Tag Archives: Masses

What’s wrong with Pakistan?

By Peerzada Salman

KARACHI, Aug 16: A book titled ‘What’s wrong with Pakistan?’ written by eminent journalist Babar Ayaz was launched at a hotel on Friday.

The main feature of the event was an interesting discussion on the contents and genesis of the book with the writer anchored by journalists Asif Noorani and Amir Zia. Mr Ayaz was first requested to read out a couple of passages from What’s wrong with Pakistan?

The author obliged and mentioned that at the beginning of every journalist’s career he’s asked to learn about the five Ws (what, where, when, who and why). Citing examples of the likes of political economist Adam Smith and economist and revolutionary socialist Karl Marx, he pointed out they studied why society behaved in a particular way.

He said he had read many books on the topic he chose to write on but had found out that those books shied away from calling a spade a spade. His was an attempt to call a spade a spade. He then read out passages from the preface to the book in which he touched upon issues such as distrust between institutions and provinces, military operations, war on terror and the notion of a failing state espoused by certain writers. He said there was a need to have an unbiased and dispassionate diagnosis. He argued Pakistan was born with a genetic defect.

After the reading was over, Mr Noorani asked the writer about why he penned a book at such a later stage in his life. The author replied that when he was a young student in Sukkur, he was required to read Shakespeare. It made him think to himself that Shakespeare would not have even imagined that one day his work would be read in a place called Sukkur. This meant writing helped you live on. Mr Ayaz said he was not in favour of compiling his newspaper columns into a book. The fact that Syed Sibte Hasan began writing after he turned 60 proved an encouraging factor as well.

Continue reading What’s wrong with Pakistan?

A political economy of communalism in south Asia

Hyderbad: “You Strike & We will Strike back”.

The message of ‘21/2 Hyderabad serial terror attack

By Feroze Mithiborwala

The strategic& political target of the terror attack, is the historic 2-day Strike of the Working classes, where more than 12 core or 120 million workers both from the organized & unorganized sectors participated & brought India to a halt.

This working class strike surmounted all calculations due to the scale at which the enraged working classes participated. This strike has shaken up the corporate-political elite & that is why they have struck back with a serial terror attack, where now more than 15 citizens have died & 50 grievously injured. The terror attack was orchestrated in Dilsukh Nagar, where there is a busy market & many cinema halls.

If the working class unrest takes the proportions which we witness in many nations across the world such as Greece & Spain, the ruling elite will witness a massive crisis, due to the growing burdens of price-rise, decreasing wages, increasing scams, spiraling inflation, the growing insecurity of the peasantry, workers& laboring classes, as well as the ever-widening rich-poor divide.

Continue reading A political economy of communalism in south Asia

New vibes in Sindh politics

By Haider Nizamani

PROPRIETORS of media houses dabbling in politics has a long history in South Asia. The power and propaganda nexus is nothing new.

What is somewhat different is the mushrooming of television channels creating new forms of this nexus. Understanding the multifaceted dynamics of this interaction is a relatively unexplored area for the social scientist in Pakistan.

The new kid on Sindh’s political block is Ali Qazi. His family owns the most popular, hence the most powerful, media house of the Sindhi language. Daily Kawish, its flagship newspaper, probably sells more copies than the combined circulation of all its competitors.

Kawish Television Network (KTN) runs a dedicated 24/7 news and current affairs channel and two other channels. Kawish and KTN are household names for the Sindhi reading and viewing public.

Ali Qazi’s recent foray into politics climaxed on Jan 22 in a public meeting in Bhit Shah, a small town in central Sindh where the shrine of the venerated Sindhi poet Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai is located.

English-language dailies treated this rally as a page three news item whereas the largest circulated Sindhi daily, Kawish, went into overdrive to cover the event and published plenty of Op-Eds before and after the rally.

The public meeting was preceded by a month-long campaign of 187 smaller meetings Ali Qazi and his associates held all over Sindh. The purpose? To convince the Sindhi masses to seek change on the lines Mr Qazi is proposing.

What does Mr Qazi’s entrance into politics signify and symbolise? Will he be as successful in politics as he has been in establishing a mammoth media house? Will his politics benefit from his media empire or will the latter suffer due to his politics? Is this a case of conflict of interest? His ambitious entry into politics throws up all these questions.

