Tag Archives: Lal

Hindus, don’t leave your soil, please – Mohammad Ali Mahar

Why should Hindus be forced to leave the soil they inhabited since time immemorial? What is their fault?

Los Angeles, August 17, 1988. On the fateful day Genera Ziaul Haq’s plane exploded in the air above Bahawalpur, I was in Los Angeles. Adam Leghari, my friend who unfortunately died young, was my host for the day. At around 9:30 pm, while discussing politics as usual, he asked me if I wanted to meet Jaggat Bhatia, an eminent lawyer and a childhood friend of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. Excited, we drove half an hour to where he lived. When we pressed the buzzer it was already past 10 pm and from the darkness surrounding the house I could deduce that the residents were asleep. After a little wait the door opened a bit and an enraged man looking at us from behind the chain yelled, “Who are you and what do you want at this hour?” We told him we were Sindhi students and wanted to meet him to talk about his early days in Sindh and his friendship with Mr Bhutto. The elderly gentleman still trembling with anger let us in saying he could not spare more than 15 minutes.

As we sat down in his lavishly furnished living room, the first thing Mr Bhatia said, “If you are here to talk against Pakistan, then leave this moment. I cannot hear a single word against my country. I love it and have been fighting for it all my life. I will not let Pakistan be harmed.” It was only after our assurances that we were not there to talk against Pakistan that he loosened up. We ended up spending more than two hours with him upon his insistence. All through the meeting, he kept talking about Pakistan — sometimes tears flowing down his cheeks — and his days in Karachi where he lived in the Clifton area. I would not have believed his emotions thinking he was behaving thus due to the fear of the agencies had I not known that we were in the USA and not Pakistan.

Chicago, 1988. I was visiting Chicago and I had borrowed the car from Lal Chand Jagwani, my best friend to this day, to drive to Chicago. The people we stayed with advised us to remove all the valuables from the car before parking it in the street overnight because Chicago was not a safe city. As I was emptying the glove compartment, I noticed a small book wrapped in a cloth cover; unwrapping it, I saw it was the Surah Yaseen. Upon return to Detroit, while returning the car I asked Lal whether he knew somebody had forgotten the Surah in his car. Lal laughed and said, “Why do you think so? Do you think that only you Muslims own the Quran? We, Sindhi Hindus, respect and believe in the Quran and its blessings as much as you Muslims do.” Lal’s late father, Mehru Mal Jagwani was a great Pakistani who contested and won elections in Pakistan.

Continue reading Hindus, don’t leave your soil, please – Mohammad Ali Mahar

Three Hindu traders kidnapped in Pakistan

Three prominent Hindu businessmen were kidnapped along with their driver by unidentified armed men in Sindh province of southern Pakistan today.

The businessmen, Ramesh Lal, Ashok Kumar and Hari Ram, were abducted with their driver in Ranipur area of Sindh, Pakistan Hindu Council patron Ramesh Kumar Vankwani said.

In addition to being a prominent trader, Lal is the president of the Hindu panchayat of Thul sub-division of Jacobabad district. The businessmen were going from Karachi to Jacobabad city when they were abducted.

Continue reading Three Hindu traders kidnapped in Pakistan

Rinkle Kumari – the new Marvi of Sindh

By Marvi Sirmed

Malalai Yusafzai, the brilliant Pakistani girl who defied Taliban’s dictation and stood firm on getting educated and persuaded her peers to do so, is a face of Pakistan that we all want to see. More and more. With pride and denial. We like to see Malalai in denial of Rinkle. Rinkle Kumari, the 19 years old Sindhi Hindu girl who was kidnapped and allegedly forcibly converted to Islam before coercively marrying her to a Muslim Naveed Shah. The ones who show this uncomfortable face of Pakistan are condemned to be the ‘traitors’ and ‘Pakistan-haters’. If trying to correct these painful imperfections of our society is treason, let me commit it for once. Rinkle’s story needs to be told loudly and to everyone.

Rinkle was kidnapped on February 24 by Naveed Shah and four other people. Police refused to lodge an FIR and to include the names of the influential Mian Aslam, Mian Rafique and their father Mian Mithu. She was produced in the court of Civil Judge Ghotki where she insisted on going to her family but the judge illegally sent her to the police custody in Sukkur Women’s Police Station.

