The language of the talk show is urdu.
The language of the talk show is urdu.
On the other side of the Thar, Hindus, especially girls, are forced into Islam
By Mariana Baabar
Hindus In Pakistan
Hindus constitute about 2.5 per cent, or 26 lakh, of Pakistan’s population.
Though sprinkled all over Pakistan, 95 per cent of Hindus are in Sindh.
Only Tharparkar district in Sindh has Hindus in majority: 51 per cent.
Other districts with sizeable population: Mirpur Khas (41 per cent), Sanghar (35 per cent), Umerkot (43 per cent)
Nearly 82 per cent of Pakistani Hindus are lower caste, most of them farm labourers
Cities with some Hindu population: Karachi, Hyderabad, Jacobabad, Lahore, Peshawar and Quetta.
In Tharparkar, Hindus own land. Krishen Bheel, Gyan Chand and Ramesh Lal are the Hindus in the Pakistan National Assembly.
Let me confess at the outset: I’m travelling in rural Sindh to verify specifically the reported widespread menace of abduction of Hindu girls, their forcible conversion to Islam and betrothal to Muslim men. My first port of call is the district court of Mirpur Khas. I promptly mingle among the crowd waiting for the court’s decision on a kidnap-and-conversion case. Different voices narrate contradictory stories. I am befuddled for the moment.
Soon, a frisson of excitement sweeps through the throng, as a police van drives through the gate. Inside it is Mariam. She’s 13 years old—and married! Mariam was Mashu, and Hindu, till the night of December 22, 2005. I pick my way through the jostling crowd. Mariam is in a red burqa, her gold nose ring sparkles. She tells me, “I’m happy. I don’t want to return to my parents or brother.” What’s the fuss about, I wonder.
It’s quite another story under the pipal tree of the court compound. Huddled under it are the villagers of Jhaluree, 20 km from Mirpur Khas. Among them is Mashu’s father, Malo Sanafravo. He says that at 11 pm, December 22, four armed men barged into their room. One of them was Malo’s neighbour, Akbar. They picked up Mashu, bundled her into the waiting car. “She was taken to Pir Ayub Jan Sarhandi’s village in Saamaaro tehsil.” There Mashu became Mariam and was married to Akbar.
Not true, insists husband Akbar. “Mariam has been always in my heart,” he gushes, saying, at 11 pm, December 22, it was she who had come over to his house. But it’s true that the Pir converted her and married them—it was his idea that they issue statements in the court. “Mariam was sent to Darul Aman in Hyderabad, in judicial custody,” Akbar declares.
A 13-year-old choosing to convert and marry? A 13-year-old testifying in the court, without her family by her side? Suspicious, I walk over to the SHO, caught in the middle of a heated exchange between two groups. Someone suggests he should allow the girl to meet her relatives. Before the conversion yes, not now. She has now become Muslim, says the SHO. He argues, “There’s a huge crowd here. If Mariam breaks down after seeing her father, there will be a communal riot here in the compound.”
A little later, there are celebrations as the word spreads: the court has allowed the couple to live together. Standing next to me is Kanjee Rano Bheel. He works for an NGO in the education sector; volunteers for the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) as well. “In just two hours Mashu was converted and married,” Kanjee says incredulously.
Disappointment and helpless rage fleet across his face. “In Darul Aman the girls are kept away from parents and pressured into issuing statements favourable to the abductors. They tame stubborn girls through death threats.”
So, was Mashu abducted and forcibly converted?
In Mirpur Khas, truth resembles the mirage of the surrounding Thar desert, teasing and tormenting me as I drive from Karachi into interior Sindh. It tests your credulity, it challenges your journalistic skills. Wherever I go, and whoever I meet, in disconsolate voices the Hindus talk about ‘missing girls’; their stories resemble Mashu’s—the theme of abduction, conversion, often followed by marriage, is common to most narrations. The girls then appear in courts to issue statements declaring their conversion was voluntary. All links to the natal family and the community are severed; they are lost to the family forever. On January 4, 2005, Marvi, 18, and Hemi, 16, were kidnapped from Kunri village in Umerkot district; three months later, on March 3, 14-year-old Raji was abducted from Aslam Town Jhuddo, Mirpur Khas. The script in their cases was similar to Mashu’s. “Only 10 per cent of all conversions involving girls are voluntary; because of romance,” says Kanjee.
Ten per cent of what? No official figures are available. The DIG in Mirpur Khas, Saleemullah, says, “If there’s need I’ll collect these figures.
Saleemullah, perhaps, should tap the HRCP for statistics. Its director in Lahore, I.A. Rehman, is an honourable man. Rehman told Outlook that the HRCP has, between Jan 2000 to Dec 2005, documented 50 cases involving conversion of Hindu girls to Islam. Its investigations too endorse what I had found in interior Sindh. In many cases where it was claimed the girls had eloped with their Muslim partners, the HRCP found that most were, in fact, abducted, forcibly married to Muslim men or sold to them. There have been cases of Hindu girls, usually from economically better off families, eloping with their Muslim boyfriends. Rehman says in most cases such marriages didn’t last long. With links to their families cut off, the girls were subsequently forced to marry another Muslim or sucked into marriage rackets.
