Tag Archives: self

New York Times – How Pakistan Lets Terrorism Fester – By HUSAIN HAQQANI

ON the anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death last week, Pakistan was the only Muslim country in which hundreds of demonstrators gathered to show solidarity with the dead terrorist figurehead.

Yet rather than asking tough questions about how Bin Laden had managed to live unmolested in Pakistan for years, the Pakistani Supreme Court instead chose to punish the prime minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani, by charging him with contempt for failing to carry out the court’s own partisan agenda in this case, pressuring the Swiss government to reopen a decades-old corruption investigation of President Asif Ali Zardari. (Never mind that Swiss officials say they are unlikely to revisit the charges.)

In handing down the decision, one justice chose to paraphrase the Lebanese poet Khalil Gibran. He held forth in a long appeal to religious-nationalist sentiment that began with the line, “Pity the nation that achieves nationhood in the name of a religion but pays little heed to truth, righteousness and accountability, which are the essence of every religion.”

That a Supreme Court justice would cite poetry instead of law while sentencing an elected leader on questionable charges reflects Pakistan’s deep state of denial about its true national priorities at a time when the country is threatened by religious extremism and terrorism.

Today, Pakistan is polarized between those who envision a modern, pluralist country and those who condone violence against minorities and terrorism in the name of Islam. Many are caught in the middle; they support the pluralist vision but dislike the politicians espousing it.

Meanwhile, an elephant in the room remains. We still don’t know who enabled Bin Laden to live freely in Pakistan. Documents found on computers in his compound offer no direct evidence of support from Pakistan’s government, army or intelligence services. But even if Bin Laden relied on a private support network, our courts should be focused on identifying, arresting and prosecuting the individuals who helped him. Unfortunately, their priorities seem to lie elsewhere.

In Pakistan, most of the debate about Bin Laden has centered on how and why America violated Pakistan’s sovereignty by unilaterally carrying out an operation to kill him. There has been little discussion about whether the presence of the world’s most-wanted terrorist in a garrison town filled with army officers was itself a threat to the sovereignty and security of Pakistan.

Pakistanis are right to see themselves as victims of terrorism and to be offended by American unilateralism in dealing with it. Last year alone, 4,447 people were killed in 476 major terrorist attacks. Over the last decade, thousands of soldiers and law enforcement officers have died fighting terrorists – both homegrown, and those inspired by Al Qaeda’s nihilist ideology.

But if anything, the reaction should be to gear up and fight jihadist ideology and those who perpetrate terrorist acts in its name; they remain the gravest threat to Pakistan’s stability. Instead, our national discourse has been hijacked by those seeking to deflect attention from militant Islamic extremism.

The national mind-set that condones this sort of extremism was cultivated and encouraged under the military dictatorships of Gen. Mohammad Zia ul-Haq from 1977 to 1988 and Gen. Pervez Musharraf from 1999 to 2008. A whole generation of Pakistanis has grown up with textbooks that conflate Pakistani nationalism with Islamist exclusivism.

Anti-Western sentiment and a sense of collective victimhood were cultivated as a substitute for serious debate on social or economic policy. Militant groups were given free rein, originally with American support, to resist the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, and later became an instrument of Pakistani regional influence there and in Indian-occupied Kashmir.

Pakistan’s return to democracy, after the elections of 2008, offered hope. But the elected government has since been hobbled by domestic political infighting and judicial activism on every issue except extremism and terrorism.

Before Mr. Musharraf was ousted, a populist lawyers’ movement successfully challenged his firing of Supreme Court justices. The lawyers’ willingness to confront Mr. Musharraf in his last days raised hopes of a new era. But over the last four years, the Court has spent most of its energy trying to dislodge the government by insisting on reopening cases of alleged corruption from the 1990s. During the same period, no significant terrorist leader has been convicted, and many have been set free by judges who overtly sympathize with their ideology.

This has happened because the lawyers’ movement split into two factions after Mr. Musharraf’s fall: those emphasizing the rule of law and those seeking to use the judiciary as a rival to elected leaders.

