Courtesy: Rawal Tv » 5th Dimension, Ep 54
Courtesy: Rawal Tv » 5th Dimension, Ep 54
SINDH: Karachi – International Youth and Workers Movement’ (IYWM) and Rise for Pakistan cordially invite you to attend a meeting on December 27th, 2013, 4:00 p.m. at PMA House Karachi, Sindh. The topic of first session of meeting is “Why Left is ineffective in Pakistan?”. We hope to share our thoughts on this and find reasons behind ineffectiveness of the left wing and its inability to create or drive political movements in Pakistan.
The topic of discussion in the second session will be “The establishment of ‘International Youth And Workers Movement’ (IYWM) and its goals.”
We believe that this meeting will help us move together towards a better understanding of a much needed methodology to rebuild the students’, workers’ and peasantry’s movement in Pakistan and the world.
Looking forward to meeting you on 27th December and we sincerely hope that you will share with us your experiences and ideas in this regard.
Looking forward, Jawad Ahmad & Dr. Syed Akhtar Ehtsham
Courtesy: via Facebook
By Rauf Nizamani
THE perception about Sindhi nationalist politics is that it’s secular, progressive, anti-establishment and left-oriented. Is this view still valid?
In recent decades, many changes have occurred in the politics of the province. Though the political parties still claim to be fighting for the interests of Sindh and its people, is that true? Is their primary motive still the fight against feudal and tribal lords, landlords and the religious orthodoxy? Does securing rights for the downtrodden, especially peasants, remain part of their struggle for national rights as was the case in the past?
The beginning of a new journey of secular Bangladeshi Liberals
Pakistan’s musician Taimur Laal on massacres of liberals in the “Land of the Pure” by the “guardians of the Religion of Peace!?” Laal’s video on the trials, tribulations, and sacrifices of the people of Pakistan in the struggle against extremism in our society. Religio-fascists! how do you claim that the battle is over in which we have not even taken the very first step! You can crush All of us. But you can not stop the spring.
Poet: Faiz Ahmed Faiz. Directed by Dr. Taimur Rahman.
Courtesy: Laal » YouTube
By: Dr. Ahmed H. Makhdoom
He gave his life so that our Sindhrree can live and breathe. On 9th August, every year, the valleys and fields, hills and mountains, cities and towns, hovels and villages, rivers and lakes and every leaf of every tree and each pebble of the sacred Land of Sindh screams for one of the valiant, verdant, veritable and venerable son of Sindh, Nazir Abbasi, who was so brutally snatched away from the warm embrace of our sanctimonious Mother, Sindh, by the savages and barbarians!
آھِين شانَ شَعۇرَ سِين؍ جانِبَ تۇن جيڏو؍
مۈنتي ڪَرِ مُنھِنجا پِرِين؍ تَھِ تَسي تيڏو؍
اِيھو ڪامِلُ ڪَمُ ڪيڏو؍ جي نَوازِين نِگاھَ سِين؍
“Aaheen shaana shauura seen, jaaniba tuun jeiddo,
Muun tei kari, munhjaa pireen! Tahi tasei teiddo,
Eeyo kaamilu kamu keiddo, jei nawazeemi nigaaha seen.”
(Bhittai: Sur Barwo: 2/1)
“With Glory and Grace, O Loved One! Thee Supremely Lofty!
For Thine Blessings, O Beloved! Likewise, do make me thirsty!
Perfect is Thy Magnificence, sanctify me with Thy Magnanimity!
(Bhittai: Translated by Ahmed Makhdoom)
It was sometime in early 1970s that there was a “Clash of Principles,” between my dearly beloved father and myself. That ‘clash’ resulted in myself moving out of the house of my father in Karachi and take up a rental little house in Latifabad, Hyderabad. Here in the peaceful surroundings of this wonderful Housing Society, myself , my mother, two younger sisters and a younger brother made our abode for a couple of years.
My mother was old, frail and her health was not better condition and my kid sister, Masna, was there to take care of her. My other younger sister Suraiya and brother Zahid were studying in Sindh University and as an eldest in the family, I had this privilege, duty, responsibility and honour to take care of them.
By 1970, I had already become a ‘veteran’ fighter for the rights of Sindh, Sindhis, Sindhi students and progressive Forces, who ignited the fire of Sindhyata and Sindhiness in the 1960s. Be it the Army Dictatorship of Ayub Khan, or Sindhi Language, or discriminatory policies and practices against Sindhi students, or One Unit, we were out on streets, agitating and protesting non-violently, peacefully against all forms of bias, discriminations, perjuries, torture, torment and tyranny suffered by the sweet, innocent, simple children of beautiful Mother Sindh! We were all the time, rounded up by the savage Authorities and thrust into inhuman prisons along with the criminals, rapists and murders. We were under constant scrutiny and gaze of the wily, wretched Army and Police.
By 1970, many of those valiant sons and daughters of Sindh, my dear colleagues, my dear friends, my fellow travellers on the Path of Freedom, my buddies soldiering for Sindh Rights, after achieving their objectives, more or less – breaking up ONE UNIT, getting Sindhi language recognised as a National Language, getting rid of the dictator Ayub Khan and supporting to success Z.A. Bhutto and his new fledgling Political Party – were married with few children and having to support large combined families of siblings and relatives. We were busy eking out a living supporting our children, siblings and many family members and relatives.
I was a young Merchant Navy Officer at that time and had to leave home for few months to make a living on board foreign-going cargo vessels. During my absence, Suraiya and Zahid took care of the family and some of my dear friends kept our house replenished with groceries and all other needs, requirements to keep the family alive and comfortable.