The Qazis of Hyderabad are no strangers to media and politics. Daily Ibrat, owned by this family, for a long time had the lion’s share of the Sindhi newspaper market. Its current owner, Qazi Asad Abid, has been a member of the National Assembly. His sister, Dr Fehmida Mirza, is the speaker of the National Assembly. Their father, Qazi Abid, was a member of the provincial and national legislatures and held various ministerial portfolios.

Ali Qazi is the nephew of Qazi Abid. In the 1990s, Ali Qazi and his brothers started their own daily, Kawish, which over the years not only challenged the dominance of Ibrat but eventually replaced it as the largest circulated Sindhi newspaper. Ali Qazi, until recently, steered clear of party politics and focused on building his media house. For the past few years, he has championed causes such as the celebration of Sindhi cultural days through his popular print and electronic media outlets. He makes regular, some would say excessive, appearances as an expert and anchor on current affairs programmes on his television channel, KTN.

He uses Op-Ed space in daily Kawish with impunity to share his thoughts with the readers. In these columns he started to float the idea that the Sindhi public aspires for change that mainstream political parties are either unwilling or incapable of providing.

He claims to have become the epitome of the change he has been seeking, thus the name of his group ‘Tabdeeli Pasand (change-oriented). The main ill afflicting Sindh, according to Mr Qazi, is the bhotaar culture. Roughly translated it means the politics of patronage. The answer lies in replacing it with a system based on merit, good governance and transparency.

In the prelude to his Bhit Shah show of Jan 22, the Op-Ed write-ups in Kawish went overboard in portraying Ali Qazi as the saviour Sindh has been waiting for. Contrary to the anticipated announcement of launching his own political party at the Bhit Shah public meeting, Ali Qazi chose to defer that move and stuck to criticising the politics of patronage in Sindh.

As he weighs his options, here are some advantages he enjoys and disadvantages he is likely to encounter should he decide to establish a new political party.

Among his three advantages, the most important is of having access to a well-oiled and sophisticated print and electronic media. He has an edge over any other new entrant in this regard as far as Sindh is concerned.

If the current trend is any indication then he has no compunction in using the KTN-Kawish combo to promote his viewpoint.

Secondly, politics in Pakistan is becoming an expensive undertaking and Ali Qazi has deep pockets to sustain his political venture.

Lastly, lack of effective performance by mainstream parties has created widespread anti-politics sentiment amongst various sections of the middle classes. Imran Khan is exploiting it in Punjab and Ali Qazi is attempting to do the same in Sindh.

The launch of a party by Ali Qazi on his suggested lines will face following hurdles. Firstly, since he owns the most powerful media house in Sindh, his competitors will not give the desired coverage to Ali Qazi’s party. In fact, if the KTN-Kawish combo chooses to become blatantly partisan in promoting Ali Qazi this may provide his competitors an opening to create healthy competition for Sindh viewers.

Left-of-centre politics in Sindh has organisations such as the Awami Tehrik of Rasool Bux Palijo with a political history spanning over several decades over which it has created a reasonably organised party cadre. Assorted Sindhi nationalist parties are a divided lot but they have a collective legacy of creating a secular ethos in Sindhi politics.

Above all, Ali Qazi will have to challenge the PPP’s mighty emotional and electoral support base in Sindh. The PPP has jealously guarded its vote-bank in Sindh for four decades and in the process has weathered many challenges. It has unmatched expertise in constituency-based politics backed up by the Bhutto charisma. Ali Qazi has remained careful in not naming the PPP as the culprit.

If Ali Qazi wants to be an alternative to the PPP in Sindh then he will have to confront the most popular party head-on. If not then his dream of being a change-seeker backed up by his media empire will serve as valuable pressure on PPP politicians to pay closer attention to the kind of issues Ali Qazi is raising.

The writer is a Canada-based academic. He can be reached at, hnizamani@hotmail.com

Courtesy: DAWN.COM

http://www.dawn.com/2012/01/31/new-vibes-in-sindh-politics.html

Open letter to My Lord the Chief Justice – By Kamran Shafi

Excerpt;

…. His words, My Lord: “… ISI embodies the scourge of radicalism that has become a cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy. The time has come for America to take the lead in shutting down … an organ of the Pakistani state that undermines global antiterrorism efforts. Pakistanis are not America’s enemies. Neither is their incompetent and toothless civilian government. The enemy is a state organ that breeds hatred among Pakistan’s Islamist masses and then uses their thirst for jihad against Pakistan’s neighbours and allies to sate its hunger for power.”