Nuzzhat Shirin, who works for the Lahore-based ngp Aurat Foundation, understands why the girls don’t reveal their plight at the time they are presented in court. “When a Hindu is forced to become Muslim, such a ruckus is made that if the young kidnapped girl appears in court, the fanatics yell, scream, throw rose petals in the air and follow the youth into the building so that she’s intimidated and can’t speak,” Shirin explains.
Social stigma arising from the loss of virginity, and the consequent difficulty of finding a groom, prompt these women to accept their misfortune—and hope for the best.
Fifty incidents in five years represents just a percentage of the total number of cases, says Kanjee, pointing out that a majority of such crimes go unreported. “There have been 50 such incidents last year,” insists Krishen Bheel, who is a Hindu member of the National Assembly (MNA), the Pakistani equivalent of the Lok Sabha. He begins to rattle out the cases he remembers: two months back Sapna was kidnapped and converted in upper Sindh; seven months earlier it was 17-year-old Lakshmi in Nawkot, and then…. “The trend is increasing,” he says. “If these conversions are voluntary, then how come boys rarely ever convert?”
Only once did the popular resentment against abduction spill out in the streets of Mirpur Khas. It was in the ’80s: a girl named Sita had been kidnapped. Some 70,000 Hindus turned up to protest the kidnapping. The police opened fire, killing several. “Sita was never returned,” Krishen laments. “She had even told Justice Dhorab Patel, who later joined the HRCP, that she had been forcibly converted. We have now stopped agitating.”
Instead, the Hindus take the support of civil rights groups and the media to publicise abduction cases, hoping public scrutiny would goad the state into action.
On Dec 30, the day after the Mariam case was disposed, the Supreme Court took cognisance of the complaint Qosheela’s parents from Ghotki, Sindh, had filed. They claimed their 13-year-old girl had been kidnapped, converted, given the name of Hajra and married to a Muslim man. The girl, as in most other cases, had said she had converted of her own free will. A three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, ordered the medical examination of the girl to determine whether she had attained puberty (Islam permits marriage at that age). Should it be proved otherwise, the husband could be tried for rape.
Even cities are not immune to the menace. Last year, Sammo Amra and Champa in Karachi received a letter from their three missing daughters—Reena (21), Reema (17) and Usha (19)—informing that they had converted to Islam and were ordained under the dictates of their new religion not to live with infidels, including their Hindu parents. The letter bore the address of Madrassa Taleemul Islam, Karachi. It prompted Supreme Court Bar Association president Malik Mohammad Qayyum to petition the Supreme Court in the first week of December. He accused the religious seminary’s administrator of using coercive methods to convert the three girls. On December 16, the court ordered the police to shift the girls to the Edhi Welfare Centre and provide protection to them until the time it was ascertained they had been indeed compelled to convert to Islam.
Sensitive Muslim citizens feel the way to counter the menace is to reinterpret and widen the scope of law.
Major (retd) Kamran Shafi, an absentee landlord from Sindh, cites the case of 17-year-old Kochlia, who was kidnapped and gangraped in Jacobabad, Sindh, in Sept 2005. Four men were arrested for the crime. They were subsequently released because Kochlia stated in the court she had converted and was married to one of them. Shafi asks, “Isn’t something very, very wrong here? Suppose the poor girl was forced into changing her religion and marrying one of the assailants so that they get off the hook? Can’t the state prosecute the four on its own, for their original crime of rape?”
The three Hindu MNAs—Krishen Bheel, Gyan Chand and Ramesh Lal—raised the Kochlia case in the National Assembly. They claimed Kochlia’s statement was not tenable as under the local Hindu custom and law a girl can’t marry of her own will until the age of 20. Since Kochlia is a minor, her abductors should be tried for rape. Such an interpretation of existing laws could provide ample relief to Hindus.
Till then, though, the fear of kidnap stalks the Hindus of Pakistan. Krishen Bheel says Hindu girls are scared to go out; he has enrolled his own children into a Christian school. He points to Mirpur Khas’ strange predicament: there’s freedom to worship, there are 10 temples which bustle through the day with devotees; and yet Hindu girls here are kidnapped and converted—and the community humiliated.
Perhaps these abductions are part of the general scenario of crime against women in rural Pakistan (see box). Perhaps they are converted and married to criminals to enable the latter to escape the dragnet of the law. Yet, such arguments don’t comfort the Hindus. Sat Ram, of Shadi Bali village near Mirpur Khas, says Hindu girls are deprived of education because their parents are apprehensive of sending them to schools located at a distance. “They receive education only till the primary level. It isn’t safe to send them to school after that.”
But the plight of Hindu women can’t be seen just through the prism of gender discrimination rampant in rural Sindh. Reena Gul, of Sattar Nagar village, Mirpur Khas, says the boys too are converted but their numbers are very few. The community here feels it is the Islamist’s agenda to drive out non-Muslims from Pakistan. In fact, Krishen told the National Assembly that even Hindu businessmen are being kidnapped in Sindh for ransom. He said on the floor of the House, “Several religious parties are reportedly behind the move to convince the people that it is their responsibility to get rid of infidels from Pakistan, (that) taking ransom from non-Muslims is not a sin.”
