Tag Archives: narrative

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?

Saving Pakistan via India

Saving Pakistan… and India?

by Omar Ali

Pakistan is in the throes of an existential crisis. Pakistan has always been in the throes of an existential crisis. Pakistan’s interminable existential crisis is, in fact, getting to be a bore.  But while faraway peoples can indeed get away from this topic and on to something more interesting, Pakistanis have little choice in this matter; and it may be that neither do Indians.

The partition of British India was different things to different people, but we can all agree on some things: it was a confused mess, it was accompanied by remarkable violence and viciousness,  and it has led to endless trouble. The Paknationalist narrative built on that foundation has Jihadized the Pakistani state, and defanging that myth is now the most critical historic task of the Pakistani bourgeoisie.

Well, OK. We don’t actually all admit any of those things, but all those are things I have written in the past. Today I hope to shed my inhibitions and go further.

First, the crisis. Some friends think I am being unnecessarily alarmist and the only crisis is the presence of American infidels/imperialists in the region. Let America leave and all will be well. Others believe that if the army had a “free hand”, they would have things under control within days.  Let us dispense with both theories. The crisis is not primarily American generated (though they have a long and glorious history of feeding dollars to the crisis) and no one is in complete control.  The existing corruption-ridden state is a British colonial creation struggling to get by alongside an unstable mix of Islamist ideology and a very shallow and self-contradictory foundational myth. Even though the karma of the Raj is potent stuff, it will not last forever against these forces. When it goes, the next step will not be the dawn of Chomskyan enlightened anarchy or democratic socialism; it will either be Salafist Islam or the dissolution of the state. Dissolution being physically and diplomatically difficult (who will handle the scramble over borders that would follow?), Salafist Islam administered by the army (perhaps with a charismatic cricketer as its public face) is the likely option.

Unfortunately, it is not likely to work very well. In fact, it is incapable of sustaining even the bare minimum of modern statehood. Unlike Iranian Islam (which is literate, modern and sophisticated compared to Salafist fantasies) there is no there there.  A militarized salafist Pakistan may hold together a few years in the name of war against the infidels, but after the war (and who wants a war that could go nuclear?) we are left with little more than the vague notion of a rightly guided caliph, the whipping of uppity women and the accelerated cleansing of undesirable smaller sects. After all, if you have a religious state, then you cannot have ten different interpretations of religion (not to speak of ten different religions). Which vision is in charge has to be clear. The state must enforce religious uniformity or become secular. There is no third option.  One can see this principle in operation in Pakistan ever since General Zia started Islamizing in earnest.  Ahmedis were already beyond the pale, but Shias, a sect that provided the founder of Pakistan and were an integral part of Pakistan, now face the prospect of second class citizenship or worse. If you happen to believe in the Salafist project you may find this a desirable endpoint, but everyone else will want to stop this process and reverse it if possible.

Continue reading Saving Pakistan via India

The general, the dog & the flasher

MRD activist shot dead by military troops in Moro, Sindh, September 1983. –Photo Courtesy: BBC

By: Nadeem F. Paracha

The MRD Movement in 1983 was one of the biggest uprisings against the Ziaul Haq dictatorship. In Sindh it almost tipped over and become a full-fledged armed insurgency against the state.

Sindh, September, 1983. The agitation by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) led Movement for the Restoration of Democracy (MRD) is whirling out of control, not only for the reactionary dictatorship of General Ziaul Haq but for the MRD leadership as well.

Ever since MRD announced the beginning of a nationwide movement against the Zia regime (August 14, 1983), the Pakistani province of Sindh is in great turmoil.

Sindh’s capital Karachi is witnessing court arrests and protest rallies on a daily basis by labour and trade unionists, student leaders and anti-Zia politicians.

But it is the central and northern parts of the province that are in the grip of serious violence. The MRD movement here has taken the shape of a Sindhi uprising bordering on a Sindhi nationalist insurgency against the Pakistan Army.

Faced with a volley of questions (mainly by foreign journalists) regarding his military regime’s challenged legitimacy in Sindh, Zia decides to prove that ‘only a handful of troublemakers’ are involved in the violence taking place against his government in the troubled province.

So, the grinning general (after issuing a fresh round of curbs on the already restricted local media outlets), announces that he will take a whirlwind tour of Sindh to attest that he is as popular there as he (thinks) he is in the Punjab.