During my visits home, after months of sailing, I used to meet not just my own friends but also those of my younger siblings, Suraiya and Zahid, who were both actively involved in student politics, nationalist, socialist and other issues affecting Sindh and Sindh people. Regularly, friends of my activist siblings, came visiting me at our home for ‘aashirwaad,’ as an elder and guidance and advice, if any.
Being veterans of countless struggles for Sindh, Democracy, Language, Socialism, Sindhyata, we were always sought by the young Freedom Fighters, who had taken our place to continue the struggle for the enlightenment and emancipation of our motherland, our fatherland! We continued meeting these valiant new soldiers of Sindhiness, sharing our experiences with them, advising them, guiding them and just encouraging them to move on, march on, never to look back and to STAND UP and BE COUNTED!
One sweaty hot morning of scorching Summer of Sindh, Zahid, my younger brother, brought with him a young man, handsome-looking and with an aura of wisdom and greatness surrounding his personality. I was mesmerised by his effervescent and humble demeanour and extremely enamoured by his extraordinary knowledge of the principles and precepts of Socialism, Communism and Sindhi Nationalism and firmly well-informed and well-read about the icons and leaders of each of these ‘isms,’ – like Lenin, Mao, Castro, Che Guevara, Hyder Bux Jatoi, Ustad Bukhari, G.M. Syed and others.
Since then, we met few times, had memorable kutchehries, discussions and shared our views and ideas. Sometimes, we were also joined by Jam Saqi and few other veritable and venerable icons of universal peace, co-existence, Sindhyata and Sindhiness.
This young man was Nazir Abbasi, whom, at a first glance, I found him to be so very much in love with Sindh, Putthheeya Ughaarraa (shirtless) Sindhi peasants, farmers, kurrmees, and so passionately involve with the fight for the rights of workers, fishermen, labourers and students. He was absolutely in control with what he was professing, planning, and practicing!
Nazir Abbasi continued pushing forward and pursuing relentlessly, ardently and intrepidly for the rights of Sindh and Sindhi downtrodden and suffering masses. He devoted his entire life, sacrificing family and friends, for his noble CAUSE and he enjoyed every moment of his serious involvement in his mission, until the last day of his celebrated life!
by Omar Ali
Pakistan’s existing political and administrative system is based almost entirely on Western models. but the official national ideology is ambivalent or even hostile to Western civilization and its innovations. In the past this was less of a problem since “national ideology” was not very well developed (Jinnah himself was famously confused about what he wanted and while the Muslim League used Islamist slogans freely during the Pakistan movement, a number of its leaders and ideologues were happy to go along with vaguely left wing justifications for the state once they were comfortably in power after partition), but ever since the time of General Zia, there has been a steady push to establish a particular Islamist version of Pakistani nationalism as the default setting. The process has not gone entirely smoothly and significant sections of the super-elite intelligentsia remain wedded to Western left-liberal (and more rarely, frankly capitalist/”neo-liberal”)) ideologies while the deeper thinking Islamists tend towards Salafism, but it has gone further in the emerging middle class and within the armed forces. There, a superficially Islamist, hypernationalist vision has taken root and can be seen in its purest form on various “Paknationalist” websites.
This “paknationalism” is an extremely shallow and rather unstable construct. It is not classically Islamist but it regards Islam as the main unifying principle and ideological foundation of the state. In practice, it is more about hating India (and our own Indian-ness) that it is about any recognizable orthodox form of Islam. It is also very close to 1930s fascism in its worship of uniforms, authority and cleansing violence. People outside Pakistan rarely take it too seriously and prefer to get their versions of Pakistani nationalism from more liberal interpreters, but the “Paknationalists” are serious and one of these days, they are going to have a go at Pakistan if present suicidal trends persist in the civilian elite. Their interlude may not last very long, but it is likely to be exceptionally violent and may end in catastrophe.
Read more: 3QuarksDaily
By: Nadeem F. Paracha
Born in 1956, Fauzia Wahab was enjoying a fiery career as a passionate human rights worker and one of the most prominent voices of reason in the often chaotic, judgmental and fiercely patriarchal world of Pakistani politics and sociology, when her life was cut short on June 17, 2012.
Belonging to Pakistan’s largest political outfit, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Fauzia’s fame was nothing like that of former PPP Chairperson, late Benazir Bhutto, and nor was she known so well outside of Pakistan like the country’s other famous women activists and democrats like Benazir or Asma Jahangir.
Fauzia’s fame was largely local, rooted deep in whatever that is left of the tradition of progressive politics and liberalism in the country’s urban middle-classes – a tradition that was triggered by the rise of the PPP in the late 1960s and gave large sections of the Pakistani middle-classes a left-leaning and almost revolutionary dimension.
Although Fauzia was in school when leftist student organisations and trade, labour and journalist unions rose to successfully challenge the rule of Pakistan’s first military dictator, Ayub Khan, in the late 1960s, she was quick to join politics when she entered college in 1972 and then the Karachi University in 1975.
A glimpse into her career as a student politician can be an insightful exercise to understand the kind of a charisma she possessed that continued to make her stand out without requiring her to be a leading political figure or an ideologue.
A PPP colleague of hers once described Fauzia as a smiling rebel who had a natural knack of balancing her traditional side with her rebellious streak without looking or sounding contradictory or confused.
The same colleague (who was talking to me late last year in an informal chat), thought that Fauzia’s first act of rebellion was actually against her own ethnic background.
