, the Pakistanis blew it. By playing a hedging game, they missed a moment that’s not likely to return, when a big Western army of well over 100,000 soldiers was prepared to help them. Instead, Islamabad used the inevitability that America would be leaving eventually as an argument for creating a buffer zone that was inhabited by a murderous melange of the Taliban, the Haqqani network and other Pashtun warlords.

Continue reading Pakistan blew its chance for security

Pakistan’s Kangaroo Court calls itself “Supreme Court,” but in fact is another front for the Mullah-Military complex

Pakistan’s puppet Court – By Shiraz Paracha

The Supreme Court’s controversial detailed verdict against the elected Prime Minister of Pakistan is one more bad decision by a Court that has a dark history of collaboration with the military in depriving the people of Pakistan of their fundamental rights.

The Supreme Court has been transcending its legal boundaries and constitutional role. Its decisions are biased, unfair and politicized. The Court is not a neutral and objective defender of law and judges have been acting as puppets.

The Judiciary is not independent and appears to be playing someone’s game. Indeed the Supreme Court is acting as a proxy for imposing a controlled democracy in Pakistan. It seems that characters such as Imran Khan and Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan are part of this game. The former ISI chief Lt. General Shuja Pasha was an architect of the latest effort to introduce ‘clean democracy’ in Pakistan. General Pasha was not alone in military’s one more political adventure.

Actually, the military considers itself the sole defender of Pakistan and generals have been trying to shape and control the Pakistani politics. In fact, the military never felt comfortable with parliamentary form of democracy. For this reason every few years new campaigns are launched to ‘clean’ the system.

Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan’s recent calls for the establishment of a technocrat government and Imran Khan’s Tsunami are reflections of military’s new efforts to bring a setup that ‘suits’ Pakistan. The Judiciary and media are means to complete that agenda. As the Parliament is about to complete its term, Imran Khan is threatening that he would not accept results of the new elections. Dr. Qadeer, dubbed by some as the future president, has joined hands with Imran Khan. The media and the Judiciary are taking cue from some in the military to pressurize the present government. All these actors want to maintain the status quo by imposing a controlled democracy.

Continue reading Pakistan’s Kangaroo Court calls itself “Supreme Court,” but in fact is another front for the Mullah-Military complex

Balochistan: A history of betrayals and disillusionment

By Mahvish Ahmad

ISLAMABAD, April 30: Zakir Majid Baloch was picked up from Mastung three years ago. He was on his way to a university where he was enrolled as an MA English student. Zakir had always wanted to go to Balochistan University in Quetta but it was impossible for him to get admission there. According to his sister Farzana Majid, his political activities in the Baloch Student Organization-Azad made him an unpopular pick for most academic institutions. It was most likely also the reason for his kidnapping: Farzana believes that the security agencies picked him up on June 8, 2009, to punish him for his activities.

Continue reading Balochistan: A history of betrayals and disillusionment

23rd March 2012 Freedom March Rally in Karachi JSQM Chairmen Bashir Qureshi’s Speech – English Version

Long live Sindh Long live Sain GM Syed − The heirs of Sindh, My dear sisters and brethren! − I welcome you all cordially who came here from nook and corner for gathering in the capital city Karachi which is not only capital city but the heart of Sindh. − − عمر يست ڪه آواز منصور ڪهن شد − من از سرنو جلوه دهم دارو رسن را − (Time has elapsed that the voice of Mansoor has been obsolete; I want to re-embellish ropes and hang) − Sons of Sindh! − Pakistan has never been a country in any episode of history but the Sindh has remained such a motherland since thousands of years and has been bestowed with bounty of natural resources including fertile agricultural lands, roaring Indus River and coastal belt. Therefore the populace of Sindh has been the custodians of civilization when it was newly evolving elsewhere. − Out of excavation of Moen-Jo-Daro it reveals that the Sindh has traversed the different periods of olden civilizations since the period of Euphrates, Samaritans and Babylons. Comparative it was more civilized and prosperous then the contemporary civilizations of that period.

Continue reading 23rd March 2012 Freedom March Rally in Karachi JSQM Chairmen Bashir Qureshi’s Speech – English Version

The Future of History – By Francis Fukuyama

Can Liberal Democracy Survive the Decline of the Middle Class?

Stagnating wages and growing inequality will soon threaten the stability of con­temporary liberal democracies and dethrone democratic ideology as it is now understood. What is needed is a new populist ideology that offers a realistic path to healthy middle-class societies and robust democracies.

Something strange is going on in the world today. The global financial crisis that began in 2008 and the ongoing crisis of the euro are both products of the model of lightly regulated financial capitalism that emerged over the past three decades. Yet despite widespread anger at Wall Street bailouts, there has been no great upsurge of left-wing American populism in response. It is conceivable that the Occupy Wall Street movement will gain traction, but the most dynamic recent populist movement to date has been the right-wing Tea Party, whose main target is the regulatory state that seeks to protect ordinary people from financial speculators. Something similar is true in Europe as well, where the left is anemic and right-wing populist parties are on the move.

