Tag Archives: lost

The vision we lost

JinnahBy Mahir Ali

A COUPLE of months ago, it was reported that the ambulance conveying Nelson Mandela from Johannesburg to a hospital in Pretoria had broken down, entailing a 40-minute wait before he could be transferred to another ambulance amid the bitter chill.

The unfortunate event was inevitably reminiscent of a September afternoon many decades earlier when another founding father faced a similar predicament on the streets of Karachi. The weather was vastly different, though. And the consequences considerably more dire.

Pakistan was not yet even a year old when Mohammed Ali Jinnah lapsed into the fatal stage of his ailment, which remained something of a state secret unto the end. By the time Lieutenant-Colonel Ilahi Bakhsh, the principal of Lahore’s King Edward Medical College, was summoned to Jinnah’s bedside in Ziarat in late July 1948, it was already too late.

In a slim volume titled With the Quaid-e-Azam During His Last Days, based on a diary he kept during the time, Dr Ilahi Bakhsh says had a course of treatment been launched considerably earlier, the prognosis would likely have been notably better. Jinnah initially responded well to medication and an improved diet, but the will to live eventually seeped out of him.

He was reluctant to heed his doctors’ advice to move from Ziarat to Quetta on the eve of the first anniversary of Pakistan’s independence, but eventually gave in. The shift was predicated by Ziarat’s elevation, and the doctors felt Karachi would be even more conducive from the medical point of view, but Jinnah was extremely reluctant to return to the governor-general’s official residence as an invalid.

By the time he agreed, he was probably well aware that his hours were numbered. Minutes before he breathed his last, he responded to Dr Ilahi Bakhsh’s reassurance that “God willing, you are going to live” with a faint but seemingly unequivocal “No, I am not”.

In Quetta a couple of weeks earlier, he had shocked the good doctor by confiding in him: “You know, when you first came to Ziarat I wanted to live. Now, however, it does not matter whether I live or die.”

“I noticed,” Dr Ilahi Bakhsh writes, “tears in his eyes, and was startled by this manifestation of feeling in one generally looked upon as unemotional and unbending. I could not, moreover, account for his dejection at a time when he had been making excellent progress in all respects, and ventured to seek enlightenment from him.

“The explanation he offered was that he had completed his job, but I found it enigmatic and evasive. Was his job incomplete five weeks ago, and had he done something in the meanwhile which had given him a sense of fulfilment? I could not help feeling that something had happened which undermined his will to live.”

In his preface to the 2011 Oxford University Press edition of the treatise, the doctor’s son, Nasir Ilahi, notes that “based on information available” to his elder brother, Humayun, “there was an initial version of this book which the author had submitted to the Pakistan government for review … but which regrettably does not exist any longer.

“The author was required to delete certain passages from the book as they were considered to be politically inappropriate and sensitive. Essentially, these included, inter alia, information … which suggested that the patient was unhappy after some difficult meetings with his close political allies who he felt were departing from the cardinal concepts of the state of Pakistan that he had begun to visualise…

Continue reading The vision we lost

For Zardari, five years of lost opportunities

The PPP regime huffs and puffs past the finish line, leaving behind a toxic legacy

By Ayesha Siddiqa

BUT DON’T you think we are getting over-excited about the PPP (Pakistan People’s Party) government and the Parliament completing its tenure?” It is almost as if every journalist who calls to seek comments on the state of democracy in Pakistan wants you to be sceptical. They would rather have people talk about all the unfulfilled dreams and promises of what was once Benazir Bhutto’s party. However, it is positive to see a transition from one civilian government to another taking place for the first time in the country’s history. The critics perhaps forget that the censure the ruling party has received is the real beauty of democratic rule. If you are unhappy with a party, you can seek to replace it with another. At least, the government is not being booted out. Yet, it would be too quick to call this the perfect run to the finish line because of two reasons.

First, the Parliament has completed its tenure but not the Cabinet. Prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani was sacked through extra-political manipulation. This makes it similar to the fate of the 2002 Parliament that completed its term but saw three prime ministers. Such changes indicate pressures on the civilian government and the fact that it is still not free to operate. Moreover, the PPP government was unlucky due to the media being unleashed on it from very early on, giving it the reputation of the most corrupt party in the country. It is said about the PPP that it “drinks less than it spills”. It is far less adept in hiding its mismanagement than other parties in Pakistan, especially the urban-based Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz Sharif ). The inability to think strategically in hiding its corruption does not bode well when the media is trained to target one particular party or group.

Recently, in response to whether I could write an opinion piece that may be slightly critical of the ethnic party, the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM), the editor of an English daily told me that it was their policy not to criticise the MQM, the real estate tycoon Malik Riaz and the PML-N. This basically leaves out the Pakistan Army and the PPP. While the armed forces are not really affected by criticism, the PPP definitely is.

Second, the end of the government has left people feeling that the PPP lost out also because of its inherent inefficiency and lack of personalities who have Benazir’s natural capacity to lead the party. Asif Ali Zardari may be a past master at brokering deals and saving a moment, but he may be unable to save the party from collapse or becoming an entity of the past rather than the future.