There is Breaking News too, My Lord: Omar Warraich’s excellent report in The Independent of December 13, 2011: Pakistan’s “Memogate”.

Surely, planning a coup against a constitutionally elected government also attracts Article 6 of the Constitution of Pakistan? Perhaps Your Lordship might like to consider a notice to the DG ISI to submit a reply to these charges too, after placing him on the ECL? Otherwise, sir, that other matter might just look like a lynching.

With profound regards, I am,

Your most obedient servant,

Kamran Shafi

The writer is a columnist, a former major of the Pakistan Army and served as press secretary to Benazir Bhutt.

Read more » The Express Tribune, December 16th, 2011.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/307143/open-letter-to-my-lord-the-chief-justice/

Occupy Islamabad!

For decades, we have heard, and chanted, slogans against the evils of capitalism. We have witnessed the monopolization of multinational corporates and intensifying ratio of starvation, growing side by side. We have seen so many wars, imposed in the name of peace. We have heard enough lies about the people’s struggle and their achievements of the past. We have watched the world transforming into a global village of miseries, poverty, bloodshed, hunger and oppression. Now, the masses, all over the world, seem to realize the root cause of all the miseries: exploitation of man’s labour by man. Capitalism is failing. The world is changing!

It is a historical moment for us. The advocates of free-market economy are shaken by the series of protests that, starting from the New York City, have captured the hundreds of cities all over the world. These protests represent the awakening class-consciousness of the masses that has culminated in the Occupy Wall Street Movement. These occupy activists have gathered to change the existing economic inequality of the system. They have always been taught that Marx was wrong in his critique of capitalism. They have realized the empirical evidence of the opposite.

Karl Marx, in the 19th century, had explained the inevitable presence of exploitation as an essential ingredient of capitalism. The German social scientist had proved that, in any society, the exploitation takes place when a few people own all the means of production and the majority, who doesn’t own anything, is bound to sell its labour to that minor class which accumulates private property. While, the state functions to protect that unequal distribution of wealth, assuring the widening class-differences.

The NY Post has referred the Occupy Movement as the New York’s ‘Marxist Epicenter’. It has countered the myth, propagated by the media, that the occupy activists are a breed of bored, hippie-like folks who are doing some adventurism to seek attention. According to their report, the flags depicting revolutionary icons can be seen everywhere, showing their ideological commitment. Moreover, the ‘occupiers’ openly refer to each other as ‘comrade’, a term used by the left-wing worldwide, meaning ‘friend’ or ‘ally’. Their literature openly declares Socialism as a cure of all the prevailing problems.

At this historical moment, the Pakistan’s left is reorganizing like their counterparts of the West. We have a long history of youth’s struggle against the dark military regimes. From the Democratic Students Federation’s front ‘Red Guards’ to the Lawyer’s movement, our young activists have always stood for the people’s cause. Continuing their legacy of internationalism, Pakistan’s left parties have decided to start anti-capitalist camps, initiating from Lahore, not only for the solidarity for the Occupy Wall Street movement, but also as a continuous struggle to change our indigenous problems. We need to realize the importance of this revolutionary wave. We need to be in the flow. For how long the people will continue to suffer and dream for a better society? The time has come to make those dreams an existing reality. The time has come to reject all the confused liberators. The time has come to chant, ‘Occupy Islamabad!’

But, unfortunately, the state is not the only thing to occupy, in our case. We are aware that Pakistan suffers from multiple complex issues. We don’t only have the corrupt feudal political families and their huge palaces to occupy; we have millions of minds to occupy which are burning in the flames of religious fanaticism. We have to occupy the rising sectarian mindset of the people. We have to occupy the religious rage to assure peaceful coexistence of everyone. We have to occupy the narcissistic prism and replace it with rationality and realism. We have to occupy the filth of the society and the filth within. And we, the people, can do that! We can do that because we are the 99 percent!

Courtesy» The Express Tribune

Former Senior Minister Sindh Dr Zulfiqar Mirza has said that drama of Interior Minister Rehman Malik would continue till the disintegration of Pakistan

– Drama of Malik will continue till disintegration of Pakistan: Dr. Mirza

SINDH – KARACHI: Former Senior Minister Sindh Dr Zulfiqar Mirza has said that drama of Interior Minister Rehman Malik would continue till the disintegration of Pakistan, Geo News reported.

