In a matter of days, the allegations of the real estate tycoon Malik Riaz against Dr Arsalan Iftikhar, son of the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, has taken on the hue of a full blown conflict between the accuser and the judiciary. In shocking but unsubstantiated accusations of a bribe amounting to Rs 340 million, and financing of lavish foreign trips, the Riaz claim, notwithstanding its yet to be proved veracity, points to the most important judicial body’s head. The accused is the son of the CJP, thus presenting a more than unpleasant scenario where the establishment of proper distance between the two parties — the accused and the CJP — must be maintained at all costs. A simple civil matter (with possible criminal implications), no matter how preposterous or outrageous it may appear, did not merit a suo motu notice by the Supreme Court (SC), the redundancy of which was proved during the first hearing for lack of concrete evidence. This case must be pursued through the normal course. The recusing of the honourable CJP from the initial bench is a positive step, and the future proceedings of the case would be transparent and unbiased too if the consideration that the accused is the son of the CJP is not allowed to influence the proceedings.
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
In Afghanistan: Embracing Gulbuddin Hekmatyar Is No Method at All
By Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould
…. By the early 1970s Hekmatyar had become radicalized by extremist Islam and joined the Nahzat-e-Jawanane Musalman (Muslim Youth Movement). As an engineering student at Kabul University he became known for throwing acid at women dressed in Western clothes and for murdering a fellow student from a Maoist faction of the PDPA. Imprisoned by King Zahir Shah’s police for the murder, Hekmatyar was freed following a 1973 coup by the King’s cousin Mohammed Daoud and communist PDPA leader Babrak Karmal and fled to Pakistan.
Hekmatyar joined with Ahmad Shah Massoud’s Jamaat-e-Islami (Islamic Party) in a Pakistani plan designed by their Directorate of Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) to destabilize Afghanistan with cross border raids. Dissatisfied with the radical Jamaat’s political approach after failing to stir an uprising in Afghanistan, Hekmatyar formed his own more radical party, the Hesb-i-Islami (Islamic Party) and came to the attention of the CIA. In 1979, Hekmatyar helped to precipitate the Soviet invasion by engaging Afghanistan’s desperate Marxist President Hafizullah Amin in a power sharing arrangement. According to the April 1981, (No. 282) edition of British publication The Round Table the Soviets panicked when they realized Amin had set December 29th as the date for dissidents of the regime and their tribal supporters to march on Kabul.
Hekmatyar would go on to become the darling of the agency and receive the bulk of the U.S. and Saudi aid coming in for the war against the Soviet Union, including a monopoly on Stinger missiles. Although an ISI and CIA favorite, Hekmatyar’s legitimacy as a fighter, his effectiveness, his loyalties and even his goals raised doubts in the Peshawar-based American press corps. According to CBS News stringer Kurt Lohbeck in his book, Holy War, Unholy Victory, Hekmatyar’s reputation was an elaborate ruse concocted by the CIA and Pakistan’s ISI to elicit Congressional support for the Mujahideen, and little else.
Gulbuddin had no effective fighting organization. He had not a single commander with any military reputation for fighting the Soviets or the Afghan regime. He had made alliances with top regime military figures. And he had killed numerous other Mujahiddin commanders. Yet the United States government and the covert agencies were doing their best to convert that lie into reality.
Via – Twitter
A US resolution for independent Balochistan
Baloch are divided between Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan: Rohrabacher
They had the right to self-determination and to their own sovereign country, says resolution
A US Congressman Dana Rohrabacher has introduced in his country’s Congress a resolution seeking the right of self-determination for Baloch in Pakistan.
The resolution called as the House Concurrent Resolution in the US House of Representatives and co-sponsored by Representatives Louie Gohmert and Steve King calls for sovereign country for the people of Balochistan.
A week ago, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher had also chaired a Congressional committee’s hearing on Balochistan. His move is likely to affect Pakistan’s relations with the US. Both the countries are already sharing difficult relationship after the NATO attack on Pakistani post. Pakistan in reaction had suspended NATO supplies to Afghanistan.
The resolution says hat revolts in 1958, 1973 and 2005 indicate continued popular discontent against rule by Islamabad, and the plunder of its vast natural wealth while Baluchistan remains the poorest province in Pakistan.
The resolution further adds there is also an insurgency in Sistan-Balochistan, which is being repressed by Iran. The people of Balochistan, it said were divided between Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan and they had the right to self-determination and to their own sovereign country and they should be afforded the opportunity to choose their own status among the community of nations, living in peace and harmony, without external coercion.
