Tag Archives: irony

PAKISTAN: A Hindu girl was forced to convert to Islam and is now missing – the judge and police have sided with the perpetrators

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that a 14-year-old girl, from the Hindu religious minority community was abducted by gangsters and forcibly converted to Islam. When a police case was filed against the abductors the girl was produced before a Magistrate’s Court by the gangsters to record a statement that she has embraced Islam as her religion. The irony of the judicial process is that the judicial magistrate has accepted her subsequent marriage as legal in spite of the Pakistan law which does not allow the marriage of girls before the age of 16 years. Her age was forged from 14 to 18 by the police and perpetrators before the judicial magistrate who had never asked for evidence about her age.

The father of the victim received information from the police that girl has been shifted to the tribal areas of the Pakistan, close to Afghanistan border for nefarious designs.

The police took five days to file the First Information Report (FIR) providing good time to the perpetrators to manage a forced marriage. The three young sisters, their mother and one brother of the victim were terminated from the employment from the same factory where their sister was employed because the parents of the victim had mentioned the registration number of the car of the factory in which their daughter was abducted. ….

Read more » Asia Human Rights Commission

http://www.humanrights.asia/news/urgent-appeals/AHRC-UAC-115-2012

The general, the dog & the flasher

MRD activist shot dead by military troops in Moro, Sindh, September 1983. –Photo Courtesy: BBC

By: Nadeem F. Paracha

The MRD Movement in 1983 was one of the biggest uprisings against the Ziaul Haq dictatorship. In Sindh it almost tipped over and become a full-fledged armed insurgency against the state.

Sindh, September, 1983. The agitation by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) led Movement for the Restoration of Democracy (MRD) is whirling out of control, not only for the reactionary dictatorship of General Ziaul Haq but for the MRD leadership as well.

Ever since MRD announced the beginning of a nationwide movement against the Zia regime (August 14, 1983), the Pakistani province of Sindh is in great turmoil.

Sindh’s capital Karachi is witnessing court arrests and protest rallies on a daily basis by labour and trade unionists, student leaders and anti-Zia politicians.

But it is the central and northern parts of the province that are in the grip of serious violence. The MRD movement here has taken the shape of a Sindhi uprising bordering on a Sindhi nationalist insurgency against the Pakistan Army.

Faced with a volley of questions (mainly by foreign journalists) regarding his military regime’s challenged legitimacy in Sindh, Zia decides to prove that ‘only a handful of troublemakers’ are involved in the violence taking place against his government in the troubled province.

So, the grinning general (after issuing a fresh round of curbs on the already restricted local media outlets), announces that he will take a whirlwind tour of Sindh to attest that he is as popular there as he (thinks) he is in the Punjab.

So off he flies in his big shiny military aircraft (C-130) with some of his ministers, military cronies and his favorite batch of journalists to Karachi. He is however, aware that BBC Radio has imbedded a host of reporters in Sindh who are covering the MRD movement.

The reporting is largely being done for the BBC Radio’s Urdu service that a majority of Pakistanis have been listening to – especially ever since Zia (a migrant, conservative Punjabi general) toppled the government of the country’s first popularly elected prime minister, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (a well-to-do but populist Sindhi who was equally well-liked in the Punjab).

A disturbing photo of one of the first public floggings ordered by General Ziaul Haq’s military courts.
Hundreds of student leaders, trade union activists, journalists and petty criminals were flogged between 1978 and 1981.
Here, floggers with lethal leather sticks in their hands are seen stepping on a sentenced man’s back after delivering a flogging ordered by a military court.

Zia’s plane lands in Karachi. From here he plans to fly to Hyderabad with his posse. Joining him here is a crew from the state-controlled Pakistan Television (PTV) that will cover the general’s ‘successful tour of Sindh.’

The rallies being taken out against him by leftist students, journalists, trade unionists, women rights groups and politicians in Karachi don’t bother him.

Most of the country’s senior anti-Zia leadership has already been put behind bars, while the second tier leadership of agitating student outfits, trade and journalist unions and anti-Zia political parties ‘are being made an example of’ by being publically flogged.

MRD was formed in 1981 as a PPP-led alliance to agitate against the Zia dictatorship and to force him to end military rule and hold elections. The alliance’s core parties were: Pakistan Peoples Party; Pakistan Democratic Party; Pakistan Mazdoor Kissan Party; Pakistan National Party; National Awami Party; Qaumi Mahaz Azadi Party; and Jamiat Ulema Islam.