So off he flies in his big shiny military aircraft (C-130) with some of his ministers, military cronies and his favorite batch of journalists to Karachi. He is however, aware that BBC Radio has imbedded a host of reporters in Sindh who are covering the MRD movement.

The reporting is largely being done for the BBC Radio’s Urdu service that a majority of Pakistanis have been listening to – especially ever since Zia (a migrant, conservative Punjabi general) toppled the government of the country’s first popularly elected prime minister, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (a well-to-do but populist Sindhi who was equally well-liked in the Punjab).

A disturbing photo of one of the first public floggings ordered by General Ziaul Haq’s military courts.
Hundreds of student leaders, trade union activists, journalists and petty criminals were flogged between 1978 and 1981.
Here, floggers with lethal leather sticks in their hands are seen stepping on a sentenced man’s back after delivering a flogging ordered by a military court.

Zia’s plane lands in Karachi. From here he plans to fly to Hyderabad with his posse. Joining him here is a crew from the state-controlled Pakistan Television (PTV) that will cover the general’s ‘successful tour of Sindh.’

The rallies being taken out against him by leftist students, journalists, trade unionists, women rights groups and politicians in Karachi don’t bother him.

Most of the country’s senior anti-Zia leadership has already been put behind bars, while the second tier leadership of agitating student outfits, trade and journalist unions and anti-Zia political parties ‘are being made an example of’ by being publically flogged.

MRD was formed in 1981 as a PPP-led alliance to agitate against the Zia dictatorship and to force him to end military rule and hold elections. The alliance’s core parties were: Pakistan Peoples Party; Pakistan Democratic Party; Pakistan Mazdoor Kissan Party; Pakistan National Party; National Awami Party; Qaumi Mahaz Azadi Party; and Jamiat Ulema Islam.

It was also being supported by Jamiat Ulema Pakistan, as well as by various left-wing Sindhi nationalist parties, progressive student organisations, trade unions and women’s rights groups.

Zia, after arriving in Karachi, briefly talks to a select group of journalists and reiterates his views about the situation in Sindh, insisting all was well, and that the MRD movement was the work of a handful of politicians who were working against Islam, Pakistan and the country’s armed forces.

He sounds confident about the success of his visit to the troubled spots of the Sindh province. This confidence was not only built upon what he was hearing from the sycophants that he’d gathered around him in the shape of ministers, military personnel, religious leaders and advisors.

Continue reading The general, the dog & the flasher

Back to Syed: Sindhi nationalism & the Bhuttos

Back to G M Syed?

By Nadeem F. Paracha

Last week newspapers reported a series of bomb attacks on railway tracks in the Sindh province. The attacks were owned by an obscure organisation called the Sindhudesh Liberation Front. The name took a lot of non-Sindhis by surprise. Why would there be an angry Sindhi movement when there have already been two Sindhi prime ministers and, what’s more, a Sindhi president is currently at the helm of the federation?

However, according to Sindhi nationalists, the original architect of Sindhi nationalism, the late G M Syed, is back in vogue amongst the new generation of Sindhi nationalists. Back in the 1960s, G M Syed, an accomplished scholar and politician, painstakingly constructed an elaborate historical narrative of Sindh and its people. It presented Sindh as an ancient land whose people have always been one of the most pluralistic and secular under both Hindu as well as Muslim rule.

The narrative goes on to suggest that during the long Muslim rule in the region, Sindh’s pluralistic tradition was carried on by a number of Muslim mystics (Sufi saints) and have continued to demonstrate a passionate attachment to these mystics. Syed’s narratives on Sindh may now have become common knowledge to most Pakistanis, but this was not always the case.

In fact, just like Pashtun nationalist, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, and many Baloch nationalist thinkers, Syed too was constantly put on the spot by the state for preaching ‘unpatriotic’ and ‘anti-Islam’ ideas. Syed was a magnet for all sorts of ironies. During the Pakistan Movement he steadfastly stood with Pakistan’s founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah. But soon after independence, he became one of the first prominent men to decry the hegemony of the ‘Punjab-dominated elite’ over other provinces (Nations).

Another irony that Syed could never reconcile his politics with was the Bhutto phenomenon. Z A Bhutto, a Sindhi, and his Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), experienced a sudden, meteoric rise (in the late 1960s) when Syed’s narrative had begun to take hold among Sindhi youth. Syed did not applaud Bhutto’s rise in spite of the fact that Bhutto was a Sindhi and a declared progressive.