Indubitably, things were not on the side of Benazir’s party, which is suspected much more than any other political party by the army. Things were not easy in the past five years because Zardari had changed the top leadership and brought in people of his own choice, a development that created more sceptics and enemies. In the past five years, Zardari certainly earned the reputation of being a great survivor. He resisted and circumvented all pressures that might have materialised in greater military intervention. However, this survival was done at the cost of inaction in many areas, starting from the inability to manage the party and market it properly. His media team proved fairly ineffective in selling policies for which the government could take credit, such as the passing of the 18th amendment to the 1973 Constitution, allowing for greater provincial autonomy.

Continue reading For Zardari, five years of lost opportunities

In Parween Rehman, Sindh has lost a rare individual.

My Friend, Architect Parween Rehman, killed on 12th March 2013, in Karachi, Sindh

By Humaira Rahman

I met Parween in January 1981. I was 25 years old, and Parween a few years younger. I had just returned to Karachi armed with my degree in Architecture from University of California, Berkeley.Parween was a 4th year student of Architecture at Dawood College of Engineering and Technology, Karachi, Sindh.

Within a fortnight of returning home to Karachi, I was recruited by (late) Professor Kausar Bashir Ahmed, Dean of Architecture, to join D.C.E.T as visiting lecturer, to teach 2 courses a week for Rs 1500 per month.

I was thrilled and eager to introduce two new courses to the curriculum, from my experiences and time at Berkeley. I had saved all the course material and more.

The first was a 2nd year course tit;ed “Environmental Psychology” and the other was a 4th year course titled “Environmental Impact Assessment”.

In this latter course 4th year architecture students were asked to select a recently built building in the city and research its impact on its surroundings, and submit a report to fulfill the course requirement: They were asked to address the following questions: did the building add value to the surrounding environment or did it detract? How was the flaura and fauna affected? what happened to the extra needs generated by the building? what happened to the parking, sewerage, water supply, pedestrian rights , garbage collection etc etc ? what class of people did the building benefit , only the rich or some of the poor to?

My goal was to sensitise students to the environment , to look beyond their indvidual building projects to the overall fabric of the city. To look beyond the needs of the elite patrons who fund buildings and see the city as a place that belongs to all its residents.

Parween Rehman signed up for the EIA course. She was my most brilliant student. Her leading questions and critical approach made me feel I had a natural co teacher, in her.

Together we energised the class of 37 or so , many of who were young men from rural towns in Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pukhtunkhwa.

As Course Director, I decreed that reports could be submitted in any language not just English. Parween was very pleased and helped me with the translations of papers submitted in Urdu by the Baloch and Pushtun students. I handled the Sindhi and English ones myself and we had the most fascinating class discussions.

Later, soon after she graduated I learnt that she joined the Orangi Pilot Project (OPP) instead of a “successful” practice. I respected Parween’s decision to join OPP as I have respected few peoples decisions in their choices of career path.

Over the years , I watched her from a distance and never lost that sense of deep admiration and respect. Recenetly , I met post Urban Planning graduate students at University of Toronto, Canada who had visited the OPP in Karcahi, Sindh and came away mesmerized by what Parween had achieved.

In Parween Rehman, Sindh has lost a rare individual.

May her murderers rot in hell in their afterlife, and in the meanwhile live to suffer in ways they never dreamed would come their way.

Rest in peace always , Parween. Your memory shines a path. Sha’ aal khush hujeen sadaiiN

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/e-groups, March 13, 2013.

Every night in America, about 70,000 veterans sleep on the streets

Veteran who found his way circles back to help others

By Petula Dvorak

Every night in America, about 70,000 veterans sleep on the streets. For 30 years, Gerard Thomas was one of them.

A paranoid schizophrenic, Thomas took a long time to get back indoors after serving in a stateside military hospital during the Vietnam War.

In and out of prison, mental institutions and straitjackets for decades, sleeping on park benches, in doorways or in the woods, Thomas was living proof of the holes in our social safety net.

He kept looking for help, he said, but like many veterans of that war, all he heard was “No.”

“Back then, people didn’t understand how damaged we were,” said Thomas, 62, who now devotes his life to helping homeless veterans.

Continue reading Every night in America, about 70,000 veterans sleep on the streets

A country lost

By: Cyril Almeida

IT began with the flag. A strip of white slapped on, but separate and away from the sea of green — the problem was there from the very outset: one group cast aside from the rest.

A more prescient mind would have thought to put the white in the middle, enscon-ced in a sea of green, a symbolic embrace of the other.

But why blame the flag?

It began with the founding theory.

A country created for Muslims but not in the name of Islam. Try selling that distinction to your average Pakistani in 2012. 1947 was another country and it still found few takers.

Pakistan’s dirty little secret isn’t its treatment of non-Muslims or Shias or the sundry other groups who find themselves in the cross-hairs of the rabid and the religious. Pakistan’s dirty little secret is that everyone is a minority.

It begins with Muslim and non-Muslim: 97 per cent and the hapless and helpless three. But soon enough, the sectarian divide kicks in: Shia and Sunni. There’s another 20 per cent erased from the majority.

Next, the intra-Sunni divisions: Hanafi and the Ahl-e-Hadith. Seventy per cent of Pakistan may be Hanafi, five per cent Ahl-e-Hadith.

Then the intra-intra-Sunni divisions: Hanafis split between the growing Deobandis and the more static Barelvis.

And finally, within the 40 per cent or so that comprise Barelvis in Pakistan, there’s the different orders: the numerous Chishtis, the more conservative Naqshbandis and the microscopic Qadris.