I now set out to meet Pir Ayub Jan Sarhandi, whose name surfaces repeatedly in conversion stories. The drive from Mirpur Khas to Sarhandi village, Somarho tehsil, is through a picturesque landscape. Peacocks dance in the field and gypsies pitch their tents for the night. Even the Pir appears tranquil, his white flowing beard and winsome disposition camouflaging his mission.
Yet, when he begins to talk, he conceals nothing. Yes, the Pir declares, he has been converting the Hindus for the last 30 years. Perhaps his claims of converting a 1,000 families a year is a boast. “There’s a surah in the Quran which speaks specifically about conversion, especially about conversion of women,” he says to justify his mission. “Recently, three Hindu girls were brought to me. I named them Benazir, Sanam and Nusrat,” he reveals, with the righteous air of someone who had bestowed a favour. “These Hindu women are mistreated by their husbands who do nothing but watch TV.”
The Pir rubbishes the allegation that he converts abducted Hindu girls. The unwilling are sent back. Yet, he adds in the same breath, “In many cases Hindu girls are kidnapped and kept as keeps. But these keeps are not converted. But believe me, they are very happy.”
I express the desire to meet the women whom he had converted and found sanctuary with him. The Pir agrees, even allows us to photograph them, contrary to the local tradition. Into the room, the women walk. Rehana, 50, was earlier Nabee; she converted three years ago, after the death of her husband. “I had no one to turn to. If we do not convert we would not be helped by this family.” It was the same reason for 35-year-old Mariam, who came here seven years back. “Under the Pir’s protection, I earn at least Rs 200 a month.” Ruksana was earlier Chotee, and hails from Umerkot. Extreme poverty and a drug-addict husband persuaded her to take the extreme step. “I brought my four kids as well,” she declares.
As I talk to these women, I realise most of them are widows or wallowing in poverty. I mention this to the Pir. He says, “The government is responsible for all Hindus and non-Hindus. When the government doesn’t help them, they come to us.”
Forced or economically enticed, the Hindu converts do not symbolise Islam’s appeal. Rather they represent the state’s failure to provide succour to the poor and protect their religious rights. Perhaps it’s also symptomatic of the sickness afflicting the Pakistani state. As they say, the condition of the minorities is an indicator of a nation’s health.
Via – Twitter
Eliminating corruption in 90 days
By Raza Rumi
…. Much has been said about the great Khan’s sympathies for the militants who are resisting ‘America’s war’ in our region. Never mind that they also kill Pakistanis, attack mosques, shrines and funerals and are in bed with a global ideology that wants to decimate the ‘un-Islamic’ Pakistani state. The odd relationship between the PTI and the self-declared defenders of Pakistan — the ragtag Islamist parties, ex-servicemen and known terrorists — has also been highlighted. I will not dwell on these issues as several commentators have indicated the dangers of this populist discourse and the larger, intrinsic relationship between populism and authoritarianism.
My real worry is that Mr Khan is yet to offer an alternative agenda. His charisma, cricket connection, philanthropic record and the use of social media are at work. When it comes to policy, the plan ahead is almost farcical. Haven’t we heard of elimination of corruption in 90 days before? Corruption, as a slogan, has been used by almost every Pakistani government to undermine political opponents. As early as the 1950s, laws to disqualify politicians were enacted.
The 1990s saw the military establishment orchestrate a ridiculous anti-corruption charade. Nawaz Sharif’s second tenure had a Himmler-wannabe as the chief of accountability, who turned anti-corruption efforts into medieval witch-hunts. Former President General Pervez Musharraf’s illegitimate rule was welcomed by the same urban middle classes, which now cheer for Imran Khan to eliminate the ‘corrupt’, old guard politicians.
Tackling corruption is not a 90-day job, for it will only result in high-powered accountability operations stuck in a dysfunctional legal system. It is a medium to long-term process involving restructuring of institutions — laws, formal and informal rules and conventions — which shape societal interaction and determine state behaviour. Pakistani politics and economics are defined by the military’s hegemony. The biggest expenditure items — defence and debt servicing — are virtually unaccountable. Has Mr Khan thought about these issues or will these disappear through ‘moral legitimacy’ — another wooly construct cited like a totem. ‘Clean’ civilians will make the khakis give up power. One has to live in wonderland to accept such postulates as even half-credible. ….
Read more » The Express Tribune
via – Twitter
The language of the news is urdu (Hindi).
Courtesy: Express Tv » YouTube
GIVEN the scale of radicalisation across Pakistan, it is clear that methods other than military strategy must be brought into play to quell it. The Pakistan Army set up de-radicalisation centres to provide interventions to those deemed ‘radicals’ – mainly persons detained in conflict zones. But, as editorialised by this newspaper last month, there are a number of points of concern, including the fact that the public has no idea about the details of the programmes. What do they entail, what process is followed or expertise offered – and how are ‘radicals’ delineated from ordinary citizens? For example, has it been conclusively proved that those in de-radicalisation centres were involved in militant or extremist activities? Now, it has come to light that the programmes have not been working. On Thursday, an official of the Pakistan Army’s judge advocate general branch told the Peshawar High Court that despite having been through the de-radicalisation process, several militants from Swat had rejoined militant groups.
