Tag Archives: Question

Some questions?

By: Aziz Narejo

1. Do you think break up of Pakistan is inevitable?

2. If yes, then who do you think will cause its break up?

3. Do you think it will be nationalists in Balochistan, Sindh & Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa?

4. Don’t you think they are not that powerful or well-organized?

5. Or you think the wrong policies of the Pakistan’s Military Establishment that eats up most of the Pakistani budget & conquers own country almost every ten years & the terrorists it has created to wage proxy wars on Eastern & Western borders & in the cities of Pakistan’s Southern most province will eventually break up the country?

Courtesy: Aziz Narejo, facebook wall

CJ Iftikhar Chaudhry should be asked to appear before Parliamentary Committee on Rules of Procedure and Privileges

In the light of recent commentaries by leading Pakistani and international lawyers including but not limited to Asma Jahangir, Justice Markandey Katju [Listen Justice Markandey’s interview at BBC urdu] (Indian Supreme Court), Saroop Ijaz etc, it is evident that Supreme Court of Pakistan has violated not only national constitution but also attacked the very foundation of parliamentary democracy in Pakistan.

Former Indian Supreme Court judge Justice Markandey Katju, writing in The Hindu recently, questioned what he said was the “lack of restraint” on the part of Pakistan’s superior judiciary. Justice Katdue wrote: “In fact, the court and its Chief Justice have been playing to the galleries for long. This has clearly gone overboard and flouted all canons of constitutional jurisprudence”. He said that Article 248, Clause 2 of the Pakistani Constitution very clearly states: “No criminal proceedings whatsoever shall be instituted or continued against the President or governor in any court during his (or her) terms of office”. He then went on to ask that if this is the case, how could a court approach what is a settled provision in the “garb of interpretation”?

The Pakistan Constitution draws its basic structure from Anglo-Saxon laws, which establishes a delicate balance of power among the three organs of the state — the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. However, in recent past, particularly since April 2012, Pakistan’s top judiciary led by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry has encroached into the elected parliament’s domain. This situation is not only a violation of Pakistan’s constitution but violates privilege of the elected parliament.

In his desire to become a saviour and hero of Pakistan, CJ Chaudhry has become a tool in the hands of politicians and media, and is through his actions and verdicts hurting Pakistan’s very security and stability.

Lawyer Saroop Ijaz writes:

Continue reading CJ Iftikhar Chaudhry should be asked to appear before Parliamentary Committee on Rules of Procedure and Privileges

Brown Pundits – Pakistan; the sausage factory is getting exposed

Pakistan: the sausage factory is becoming dangerously transparent

By Omar

The latest scandal in Pakistan involves the leading business tycoon of the country spending (he claims) 340 million rupees on the son of the chief justice of Pakistan. Said tycoon Riaz Malik used to be a struggling contractor who hit paydirt with high-end housing colonies named “Bahria colony” (the name means “navy”…and some admirals are said to have sold him access to that name and the authority of Pakistan’s smallest armed force). Now one of the richest men in the country, Malik Riaz has been profiled in this documentary by TV anchor Sohail Warraich.

Suggested names for this scandal include “bahriagate”, “familygate” and, more originally (from lawyer Feisal Naqvi) “liti-gate”! Conspiracy theorists are busy trying to figure out if this whole thing was orchestrated by the army (unhappy over the chief justice’s asking questions about missing persons in Balochistan) or by Zardari or by the CIA and Mossad and RAW.

But whatever the details, one thing is clear to an outside observer. The walls of the sausage factory are becoming dangerously transparent. 11 retired generals work for Malik Riaz. Many admirals and generals smoothed his path to wealth. Many journalists are being accused of being on his payroll. And its not just this scandal. The son of the prime minister is accused of smuggling controlled substances. The brother of the almighty army chief is being targeted in a whispering campaign. Secret agencies, hidden camera videos, trips to Monte Carlo with mysterious women…its all out in the open or threatening to come out. All this has happened in other countries (well, maybe some of it has). but times are tough, the economy may tank, the security establishment has got itself into a fight with its traditional American patrons. There was never a real national ideology behind the claptrap taught in 6th grade. What will hold the center? These things can get out of hand.

Continue reading Brown Pundits – Pakistan; the sausage factory is getting exposed

Judicial circus on memo

Legal solution to a political question

Whichever way one looks at it, the beginning and end of the ‘memogate’ controversy is political, as there is no constitutional issue to be resolved.

Ultimately, Asma Jahangir’s stance on the Supreme Court Order is exactly right

By Maryam Khan

The ‘memogate’ controversy is a political question, which means it is a question for political resolution between the political branches of government (the executive and the legislature) and other State institutions, like the military and the intelligence, which are subordinate to the government. The controversy requires political resolution because it has a direct nexus with structural issues relating to civil-military relations. To put it bluntly, the Supreme Court, in principle, has no role to play in this controversy. Let us see why.

Continue reading Judicial circus on memo

Imran Khan: Conscious fraud or deluded tool? or both?

Saroop Ijaz on Imran Khan

By Omar Ali

Saroop Ijaz asks the question and votes for “lies”.

I disagree, I think he is not consciously lying. I think he is genuinely deluded..at some level, he really believes his theories…maybe he knows he is exaggerating when he says “I will finish corruption in 19 days”, but I suspect he really does think corruption is something that can be finished once he becomes ameer ul momineen and applies the philosophy of Allama Iqbal and the glorious system of the Khulafa e Rashideen.. One must not underestimate the effect of Pak Studies and Allama Iqbal on a truly determined person…

If he is lying, then he may be thinking he has to say ridiculous things and repeat mindless notions of Allama Iqbal and his glorious philosophy in order to become prime minister and then gradually fix the system using more practical means….a sort of “noble lie”. I am afraid I remain pessimistic because I have a hard time imagining that he is just faking all the “golden age of Islam and Allama Iqbal” stuff. Somehow, I find that hard to believe… But I will be happy to be proven wrong….