Media reports said Rohrabacher, who is also the Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations also issued a statement from his office which said, “The Baluchi, like other nations of people, have an innate right to self-determination. The political and ethnic discrimination they suffer is tragic and made more so because America is financing and selling arms to their oppressors in Islamabad.”
The press release further added that Balochistan is “rich in natural resources but has been subjugated and exploited by Punjabi and Pashtun elites in Islamabad, leaving Baluchistan the country’s poorest province.”
WASHINGTON: TP MD, Feb 17, 2012
Courtesy » The Point – Voice of Sindh & Balochistan
Is a Pakistani Christian equal to a fellow Muslim?
“A young Pakistani student belonging to the Christian faith has posed an interesting question through a petition in the Lahore High Court. The question is: Am I, a Pakistani Christian equal to a fellow citizen who is a Muslim ? For those of the readers who missed the news item reported by an English daily, this young student belongs to a low income group, is a practicing Christian and extremely bright. She has been competing to get into the King Edwards Medical College but was beaten on the list by 20 marks by a Muslim student who got the extra 20 marks for being Hafiz–e-Quran. So, now this young Christian girl has filed a plea in the Lahore Court declaring that she and the Muslim student had equal marks but the latter got the advantage of religion. The young Christian student claims that “this is discrimination against religious minority students and a violation of fundamental rights granted by the Constitution of Pakistan.” The petition admitted by the Lahore High Court demands that either the LHC should rule to abolish the policy or should declare that a parallel policy should be made to award twenty additional marks to religious minority students on the basis of their religious knowledge. Fifty eight years after the creation of the country to ask such a question through the courts is both tragic and hopeful”.
Constitution of Pakistan, Part II, Chapter -1, Fundamental Rights, Article 22 says:-
(1) No person attending any educational institution shall be required to receive religious instruction, or take part in any religious ceremony, or attend religious worship, if such instruction, ceremony or worship relates to a religion other than his own.
(2) In respect of any religious institution, there shall be no discrimination against any community in the granting of exemption or concession in relation to taxation.
(3) Subject to law: (a) no religious community or denomination shall be prevented from providing religious instruction for pupils of that community or denomination in any educational institution maintained wholly by that community or denomination; and
(b) no citizen shall be denied admission to any educational institution receiving aid from public revenues on the ground only of race, religion, caste or place of birth.
(4) Nothing in this Article shall prevent any public authority from making provision for the advancement of any socially or educationally backward class of citizens.
Read more » Pak Tribune
by Farooq Sulehria
Thus it is not a coincidence that Breivik has unleashed his puritan terror on AUF activists. The AUF (Labour Youth Club) is Norwegian Labour Party’s youth wing. Both Labour party and AUF have been campaigning against racism. Ever since the 1950s, a summer camp at holiday island of Utoya has been a regular feature of AUF’s activities.
One does not expect funeral processions coming out of a paradise. The horrific July 22 events in Norwegian capital of Oslo, a bomb blast outside Prime Minister’s office followed by a shoot spree claiming 92 lives, delineate such an unusually disastrous tragedy.
The Oslo massacre has bereaved Norway of her innocence the way Olof Palme’s murder in 1986 marked end of Swedish myth.
“Norwegian democracy is unique in that the Prime Minister along with other Ministers can go about their daily lives without security by their side. Norway’s King can travel by public transport without anyone batting an eyelid and it is this democracy which is under attack,” writes Toni Usman in an email to his friends. A successful TV-stage actor and an engaged activist, Toni Usman himself is a shining example of Norwegian tolerance and ingenuousness where not merely royals, elite politicians and celebrities freely mix with commoners, ordinary citizens also live a life unheard of even in Europe let alone South Asia. Living without the fear of theft or violence, the Norwegian lifestyle may appear naive to even Europeans. ….
Read more → ViewPoint
by Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur
n mainstream media and civil society there is, with a few exceptions, complete silence on the killings of the Baloch. It is time that we all realised that silence makes us a party to the crimes committed in the name of the ‘writ of the state’
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly” — Martin Luther King.
The inhumanly brutal, criminal and reprehensible killing of five Chechens including a seven month pregnant woman by the trigger happy Frontier Corps (FC) and police at Kharotabad checkpost eventually stirred the collectively comatose conscience of the Balochistan government to form a tribunal to investigate these brutal murders. The victims died in a hail of bullets fired from close range, collectively sustaining 21 bullets. I wonder if investigating the fact that the wounded were callously left to die while the FC and police concocted lies is in its ambit. ….