Addressing a public gathering in Lyari, Mirza said there are many secrets in his heart and he would reveal gradually.

Former Minister claimed he had apprehended target killers of MQM and that Rehman Malik released them. He said he wanted to inform ISI that he had arrested terrorists of MQM.

Dr Mirza further said Rehman Malik had warned that Army and ISI would bring government to end if they arrest the killers.

He asked COAS General Ashfaq Pervaz Kayani should the killing of oppressed masses no be halted?

Courtesy: The News

Why to blame MQM, when PPP leadership is there for capitulation to preserve their narrow personal short-term interests and has nothing to do with the welfare of the people

– Potters’ wares – by Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

Watayo Faqir is to Sindh what Mullah Naseerudin is to Turkey, Afghanistan and Central Asia. Once someone informed Watayo that his mother had gone crazy and was writhing in the dust in the city centre; knowing his mother acted oddly at times he was nonetheless surprised. Reaching home he inquired; she replied that having seen a rupee coin in the path and thinking that if she picks it up someone would claim it, the best way was to act crazy and pocket it without anyone suspecting. Watayo said, “I knew my mother would not be all that crazy without a very good reason.”

What the PPP leadership terms as the policy of reconciliation is in fact a policy of capitulation for preserving their narrow personal short-term interests and has nothing to do with the welfare or benefit of the people in general and Sindhis in particular. But then nothing better can be expected from people whose politics are based on self-interest.

National interest and preservation of democracy is mendaciously bandied about as the reason behind the vacillations, oscillations, dithering and capitulation of the PPP, which would shame even the most brazen politician of any country, to appease the MQM. The sole purpose behind these brazen transmogrifications is the self-interest of the elite of these two parties who do not even bother to ask their colleagues’ opinions. Syed Zafar Ali Shah, Taj Haider and Nabeel Gabol have come out openly against this ludicrous pantomime. Naturally, no one from the MQM wants to end up in a gunny bag so there has not been a squeak from anyone; any way why would the victors complain?

The resentment amongst the people of Sindh is palpable and their anger at the PPP’s capitulation was expressed by the success of the strike called by the nationalist parties on August 8 and 13. Even PPP members have taken to the streets against the latest capitulation. This pusillanimous and chronic backtracking has made them an object of ridicule and derision for common people because those who forge and implement these preposterous decisions live in inaccessible mansions away from the grubby masses. This habitual volte-face along with the carefree attitude towards the views and problems of workers is isolating the PPP from whatever support that has survived.

The MQM is a different entity; it is ruled from London and only absolute submission is the rule — dissenters are meted out horrible punishments. It is a party that is based on terror, oiled by terror and thrives on terror. This is how this organisation is run and there is no other way for its survival. A quote by George MacDonald (1824-1905), a Scottish poet and author, fits to a T all fascist organisations and individuals. He says, “A beast does not know that he is a beast, and the nearer a man gets to being a beast, the less he knows it.”

The terrorism perpetrated after Zulfiqar Mirza’s statement left a trail of destruction in its wake because the call to teach him a lesson resulted in a score killed and properties and vehicles destroyed. This carnage was one of the sequels of the May 12 incident; there have been quite a few follow up episodes of that successful run of the show by the MQM during the Musharraf era. Oddly, no one is ready to blame the real culprits in Karachi.

The much flaunted powerbase and mandate have been acquired by sowing terror. All elections are massively rigged and manipulated and all parties practice it in places where they can cow the election staff. The MQM always boasts of a mind-boggling number of votes cast in their constituencies and this they do through fraudulently stuffing ballot boxes. The number of votes that the MQM claims cannot physically be cast in the limited time period and the cumbersome procedure that is required to cast a single vote. This rigging is done to lay claim to being the majority’s representative. This comes in handy to intimidate others into submission through threats. A heavy and unhindered presence of international observers during the elections could expose this mandate farce any day. …

Read more → Daily Times

PPP’s recent decision to revive former dictator Musharraf’s undemocratic, repressive, & discriminatory Local Government Ordinance 2001 is violation of its own Manifesto

– Translation by Khalid Hashmani, McLean

PPP’s recent decision to revive former dictator Musharraf’s undemocratic, repressive, & discriminatory, Local Government Ordinance 2001 is violation of its own Manifesto

An article published in Sindhi Daily Kawish, August 13, 2011 by Naseer Memon provides further analysis of the unpopular decision by PPP to to revive Local Government Ordinance 2001. Naseer makes the following key points:

1. PPP’s recent decision to revive former dictator Musharraf’s undemocratic, repressive, & discriminatory, Local Government Ordinance 2001 is violation of its own manifesto (refer to page 17 of the English version of People’s Party manifesto under “Local Government” section).