Continue reading Rinkle Kumari – the new Marvi of Sindh

Amar Jalil’s Program on Sindh TV with Advocate Amar Lal on Rinkal case

The language of the program is Sindhi.

Courtesy: Sindh Tv News (Amar Jalil with Advocate Amar Lal) » YouTube

RInkle Kumari and her precedents

Brides of contention- (article from 1994..the more things change..)

Also see this article from a few days ago..and don’t miss this video celebrating Rinke Kumari’s conversion (reversion?) to Islam, complete with poetry by Allama Iqbal Jihadi. Click here

By Hasan Mujtaba (btw, notice that communists and socialists in both India and Pakistan have been more consistent than most in fighting such evils, sometimes at great personal risk)

( I wrote this story about forced conversion of Hindu women in Pakistan of 1994. So far forced conversion of Hindu women nothing has been changed. Even the modus operandi of forced conversions and its operaters remain as the same)…… …… ……… …….

On January 19, a Hindu girl named Daya Bai disappeared from her house in Daharki, district Ghotki (Sindh, Pakistan). She surfaced ten days later outside the deputy commissioner’s office, wearing bridal clothes,and accompanied by several hundred strong gathering (MANY OF WHOM WERE ARMED WITH AUTOMATIC WEAPONS) led by pirs of Bharchundi chanting Allaho – Akbar. During the nikah (wedding) that followed, Daya Bai’s mother wept inconsolably, repeatedly striking her head on the floor in anguish,”let me meet my daughter even if she is getting married’ she implored but her pleas fell on deaf ears.

For the Hindu community in Sukkur and Larkano, Daya Bai’s disappearance, conversion to Islam and subsequent marriage with a Muslim in suspicious circumstances is not unpresedented occurance. Between January and February at least 3 Hindu girls, Daya Bai from Daharki, Shakuntala from Pano Aquil, and Bhagawanti, the daughter of a Larkano professor were allegedly kidnapped from from their homes at the gunpoint. Of the three, Daya Bai and Bahgawanti converted to Islam and married muslim men whereas Shakunatala’s whereabouts are not known. Shakuntala, allegedly kidnapped from her home by a man named Kalhoro, she embraced Islam and married to someone other than her abductor. Speculation abounds that she may have been sold. The story of the daughter of Koro Mal, Hindu trader from Larkana, is similar. THERE ARE SEVERAL SUCH INSTANCES IN WHICH GIRLS BELIEVED TO HAVE ELOPED WITH THEIR MUSLIM LOVERS ARE NOT MARRIED TO THEM BUT WERE EITHER MARRIED OFF TO SOMEONE ELSE OR KILLED.

The increasing incidents of forcible conversions and marriages of Hindu girls have compelled some Hindus to migrate to India to protect their daughters and family honor. ‘The parents of girls who have met this fate are like the living dead’ says Ghanshyam Das a social worker in Kashmore.

Similarly, as Mukhi Nihalchand, a Hindu community leader in Rohri points out forcible conversion of Hindu men continues unreported and unabated. The conversion at Bharchundi of a Hindu boy from a wealthy Umerkot family sometime back is a case in point. After a while, the boy reconverted to Hinduism and migrated to India with his family.

Continue reading RInkle Kumari and her precedents

Chief Justice urged to help recover ‘kidnapped’ Hindu girl – DAWN

By Bhagwandas

KARACHI, March 4: An alliance of minority parties on Sunday appealed to Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry to take a suo motu notice of the kidnapping of a Hindu girl and order her immediate return to her parents to restore the waning sense of security in the minorities.

Speaking at a protest demonstration staged outside the Karachi Press Club, Pakistan Minority Leaders Alliance representatives said they would launch a protest movement and stage a sit-in on March 10 if the authorities failed to recover the girl, Rinkle Kumari.

According to an uncle of the girl, Raj Kumar, she was kidnapped from her house in Mirpur Mathelo over a week ago and forced to marry Naveed Shah and change her religion. He alleged that the case was heard by a civil judge in Ghotki, but he did not allow her relatives to enter the courtroom while giving a verdict in favour of the ‘kidnapper’, Mr Shah.