Asma Jahangir, who helped lead the lawyers’ movement, has become a critic of the courts, accusing them of overstepping their constitutional mandate and falling under the influence of the security establishment. And Aitzaz Ahsan, who represented the Supreme Court’s chief justice during the lawyers’ showdown with Mr. Musharraf, is now Prime Minister Gilani’s lawyer in the contempt-of-court case – a clear indication of the political realignment that has taken place.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s raucous media, whose hard-won freedom is crucial for the success of democracy, has done little to help generate support for eliminating extremism and fighting terrorism. The Supreme Court, conservative opposition parties and the news media insist that confronting alleged incompetence and corruption in the current government is more important than turning Pakistan away from Islamist radicalism.

Continue reading New York Times – How Pakistan Lets Terrorism Fester – By HUSAIN HAQQANI

Al Jazeera – Balochistan: Pakistan’s other war

Baloch politicians and leaders share their vision of self-determination and freedom from Pakistani rule.

By Al Jazeera

In the rugged mountains of southwest Pakistan lies the country’s largest province of Balochistan. Far from the bustling cities of Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad, this remote region has been the battleground for a 60-year-long insurgency by the Baloch ethnic minority.

“The Baloch people now live in a state of war. Every day, they face injustice. The army and intelligence agents kidnap our young, and we know nothing about them for years. The Baloch people live in a state of war. We will not accept any offers until we regain control over this land. They burn down our homes and then ask us for peace? We are not stupid.” – Baloch Khan, Baloch rebel leader

The ongoing conflict is often called Pakistan’s dirty war, because of the rising numbers of people who have disappeared or have been killed on both sides.

But the uprising against Pakistan’s government has received little attention worldwide, in part because most eyes have been focused on the fight against the Taliban and al-Qaeda in other areas of Pakistan. …

Read more » al Jazeera

http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/aljazeeraworld/2012/01/2012121372863878.html

No respite: Pakistanis have a long way to go – the Evil Quad does not seem to learn from mistakes. Obsessive self-interest has made them lose touch with reality.

No respite – By Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

The establishment and the armed forces here do not seem to learn from their mistakes. Obsessive self-interest has made them lose touch with reality

Establishments never tire of exploring ways and means to perpetuate their rule. Interestingly, the word ‘establishment’ is generally used in Pakistan to refer to those who exercise de facto power; it includes the military high command and the intelligence agencies, together with the top leadership of certain political parties, high-level members of the bureaucracy and business persons that work in alliance with them. The military high command and the intelligence agencies form the core of the establishment and are its most permanent and influential components. The real power rests with its ‘most permanent and influential components’, i.e. the armed forces. All is not hunky-dory within the establishment as struggles occur, but the most organised and powerful part is invariably the winner. The media dutifully paves the way by creating hysteria or gloom.

Their think tanks search suitable candidates for implementing their policy aims. The only hitch is that their skewed ideas do not quite correspond to reality and always backfire; yet, unfortunately, they remain unaccountable and all powerful. Unaccountability and de facto power allows them to continue experimenting while the masses pay the price of their follies.

The fact that people, in spite of resentment, do not resist injustices gives the decision-makers a free hand in creating an irresolvable mess. Mumia Abu Jamal’s quote unequivocally illustrates the situation here: “When a cause comes along and you know in your bones that it is just, yet refuse to defend it — at that moment you begin to die. And I have never seen so many corpses walking around talking about justice.” Hoping for the ‘Arab Spring’ here is a fantasy.

People and institutions create problems by setting themselves delusional goals. While individuals pay with personal losses, the adverse consequences of institutional delusions are permanent, colossal and harsh for the people. The establishment and the armed forces here do not seem to learn from their mistakes. Obsessive self-interest has made them lose touch with reality.

Delusional thinking, however, is not new here; the civilian rulers in the initial days were obsessed with India and acquiring evacuee property and paid no heed to people’s welfare. They were then replaced by the army obsessed with the idea that ‘Mumlikat-e-Khudadad’ was an end in itself and there was no need to bother about people’s rights and welfare. Naturally the people suffered and continue to suffer. ….

Read more » Daily Times

Pakistan – A state determined to kill – itself

A state determined to kill – itself

By Khaled Ahmed

By creating just one point of view, Pakistan may entrench itself in dangerous isolation, and may find it difficult to do course-correction to save its already crippled economy from collapsing

A revisionist state called Pakistan is taking all measures possible to immolate itself. The Army finally ran is rival Husain Haqqani to the ground and was helped in this by internecine party politics with everyone mindlessly baying for each other’s blood as the only politics they know. The national economy is gradually crumbling, its infrastructure run down and people willing to attack and burn because the state is unable to run itself. On top of it all, the most fatal hubris of a weak state – ghairat or honour – rules the collective mind.