2. The argument by the PPP that their decision was simply in the sprit of respecting the mandate of a political party that won in the last local elections in some areas of Karachi and Hyderabad simply makes no sense. The mandate received on the basis of winning in local elections cannot supersede the provincial mandate.

3. Naseer asks to imagine how would have PPP and Sindhi masses reacted when former puppet CM of dictator Musharraf, Arbab Rahim’s government had made that decision. Indeed, they would called it treachery of the highest order and termed Arbab and other ministers in his cabinet as traitors.

4. The present government has not only failed to maintain law and order but does not even pay lip service to the notion of “merit”. The administrative matters such as hiring and job transfers are decided by corruption and influence-paddling.

5. The silence and poor performance by the leaders of Sindh PPP and the active Viceroy-like role played by Federal Minister, Mr. Babar Awan, created a feeling among Sindhis as if Sindhis have no say in how the province of Sindh is run.

6. PPP’s criticism of Sindhi nationalist parties and attitude that they have no right to criticize PPP since PPP won the last elections with overwhelmingly majority and that people did not vote for nationalist parties is inappropriate. Since the political party that Sindhis elected is not able to adhere to its own manifesto and properly represent people of Sindh, Sindh’s nationalist parties, Sindhi media, and Sindhi people have every right to criticize PPP. Indeed, they must urge Sindhi masses to remember who worked for their interests who did not when they go to the voting booths in the next elections.

Personally, I feel that it is very sad that not a single PPP official has expressed dismay or criticized this decision. I guess it must be so important for them to cling their positions than to resign to protest this dreadful decision of PPP.

Courtesy: Sindhi daily Kawish, 13th August, 2011.

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

Attack on GHQ & Now On PNS Mehran: Alas, No One Sees the Writing On the Wall!

‘Deep State’, aka the ‘Pakistani military establishment’, created two monsters, one in the North & the other in the South to serve its twin objectives of achieving ‘strategic depth’ in Afghanistan and to fight the democratic & progressive forces in the country. The creators will never fight their creation as they need them for their well-known objectives but what about the people?

Even the masses still have soft corner for the two! One of them is engaged in an open war on the state and the people while the other is engaged only in ‘exercises’ for now testing weapons & keeping the personnel fighting fit! Wait for the day when the second monster would declare an open war from the South. Look forward to nothing else but death, destruction, murder & mayhem.

And remember, the responsibility for the eventual catastrophe will not lie only on the shoulders of the so-called military establishment. All the citizens will be equally responsible for their timidity and their silence. They are accomplices in all this.

Courtesy: Indus Herald

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

Syria unrest: ‘Bloodiest day’ as troops fire on rallies

At least 72 protesters have been killed by security forces in Syria, rights groups say – the highest reported death toll in five weeks of unrest there.

Demonstrators were shot, witnesses say, as thousands rallied across the country, a day after a decades-long state of emergency was lifted.

Many deaths reportedly occurred in a village near Deraa in the south, and in a suburb of the capital, Damascus.

The US White House urged the government to stop attacking demonstrators.

Spokesman Jay Carney said it should “cease and desist in the use of violence against protesters” and follow through on promised reforms.

UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said he was “extremely concerned” by reports of deaths and casualties across Syria and urged restraint on the country’s authorities.

“Political reforms should be brought forward and implemented without delay,” he said. “The Emergency Law should be lifted in practice, not just in word.”

Live ammunition

Protesters – said to number tens of thousands – chanted for the overthrow of the regime, Reuters news agency reports.

Video images coming out of Syria show footage of many confrontations where live ammunition was used.

President Bashar al-Assad’s lifting of the emergency had been seen as a concession to the protesters.

In their first joint statement since the protests broke out, activists co-ordinating the mass demonstrations demanded the establishment of a democratic political system.