Read more » Brown Pundits

via- Twitter

US express concern over Hafiz Saeed’s public appearances

By Huma Imtiaz / Web Desk

WASHINGTON: The US State Department has raised concerns about Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed’s public appearances, including at the Difa-e-Pakistan Council (DPC) rally held in Karachi earlier this week.

The State Department issued a brief press release on Thursday, In response to a question submitted earlier in the week, which said that, “Lashkar-e-Taiba and its front group Jamaatud Dawa, is internationally sanctioned because of its associations with al Qaeda. We have and continue to urge the Government of Pakistan to uphold its obligations in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1267/1989.”

The release further stated that the UN resolution “calls for all countries to freeze assets of sanctioned groups, prevent the transfer of arms to them, and prevent sanctioned individuals from entering or transiting their territories.”

JuD has been functioning in the country as a religious and charity organisation. Post Mumbai attacks in 2008, the organisation was declared a terrorist organisation by the West, UN and India. ….

Read more » The Express Tribune

The Next Indo Pak Conflict – Major Amin’s prophesies? Is he right?

The Next Indo Pak Conflict

By Agha H. Amin

A brother human being Mr Giani 240 was a catalyst for this reflection on an IndoPak conflict.

At some stage historical forces, greater than main or key decision makers takeover and take states to war. This has already happened! no one can reverse the tide! how it happens and how many major cities may be destroyed is the question?

Mad men on both sides! Extreme suspicion and paranoia! Situation compounded by fear and ambiguity! The Pakistani military an army with a state versus India a state with an army makes the role of Indian army more limited than the Pakistani military who also control foreign policy and internal politics! The Pakistani military is not really qualified foreign policy nor are they statesman! But they think that they are both! This makes it far more dangerous! The Indian state is at a loss to decipher Pakistani intentions! Ambiguity leads to confusion and as the adage goes ” Fear made men believe in the worst “! The use of non state actors initiated by the Pakistani military and now in full use by both countries has already gone out of control!Non state actors now have many masters, both state and non state and this complicates apportioning of blame in any incident! Above all population, limited resources, a human psyche deforming rapidly into collective neurosis as well as psychosis is complicating the situation. With man basically irrational, decisions military and political are not made with rational reasons.This was discovered by Freud long ago and discussed in detail in his classic ” The Future of an Illusion“. As a historian with a unique insight based on personal contact with many key decision makers on the Pakistani side and some interaction with Indians as a contractor in Afghanistan convinces me that a major Indo Pak conflict is not far away. Now the process is in hands of a remote and unknown pilot. Even the major and the key decision makers on both sides cannot reverse it. Although they may decide on the time and space and choice of targets. Why states go to war? A detailed study of history proves that it is for reasons more irrational than rational but nevertheless compelling reason. All is understood if we start from the premise that man is irrational! One thing I know .The Indian and Pakistani nukes will not be wasted and rusted in secret storages! God help us all!

Courtesy: Scribd

http://www.scribd.com/doc/28060478/The-Next-Indo-Pak-Conflict-Agha-H-Amin

Via » Twitter

India is likely a dangerous place for women

Visualizing Violence Against Indian Women

By

(Via SepiaMutiny Newsfeed):  A Malayali civil engineer and  former software developer, Shemeer Padinzjharedil, came to a conclusion that many BPs have already done through deduction: India is likely a dangerous place for women relative to the Western world.  Inspired to debunk the results of a Thompson-Reuters poll of gender ‘experts’ perception of danger to women, where three of the five worst offenders were south asian countries, Shemeer thought the reported statistics would paint a different picture.  Given the survey  combined questions about statistics with reporting bias problems (sexual assault, trafficking, non-sexual assault) and factors (cultural and religious) for which one could combine statistics about which I would be more comfortable citing (maternal mortality, female literacy and other health stats), he faced a difficult task.  Given that the solid numbers are unambiguous, Shemeer decided against deconstructing this picture and sought, instead, to flesh it out with self-reporting by building a site where anyone can report violence: www.maps4aid.com  The site is in it’s infancy but you can already see some trends: centers of population and urbanized areas report the most violence regardless of the category.  A second site, blogs4aid, has handy bar graph breaking it out by state.  For 2010 you may find a few surprises:

Read more » Brown Pundits

‘Memogate’ commission should examine existing evidence, not create new evidence

By Beena Sarwar

What is ‘Memogate’? The ‘memo’ in question is a letter allegedly written at the behest of Pakistan’s President by the Ambassador to Washington Husain Haqqani, asking USA to prevent a possible military coup in Pakistan after US Navy Seals killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan on May 2, 2011. Haqqani denied the allegations, sent in a letter offering to resign in order to facilitate an impartial inquiry, and returned to Pakistan to clear his name. Instead, he found his resignation letter accepted. The Supreme Court barred his exit from Pakistan. He has been forced for his own safety to confine himself first to the Presidency and then to the Prime Minister House. On Dec 30, 2011, The Supreme Court in response to a petition against the ‘memo’ formed a three-member judicial commission to look into the matter that the media has dubbed as ‘memogate’.

Asma Jahangir, counsel for Husain Haqqani and former Supreme Court Bar Association President, has refused to appear before the commission saying that she does not trust the judiciary. She has said that instead of forming a commission to create or produce new evidence the Supreme Court should have looked into the evidence placed before it to decide whether there was a prima facie case and whether the court could proceed to enforce any fundamental rights by making a binding order.

The entire affair appears to be geared towards undermining the democratic political process in Pakistan – specifically at targeting President Asif Ali Zardari, using Husain Haqqani as a vehicle. Asma Jahangir has unequivocally termed the Supreme Court’s judgment as a victory for the military that has run affairs in Pakistan for decades and is obviously still all-powerful behind the scenes.

Asma Jahangir has argued that the Supreme Court had no right to bar Haqqani’s travel abroad. Nor does Supreme Court or the judicial commission set up, have the right to demand Blackberry (RIM) data without due process of law. No server (BU or RIM) should share data with Commission, which is essentially pursuing a political dispute, not criminal charges. The judiciary seems to be ruling on the basis of national security ideology instead of constitution and law.