Coming from an educated Urdu-speaking family settled in Karachi, Fauzia did not automatically support the Jamat-e-Islami (JI) or the Jamiat Ulema Pakistan (JUP) like most Urdu-speakers of Sindh and its capital, Karachi, did till the late 1970s.
Instead, when she joined college, she at once jumped into the ranks of leftist and progressive student groups, but without waving Mao’s Red Book or Marx’s Das Kapital.
Another colleague of hers who was with her in a progressive student group at Karachi University and then later joined the Mutahidda Qaumi Movement (MQM), told me that Fauzia was always more interested in solving the problems of the students and challenging those who used faith to impose their politics than she was in leftist theory.
It was this attitude of hers that placed her in the leading ranks of the Progressive Students Alliance at the Karachi University – an alliance comprising of various left-wing, liberal and Sindhi, Baloch and Pashtun student groups.
But battling opposing student groups, especially those on the right, through student union elections and campaigning, was where it all started and ended for Fauzia – in 1978 she met and married another passionate progressive student politician, Wahab Siddiqui, who soon went on to become an accomplished journalist.
After marriage, Fauzia gladly became a housewife, raising her children and supporting her husband’s career as a journalist. But her love for politics, the liberal ideals that had driven her as a student and her romance for Karachi remained intact.
Some early recruits of the MQM claim that Fauzia almost joined the MQM when it suddenly rose to become Karachi’s leading party in the late 1980s. Though this was never mentioned by Fauzia herself, it is however true that she eventually became a kind of a pioneer of a little known but important strain in the workings of the PPP in Karachi, Sindh.
I can vouch for this because I, as an active member of the PPP’s student-wing, the PSF (in the 1980s), too got involved in what Fauzia would ultimately represent within the PPP as a Karachiite.
When Benazir returned to Pakistan from exile in 1986 and then went on to become the country’s first woman prime minister in 1988, she at once recognised the importance of having the MQM as a ‘natural ideological partner’ and a party that could keep governments afloat with the seats that it was able to win in Karachi and Hyderabad.
I was at the Karachi University in 1989 when Benazir constituted a team of Sindhi and Urdu-speaking members of the PPP to negotiate a coalition deal with MQM chief Altaf Hussain. I remember how this policy created a kind of a rift within the ranks of the PSF in Karachi.
One faction was totally against Benazir’s move, while the other faction saw it as a way to unite secular forces so they could reclaim the political space they had lost to the ‘reactionaries’ and religionists during Ziaul Haq’s dictatorship.
Though a Punjabi from my father’s side, I was born and bred in Karachi. So I decided to side with the latter group and was ultimately ‘expelled’ from the university by the former faction.
Of course, the coalition collapsed and dozens of students lost their lives in the deadly clashes that followed between the PSF and MQM’s student-wing the APMSO.
However, even while an operation was underway against MQM militants under the second Benazir regime (1993-96), I am witness to the fact that Benazir’s idea of creating a bridge (made up of ideological similarities as well as pragmatism) between Karachi chapters of the PPP and MQM was very much alive.
And here is where Fauzia came in. After the tragic sudden death of her husband in 1993, Fauzia found herself returning to politics. Her husband had played an active role as a journalist against the Zia dictatorship and this drew the attention of Benazir who made Fauzia the Information Secretary of the PPP’s women’s wing in Sindh.
An articulate and educated person from a respected Urdu-speaking middle-class family, Fauzia was to become that bridge between the PPP and Urdu-speakers in Karachi. Later on, Fauzia, along with another prominent PPP Karachite, Faisal Raza Abidi, would play a prominent role in helping Asif Ali Zardari strike a coalition with the MQM after the 2008 elections.
Though a passionate Karachite and proud of her ethnic background, Fauzia was first and foremost a Pakistani who wanted to use the platform of a large political party to continue raising human rights issues, especially those related to women.
Fauzia became a close confidant of Benazir Bhutto. Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, Fauzia was the person Benazir banked on to continue building links between the PPP and Urdu-speakers in Karachi as well as being one of the faces in the PPP the MQM was most comfortable with.
But it wasn’t until during the Musharraf dictatorship that Fauzia was thrown into the limelight of Pakistani politics. Being made an MNA during the 2002 elections, she played an active political role against the Musharraf regime.
This was also due to the eruption of privately owned TV news channels in the country. Fauzia became a prominent fixture in most political talk shows, passionately criticising the Musharraf regime and articulating her party’s understanding of the situation.
After Benazir’s shocking assassination in 2007, Fauzia managed to survive the PPP’s new chairperson Asif Ali Zardari’s changes within the party structure. In fact she became an even more prominent figure in the party.
Along with Faisal Raza Abidi and Qamar Zaman Kaira, Fauzia became one of the fiercest defenders of the PPP regime’s polices in the electronic media. But unlike many other politicians who also became regular fixtures on TV talk shows, Fauzia retained a cheerful witty attitude.
However, she wasn’t only about defending her party’s regime. Along with famous human rights activist and lawyer, Asma Jahangir, Fauzia was one of the few prominent Pakistani women who never held back while lambasting crimes of hate committed by religious nuts and terrorists.
She openly condemned the murder of Punjab Governor, Salman Taseer, by a crackpot who wrongly accused Taseer of committing blasphemy. She was threatened by a number of fanatical clerics and their supporters for this.
Fauzia continued highlighting the threat to Pakistanis, especially women and those belonging to minority religions, faced from radical religious groups. She continued to remain a target of the abuse and menacing threats that came her way from religious outfits.
But she marched on, still holding her balanced mantle that seamlessly mixed passionate oratory with reason and hearty wit.