The Pakistan Army is the only popular institution in the country with processions now carrying portraits of General Kayani because he carries in him the promise of a war of honour, in other words, an honourable death, because living without honour is not living at all. On 26 November 2011, the NATO forces attacked a checkpost on the Pak-Afghan border and killed 24 Pak troops. No one knows what happened except Pakistan that says it was a pre-planned attack. Pakistan significantly got its TV cable operators to ban the BBC for showing its two-hour documentary Secret Pakistan whose facts cannot be denied or at least no one outside Pakistan will reject them. Pakistan should pause and reflect on these facts and then understand the November 26 attack in their light.

BBC said on its website: ‘Filmed largely in Pakistan and Afghanistan, this documentary explored how a supposed ally stands accused by top CIA officers and Western diplomats of causing the deaths of thousands of coalition soldiers in Afghanistan. It is a charge denied by Pakistan’s military establishment, but the documentary makers meet serving Taliban commanders who describe the support they get from Pakistan in terms of weapons, training and a place to hide’.

Pak Army is not willing to look at the non state actors despoiling the country from the inside. It defies the world asking that they be banned and brought to account and feels itself totally blameless for what happened in Mumbai in 2008 while it focuses on what has happened at Salala in 2011. If you kill others or get them killed by your non state actors, they are prone to make the kind of mistake that was made at Salala. But Pakistan welcomes war even though it has never won one and has been defeated again and again fighting India, the last one being the battle of Kargil. General Kayani has familiarly thrown the gauntlet to the US: do it again and see what happens. The world knows that nothing will happen, except that Pakistan, already in dire economic straits, will be crushed.

Nawaz Sharif has gone to the Supreme Court as the one forum where the PPP government can be pulled down as a corollary to defeating the United States. (Get the traitor for joining enemy America!) He wants to get at the root of the Memogate scandal and is sure that the PPP leader Zardari was trying to double-cross the Pak Army which Nawaz Sharif now wants to stand up for. He wants the PPP government gone in short order before its tenure is up.

It appears that the PMLN, with fresh warpaint on its face, the maximalist Supreme Court, intent on getting Zardari to commit hara-kiri in Switzerland, and a revengeful Army aspiring to defeat the US, are on the same page: Suspend efforts to free-trade with India, defeat the US as an obstacle to Pakistan getting its fair share of leverage in Afghanistan, and stop fighting the war against terrorists because it was never Pakistan’s war, slyly hoping that the Taliban will be on Pakistan’s side in the war against the US.

Chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has pledged a crushing retaliation if the US-ISAF forces attacked inside Pakistani territory again, ‘regardless of consequences’ (sic!). He told his troops, ‘Be assured that we will not let the aggressor walk away easily; I have clearly directed that any act of aggression will be responded to with full force, regardless of the cost and consequences’. He wants the troops on the border with Afghanistan to take their own on-the-spot decision against any future NATO attacks without waiting for orders from the GHQ. Now they will fight the US-ISAF forces instead of the Taliban terrorists.

This is a very rash approach to the situation triggered by the November 26 incident, even if it is directed as a morale-booster at the troops and meant to be interpreted differently as strategy for civil society which is obviously not prepared for war on the western front. The Americans are offering regrets even before their formal inquiry into the Salala incident is completed on 21 December. President Obama too has expressed sorrow at the death of Pakistani troops while a formal apology pends till the inquiry reveals NATO’s guilt. There are however statements issuing from Washington saying the attack was unintended and that some fire had come from around the Salala checkpost.

The nation is of one mind, a kind of pre-war symptom that Pakistan experienced in 1965 and 1971 when the Army painted the country into a corner through the hubris of isolationism. It is not natural that the entire nation be of uniform thinking in favour of conflict, especially if this conflict is against an immeasurably stronger adversary. If after the anger felt in the GHQ subsides and more realistic decisions are required to be taken, the disappointment among the public will take the shape of an emotional boomerang of self-disgust. We have seen that happen in the Raymond Davis case after the CIA agent was let off on diyat instead of being publicly hanged. If the common man has succumbed to an attack of ‘ghairat’ and is spoiling for a fight with the US, the state cannot afford to indulge in the bravado of an unequal war.