Speaking on the occasion, Jeay Sindh Mahaz chief Riaz Chandio expressed solidarity with the minority community members and demanded arrest of and punishment to culprits involved in her kidnapping.

He said those belonging to religious minority groups, including Hindus, Christians and Sikhs, were sons of the soil. They should not feel threatened by such acts, as all Sindhis were one and that they were equal citizens and had equal rights, he said.

He said it was unfortunate that the girl was given in police custody instead of being sent to Darul Aman.

Mr Chandio announced that if “the daughter of Sindh” was not rescued and returned and culprits were not arrested soon and punished according to law, a province-wide sit-it would be staged on Saturday.

Manohar Lal, Muttahida Qaumi Movement lawmaker in the national assembly, condemned the kidnapping and forced conversion of a young girl. He urged the president to take notice of the incident.

He said Islam guaranteed protection to minorities, but such people were giving a bad name to the religion. With such incidents, a sense of insecurity was growing in the community, he said. Earlier their sons were kidnapped for ransom, but now their daughters were being kidnapped and forcibly converted, he remarked.

Jeay Sindh Taraqi Pasand Party leader Gulzar Soomro said that forced conversions were a conspiracy against Islam, which preaches love and peace and opposes use of force. He said the culprits were agents of the establishment that wanted to divide the Sindhis.

“Our patience should not be mistaken as our weakness,” he warned, seeking her immediate recovery.

A Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leader and former lawmaker, Michael Javed, said the Quaid-i-Azam had said that the minorities would be equal citizens in Pakistan, but over the years the Quaid’s message was being forgotten.

Amar Lal, a community leader, said he and the girl’s uncle had met US consulate general staff a few days back and political counsellor Junaid J. Muneer had assured him that the issue would be taken up with the authorities concerned. He said he had also received a call from a former political counsellor of the US embassy in Islamabad, L.K. Robinson, who was currently in Washington. He told him that he would take up the issue with human rights organisations there.

Mahesh Singh, Mangla Sharma, Ramesh Kumar, Vijay Kumar and others also spoke.

Raj Kumar, the girl’s uncle, earlier informed the gathering that on Feb 24, a few armed men barged into her home in Mirpur Mathelo and kidnapped her at gunpoint.

He said a case was filed in a Ghotki court where he said she gave a statement about the threats she had received to convert and marry Naveed Shah or she and her entire family would be killed. He quoted her as saying in the court that she wanted to return and live with her parents.

He also alleged that the judge, in the presence of gunmen in the court, sent her to police custody rather than to her parents’ home or to a shelter home. The next hearing was scheduled to be held at 11am on Feb 27, but the case was heard at 8.15am and the girl’s family was not allowed to enter the courtroom, he said, adding that the judge then gave a verdict in favour of Mr Shah.

Mr Kumar urged the chief justice to take a suo motu notice of the issue and order her safe return to her parents.

Earlier, the participants in the demonstration chanted slogans such as ‘we want justice’ and ‘Rinkle be rescued’.

Courtesy: DAWN

PPP govt. is doing nothing for recovery of 48 kidnapped Hindus and many murdered for ransom.

KARACHI, SINDH – The Pakistan Coalition for Religious Minorities (PCRM) will launch a protest campaign against Sindh Minority Affairs Minister Dr Mohan Lal Kohistani for “not taking any interest in the increasing kidnapping of Hindus throughout the province”.

The PCRM – a newly established representative body of Pakistani Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Ahmedis and other religious minorities of the country – termed these incidents as a conspiracy against religious minorities and expressed disappointment over the ministry’s silence even after 48 cases of kidnapping for ransom, murders, forced conversion in the last six months alone.

Continue reading PPP govt. is doing nothing for recovery of 48 kidnapped Hindus and many murdered for ransom.

People of the World: Please Take Note! Where is your Conscience!