Continue reading ‘Memogate’ commission should examine existing evidence, not create new evidence

Asma Jahangir says; the Supreme Court says they (military) cannot come now, but I ask when did they leave?

Aap (Chief Justics) kehtay hain Vo (the Armed Forces) ab nahi aa saktay. Bhai, Vo gaey kab hain ke aa nahi saktay. Pehle aap unko jaanay to dee(n)” Asma Jehangir says this in this interview. Whole interview is like primer for those who consider fundamental rights of an individual more important that the bogey of ‘national security.’ Part 5 and 6 of this interview are a must watch for thinking Pakistanis. She (Asma Jahangir) says transition to democracy not complete – transfer of power not taken place from military establishment to elected government in effective terms! The language of the interview is urdu (Hindi).

Courtesy » DAWN News Tv (Memo Gate [Asma Jahangir Exclusive Interview] 1st Jan 2012-p5)

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A quick question to Nawaz Sharif

Shenanigans, dangerous shenanigans

By Kamran Shafi

Excerpt;

… For God’s sake, will our political leaders never learn? Will they forever be hostage to the Deep State and to the conspiracies spun by it? It is all very well for the PML-N to take the Murky Memo Matter to the Supreme Court, but have its leaders who I consider my friends, ever considered the fact that whilst Mansoor Ijaz’s allegations against the federal government and its officials were immediately ‘investigated’ by the top spook himself and a public indictment issued, the same person’s allegations against Shuja Pasha weighing the possibilities of carrying out a coup against a sitting elected government have been laid to rest by a mere press release of the ISPR denying any such thing?

While it is much exercised by the Murky Memo, does the PML-N find nothing wrong in the allegations against Pasha? Will it not ask for a thorough investigation by an agency/agencies of state, say the IB and the FIA? The ISPR says Pasha did not visit any of the countries mentioned on the stated dates, but did he visit them on other dates? Has anyone forensically examined his cell phones? Or his passports — if he goes through the usual procedures of travelling abroad like the rest of us, of course?! Am I right when I say that our generals are Teflon-coated; that nothing sticks to them; that they are faultless, blameless, and doubly-blessed? That the only bad is in the ‘bloody civilians’?

I have now written for many years that the only way that the politicians can see off the great threat to themselves posed by the Deep State is to stick together come hell or high-water. They must stand shoulder-to-shoulder to prevent that scourge of democracy, the Deep State, from always driving the agenda: giving a dog a bad name and then hanging him. The most effective weapon in its arsenal is spreading rumours about a government’s corruption and ineptness. In this they make no exceptions: exact same allegations were placed at the PPP’s door as were placed at the PML-N’s. I have long said too, that if this present government does not complete its tenure, neither will the next one. But is anyone listening?

No one is, because the fact of the matter is that the real aim of what is going on is to deny the PPP the majority in the Senate that will surely be it’s if it is allowed to stay in power until the elections in March. Simple, but very bad politics, for will the PPP not destabilise the PML-N government when IT comes to power?

A quick question to my friends in the PML-N who so want the government to be rolled up immediately if not sooner and elections held in the next two months: Do you really think that the powers will allow a snap election when its preferred ‘Third Force’ is still girding its loins?

I am most sad.

Courtesy:  The Express Tribune, December 24th, 2011.

Sindhis should join Imran Khan – Tehrik-e-Insaaf?

By Khalid Hashmani

There is a discussion on Sindhi e-lists! It is quite eloquent. However, much of what is being stated has very little to do whether or not Sindhis should vote for Imran Khan and his Taheek-e-Insaf party. The arguments about love, fear, freedom, and slavery are mere generalities that could support or oppose the subject. Although, the manifesto of Tahreek has been substantially generalized as it now appears on their website, I had written a note after visiting their website in May 2007.

I ask the proponents of the suggestion that is arguing that Sindhis should support Imran Khan to provide arguments as to how Tahreek-e-Insaf and Imran Khan have changed since May 2007 except that there now only talk in generalities and foster Pakistani identity. We should recognize the fact that his political party Pakistan Trek-i-Unsafe (PIT) does not have a Sindh-friendly manifesto and it doesn’t recognize historical rights of Sindhis within their existing national territory.

Courtesy » Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, December 13, 2011

A Pakistani Christian student’s question to the High Court

Is a Pakistani Christian equal to a fellow Muslim?

“A young Pakistani student belonging to the Christian faith has posed an interesting question through a petition in the Lahore High Court. The question is: Am I, a Pakistani Christian equal to a fellow citizen who is a Muslim ? For those of the readers who missed the news item reported by an English daily, this young student belongs to a low income group, is a practicing Christian and extremely bright. She has been competing to get into the King Edwards Medical College but was beaten on the list by 20 marks by a Muslim student who got the extra 20 marks for being Hafiz–e-Quran. So, now this young Christian girl has filed a plea in the Lahore Court declaring that she and the Muslim student had equal marks but the latter got the advantage of religion. The young Christian student claims that “this is discrimination against religious minority students and a violation of fundamental rights granted by the Constitution of Pakistan.” The petition admitted by the Lahore High Court demands that either the LHC should rule to abolish the policy or should declare that a parallel policy should be made to award twenty additional marks to religious minority students on the basis of their religious knowledge. Fifty eight years after the creation of the country to ask such a question through the courts is both tragic and hopeful”.
Constitution of Pakistan, Part II, Chapter -1, Fundamental Rights, Article 22 says:-

(1) No person attending any educational institution shall be required to receive religious instruction, or take part in any religious ceremony, or attend religious worship, if such instruction, ceremony or worship relates to a religion other than his own.

(2) In respect of any religious institution, there shall be no discrimination against any community in the granting of exemption or concession in relation to taxation.