If the pro-war mind is presuming that the Taliban will fight the NATO-US forces side by side with the Pak Army, putting an end to the problem of law and order in Pakistan, it is sadly deceived. It will in fact be a two-front war, one front being at the back of the Pakistani troops. The Taliban and their master al Qaeda have an agenda that will be fulfilled only by removing our brave Army Chief from his post and then using the Army to take over the country and its nuclear assets. Wisdom demands that we challenge the US realistically rather than rashly, compelling it to make amends for the Salala incident to the benefit of Pakistan.

A consensus of national self-damage can occur even in democracies and it has recently taken place in the US too but in Pakistan one institution of the state dominates all decision-making functions, and those who should be ruling and not allowing this domination are busy in a lethal war of self-diminution.

The fact is that there are two versions of the truth. Unfortunately the American version is what is credited at the international level while the Pakistani version can only hold if the news channels are prevented from puncturing it. Our asymmetric proxy war against India was rejected by the world while the Pakistanis were force-fed with justifiable jihad by non state actors. Its fallout was experienced by Pakistan’s neighbours whose fear of what Pakistan may do next has isolated Pakistan in the region too. ….

Read more » The Friday Times

http://www.thefridaytimes.com/beta2/tft/article.php?issue=20111209&page=2

Norway mass murderer won’t go to prison

Norwegian mass killer ruled insane, likely to avoid jail

By Gwladys Fouche and Victoria Klesty, Reuters

(Additional reporting by Balazs Koranyi; Editing by David Stamp)

OSLO (Reuters) – Court-appointed psychiatrists have concluded that Norwegian mass killer Anders Behring Breivik is criminally insane, prosecutors said on Tuesday, meaning he is likely to be sent to a psychiatric institution indefinitely rather than to jail.

Breivik killed 77 people in July by bombing central Oslo and then gunning down dozens of mostly teenagers at a summer camp of the ruling Labour Party’s youth wing, in Norway’s worst attacks since World War Two.

Prosecutors said Breivik, a self-declared anti-immigration militant, believed he had staged what he called “the executions” out of his love for his people.

“The conclusion … is that he is insane,” prosecutor Svein Holden told a news conference on Breivik’s psychiatric evaluation. “He lives in his own delusional universe and his thoughts and acts are governed by this universe.”

If the court accepts the psychiatrists’ conclusions, Breivik

would be held in a psychiatric institution rather than in a prison. Norwegian courts can challenge psychiatric evaluations or order new tests but rarely reject them. ….

Read more » YahooNews

Nato air attack on Pakistani troops was self-defence, says senior western official

US-Pakistan relations strained further after attack allegedly kills up to 28 and prompts ban on Nato trucks crossing Afghan border

By Jon Boone in Kabul

An attack by Nato aircraft on Pakistani troops that allegedly killed as many as 28 soldiers and looks set to further poison relations between the US and Pakistan was an act of self-defence, a senior western official has claimed.

According to the Kabul-based official, a joint US-Afghan force operating in the mountainous Afghan frontier province of Kunar was the first to come under attack in the early hours of Saturday morning, forcing them to return fire. ….

Read more » guardian.co.uk

via » Siasat.pk

Imran’s self-serving journey – by Dr Aparna Pande

Pakistan: A Personal History

By Imran Khan

Bantam Press; Pp 390; Rs 995

Read this quote to a young Pakistani, and it would almost instinctively be identified as coming from the country’s Islamising military dictator, General Ziaul Haq: “Pakistan came into existence as a country because of Islam and the Islamic beliefs of its founders and citizens.” Ziaul Haq expressed the same thought but somewhat differently: “The ideology of Pakistan is Islam and only Islam. There should be no misunderstanding on this score. We should in all sincerity accept Islam as Pakistan’s basic ideology…otherwise…this country (will) be exposed to secular ideologies.” The first quote, however, comes from Pakistan’s latest media icon of ‘change’, Oxford-educated cricket legend Imran Khan who is finally gaining some traction in Pakistan’s treacherous political world after a fringe role for over 15 years.