Bhutto’s leftist but nationalistic rhetoric did not sit well with Syed. To Syed if one brushed off Bhutto’s leftist notions from the surface, underneath was a man willfully doing the bidding for the ‘Punjabi ruling elite’. Syed’s analysis had deemed Pakistan to be a state that was destined to fragment. And just like his Baloch, Pashtun and Bengali nationalist contemporaries, Syed too blamed the myopic view of the ruling elite for this.

He accused the civil and military members of the elite for undermining the cultural histories and traditions of the many ethnicities that resided in Pakistan. He accused them of undemocratically imposing upon the ‘oppressed ethnicities’ a cosmetic version of nationhood. Syed’s suspicion of Bhutto turned hostile when Bhutto used a constitutional process to reinforce the kind of nationhood and faith Syed had accused the establishment of imposing.

To Bhutto it was the dictatorial way that this concept of nationhood had been imposed that made East Pakistan break away and repulsed the non-Punjabi ethnicities. Syed disagreed. To him Bhutto was merely giving ‘Punjabi hegemony’ a constitutional sheen. In 1973 he finally called for an independent Sindh (Sindhudesh).

In April 1979 when, through a sham trial, the Ziaul Haq dictatorship sent Bhutto to the gallows, Syed termed Bhutto’s tragic demise as a great loss to the establishment. Mocking the establishment’s arrogance Syed remarked ‘today they (the establishment) have killed their own, best man.’

With Bhutto out of the way and a reactionary Punjabi general ruling the roost, did Syed finally make Sindhis rise for Sindhudesh?

No. Even though Sindhis did rise, especially during the 1983 MRD movement in which hundreds were killed and whole villages were razed to the ground by army tanks, Syed did not support the uprising.

This time another Bhutto had appeared, Benazir. To Syed here was another popular Sindhi who was willing to clean up yet another mess created by the establishment so the federation could be saved; a federation Syed had no hope in. Recently a young Sindhi (and PPP voter) told me that the ‘establishment’ has started playing a game in Sindh which even the PPP won’t be able to check.

On further inquiry he explained that some sections of the intelligence agencies believe that they can subdue Sindhi nationalism the way they did Pashtun nationalism and the way they are trying to suppress Baloch nationalism, i.e. by crudely injecting a puritanical strain of Islam into what are almost entirely secular nationalisms.

‘Look what has happened in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’, said the young Sindhi. ‘Look how sectarian organisations are roaming freely in Balochistan. They (the ‘agencies’) are now helping fanatics to build madressas in Sindh as well so that Syed Sain’s legacy and those of the Sufis in Sindh can be replaced by mullahs and extremists’. Or in other words, by those who are ideological and political ‘allies of the military-establishment’.

To the young Sindhi, Syed’s Sindhudesh Liberation Movement was a reaction to this.

Courtesy: DAWN

http://www.dawn.com/2012/03/11/smokers-corner-back-to-g-m-syed.html

The alternative to the slow boat of democracy in Pakistan is failure

By Omar Ali

While the Zia-ul-Haq narrative promoted jihadist militias and covert foreign adventures, Pervez Musharraf’s regime led to open rebellion in Balochistan, an independent Islamic emirate in FATA, a nationwide terrorist problem and new compromises with the same corrupt politicians. And were Ashfaq Parvez Kayani to take over tomorrow, he will end up with the same compromises and the same old faces.

Before a democratic government can stabilise, the middle classes, schooled in the Pakistan Military Academy narrative, start aching for another saviour on horseback, but none exists.

In the current crisis in Pakistan, there has been some comment over what might work better for the country’s development — a “democratic” model or an “authoritarian” one. These categories may be misleading. Generalised arguments about “authoritarian regimes” and “democracies” hide far too many details under the hijab. There is vigorous debate about the shortcomings (real and imagined) of modern capitalist democracy and there is no reason to think that it is the final system under which mankind will live forever. But in the last 100 years, most absolute or dictatorial regimes have all either broken down, or seen capitalist development and evolved into some sort of democracy. The question then is not about democracy versus authoritarianism. It is about whether an “under-developed” state, such as Pakistan, can “develop” as a capitalist democracy without going through a fascist phase.