(3) Subject to law: (a) no religious community or denomination shall be prevented from providing religious instruction for pupils of that community or denomination in any educational institution maintained wholly by that community or denomination; and

(b) no citizen shall be denied admission to any educational institution receiving aid from public revenues on the ground only of race, religion, caste or place of birth.

(4) Nothing in this Article shall prevent any public authority from making provision for the advancement of any socially or educationally backward class of citizens.

Read more » Pak Tribune

Ahmadis expelled from school

By Shamsul Islam

FAISALABAD: At least 10 students, including seven girls, and a female teacher were expelled from Chenab Public School and Muslim Public School, Dharanwali area of Hafizabad, for being Ahmadis.

“It is extremely unfortunate that my daughters are being deprived of the most basic and fundamental human right such as education … all because of religious intolerance,” Khalil Ahmad, whose three daughters were expelled, told The Express Tribune. “I have no alternative to ensure that their education continues,” he added.

What about the constitutional provisions which ensure equal rights for all? What about the rule of law that says no discrimination can be made on the basis of faith, race, cast and creed, he questions. …

Read more » The Express Tribune

Is Democracy as We Know It on Its Way Out?

By Frank Viviano

A decade ago, only paranoid alarmists would have posed that question.

 Today, it may be an expression of cold, brutal realism.

Is Western democracy coming apart at the seams? A decade ago, only paranoid alarmists would have posed that question.

 Today, it may be an expression of cold, brutal realism.

On both sides of the Atlantic — from the fires that raged in large stretches of London, to the political chicanery that brought the U.S. economy to its knees in early August — the institutional framework that came to define modern democracy in the 19th century is in deep trouble.

The principal organs of financial oversight and management are in tatters. Ferociously xenophobic political movements, an entire constellation of Tea Parties, now play important roles in nearly every European nation, as well as the United States.

Faith in elected leaders and legislatures, the central and defining institutions of democracy, has never been lower.

According to the Pew Research Center, the proportion of the U.S. public expressing trust in the federal government has fallen from just under 80 per cent in the late 1960s to barely 20 per cent today. 

….

Read more → AlterNet

Double Standards of Pakistan Judiciary: 3 judges of High court has refused, resigned or Avoided the bail Application of Aafaque Ahmed Chairman MQM Haqeeqi. He remained in jail form 8 years without any court proceedings! Big question mark on independent Judiciary?

Afaq Ahmad, Chairman MQM, Haqiqi
Afaq Ahmad, Chairman MQM, Haqiqi

– Another judge refuses to hear Afaq`s petition

KARACHI, July 25: The petition of Afaq Ahmed, the chairman of the Mohajir Qaumi Movement, better known as MQM-Haqiqi, seeking protection against political victimisation and prosecution in false cases could not be heard on Monday as another judge of the Sindh High Court refused to proceed with the matter.

Justice Ahmed Ali M. Shaikh told Mr Afaq`s counsel that he could not proceed with the petition.

Earlier, Justice Mohammed Athar Saeed had refused to proceed with Mr Ahmed`s petition that was transferred to another judge, Tufail H. Ebrahim.

However, the petition was later transferred to Justice Shaikh after the resignation of Justice Ebrahim. ….

Read more → DAWN.COM

800 million dollar question?

by D Asghar

Excerpt;

Many scream off the top of their lungs about our honor and sovereignty, but very rarely can come up with a solution, which hits a bull’s eye to our economic woes

The moment that dreaded news of the US government suspending its $850 Million aid to the Pakistani Military, hit the wires, there was this flurry of various experts. All weighed in, with their expert comments to exacerbate the already stretched and strained relationship between Pakistan and US. This was of course followed by all sorts of other explanations along with jingoistic comments.

The ongoing love-hate (mostly hate) relationship with America, begs some serious introspection. The gist of the matter is that any and all relationships, whether personal or national are dependent on vested self interest. To exploit a situation to maximize the self benefit is considered sound diplomacy. To say that we are lagging in that art of international politics would be a major understatement.

Ever since the event of May 02, we have been going through various debacles and till this date, we have not come to the realization of what challenges we face as a nation. We are surrounded by not so friendly nations around us. It is hard to admit, but it is due to our doing as well. From the get go, we seem to be in a “la Shaheen” mode. If it all boils down to the “strategic depth”, then make no mistake, we have dug a deep one for ourselves. ….

…. So as I said earlier, it all boils down to sound diplomacy. Diplomacy certainly does not mean laying down flat and let people run all over you. I think that it’s about time that we look around and learn a lesson or two from our neighbors. The $800 million question is what are we willing to apply, our rarely used head or our hyper inflated ego?

To read complete article → ViewPoint

Clashes Rage In Pakistan’s Baluchistan Province

by Julie McCarthy

While Pakistan battles an Islamist militancy that seeks to overthrow the state, another lesser-known conflict rages on its soil. In the southwest province of Baluchistan, separatist fighters are clashing with security forces and killing anyone they see as the enemy.

… We have been tracking Pakistan’s battles with an Islamist militancy that seeks to overthrow the state. In the next few minutes, we’ll hear about a different sort of fight: militants in the remote province of Baluchistan want to break away from Pakistan all together. It’s a fight where both the separatists and government forces are being accused of using viscous tactics. NPR’s Julie McCarthy has more. ….

Read more: →  NPR.ORG

Civilian supremacy over military: a process, not a transaction – Dr Mohammad Taqi

In post-bin Laden Pakistan, a unique prospect exists for the civilian leadership to neutralise the establishment and literally reverse the power equation. Such a constellation of events does not happen often and the agents of the status quo are hard at work to quickly close this small window of opportunity

Wherever and whenever nation-states make the transition towards a democratic form of government, the question about civilian supremacy over the military is bound to come up. In stable western democracies, such as the US and Japan, both convention and the constitution provide well-established safeguards against the military’s encroachment on the civilian power to oversee and control it. But in budding democracies, and especially countries like Pakistan that go through praetorian autocracy and democracy in a cyclical fashion, the issue of civil-military balance of power remains highly complex, unresolved and pernicious.