Read more : Daily Times
Foreign policy is everywhere and always a continuation of domestic policy, for it is conducted by the same ruling class and pursues the same historic goals”. — The Revolution Betrayed, Leon Trotsky
In his 1983 masterpiece, Can Pakistan survive? The death of a state, Tariq Ali opens the section on Pakistan’s foreign policy during the Z A Bhutto days with the above quote from Trotsky. After duly recognising the limitations of generalising this aphorism, Tariq Ali had noted that many third-world capitals pursue a foreign policy closely mirroring their domestic economic and political policies but perhaps none has done so more grotesquely than Islamabad. Tariq Ali had written:
“One of the commodities exported was labour, and the remittances sent back by migrant workers provided nearly 20 percent of the country’s foreign exchange earnings. It was also reported that 10,000 Pakistani prostitutes had been dispatched to the Gulf states by the United Bank Limited (UBL), to strengthen its reserves of foreign currency. Soldiers and officers were also leased out as mercenaries to a number of states in that region. In some ways it was telling indictment of the Pakistani state that it can only survive by selling itself to the oil-rich sheikhs.”
The Pakistani military establishment’s cooperation with Arab dictators obviously dates back to the Ayub Khan era and the UK and US-sponsored Central Treaty Organisation (CENTO) or Baghdad Pact of 1955. However, the surge in the export of mercenaries that Tariq Ali was alluding to was not because of the western sponsorship of such legions but because Pakistan, in 1971, had declared a moratorium on repayment of its foreign debt and had to look for financial aid elsewhere while the IMF would again agree to a loan (which it eventually did). While one cannot confirm the veracity of the claim about the UBL’s venture, the events of the last several months show that somehow the grotesque mediocrity of the Pakistani establishment keeps repeating its antics, as far as the export of the mercenaries goes.
The Arab spring has created unique geopolitical scenarios where old alliances are falling apart — or at least are no longer trustworthy — while new realities are taking shape much to the discontent of regional autocrats. I have repeatedly stated that Barack Obama’s instinct is to side with the democratic movements in the Middle East and North Africa, without intervening directly, even though cliques within his administration have been able to drag him into the Libyan morass. Obama’s handling of Hosni Mubarak’s fall did not go well with Saudi king Abdullah and the bitter exchange between the two, during a phone conversation, is rather well known. The wily Saudi monarch subsequently concluded that if there were to be an uprising in his courtyard, the Americans would not come to his rescue. And unless a smoking gun can be traced to Tehran, Abdullah is right. With Obama getting re-elected — yes I said it — in 2012, the Saudis have chosen to exercise other options that they have heavily invested in, for decades, to protect their courtyard and backyard.
The Saudis know that it is nearly impossible for any political uprising there to physically coalesce, due to the population centres being geographically far apart, to cause direct threat to Riyadh. But they also know that the democratic contagion can spread at the periphery of the Kingdom, with the oil-rich Eastern province slipping out of control quickly or the disquiet at the Yemeni border keeping Riyadh distracted (the latter was tested by both Gamal Nasser and Iran). The Saudi plan, just as in the 1969 bombing of Yemen by Pakistani pilots flying Saudi planes, is to use the trusted Pakistani troops to bolster the defence of not only the Saudi regime but of its client states like Bahrain.
It is not a surprise then that before Saudi Arabia invaded Bahrain on March 13, 2011, the chief of Saudi Land Forces, General Abdul Rahman Murshid visited Pakistan and before that, on March 9, met General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani. Bahrain had already requested and received assurance for military help from Pakistan in late February 2011. In fact, a leading Urdu paper carried an advertisement from the Fauji Foundation Pakistan on February 25 and March 1, seeking men for recruitment to the Bahrain National Guard. The qualifications sought were the following: age 20-25, height of six-feet or taller and military/security service background especially in riot control, which suggest that enrolment was not exactly for the Manama Red Crescent Society.
After the Saudi army brutally crushed the uprising in Bahrain, the Foreign Minister of Bahrain, Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifa, met with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and the State Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar. While the Bahraini media splashed pictures of the handshake between Ms Khar and Sheikh Khalid, announcing Pakistani support to Bahrain, the actual backing had been pledged by the Chief of General Staff, General Khalid Shamim Wayne, whom the Bahraini minster met on March 29.