There are several reasons for this lack of left-wing mobilization, but chief among them is a failure in the realm of ideas. For the past generation, the ideological high ground on economic issues has been held by a libertarian right. The left has not been able to make a plausible case for an agenda other than a return to an unaffordable form of old-fashioned social democracy. This absence of a plausible progressive counter­narrative is unhealthy, because competition is good for intellectual ­debate just as it is for economic activity. And serious intellectual debate is urgently needed, since the current form of globalized capitalism is eroding the middle-class social base on which liberal democracy rests.

THE DEMOCRATIC WAVE

Social forces and conditions do not simply “determine” ideologies, as Karl Marx once maintained, but ideas do not become powerful unless they speak to the concerns of large numbers of ordinary people. Liberal democracy is the default ideology around much of the world today in part because it responds to and is facilitated by certain socioeconomic structures. Changes in those structures may have ideological consequences, just as ideological changes may have socioeconomic consequences

Read more »Foreign Affairs

http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/136782/francis-fukuyama/the-future-of-history

In memory of: 30th death anniversary of man who brought ‘Sindh’s history to life’

By Z Ali

HYDERABAD: Hundreds of people, besides scholars, historians and writers attended the 30th death anniversary of historian, Pir Hasamuddin Shah Rashdi at Makli, also his final resting place. Rashdi was born in Larkano on September 20, 1911, and spent most of his life in Karachi, Sindh.

Continue reading In memory of: 30th death anniversary of man who brought ‘Sindh’s history to life’

We expect the Supreme Court to apologise for the role it played, says PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari

We expect SC to apologise for role it played in murder of ZAB: Bilawal

By APP

NAUDERO: “We expect the Supreme Court to apologise for the role it played in the judicial murder of Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto,” were the words with which Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari summed up the case of righting his dead grandfather’s name in history, on the eve of the PPP founder’s 33rd death anniversary being observed in Naudero.

With his father, the President of Pakistan and co-chairman of PPP, Asif Ali Zardari watching, along with the PPP central executive committee, hundreds of thousands of loyal party workers which had gathered in Ghari Khuda Bux, and around the country, Bilawal exhorted, “the restoration of these judges by our Prime Minister was a truly historic milestone for our country. Now it is up to the courts to redeem their institutions sullied reputation in the eyes of history.” ….

Read more » The Express Tribune

http://tribune.com.pk/story/359398/we-expect-the-sc-to-appologise-for-the-role-it-played-in-the-murder-of-zab-bilawal/

Taliban are Pak Army proxies, not Pashtun nationalists – By Farhat Taj

One of the media and academia’s axiomatic constructions about Pashtun is that Taliban are Pashtun nationalists. This construction is based on distorted one-sided information and selective references to the Pashtun history that too are misrepresented to concur with the notion that Taliban are Pashtun nationalists. Drawing upon the current Pashtun ground realities and history, I will argue that Taliban, both in Pakistan and Afghanistan, are mere proxies of the Pakistani state to wipe out forces of entho-nationalism among the Pashtun as well as temper with Pashtun cultural identity on both sides of the Durand line in the state pursuit of the foreign and domestic policy objectives set and controlled by the military establishment of Pakistan.

Let me say on the outset that the Pashtun experience of having been assaulted with state proxies in garb of religion is not new. In the past the Mughal and the British states have done the same in order to force the Pashtun to behave in line with the states’ strategic interests. There are basically three big pan Pashtun nationalist movements in the Pashtun history. All the three movements were perceived as clashing with the contemporary states’ interests. Thus all the three were assaulted with states’ proxies and propaganda skillfully camouflaged with religion.

The first movement was initiated by mystic, Bayazeed Ansari, from Kaniguram, South Waziristan. He was called ‘Pir-Rooshan’ (the saint of light) by his followers. He lived during the reign of the Mughal Indian Emperor Jalaludin Akbar (1542-1605). The Mughal emperor imposed a ban on him and his followers. Above all the supposedly secular Mughal ruler, Akbar, tasked mullahs to launch a politically-motivated religious campaign against the teachings of Pir-Rooshan. Prominent among the those mullahs are Akhund Darveza (a mullah of Tajik origin) and another Pir Ali Tirmizi (of Uzbek origin). These two state sponsored mullahs declared him Peer-Tareek (the saint of darkness) and assaulted his movement with a sustained malicious propaganda apparently rooted in Islam.

The second Pashtun nationalist movement was launched and led by Khushal Khan Khattak, well-known Pashtun poet, political leader and warrior. The nationalist movement led by him was fully supported by two other influential Pashtun tribal leaders, Darya Khan in Khyber agency and Aimal Khan in Mohmand agency. Arguably, Khushal Khan can be regarded as the founder of modern Pashtun nationalism. For the ethno-nationalist inspiration of future generations of Pashtun, Khushal Khan, also known as lord of pen, has left volumes of his Pashto poetry that is full of Pashtun nationalistic motivation, aim and expression. In one of his well-known couplets, he says this: ‘Drast Pashtun la Kandahara tar Attoca sara yo da nang pa kar pat ao ashkar, pa yowa zhaba wail sara Pashto kro walay nashoo la yo bal khabardar’ ( All Pashtun from Qandahar to Attock speak Pashto language (and) are (socio-culturally) one and the same, but are (politically) oblivion to one another). Khushal Khan’s movement was suppressed by the most bigoted Mughal ruler of India, Aurangzeb Alamgir (1618-1707). One of the Khushal Khan’s couplets in which he condemns the Mugahl ruler’s atrocities is this in. ‘Che pa noom Pakhtanay ghuseegi pray khawkheegi, Aurangzeb dasay badshah de da Islam’ (He (Aurangzeb) derives pleasure from massacre of Pashtun, such is Aurangzeb’s kingdom of Islam).