It was this struggle for power that Samuel Adams — one of the US’s founding fathers — had warned against, in a letter to James Warren: “A standing army, however necessary it may be at some times, is always dangerous to the liberties of the people. Soldiers are apt to consider themselves as a body distinct from the rest of the citizens. They have their arms always in their hands…Such a power should be watched with a jealous eye.”

Standing armies have nonetheless become a norm and the citizens’ militias, looked upon favourably by Adams and the legendary Baloch leader Sher Muhammad Marri, as a bulwark against martial law, have survived just in theory. Since the Portuguese Carnation revolution of 1974, ironically led by the military, a series of new democratic dispensations — the so-called third wave democracies — have continued to grapple with the issue of consolidating civilian control over the military, as part of the overall cementing of democratic change. The quest for fledgling democracies has been not only to oust the military from power but also to prevent it from staging another outright coup d’état as well as an indirect intervention in or competition with civilian power.

In the political scenario evolving in Pakistan after the US took out Osama bin Laden, the security establishment has found its chokehold on power to be in mortal danger. The façade of the military’s organisation and invincibility, nay infallibility, has been lifted, tilting the balance of power against it internationally, but more importantly, domestically. It is this exposed domestic flank that is really worrisome for the establishment, as a potential civilian compact could emerge and dislodge it from the direct and indirect role of control over the state that it is accustomed to exercising. The Latin American and Southeast Asian models of the juntas defanged and sent packing by the united political elite are not completely lost on the Pakistani deep state. …

Read more: Daily Times

An interesting article on Hoors

Are all ‘houris’ female? – By Nilofar Ahmed

IT has traditionally been believed that good men who go to paradise will be rewarded with the beautiful women of paradise known as houris. Women throughout the centuries never thought of asking, ‘what about us?’ But in this century of women, this question keeps coming up, even in the most conservative of circles. …

Read more: DAWN.COM

A history of oppression: the Tamils of Sri Lanka

By Danielle Sabai

June 2, 2011 — Asia Left Observer, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission — In February 2011, the president of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa, celebrated the 63rd anniversary of the island’s independence. In his speech, he stressed the necessity of “protecting the reconstructed nation”, as well as protecting “one of the oldest democracies in Asia”, its unity and its unitary character.

This speech came nearly two years after the end of the war on May 19, 2009, between the Sri Lankan state and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The military command of the LTTE was decimated in the last two months of a merciless war that has had led to tens of thousands of deaths since the early 1980s.

Some 30 years of civil war have transformed the Sri Lankan political landscape. Once an island characterised by a developed social policy and high development indicators, Sri Lanka is today ravaged by state violence, the militarisation of society and an authoritarian state.

The end of the war has in no way opened a period of peace; still less has it settled the Tamil national question. The Sri Lankan government, whose powers are concentrated in the hands of Mahinda Rajapaksa and his brothers, has not sought to remedy the structural causes that led to the civil war. The state remains Sinhalese nationalist and racist in its essence and rejects any devolution of powers, which would allow the different communities to envisage the future together.

The president is at war against his people. State violence is also exerted against Sinhalese, journalists and political activists who oppose him but also against workers as a whole. Despite the end of the war, the government has maintained the Prevention of Terrorism Act, which allows it to muzzle its opponents. All communities suffer from the collapse of the rule of law. No peace can last if it does not rest on any political will to settle disputes.

The history of Sri Lanka is rich in lessons. It illustrates that attacks against minorities lead to more general attacks against workers whatever their ethnicity. They lead inevitably to a weakening, if not collapse, of democracy. It is important and necessary to review the historic roots that are at the base of the formation of this specific state having led to the emergence of two antagonistic nationalisms: Buddhist Sinhalese nationalism and its reaction, Tamil nationalism. …

Read more: Links International

Making the hard decisions to set our house in order

By Najmuddin A Shaikh

Last week, I had expressed hope that in the coming days we would make the hard decisions needed to prevent our country from sliding into anarchy and chaos. We would not then remain the country to which Muammar Qaddafi would point as an example of what could happen to Libya if his dictatorial regime was brought to an end.

Developments during the past week have not, to say the least, been encouraging. First we had the budget, in which no genuine effort seems to have been made to raise the tax base or to address impediments — energy shortages among others — and yet we have concluded that our deficit will remain under control and that growth will have an upward trajectory. Are we going to continue to go down the path of foreign aid dependency and have a government ‘of the elite by the elite and for the elite’ that taxes the poor and the now dwindling middle class mercilessly to nourish the ‘fat cats’ in the ranks of the bureaucracy and the political establishment? Can we not levy direct taxes that would bring the tax-to-GDP ratio to at least 15 per cent? Can we not spend more on education and health? Can we not stop treating the defence budget as beyond question? …

Read more : The Express Tribune

G. M. Syed’s Birth Day in Jail, Living With Enemies, Palijo’s Ideology, Life in Jail

Notes From My Memory, Part VIII: G. M. Laghari, Syed’s Birth Day in Jail, Living With Enemies, Palijo’s Ideology, Life in Jail

By Mir Thebo

Excerpt:

…. Living with ideological enemies: It is very difficult to live with an ideological enemy in one compound especially when there is just no way to avoid or escape him. And what do you do if that ‘ideological enemy’ is Rasool Bux Palijo who is always eager to pinch you with sharp and dreadful remarks? When we were in jail together (1968), as I mentioned in my previous note, R. B. Palijo came with the idea on 17th January to celebrate G. M. Syed’s Birth Day! I thought it was his ploy to criticize and condemn us [Communist Party (CP)] on the national question. Palijo arranged a birthday cake and some refreshments for the day. We all sat together including two muhajir comrades and paid rich tributes to Saaeen G. M. Syed.