In her article titled ‘Bahrain or bust?’, Miranda Husain writes: “Chomsky believes Pakistani presence in Bahrain can be seen as part of a US-backed alliance to safeguard western access to the region’s oil …The US has counted on Pakistan to help control the Arab world and safeguard Arab rulers from their own populations… Pakistan was one of the ‘cops on the beat’ that the Nixon administration had in mind when outlining their doctrine for controlling the Arab world.” Ms Husain and the American Baba-e-Socialism (Father of Socialism), Chomsky, conclude with the hope that Pakistan should not meddle in the Middle East.
I believe that Chomsky’s reading of the situation in the Persian Gulf is dead wrong. It is the divergence — not confluence — of US-Saudi-Pakistani interests that is the trigger for potential Pakistani involvement there. The Pakistani brass’ handling of the Raymond Davis affair and now its insistence — through bravado, not subtlety — on redefining the redlines with the US indicates that just like the 1971 situation, an alternative funding source to the IMF has been secured. The Pasha-Panetta meeting has raised more issues than it has solved. Pakistani-Saudi interests are at odds with the US and are confluent with each other.
From the Kerry-Lugar Bill to the Raymond Davis saga, the mullahs have been deployed swiftly to create an impression of public support for the establishment’s designs. Last Friday’s mobilisation of the religious parties in favour of the Saudis is the establishment’s standard drill and will be repeated as needed. The Pakistani deep state apparently has decided to keep selling itself to the oil-rich sheikhs. The domestic policy of coercion and chaos will be continued in foreign lands too.
Courtesy: Daily Times
March 24, 2011 — People’s World — On March 15, the Communist Party of Egypt announced that after many years underground because of repression, it will be assuming open, public political activities once more. The announcement came after “an extensive meeting with all of its bodies” and was unanimous.
The original Communist Party of Egypt, the Hizb al Shuvuci al-Misri, had been founded in 1922 when Egypt was still a monarchy and very much under the thumb of British imperialism. The last king of Egypt, Farouk, was overthrown by an uprising of young army officers in 1952. Out of that revolution came the 14-year regime of Colonel Gamel Abdel Nasser, a radical nationalist who worked to break Egypt away from subservience to Western capitalist powers. In 1965, the Communist Party of Egypt merged into Nasser’s own movement, the Arab Socialist Union.
A number of former Communist Party activists dissented from this merger and formed their own independent journal, Al-Inisar (Victory), starting in 1973, which led to their re-founding the Communist Party in 1975. Under the governments of Anwar Al Sadat and Hosni Mubarak, the re-founded Communist Party of Egypt faced repression and was not allowed to run in elections. However, it did not disappear and did not abandon the struggle for democracy and socialism.
When the demonstrations against the Mubarak regime began earlier this year, the Communist Party of Egypt, working in unity with other left-wing dissident groups, quickly gained public visibility as a key voice in the secular opposition. Its February 1, 2011, proclamation read as follows. ….
Read more : Link International
What would Jesus do? – by Mehdi Hasan
Conservatives claim Christ as one of their own. But in word and deed, the son of God was much more left-wing than the religious right likes to believe.
Was Jesus Christ a lefty? Philosophers, politicians, theologians and lay members of the various Christian churches have long been divided on the subject. The former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev once declared: “Jesus was the first socialist, the first to seek a better life for mankind.” The Venezuelan president, Hugo Chávez, went further, describing Christ as “the greatest socialist in history”. But it’s not just Russian ex-communists and Bolivarian socialists who consider Jesus to be a fellow-traveller. Even the Daily Mail sketch-writer Quentin Letts once confessed: “Jesus preached fairness – you could almost call him a lefty.”
That conservatives have succeeded in claiming Christ as one of their own in recent years – especially in the US, where the Christian right is in the ascendancy – is a tragedy for the modern left. Throughout history, Jesus’s teachings have inspired radical social and political movements: Christian pacifism (think the Quakers, Martin Luther King or Bruce Kent in CND), Christian socialism (Keir Hardie or Tony Benn), liberation theology (in South America) and even “Christian communism“. In the words of the 19th-century French utopian philosopher Étienne Cabet, “Communism is Christianity . . . it is pure Christianity, ” …
Read more : Newstatesman
By Salman Siddiqui
KARACHI: Kashif Mehmood joined the Bahraini police force soon after he graduated from the Pakistani school in Bahrain.
He wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps who joined the Bahraini police after migrating from Gujranwala’s Mandi Bahauddin area, some 30 years ago. …
Read more : The Express Tribune
The king of Bahrain says a foreign-backed plot against his country has been foiled following a month of anti-government protests.