Radicalisation is an ideological state of mind, and not something empirical of which a person can reliably be said to have been cleansed. No doubt there are people who were absorbed by militant outfits involuntarily and would welcome rehabilitation. But militancy in Pakistan is linked to a peculiar set of ideologies that have a lasting hold on the minds of its subscribers. For militants who have vowed to fight the very nature of the state and federation, a de-radicalisation programme may be the softer option whilst in detention.
For Pakistan to control radicalisation, it must counter the growing extremism evident in society as a whole. This is emerging as a greater threat to the country than terrorism, as was pointed out at the launch of a related report in Islamabad on Thursday. Extremism cannot be eliminated by the gun; the task requires methods of long-term persuasion and extensive societal change. Concurrently, the state must face up to the fact that it has for decades followed a duplicitous policy towards militancy. Cosmetic measures, such as banning certain outfits but allowing them to operate under other names, were bound to prove insufficient. The ideological underpinnings of militancy in Pakistan, which were endorsed by elements within the state during the ’80s and after, have never been honestly or fully rejected. That mindset has not just become more entrenched, it is fast gaining new subscribers. If Pakistan is to be saved, this mindset must change. That requires formulating a definitive state policy on the factors that pro- vide militancy with its moorings.
Courtesy: Front Line with Kamaran Shahid
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If you watch the video of Imran Khan’s Karachi Jalsa, you will see Imran Khan coming to the venue by an Army helicopter and then escorted and surrounded by armed Army commandos. The Army and ISI provided full security to him, before and during the jalsa. A million dollar question is , where was the Army and ISI when twice prime minister of Pakistan, Chairperson of PPP, Benazir was speaking at Liaquat Park, Rawalpindi, a stone’s throw distance from GHQ? Why was absolutely no security was provided to her, even as is now disclosed by ISI that there was a specific plan to murder her? Was it because the generals perceived BB as a threat to expose them before the public?
Is their support of Imran Khan because Army generals think that he will get them out of the deep hole they have dug for themselves and get Talibans/ Jihadis and Americans off their backs, sustain their narrow destructive policies and that they can go back to their messes and golf courses and DHAs? [Above text is taken from Pakistani e-lists, e-groups, credit goes to TK for above piece]
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
The language of the discussion is urdu (Hindi).
Courtesy: → ARY News Tv (Pakistan Tonight with Fahad Hussain and Maliha Lodhi, 21st July 2011 -3)
by Dr. Manzur Ejaz
First of all let me state a disqualifier: All Urdu Speaking are not associated with MQM or religious parties of this ethnic group. The very fact that PPP candidates give a hard time to non-PPP/religious/ethnic politicians show that a large section of Urdu speaking population is progressive, forward looking and identifies itself with other Pakistani people. Great Urdu speaking intellectuals have done a lot for mother tongues and enlightenment of the country. Therefore, Urdu speaking term is generically used in the narrative below for the ones who associate themselves with MQM or UP religious parties. It is a chauvinistic mindset that we are analyzing not a community which is as diverse as Punjabi, Sindhi or other Pakistanis.
MQM has made a lot of hoopla against Zulifqar Mirza’s statement in which he indicated that:
(i) MQM, led by Altaf, is more criminal than its nemesis Afaq Ahmed against whom no criminal case has been proved in the court. On the contrary, many cases are proved and guilty punished by courts belonging to Altaf group. Altaf has caused more mothers to lose their sons than Afaq, claims Mr. Mirza.
(ii) MQM’s dream of creating a separate province of Karachi-Hyderabad can only materialize on the Sindhis’ dead body. Sindh provide food and shelter to migrant Urdu speaking and will never give them a right to cut it from Sindh.
(iii) Afaq of MQM (Haqiqi) is a political prisoner not a criminal that Altaf wants us to believe.
After scaring the PPP government and other ‘for-rent’ politicians of Punjab, Altaf has called off the protests. He believes he has successfully pushed the truth under carpet that Mirza told the world. However, in doing so, Altaf has taken a familiar position that Mirza has maligned the ‘Pakistan founders.” In other words Urdu speaking Muhajirs are the only founders of Pakistan. In a way he is right and Pakistan’s ongoing mess is created by its acclaimed founders that Altaf is talking about.
By: Dr Hasan Askari Rizvi
The Pakistani military faces a complex and unusual situation. Traditionally, the military is the most powerful and autonomous state institution in Pakistan. However, a host of events in May-June 2011 have compromised its clout against the backdrop of aggressive criticism by political, religious and societal groups. The most interesting facet of the current propaganda onslaught against the military is that its traditional supporters, Islamists and the political right, are leading the anti-military drive. …
…. If Pakistan is to continue as a strident nuclear power with a strong military to confront India, assert its primacy in Afghanistan and liberate Kashmir, military considerations and priorities will dominate civilian considerations. There is a need to change the mindset and the vision of Pakistan from a powerful regional player to a humane democracy that gives the highest priority to the needs and aspirations of the common people at the operational level. The sole guiding principles should be welfare of the people and a secure future for them in a stable, tolerant and plural Pakistan under a democratic constitutional dispensation.