Imran Khan’s personal memoir is replete with examples of how he represents a continuum in Pakistan’s non-secular establishment worldview while talking of change. Ziaul Haq’s fervent anti-secular admonishment quoted above was itself just an attempt to revive the religion-based nationalism introduced by an earlier military ruler, Field Marshal Ayub Khan. Ziaul Haq felt the secularists had gained ground in the aftermath of Pakistan’s division in 1971. His idiom of ‘change’, ‘accountability’ and disapproval for traditional politicians is uncannily similar to what Ayub Khan voiced in the 1960s and Imran Khan is articulating now.

Not to belabour the point, just compare the above quotes from Imran Khan and Ziaul Haq with this gem from Ayub Khan: “Such an ideology with us is obviously that of Islam. It was on that basis that we fought for and got Pakistan, but having got it, we failed to order our lives in accordance with it…The time has now come when we must…define this ideology in simple but modern terms and put it to the people, so that they can use it as a code of guidance.”

Imran Khan’s political views have obviously been shaped by the narrative of the military dictators under whom he grew up. He betrays an unusual tendency to believe popular conspiracy theories of the variety popularised by Pakistan’s hyper-nationalists, such as some groups of newspapers and the religious political parties, notably the Jamaat-e-Islami. He blames the Americans for most of what has gone wrong with Pakistan. The references to conspiracies starts almost at the beginning of the book with the mention of the assassination of the country’s first prime minister, Liaquat Ali Khan, on page 23 and the ‘mysterious’ air crash that killed Ziaul Haq on pages 124-125. At a time when an overwhelming majority of Pakistanis believes that 9/11 was part of an American conspiracy to justify attacking Muslim lands, Imran Khan’s predilection for conspiracy theories, though dangerous, might reflect the populist mood of the country.

Like others before him Imran tries to create a pseudo-intellectual justification for his anti-Americanism. He draws a parallel between the British rule in the subcontinent and the lack of sovereignty of British India’s princely states with the current relationship between Pakistan and the US. Ironically, Ayub Khan, towards the end of his decade-long regime had called on the Americans to be Pakistan’s “friends, not masters” and Ziaul Haq had complained days before his death about the US not allowing him space to reap the benefits of the anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan as part of the same national narrative.

On page 48 after criticising Pakistan’s English-medium schooling — of which he was a recipient for decades — and tying it to a form of neo-colonialism, Imran Khan states that in other post-colonial countries like India the government imposed one core syllabus on the entire country. A little research would have told Khan that this assertion is not true — there are two federal level systems (ICSE and CBSE) and every state in India has its own state board of education. Also, instead of doing away with English education or English schooling, India has helped deepen it further in the last six decades and benefitted from it. In a country with many languages, the English language has proved to be a unifying, not divisive, element. But such factual quibbles have little value for the ideological paradigm Khan embraces. Narratives get votes, facts do not.

Continuing with what he perceives as the long-term adverse impact of colonialism, Imran Khan also asserts that this has prevented people from wearing their traditional dress (shalwar kameez) and they continue to wear western dress (pg 51). There is no effort at determining what percentage of Pakistanis actually wore shalwar kameez before the advent of colonial rule or after independence. Had it been undertaken, Imran Khan would have discovered that in most of what is Pakistan today, various forms of dress, including dhoti or lungi (loose loincloth), may have been more common than shalwar kameez.

Imran Khan does not even attempt an anthropological or sociological inquiry while making sweeping claims. Culture for him is skin deep and depends on outward displays — what we wear or the language we speak — and not on core values and traditions. There is also no attempt to answer an obvious question: If Imran Khan is really so against the English language and education why has he published his book in English using a British publisher in London and not in Urdu through a Pakistani one?