King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa thanked troops from nearby countries, mostly Saudi Arabian, who were brought in last week to put down the unrest.
He did not give any details of who was behind the alleged plot. …
Read more : Wichaar
Robert Fisk: The destiny of this pageant lies in the Kingdom of Oil
The Middle East earthquake of the past five weeks has been the most tumultuous, shattering, mind-numbing experience in the history of the region since the fall of the Ottoman empire. For once, “shock and awe” was the right description.
The docile, supine, unregenerative, cringing Arabs of Orientalism have transformed themselves into fighters for the freedom, liberty and dignity which we Westerners have always assumed it was our unique role to play in the world. One after another, our satraps are falling, and the people we paid them to control are making their own history – our right to meddle in their affairs (which we will, of course, continue to exercise) has been diminished for ever.
The tectonic plates continue to shift, with tragic, brave – even blackly humorous – results. Countless are the Arab potentates who always claimed they wanted democracy in the Middle East. King Bashar of Syria is to improve public servants’ pay. King Bouteflika of Algeria has suddenly abandoned the country’s state of emergency. King Hamad of Bahrain has opened the doors of his prisons. King Bashir of Sudan will not stand for president again. King Abdullah of Jordan is studying the idea of a constitutional monarchy. And al-Qa’ida are, well, rather silent.
Who would have believed that the old man in the cave would suddenly have to step outside, dazzled, blinded by the sunlight of freedom rather than the Manichean darkness to which his eyes had become accustomed. Martyrs there were aplenty across the Muslim world – but not an Islamist banner to be seen. The young men and women bringing an end to their torment of dictators were mostly Muslims, but the human spirit was greater than the desire for death. They are Believers, yes – but they got there first, toppling Mubarak while Bin Laden’s henchmen still called for his overthrow on outdated videotapes.
But now a warning. It’s not over. We are experiencing today that warm, slightly clammy feeling before the thunder and lightning break out. Gaddafi’s final horror movie has yet to end, albeit with that terrible mix of farce and blood to which we are accustomed in the Middle East. And his impending doom is, needless to say, throwing into ever-sharper perspective the vile fawning of our own potentates. Berlusconi – who in many respects is already a ghastly mockery of Gaddafi himself – and Sarkozy, and Lord Blair of Isfahan are turning out to look even shabbier than we believed. Those faith-based eyes blessed Gaddafi the murderer. I did write at the time that Blair and Straw had forgotten the “whoops” factor, the reality that this weird light bulb was absolutely bonkers and would undoubtedly perform some other terrible act to shame our masters. And sure enough, every journalist is now going to have to add “Mr Blair’s office did not return our call” to his laptop keyboard.
Everyone is now telling Egypt to follow the “Turkish model” – this seems to involve a pleasant cocktail of democracy and carefully controlled Islam. But if this is true, Egypt’s army will keep an unwanted, undemocratic eye on its people for decades to come. As lawyer Ali Ezzatyar has pointed out, “Egypt’s military leaders have spoken of threats to the “Egyptian way of life”… in a not so subtle reference to threats from the Muslim Brotherhood. This can be seen as a page taken from the Turkish playbook.” The Turkish army turned up as kingmakers four times in modern Turkish history. And who but the Egyptian army, makers of Nasser, constructors of Sadat, got rid of the ex-army general Mubarak when the game was up?
And democracy – the real, unfettered, flawed but brilliant version which we in the West have so far lovingly (and rightly) cultivated for ourselves – is not going, in the Arab world, to rest happy with Israel’s pernicious treatment of Palestinians and its land theft in the West Bank. Now no longer the “only democracy in the Middle East”, Israel argued desperately – in company with Saudi Arabia, for heaven’s sake – that it was necessary to maintain Mubarak’s tyranny. It pressed the Muslim Brotherhood button in Washington and built up the usual Israeli lobby fear quotient to push Obama and La Clinton off the rails yet again. Faced with pro-democracy protesters in the lands of oppression, they duly went on backing the oppressors until it was too late. I love “orderly transition”. The “order” bit says it all. Only Israeli journalist Gideon Levy got it right. “We should be saying ‘Mabrouk Misr!’,” he said. Congratulations, Egypt!
Yet in Bahrain, I had a depressing experience. King Hamad and Crown Prince Salman have been bowing to their 70 per cent (80 per cent?) Shia population, opening prison doors, promising constitutional reforms. So I asked a government official in Manama if this was really possible. Why not have an elected prime minister instead of a member of the Khalifa royal family? He clucked his tongue. “Impossible,” he said. “The GCC would never permit this.” For GCC – the Gulf Co-operation Council – read Saudi Arabia. And here, I am afraid, our tale grows darker.