In Pakistan, there is no majority.

There’s the terror that every minority lives in: non-Muslim from Muslim, Shia from Sunni, Barelvi from Wahabi, secular Sunni from rabid Barelvi — the future is now and it is bleak.

Some mourn the passing of Jinnah’s vision and seek solace in his Aug 11 speech. But there never was an Aug 11 version of Pakistan: it was stillborn, killed off by the religious right as soon as it was articulated.

Continue reading A country lost

Once upon a time in Afghanistan

PART THREE – THE LOST HISTORY OF HELMAND

By: Adam Curtis

When you look at footage of the fighting in Helmand today everyone assumes it is being played out against an ancient background of villages and fields built over the centuries.

This is not true. If you look beyond the soldiers, and into the distance, what you are really seeing are the ruins of one of the biggest technological projects the United States has ever undertaken. Its aim was to use science to try and change the course of history and produce a modern utopia in Afghanistan. The city of Lashkar Gah was built by the Americans as a model planned city, and the hundreds of miles of canals that the Taliban now hide in were constructed by the same company that built the San Francisco Bay Bridge and Cape Canaveral. Here is what Helmand province looks like today. ….

Read more » BBC

We lost our identity first and then we lost our faith. Does it matter now what we lost first? We know we have lost both.

by Anwar Iqbal

We don’t know how it happened but it did. Somehow our generation became a faceless generation. But before that we lost our faith. Or perhaps, we lost our identity first and then we lost our faith. Does it matter now what we lost first? We know we have lost both.

Like other people we too had names; names that showed we had parents who cared for us. Our names reflected our bound to a family, a community and above all to humanity. But first we adopted new idols, those that sipped blood and spat fire and brimstone.

Those were fearsome deities that loved suicide-bombings, beheadings, and firing-squads.

And all of this was not done in the name of religion alone. We had many idols, each named after a sect, an ethnic group, or a political cult. They had one common trait, an insatiable lust for power.

Soon after we adopted those new idols, we lost our identity, or we may have lost our identity first and then we took these new symbols of worship, abandoning the loving, merciful and benevolent God.

Yes, we still lived in cities, towns and villages. But living was our only distinction. We had nothing to be proud of. There was no bond, no love among us. We did not trust each other. But did it only happen to those living in our city? No. People in cities around us stopped trusting each other too. It was a strange disease that spread across the region and affected everybody.

Continue reading We lost our identity first and then we lost our faith. Does it matter now what we lost first? We know we have lost both.

ISI Nabbed Traitors In 1967 And 2011, But Pakistan Lost

 – 43 Years Ago, Pakistani Politicians Defended Treason, They Do It Again.

Submitted by Aurangzeb

We ignored Agartala conspiracy, released the traitors who broke up the country two years later. We are doing it again in The Memo case.

Continue reading ISI Nabbed Traitors In 1967 And 2011, But Pakistan Lost

Why Pakistan Lost 1965 war?

A man of steel

By Sajjad Haider

Excerpt;

….. The day he took over the PAF in July 1965, he discovered much to his chagrin and more so for Asghar Khan that neither had been told by president Ayub Khan or Gen Musa that thousands of mujahideen including Pakistan army commandoes had been launched to take Kashmir. He shot off to GHQ to confront Gen Musa, the army chief, asking why the PAF had been kept in the dark. Musa told him that the president did not want to escalate the limited operation and the PAF had to stay out.

Nur Khan had anxious moments knowing that the ill-conceived action would inevitably conflagrate. What would he say to the nation if the Indian Air Force (IAF) was to pre-empt and ground the PAF in a relentless air operation? The rest is history. But for his alacrity and strategic perception the PAF would been devastated by a numerically preponderant IAF.

Nur Khan put the PAF on red alert on Sept 1 as the army’s Operation Gibraltar came to a grinding halt and the Indians began a massive assault against Pakistan. In those moments Nur Khan was deeply concerned about the survival of the mujahideen force in the Kashmir valley with no hope for supply reinforcements. …..

To read complete article » DAWN.COM

http://www.dawn.com/2011/12/18/a-man-of-steel.html

Past glory? What past glory?

– by Harris bin Munawar

We need to reconsider our notions of Islam’s lost glory. What kind of glory was it? Of the four people we consider the rightly guided caliphs, three were brutally murdered. The murder of one was indirectly blamed on another, and that led to a civil war between revered figures of Islam that ended in the brutal murder of the Prophet’s (P.B.U.H) Grandson …..

Read more → View Point

The uniqueness of Sindh

– By Ayaz Amir

Just when the sector commanders had been put on the back-foot, and the MQM was vociferating in a manner not seen since 1995 (Gen Babar’s operation), who should come to their rescue but President Zardari’s personal emissary, Montecello University’s most celebrated doctoral figure, Dr Babar Awan.

He has brilliantly appeased the MQM by restoring Gen Musharraf’s  loaded [undemocratic, black, repressive & discriminatory] local government system – first just to Karachi and Hyderabad and then, when … Sindh rose up with one cry against this hasty move, to the whole of Sindh. The MQM can hardly believe its luck – perhaps it hadn’t counted on so swift a Zardari capitulation – but anger in … Sindh is on the rise.

