Tag Archives: secular

India and its Muslims get a thumbs up from US

WASHINGTON: In a rousing endorsement of the secular and nationalistic nature of India and its Muslim population, the United States has recognized and appreciated that a “vast majority” of them remain committed to the Indian state and seek to participate in mainstream politics and economic life, thus cutting down scope for recruitment by extremist organizations.
In an extensive commentary about India’s 150 million plus Muslims (the second largest in the world after Indonesia, former US envoy to New Delhi David Mulford recorded in a cable (released by WikiLeaks) that “India’s vibrant democracy, inclusive culture and growing economy have made it easier for Muslim youth to find a place in the mainstream, reduced the pool of potential recruits, and the space in which Islamic extremist organizations can operate.”
Read more:  THE TIMES OF INDIA
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SOUTH ASIAN PERSPECTIVE ON REGIONAL STABILITY

Toronto, Canada : International Center for Peace and Democracy (ICPD) is a Toronto based think tank advocating secular democracy and peace in South Asia . Executive Director of ICPD, Muhammad Mumtaz Khan, who comes from Pakistan, administered Kashmir (PAK), has a thirty-year experience in the field of rights’ advocacy. Currently, he also represents International Kashmir Alliance (IKA) and All Parties National Alliance (APNA) in the European Parliament, North America and the United Nations.

Continue reading SOUTH ASIAN PERSPECTIVE ON REGIONAL STABILITY

The divorce of religion and politics – Dr Manzur Ejaz

Sufis were witnessing the misuse of religion by qazis and other ‘pillars’ of religious institutions. They were aware of the corruption, nepotism and injustice being practiced in the name of Islam. Therefore, to save the spirituality of religion, they preached the separation of religion from the state and other worldly affairs. …

Read more : Wichaar

Balochistan: endless despair —Mohammad Akhtar Mengal

Inattention of the international community will further aggravate the current instability and a rapidly developing Darfur and Somalia-like situation in Balochistan will have serious implications for long-term peace and stability in the region.

The appalling poverty, desolation, unemployment, worsening health conditions, malnourishment, tribal in-fighting, mounting corruption, support for drug barons and religious fundamentalism in historically peaceful and secular-oriented Baloch society are the domino effects of systematic policies imposed by the Islamabad super-establishment
Although the British Raj ended in 1947, under Pakistan’s ethnically structured and politically over-centralised state, the concept and practice of second-class citizenry remains a common practice by the dominant group against the underprivileged people.
Initially, the East Pakistani population was the prime victim of this policy of systematic second-class citizenry; they were discriminated against because of their ethnicity, origin, and political aspirations. They were denied legal rights, civil rights, political rights and overall economic opportunities in a country that came into being through the extraordinary contribution of the Bengali political and intellectual elite.
Rebuffing West Pakistan’s neo-colonial policies, the Bengalis took a non-violent path to change their destiny. They voted in favour of the Awami League and sent a clear signal to the power base in Lahore, GHQ and Islamabad that the days of institutionalised slavery are over. The dominant civil-military establishment’s hawkish response to Bengal’s political verdict was ruthless, which resulted in millions of deaths, destruction and separation of East Pakistan.
After the fall of Dhaka, the same hawkish elite apprehended another opportunity to continue its policy of second-class citizenry, and this time the Baloch people became a soft target. Balochistan was wealth-looted, people-killed, land-grabbed for strategic use and its people were systematically kept underdeveloped.
Furthermore, the hawkish elite and ethnically dominant policy-making institutions imposed new methods to further suppress the ‘Baloch second-class citizenry’. Thousands of people were recruited in Frontier Corps (FC) from FATA, Punjab and other provinces, denying the right of employment to the locals. The same FC established hundreds of check posts during the 1980s to date, just to restrict people’s social, economic and development movements.
The appalling poverty, desolation, unemployment, worsening health conditions, malnourishment, tribal in-fighting, mounting corruption, support for drug barons and religious fundamentalism in historically peaceful and secular-oriented Baloch society are the domino effects of systematic policies imposed by the Islamabad super-establishment.