We pay too little attention to this autocratic band of robber princes; we think they are archaic, illiterate in modern politics, wealthy (yes, “beyond the dreams of Croesus”, etc), and we laughed when King Abdullah offered to make up any fall in bailouts from Washington to the Mubarak regime, and we laugh now when the old king promises $36bn to his citizens to keep their mouths shut. But this is no laughing matter. The Arab revolt which finally threw the Ottomans out of the Arab world started in the deserts of Arabia, its tribesmen trusting Lawrence and McMahon and the rest of our gang. And from Arabia came Wahabism, the deep and inebriating potion – white foam on the top of the black stuff – whose ghastly simplicity appealed to every would-be Islamist and suicide bomber in the Sunni Muslim world. The Saudis fostered Osama bin Laden and al-Qa’ida and the Taliban. Let us not even mention that they provided most of the 9/11 bombers. And the Saudis will now believe they are the only Muslims still in arms against the brightening world. I have an unhappy suspicion that the destiny of this pageant of Middle East history unfolding before us will be decided in the kingdom of oil, holy places and corruption. Watch out. ….
Read more : The Independent.co.uk
By BNO News
WASHINGTON, D.C. (BNO NEWS) — U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday spoke by telephone with Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa as anti-government protests have thrown parts of the nation into chaos, the White House said.
Earlier on Friday, Obama had said through a statement that he condemned the use of violence against anti-government protesters in Bahrain, Libya and Yemen. “I am deeply concerned by reports of violence in Bahrain, Libya and Yemen,” he said, adding: “The United States condemns the use of violence by governments against peaceful protesters in those countries and wherever else it may occur.”
The U.S. President said the United States expresses its condolences to the family and friends of those who have been killed during the protests. “Wherever they are, people have certain universal rights including the right to peaceful assembly,” he said. “The United States urges the governments of Bahrain, Libya and Yemen to show restraint in responding to peaceful protests, and to respect the rights of their people.” …
Read more : Wireupdate
Ruins of Moen jo daro : 25 kms. Away from Larkana city in Sindh .. It was inhabited in 2000 B.C , abandoned in 1700 B.C and rediscovered in 1920 ‘ Around 5OOOO people stayed there at one time. Maybe more.
It was probably abandoned due to the floods as river Indus (Sindhu) changes its course very often Declared as Unesco world heritage site, Unesco 1n 1997 gave U.S $1O million for restoration and strengthening the base of the city .
5 artistic seals prove the extent of progress achieved in 2OOO B.C itself . The dancing girl denotes self confidence.
Wayang Kulit of Indonesia bears a lot of similarity to it. Scholars must do research on this similarity .
The priest or the king shows power and dignity and quite a few statues of goddesses were also found at the site.
Shiva was worshipped in this area is proved by phallus shaped stone objects in Moen jo Daro.
Moen jo daro had an excellent drainage system, planned wide roads, two storied houses – made of baked mud. There were also huge granaries for storage.
A great public bath has also been found at Moen Jo Daro with steps going down to a pond. Elliptical disc was found recently which may have been used fork eeping holy water . Pieces of charcoal were found at Moen jo Daro. This will help us to pin point the age of the site. According to latest reports on google all the ancient sites are eroding due to goverment neglect and public aphathy.
It is very heartening to know that Tata’s Fundemental Institute of Research which is highly respected all over the world, is undertaking a research on Moen jo Daro to find out if the city was laid as per astronomical placements of stars at that time like is the case with Borobudut, the largest Budhhist Complex in the world ( In Indonesia ). and Angkor Vat in Cambodia. Moen Jo Daro is a few hours drive from Karachi – Sindh.
According to Makarand Khatavkar who also conducted a lot of research on Moen Jo daro, the layout of the ancient Moen Jo Daro is astonishing and so are the seals.
Some streets in Moen Jo Daro were 33 feel broad, and had markets on both sides. At Moen jo Daro , there is a 5OOO year old well and the workers were drinking water from it.
Another very striking point was that no weapons of war were found at Moen Jo Daro.
Now about the script;: The Indus script has been known for the last century but until today it has not been deciphered.
However the studies by TIFR scientists and other world institutes suggest that Indus people wrote in a literary style and the script may have been written close to spoken languages like Tamil and Sanskrit .. The linguistic structure of the Indus (Sindhu) script suggests this .. Now the efforts are on to understand the grammatical structure of the script.