Can Liberal Democracy Survive the Decline of the Middle Class?
Stagnating wages and growing inequality will soon threaten the stability of contemporary liberal democracies and dethrone democratic ideology as it is now understood. What is needed is a new populist ideology that offers a realistic path to healthy middle-class societies and robust democracies.
Something strange is going on in the world today. The global financial crisis that began in 2008 and the ongoing crisis of the euro are both products of the model of lightly regulated financial capitalism that emerged over the past three decades. Yet despite widespread anger at Wall Street bailouts, there has been no great upsurge of left-wing American populism in response. It is conceivable that the Occupy Wall Street movement will gain traction, but the most dynamic recent populist movement to date has been the right-wing Tea Party, whose main target is the regulatory state that seeks to protect ordinary people from financial speculators. Something similar is true in Europe as well, where the left is anemic and right-wing populist parties are on the move.
There are several reasons for this lack of left-wing mobilization, but chief among them is a failure in the realm of ideas. For the past generation, the ideological high ground on economic issues has been held by a libertarian right. The left has not been able to make a plausible case for an agenda other than a return to an unaffordable form of old-fashioned social democracy. This absence of a plausible progressive counternarrative is unhealthy, because competition is good for intellectual debate just as it is for economic activity. And serious intellectual debate is urgently needed, since the current form of globalized capitalism is eroding the middle-class social base on which liberal democracy rests.
THE DEMOCRATIC WAVE
Social forces and conditions do not simply “determine” ideologies, as Karl Marx once maintained, but ideas do not become powerful unless they speak to the concerns of large numbers of ordinary people. Liberal democracy is the default ideology around much of the world today in part because it responds to and is facilitated by certain socioeconomic structures. Changes in those structures may have ideological consequences, just as ideological changes may have socioeconomic consequences…
Read more »Foreign Affairs
Marxist political advice and its discontents
By Omar Ali
Professor Vijay Prashad is the George and Martha Kellner professor of history at Trinity college. He is also a prominent left wing activist. The two roles have different requirements. Here he tries to bridge the gap.
Someone had commented on 3quarksdaily.com that this is “Another bucketload of gormless Marxist verbiage around a central anti-semitic core: forget the mountains of corpses and the decades of torture and oppression – Assad’s main crime is defined as “neoliberalism … and a practice of accommodation with both the US and Israel.”
That triggered the following comment (i have edited the original slightly for clarity) from me: The real problem with neomarxist verbiage is not double standards or selective outrage, its the unbridgeable gap between being a professor and being an actor on the ground in a civil war in a faraway country.
Vijay Prashad as a professor in a first world University may eventually contribute to changing the way X or Y issue is framed in the mind of the elite, and that in turn will eventually have some impact somewhere in actual daily politics and political struggles but those are big “eventually-s”. Some professors are OK with that and focus on doing their research and writing their books and teaching their students in the hope that their analysis will eventually “trickle down”. But that (for obvious reasons) is not very satisfying for most of us. Hence the need to suggest practical courses of action in today’s clash, to pick sides, to “organize a relief column”. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your estimate of said professor’s wisdom and insight) this aspect of a professor’s work has near-zero real world relevance.
I don’t know how to fix this problem, but it does seem to be a real problem. Most right wingers are almost by definition closer to the ruling elites so maybe they dont feel the pain as much, but left wing professors are in a painful bind here..to have no opinion on proximate politics and wars seems silly, but to have an opinion that arises logically from their theoretical framework is frequently sillier, and any honest and good man may end up in Professor Prashad’s position. Its a real dilemma.
In an attempt to pre-empt misunderstandings, let me add:
1. My question is not about the details of his analysis.
2. Its about this scenario. Lets say Vijay is Vladimir Lenin. Well, in that case he is not only a theoretician (though he would like to believe that his superior understanding of theory informs his practice), he is an organizer, a rebel, a leader, a politician with day to day decision to make. Very fine nuances and very involved calculations will come into play. Many of those calculations will be very cynical. All of them will be locally bound by existing circumstances. Theory will have to give way again and again. But Vijay (probably not even in his own mind, but I don’t know him personally, so I cannot say for sure) is not Lenin. He is a professor. He does research, he writes books. He has theories. And he is part of a broader left wing academic current that has its own internal dynamics very far from the ground in Syria. I am saying I don’t expect him to say things that are too useful as guides to action.
3. What do you think?
Courtesy: Brown Pundits
….. Benazir too always treated the PPP as a social democratic party. On her return from exile in 1986 when millions arrived to support her bold challenge against the pro-US dictatorship of Ziaul Haq, Dawn reported how during a mammoth rally in Lahore when some PPP radicals began torching a US flag, Benazir asked them to stop. And let’s not even get into how those media men who scorn at today’s ‘establishmentarian PPP’ and lament the loss of Benazir were the loudest in their condemnation of her being a ‘US stooge’ when she returned in 2007 to challenge Musharraf’s regime.
The truth is the PPP today is quite like what it has always been, i.e. a roller-coaster political soap opera involving bickering comrades, populist, joyous eruptions and heartbreaks. In other words, it is still very much a party that continues to reflect the emotional and intellectual disposition of its founder, Z A Bhutto: spontaneous, reckless and intriguingly, but at the same time highly pragmatic and somewhat Machiavellian.
Read more » DAWN.COM
Qadri case judge sent abroad
by Zulqernain Tahir
LAHORE: The district and sessions judge, who had handed down two death sentences to Mumtaz Qadri for killing Punjab governor Salman Taseer, has left for Saudi Arabia along with his family after receiving death threats from extremists.