However, it cannot be denied that the military itself is responsible for some of the current problems. In a bid to sustain its primacy in Pakistan, it has engaged in shrewd manipulation of political forces. It is known for bolstering some political and religious groups. Now, all these groups and their Islamic discourses are haunting the military. ….
…. The army and other services should enforce their rules strictly for engagement of service personnel with civilian groups and especially political and religious entities. The personnel’s interaction with the civilian sector under the cover of Islamic dars or zikar as well as their participation in the annual congregations of religious and sectarian groups should be monitored closely and discouraged in unequivocal terms. These meetings provide a good opportunity to militant and religious activists to penetrate the armed forces.
The military needs to return fully to professionalism and reemphasise that Islam and professionalism go together. Any activity inspired by a religious group, even at the personal level is the negation of professionalism and weakens the military as a professional and disciplined force.
To read complete article → PakistanToday
– Time to change: ‘Iman, Taqwa, Jihad fi Sabilillah’
by Shiraz Paracha
India centric mindset of the Pakistan military is one of the root causes of Pakistan’s problems. From generals to soldiers most men in the armed forces are paranoid about India and some have racist tendencies, too. …
…. Some young officers of the Pakistan armed forces are genuinely embarrassed by the growing criticism of the armed forces. One major general of the Pakistan Army asked me recently, “We want to build a soft image of Pakistan”.
I responded to the soft-spoken and cultured gentleman by saying: “Please, replace ‘Iman, Taqwa, Jihad fi Sabilillah’ as your motto. A change of motto would be a symbol of a wider change of mind and perception.
To read complete article → LUBP
…. If the US stops drone attacks, can Imran Khan give the guarantee that the Taliban — ardent adherents of an anti-democratic political system — will stop coercing society into theocratic chaos? If he deliberates for a few moments on this prospect, he will be as silent as he has been about religious terrorism. So, does it mean that he is ready to turn Pakistan into a theocratic state? Probably yes, whether he knows/acknowledges it or not. In private conversations he has been an admirer of the tribal jirga system, which shows that the idealisation of tribal institutions has been part of his mindset.
Besides opposing the US intervention, his political campaigns have been criticising and exposing the ruling political elite. Again, we know what he does not want but we do not know what he wants the Pakistani socio-political system to be. Mysteriously, he has not been very vocal about the role of the Pakistani military in the disaster-ridden evolution of Pakistan. He has not articulated the genesis of the socio-political ills that have proliferated under military rule. ….
To read complete article → Wichaar
`Maulvi` Nawaz`s mindset being defeated: Zardari
NAUDERO: The thinking of “Maulvi” Nawaz Sharif is being defeated, said President Asif Ali Zardari while addressing a public meeting here on Tuesday to mark Benazir Bhutto’s birth anniversary.
He asked who is Maulvi Nawaz Sharif to hate generals and love soldiers? He said this is the thinking of a blacksmith/ [Iron-smith]. “Learn from me, meet me in private or make me your teacher,” Zardari advised Nawaz. About Nawaz, the president further said, “he is pitting us against the military, but we will not fight. Today he is criticising the Army.” ….
Read more: PAK TRIBUNE
adopted from facebook
– Nawaz asks ‘army’ to change mindset
By Amjad Mahmood
LAHORE: PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif has vowed never to allow any institution to become a sacred cow and be above the law.
“There is no sacred cow in the country and none should try to become a sacred cow as (we) won’t allow such an attempt,” he told a reference meeting held here on Friday for journalist Salim Shehzad who has been murdered in mysterious circumstances.
Without naming the army but leaving no doubt which institution he was talking about, he said (they) would have to change their mindset.
If the army wants not to be criticised it will have to remove the causes of criticism.
“End your domination of foreign policy (making) if you wish the criticism to end. Our relations should be with the Afghan people and not with a single party. There should be no parallel government (of agencies) in the country.” …
Read more: DAWN
The language of talk show is urdu (Hindi).
Courtesy: Geo TV (Aapas Ki Baat with Najam Sethi & Muneeb Farooq – 18th April 2011)
Via Siasat.pk, Punjabrang.com, You Tube
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‘The Pakistan ultimatum’
by Najam Sethi
Who could have imagined that a serving commander of the Pakistan Army in the Waziristan badlands would have consciously knocked the popular myth that American drone strikes in Fata are part of the problem and not part of the solution of terrorism? But that’s exactly what happened on March 8.
Maj Gen Ghayur Mehmud, GOC 7th Div North Waziristan, did not mince words in his printed brief ‘“Myths and Rumours about US Predator Strikes” handed out to journalists from his command post in the area. He made two main points: (1) A majority of those killed by drone strikes are “hardcore Taliban or Al Qaeda elements, especially foreigners,” while civilian casualties are “few”. (2) But by scaring local populations and compelling displacement through migration, drone attacks create social and political blowbacks for law enforcement agencies. Obviously, the first consequence is good and welcome as part of the national “solution” strategy and the second is problematic and should be minimised because it creates local “problems” of a tactical nature.
Gen Mehmud hasn’t been fired or reprimanded. This means he had the green signal from the GHQ to make his brief. His statement explains the consciously nurtured “duality” of official policy versus popular position on drone strikes and confirms the Wikileaks summary that both secret authorisation and popular criticism go hand in hand in Pakistan where both civilian and military leaders are on the same page.