It was also being supported by Jamiat Ulema Pakistan, as well as by various left-wing Sindhi nationalist parties, progressive student organisations, trade unions and women’s rights groups.

Zia, after arriving in Karachi, briefly talks to a select group of journalists and reiterates his views about the situation in Sindh, insisting all was well, and that the MRD movement was the work of a handful of politicians who were working against Islam, Pakistan and the country’s armed forces.

He sounds confident about the success of his visit to the troubled spots of the Sindh province. This confidence was not only built upon what he was hearing from the sycophants that he’d gathered around him in the shape of ministers, military personnel, religious leaders and advisors.

Continue reading The general, the dog & the flasher

The (extreme) irony of it all

By Kamran Shafi

I hope Their Lordships who sit in the Honourable Supreme Court are duly noting the irony in, and the contrariness of, much that is going on in the country vis-a-vis themselves? I hope they see through the present shenanigans of those who were their enemies when Musharraf had turfed them out, and who have now suddenly metamorphosed into their staunch and faithful friends.

To get straight to the point, Shiekh Rashid ‘Tulli’ and Senator Tariq Azeem, newly self-appointed guardian angels of propriety and ‘rule of law’, newly sprouted halos around their heads, are waxing eloquent on virtually every Pakistani TV channel every evening about how the government should give due respect to the Supreme Court, or else Armageddon and Apocalypse combined, and worse, are around the corner.

‘Tulli’ says it like he always has: rudely and insolently and loudly warning the government of the hellfire and brimstone that awaits it in the matter of the contempt of court citations against the Prime Minister, while Tariq Azeem says in hushed and respectful tones how wrong it is of the alleged contemnors’ to have acted in the way that they allegedly have, and so on, pretending as if butter wouldn’t melt in his own mouth.

Yet a short four or so years ago, these same two, and other ministers in the Commando’s junta at the time, are on record stoutly supporting the dictator’s sacking of the very same judges they are today most stoutly defending. I might add immediately that both have the reputation of being apologists for the Deep State, ‘Tulli’ actually forecasting several army take-overs over the past four years. In his words, every so often: ‘Biggal (Bugle) bajnay wala hai! But more about his pretended(?) spokesmanship for GHQ and the Sipah Salaar tomorrow.

Indeed, Tariq Azeem was considered such an opponent of the restoration of the judiciary that he was beaten up as a sitting minister of state for information by the lawyers during a demonstration on Constitution Avenue during which heavy lathi-charge and tear-gassing were resorted to by the Commando’s government, badly injuring many lawyers including the brave and feisty Ali Ahmad Kurd, bless him. Azeem today is one of the foremost defenders of the rule of law? I ask you!

Continue reading The (extreme) irony of it all

CIA agents in Pakistan

By Najam Sethi

These are difficult times for professional journalists in Pakistan. Eleven were killed last year in the line of duty. They were either caught in the crossfire of ethnic or extremist violence or targeted and eliminated by state and non-state groups for their political views.

Saleem Shehzad, for example, was abducted, tortured and killed last year and a commission of inquiry is still floundering in murky waters. He had exposed the infiltration of the armed forces by elements affiliated with Al-Qaeda or the Taliban. Several journalists from Balochistan have been killed by non-state vigilantes sponsored by state agencies, others have fled to Europe or USA because they had sympathies with the nationalist cause in the province. Some from Karachi have taken refuge abroad because they were threatened by ethnic or sectarian groups or parties.

Now an insidious campaign is afoot to target senior journalists who question the wisdom of the security establishment on a host of thorny issues. They are being labeled as “American-CIA agents”. This is an incitement to violence against them in the highly charged anti-American environment in Pakistan today. Consider.

If you say the military’s notion of “strategic depth” in Afghanistan is misplaced, outdated or counter-productive, you are a CIA agent.