Continue reading Balochistan: endless despair —Mohammad Akhtar Mengal

Afzal Bangash: the Marxist maverick

By Dr Mohammad Taqi
“I count myself in nothing else so happy, As in a soul remembering my good friends” — Shakespeare in Richard II

Reminiscing about some of the stars of the secular galaxy of Pakistan and especially Pakhtunkhwa is needed not just due to a family association or personal, feel-good nostalgia. It is a must because the current generations – being fed a steady diet of Wahabiism – ought to get acquainted with the history of this land.
Where first the state-controlled, and now the state-indoctrinated media persons have systematically relegated both our saints and secularists to oblivion while projecting larger-than-life images of the obscurantist characters from Pakistan Studies and Islamic Studies textbooks, such recollections become an obligation. One such distinguished progressive was the leader of the Mazdoor Kissan Party (MKP), Muhammad Afzal Bangash who died on this day (October 28) in 1986. ….
Read more : Daily Times

Bangladesh is secular again

Ruling that Bangladesh is now a secular state, the country’s high court has said that the constitution of 1972 has automatically been restored by a landmark judgment of the apex court that nullified a controversial amendment earlier this year.
Bangladesh is now a secular state as the Appellate Division (of the Supreme Court) verdict scrapped the Fifth Amendment to the constitution. In this secular state, everybody has religious freedom, and therefore no man, woman or child can be forced to wear religious attires like burqa, cap and dhoti,” a high court bench said on Monday.
Read more : Rediff

Via – Globeistan

The khaki-green alliance

by Dr. Masood Ashraf Raja

Between the mullahs and the military, the future of Pakistan is being squandered in the name of God and security respectively

There are certain necessary fictions that underwrite the project of departmental Pakistani historiography and current explanations of the Pakistani body politic:

· The Ulama, by and large, claim that Pakistan was created as an Islamic state and must, therefore, have an “Islamic System of government.”

· The military keeps reminding us that the integrity of Pakistan depends upon the existence of a strong military force to forestall against any aggression against our status as a free nation by our so-called “arch enemy,” India. …

Read more >> ViewPoint

MQM chief’s remarks

A decade ago, Gen Musharraf promised many of the same things generals invariably promise, but delivered on none. The MQM would know this better than most because it had a seat at the table of power under Gen Musharraf.

Viewed from any angle, the comments made on Sunday by MQM chief Altaf Hussain are deeply disturbing. Usually, the MQM never tires of pointing out its secular, democratic credentials at every turn, positioning itself as the last line of defence against religious extremists and at the vanguard of the fight against a landed aristocracy that exercises outsized influence over the national political set-up.

Read more >> Dawn Editorial

The political economy of Bangladesh — Ishtiaq Ahmed

The key to development and progress is always a combination of political, economic, social and cultural changes that complement one another. Thus a country once derisively described by Henry Kissinger as the ‘world’s basket case’ can actually become the most dynamic of all South Asian nations.

The news from Bangladesh in the last few years has been consistently good, though we in Pakistan have learnt more about the spectacular political advances that country has made in the last year or so. The political advances should indeed be described as spectacular because in an era salient with the menace of Islamism and terrorism, Bangladesh has most wisely and foresightedly chosen to establish itself as a secular democracy. No doubt the political basis for it was laid when an Awami League government won a landslide victory in the December 29, 2008 elections, but the crucial decision was taken by the Supreme Court of that country, which declared Bangladesh a secular democracy in constitutional terms.

Read more >> Daily Times

‘Parliament with unlimited powers can secularise state’

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court was hearing petitions challenging the 18th Amendment on Monday, DawnNews reported.

A 17-judge full court, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, was hearing petitions challenging certain clauses in the Amendment.

During the hearing, the federation lawyer said that the parliament’s powers were limitless.

Responding to that, Chief Justice Iftikhar said that limitless powers could secularise the country.

Read more >> DAWN

… non-state actor terrorists in Punjab

‘Data Darbar had to be destroyed because of Ibn Taymiyya’ – By Khaled Ahmed

The state of Pakistan has deployed its non-state actor terrorists in Punjab. Because of the unclear charter of power of the state agencies linked to the army, parts of Punjab are succumbing to the power of the terrorists. South Punjab is vulnerable to three terrorist organisations. The Punjab government is now paying crores of rupees supporting ‘charities’ of one of them that it has ‘nationalised’ . A new perspective of the Seraiki Movement is gradually coming to the fore, reflecting the political dominance of Sipah-e-Sahaba and its offshoot, the Jaish. No one from among the backers of the Movement – known traditionally to be secular – is willing to even speak of the presence of the jihadi-terrorist organisations. One reason is that most of them want to lean on them to win the elections; the other may be the simple fact of intimidation and the subliminal acknowledgement of state patronage to the terrorists. A Seraiki Province in the coming days will be exclusively the domain of Sipah-e-Sahaba and its friends. It will be for the first time that terrorists posing as Islamic warriors against India and against the Shias of Pakistan will possess an entire province and its resources under the new constitutional dispensation of real autonomy.