When my turn came to speak, I compared Syed with other historical personalities like Dr. Sun Yat Sen, (Chinese nationalist leader, who played a great role in 1911 Chinese nationalist revolution, which overthrew the Qing dynasty in China), Jawahar Lal Nehru and Khan Ghaffar Khan. When Palijo’s turn came, he brutally attacked my comparison of Syed with those leaders and said, ‘Syed is far above than these leaders. Mir has tried to minimize G. M. Syed’s stature and his role.’ In rhetorical manner, he continued: ‘G. M. Syed is equivalent to Marx, Lenin and Mao’. He said: ‘these people don’t know how great G. M. Syed is’. I was flabbergasted by Palijo’s remarks. We knew how Palijo used Syed’s personality for his own narrow political interests. He himself knew very well the place of Syed. But, alas, that has been Palijo’s style all along.

R. B. Palijo’s political ideology: For political purposes, Palijo used Mao Tse-Tung whose little red book was

compulsory for every Chinese to carry during the cultural revolution (1966 to 1976) otherwise one will be labeled as counter revolutionary or an agent of the enemy. Thousands of people were persecuted especially the writers, intellectuals and middle class people. They were ruthlessly taken from their homes in the cities and were uprooted and sent to far-flung rural areas. They were humiliated under the guidance of the so-called vigilant party committees and people were forced to confess that they were anti-party and reactionary to bring them to shame in the public. Same thing was practiced in the Soviet Union during the Stalin period. They called it ‘The Great Purge’ to purify the party and the society.

Palijo found it easy to convince his workers through this sacred red book that all are enemies except his party people and that he can expel any leader or worker in the name of the great cause or the party. The same practice was common in our party too. It was actually a common practice in 3rd. world countries. Therefore almost all parties were divided in many groups and during that period Euro Communism emerged. The Western European parties denounced the Soviet system of one party rule and the dictatorship of the proletariat and the concept of democratic socialism and multi-party system emerged. New ideas emerged in 1980s in the Soviet Union too. They were called Glasnost and Perestroika (openness and restructuring) and M. Gorbachev declared a famous quote for the liberals that ‘Man is above the Ideology, the ideology is not above the man’. Those who are still Marxists and glorify the former USSR, consider Gorbachev the traitor and the one who brought down the grand empire of the UNION OF THE SOVIET SOCIALIST REPUBLIC.

Palijo brought Mao’s thoughts to his workers and Sindhi peasants and mixed it with Sindhi nationalism and formulated the idea of a Chinese model revolution in Sindh and repeatedly told his innocent workers the famous quote of Mao that “all political power comes from the barrel of the gun”. But Mao’s revolution was typical Chinese revolution. Mao didn’t copy the Russian model and he was against Russia. Both the communist powers even went to a war in 1969 over some piece of land along one of the longest international borders between the two countries although they both believed in the ideology that in future states will wither away and only universal communism will prevail. More funny thing is that it was America, the big capitalist enemy, who stopped Russians from attacking Chinese nuclear installations and Russians backed off (US journalist Harrison Salisbury reported that Soviet sources implied a possible first strike against the Lop Nur basin nuclear test site; and military documents of the time indicate that the USSR had more nuclear-attack plans against China than against the US. The United States warned the USSR against launching a nuclear strike against China. WIKI). Mao didn’t use even Marx very much. He brought the revolution in his own way as he convinced Chinese people how to fulfill difficult task through this old Chinese saying, ‘The foolish old man who moves the mountain’. ….

To read complete article: Indus Herald

Arab uprising: What to do with dictators?

By the Monitor’s Editorial Board

Immunity or prosecution for dictators? That tough question hovers over the Arab uprising, just as it has in Latin America, parts of Asia, postcommunist Europe and other places.

In Yemen, international negotiators have reportedly offered amnesty to President Ali Abdullah Saleh as a way to entice him to resign after 32 years in power. Western leaders have hoped, too, that an exit could be found for Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi, perhaps by letting him go to Venezuela or places in Africa.

And yet, Egyptian authorities are detaining the deposed Hosni Mubarak for questioning in a military hospital. They want to ask about his role in corruption and the deaths of hundreds of protesters who sought his ouster.

Tunisia’s justice minister, meanwhile, seeks the extradition of former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who fled to Saudi Arabia when youthful demonstrators forced him from his 23-year rule in January. Tunis wants him to answer to more than a dozen charges, including murder and drug trafficking. …

Read more: Yahoo New

Afraid of devolution? -by I.A Rehman

WONDERS never cease. In the second decade of the 21st century, the transfer of power to the units of a federation has been made controversial! Efforts are being made to help the centre retain the privileges that rightfully belong to the provinces.

No student of politics will deny that Pakistan broke up in 1971 largely as a result of the policies designed to make the centre strong at the expense of provincial rights and aspirations. Nor can anyone forget that the failure to restore to the provinces what has always been due to them poses the greatest threat to the state’s integrity today.

We are also familiar with the arguments employed while calling for making the hands of one ruler or another strong. It was said the country faced so many threats that a centrally organised security edifice alone could preserve its integrity. The centre alone had the mental and physical wherewithal to achieve economic progress. In an Islamic state there could be only one centre of power and Pakistan had a special reason to crush centrifugal forces and fissiparous tendencies which were being fanned by the enemies of the state — democrats, secularists, advocates of the nationalities’ rights, separatists, et al.

For six decades, the politics of Pakistan revolved around the federal question. Any stratagem that could prevent the state from becoming a federation was in order — the fiction of parity, the abolition of provinces in the western part of the original state, the imposition of martial law and the state’s declaration of war against the majority nationality and the smallest nationality both. No wonder almost all democratic movements in the country have had their origins in the federating units’ struggle for self-government.The central demand was that the centre should keep only three or four subjects such as foreign affairs, external security, currency and communications. All other subjects — internal security, local government, planning, education and social welfare — were to be restored to the provinces.

It is in this context that one should examine the national consensus on re-designing the polity by meeting some of the main demands of the federating units. The endorsement of the 18th Amendment by all shades of opinion in parliament is nothing short of a miracle. It not only marks a giant stride towards realising the promise of the 1973 constitution, in several respects it surpasses the 1973 consensus.

