Tag Archives: neo-liberal

Interlude in Brown?

by Omar Ali

Pakistan’s existing political and administrative system is based almost entirely on Western models. but the official national ideology is ambivalent or even hostile to Western civilization and its innovations. In the past this was less of a problem since “national ideology” was not very well developed (Jinnah himself was famously confused about what he wanted and while the Muslim League used Islamist slogans freely during the Pakistan movement, a number of its leaders and ideologues were happy to go along with vaguely left wing justifications for the state once they were comfortably in power after partition), but  ever since the time of General Zia, there has been a steady push to establish a particular Islamist version of Pakistani nationalism as the default setting. The process has not gone entirely smoothly and significant sections of the super-elite  intelligentsia remain wedded to Western left-liberal (and more rarely, frankly capitalist/”neo-liberal”)) ideologies while the deeper thinking Islamists tend towards Salafism, but it has gone further in the emerging middle class and within the armed forces. There, a superficially Islamist, hypernationalist vision has taken root and can be seen in its purest form on various “Paknationalist” websites.
This “paknationalism” is an extremely shallow and rather unstable construct. It is not classically Islamist but it regards Islam as the main unifying principle and ideological foundation of the state. In practice, it is more about hating India (and our own Indian-ness) that it is about any recognizable orthodox form of Islam. It is also very close to 1930s fascism in its worship of uniforms, authority and cleansing violence. People outside Pakistan rarely take it too seriously and prefer to  get their versions of Pakistani nationalism from more liberal interpreters, but the “Paknationalists” are serious and one of these days, they are going to have a go at Pakistan if present suicidal trends persist in the civilian elite.  Their interlude may not last very long, but it is likely to be exceptionally violent and may end in catastrophe.

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A New Trend among Sindhi writers

Responding to a posting “A New Trend among Sindhi writers”

By Iqbal Tareen

Washington DC- April 4, 2009 – Your posting triggered an avalanche of thoughts and concerns that I would like to share with you and other readers. In my new book “Harvest will come” there is an article titled “Battle between Millat and Umma”. The moral of that article is that Pakistani state has come to the crossroad where its existence hinges upon separating religion from state and state from religion. What goes on in Waziristan, Qandhar, or Quetta has a direct bearing on fate and future of Sindhi nation no matter how hard we pretend otherwise. The last eight years of Bush-Cheney administration only added more fuel to the fire.

The extreme rightist forces are pushing the envelope to forge the ugliest regional “One Unit” Sindhis have ever seen. Unfortunately many of our writers and political activists have dire difficulty seeing “Beyond the end of nose “.

Political acumen is becoming a rarest commodity. Many of us are lost in the symptoms whereas the earth underneath us is being pulled by the Islamic extremist in more subtle ways than many political icons can notice. Same old forces that have plundered the nation for decades have their foot on Taliban peddle.

If our people have to lose individual dignity and freedoms they will be better off living under Hitler’s rule rather than under a rule of fanatic Taliban or Al-Qaeda. At some point you could reason with anyone who values life on earth but how can you negotiate with the one who feels that the life on earth is actually an outcome of punishment and curse. They are actually in a big hurry to get back to the skies.

I see a lot of “Thy shall not do what your opponent does” syndrome creeping into towering Sindhi intellectuals, writers, and political activists. Because MQM has taken a stand against Taliban, Sindhis seem to be shying away from taking a moral stand against it. Over the centuries Sindhis have rejected extreme religious dictates and have embraced Sufism as a core value. So have majority of people living in Pakistan. It is the unholy alliance of neoliberal and extreme

Islamists who are united not for the love of the people of Pakistan but for the hate of America. Hate can drive ones ego but it feeds on the soul.

We know MQM wants to take advantage of Taliban issue to position itself as the only political entity in Pakistan that has the appetite and will to confront Islamic extremism. It is a very smart and effective marketing and positioning strategy. They are also leveraging this opportunity to get rid of a huge Pushtoon population from Karachi and its surroundings, which MQM considers to be a major threat to its power and influence.

We know every Pushtoon is not a terrorist and every terrorist is not a Pushtoon. We have missed another opportunity to team up with progressive Pushtoon, Baloch, Sindhi, Punjabi, and Urdu speaking population of Karachi, Hyderabad and inner cities to drive a point that Sindhi people are true and natural allies of freedom-loving nations in the

world. On the contrary I read in papers that Mr. Arisar has issued a warning to Pushtoon population in Sindh to leave the province. If that is true, he needs to quit smoking what he is. This kind of mindset will lead to subsequent illusionary ideas demanding expulsion of Baloch population next and so on…

I am not suggesting that managing these issues is a cake walk. What I am saying is that it will require a political spine to take moral stands on critical issues of our times.

I hope Sindhis will take charge of their destiny instead of being the captives of an evil conquest.

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, April 4, 2009.