If you say the military was either complicit or incompetent in the OBL-Abbottabad case, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that the civilians should have control over the military as stipulated in the constitution, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that the military shouldn’t enter into peace deals with the Taliban that enable them to reorganize and seize Pakistani territory, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that the drones have taken a welcome toll of extremist Al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that the military’s annual defense budget, which amounts to nearly half of all tax revenues, should be scrutinized by parliament or the Auditor General of Pakistan, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that the one and same resignation criterion should be applied to both Ambassador Husain Haqqani and DG-ISI Ahmed Shuja Pasha – the former is accused of trying to influence the American government to back up the civilian government of Pakistan in its attempt to establish civilian control over its army and the latter is accused of seeking the support of Arab regimes for the overthrow of the civilian regime ( both accusations come from one and the same individual) – you are a CIA agent.

If you say we should construct a social welfare state in place of a national security state, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that fundamental citizens rights enshrined in the constitution cannot be violated at the altar of a narrow definition of national security defined exclusively by the security state, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that human rights violations in Balochistan carried out by the security agencies are as condemnable as the ethnic cleansing of Punjabi settlers by Baloch insurgents, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that Pakistan’s foreign policy should not be the exclusive domain of the military establishment, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that the Pakistan military’s conventional and nuclear weapons doctrine amounts to a crippling arms race with India rather than a minimal optimal defensive deterrence, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that the ISI is an unaccountable state within a state, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that belt-tightening measures to control budgetary deficits and inflation should apply to wasteful aspects of defense expenditures no less than to wasteful aspects of civilian government expenditures, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that the Supreme Court should pull out Air Marshal Asghar Khan’s ISI-Mehrangate 1991 case from cold storage and adjudge it along with the Memogate 2011 case, you are a CIA agent.

The irony is that the Pakistan military remains the single largest recipient of American aid in the last sixty five years. The irony is that all military coups in Pakistan have drawn legal and political sustenance from America. The irony is that the Pakistani military has signed more defense pacts and agreements with America than all civilian governments to date. The irony is the Pakistan military has partnered America in Afghanistan in the 1980s, fought its war on terror and leased out Pakistani air bases and Pakistan air space corridors to America in the 2000s, and sent hundreds of officers for training and education to America in the last six decades.

The greater irony is that all those liberal, progressive, anti-imperialist Pakistani citizens who have opposed US hegemony and protested American military interventions in the Third World all their lives are today branded as CIA agents by the very state security agencies and non state religious parties and jehadi groups who have taken American money and weapons and done America’s bidding all their lives.

Courtesy: Friday Times

http://www.thefridaytimes.com/beta2/tft/article.php?issue=20120106&page=1

L’affaire Mansoor Ijaz

By Najam Sethi

Excerpt;

In article in a British paper last month by Mansoor Ijaz, a Pakistani-American businessman with political connections in Washington, has taken a toll of the civilian government of President Asif Zardari in Islamabad. The irony is that it was written to strengthen Mr Zardari against encroachments by General Ashfaq Kayani. ….

…. The military has been gunning for Hussain Haqqani for over a decade. He ran afoul of General Musharraf in 2002 for his critical newspaper columns in Urdu and English. So he decamped to the US where he wrote his seminal book on the unholy historical nexus between the Mosque and Military in Pakistan. After he was appointed Ambassador to Washington in 2008, the military embarked upon a campaign to defame him. He was accused of acting against the “national interest” by manipulating the insertion of “pro-democracy” clauses in the Kerry-Lugar-Berman legislation that committed $7.5 billion to Pakistan over five years as a “strategic ally.” He was blasted for enabling CIA operatives to get visas despite the fact that authorization for over 90 per cent duly came from the Pakistan Foreign Office/ISI or the Prime Minister’s secretariat. He was criticized for pledging an impartial and public investigation into how OBL came to be lodged in Abbottabad when the military was insisting there would be no more than an internal secret inquiry at best. And he was painted as an “American agent” for recommending a pragmatic and responsible Af-Pak and US-Pak foreign policy.

The writing on the wall was clear when Imran Khan thundered against Mr Haqqani in Lahore last month and Shah Mahmood Qureshi demanded an inquiry against him for “conspiring against the state”. Both are inclined to do the military’s bidding.

The core questions remain. Was the military complicit or incompetent in “L’affaire OBL”? What was the nature of its disagreement with, and threat to, the Zardari government following “Operation Geronimo”? How was Mansoor Ijaz manipulated by various Pakistani protagonists? A third series of questions has risen for the umpteenth time. Is the constitution subservient to the military? Is an elected government answerable to the “state”? Should an unaccountable military or elected civilians define the “national interest”?