The third great Pashtun nationalist movement was launched by Khan Ghafar Khan, popularly known as Bacha Khan. A prominent difference between Khushal Khan and Bacha Khan is that the former ran his movement with sword in form of armed struggle against the Mugahl army led by a fanatic Muslim ruler and the latter’s movement was non-violent. Essentially, Bacha Khan’s movement was for mass-scale social reformations in the Pashtun society in order to cleanse it from socio-cultural practices that hindered wide spread human development in the society, such as revenge or the inhibition towards modern education.

The British-Indian and the successor Pakistan states used religious proxies to oppress Bacha Khan’s movement. Wali Khan’s book, Facts are Facts, contains interesting research about the role of mullahs against the Pashtun nationalist movement under the British Raj. Both the British-Indian and the Pakistani states never allowed Bacha Khan to enter the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) although despite all the states’ opposition, his movement did inspire countless people across FATA, including many parents who sent their children to the schools established by Bacha Khan in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa areas on the border with FATA.

Linked with Bacha Khan’s movement was the mass scale social reform and state building agendas of Amanullah Khan, the great Pashtun King of Afghanistan (1919-1929). The king made arrangements for compulsory education for all Afghans and gave right to vote to women. Pashto was declared the official language of Afghanistan. He began to build a strong Afghan armed force, including the air force with help of the Russians, and initiated a process of industrialization. He tasked the Russians to build a road linking Tashkand with Kabul and Khyber agency in FATA. The king regularly used to read Pakhtun, a Pashto language magazine launched by Bacha Khan, and used to advise other people in Afghanistan to do so. The Pashtun, although divided by the British drawn artificial Durand Line, had turned their faces towards progress, development and ethno-national unity.

All this was too much for the British rulers of India to bear because it was happening in the area that the British had assumed their buffer zones vis-a-vis Russia. Their first buffer zone, Afghanistan, and their second buffer zone, FATA, along with the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (formally NWFP) seemed going out of the British control coupled with a possible tilt towards the Russians. The British had to act to eliminate the reforms undertaken on both sides of the Durand Line. The British knew they could not do it militarily. It could have brought the British face to face with the Russians that the British never wanted. Secondly, the harsh experiences of the three Afghan wars had taught them that military intervention in Afghanistan is pointless. Thus they unleashed mullahs on Bacha Khan and King Amanullah Khan to rob their reform agendas of religious legitimacy. In case of the king the British lowered themselves to such an extent they made fake photos of his wife, Queen Soraya, showing her half naked. The photos were distributed in Afghanistan with the malicious propaganda that the king is not a Muslim in his personal and political life and hence cannot be king of the Pashtun, who are Muslim. Deadly chaos was created in Afghanistan in which Bacha Saqa took power who did with Afghanistan what the ISI backed Taliban did during their reign (1996-2001). Girls’ schools were closed down, Afghan Shias were massacred, the state building agenda was rolled backed and Kabul was ravaged. Similarly, mullahs were also unleashed by the British to discredit Bacha Khan’s movement as well.

King Amanullah Khan’s agenda for social reforms, imposed from above, was very vulnerable to conspiracies by anti-Pashtun forces, who exploited the vulnerability to the full. Contrary to this, Bacha Khan’s movement for social reforms was firmly rooted in people’s confidence that he and his followers had successfully won through direct interaction people in villages and towns. Thus his movement could be never rolled backed despite severe and prolonged oppression by the British-Indian and Pakistani states. Nevertheless, the implantation of the social reforms that both Bacha Khan wanted was thwarted by the successive states’ oppressions. Imagine where the Pashtun as nation would have been today if the reform agendas undertaken on both side of the Durand Line had been carried forward.

To be continued

Courtesy: The Friday Times

http://www.thefridaytimes.com/beta2/tft/article.php?issue=20120330&page=8

Pakistan: Demand for Independence of Sindh

By Aamir Raz Soomro

It was not long ago that a bill was tabled in the US Congress in support of giving Balochistan – the land of the Baloch – the right to self-determination against their ‘forced accession’ into Pakistan on March 27, 1948. The day is still mourned as a Black Day throughout the Baloch land, including parts of the provincial capital, Quetta.

In the year 1971, the erstwhile East Pakistan had already witnessed a bloody independence war with Pakistan, which culminated in the creation of the country now known as Bangladesh – it was a real bloody war since hundreds of thousands of people were massacred in this ‘genocide’ to crush the Bengali freedom-fighters.