Continue reading The alternative to the slow boat of democracy in Pakistan is failure

Dawn: Nadeem F. Paracha on the shadow of 1980s thinking on Pakistan’s military establishment

Thick muck – By Nadeem F. Paracha

The parameters and paranoia of the bygone Cold War just refuses to evaporate from the psyche of Pakistan’s military-establishment. That war might have folded with the folding up of the Soviet Union in 1991, but it seems Pakistan’s military-establishment is still largely stuck (albeit willingly) in the thick muck that this war threw up in this region in the 1980s.

Continue reading Dawn: Nadeem F. Paracha on the shadow of 1980s thinking on Pakistan’s military establishment

Impact of OWS

– Finally, Higher Taxes for the 1% — Is Occupy Behind Governors’ Moves to Make the Wealthy Pay Their Share?

By Sarah Jaffe

Is the narrative around taxes finally shifting? Thanks to heavy public pressure, Governors Cuomo and Brown propose taxing their states’ ultrarich. …

Read more » AlterNet

My Fellow American: understanding of as being American changes the whole dynamics

My Fellow American is a film project in the United States devoted to recognizing that Muslims are our neighbors. My Fellow American project was created to offer a new narrative about Muslims in America and offer people a safe platform to discuss their opinions. My fellow American is hoping to share this message of tolerance. This 2 minute film is actually praising Muslims and showing how they are helping their fellow Americans. …

Courtesy: → Elizabeth Potter, Unity Productions Foundation,

facebook.com/MyFellowAmericanProject@usmuslimstories

Is Pakistan collapsing – by S Akbar Zaidi

This presence of Osama bin Laden led to an extraordinary event of US SEAL military officers “invading” Pakistan, violating its air space, carrying out a military operation for 40 minutes and killing the most wanted terrorist and flying back to Afghanistan.

From drone attacks to constant admonishing by the Obama administration, to a weak economy, an insurgency and target-killing of the non-Baloch in Balochistan, and a weekly dose of suicide attacks on common people, all support a perception that Pakistan is collapsing. However, this conventional understanding may not be accurate. What these events suggest is that there is a growing crisis and contradiction within and between the institutions of the state in Pakistan and these crises and contradictions, evaluated differently, might offer a completely divergent narrative. What may be collapsing is the political settlement that has existed for many decades and this may be a positive development. Democractic forces have an opportunity now to end the military’s domination of Pakistan. …

Read more: View Point

Women can’t be trusted

By Sami Shah

Excerpt:

Those western-imperialist-baby-eating-drone-flying-war-mongers are at it again. Tarnishing the image of this noble and pure nation of ours. Don’t they know that their propaganda cannot work here? That all their vile and blatant attempts are doomed to failure? Has no one told them that all Pakistani’s are born with a thin layer of an anti-Pakistan narrative filtering gauze over our ears that only thickens with time? Haven’t they heard that we Pakistanis cannot be anything but shining paragons of humanly virtue because we put “Islamic” in the full title of our country? Clearly not. How else can one justify the base lies and vile falsehoods in this latest report independently published by the Thompson Reuters Foundation. The clear work of a group of Jewish bankers sitting in the basement of the Bilderberg headquarters while taking time out from scuffing the shoes of their Hindu-Illuminatis masters, the report alleges that Pakistan is the third most dangerous country for women.

Surely the claims that 1,000 women and girls are victims of honour killings every year and that 90 per cent of Pakistani women suffer domestic abuse are pure fantasy fiction. No doubt, they were paid off by India to say this, although not paid enough to prevent India from appearing one spot below us on that same list. Besides, have you ever seen American television? The women wear the kind of clothes that should be relegated to lurid descriptions by maulvis who are trying to inspire the next batch of suicide bombers. At least we don’t let our women dress like that! That has to count for something? ….

…. In fact, just stop paying attention to us altogether. Just leave us alone, in the dark.

Read more: → The Express Tribune

Pakistan: the situation inside

The natives getting restless – by Mujahid Hussain

The anti-Army feelings among the influential political parties, religious and jihadist parties and outfits are increasing in the traditionally pro-Army province of Punjab. The failure of the Army and the Central Government in Balochistan is calamitous. The extremism in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has not been beaten

Recent events have caused the army and its intelligence wing to be exposed to criticism in a manner never seen before in this country. This estrangement does not apply to the religious right alone anymore, who were already angry because of their one dimensional view on the war on terror. Both the religious and the left wing parties have felt emotions of betrayal and anger towards the army for different reasons. The liberal intellectuals who support the army in the war on terror, have expressed concerns about the duplicity and the modus operandi of the intelligence agencies.