“Shattered Humanity on Move Again”

By Dr Ahmed H. Makhdoom

According to the Times Of India News: [“ AMRITSAR: As many as 600 Hindus, including women and children, arrived in India via Attari land border on Monday. Custom’s deputy commissioner RK Duggal said that the group arrived here on pilgrim visas. Sources at Attari said that these Hindus, largely from Sindh province of Pakistan, had expressed their desire to permanently settle in India and have come with a large quantity of luggage and household goods.” http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Large-contingent-of-Hindus-from-Pakistan-arrives-in-India/articleshow/9193434.cms]

This is absolutely sad, heart-breaking, heart-wrenching news! Why do the simple, innocent and peace-loving people be forced to take such painful and nerve-wrecking course in their life? Why do they have to resort to this tragic move of leaving their Motherland?

Why do they have to abandon and forsake their motherland where the ashes of their ancestors lay strewn in field, plains, hills and rivers! Why do they give up on their motherland, where the bones of their loved ones are entombed since centuries? Why do they have to take such a drastic action! Does the civilized world take note of such tragic, catastrophic and calamitous plight of desperate human beings?

Oh Prince! How can this maid ever abandon, Thought and yearning for my own kith and kin? Within heart and soul are love’s sharp skewers, Pierced inside me without blacksmith’s hammers; Darts and arrows coated with love and longing, Thousands of them my beloveds kept striking; Humble dwellings back home and kindred dears, Alas! This unfortunate maid had not seen for years.” (Shah Bhittai: Translated by Ahmed Makhdoom) (Note: In Bhittai’s epic ‘Umar Marvi;’ Soomra=the caste of Prince Umar, the ruler of Sindh)

Surely, it is not easy or joyful leaving ones beloved kindred folks, with whom they have spent years with love, happiness and mutual respect and admiration! Certainly, it is not pleasant to leave ones Motherland, where one had stayed since centuries! Really, there must be something wrong! Certainly, serious human rights violations must have taken place! Surely, the lives of these despondent people must have been at risk! Surely, these simpleton people must have been threatened, abused and vilified!

Where is the civilized world? Why they have shut their eyes to the sorrows and sufferings of human beings? Why the powerful countries, world’s human rights organizations, international social and welfare organizations and resourceful, potent and mighty individuals closed their ears to the cries of pain and anguish of these punctured, pushed and punched people?

This is a clear case of ethnic cleansing and serious human rights abuse perpetrated, planned and engineered by the policies of establishment. And, the children of the Soil leave, and Mother Sindh becomes dejected, demoralized, and depressed! And the Sons of the Soil in Sindh become extinct!

We demand immediate investigation into this very sad and sordid affair! We appeal and plead the World’s Human Rights Organisations, International Court of Justice, International Criminal Court and the United Nations Organisations to enquire from government officials about what is going on and why poor innocent people are being resorted to take such drastic action! The culprits who have been the cause of such a tragedy should be apprehended, tried and punished. Long Live Humanity!

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, 16 July, 2011

Saleem Shahzad, Al Qaeda and ISI

By Khaled Ahmed

Murdered journalist’s findings show Al Qaeda is winning in nuclear Pakistan more effectively than in Somalia and Yemen

Anyone who has read Inside Al Qaeda and the Taliban: Beyond Bin Laden and 9/11 by Saleem Shahzad (Pluto Press 2011) will come to the following conclusions:

1) It is Al Qaeda rather than the Taliban who plan militant attacks in Pakistan and that the Taliban execute no operations without the permission of Al Qaeda; 2) Jihadi organisations are subservient to Al Qaeda at the same time as some are also extensions of the Pakistan Army; 3) TTP was shaped by Al Qaeda through Uzbek warlord Tahir Yuldashev after the 2007 Lal Masjid affair; 4) ‘Retired’ army officers earlier handling proxy jihad defected to Al Qaeda but continued to use contacts within the military on behalf of Al Qaeda; 5) Benazir was killed by Al Qaeda and not Baitullah Mehsud; he was merely an instrument; 6) Mumbai was done by Al Qaeda through former Pakistan Army officers with help from Lashkar-e-Tayba (LeT) without the knowledge of the ISI despite the fact that LeT was on ISI’s leash; 7) Army officers or freedom fighters trained by army for Kashmir jihad spearheaded Al Qaeda’s war against Pakistan Army; 8) Islamic radicalisation of Pakistani society and media mixed with fear of being assassinated by Al Qaeda agents – who include ex-army officers – have tilted the balance of power away from the state of Pakistan to Al Qaeda; 9) Punjabi Taliban are under Haqqani Network which is supposed to be aligned with Pakistan Army; 10) Pakistan Army has ex-officers in Al Qaeda as well as serving officers collaborating with these ex-officers. …