Dr Zulfiqar Mirza’s outbursts had angered the MQM but secured the PPP’s vote bank in rural Sindh. Dr Awan’s gymnastics have pleased the MQM but poured fuel over the burning embers of Sindhi anger. From one extreme the PPP has swung to the other.

The choice of Dr Awan as PPP plenipotentiary was bizarre. How was he qualified to negotiate on behalf of Sindhi interests? The PPP is now on the back-foot. All the certificates of cleverness earned by Zardari for his supposed political sharpness have gone with the wind.

Dr Awan has proved adept at stalling and frustrating the Supreme Court. From the PPP’s point of view, he should have confined himself to that doctrine of necessity instead of floundering in the waters of Sindh.

In an ideal world, the PML-N should have been quick to exploit this opening. Alas, if wishes could be horses. It showed itself eager, a bit too eager, to embrace the MQM when the latter fell out with Zardari. But this proved embarrassing when the MQM’s falling-out proved to be less than definitive. Small wonder, it has yet to get its thoughts in order on the anger on the rise in backwater Sindh.

All of us could do with some clarity on a crucial issue: while the logic of smaller provinces applies to Punjab, because it is too huge and unwieldy, it does not, and cannot, apply to Sindh. Babar Awan and the PPP came perilously close to the idea of Sindh division when they proposed one dispensation for Karachi and Hyderabad – the restoration of Musharraf’s  [undemocratic, black, repressive & discriminatory] local body system – and another for the rural, revival of the commissionerate system. Sindh rural instantly saw red and the PPP had to back down immediately, in the space of a mere 24 hours. But the alarm had been sounded and Sindhi concerns have yet to be addressed or placated.

Carving a southern or Seraiki province out of Punjab will not endanger Punjab identity. Indeed, it will facilitate the task of governance and give a sense of belonging to the people of southern Punjab who feel left out of the orbit of Punjab affairs. But anything even remotely connected to the notion of Sindh division is almost an invitation to dangerous conflict in this most sensitive of provinces.

We should not forget the history of 1947 migration. If we leave Bengal out of the equation, there were two great waves of migration in northern India at the time of Partition: one from East Punjab to West Punjab, and vice versa; the other from Delhi, Lucknow and Bhopal in the north, and Hyderabad Deccan in the south, to Karachi. These migrations were dissimilar in character.

While Punjab suffered the most in terms of looting, plunder, killings and mass rape, when the dust settled and passions had time to cool, the process of assimilation was relatively quick because East and West Punjabis, minor differences of course apart, came from the same cultural stock. With minor variations of dialect, they spoke the same language and shared the same history.

This was not so with the southern migration to Karachi and Hyderabad. Karachi was a cosmopolitan city even then – a mini-Bombay, so to speak – but it was the capital of Sindh, the culture and language of whose native inhabitants was radically different from that of the people who were coming to it from India.

Karachi soon became the centre not of Sindhi culture but of the culture of displaced Dehi, of Delhi as it had been before the tumult of Partition. Delhi today is a Punjabi city. Its old composite, Muslim-dominated culture, the culture from which arose the poetry of Mir and Ghalib, is a thing of the past, lost to the upheavals of time and history. No conqueror, not Taimur and not Nadir Shah, could destroy Delhi, or transform its character, as decisively as Partition did. Those who seek the old Delhi, authors like William Dalrymple, have to come to Karachi to catch a whiff of the past.

Pakistan would be the poorer without this infusion of Delhi, Lucknow and Hyderabad Deccan culture. True, there was a downside to it as well, …. brought with their culture also their own prejudices. Insecurity and fear were part of their migrational baggage and these were infused into the thinking of the new state. But in cultural terms the arid wastes of Pakistan were enriched by that influx of talent and learning.

Punjabis being Punjabis, no new centre of culture arose in Punjab. But in Karachi we saw the birth of a transplanted culture, its soul carrying the imprint of loss and nostalgia, the usual hallmarks of any migration.

The downside comes from this very circumstance. Sixty four years after Partition we continue to live in the past, beset by old insecurities even though the times have changed and the old certitudes which gave birth to those insecurities no longer survive.

Sindhis are entitled to be a bit upset by all these changes. After all, they too are the inheritors of a great civilisation. Moenjodaro is the oldest pre-historic site discovered anywhere in India. There are other mighty life-giving rivers in the sub-continent: the sacred Ganges, the winding Brahmaputra. But only the Indus, sacred river of Sindh, gives its name to India. Hindus migrating to India from Sindh in 1947 take great pride in their Sindh ancestry.

Sindhi anger, nay Sindhi anguish, is centred on a primal concern. Why must the transposing of cultures be at their expense? And there is a fear lurking in their hearts, the fear of the Red Indian and the aborigine, of becoming strangers in their own homeland. This is a concern which must not be scoffed at. The rest of us, and this includes the successors to the civilisation of Delhi, should avoid words or gestures that smack even remotely of designs against the unity and integrity of Sindh.

From the immortal land of the five rivers, now only three left with us, thanks to the vagaries of history, more provinces can be carved out and no harm will come to it [Punjab]. But let no Punjabi leader or politician say that if Punjab is to be divided the same logic should apply to other provinces. This is wrong thinking. The same logic does not apply to Sindh, it does not apply to Balochistan. It is relevant only to Punjab and Punjab will be doing itself and the nation a service if it takes the lead in this respect, illuminating the path that others can follow.