In the present times, however, it is not just Balochistan which has the separatist sentiments, but Sindh under the leadership of Mr. G.M. Syed, has also been fighting for independence soon after the creation of Pakistan. From the platform of various nationalist political parties, Sindhis demand separation from Pakistan and creation of proposed, Sindhudesh, the Land of Sindhu (River Indus). They support their demand with the arguments that, 1., the British had invaded the independent Sindh and, 2. that they have a distinct rich history and secular culture which dates back to 5000 years. ….

Read more » Global Voices Online

Mehmood Khan Achakzai

“Yesterday freedom voice raised from Balochs, today from Sindh, but fear of the day, when Pashtoon said that, no more Pakistan and it will make a history, therefore, I (Mehmood Khan Achakzai) again warns these forces [security establishment of the deep state] that, do not play with Pashtoon nation.” – Pashtoon Leader MAHMOOD KHAN ACHAKZAI.

The language of the interview is urdu (Hindi).

Courtesy: Geo Tv News (Jirga – Mehmood Khan Achakzai’s Exclusive interview with Saleem Saafi – Part 1)

Via – facebook

Tyranny and Terror Cannot Last for Long…….!

By: Dr. Ahmed Makhdoom, Malaysia

Today, we, the world over, are witnessing the end of this deep state. It is speeding fast towards being buried in the manhole of the history.

Tyranny and terror cannot last for long! All walls of despotism must fall! Balochistan has paid a severe and terrible price to free themselves from the mean fetters of ignominy chains of slavery. Thousands of valiant sons and daughters of Balochistan has lost their lives in the struggle of the  rights. Long live Sindh and Balochistan and down to the dictators of the deep state.

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, February 20, 2012.

21st February is an ‘International Mother Language Day’- Sindhi Adabi Sangat will hold a `National Language Conference’ in Islamabad to mark the day and highlight the importance of mother language in history and the culture of people.

Mother Language Day: National Language Conference to be held tomorrow

ISLAMABAD: Sindhi Adabi Sangat (SAS) will hold the `National Language Conference’ tomorrow (Tuesday) to mark International Mother Language Day and highlight the importance of mother language in history and the culture of people.

The national conference is being arranged in collaboration with the National Language Authority (NLA), which will be attended by writers, intellectuals, linguists and leading politicians from across the country.

Talking to APP, SAS Secretary Sarwan Chandio said the national conference was expected to prove a milestone in the promotion of mother language, besides providing an opportunity to intellectuals to sit together and understand each other’s viewpoint.

“The national conference is being arranged for the first time in the history of the country where intellectuals and politicians will highlight the issues related to mother languages,” he added.

Member of the Federal Assembly Nawab Yousaf Talpur will be the chief guest, while the conference will be presided over by Sindhi Adabi Sangat Secretary General Dr Mushtaq Ahmed Phull.

Senators Sabir Baloch and Zahid Khan, Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Nazir Ahmed Sangi, Jami Chandio and senior journalist Ejaz Mehar will be the honorary guests.

Writers from across the country, including Saleem Raz, Dr Shah Muhammad Marri, Abdul Rehman Baitab, Wahid Bozidar and Khalid Majeed, will highlight the importance of mother tongue as a national language on the occasion.

Continue reading 21st February is an ‘International Mother Language Day’- Sindhi Adabi Sangat will hold a `National Language Conference’ in Islamabad to mark the day and highlight the importance of mother language in history and the culture of people.

The Dönmeh heritage, Mustapha Kemal Ataturk & Modern Turkey

The Dönmeh: The Middle East’s Most Whispered Secret (Part I)

By Wayne MADSEN

There is a historical “eight hundred pound gorilla” lurking in the background of almost every serious military and diplomatic incident involving Israel, Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Greece, Armenia, the Kurds, the Assyrians, and some other players in the Middle East and southeastern Europe. It is a factor that is generally only whispered about at diplomatic receptions, news conferences, and think tank sessions due to the explosiveness and controversial nature of the subject. And it is the secretiveness attached to the subject that has been the reason for so much misunderstanding about the current breakdown in relations between Israel and Turkey, a growing warming of relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia, and increasing enmity between Saudi Arabia and Iran…

Although known to historians and religious experts, the centuries-old political and economic influence of a group known in Turkish as the “Dönmeh” is only beginning to cross the lips of Turks, Arabs, and Israelis who have been reluctant to discuss the presence in Turkey and elsewhere of a sect of Turks descended from a group of Sephardic Jews who were expelled from Spain during the Spanish Inquisition in the 16th and 17th centuries. These Jewish refugees from Spain were welcomed to settle in the Ottoman Empire and over the years they converted to a mystical sect of Islam that eventually mixed Jewish Kabbala and Islamic Sufi semi-mystical beliefs into a sect that eventually championed secularism in post-Ottoman Turkey. It is interesting that “Dönmeh” not only refers to the Jewish “untrustworthy converts” to Islam in Turkey but it is also a derogatory Turkish word for a transvestite, or someone who is claiming to be someone they are not.