Read more: → The Friday Times

G. M. Syed’s Birth Day in Jail, Living With Enemies, Palijo’s Ideology, Life in Jail

Notes From My Memory, Part VIII: G. M. Laghari, Syed’s Birth Day in Jail, Living With Enemies, Palijo’s Ideology, Life in Jail

By Mir Thebo

Excerpt:

…. Living with ideological enemies: It is very difficult to live with an ideological enemy in one compound especially when there is just no way to avoid or escape him. And what do you do if that ‘ideological enemy’ is Rasool Bux Palijo who is always eager to pinch you with sharp and dreadful remarks? When we were in jail together (1968), as I mentioned in my previous note, R. B. Palijo came with the idea on 17th January to celebrate G. M. Syed’s Birth Day! I thought it was his ploy to criticize and condemn us [Communist Party (CP)] on the national question. Palijo arranged a birthday cake and some refreshments for the day. We all sat together including two muhajir comrades and paid rich tributes to Saaeen G. M. Syed.

When my turn came to speak, I compared Syed with other historical personalities like Dr. Sun Yat Sen, (Chinese nationalist leader, who played a great role in 1911 Chinese nationalist revolution, which overthrew the Qing dynasty in China), Jawahar Lal Nehru and Khan Ghaffar Khan. When Palijo’s turn came, he brutally attacked my comparison of Syed with those leaders and said, ‘Syed is far above than these leaders. Mir has tried to minimize G. M. Syed’s stature and his role.’ In rhetorical manner, he continued: ‘G. M. Syed is equivalent to Marx, Lenin and Mao’. He said: ‘these people don’t know how great G. M. Syed is’. I was flabbergasted by Palijo’s remarks. We knew how Palijo used Syed’s personality for his own narrow political interests. He himself knew very well the place of Syed. But, alas, that has been Palijo’s style all along.

R. B. Palijo’s political ideology: For political purposes, Palijo used Mao Tse-Tung whose little red book was

compulsory for every Chinese to carry during the cultural revolution (1966 to 1976) otherwise one will be labeled as counter revolutionary or an agent of the enemy. Thousands of people were persecuted especially the writers, intellectuals and middle class people. They were ruthlessly taken from their homes in the cities and were uprooted and sent to far-flung rural areas. They were humiliated under the guidance of the so-called vigilant party committees and people were forced to confess that they were anti-party and reactionary to bring them to shame in the public. Same thing was practiced in the Soviet Union during the Stalin period. They called it ‘The Great Purge’ to purify the party and the society.

Palijo found it easy to convince his workers through this sacred red book that all are enemies except his party people and that he can expel any leader or worker in the name of the great cause or the party. The same practice was common in our party too. It was actually a common practice in 3rd. world countries. Therefore almost all parties were divided in many groups and during that period Euro Communism emerged. The Western European parties denounced the Soviet system of one party rule and the dictatorship of the proletariat and the concept of democratic socialism and multi-party system emerged. New ideas emerged in 1980s in the Soviet Union too. They were called Glasnost and Perestroika (openness and restructuring) and M. Gorbachev declared a famous quote for the liberals that ‘Man is above the Ideology, the ideology is not above the man’. Those who are still Marxists and glorify the former USSR, consider Gorbachev the traitor and the one who brought down the grand empire of the UNION OF THE SOVIET SOCIALIST REPUBLIC.