A word may also be in order about another fixation of the Punjabi mind: Kalabagh dam. If Kalabagh dam is right then there is nothing wrong with the dams India is building on the rivers Chenab and Jhelum. If we are objecting to run-of-the-mill dams in Kashmir, dams whose water is not stored but is allowed to run, how can we support a storage dam on the Indus at Kalabagh? The logic just does not hold.

History cannot be undone. We have to live by its consequences. But Sindh of all regions of Pakistan requires a balance and moderation in the conduct of its affairs. Any hint of an unnatural hegemony of one part over the other is an invitation to anger and despair.

Courtesy: → The News

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: Shocking report on Balochistan Disappearances

“Even if the president or chief justice tells us to release you, we won’t. We can torture you, or kill you, or keep you for years at our will. It is only the Army chief and the [intelligence] chief that we obey.” – Pakistani official to Bashir Azeem, the 76-year-old secretary-general of the Baloch Republican Party, during his unacknowledged detention, April 2010

“Disappearances of people of Balochistan are the most burning issue in the country. Due to this issue, the situation in Balochistan is at its worst.” – Supreme Court Justice Javed Iqbal, commenting on the establishment of the Commission of Inquiry for Missing Persons on May 4, 2010.

“One of them pointed his gun at Abdul Nasir and shouted, ‘Get up!’ As soon as Abdul Nasir got off the ground the man walked him to their car. Since that time I have not seen Abdul.” – Witness to enforced disappearance of Abdul Nasir, June 2010

On December 11, 2009, a 39-year-old Baloch nationalist activist, Abdul Ghaffar Lango, and his wife were leaving a hospital in Pakistan’s southern city of Karachi after her discharge from surgery when two white Toyota pickup trucks suddenly stopped at the main gate. Lango’s wife said that about 10 men in plain clothes approached the couple and one started beating Lango with the butt of an AK-47 assault rifle until he lost consciousness.

The men then dragged him into one of the pickups and drove away. When the family went to register the abduction with the police, the police informed them that Lango had been detained because of his political activities, yet refused to provide further information on his whereabouts or specific charges against him.

Read more → Human Rights Watch

http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/pakistan0711WebInside.pdf

Not crazy, courageous – Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

The fact that the people in Balochistan and Kurdistan are increasingly willing to sacrifice shows that they have lost all hope of achieving their rights within the existing systems. The fact that the immeasurable brutality of the state has not dampened their spirit of resistance proves freedom cannot be suppressed by repression ….

Read more: → Daily Times

CARTE BLANCHE: Horror, of which I am dying – Mehmal Sarfraz

Excerpt:

It would not be wrong to say that the military is holding our nation hostage to its vested interests. Our country’s survival is at stake but there seems to be no visible shift in the military’s posture. ….

…. There are many reasons why most people in Pakistan continue to live in denial but the main one is our security paradigm. For decades we have been fed lies by our military. The military has overtly and covertly supported terrorist networks. A large chunk of our budget goes to defence without anyone questioning our armed forces on where it is spent. Between loan repayments and the defence budget, hardly any money is left to be spent on education, healthcare, development, etc. India is made out to be enemy number one. To counter the ‘Indian threat’, we need the vile Taliban on our side in Afghanistan since they are our “strategic assets”; we nurture terrorist organisations like the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT) to carry out militant jihad in Indian Kashmir and cross-border attacks inside India; we are soon going to be “the world’s fifth largest nuclear weapons power” as per some reports. Lest we forget, we have lost all official and unofficial wars against India (most of which, by the way, were started by Pakistan). An atomic bomb and stockpiles of nuclear weapons is no guarantee that we can win in the unlikely event of another war. The only reason why our military has kept this threat perception alive is because it is hard for them to part with the moolah that keeps coming their way and the power they wield over this country. It would not be wrong to say that the military is holding our nation hostage to its vested interests. Our country’s survival is at stake but there seems to be no visible shift in the military’s posture.

The Pakistan military’s double game in the war on terror was never a secret yet the US kept pouring in billions of dollars in military aid to secure our help in the war on terror. Young soldiers continue to sacrifice their lives in combat and terrorist attacks because of the flawed policies of the military establishment.

The day Osama bin Laden was killed in Abbottabad by the US, the world’s suspicions were confirmed. Our intelligence agencies claimed incompetence, but not many buy this excuse, given how bin Laden was living in such close proximity to the Pakistan Military Academy. The world turned on our military and intelligence agencies but our government chose to give them a clean chit. Mian Nawaz Sharif, for whatever reasons, was the only one who took a principled stance as far as civil-military relations were concerned but he found no takers in the current democratic set-up who stood by him. After decades our civilian leadership had a golden opportunity to take the military to task but in order to pursue their political interests, the government and its allies let them off scot-free.

The problem is that, however much we try to hide our flaws, the world is not blind. Our security establishment cannot keep on harbouring terrorists. It is time to wake up to the reality that we cannot go on like this forever because it is a sure-shot recipe for self-destruction.

Pakistan’s name has been tarnished by those who claim to be our ‘guardians’ and ‘protectors’. As Pakistanis, we must vow not to let anyone wreak havoc in the name of ‘strategic depth’. Victor Jara, a Chilean political activist and revolutionary poet, was arrested and taken to the Chile Stadium in September 1973 following a military coup. He wrote a poem — ‘Estadio Chile’ — which spoke of the horror in front of him. His words, though written in a different context, haunt me every time a terrorist attack takes place:

“How hard it is to sing,

When I must sing of horror.