The fate of Asif Zardari’s PPP and also that of Nawaz Sharif’s PMLN, the two mainstream parties that majorly represent the Pakistani voter, hinges on answers to these questions.

Read more » The Friday Times

Sindh opposes dictator Musharraf’s repressive & discriminatory ordinance

by Khalid Hashmani, McLean, Virginia, USA

It is terribly disappointing to most Sindhis when their own representatives, who were precisely elected to protect and advance their interests do exactly the opposite. I know every Sindhi (except may be some die-hard supporters of PPP) feels betrayed and cheated by those very people who were considered the protectors of their interests. The irony is a statement by a so called Sindhi federal minister that says that the revival of the ordinance was a well-thought decision as it protects Sindh from breaking up. One may ask if this was such a great decision why did you decide to repeal it just few days ago? Was it just to ensure that dictator Musharraf would be absolved of the responsibility for enacting one of most repressive ordinance for native Sindhis and to make Sindhis responsible for this discriminatory ordinance. This ordinance is single-handedly responsible for denying access to Sindhis to their most valuable assets.

Anyway, someone said that we ordinary Sindhis cannot do much except to show shed their tears in frustration. I hope that Sindhi masses will wake-up and refuse to vote for those who are incompetent in protecting their rights. So, to vent my frustration, I have created an online petition that you can sign if you too feel being let down by the people you thought will capable, courageous, and believed the righteousness of Sindhi rights. The petition can be accessed by clicking http://www.petitiononline.com/KH110809/.

Much of text of this petition is based on the text that was formulated some patriot Sindhis in Hyderabad and circulated on some Sindhi Internet lists. The full text of the petition is given in above link.

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, August 9, 2011

The dogmas of Fatwa and Sharia Laws still dominate million of Muslim lives

Sharia Laws — Heavy Deception With Abusive Divinity

The dogmas of Fatwa and Sharia Laws still dominate million of Muslim lives

by Mesbah Uddin

No doubt, early Islam possessed many fine and noble attributes. But Islam couldn’t have swept Arabia and its adjacent lands so fabulously if Sharia Laws and Fatwa had been the models of Islamic edicts at that time.

It is an irony to iron-out the deep wrinkles of Islam, we know today. Corrupted beliefs are too profoundly ingrained in Islam. The dogmas of Fatwa and Sharia Laws still dominate million of Muslim lives and the vulnerable ones get succumb to Fatwa’s claws.

A year before his death and before the Koran was compiled, Prophet Muhammad made his last pilgrimage from Medina to Mecca. There He made a great sermon to his people. The sermon breathed a spirit of generosity. The Muslims created a society more free from widespread cruelty and social oppression than any society had ever been in the world before.

But that was then – the prophetic Islam. Today, Islam encompasses numerous fragments, interpretations and the dreadful echoes of Sharia Laws. The Sharia Laws are much heavier on one side. It is the side that is not the Koran but the Hadith. It might surprize the readers that stoning to death” cannot be traced anywhere in the Koran, but it is profusely enshrined in the pages of the Hadith. Obviously the Hadith narrators borrowed it from a famous story in the Christian Bible – the New Testament, and passed it in the name of Prophet Muhammad.

The story (John: 8) tells us that some Jewish crowd brought a woman who had been caught in adultery. They made her stand before Jesus, and then said to him: “Now, master, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. According to the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women to death. Now, what do you say about it?’ After they persisted in their questioning, Jesus finally straightened up and said simply, “Let the one among you who has never sinned throw the first stone at her.” …

Read more : Bangladesh-web

Secular blunders!

– CRDP

The late President Anwar El-Sadat of Egypt was assassinated in 1981 by a faction of Egypt’s leading Islamist organisation, the Muslim Brotherhood. The irony is that this was the same organisation that Sadat had purposefully patronised.

He had replaced the charismatic Egyptian leader, Gamal Abdul Nasser as the President of Egypt after Nasser died in 1970. Nasser had ruled the country as a popular president between 1952 and 1970, leaving behind a legacy of staunch secular/socialist Arab nationalism.

Though Nasser remained popular till his death, the glow of his influence across assorted Muslim and Third World countries was somewhat dimmed when Egyptian and Syrian armed forces backed by the Soviet Union were decimated in the 1967 war against Israel. Though Sadat had helped Nasser in toppling the Egyptian monarchy in 1952, and was also an integral part of Nasser’s socialist/secular policies, he initiated a shift. In Sadat’s view, Nasser’s socialist model could not sustain the new sombre realities that had surfaced after the 1967 war.