To be sure, the tactical issues are not insignificant. The Pakistani military would dearly love to own some Predators or at least have a measure of command and control over them, so the demand is worth making publically all the time even though it routinely falls on deaf American ears – for obvious reasons, this devastating technology isn’t available to any state except Israel.
Similarly, the Pakistan military would like to have a critical advance say on the choice of drone targets so that “hardcore Al-Qaeda elements and foreigners” noted by Gen Ghayur are usefully targeted but some Pakistani “assets” among the Quetta Shura of Mullah Omer, Gulbudin Hekmatyar’s Hizbe Islami and Siraj Haqqani’s Taliban network are spared for long-term application in Afghanistan. Disagreement with the Americans over this particular issue compels military spokespersons to blow hot (in public) and cold (in front of the Americans) over all drone strikes.
Sometimes, when it gets uncomfortably hot under the collar, then General Ashfaq Kayani has to weigh in for public consumption – as he did recently when, the day after Raymond Davis was freed (courtesy ISI) amidst howls of protest from the media, a drone strike killed over 40 pro and anti-military tribesmen in a jirga for local conflict resolution in Fata.
Pakistan and America have some strategic interests in common, like eliminating Al-Qaeda from Waziristan. But there are disagreements about who is a “good” Taliban and who is not. This is not strange at all. The answer to this question will determine who will rule or share power in Afghanistan in the next five years and who will not. It will also have a bearing on Afghanistan’s strategic and tactical allies in the neighbourhood in the future – India or Pakistan. Therefore Pakistan’s military, which loves to hate India even as America is itching to embrace India, believes it cannot shrug away any openings or opportunities for leveraging its concerns and interests.
This perspective explains how the Raymond Davis case was handled (exploited) by the ISI and the import of DG-ISI’s recent dash to Washington for a meeting with the CIA chief. The ISI wants greater tactical input/output into CIA operations in Pakistan (to protect its strategic assets at home like the Lashkar-e-Tayba and the Haqqani network) even as it strategically allows the US to operate drones and run special agents freely from two bases in Pakistan where visas and landing rights are not an issue. Who knows how many Americans land or take off from these bases, how many carry weapons and what they do in their bulletproof SUVs when they cruise the length and breadth of Pakistan?
Under the circumstances, the DG-ISI’s “request” in Langley was about reposing “trust” in joint operations rather than any overt threat to deny existing facilities and rights. The US has responded with a drone strike in South Waziristan which is supposed to be strictly out of bounds. This signals its intention to remain focused on the Taliban and Al-Qaeda even as it “considers” Gen Pasha’s request for greater sensitivity to Pakistan’s needs and interests. No more, no less.
A recent editorial in The Wall Street Journal, a pro-US establishment paper, sums up the American position bluntly. It is titled: The Pakistan Ultimatum: choose whose side it is on. “Maybe the Obama Administration can inform its friends in Islamabad that, when it comes to this particular fight, the U.S. will continue to pursue its enemies wherever they may be, with or without Pakistan’s cooperation… Pakistan can choose to cooperate in that fight and reap the benefits of an American alliance. Or it can oppose the U.S. and reap the consequences, including the loss of military aid, special-ops and drone incursions into their frontier areas, and in particular a more robust U.S. military alliance with India… After 9/11 Pakistan had to choose whose side it was on. It’s time to present Pakistan with the same choice again.
So it’s time for Pakistan’s military leaders to make up their minds and deal with its consequences. They must be upfront with America – because it’s a greatly beneficial “friend” to have and a deadly “enemy” to make – and honest with Pakistanis – because they’re not stupid and can eventually see through duplicity, as they did in the Raymond Davis case.
The military cannot forever hunt with America and run with an anti-American Pakistani public they have helped to create. They cannot instruct the DG-ISPR in Islamabad to convey the impression of tough talking in Langley while asking the GOC 7 Division in Waziristan to give a realistic brief to the media about the critical benefits of drone strikes amidst all the “myths and rumours” of their negativity. This double-dealing confuses the public, annoys a strategic partner, and discredits the military all round when it is exposed.
More significantly, it makes it difficult for Pakistanis to swallow the hard realities and the harder decisions necessary to change them for the sake of the state’s survival and the nation’s growth.
The duality or contradiction in the military’s private and public position vis a vis its relationship with civilians in Pakistan and its relationship with America is a direct consequence of two inter-related factors: First, the military’s threat perception of India’s rising military capability, and second, its fear of losing control over India-centred national security policy to the civilians who are keen to start the process of building permanent peace in the region, thereby diluting the military’s pre-eminent role in Pakistan’s polity.
The military’s scheme of things requires a permanent state of relative hostility towards, and distrust of, India. That is why its national security doctrine is fashioned on the premise that it is India’s military capacity to harm Pakistan rather than its intentions to build a permanent peace that matter.
Of course, this is a perfect and unending rationalisation of its economic and political hold over Pakistan since India’s conventional weaponry is forecast to grow by leaps and bounds on the basis of a robust economy and nationalist unity. But Pakistan’s limping economy is groaning under the burden of the arms race engendered by this philosophy and its civilian polity is fracturing in the grab for diminishing resources. That is why its civilians are increasingly plucking up the courage to stare the army in the face for their political, provincial and economic rights.