Political unrest in Syria developed after revolts elsewhere in the Arab world, which saw the downfall of the Tunisian and Egyptian presidents and an ongoing civil war in Libya.

At least 260 people are said to have died since it began last month.

‘Rain of bullets’ …

Read more : BBC

Pakistan was a creation of British … Jinnah was used..

Pakistan was a creation of British Mind … Jinnah was used..

by Kavalier

I want to clarify first thing first and that is that I am no anti-Pakistan, no anti Jinnah, etc etc…. I purely wrote these lines by thinking from another point of view and for healthy and constructive discussion, based on historical facts and logic.

The title says it all and I dont think there is more to it , but just by reading/listening some of the great politicians of that time and unbiased historians would reveal many a things which can be analysed with little common sense…

Jinnah was no saint that he can not make mistakes. He made some grave mistakes and the worst after division of India was that he did not develop any kind of leadership under him which left morons to govern the new land. He was intentionally or unintentionally advocating the British and landlords of united India (now waderas/sardars of Pakistan, who are ruling till now).

Religion was just a slogan to create an environment in masses and was effectively used by British and Jinnah ….. and they learned it well that people of sub-continent are more emotional for religion than required and it can be seen even today… At that time,they witnessed this “Khilafat Movement” and kept it in their minds to use it whenever required.

Other than the sole purpose of dividing the sub continent, there was no religion in Jinnah’s life, he was the same sort of moderate or even more than the present day ‘s moderates…. He was brought up in England and was much much impressed by them and their cultureToday we say that how can a person coming from abroad, lead us as he is no from masses, but Jinnah was not from masses as well…. He was also the same protocol hungry as today s politicians are… This can be confirmed by anyone who was alive in Karachi when Pakistan was created and he/she saw the motorcade of Jinnah.

He was secular minded, who always use to wear the modernized clothes like westerners, even after the creation of Pakistan, and the shoes he used to wear were also from Europe (branded at that time). His personal views about religion (the thing we call religion/or we are brain-washed in the name of religion) are very much evident from his public life. The way he brought up his daughter, the way he went for “Love marriage” with a non-muslim and the way he allowed his daughter to marry a non-muslim, all speak up for his inclination towards religion and personal life. Even his speech (which is ridiculed by many these days) after creation of Pakistan’s parliament signifies what he was thinking about the new country and what will be the law of the land. …

Read more : Siasat.pk

The Downfall of Political Islam

by Samir Yousif

Finally I would point out that political Islam has failed to provide a political model that can compete with other contemporary political models, such as the Chinese model, Western democracies, or even developing democracies such as India and the other Asian countries. That comes with no surprise, as religion, any religion, keeps itself centuries behind.

The theme of my argument is the following statement: Islam, as a religion, has nothing to offer to economic or political theory. This simple idea has serious consequences. Political Islam, when it runs the country, will ultimately fail. It has no appropriate agenda that provides solutions to real political or economic challenges such as underdevelopment, unemployment, inflation, recession, poverty, just to mention a few.

(I will not touch upon the most significant political-socioeconomic issue which is income inequalities, because Islam accepts a society composed of very rich classes living side by side with very poor classes- examples can be found from history or from today’s Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia, and Iran). While some Islamists continue to claim the existence of “Islamic economics,” they have failed in producing anything close to a simple theory of economics.

I believe that the main reason for the downfall of Muslim civilisation was the inherent social crisis: a society composed of few rich surrounded by the poor masses kept going by a strong religion. Social and political revolutions took place several times during the heyday of Muslim civilisation, as happened during the Umayyad Caliphate, the Abbasid Caliphate, in Muslim Spain, and the famous Zanj Rebellion during the year 869 in Basra. But historians have ignored such revolutions. Muslim economies have failed throughout history to solve the very basic problem: the wage equation. Unskilled and skilled workers were downgraded to the lowest classes in Muslim societies, and were paid the minimum. History has showed that under Islam the wealth of the country went mainly to the Calipha, feeding his palace, army, the royal family, and to the vested interest that the Calipha has chosen himself. The tax system was mainly imposed on the agricultural sector, what was known as the produce tax (Kharaj).

“Islamic economics” is a term used today to justify the significant income inequalities in such societies and to find religiously- accepted investment opportunities for the rich. …

Read more : http://www.document.no/2011/01/the-downfall-of-political-islam/

Pity Pakistan is close to imploding?