Horror which I am living,

Horror which I am dying.”

Pakistanis are living and dying a horror of which we must all sing. Let’s stop this horror now. It may take years but we must break our silence and speak the truth for once.

To read complete article: Daily Times

via Wichaar

Pakistan’s Faustian Parliament – by Wajid Ali Syed

It was embarrassing enough for the people of Pakistan to find out that Osama bin Laden was living in their midst for years. Even more shameful was the realization that their politicians are incapable of questioning the security apparatus of the country. The masses rallied and protested and faced hardships for months to kick General Pervez Musharraf out of power. They voted the Pakistan People’s Party, the most widely-based and allegedly liberal party to power, believing that democracy has been restored.

Though the leader of the government, President Asif Ali Zardari has been blamed for everything going wrong in the country and is regarded as a corrupt individual, until now there has been a perceived upside that Pakistan is being led by an elected government and not a military dictatorship.

This illusion of so-called civilian supremacy silently burst like a bubble when the head of the ISI, General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, and the Chief of Army Staff Ashfaq Parvez Kiyani were called before the parliament to answer for their incompetence related to the May 2 raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound. The agenda was to inquire about the U.S. attack and why the state security apparatus was unaware of Osama bin Laden’s presence.

But what happened during the closed door meeting revealed once again that the real power in Pakistan still lies with the army and the ISI, not the politicians.

It had been suggested that heads would roll, the foreign aid and the big chunk of national budget that the army receives would be scrutinized. The parliamentarians dropped the ball again and lost another opportunity to exert their authority over other institutions of the state. Once again it became clear who really runs Pakistan.

The last time a civilian government had an opportunity to put the army in its place was in 1971, following the Pakistan army’s defeat in the war that led to the loss of East Pakistan, which became Bangladesh. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Pakistan’s then-president and founder of the Pakistan People’s Party, got off to a promising start by placing former dictator General Yahya Khan under house arrest. He re-organized the Pakistan Armed Forces and boosted the military’s morale. But Bhutto also restored their hubris. Years later, his own appointed Army Chief, General Zia ul-Haq, would overthrow Bhutto’s government and send him to the gallows.

During Zia’s 11 year rule, the Russians invaded Afghanistan and withdrew. The army grew so strong that even after Zia’s death in a plane crash, the new chief of the military did not allow the democratically elected Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto, to tour the country’s nuclear facility. She was labelled anti-Pakistan and an American agent.

It is ironic to witness that the opposition party, the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), which was created with the support of the army to counter the PPP’s popularity, is now asking the tough questions about covert operations and the finances of the military.

By snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, Pakistan’s ruling party, Bhutto’s PPP, is losing its chance to demonstrate leadership and moral authority. They failed to hold the army accountable for the thousands of civilians and security officers killed in the war on terror in Pakistan. They did not press the chief of the generously-funded army to explain how OBL could have lived in a military garrison town for six years.

These are the same parliamentarians who extended General Kiyani’s tenure. The same parliamentarians who extended ISI Chief General Pasha’s tenure. The boastful parliamentarians who had promised to leave no stone unturned roared like lions for the cameras but behaved like lambs behind closed doors.

It was reported that opposition leader Chaudhry Nisar tried to deliver a speech during the question and answer session, only to be snubbed by General Pasha in front of a full house. Pasha claimed that he ‘knew’ why he was being targeted by the opposition leader, alleging that Nisar had asked him for a personal favor, which he, as DG ISI, refused to extend. An embarrassed Chaudhry Nisar was said to have been taken aback as Pasha continued with his ‘counter-attack’.

Then the tail furiously wagged the dog. General Pasha reportedly offered to resign. Rather than demanding that the ISI chief step down immediately, apparently the parliamentarians did not accept his resignation.

The state run television channel could have returned to its heyday of running prime time programming that kept the country glued to their sets by recording that “closed door” meeting to broadcast later as a drama — or farce.

Some idealistic Pakistanis hoped that the U.S. would finally question the secretly played “double game.” After all, the U.S. supported extensions of Kiyani’s and Pasha’s tenures, claiming that keeping the chiefs in their positions would help to continue the war on terror in an orderly fashion. The U.S. abandoned the people of Pakistan by siding with the army once again, pledging support and failing to attach any strings or conditions to the military aid it provides.

Cowed by Kiyani’s and Pasha’s brazen displays, Pakistan’s parliament passed a resolution that drone attacks should be stopped and that the operations like the one carried out on May 2nd won’t be tolerated in future.

The parliament has an obligation to explain to the public not only how and why Osama bin Laden was living in Abbottabad, but why the Taliban continues to carry out its bloody operations, and why al Qaeda leaders have been given safe haven. The risk of allowing these questions to remain unanswered is that the military will gain more strength over the civilian government.

The parliamentarians who are supposed to represent the people of Pakistan abrogated their responsibility for the sake of staying in office for few more months, while at the same time making it clear who the country’s rulers truly are.