Palijo brought Mao’s thoughts to his workers and Sindhi peasants and mixed it with Sindhi nationalism and formulated the idea of a Chinese model revolution in Sindh and repeatedly told his innocent workers the famous quote of Mao that “all political power comes from the barrel of the gun”. But Mao’s revolution was typical Chinese revolution. Mao didn’t copy the Russian model and he was against Russia. Both the communist powers even went to a war in 1969 over some piece of land along one of the longest international borders between the two countries although they both believed in the ideology that in future states will wither away and only universal communism will prevail. More funny thing is that it was America, the big capitalist enemy, who stopped Russians from attacking Chinese nuclear installations and Russians backed off (US journalist Harrison Salisbury reported that Soviet sources implied a possible first strike against the Lop Nur basin nuclear test site; and military documents of the time indicate that the USSR had more nuclear-attack plans against China than against the US. The United States warned the USSR against launching a nuclear strike against China. WIKI). Mao didn’t use even Marx very much. He brought the revolution in his own way as he convinced Chinese people how to fulfill difficult task through this old Chinese saying, ‘The foolish old man who moves the mountain’. ….

To read complete article: Indus Herald

IQBAL’S HINDU RELATIONS

This above all – Khushwant Singh

I am beholden to P.V. Rawal of Jammu for sending me a photograph of Allama Iqbal’s Kashmiri Brahmin family taken in Sialkot in 1931. At this time Iqbal was in his mid-fifties. He had already risen to the top as the greatest Urdu poet, at par with Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib. Although he was proud of his Brahmin descent, he had nothing to say about his Hindu relations. In this picture, the elderly lady seated in the middle is his grandmother, Indirani Sapru, nicknamed Poshi, wife of Pandit Kanhaya Lal Sapru. The man standing on the left in a shawl is Iqbal’s cousin, Amarnath Sapru; note the close resemblance to the poet.

The family traces its origin to one Birbal. They lived in the village of Saprain (hence, the surname Sapru) on Shopian-Kulgam road. Then the family moved to Srinagar where Iqbal and most of his cousins were born. Birbal had five sons and a daughter. The third one, Kanhaya Lal, and his wife, Indirani, had three sons and five daughters. Kanhaya Lal was Iqbal’s grandfather. His son, Rattan Lal, converted to Islam and was given the name Nur Mohammad. He married a Muslim woman — Imam Bibi. The Saprus disowned Rattan Lal and severed all connections with him. There are different versions of Rattan Lal’s conversion. The one given to me by Syeda Hameed, who has translated some of Iqbal’s poetry into English, maintains that Rattan Lal was the revenue collector of the Afghan governor of Kashmir. He was caught embezzling money. The governor offered him a choice: he should either convert to Islam or be hanged. Rattan Lal chose to stay alive. When the Afghan governor fled from Kashmir to escape its takeover by the Sikhs, Rattan Lal migrated to Sialkot. Imam Bibi was evidently a Sialkoti Punjabi. Iqbal was born in Sialkot on November 9, 1877. As often happens, the first generation of converts are more kattar than others. Iqbal thus grew up to be a devout Muslim. It is believed that once he called on his Hindu grandmother, then living in Amritsar. But there is no hard evidence of their meeting and of what passed between them; Iqbal did not write about it. Though he had many Hindu and Sikh friends and admirers, he felt that the future of Indian Muslims lay in having a separate state of their own. Iqbal was the principal ideologue of what later become Pakistan. Iqbal’s mother-tongue was Punjabi but he never wrote in it. He used only Persian and Urdu, as did many Urdu poets before him. …

Read more : Telegraph Calcutta India

Hoisting flags, foisting identities.

By Urooj Zia

The Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) seems intent on hoisting the tricolour at Lal Chowk in Srinagar. While patriotism might be the pretext for this ‘tiranga yatra’, the underlying narrative is vile nose-thumbing at a people who have been oppressed under distorted interpretations of patriotism and related politics. As such, it wouldn’t be surprising if the BJP bigwigs either hoist the tiranga under heavy paramilitary protection and curfew, or are forced to make a run for it amidst a barrage of stone-pelting.

This entire circus of faux-nationalism, meanwhile, finds a parallel in Balochistan, Pakistan’s restive south-western province, where sighting the chand-tara means that one is either close to a Frontier Corps (FC) check-post or near the entrance of the Balochistan University campus in Quetta. The latter is guarded by FC personnel in APCs, because students have made a sport of replacing the Pakistani flag with the colours of Azad Balochistan.