The military’s policy of renting itself out to America for its own sake and also complaining about it at the same time for the sake of the Pakistani public is clearly bankrupt. Isn’t it time, therefore, to consider a different paradigm, one in which conflict resolution and peace with India deliver an economic dividend that can be reaped by all in an environment free from destabilising extremism and war in the neighbourhood? In pursuit of an untenable philosophy, what use are dubious non-state “assets” that can become extreme liabilities in an impending national meltdown?
Under the circumstances, General Kayani could do worse than go on the national hookup and defend the truth of the briefing given by his subordinate Maj Gen Ghuyur Mehmud. He will be surprised how quickly a majority of Pakhtuns in particular and Pakistanis in general will back him to the hilt and help change the national paradigm. This is more our war than it is America’s because we live and die here and not far away across two great oceans.
The writer is Jang Group/Geo adviser on political affairs.
Courtesy: The News.com.pk
by Dr Azhar A. Shah
In the context of present debate on the devolution of HEC when we present some facts and figures to support our arguments in favor of devolution; most of the opponents of the devolution have come up to negate these facts not by counter arguments and supporting evidence but by labeling it as a campaign for regionalism and provincialism. They issue directives to us to be Pakistani and stop this debate! To them, being Pakistani means surrendering the right to present our point of view on a matter which is directly related to the very field that we are an important stakeholders of!.
I think it is this attitude of opposing any argument/voice in favor of limited regional autonomy (decentralization, devolution, delegation, provinces’ rights ), which is guaranteed by the constitution of our country, that would further enhances the gaps between provinces and regions. We must learn to respect each other by considering all of us as equal citizens, as equal Pakistanis and providing every one a chance to participate in the debate with equal dignity without questioning her/his level of Pakistaniat! It seems a very mean thing to remind a person of his nationality (Pakistaniat) while she/he is debating a point in terms of academic discourse! Every one understands that not all the participants in the debate could be right. We could be wrong! But it doesn’t imply that we don’t think as Pakistanis!.
If I am showcasing the weaknesses, the faults, the troubles, the unfairness, the inequality of our system of our organizations, it is meant to be noted for correction, it is meant to be noted for improvement, it is meant to be noted for progress. We should get rid of that old feudo-military mindset that represses the ideas, that represses the creativity, and that considers every opponent ideas as enemy number one.
That said, I would present an example of how regional voice and concerns are being encouraged, supported and responded by the civilized societies of the world . Please respect the ancient civilization of our ingeniousness ancestors and refrain from further turning of our present society into militant society!
Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, April 14, 2011
by Azhar Ali Shah
Prof Hoodbohy has contributed a piece titled “Should HEC Live or Die?”. First off, the title of his article indicates the limitedness of a nuclear scientist to think only in terms of life and death in a traditional way! For heavens sake HEC is not going to die! It is going through reformation (mitosis) to give birth to more HECs that could better serve our country as per requirements of our constitution and as per needs of our communities. Central bureaucrats and some academicians having inherited military mindset and others having undue fears are playing their tricks to stop this reformation and keep what they term as ‘their brilliant organization’ confined to the area of Islamabad. Moving this organization to provincial level would destroy the higher education and leave us in shambles! For Prof Hoodbhoy it is akin to death of HEC if it is devolved at this time! I would like to get my words recorded that if HEC is not devolved at this time (as per suggestion of Dr Hoodbohy) it will never ever get devolved in our life times. It is not only the current but the future generations of our country that will suffer from this centralization. But according to Javed Malik’s perception centralization might be good for Dr Hoodbhoy (please click here to read Prof. Hoodbohy’s article)!
Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, April 8, 2011.
by A.H Amin
While third world military figures , in power or retired make impressive speeches at various forums and think tanks , very few outside their countries understand their mindset and motivation , which by and large is driven by highly personalized and ulterior motives !
Keeping this premise in view it is important to understand the mindset and the personalities of the third world military juntas , most important in this case being the Pakistani military junta! ….
ISLAMABAD: The committee had denied one-year extensions to judges, therefore, judges rejected a parliamentary commission’s decision. Is this a ‘judicial takeover’, ‘judicial dictatorship’! or something else? The Question is, whether an elected parliament represents the will of the people and thus reflective of collective wisdom of people or an appointed body like judiciary should have power to overwrite and supercede the will of the people?
Courtesy: Dunya TV News (Crossfire with Meher Bokhari, 9th March, 2011)
Punjabi Language Movement Protest Rally in Lahore
Punjabis’ legal, democratic rights ‘being usurped’
LAHORE, Feb 20: Constitutional, moral, legal and democratic rights of the Punjabi people are being usurped by the establishment, putting the integrity of Punjab in danger.
“Anti-Punjabi language forces within the establishment and anti-Punjabi mindset of the rulers are hampering enforcement of Punjabi as official, academic and legal language in Punjab,” said Punjabi Language Movement convenor Chaudhry Nazeer Kahut at a rally near Shimla Pahari on Sunday.
“The 150 years old undeclared and unofficial ban on basic education in mother tongue in Punjab be abolished and systematic cleansing of Punjabi language in Punjab be stopped. Punjab wants its mother tongue back. Punjabi children should be given basic education in their mother tongue just like the children in rest of the world.