“The death threats have forced Judge Pervez Ali Shah to leave the country along with his family for Saudi Arabia,” Advocate Saiful Malook, the special prosecutor in the Qadri case, told Dawn on Monday.
He said sensing the gravity of the situation the government had arranged the lodging of Mr Shah and members of his family abroad. “Although security was provided to the judge and his family members, the government on the reports of law-enforcement agencies opted for sending him abroad,” he said.
There were also unconfirmed reports that extremist elements in religious parties had fixed the head money for the judge. “There were such reports but there was a potential threat to the life of Mr Shah and his family members,” he said.
Mr Malook said he also had been receiving threats to his life and urged the government to arrange adequate security. “The government has deployed only two policemen for my security which is not adequate,” he said.
Judge Pervez Ali Shah had said in his verdict: “No-one can be given the licence to kill anyone in any condition, therefore, the killer cannot be pardoned as he has committed a heinous crime.”
Assassin Qadri, a constable in the Punjab Police Elite Force, tried to justify the murder by stating that he had killed Mr Taseer for supporting Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman who the slain governor had projected as having been wrongly convicted of blasphemy. Qadri, who was on duty to guard Taseer, gunned him down outside a restaurant in Islamabad on Jan 4 this year. ….
Read more » DAWN.COM
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Courtesy » Aaj News Tv (Bolta Pakistan with Nusrat Javed and Mushtaq Minhas – 25th October 2011)
The Guys in the 1% Brought This On
By Barbara Ehrenreich
…. So the “99% versus the 1%” theme is beginning to look like an acute class analysis after all, and it’s the guys in the 1% who made it so. Over the years, they have systematically hollowed out the space around them: destroying the industrial working class with the outsourcings and plant closures of the ’80s, turning on white collar managers in the downsizing wave of the ’90s, clearing large swathes of the middle class with the credit schemes of the ’00’s—the trick mortgages and till-death-do-we-part student loans.
In the ’60s we dreamed of uniting people of all races and collar colors into “one big working class.” But it took the billionaires to make it happen.
Read more » The Progressive
– by Nayyer Khan
I do not expect a balanced outlook from a common man in Pakistan who lives behind a smoke screen created by Urdu press and brain washed through 60 years of antagonistic indoctrination against the non-Muslim world, except China. However, the views of old friends from left Wing (now liberals mostly associated with NGOs or civil society) and laissez-faire intelligentsia astonish me. The old cult is still deep seated in their minds, in which America takes the position of the devil. They go so far in their prejudice against America that they lose their ability to pick the lesser of the two evils.
I fully agree to the universal rule that my enemy’s enemy is my friend, yet the issue is to identify who the current enemy is. It is a well established fact that a smaller but irrational enemy is much more dangerous than a bigger yet rational enemy. Hence the later becomes a friend when an irrational enemy is the immediate threat. …
Read more → ViewPoint
– An article by Fizza Hassan published by the Asian Human Rights Commission
As Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) predicts more monsoon rains in the coming days, the worst victims of rains and breaches in a monsoon-swollen Left Bank Outfall Drain (LBOD) in Badin district — the Pakistani low caste Hindus (Dalits) of the districts were denied to get in to relief camps for being ‘untouchables.’
In the last five weeks when monsoon-swollen drains and LBOD burst its banks and caused recent history’s worst ever catastrophic disaster, the so-called traditional bigotry continued to run deeper than the floodwaters.
Despite torrential rains majority of these Hindu Dalits in Badin district continue to live in open sky as they were not allowed accommodation in the private/self-built relief camps of Muslims.
What added to the tragedy was the federal government’s ban on NGOs and international donors to work in these areas for ‘security reasons.’ As the government itself initiated relief operation much later, the religious extremist organizations that started relief operation in Badin have completely ignored these Dalits or Harijan, which means ‘Children of God’.
Cahnesar Bheel, a Dalit farmer and resident of Goth Gomando Bheel, Taluka Golarchi [Shaheed Fazil Rahu] is one of around 700 Dalits of his village who have no choice but to live in their submerged village with his nine children.
‘Our village is between the two drains and during rains both burst and inundated our village from either side, so we rushed to a nearby relief camps set inside a government school but the tenants did not allow us to live inside the camp, so we came here and started living under open sky,’ Bheel told media.
Bheel said the people living inside the camps had said them that they are Shudra, so they are not allowed to live with Muslims. His village comprises on 80 households with 700 population and all are Dalits.
A civil society activist, Ameer Mandhro sharing his views said, ‘This is not the only village of Dalits in the district that have no roof on their heads but there are countless other Dalit villages including villages on Khoski road, Seerani, Lonwari Shrief and other areas where Dalits are living this way because they are not allowed a place in the relief camps.’
Same happened with Pibhu Kolhi and 50 other residents of his village, who rushed to a relief camp set inside a government school in Tando Bagho, were not allowed to live in the camp after heavy rains.
However, humanity in still prevails within some hearts as a man inside a camp allotted one isolated class room to a few Dalit flood victims. As Kolhi said, ”The isolated class room is away from the main building where only two families are living while the rest of the village is living in open despite continued heavy rains.” He said some philanthropists came to provide food in the relief camp, but they were not given, so despite rain they are cooking food in open sky.
In the emergency situation the role of the minister for minorities affairs Mohan Lal Kohistani seeks attention. Kohistani, despite such a large number of the Hindu population being a part of flood victims, has not done anything so far for their relief. ….