Courtesy: Wichaar

The last rites administered? Not yet! – Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

Excerpt:

Since long alarm bells have been ringing in the world about the dubious role that Pakistan has played and this must have confirmed their doubts. They realise that they are up against a state which is delusional about its importance and its possible goals. When Mullen had criticised the ISI, he knew what he was talking about.

With Osama, Pakistan has lost a bargaining chip and the establishment must not be ruing the supposed sovereignty violation – banana republics have no sovereignty – and the egg on face, but the fact that the western purse strings may be tightened. They were out-foxed by the US on this count but then they still hope to play the Haqqani card and continue to prosper.

There always has been much ado in the establishment here about the sanctity of sovereignty and their determination to defend it. This US operation has destroyed many a myth and claim about the preparedness and the determination, which are forever forced down the throats of the people.

Anywhere else in the world, after embarrassment and humiliation on this scale and magnitude, there would have been mass resignations if not mass hara-kiri to remove the stigma, but here the positions seem to have been consolidated and instead of regret, the world is being blamed for an intelligence failure. Moreover, as they recover from embarrassment, warnings flow as if May 2 never happened.

It is also in the name of sovereignty and the writ of the state that the Baloch are regularly abducted and killed, but when it comes to a bigger bully, all are so very apologetic and contrite. Recently, three Sindhi nationalists were burnt to death in an attack in Sanghar, and a few days back nine Marris of the Sherani clan shifting from Hub to Karachi were picked up near the Northern Bypass and are unaccounted for. The Sindhi proverb, “Sher Shah’s hawk only kills the chickens at home” fits this state perfectly.

Here individuals and institutions that excel in bluff and bluster symbolise heroism because values and principles count for naught. In all quests to acquire power and pelf, conscience and compassion are always the first casualties and this makes the acquirers corrupt and cruel. Verily, corrupt and cruel people commit crimes without compunction and are beyond reform.

Read more : Daily Times

Pakistan can no longer be ruled from Islamabad

National Integration – Masood Sharif Khan Khattak

Communication infrastructure, domestic tourism, undiluted provincial autonomy and bonding through the workplace play a vital role in the integration of a nation. Pakistan’s national integration has suffered immensely because these factors have never been crucially important to our leadership. Pakistan’s communication infrastructure is primitive, domestic tourism is non-existent, provincial autonomy only receives lip-service and bonding through the workplace is totally missing except in the armed forces. Uniform development across the country over the past sixty years would have solidly integrated the Pakistani nation but that did not happen due to absolute incompetence, poor leadership and corruption at all levels. The price Pakistan is paying for its neglect is in the shape of an internally disjointed nation forced to suffer the present-day indignities in the shape of terrorism and insurgency.

The political and military establishment must now understand that the military potential of any country is multiplied manifolds when it is backed by a nation that is well-integrated. An integrated nation can cover up for military shortfalls but military strength cannot cover up for the shortfalls of a nation that lacks integration and cohesion. The Soviet Union’s break-up in 1991 is an example that amply illustrates this aspect. Pakistan must, therefore, accord top priority to uniform development throughout the country in order to have a nation that can back its enviable military potential in a solid manner; if not, then all will be lost.

Nawaz Sharif deserves the credit for initiating the modern communication infrastructure of Pakistan that is so essential for the integration of a nation that lives in a country as big as Pakistan. The launching of the Lahore-Islamabad motorway by Nawaz Sharif in the early 90s was a huge step in the right direction. If the process had been initiated decades ago Pakistan today would have been a very cohesively integrated nation. …

Read more : PKcoluminist.com

If the situation is not checked very quickly, someone may soon write an epitaph of Pakistan

Pakistan: A country created & being destroyed in the name of religion

by Aziz Narejo

It was not long ago when some Indian Muslim leaders had gathered in Lahore and had adopted a resolution at their meeting to demand a brand new country in the name of religion. They systematically created a mass frenzy in the support of their demand and finally achieved what they wanted – ‘a brand new country in the name of religion’. It was born in a pool of blood and was accompanied by the misery and the mass migration on a scale never seen before in the Sub-Continent.

But creating hysteria and dividing population in the name of religion was very easy compared to running and managing a new country. The leadership failed at all levels – and in all sections of the society. The rot started early. They couldn’t bring the country to the people. Couldn’t keep it together. Couldn’t agree on a Constitution or a form of government. First it was Mullahs, feudals and bureaucrats. They were soon joined by the military, which lost no time to enslave everybody else. It became the ‘praetorian masters’, the ‘powers that be’ and the ‘establishment’. The military became the ultimate master of the destiny of the country.

To stop the people from getting their due rights, the establishment created a fake ‘ideology of Pakistan’. When pressed to accept demands of the people, especially from the eastern wing and the smaller provinces, it first created One Unit and then encouraged the rightists to fight the progressive elements and the people of various nationalities demanding their rights. The religious right and the establishment would readily dub them unpatriotic, anti-state, anti-Islam and enemies of the country.

What was the result? They lost half of the country in just 24 years. They still didn’t learn. Created some more monsters in the name of religion and ethnicity. Today everything seems out of control. The rightist groups, which were supported in the name of religion to fight the nationalist and progressive elements in the country and to wage proxy wars on the borders and in India and Afghanistan, have started working on their own agenda. They now think they are in a position to claim the whole pie – ‘why settle for less’?