The official discrimination against the mother tongue of 100 million people of Pakistan should be stopped immediately,” said a charged Kahut. …
Read more : http://www.apnaorg.com/articles/plm-4/
[Please take the time to listen to this incredible speech by PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. This speech in many ways demonstrates the future of the PPP and you can see his vision, leadership and direction. His courageous message challenging terrorists and violent extremists who are misusing and misinterpreting Islam for their own benefit gives us hope that Pakistan will yet be able to rid itself of violence and those who dishonor Islam and our nation.]
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Bilawal breaks silence
By Eraj Zakaria
In one single stride, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the chairperson of the Pakistan People’s Party, has clinched the issue and made it abundantly clear that the young and upcoming leadership of the PPP will bear no truck with forces of obscurantism and bigotry. He emphatically points out that the supporters of Mumtaz Qadri were in fact blasphemers and not the slain Salmaan Taseer, whose body had been pumped with 27 bullets and consequently left to die in a pool of blood. Young Bilawal has single mindedly emphasised upon the entire West about the direction and bearing the PPP leadership intends to take in the immediate future. Bilawal’s statement has come at a time when eyebrows had begun to be raised regarding the PPP’s silence on the vital issue of Taseer’s assassination. He breaks the silence not only at an appropriate time, but also in an ambiance where his life and personal security could be at stake. Bilawal aptly diagnoses that Taseer’s assassins are the very forces who killed his mother, Benazir Bhutto, and later did not spare Taseer’s life. Bilawal rightly points out that Taseer’s murder is symptomatic of a typical mindset. It is not the act of an individual, but the collective disposition and fanaticism of a certain section of society. Bilawal’s resolve that the blood of the outspoken Salmaan Taseer would not go in vain, must be a matter of solace for the West which views Pakistan’s future as uncertain and rocky, though Bilawal emphasises his viewpoint at peril to his life. As it is, there is no dearth of hotheaded bigots. Regardless of one’s political disposition about Bilawal and irrespective of the fact whether one is at tangent or even diametrically opposed to his views, one has to grudgingly concede to Bilawal’s gumption and gusto. While Asif Ali Zardari has condemned Taseer’s assassination, he left it to Bilawal to take the lead in this matter, since he is the future torchbearer of the party. …
Read more : Daily Times
THE MAN WHO KNEW THE FUTURE
by Shorish Kashmiri, Matbooat Chattan, Lahore
Congress president Maulana Abul Kalam Azad gave the following interview to journalist Shorish Kashmiri for a Lahore based Urdu magazine, Chattan, in April 1946. It was a time when the Cabinet Mission was holding its proceedings in Delhi and Simla. Azad made some startling predictions during the course of the interview, saying that religious conflict would tear apart Pakistan and its eastern half would carve out its own future. He even said that Pakistan’s incompetent rulers might pave the way for military rule. According to Shorish Kashmiri, Azad had earmarked the early hours of the morning for him and the interview was conducted over a period of two weeks. This interview had published Kashmiri’s own book Abul Kalam Azad, which was printed only once by Matbooat Chattan Lahore, a now-defunct publishing house. Former Union Cabinet Minister Arif Mohammed Khan discovered the book after searching for many years and translated the interview in English.
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad: The Man Who Knew The Future Of Pakistan Before Its Creation
Muslims must realise that they are bearers of a universal message. They are not a racial or regional grouping in whose territory others cannot enter. … But today the situation is worse than ever. Muslims have become firm in their communalism; they prefer politics to religion …
The factors that laid the foundation of Islam in Indian society and created a powerful following have become victim of the politics of partition….
Read more : Scribd
MISUSE OF ISLAM BY MUSLIM ELITE AND PAKISTAN – A BRILLIANT ARTICLE BY MIR M. TALPUR
Everyone is trying to comprehend why Pakistan has become a hub of terrorism because wherever terrorists strike, the leads point towards the country. A lot has been written to explain the reasons why, of all places, it is here in Pakistan that the mindset which is universally so destructive and thrives solely on violence, bigotry and belligerence flourishes unhindered. Why has this country become the breeding place of an extremely vicious, bigoted and violent brand of fundamentalism that the Taliban and their ilk want everyone to accept as the real Islam?
It is surprising that most intellectuals, writers and politicians, when rightly condemning fundamentalist terrorism and terrorists, hold only Ziaul Haq responsible for of all that is wrong here. Terming the scourge of fundamentalism and Taliban terrorists “Ziaul Haq’s progeny”, they erroneously overlook as to whose progeny Ziaul Haq was, for certainly he and his ideology did not suddenly appear from nowhere. DNA testing would certainly establish the parentage.
Fanatical ideologies and individuals are products of long social, political, economic and historical processes. Blaming Zia alone for all the ills here is erroneous and dangerous because it creates a false sense of complacency, leading to the belief that if what Zia did could be undone then there would be peace and tranquillity. We need to look at history before Zia to understand why it had to be Zia who was born with his particular mindset, promoting hatred and hypocrisy instead of a Sufi preaching of tolerance and forbearance. ….
Read more >> CHOWK