Jesters and destinies —Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

Whenever armies become unanswerable to the state and become a ‘deep state’, the irreversible rot sets in and results in the disintegration of the state they are supposedly safeguarding and protecting.

In his book, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon (1737-1794) tells about a Roman emperor who, angered by the actions of his favourite jester, orders that he be put to death. The jester, hearing this, mournfully shakes his head and says that a wish of his would remain unfulfilled. Inquisitive, the emperor inquires and after some persuasion the jester tells that he has the knowledge and the ability to teach the emperor’s favourite black stallion to speak.

The emperor asks how long would it take and is told a year is enough. The death sentence is temporarily waived and the condemned jester allowed to fulfil his promise. The jester’s well-wishers tell him that he has committed a great folly as there was no way that he could make the stallion speak. He replies, “There is a possibility that in the intervening time I may die a natural death or maybe even the emperor could die and I would be free. Moreover, a year is long enough a period; who knows, the black stallion may learn to speak.”

Sixty-three years are a long enough period to change destinies but it seems the jesters here who took up the task were incompetent, corrupt and dishonest to the core, whose concept of a tryst with destiny remained limited to accumulating power and pelf for their dynasties. They neither had compassion for the people nor the wisdom to understand that they were establishing the groundwork for the eventual catastrophe. They felt if they could muster the support of their various masters and mentors for undisputed authority and power to rule, then for all intents and purposes the masses and their problems were irrelevant. They simply ensured by deceit and fraud that loans would continue to pour in to make their lives luxurious even if that meant burdening the people with irredeemable debts. These jesters have brought this place to this pass and the only route open is the way down. …

Read more : Daily Times

An untimely invitation

By Haider Nizamani

AS many as 150 members of India’s 541-strong Lok Sabha (the equivalent of Pakistan’s National Assembly) have criminal records. More than 300 of these members are millionaires. More than 50 political parties have elected members in India’s national and provincial legislatures.

Corruption and crime are endemic in its political system. Yet none of these parties, from communists to communalists, can muster up the courage to invite the Indian armed forces to kick out the politicians and take up the reins of power in the country.

Pakistan is in a different league. Altaf Hussain, the long-distance leader of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), recently extended an invitation to the Pakistan Army’s ‘patriotic generals’ to come forward to remove feudal politicians and root out corruption from the country. When the invitation received more criticism than accolades, the MQM leader roped in the Supreme Court on Aug 28 to team up with the army to do the needful.

The MQM is a partner in the coalition at both the federal and provincial levels, and ordinarily a party in power requesting the undoing of the system would sound scandalous. On both counts, feudalism and corruption, history and the present realities suggest that the military is not the answer. ‘Feudalism’ is the term used by the MQM to refer to the country’s land-owning classes. Either Mr Hussain is politically naive and has little grasp on the country’s history, or worse, he issued the statement taking the cue from authoritarian forces. More importantly, the stance of the MQM in raking up the ghost of feudalism in the manner that it has shows the party’s lack of seriousness about putting in the hard political work needed to meaningfully confront the landed elite of Pakistan.

Continue reading An untimely invitation

Re-inventing Pakistan

WASHINGTON DIARY: Re-inventing Pakistan
by Dr Manzur Ejaz, USA
April 7th, 2009
Courtesy: Daily Times & Wichaar.com
The writer can be reached at manzurejaz@yahoo.com
The state of Pakistan cannot survive unless the intelligentsia and the masses reconcile to the concept of keeping their belief system to themselves and letting the state be neutral to religion. Unless the masses rally around the new concept of the state, security agencies will never have the moral courage and strength to eradicate extremism.

Continue reading Re-inventing Pakistan

This is first time that the pro-people parties have captured power in Islamabad

PPP, ML-N, ANP & Expectations of Oppressed Masses

By Ayaz Latif Palijo Advocate

Our major issues can only be solved by implementing 1940 resolution, but in the mean time we can forge the unity between lower middle / middle class Sindhis, Balochs and other nations of Pakistan. Musharraf government, since assuming reins of power, has been trying to convert Sindhis and Balochs minorities in their homelands, but at the same time it is also betraying the interests of poor Pakhtun and common Punjabi, and their resentment has been reflected through election results of Punjab and Pakhtun Khawah.