Continue reading Afraid of devolution? -by I.A Rehman

Interview with Pratap Mehta on Pakistan

Pratap Mehta: Pakistan’s Perpetual Identity Crisis

Pratap Bhanu Mehta, a political theorist and intellectual historian based in New Delhi, is leading us through another reflection on the 1947 partition of India and Pakistan.

The reconsideration of partition is a critical, current existential question not only for South Asians, but also for Americans who watch the continuous outrages from Taliban and CIA sanctuaries inside Pakistan. It’s a question on many levels — terrorism, geopolitics, ethnicity and religion — but, Pratap Mehta says, “it’s fundamentally the question of the identity of a country.”

In his telling of the partition story, the contemporary reality of Pakistan grew out of a failure to answer a core challenge of creating a nation-state: how do you protect a minority? It’s Mehta’s view that the framers of the modern subcontinent — notably Gandhi, Jinnah & Nehru — never imagined a stable solution to this question. He blames two shortcomings of the political discourse at the time of India’s independence:

The first is that it was always assumed that the pull of religious identities in India is so deep that any conception of citizenship that fully detaches the idea of citizenship from religious identity is not going to be a tenable one.

The second is that Gandhi in particular, and the Congress Party in general, had a conception of India which was really a kind of federation of communities. So the Congress Party saw [the creation of India] as about friendship among a federation of communities, not as a project of liberating individuals from the burden of community identity to be whatever it is that they wished to be.

The other way of thinking about this, which is to think about a conception of citizenship where identities matter less to what political rights you have, that was never considered seriously as a political project. Perhaps that would have provided a much more ideologically coherent way of dealing with the challenges of creating a modern nation-state. – – Pratap Bhanu Mehta with Chris Lydon at the Watson Institute, April 12, 2011.

Unlike many other Open Source talkers on Pakistan, Pratap Mehta does not immediately link its Islamization to the United States and its1980s jihad against the Soviets. Reagan and his CIA-Mujahideen military complex were indeed powerful players in the rise of Islamic extremism in Pakistan, he agrees, but the turn began first during a national identity crisis precipitated by another partition, the creation of Bangladesh in 1971.

Suddenly, Mehta is telling us, Pakistan could no longer define itself as the unique homeland for Muslims in the subcontinent. In search of identity, and distinction from its new neighbor to the east, Pakistan turned towards a West Asian brand of Islam, the hardline Saudi Wahhabism that has become a definitive ideology in today’s Islamic extremism.

Mehta is hopeful, though, that in open democratic elections Islamic parties would remain relatively marginalized, that despite the push to convert Pakistan into a West Asian style Islamic state since 1971, “the cultural weight of it being a South Asian country” with a tradition of secular Islam “remains strong enough to be an antidote.”

Click here to listen Radio Open Source interview with Pratap Mehta, it is much more in depth than the text summary

Courtesy: http://www.radioopensource.org/pratap-mehta-pakistans-perpetual-identity-crisis/

Were we really tolerant before the jihadis? – Dr Manzur Ejaz

Whether led by mature middle-class people or otherwise, the extremist religious movements draw most of their following from the new urbanite classes. In most cases, they have become the source of religious violence

Pakistanis must ask a central question: were we really tolerant people before Zia’s Islamisation or we were only naively indolent, prone to be violent at any moment? It is a common belief in Pakistan that when Zia, alongside the US, created violent jihadi organisations, they created hysteria in the public with narrow-mindedness ruling and people killing for frivolous reasons. Two questions come to mind about this explanation. One, were we really consciously ever a tolerant society for the jihadis to destroy? And two, how can we use this explanation to explain the parallel rise of extremist political Hinduism in India?

While talking about the killing fields that jihadis have created, we forget that the carnage of 1947 in Punjab cost more lives than the total number of people killed by jihadi violence in the last 20 years in Pakistan. Everyone blames the people of ‘other religions’ for the 1947 tragedy but, wherever Muslims were in overwhelming majority, they killed Sikhs and Hindus. Conversely, they faced the same treatment in areas where they were a minority. Amrita Pritam rightly said, “Aaj sabhay Kaidoo hu gaiy, husan ishaq de chor” (Today, everyone has turned into a villain, enemy of love). What happened in 1947 is closely linked to what is happening now and what occurred in east Punjab’s Khalistan Movement, which claimed hundreds of thousands of lives.

Most of the 1947 killings were concentrated in the rural areas; there were some in urban centres but they were limited. Most of the stories I have heard from Punjabi Hindus and Sikhs migrating from Pakistan indicate that the urban non-Muslims did not lose their family members while the stories from the rural areas are horror tales. One of my maternal uncles was killed in a village in Gurdaspur but at the same time none of the two neighbouring village’s Sikhs were spared — entire villages were murdered. How can so-called innocent rural people become murderous?

It can be argued that from the second to third centuries, the way the Gupta dynasty established self-sufficient but desolate and isolated village communities contributed to the religious violence of 1947, and even presently. When the Maurya Dynasty’s state ownership of entire land and manufacturing became unsustainable, it was replaced by self-sufficient village communities. Every community was required by the king’s law to have all kinds of artisans who were given a little land, residential and agricultural, and fixed shares of peasant produce. Consequently, the village communities had no need or desire to interact with other communities or reach beyond their own. Only a few traders and vendors were the link between the village and the rest of the world. The vendor, or vanjara in Punjabi, became a hero in folk songs because he was the only link with the outside world.

Due to the total absence of interaction and exchange of thought with the rest of the world, the village communities became lonesome entities. Mental horizons shrank and one generation of people was replaced with an identical next one. The village was considered a homeland or country whose honour was to be protected. This is why, during inter-village festivals, people would carry weapons as the possibility of war between the people of different villages was very real.