Read more → Asian Human Rights Commission
– Evacuation ordered as new breaches in dykes add to woes
By Hashim Bhurgari, Qamaruddin and Iqbal Khwaja
SINDH – BADIN / MIRPURKHAS / THATTA: The Badin administration issued a warning to people of 12 union councils to vacate their homes and water gushing from breaches in canals and drains entered Mirpurkhas town and several villages in Thatta on Sunday as there appeared no end in sight to devastation caused by heaviest ever rainfall in the province’s history.
In Badin, unhindered upstream water flow continued to increase pressure on the embankments of the overtopping Left Bank Outfall Drain, forcing the administration to issue a warning to the people of 12 union councils, including Shadi Large, Khoski, Pangrio and Malkani Sharif towns, for evacuation. The warning was given after Saturday midnight through loudspeakers.
Thousands of marooned families along the LBOD and Doro Puran faced an acute shortage of food, drinking water and medicines.
According to unofficial reports, more than 30 people have died in the area, because of outbreak of gastroenteritis and other diseases.
A large number of villagers erected tents along roads and on dunes and many others are living in open areas. …
Read more → DAWN.COM
Karachi – Sindh (Press release) : Seven parties of left and nationalist leaning met in Karachi to discuss the prevailing political situation in Sindh and evolve joint strategy to cope with the situation. The meeting was attended by the representatives of Workers Party Pakistan (WPP), Labour Party (LPP), Communist party of Pakistan (CPP), National Party (NP), Jeay Sindh Mahaz(JSM), Awami Party Pakistan (APP) and Watan Dost Inqlabi party(WIP).
The one day meeting was hosted by Labour Party Sindh and presided over by veteran leftist leader Yusuf Masti Khan. The participants discuss in detail and brief about party position on the situation. The parties have unanimously approved the following points
· No compromise on the historic national integrity and oneness of Sindh
· Sindh is home land of different ethnic, lingual groups and they are part and parcel Sindhi nation, any move to divide the people on ethnic and lingual basis will be resisted.
· Condemn the interferences of foreign diplomats and emissaries in the affairs of Sindh and their backup and support to armed ethnic outfits instigate them to divide the Sindh on ethnic lines.
· Condemn the demand to declare the capital of Sindh, Karachi as the Federal capital and consider it the deep rooted conspiracy to separate the city from Sindh again. No to Nazmmen system, considers it breach on provincial autonomy, vehicle to control the district directly from center. No to commissioner system which put all the power in the hand of hand full of bureaucrats, a local bodies system should be evolved catering the needs of masses on grass roots scale and within the parameter of national autonomy.
· It was reiterated again that Pakistan is a multinational state and each nation have full-fledged right on their resources and to run their affairs. Right of Self determination is an indisputable right of every nation.
· Pakistan is in the clutches of chronic feudal system, to unleash the democratic norms and for the emancipation of vast majority of poor masses abolish feudal system and introduce revolutionary land reforms.
· Condemn military operation against Baloch nation and demand to end army operation in Baluchistan, release all arrested and missing Baloch activists.
· Condemn the scheme to create new provinces on administrative bases and demand to creation provinces on nationhood and historical grounds.
A 14 member Working Group, two members from each party was also formed in the meeting to discuss in detail the possibilities of joint program and points for the struggle and the committee meeting will be held on Sunday 21 August in Karachi, Sindh.
The meeting was attended by Akhter Hussain Advocate, A.R. Arif and salahudin Gandapur (Workers Party), Comrade Latif leghari, Comrade Bakshal Thalho and Nasir Mansoor (Labour party), Abdul Khaliq Junejo and Ayaz Hakro (Jeay Sindh Mahaz), Ramzan Memon, Ghulam Mohammad Jadoon Advocate and Yusuf Khatak (Awami Party), Jan Mohammad Buledi (National Party), Imdad Qazi, Dr Nisar Ali Shah (Communist Party) and Dost Mohammed Channa, Mohammad Khan Ahmdani and Dasgir Uqaili ( Watan Dost Inqalabi Party).
Courtesy: → Sindhi + Pakistani lists/ e-groups, August 20, 2011.
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
…. 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
Failed state or Weimar Republic?
Pakistan remains a military-dominated rentier state, still committed to American and Gulf Arab alliances
By Omar Ali
A friend recently wrote to me that Pakistan reminded him of the Weimar republic; an anarchic and poorly managed democracy with some real freedoms and an explosion of artistic creativity, but also with a dangerous fascist ideology attracting more and more adherents as people tire of economic hardship and social disorder and yearn for a savior. Others (much more numerous than the single friend who suggested the Weimar comparison) insist that Pakistan is a failed state. So which is it? Is Pakistan the Weimar republic of the day or is it a failed state?
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
Lovers tiff, impending divorce or trial separation?
by Omar Ali
…… 2. The romantic Left delusion. This is the belief that Pakistan’s corrupt elite deserves to be overthrown by the lower classes and the Taliban are (an unfortunate but expected) instrument of this necessary revolution. Actually the first part of this delusion is not a delusion. The Pakistani elite is not just corrupt, they have been practically suicidal. Where other corrupt third world elites have mismanaged the state, provided poor governance, oppressed the poor and failed to evolve a stable political system, Pakistan’s elite (which in this case means the army high command and their supporters) have done something no other third world elite has managed. They have armed, trained and encouraged their own executioners in the course of a demented scheme of trying to wrest Kashmir from India while laying the foundation for a mini-empire in central Asia. But the second part of this delusion is the real delusion here. The Pakistani Taliban is not the Bolshevik party; in fact, they are not even the Iranian Mullahs. They were created by the army as an outgrowth of the American-sponsored Afghan jihad. Their leadership is derived from the Madrasahs and think tanks sponsored by Saudi money and inspired by Syed Qutb and the most virulent Wahhabi and Salafist clerics in the world. They were guided by the jihadist faction of GHQ, men inspired by Maudoodi and his children, not by Marx or even Ali Shariati. They have absolutely no workable social or economic plan. If they do overthrow the elite, what follows will be a nightmare of historic proportions. If the whole thing does not dissolve into anarchy, it will be stabilized by an army coup. After purging liberals and hanging Veena Malik, the dictatorship of the mullahtariat will degenerate into an Islamic version of Myanmar, not revolutionary Iran or Castro’s Cuba.