Sadat’s move towards the western economic model was welcomed by the country’s urban bourgeoisie, but it was vehemently challenged by the pro-Nasser and left-wing student groups and the Arab media. To neutralise the pro-Nasser and left-wing challenge to his shifting policies on campuses and in the print media, Sadat brought back to life one of the staunchest anti-Nasser and anti-left forces in Egypt: the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Brotherhood had been greatly radicalised by its second generation leadership led by the teachings of Syed Qutb. He had posed the biggest challenge to Nasser’s socialism and the regime’s pro-Soviet and secular make-up. However, after Nasser’s death, Sadat tactfully let loose the Brotherhood, using state power to help the organisation infiltrate campuses and the media.

To appease the organisation, Sadat instructed the state-owned radio and TV channels to not only start regular religious programmes, but to also show as many images as possible of him saying his prayers at a mosque. Sadat also lifted the ban on various Muslim Brotherhood magazines and newspapers. All this was done to soften Egypt’s pro-Soviet and Nasserite image and to mollify concerns of the West and Egypt’s new allies such as the oil-rich Saudi Arabia.

Immediately after Egypt’s 1973 war with Israel — in which Sadat (falsely) claimed to have defeated the enemy — he completely pulled Egypt out from the Soviet camp. However, in 1977 when Sadat, in an unprecedented move, agreed to make formal peace with Israel, the Brotherhood became Sadat’s biggest enemy. Eventually, in 1981, he was assassinated by members of the Brotherhood — ironically the very organisation he had encouraged to nullify the perceived communist threat to his regime.

Something similar happened in Pakistan as well. In the 1970 elections, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party had routed the Islamic parties. But by 1973 Bhutto was under pressure from the PPP’s leading ideologues, asking him to hasten the regime’s socialist agenda. In response, Bhutto purged the PPP of its radical founding members. He then came under the influence of the party’s ‘conservative wing’ that encouraged him to appease his staunchest opponents, the Islamists, (especially the Jamat-i-Islami), which had declared the PPP’s socialism as ‘un-Islamic.’

Though in private, Bhutto accused the Islamic parties of being ‘anti-socialist American stooges,’ in public he went along with some of his advisers’ counsel and declared the Ahmaddiyya community non-Muslim, naively believing this concession would appease and contain his Islamist opponents. The truth is, the Islamists were only emboldened by this gesture.

Also, while purging the left-wing radicals in the PPP (from 1974 onwards), Bhutto is also said to have ‘allowed’ the student-wing of the Jamat, the IJT, to establish a strong foothold on campuses which, till then, were mostly dominated by radical left-wing student groups such as the NSF.

Bhutto, like Sadat, had ignored the Islamist challenge to his regime, and seemed more concerned about imaginary ‘Soviet/ Indian-backed groups.’ His pragmatic indulgence in this regard had the reverse effect. Instead of containing the Islamist parties, his constitutional concessions only emboldened them. Not surprisingly, he was toppled by a reactionary general whom he had handpicked himself, shortly after the Islamist parties unleashed a countrywide movement against the PPP regime in 1976, calling for Sharia rule.

These are just two brief examples of the blunders committed by certain leading secular Muslim leaders that annihilated the over-blown left-wing and secular challenges by regenerating and using Islamist forces against them. This created daunting political and ideological vacuums in societies that were eventually filled by reactionary military regimes, rejuvenated Islamist forces and, eventually, a new breed of extremism — the sort that now worked towards grabbing state power and carving out a theological hegemony, based on mythical and Utopian illusions about an eternal ‘Islamic State.’

Pakistan and Egypt are prime examples; two of the many Muslim republics now desperately trying to reinvigorate moderate and secular forces to open a consensual front against extremism that was once state-sanctioned, to bludgeon opposing secular forces.

One wonders if it is already too late to do that; or if there are any worthwhile progressive sections in society today, in these countries, who can once again demonstrate the same boldness and imagination that they exhibited in the construction of their respective countries’ nationalism before their downfall.

February 18th, 2010

Courtesy – http://wichaar.com/news/296/ARTICLE/18977/2010-02-18.html