These groups hold the whole country hostage now. They have made the governance impossible and the country is fast moving to complete anarchy. The establishment still seems to be oblivious of where these groups may take the country and what havoc they may create. It still supports part of these groups considering them as its ‘strategic assets’.

Along with the establishment, some in media and other sections of the society have also developed soft corner for the rightist groups. They think that country could be brought together in the name of religion, which can actually never happen. Religion as it is today can only further divide an already divided country. It may create some more fissures and chaos. Most of the religious groups and parties are at loggerheads with each other and frequently issue edicts dubbing the followers of rival sects as infidels and liable to be eliminated.

Country is clearly on a path to self-destruction. Many of the people would still not realize the seriousness of the situation. They are in the constant state of denial and blame every misfortune either on America or India ….

Read more : Indus Herald

Security Council Calls for War Crimes Inquiry in Libya

The U.N. Security Council called for an international war crimes investigation into “widespread and systemic attacks” against Libyan citizens.

By EDWARD WYATT

The United Nations Security Council voted unanimously on Saturday night to impose sanctions on Libya’s leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, and his inner circle of advisers, and called for an international war crimes investigation into “widespread and systemic attacks” against Libyan citizens who have protested against the government over the last two weeks.

The vote, only the second time the Security Council has referred a member state to the International Criminal Court, comes after a week of bloody crackdowns in Libya in which Colonel Qaddafi’s security forces have fired on protesters, killing hundreds.

Also on Saturday, President Obama said that Colonel Qaddafi had lost the legitimacy to rule and should step down. His statement, which the White House said was made during a telephone call with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, was the strongest yet from any American official against Colonel Qaddafi.

The Security Council resolution also imposes an arms embargo against Libya and an international travel ban on 16 Libyan leaders, and freezes the assets of Colonel Qaddafi and members of his family, including four sons and a daughter. Also included in the sanctions were measures against defense and intelligence officials who are believed to have played a role in the violence against civilians in Libya. …

Read more : The New York Times

Govt of Pakistan has lost all control? Chaos over Mumtaz Qadri’s court appearance.

Chaos over Mumtaz Qadri’s court appearance

The crowd in Rawalpindi set up a cordon preventing the judge from leaving for Islamabad for the hearing.

ISLAMABAD: A planned court appearance for Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, the killer of Governor Punjab Salman Taseer, ran into chaos on Thursday as extremist supporters prevented an attempt to re-locate the session, witnesses said.

Mumtaz Qadri, who was assigned to Salman Taseer’s security detail and confessed to the killing, was charged and ordered to appear before the Anti-Terrorist Court in Rawalpindi on Thursday.

But as a growing crowd of extremist lawyers and madrassah students descended on the building in support of Qadri, authorities instead drove him to a makeshift court hastily set up in a heavily protected building in Islamabad.

But the crowd in Rawalpindi set up a cordon in protest, preventing the judge from leaving for Islamabad, lawyers and an AFP reporter said.

“We requested the judge that legally he cannot go to Islamabad to hear the accused and he accepted our request,” lawyer Malik Waheed Anjum told reporters. …

Read more : DAWN

Nurse finds her long-lost dad

Nurse Discovers Patient Is Her Long-Lost Father

– David Knowles

Wanda Rodriguez, a 41-year-old assistant head nurse at New York’s Calvary Hospital, had not seen her father since she was a baby.

Raised by her mother in the Bronx after her parents broke up when she was less than a year old, Rodriguez didn’t know much more of her father than his name, Victor Peraza, and her mother’s recollection that Rodriguez looked a lot like him.

But as fate would have it, on Aug. 25 a new cancer patient was admitted to Calvary, a hospital that administers care to the terminally ill. When Rodriguez learned his name while discussing his case with a colleague, she froze up.

“I thought, if he’s my complexion, if he has green eyes, he could be my dad,” Rodriguez told ABC News. …

Read more >> AOL News

WHY SHOULD I BE SAD?

A man proposed a woman who rejected his proposal. Amazingly the man was not SAD. Friends asked him “WHY YOU ARE NOT SAD ALTHOUGH WE KNOW VERY WELL THAT YOU WERE SO EXITED TO MARRY HER”. The man replied “WHY SHOULD I BE SAD? I LOST ONE WHO NEVER LOVED ME WHERE SHE LOST ONE WHO REALLY LOVED HER”

via – Najamuddin Ghanghro

A man in a hot air balloon realized he was lost

A man in a hot air balloon realized he was lost. He reduced altitude and spotted a woman below.
He descended a bit more and shouted, “Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago but I don’t know where I am
.”

The woman below replied, “You’re in a hot air balloon hovering approximately 30 feet above the ground. You’re between 40 and 41 degrees north latitude and between 59 and 60 degrees west longitude.”

You must be in Information Technology,” said the balloonist.
“I am,” replied the woman, “how did you know?”
“Well,” answered the balloonist, “everything you told me is probably technically correct, but I’ve no idea what to make of your information and the fact is, I’m still lost. Frankly, you’ve not been much help at all. If anything, you’ve delayed my trip
.”

The woman below responded, “You must be in Management.”
“I am,” replied the balloonist, “but how did you know?”
“Well,” said the woman, “you don’t know where you are or where you’re going. You have risen to where you are, due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise, which you’ve no idea how to keep, and you expect people beneath you to solve your problems. The fact is you are in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but now, somehow, it’s my fault
.”