I have also gone through the mails of Khalid Hashmnai and Aftab Qazi sahib, we all appreciate their commitment and sincerity, but when some of our friends & civil society groups in Sindh suggest that instead of making an alliance with allies of Musharaf, PPP should join hands with ML-N, ANP,Baloch Nationalists & Lawyers, they want legitimacy and acceptance of PPP

govt for next 5 years. In past some of our oversees friends & intellectuals twice endorsed PPP’s polices of joining hands with Ghulam Ishaq Khan, Aslam Beg, JUI, MQM, Hamid Nasir Chattha, Manzoor Watoo, FATA MNAs etc, with a justification that let them form the govt, tiny issues would be solved latter. The outcome of this ad-hoc policy was witnessed by all of us in 1990

and 1996.

This time half of the PPP seats in NA have been given by people of Punjab and if once again PPP would repeat the same mistakes and if assemblies are dissolved it would be nearly impossible for PPP to get the same results from Punjab, because the civil society and majority of People of Punjab are not only committed to the restoration of independent judiciary they are opponents of the terrorism in Karachi.

PPP and Pakistan have been made to travel this well worn path many times in past 20 years. This is first time that the pro-people parties have captured power in Islamabad through relatively fair elections (off course except Karachi, Hyderabad, Thar, Balochistan and some areas of Central Punjab). The General’s regime is trying to bring doubts and hostility in the political

community through its puppets like Shaikh Rasheed, Arbab Raheem, Chodhri Prervez Ilhai etc and if we keep getting dictations from Musharaf and his team we will push Pakistan into a bigger disaster then 1970 and 1977.

Prior to assassination of Shaheed BB the govt after sidelining the two major mainstream political parties, planning to hold utterly fake elections but the entire scenario changed on 27th December and thereafter People of Sindh, Civil Society of Punjab, European Union, Common Wealth, General Kiani and other main stakeholders refused to support Musharaf’s plan of rigging.

Resultantly we all not only witnessed the well deserved success of PPP and Nawaz League but welcomed it considering it as result of our eight years long joint anti Musharaf struggle. Lets take advantage of it, lets not waste this historic opportunity, if we stand firm, if we think beyond personal and party interests we can force Musharaf to resign, we can get the genuine provincial autonomy and we can have a prosperous Pakistan based on principles of equality, peace and justice.

I second Aziz Narejo, Raza Rabbani, Dr. Manzoor Aijaz, Nafees Sidiqui, Akhtiar Beg, Raza Abidi, Aitzaz Ahsan, Asma Jahangeer, Ayaz Amir, Imran Khan, Mian Nawaz Sharif, Siddiq ul Faruq, Dr. Farzana Bari and others that alliance with Musharaf’s team would not only be a betrayal of the vote of the people, it will ruin the aspirations of the people who want to see a real change. I think that this is high time when the liberal and democratic forces should concentrate on strategic polices instead of ad-hoc tactics.

Here I would like to bring into your notice that after several bomb blasts and operation in FATA and Wazirastan thousands of people of tribal areas are

shifting to Lahore, Mulan, Karachi, Sukkur, Mirpurkhas, Nawabshah, Faisalabad and Hyderabad, this would not only bring an alarming demographic change but may introduce a wave of violence and extremism in relatively

peaceful Punjab and Sindh. Lets pre-empt these threats, lets strengthen our political and cultural bonds with liberal, democratic Punjabi, Seraiki and Pakhtun masses and with peace-loving and unbiased patriotic Urdu speaking Sindhis like Wajeehudin Ahmed, Anees Haroon, Sabeehudin Ahmed, Rasheed Rizvi, Iqbal Haider, Adeeb Rizwi, Ameer Hani Muslim, Naeem Qureshi, Khilji

Arif Husssain, Maqbool Baqar, Rahat Saeed, Sarmad Jalal Usmani, Rashid Rabani, Nafees Siddiqui, Musheer Alam, Zahida Hina, Anwe Zaheer, Mujahid Barelvi, Sadiqa Salahudin and others.

In the mean time our Sindhi and Baloch friends should seriously think: how to bring their rural masses up and how to replace feudals, Peers and tribal heads from their national political scene with committed middle class, how to reverse the past 8 years anti-people decisions of Musharaf regime, how to apprise the developed world specially USA, UK, India, China and European Union, about their genuine grievances, how to strengthen bonds with oppressed people of other provinces Pakistan.

Feb 23, 2008

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/e-groups.