The Donmeh sect of Judaism was founded in the 17th century by Rabbi Sabbatai Zevi, a Kabbalist who believed he was the Messiah but was forced to convert to Islam by Sultan Mehmet IV, the Ottoman ruler. Many of the rabbi’s followers, known as Sabbateans, but also “crypto-Jews,” publicly proclaimed their Islamic faith but secretly practiced their hybrid form of Judaism, which was unrecognized by mainstream Jewish rabbinical authorities. Because it was against their beliefs to marry outside their sect, the Dönmeh created a rather secretive sub-societal clan.

The Dönmeh rise to power in Turkey
Continue reading The Dönmeh heritage, Mustapha Kemal Ataturk & Modern Turkey

History & Sindh – Black Mirror – By: Dr Mubarak Ali

Past present: Black mirror

History often helps in analysing the present day issues by reflecting on past events. Generally, this approach is adopted in a society where there is dictatorship, censorship and legal restrictions to express discontent in regard to government policies. The method is effective in creating political consciousness by comparing the present with the consequences of bad governance and disillusionment of the past.

After the independence[?] of Pakistan, the army and the bureaucracy emerged as powerful state institutions. In the absence of a constitution, the two institutions were unaccountable to any authority. Bureaucracy followed in the footsteps of the colonial model, treating people with arrogance and contempt. A strong centre allowed it to rule over the provinces unchecked. The provinces, including the former East Pakistan, greatly suffered because of this.

Sindh chose to raise its voice against the oppressive attitude of the bureaucracy and a strong centre. Despite the grand, national narratives which justified the creation of a new country, Sindh responded by presenting its problems and grievances by citing historical suffering of its people.

During the reign of Shahjahan, Yusuf Mirak, a historian, wrote the book Tarikh-i-Mazhar-i-Shahjahani. The idea was to bring to Shahjahan’s notice the corruption and repressive attitude of the Mughal officials in Sindh. As they were far from the centre, their crimes were neither reported to the emperor nor were they held accountable for their misdeeds.

Mirak minutely described their vices and crimes and how the people [Sindhis] were treated inhumanly by them. He hoped that his endeavours might alleviate the suffering of the people when the emperor took action against errant officials. However, Mirak could not present the book to the emperor but his documentation became a part of history.

When the Persian text of the book was published by Sindhi Adabi Board, its introduction was written by Husamuddin Rashdi who pointed out the cruelty, brutality, arrogance and contempt of the Mughal officials for the common man. Accountable to none, they had fearlessly carried on with their misdeeds.

Today, one can find similarities between those Mughal officials and Pakistani [civil & military] bureaucrats of the present day. In the past Sindh endured the repercussions of maladministration and exploitation in pretty much the same way as the common man today suffers in silence. But one can learn from the past and analyse the present to avoid mistakes.

The history of Sindh shows two types of invaders. The first example is of invaders like the Arabs and the Tarkhans who defeated the local rulers, assumed the status of the ruling classes and treated the local population as inferior. The second type was of invaders like Nadir Shah and Ahmad Shah Abdali who returned home after looting and plundering. The rulers of Sindh defended the country but sometimes compromised with the invaders. Those who defended it were vanquished and discredited by history, and their role was not recognised.

G. M. Syed in his tract Sindh jo Surma made attempt to rehabilitate them. According to him, Raja Dahir who defended Sindh against the Arabs was a hero while Muhammad Bin Qasim was an agent of the Umayyad imperialism who attacked Sindh to expand the empire and to exploit Sindh’s resources.

Decades later, in 1947, a large number of immigrants arrived from across the border and settled in Sindh. This was seen by Sindhi nationalists as an attempt to endanger the purity of the Sindhi culture. In 1960, agricultural land was generously allotted to army officers and bureaucrats. Throughout the evolving circumstances in Sindh, the philosophy of Syed’s book is the protection and preservation of the rights of Sindhis with the same spirit with which the heroes of the past sacrificed their lives for the honour of their country [Sindh].

Continue reading History & Sindh – Black Mirror – By: Dr Mubarak Ali

India – The Parso Gidwani Center for Sindhi Studies.

By Gul Agha

Saaiin Parso Gidwani had a bhuungo constructed in a small village Kutch and stayed there. His love of Sindh was legendary. I went to visit Saaiin Parso Gidwani in 2000 in Kutch but he had gone for treatment to Mumbai they said. Some time after I returned to the US, he wrote to me and very kindly sent a copy of his book on the Sindhi language. “The Parso Gidwani Centre of Sindhi Studies was created in 2011 in memory of the Ethnolinguist Parso J. Gidwani (1937-2004) who was a pioneer in the field of ethnology and linguistics related to the Sindhi world. The PGCSS results from a cooperation between Dr Michel Boivin, Centre for South Asian Studies, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (Paris, France) and Dr Charu Gidwani, R. K. Talreja College (Ulhasnagar, India). The Centre is a first step towards realizing Parso Gidwani’s wish for an Institute for Sindhi Studies. Its policy is framed by an Advisory Board whose members are scholars of international fame. The PGCSS is an integrated approach to Sindhi Studies with perspectives on Sindhi History, Culture, Literature and Language.”