In eastern Punjab, some village communities were comprised of people of all religions but, when the British colonised western Punjab through an irrigation system, the village communities were established exclusively on religious basis. Therefore, another layer of separation was put in place where people of one religion became aliens for the other. The British education system did not mitigate such a separation because of the imposition of Urdu and denial of Punjabi identity. As a result, Sikhs limited themselves to the Gurmukhi script and Muslims to the Persian script. This was another fundamental divide created by the British. In Sindh, where Sindhi was made the official language and everyone used the same script, inter-religious hostility was a little less and did not lead to carnage in 1947. In the urban centres of Punjab where, despite furious religious political divides, the interaction between people was much better and the level of violence was also lower in 1947. ….

Read more : Wichaar

Balochistan what way forward?

Sana Bacha is anchoring a program “Lekin” on very important issue of Baluchistan. Most of the grievances and demands of Balochs are valid. …

Courtesy: Geo TV (Program Lekin with Sana Bacha, 11 April, 2011)

via – Siasat.pkYou Tube

Problems of Sindhi Nationalism – What way forward?

Written by Dr Beenish Shoro

Excerpt:

…. In Pakistan the national question exists in its worst form because Pakistan itself is an example of a failed nation state. Pakistan was created as a result of the partition of the Indian subcontinent as the British imperialists and the local/national bourgeois leaders feared that a united national liberation would not stop there but would move towards a social transformation that would overthrow landlordism, capitalism and the imperialist strangle hold. To avoid a socialist revolution they conspired and split the movement along religious lines that led to the reactionary and traumatic partition of a land that had more than five thousand years of common history, cultural and socio economic existence.

Pakistan was founded not as a nation state, but as a state made up of nationalities. Even the abbreviations which form the word Pakistan are a testimony to this fact. This corresponds to its belated character. … National oppression has been brutal and rough ever since the country came into being. ….

….the separation of Bangladesh, the inability to resolve regional and sectarian disputes, the inability to sustain a clear concept and direction to Pakistan’s Nationalism and finally failure to create a modern cohesive nation state.

Pakistan’s political system is dominated by elite groups. In addition it faces the dilemma of chronic military rule. ….

….Sindh, the southern most province of the state possesses one of the most varied demographical set-ups in Pakistan. There is a very fragile ethnic balance between Sindhis and non-Sindhis. After partition many of the immigrants from Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh in India moved mainly to Karachi, but also to Hyderabad, Sukkur and other cities of Sindh.

This massive influx of Mohajirs from India and other nationalities resulted in a greater control of people from this transmigration over the economy, jobs and posts in the state apparatus. Although this phenomenon had a greater impact on urban Sindh, the deprivation was felt also in rural Sindh especially amongst the Sindhi middle classes. The acquisition of State and other lands by Punjab Generals and other settlers further aggravated this feeling of national deprivation amongst the Sindhi populace. There are several other factors which fuelled these sentiments. ….

….At the heart of nationalist sentiments in Pakistan is the perception by non-Punjabis that the Punjabi nationality dominates the economy, politics, society and the state. There is considerable evidence to support this perception. First, Punjabis constitute a majority of the population, approximately 60%; second, they dominate the civilian bureaucracy and the military; third, the Punjab is by far the wealthiest and most developed province in the state. And this perception is ironically fuelled by governmental policies designed to assuage such perceptions. ….

…. G. M. Syed can rightly be considered as the founder of Sindhi nationalism. He formed the Sindh Progressive Party in 1947 and demanded provincial autonomy within a socialist framework. In 1953 he formed the SindhAwami Mahaz. G. M. Syed himself a middle sized landlord represented the grievances of that class as well. …

… There have been several movements in Sindh over the last 60 years but there are three very significant mass upsurges that shook the echelons of power in Islamabad. These are the movements of 1968-69, 1983 and to some extent that of 1986. All these movements had different intensities, character, orientation and motivations. …

Zia was the son of a Mullah who had migrated from Eastern (Indian) Punjab and was American-trained at Fort Bragg. His atrocities, his make up and his background were enough to provoke massive hatred from the masses in Sindh. Zia’s repression of the Sindh was no less than the brutalities of British colonialists inflicted upon the mass of the subcontinent and other colonies. All this unleashed a glorious movement of the Sindhi masses against the military dictatorship. Although this movement had significant nationalist overtones, fundamentally it was linked to the general class resentment against this regime.

The movement failed because the regime was able to foster ethnic and nationalist discord especially in urban Sindh and in other main cities and provinces of Pakistan. In Karachi the Pakistani state devised the instrument of the MQM, the Punjabi Pushtoon Ittehad, Islamic fundamentalists and other reactionary outfits to break the momentum of struggle that was developing along class lines.

Still the movement raged on. In such circumstances whenever national antagonisms coincided with class contradictions they became especially hot. According to the official figures 1263 innocent people were slaughtered by the army in rural Sindh while thousands more were injured. There are heroic episodes of resistance that have now become legends in Sindhi folklore. …

… In 1986 the movement in Sindh was actually the last nail in Zia’s coffin. …

… If we in Sindh should achieve “freedom” through the same phenomenon as in Bangladesh we may well get freedom from non-Sindhi capitalists, but we will be all the more cruelly exploited by Sindhi capitalists and landlords. These nationalists do not want freedom from poverty, misery, unemployment; they just want freedom to establish control over their own market where they could extract a huge surplus by squeezing the last drop of the workers’ blood.

The feudal landlords want freedom to exploit the peasants and working class …

… We will take revenge for the crime of partition of India through the formation of a Red Revolutionary Subcontinent. As Comrade Lal khan says, “The unification of the Indian subcontinent will be on a much higher plane than the 1947 Partition.” …

To read full article :→ Marxist.com

PUNJAB, Punjabi and URDU, The Question of Displaced Identity

PUNJAB, Punjabi and URDU, The Question of Displaced Identity…A Historical Appraisal

by Tahir Kamran

Colonialism was an all-pervasive phenomenon, subjugating 87 percent of the globe by 1914 and the Sub-Continent off course was no exception. It signified colossal change in the realms of economy and polity as well as administration, which attracted sufficient attention of the historians markedly from nationalist persuasion. …

Read more : Wichaar