Cia So, coming back to our original topic: does the Raymond Davis affair reflect a lover’s spat or an impending divorce? My guess is that its not a divorce. The US has few options and neither does Pakistan. We are probably in for more of the same, but with a chance that one of these days the ISI will find itself the victim of too much success and will not be able to pull back from the brink of divorce. Meanwhile, when the only tool you have is a hammer, everything is a nail. So I expect the state department to pass out more money to GHQ, I expect the CIA to fund some new insane lunatic fringe to counter their last lunatic fringe, I expect the Pentagon to ask for more money for weapons and a good hard “shock and awe campaign”, I expect professors in San Francisco to blame colonialism, and I expect Islamists to blow themselves up with even greater devotion. May Allah protect us from anything worse.
To read full article : 3QuarksDaily
SINDH – HYDERABAD, Feb 20: Leaders of nationalist and left-wing parties and prominent poets and writers have called for concrete efforts to curb fundamentalism and demanded separation of religion from state and equal rights for minorities.
Speaking at a seminar on ‘Religious extremism and black laws of Zia’s regime’ organised by the “Left Unity” at the press club here on Sunday, they stressed the need for a united front comprising all secular, nationalist and progressive forces for combating fundamentalism and promoting secularism.
Renowned intellectual Mohammad Ibrahim Joyo said that after independence the Quaid-i-Azam had unequivocally declared that religion would be the personal concern of the individual and every citizen of Pakistan would have equal rights. But successive governments in the country violated this principle.
Mr Joyo called upon the working class and oppressed people to unite to protect their rights.
He said Sindhis, Balochs and Pakhtuns were oppressed nations. He said that not only “black laws of the Zia regime” but all discriminatory laws should be repealed.
Left Unity secretary Buxal Thallo said that religious extremism was a threat for the country’s progress and called upon all political parties to launch a joint struggle against fundamentalism. …
Read more : DAWN
Of course we should not pander to the right-wing xenophobia that criminalizes anything that is of the ‘West’, but this does not mean we should avoid invoking imperialism at all …
Read more : View Point
“They’re armed, we’re not. They’ve nothing to lose. They fight for their faith with bullets. We’re not ready to die.”Rehana Hakim, Editor, Newsline
“The liberal-minded people are thinking of leaving the country. The liberal space will shrink even further.”Ayesha Siddiqa
“Should I remain silent or stand up to be counted? I’m struggling to take a decision.”Moneeza Hashmi, Broadcaster
The Flickering Flame
. Pakistan’s liberals are fleeing the country in fear or being forced into silence.
– Mariana Baabar
When Omer announced he had completed his master’s degree from a university in London and wished to return home to Karachi, his father Rahim Khan, a senior government official, should have marvelled at his luck. After all, only a minuscule percentage of boys from the subcontinent ever return to their country from studies abroad. Contrary to expectations, Rahim was dismayed, promptly advising his only son to enrol for another course or grab a job, to do anything he could to extend his visa there. Rahim explained his decision to Outlook, “He will have no future in a city where you can’t be sure of returning home alive in the evening.”
It isn’t just those from the rich, western-educated class who have made it their habit to take a flight out of Pakistan, often for good. Months ago, Allama Javed Ahmed Ghamidi, a leading religious scholar, decided to make Dubai his home, so weary was he of the repeated threats from the obscurantists livid at his moderate interpretation of Islam. Marred by continuing ethnic strife, the once-liberal city of Karachi has also undergone rampant Talibanisation, goading the rich to make a beeline for safer climes abroad. This exodus prompted columnist Kamran Shafi to recently write about the “darkened homes in Karachi where the inmates have flown to alternative ‘nests’ in Canada, England and Malaysia”.
For long, Pakistan has seen its people migrate for reasons as varied as better economic prospects to hopes of escaping political discrimination and the state’s inability to provide protection from murderous gangs scouring the land with impunity. Whoever from the minority groups of Hindus and Christians can leave the country, does so at the first opportunity. Joining them in droves in recent times have been those from the Ahmedia sect, which is deemed non-Muslim under law. A significant percentage of the exodus comprises businessmen, often the target of kidnapping and extortion. Pakistanis have always asked themselves: should we leave the country or stay behind?
This question has again become a subject of fervent debate from the time Punjab governor Salman Taseer was gunned down and the shocking feting of his assassin, Malik Mumtaz Qadri, who was outraged by his victim’s support for amending the blasphemy law. For someone to be killed for an opinion, an idea, has jolted Pakistanis into reflecting over their journey backward—from liberating progressivism to stifling conservatism. Recalls journalist Adnan Rehmat, “In the ’60s and ’70s, you could even eat at restaurants during Ramadan and see women in saris and bell-bottoms in the bazaars. Burqas and beards were a rare sight.” …
Read more : OUT LOOK
Is Tariq Ali a reporter, a Marxist activist or an author of fluffy Islamist novels reminiscent of Nasim Hijazi? Or is he just an ideologue past his sell by date, cashing in on his Communist Cows. Nonetheless, he clearly has his prejudices and his article “Salman Taseer Remembered” (London Review of Books) reveals some of them.