Usama Bin Ladin’s death in Abbottabad, Mehran Base Attack, successive drone attacks, and now the killing of a youth by the Rangers in Karachi in public, has caused the decibel levels to rise as never before.

The less than complimentary views about the army expressed by Asma Jahangir, President of the Supreme Court Bar Association and the torch bearer of Human Rights, has created a new situation. The reaction of the military top brass has been to rely on its carefully nurtured constituency in journalism, politics, establishment and other vocal segments of the society, to stick to the well rehearsed standard narrative, offering the usual rewards in return.

On the other hand, Nawaz Sharif intends to exploit this situation, for he knows full well that his rivals are weak and that internal and external factors may allow him to gain political ascendancy. There is no evidence coming to the fore that the army has grasped the significance of the change in the public mood and increasing disillusionment among its traditional supporters.

It does not seem that the army has yet decided to curtail its role in politics. History, however, is full of ironies. The coziness with the Army that was the preserve of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Group [PML-N] is now enjoyed by the Pakistan Peoples’ Party [PPP], given expression through the statements of Rahman Malik, Babar Awan, and Firdous Ashiq Awan. All three are new PPP faces whereas the traditional party leaders have lost their pre-eminence. On the other hand, the PML-N members are moving towards the role played by the PPP workers during and following the Zia regime. Jamaat-e-Islami [JI] has lost favour and Imran Khan has stepped into its shoes.

Whereas the brittleness of the state has become obvious in these circumstance, its only stable institution, the Army, is also facing retreat and uncertainty. The situation in the tribal regions is a stalemate. The anti-Army feelings among the influential political parties, religious and jihadist parties and outfits are increasing in the traditionally pro-Army province of Punjab. The failure of the Army and the Central Government in Balochistan is calamitous. The extremism in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has not been beaten. In Sindh, the increasing unrest in cities is not a good omen for all unitary forces including the Army even though there is no prominent movement in the rural Sindh. …

Read more: ViewPoint

Conference on Partition – Past and Present

Conference on Partition – Past and Present, on Saturday, October 15, 2011

Sub topics: 1947 Indian Subcontinent Partition, past and present; Partitions of Bengal; Partitions of Punjab, Kashmir and Assam; Partition studies in the Indian Subcontinent; Effects of partition on Assam, Tripura and Sindh; Bangladesh War of Independence; Reconciliation and forgiveness; Unity; Identity; History; Divided peoples of Africa, Asia, Europe and the Former Soviet Union; Narratives of refugees, survivors and protectors; Division’s long-term effect; Effects of displaced peoples on host population; Minority issues in divided lands; Indigenous peoples, their language, culture and religion; Longing for home. Date: Saturday, October 15, 2011, Time: 8:30 AM, Place: Politics, Economics & Law Department, State University of New York, Old Westbury, Long Island, New York 11568.

Continue reading Conference on Partition – Past and Present

The army narrative: fiction

by Dr Manzur Ejaz

The fallacious super-religious-patriotic narrative has been created by the army to preserve its superiority in the Pakistani state for perks that are not available to any other armed forces in the whole wide world.

Once again it has been proved that no one can beat Pakistan’s army in turning a military defeat into a propaganda conquest for the people of Pakistan. After the 1965 debacle and 1971 surrender in East Bengal, the Pakistan Army has concentrated less on defending Pakistan and more on refining and perfecting the Machiavellian politics and techniques of propaganda to confuse and mislead the unsuspecting masses of the country.

The US’s Abbottabad operation was a colossal failure of the Pakistan Army because first it did not know if Osama bin Laden was living next door to an elite military academy — if one accepts their claim — and then who took his dead body away unless President Obama called President Zardari. Instead of explaining its incompetence on both accounts, the military took the propaganda offensive while seeking refuge behind the civilian leaders just like the 1971 defeat and Kargil disaster. Not only that, the army chided the poor elected politicians through General Shuja Pasha, Director General (DG) Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Parliament was forced to pass an army-pleasing resolution, which had no mention of terrorism eating up the country.

The Pakistan Army, with the help of gravely uniformed and corporate media, has created a narrative for all ills in Pakistan as a consequence of the US intervention in Afghanistan. The narrative claims that the US is forcing the country to fight its war on terror while Pakistan is offering huge sacrifices for nothing. The entire narrative is constructed to provide political cover to the army’s misplaced policy goals as well as to the Taliban, al Qaeda and jihadi groups. The fact is that Pakistan has neither helped the US’s war on terror nor has it done anything more than inflicting wounds to its own body that it categorises as ‘sacrifices’. The narrative is based on fallacies that need to be examined closely.