Early last year, I had the chance to witness firsthand the brutalities meted out to the people of Balochistan by the same people tasked with protecting the citizens of Pakistan. Perhaps the forces in question don’t consider the Baloch citizens of this country, in which case, it is ironic how we insist on holding on to an area and a people whom we otherise as traitors. Over a kilometre on Sariab Road in Quetta, I spotted no less than 10 FC check-posts, where vehicles were arbitrarily stopped and passengers were ordered to disembark. A thorough body search was then conducted, and further treatment depended on the whim of the officer in question. Those stopped were either ordered to recite the national anthem of Pakistan, or told to chant ‘Pakistan Zindabad’. If the sloganeering was not deemed ‘patriotic’ enough, a repeat performance was ordered for as long as the officer wished. …

Read more : uroojzia

Sindh demonstrates traditional religious harmony

Sunnis as well as Hindus in Sindh, as they have done for centuries, joined the Shia minority in their mourning processions.. the same has held true for Hindu and traditional Sindhi festivals. Centuries old reports observe how entire cities participated in celebrations such as Holi and Ddiyaarii.. one 17th century observer noted that Thatto was closed for days for Holi celebrations.

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Sindh demonstrates traditional religious harmony

By Jan Khaskheli, Karachi

People in Sindh have again shown sectarian harmony, a tradition set by their elders hundreds of years ago, taking out Muharram processions together. In all big and small cities and towns of rural Sindh, including Hyderabad, Sukkur and Khairpur, processions have been staged peacefully through marked routes.

People are keeping a close eye on any attempt to create sectarianism in the holy month of Muharram. They say that there is no visible security threat in their areas during the Ashura processions and Majalis. It is an old tradition that people of each sect visit major mosques of their villages and towns for Eid prayers while on the occasion of Ashura they gather at Imambargahs.

There are many Imambargahs in Hyderabad, Khairpur and small towns like Hala New, Matiari and Sehwan. Some of them are as old as 150 years, and hundreds of people from neighbouring areas come there to attend Majalis and take part processions, and take Niaz (food).

In Sehwan, the shrine of Qalandar Lal Shabaz is one of the most attractive places for visitors. It is on this shrine that processions from all neighbouring towns converge on Muharram 8 travel to join a big procession through fixed routes. As far as security is concerned, people say it is the government that makes such arrangements, otherwise people join the processions without any fear.

People give credit of this to Sufi saints, who played a key role in the region in teaching them to avoid spreading hatred rather and to promote peace and love. …

Read more : The News

Ex-MI chief, commanders Quetta, Pindi involved

By Ansar Abbasi

ISLAMABAD: While Musharraf continues to embarrass Pakistan and its authorities, including the Pakistan Army, an important source has revealed that the General Headquarters (GHQ) and its most vital arm, the Military Operations Directorate, was bypassed by the former dictator, both in the Lal Masjid operation and Bugti killing.

The source said that none of these extremely controversial operations, which sowed the seeds of terrorism in Balochistan and the rest of the country, were the brainchild of the MO Directorate.

The source said that in both these military operations, the GHQ and concerned field command were not directly involved. “In both the cases, General Musharraf bypassed the GHQ and its MO Directorate, and gave direct orders to the relevant field commanders,” said the well-placed and well- informed source.

Ideally and as per the military’s established rules, no such operation could take place without being conceptualised and cleared by the MO Directorate. However, Musharraf, the all powerful dictator that he was, did not engage the MO Directorate.

In the case of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti’s killing, the source said, General Musharraf involved the then Military Intelligence chief Major General Nadeem Ejaz and the top command of 12 Corps.

In a briefing on Balochistan issue by the then DGMO and much before the killing of the Baloch Nawab, General Musharraf once talked about the idea of killing Bugti but the idea was not agreed to by the DGMO, who warned that it would lead to unrest. Later, Musharraf never engaged the GHQ and executed his plot to kill Bugti through the MI and the Commander of the 12 Corps.

After the Bugti killing, some key generals in the GHQ in their in-house interactions expressed their dismay over the Kohlu military operation. The Lal Masjid operation, which killed over a hundred persons and led to the escalation of terrorism cases manifold, was no different from that of the military operation aimed at killing Bugti.

The source said that the planning of the Lal Masjid operation was done by Commander 10 Corps Tariq Majid on the direct instructions of the ousted dictator.