Via » above article adopted from Gul Agha’s facebook page.

Video in Urdu/ Hindi – Tracing the Roots of Religious Extremism in Pakistan – Dr. Mubarak Ali

Intellectual and historian Dr Mubarak Ali is a prolific and versatile writer who has produced around fifty books on issues ranging from the Age of Reason in Europe to the women’s movement and the history of South Asia.

The objective of this seminar series is to understand the roots and dynamics of religious extremism within the context of Pakistani society, which could be referenced to evolve a strategy for de-radicalization of youth. Scholars will be invited to deliver talks in Urdu (Hindi). The talks will involve a small audience with the key purpose to record and disseminate the lecture widely among the youth.

For further details, visit the related link at IPSS website:
http://peaceandsecularstudies.org/?p=790

In Defense of Pakistan’s democracy – Zardari-Gilani government must be allowed to complete its five-year term

Pakistan at a Crossroads, Again

For democracy to take root, the Zardari government must be allowed to complete its five-year term.

BY SADANAND DHUME

Who gets to decide when a democratically elected government’s time is up? To the average Japanese, Indian or American, the answer is obvious: the same people who voted it into office in the first place. Not so for the average Pakistani.

In the country’s 64-year history, power has never changed hands purely by the ballot. The army, working alone or in tandem with sympathetic civilians, hasn’t let any elected leader finish his term, thanks to which democracy has failed to seep into the country’s foundations. Now, if a loose grouping of generals, judges and opposition politicians gets its way, this

Read more » The Wall Street Journal (wsj)

Dawn: Call the bluff – By Cyril Almeida

Excerpt;

….  if the PPP channelled the spirit of it founder and discovered an audaciousness on which success in power politics is sometimes built, it could sack its tormentor-in-chief, Gen K.

A suicidal move? Perhaps. But on such bets is history made, and unmade.

Let him stay, and a death by a thousand cuts is virtually certain. But maybe he prefers conspiracy to directness because he can’t find it in himself to pull the trigger on a coup. Why not find out?

Nonsense, many may argue. The court won’t let the orders stand. Probably. But a coup by another name is still a coup.

Why not call the bluff and see where the chips fall? History beckons. Live in the present and a miserable fate awaits.

cyril.a@gmail.com

To read complete article » Cyril Almeida

http://www.cyrilalmeida.com/2012/01/15/dawn-call-the-bluff-by-cyril-almeida/

Pakistan: Now or Never?

Pakistan’s political crisis

By Reuters

Excerpt;

Never in the history of Pakistan has a democratically elected civilian government served out its full term and then been replaced by another one, also through democratic elections. It is that context that makes the latest political crisis in Pakistan so important. ….

…. The army itself has shown no inclination to run the country directly, and it already controls the issues that matter most to it – foreign and security policy. It has barely disguised its frustration with Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari — who also leads the PPP ….

Read more » REUTERS

Ignoring history – By: Dr Mubarak Ali

Do it at your own peril

It is conventional wisdom that one can learn from history and avoid committing the same mistakes which were committed by our predecessors in the past. It is not wholly true. Of course one can gain an understanding of human nature by reading past history and can find the solution to problems of the present in its light. However, some people, particularly politicians of all ilks, try to find solutions to current problems by exclusively situating them in the present context believing that there is no need to learn from history. This approach sometimes leads to disastrous consequences. One cannot fully ignore the past. …

Read more » Pakistan Today

BBC – Bangladesh war: The article that changed history

By Mark Dummett

On 13 June 1971, an article in the UK’s Sunday Times exposed the brutality of Pakistan’s suppression of the Bangladeshi uprising. It forced the reporter’s family into hiding and changed history.

Abdul Bari had run out of luck. Like thousands of other people in East Bengal, he had made the mistake – the fatal mistake – of running within sight of a Pakistani patrol. He was 24 years old, a slight man surrounded by soldiers. He was trembling because he was about to be shot.

So starts one of the most influential pieces of South Asian journalism of the past half century.

Written by Anthony Mascarenhas, a Pakistani reporter, and printed in the UK’s Sunday Times, it exposed for the first time the scale of the Pakistan army’s brutal campaign to suppress its breakaway eastern province in 1971.

Nobody knows exactly how many people were killed, but certainly a huge number of people lost their lives. Independent researchers think that between 300,000 and 500,000 died. The Bangladesh government puts the figure at three million.

The strategy failed, and Bangladeshis are now celebrating the 40th anniversary of the birth of their country. Meanwhile, the first trial of those accused of committing war crimes has recently begun in Dhaka. ….

Read more » BBC

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-16207201

Washington Sindhis Join in “Sindhi Culture Celebration Day” Festivities

It is not only Sindhi-speaking people who are participating but also Pashto-speaking Sindhis, Urdu-speaking Sindhis, and Punjabi-speaking Sindhis, who live in Sindh are demonstrating their love for Sindh.