First, Pakistan has not been dragged into the war on terror by the US only. Pakistan had become a nursery of terrorists that led to international bombings, including the dramatic incidents of 9/11, which dragged the US into the war on terror. Of course, the US was the main producer of Islamic jihadis with Pakistani collaboration, but the seeds of Islamic extremism had been put in place by General Ziaul Haq much before the American participation. As a matter of fact, seeds of religious intolerance and extremism were sown in the early 1950s by passing ‘Qarardaad-e-Maqaasid’ (the Objectives Resolution).

Second, suicide bombings in Pakistan are not only due to Pakistan’s so-called cooperation with the US. Al Qaeda, the Taliban and other jihadis had no need to use violence in Pakistan because the state was not only accommodating them but was helping them to conquer Afghanistan by all means. The religious extremist forces were going to use violent means the day the Pakistani state stood in their way. The incident of the Red Mosque is cited as a trigger for the suicide attacks and that proves the point that armed Islamist forces were going to hit Pakistan if the state put any hurdle in their way. The process was accelerated because, under US pressure, it became difficult for the Pakistani state to accommodate the religious terrorists and hence suicide bombings were unleashed on Pakistan.

Third, Pakistan has not done more to stop religious terrorism than other countries because its doings are just partial remedies for its self-inflicted wounds. According to this part of the narrative, Pakistan has done more by catching and handing over more religious terrorists to the world community than any other country. But, why were all such terrorists found in Pakistan and not in any other country in the first place? Should other countries produce more religious terrorists and then hand them over to the US to compete with Pakistan? Naturally, more terrorists will be nabbed in a country where they are found. Therefore, this part of the establishment narrative is absolutely ridiculous.

Four, Pakistan will not become a safer place if it cuts its ties with the US. However, Pakistan can become a dreadfully silent place if Islamisation and Talibanisation is given a free hand to turn it into a primitive theocratic state. If the state or the other sections of society resist Islamisation in the country, violence will accelerate, destroying every institution of the state even after Pakistan distances itself from the US. Therefore, the US or no US, religious extremism is a reality in Pakistan and has to be recognised as such.

Continue reading The army narrative: fiction

Na wo badlay na dil badla na dil ki arzoo badli, Main kaesay aitbaar inqlab-i-asmaan kar loon

Truth & justice – By Mushtaq Gaadi

Excerpt:

… The consensus narrative that our security apparatus has tried to promote for the past six decades has collapsed. This narrative is built upon prejudice, denial of historical identities, violent and exclusive interpretations of Islam and the suppression of memories of injustice, crimes and wrongs. The only means to move beyond the impasse we find ourselves in and reframe our major consensus narrative is through the deliberative remembrance of our critical past.

The presidential reference on the Bhutto trial provides an opportunity to our state institutions and public to ground the present reconciliation into truth and justice. The acknowledgment of historic wrongs along with public apologies is the prerequisite for any reconciliation to be successful. Moreover, it is the only way to end the deep distrust and enmity which Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto referred in his last book by quoting the following Urdu couplet.

Na wo badlay na dil badla na dil ki arzoo badli

Main kaesay aitbaar inqlab-i-asmaan kar loon

The writer teaches at the Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad.

To read complete article : DAWN

The dirty ‘S’ word in Pakistan: – Urooj Zia

Images aired earlier this month where lawyers and other citizens in Pakistan were seen garlanding and felicitating the murderer of Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer might have made those involved look tasteless and crude, but their acts were far from shocking. All his faults aside, Taseer had stood up for a Christian woman who had been accused of blasphemy and sentenced to death by a district and sessions (lower) court. He was killed because he had referred to the blasphemy statutes as ‘black laws’ which are abused at will, and had called for reform. As such, Taseer was killed because he had stood up, albeit in a roundabout way, for secularism and basic humanity.

Secularism is an incredibly dirty word in the mainstream narrative of Pakistan. Over time, malevolent forces of obscurantism, bolstered by the deep state, have worked tirelessly towards transforming the connotations of the word in the national consciousness, until it came to represent, falsely of course, the absolute negation of spirituality. …

Read more : Kafila