“The GHQ and its MO Directorate were not involved in any such planning,” the source said, adding that a day after Lieutenant Colonel Haroon became the first casualty of the pre-Lal Masjid operation, Musharraf convened a meeting of top political and military authorities and given his mind that a full-fledged operation had to be carried out. …

Read more : The News

Sindh – Entering another Realm- Mast Qalandar!

sehwa-sharif-festivalPakistan’s Sufis Preach Faith and Ecstasy

By Nicholas Schmidle
I stopped taking notes, closed my eyes and began nodding my head. As the drummer built toward a feverish peak, I drifted unconsciously closer to him. Before long, I found myself standing in the middle of the circle, dancing beside the man with the exuberant earlobes.

“Mast Qalandar!” someone called out. The voice came from right behind me, but it sounded distant. Anything but the drumbeat and the effervescence surging through my body seemed remote. From the corner of my eye, I noticed photographer Aaron Huey high-stepping his way into the circle. He passed his camera to Kristin. In moments, his head was swirling as he whipped his long hair around in circles.

“Mast Qalandar!” another voice screamed.

If only for a few minutes, it didn’t matter whether I was a Christian, Muslim, Hindu or atheist. I had entered another realm. I couldn’t deny the ecstasy of Qalandar. And in that moment, I understood why pilgrims braved great distances and the heat and the crowds just to come to the shrine. While spun into a trance, I even forgot about the danger, the phone calls, the reports of my disappearance and the police escort.

Continue reading Sindh – Entering another Realm- Mast Qalandar!

Sindh: The Sehwan Sharif festival

sehwa-sharif-festival.jpg The greatest party on earth?

By Declan Walsh

(Women dance outside the ‘golden gate’ at the central Shrine of the Sehwan Sharif festival. Around 1 million people attend the three day event that combines partying and prayer to mark the death of the Sufi mystic Lal Shahbaz Qalander, who died 755 years ago. Photograph Declan Walsh.)

Pakistan’s tourism ministry designated 2007 as “Destination Pakistan”, the year when tourists were urged to discover the country’s sights and delights. Their timing couldn’t have been worse. A military ruler clinging to power, al-Qaida fanatics hiding in the mountains, suicide bombings booming across the cities – in 2007, Pakistan has become a byword for peril and turmoil.

But there is another Pakistan, one the majority of its 165 million people are more familiar with. It is the thrusting software entrepreneurs and brash new television stations. It is the kite flyers and partygoers and the strangers who insist you sit for a cup of tea. And it is Sehwan Sharif.

A sleepy town on the Indus river, Sehwan Sharif is on the heroin smuggling route that runs through Sindh from Afghanistan to the Arabian Sea. In summer it is a sauna – stepping from my air-conditioned car last month, the heat carried a five-knuckle wallop.

I joined about 1 million people who come to Sehwan Sharif for three days every year, to mark the death of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, an ancient Sufi mystic. It is one of south Asia’s greatest parties.

A giant, infectious drumbeat fills the night air. Red-clad women spin like dervishes and old men dance like teenagers. Men kiss the railings of the shrine; some burst into tears. A conga line of worshippers pushes into a glittering shrine at the heart of festival. The soft aroma of hashish and cooked bread wafts through the tiny alleyways; old men with watery eyes suck on clay pipes; barefoot families doze on the rooftops.

A million people – it’s enough to give an embassy security officer a heart attack. Yet I’ve rarely felt so secure. Impromptu singing sessions erupt by the roadside. People offer strangers a bed, a meal, or a drag from their joint. Smiles and handshakes are everywhere. Qalandar, a sort of medieval hippy, would have approved. Wandering through this area almost 800 years ago, he preached tolerance between Hindus and Muslims and peace to all men. Legend had it that he could transform himself into a falcon.

One night I met Muhammad Fiaz, a burly bus driver from Gujrat with glitter on his cheeks. He had taken his annual holiday to come and sit at the feet of a pir, or holy man. He brushed off any talk of politics. “Musharraf and his lot are one thing,” he said. “This is entirely another”.

Thursday October 4, 2007

Courtesy: The Guardian

Source – http://www.guardian.co.uk/pakistan/Story/0,,2183119,00.html