By Khalid Hashmani

The Sindhis who live in and around the Washington DC area joined festivities of the annual “Sindhi Culture Celebration Day”. The event was organized by Mrs. Nasreen and Mr. Iqbal Tareen at their residence in McLean suburb on the night between Saturday, November 19 and November 20, 2011. Several local Sindhis joined Tareens in this event to make it a memorable celebration of Sindhi culture, language and identity.

Continue reading Washington Sindhis Join in “Sindhi Culture Celebration Day” Festivities

Imran’s self-serving journey – by Dr Aparna Pande

Pakistan: A Personal History

By Imran Khan

Bantam Press; Pp 390; Rs 995

Read this quote to a young Pakistani, and it would almost instinctively be identified as coming from the country’s Islamising military dictator, General Ziaul Haq: “Pakistan came into existence as a country because of Islam and the Islamic beliefs of its founders and citizens.” Ziaul Haq expressed the same thought but somewhat differently: “The ideology of Pakistan is Islam and only Islam. There should be no misunderstanding on this score. We should in all sincerity accept Islam as Pakistan’s basic ideology…otherwise…this country (will) be exposed to secular ideologies.” The first quote, however, comes from Pakistan’s latest media icon of ‘change’, Oxford-educated cricket legend Imran Khan who is finally gaining some traction in Pakistan’s treacherous political world after a fringe role for over 15 years.

Imran Khan’s personal memoir is replete with examples of how he represents a continuum in Pakistan’s non-secular establishment worldview while talking of change. Ziaul Haq’s fervent anti-secular admonishment quoted above was itself just an attempt to revive the religion-based nationalism introduced by an earlier military ruler, Field Marshal Ayub Khan. Ziaul Haq felt the secularists had gained ground in the aftermath of Pakistan’s division in 1971. His idiom of ‘change’, ‘accountability’ and disapproval for traditional politicians is uncannily similar to what Ayub Khan voiced in the 1960s and Imran Khan is articulating now.

Not to belabour the point, just compare the above quotes from Imran Khan and Ziaul Haq with this gem from Ayub Khan: “Such an ideology with us is obviously that of Islam. It was on that basis that we fought for and got Pakistan, but having got it, we failed to order our lives in accordance with it…The time has now come when we must…define this ideology in simple but modern terms and put it to the people, so that they can use it as a code of guidance.”

Imran Khan’s political views have obviously been shaped by the narrative of the military dictators under whom he grew up. He betrays an unusual tendency to believe popular conspiracy theories of the variety popularised by Pakistan’s hyper-nationalists, such as some groups of newspapers and the religious political parties, notably the Jamaat-e-Islami. He blames the Americans for most of what has gone wrong with Pakistan. The references to conspiracies starts almost at the beginning of the book with the mention of the assassination of the country’s first prime minister, Liaquat Ali Khan, on page 23 and the ‘mysterious’ air crash that killed Ziaul Haq on pages 124-125. At a time when an overwhelming majority of Pakistanis believes that 9/11 was part of an American conspiracy to justify attacking Muslim lands, Imran Khan’s predilection for conspiracy theories, though dangerous, might reflect the populist mood of the country.

Like others before him Imran tries to create a pseudo-intellectual justification for his anti-Americanism. He draws a parallel between the British rule in the subcontinent and the lack of sovereignty of British India’s princely states with the current relationship between Pakistan and the US. Ironically, Ayub Khan, towards the end of his decade-long regime had called on the Americans to be Pakistan’s “friends, not masters” and Ziaul Haq had complained days before his death about the US not allowing him space to reap the benefits of the anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan as part of the same national narrative.

On page 48 after criticising Pakistan’s English-medium schooling — of which he was a recipient for decades — and tying it to a form of neo-colonialism, Imran Khan states that in other post-colonial countries like India the government imposed one core syllabus on the entire country. A little research would have told Khan that this assertion is not true — there are two federal level systems (ICSE and CBSE) and every state in India has its own state board of education. Also, instead of doing away with English education or English schooling, India has helped deepen it further in the last six decades and benefitted from it. In a country with many languages, the English language has proved to be a unifying, not divisive, element. But such factual quibbles have little value for the ideological paradigm Khan embraces. Narratives get votes, facts do not.

Continuing with what he perceives as the long-term adverse impact of colonialism, Imran Khan also asserts that this has prevented people from wearing their traditional dress (shalwar kameez) and they continue to wear western dress (pg 51). There is no effort at determining what percentage of Pakistanis actually wore shalwar kameez before the advent of colonial rule or after independence. Had it been undertaken, Imran Khan would have discovered that in most of what is Pakistan today, various forms of dress, including dhoti or lungi (loose loincloth), may have been more common than shalwar kameez.

Imran Khan does not even attempt an anthropological or sociological inquiry while making sweeping claims. Culture for him is skin deep and depends on outward displays — what we wear or the language we speak — and not on core values and traditions. There is also no attempt to answer an obvious question: If Imran Khan is really so against the English language and education why has he published his book in English using a British publisher in London and not in Urdu through a Pakistani one?