In what should have been a tribute to a childhood friend, Tariq Ali can’t help himself and resorts to his typical petty digs based on his own prejudices and neurosis. He remembers their childhood memories but cannot bring himself to appreciate the late Salman Taseer’s business success and political activism. I suppose that is natural given that Tariq Ali comes from a privileged feudal background and ran off from Pakistan instead of facing any consequences for being part of the Left movement of the late 1960s. Tariq Ali’s grandfather Sir Sikandar Hayat Khan was a leader of the Unionist Muslim League, a feudalist political party formed to represent the interests of the landlords of Punjab. It is the same feudal lord about whom Allama Iqabl wrote: nigah-e-faqr mein shaan-e-sikandri kia hai
In Tariq Ali’s elitist lexicon, being a self made and highly successful businessman is far inferior to being a paid lecture circuit mouthpiece for Hamas and Taliban and their supporters that reside on the fringes of the Far Left.
His glossing over the incarceration that Taseer had to face for his political affiliation with the Pakistan Peoples Party and its leadership are probably an indication of his insecurity for running away to England at the first sign of trouble. Not unlike other members of Pakistan’s ‘fake civil society’, Tariq Ali hates the PPP and the Bhuttos because they deprived him and his likes of the imaginary revolution that Tariq Ali so much wanted to lead but never possessed the guts and heart to do so.
In his back handed tribute to Shaheed Taseer, Tariq Ali reveals more about himself and his prejudice than about the late Governor’s successful life. …
Read more : CriticalPPP
– The Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) is the mother of religious terrorism in Pakistan. It is the only party that has ideologues, strategists and operators. The JI knows how to, directly or indirectly, use the religious parties to its advantage.
When killer Mumtaz Malik Qadri was shooting at Governor Salmaan Taseer (shaheed) his security colleagues remained mere spectators. After committing this act he was safely handed over to the police. After a few minutes, his confession statement was leaked to the media. Up until then the media was using the word “martyred” for Governor Taseer but after his confession statement was whipped up by everyone, suddenly the words “assassinated” and “killed” replaced martyred, and the killer was declared a “ghazi”. In no time the killer was being compared with Ilm Din who had been praised by Allama Mohammad Iqbal and defended by Mohammad Ali Jinnah in court. In short, the martyred was turned into a villain, and a killer into a ghazi.
You must be thinking how all this happened so quickly, as if the angels themselves were directing the TV channels. Divine inspiration cannot explain the turn of the media. However, this rhetoric can be attributed to organised groups — agencies or operators of political parties and terrorist groups — deputed to take care of the media. Such elements use all kinds of methods like threats and enticements to force the media to use their language. The Salmaan Taseer case shows very well how the planners quickly got hold of Qadri’s confession and put it all over the media.
Salmaan Taseer’s martyrdom reminds me of the early 1970 period of Punjab University (PU). Then the Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba (IJT) was testing its initial model of Islamisation in PU, which was later implemented in the rest of the country by various religious and political parties. Incidentally, members of the Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba (IJT) have penetrated many political parties, particularly the PML-N, MQM and some others. The etymology of religious terrorism is very different in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa from Punjab where the Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba (IJT’s) PU model is self-evident. This is one of the reasons why 90 percent of blasphemy cases have been registered in Punjab where the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba (IJT) are most powerful.
I vividly remember how the IJT used to plan before terrorising a student or a teacher. For example, a night before action they would prepare posters condemning the ‘Surkha ghunda gardi’ (terrorism of the Left). They would then assign people to go to the police station to file a report against the Left. It was rumoured in those days that the JI managed to have their chosen police officers employed in the Wahdat Colony police station, which covered the university’s jurisdiction. The next day, within minutes, after breaking the bones of some of its opposing students or insulting a teacher, they would put up these posters on every wall of the university. In no time, a police report would be filed and the police would be moved to arrest the victims. Sometimes press statements about the incidents were sent to the media even before the action. This is how methodically the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), through the Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba (IJT), terrorised the left-liberal students and teachers.
Now review the chronology of events on the day Salmaan Taseer was martyred in this backdrop. You will see that it was all pre-planned. The planners knew how the governor was going to be gunned down, how the killer would be handed over to the police and how his confession statement was to reach the media. It seems that the planners had prepared teams to manipulate the media through threats or enticement. Without planning, media portrayal does not get reversed so quickly. …
Read more : WICHAAR
Laal: Meray Dil Meray Musafir, Poet: Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Composition / Arrangment: Taimur Rahman, Mixing / Mastering: Jamal Rahman, Direction: Taimur Rahman and Mahvash Waqar, Acting: Comrade Irfan, Raheela, Natasha, Tehseen, Touseef.
Laal presents “Meray Dil, Meray Musafir” dedicated to the Birth Centenary of Faiz Ahmed Faiz. The music video is a new interpretation of Faiz’s iconic poem “Dil e Man, Musafir e Man”. While Faiz wrote this poem about exile, this video explores Marx’s concept of alienation within the context of modern industrial capitalism.
None of the individuals within the video are actors. Comrade Irfan plays his and his family’s shared experiences. In fact, every single role has been played by individuals who actually live these lives. The video was shot in the industrial areas of Lahore (Greentown, Multan Road, Defence Road, Ilaqa Nawab Sahib). Laal’s music is about real people and real struggles.