Read more >> newageislam

Translation of Sindhi poet Aasi Mehmood Zamini [Sindhi to English]

Translation by Hisam Memon

Come down

For a while today!

Speak thee

And let me speak!

Come down

For a while

Do watch the world,

Engineered by you!

Some are inferior/poor

Some are superior/rich

Who belong to you?

Do mark them!

Wrinkled is the veil,

Torn shirt she puts on,

The naked she looks,

Who daughter is that girl?

She begs before stranger men,

Offer alms to your people!

Without breakfast

And bare-footed,

She ploughs

In the scorching beam,

Unbuttered pieces of meal,

She takes with spoilt molasses

Come down to taste it

A single time!

AASI’ was bestowed with insight

That utters the truth and tormented for,

“Why I am called atheist then”

Come to get [insight] it back!

Continue reading Translation of Sindhi poet Aasi Mehmood Zamini [Sindhi to English]

Sachal Sarmast, Sindhi Secular Sufi Poet: The Philosopher, mystic & scholar

“Sachal, Thy friend, suffers in painful afflictions aplenty”

By Dr. Ahmed H. Makhdoom

In the beautiful land of Sindh, there is a beautiful goothu ( a village), Daraazaa. Here in this calm, sanguine, sanctuary of peace and tranquillity stand a monument, a Dargaah, an earthly monument, to that Heavenly Immortal soul, my murshid, my guide Saaeen Sachal Sarmast. The love for the Suufees, Faqeers and Darveishes of this remarkable land of Sindh that is enshrined in every son and daughter of this glorious land of Sindh is really heart-warming, inspiring and touching, indeed.

This paak, pavitar, pure dhartee of Sindh, the Cradle of Civilisations, had given birth to countless Suufees, Saints, Sages, Auliyaas, Avtaars. It is in this glorious land of Sindh that humanity learnt to breathe and take its first step towards emancipation, enlightenment and Eternal Peace, Prosperity and Progress.

Continue reading Sachal Sarmast, Sindhi Secular Sufi Poet: The Philosopher, mystic & scholar

Remembering Shaheed Bhagat Singh

Lahore : Institute for Peace and Secular Studies [IPSS] organised a gathering of writers, intellectuals and activists from Lahore on March 23, 2010 at Shadman market chowk to pay homage to Bhagat Singh.

To see, a RARE document! Death certificate of Bhagat Singh » http://yfrog.com/nms709j

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.

Jeay Sindh Mahaz (JSM) paid tribute to Punjab for its leading role for the independence of judiciary

HYDERABAD, March 10: National congress of the Jeay Sindh Mahaz held in Radhan, Dadu district, on Sunday paid tribute to the Punjab for its leading role in the struggle for independence of judiciary and said that it was for the first time that the Punjab had risen against dictatorship.

It observed that during the February 18 elections, the people of Sindh had unanimously voted against the Musharraf government due to his dictatorial and anti-Sindh polices.

It said that it was now the responsibility of elected members of the assemblies to come up to expectations of the masses and ameliorate their lot.

The congress called upon the new government to discard the Kalabagh dam project and announce a judicious National Finance Commission award according to international principles.

It demanded abolition of local bodies system, saying that it was a ‘conspiracy against national unity and development of Sindh.’

Announcing support to lawyers’ struggle, it called for reinstatement of sacked judges of superior judiciary.

The congress introduced some amendments to the JSM constitution and manifesto and observed two-minute silence on the death of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

The congress was presided over by JSM convener Abdul Khaliq Junejo. Noted intellectual comrade Rochi Ram attended the congress as an observer. In his speech, he said that true democracy would remain a misnomer unless the constitution of the country was made secular.

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, March 12, 2008