While talking about the anti-Soviet Afghan jihad Mr Khan’s views resonate the views of Pakistan’s foreign and security establishments — that the mujahideen were created and funded by the Americans for their foreign policy goals and Pakistan was an unwilling victim (pg 70). That Mr Khan sympathised with the mujahideen and their views is apparent from his referring to them as “idealists” fighting for a “romantic” reason and stating that “jihad is a noble cause (pg 70).” His admiration for Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Osama bin Laden too is evident when he refers to them as people “fighting foreign occupiers” and “sacrificing a life of luxury” (pg 72). Like the Pakistani military-intelligence establishment, Mr Khan preferred the 1980s arrangement between the ISI and the CIA to the post-9/11 arrangement. “However, unlike Musharraf after 9/11, Zia never allowed the CIA to spread its network within Pakistan. It was the ISI who trained the militant groups, funded by the CIA.” Pakistan’s sovereignty, he seems to be arguing, was protected by Zia but sacrificed by Musharraf though how the country could retain complete independence by allowing a foreign intelligence agency’s massive covert operation on its soil remains unexplained.

After declaring Islam as the basis of Pakistani nationhood, Imran Khan ventures into some discussion of the faith. But the only two Muslim scholars mentioned in his book are Shah Waliullah and Muhammad Iqbal, one with violent sectarian revivalist views and the other a modern-educated Muslim exhorting Muslims to find a new path in an era of western domination. Imran Khan does not seem to know how Shah Waliullah contributed to sectarian division in South Asian Islam by his opposition to heresies and his calls for war against the Shias. For the Oxford-educated cricketer, Shah Waliullah’s views enable him to claim that just as the Mughal dynasty declined because it was “degenerative and bound to decay” all the democracies in the Muslim world today are “sham democracies” and are bound to fall (pg 79).

Playing to the Islamist-nationalist gallery in Pakistan, Imran Khan goes on to argue for an Islamic state and implementation of shariah as that is bound to ensure a just democratic welfare state (pp 80-81). A cursory reading of the 1953 report by the Justice Munir Commission would have enlightened Khan on the problems of defining Islam for purposes of governance — a point that Ziaul Haq also occasionally cited as reason for his inability to complete Pakistan’s Islamisation. “Keeping in view the several definitions given by the ulema [people of knowledge],” the Munir Commission pointed out, “need we make any comment except that no two learned divines are agreed on this fundamental. If we attempt our own definition as each learned divine has done and that definition differs from that given by all others, we unanimously go out of the fold of Islam. And if we adopt the definition given by any one of the ulema, we remain Muslims according to the view of that aalim [learned scholar] but kafirs [infidels] according to the definition of everyone else.”

Although Imran Khan does not like him, his book is remarkably similar to the one by General Pervez Musharraf. Both books have a surfeit of self-praise. Musharraf attempted to portray himself as the school bully turned army commando turned self-proclaimed saviour of Pakistan. Imran Khan comes out as someone who lived a hedonistic lifestyle all his life but is now trying to make up for it. His love for his mother, pride in family roots, love for cricket and constant quotations from Iqbal seem all too contrived. His attempt to show how he may not have been an observant Muslim in his youth but has become one in later years is too self-serving.

Throughout the book Imran Khan is not only disparaging about Pakistan’s politicians but also about the field of politics (pg 82). One wonders how he plans to do well in a field that he hates so much. One of his many criticisms of Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif is that these individuals did not have enough political and administrative experience before they entered office and hence they were bound to fail. But then he acknowledges that he does not have any experience in politics but it would be akin to swimming where after jumping in he learnt on the job (pg 186). If that is the case then why could not others too learn on the job and do equally well, if not better? And if it is not possible to learn on the job and prior experience is a must, how would Imran Khan do better?

The reviewer is a Research Fellow at Hudson Institute, Washington DC. Her book, Explaining Pakistan’s Foreign Policy: Escaping India, was published in April 2011

Courtesy: Daily Times

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\11\14\story_14-11-2011_pg3_4

Life Bridge

Life Bridge is a registered nonprofit organization. Life Bridge Pakistan Trust, registered under the social welfare act of Pakistan. Life Bridge’s mission and message is one of peace and a brotherhood bound by humanity.

After having been raised in America, Dr. Geeta Chainani’s identity as a Sindhi brought her back to Pakistan in search of her family history. An unexpected twist of fate brought her face to face with what is now being termed as the “greatest natural disaster of our time” – the massive flooding that began on July 29, 2010.

After witnessing the great burden of disease whose victims mainly consisted of women and children Dr. Chainani decided to dedicate the rest of her trip to providing emergency medical care in two tent cities.

Confronted with the humanitarian crisis of “epic proportions” present following the floods and the Sindhi diaspora’s increasing interest in her work in Pakistan Dr. Chainani realized she was the only one to bridge this divide. Life Bridge was founded as that bridge, hence it’s name.

Since Sept 2, 2010, Dr. Chainani continues to provide life-saving services in the villages of rural Sindh. Together, Team Life Bridge US and Team Life Bridge Pakistan work to bridge the gaps in issues related to: Health, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, Shelter, Food. For more visit » http://www.thelifebridge.us