While talking about the anti-Soviet Afghan jihad Mr Khan’s views resonate the views of Pakistan’s foreign and security establishments — that the mujahideen were created and funded by the Americans for their foreign policy goals and Pakistan was an unwilling victim (pg 70). That Mr Khan sympathised with the mujahideen and their views is apparent from his referring to them as “idealists” fighting for a “romantic” reason and stating that “jihad is a noble cause (pg 70).” His admiration for Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Osama bin Laden too is evident when he refers to them as people “fighting foreign occupiers” and “sacrificing a life of luxury” (pg 72). Like the Pakistani military-intelligence establishment, Mr Khan preferred the 1980s arrangement between the ISI and the CIA to the post-9/11 arrangement. “However, unlike Musharraf after 9/11, Zia never allowed the CIA to spread its network within Pakistan. It was the ISI who trained the militant groups, funded by the CIA.” Pakistan’s sovereignty, he seems to be arguing, was protected by Zia but sacrificed by Musharraf though how the country could retain complete independence by allowing a foreign intelligence agency’s massive covert operation on its soil remains unexplained.

After declaring Islam as the basis of Pakistani nationhood, Imran Khan ventures into some discussion of the faith. But the only two Muslim scholars mentioned in his book are Shah Waliullah and Muhammad Iqbal, one with violent sectarian revivalist views and the other a modern-educated Muslim exhorting Muslims to find a new path in an era of western domination. Imran Khan does not seem to know how Shah Waliullah contributed to sectarian division in South Asian Islam by his opposition to heresies and his calls for war against the Shias. For the Oxford-educated cricketer, Shah Waliullah’s views enable him to claim that just as the Mughal dynasty declined because it was “degenerative and bound to decay” all the democracies in the Muslim world today are “sham democracies” and are bound to fall (pg 79).

Playing to the Islamist-nationalist gallery in Pakistan, Imran Khan goes on to argue for an Islamic state and implementation of shariah as that is bound to ensure a just democratic welfare state (pp 80-81). A cursory reading of the 1953 report by the Justice Munir Commission would have enlightened Khan on the problems of defining Islam for purposes of governance — a point that Ziaul Haq also occasionally cited as reason for his inability to complete Pakistan’s Islamisation. “Keeping in view the several definitions given by the ulema [people of knowledge],” the Munir Commission pointed out, “need we make any comment except that no two learned divines are agreed on this fundamental. If we attempt our own definition as each learned divine has done and that definition differs from that given by all others, we unanimously go out of the fold of Islam. And if we adopt the definition given by any one of the ulema, we remain Muslims according to the view of that aalim [learned scholar] but kafirs [infidels] according to the definition of everyone else.”

Although Imran Khan does not like him, his book is remarkably similar to the one by General Pervez Musharraf. Both books have a surfeit of self-praise. Musharraf attempted to portray himself as the school bully turned army commando turned self-proclaimed saviour of Pakistan. Imran Khan comes out as someone who lived a hedonistic lifestyle all his life but is now trying to make up for it. His love for his mother, pride in family roots, love for cricket and constant quotations from Iqbal seem all too contrived. His attempt to show how he may not have been an observant Muslim in his youth but has become one in later years is too self-serving.

Throughout the book Imran Khan is not only disparaging about Pakistan’s politicians but also about the field of politics (pg 82). One wonders how he plans to do well in a field that he hates so much. One of his many criticisms of Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif is that these individuals did not have enough political and administrative experience before they entered office and hence they were bound to fail. But then he acknowledges that he does not have any experience in politics but it would be akin to swimming where after jumping in he learnt on the job (pg 186). If that is the case then why could not others too learn on the job and do equally well, if not better? And if it is not possible to learn on the job and prior experience is a must, how would Imran Khan do better?

The reviewer is a Research Fellow at Hudson Institute, Washington DC. Her book, Explaining Pakistan’s Foreign Policy: Escaping India, was published in April 2011

Courtesy: Daily Times

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\11\14\story_14-11-2011_pg3_4

Ardeshir Cowasjee – WE are determined never to learn from history. In our universe, we are in the middle of a party celebrating our greatness and self-glorification but in the real world, Pakistan is in big trouble is unlikely to go away.

Killing the messengers

by Ardeshir Cowasjee

WE Pakistanis are determined never to learn from history. Our leaders deem ignorance to be bliss and choose to pay no attention to what the world thinks of them or of our country.

Pakistan is more isolated internationally than at any time since 1971. That year, for those of us who care to remember, the country lost its erstwhile eastern wing after a civil war and a humiliating military defeat.

Any other nation would teach its young the lessons of its greatest tragedy in the hope of avoiding it. We, on the other hand, are insistent upon re-enacting every mistake we made then as if to prove Einstein’s definition of insanity. “Insanity,” said the great scientist, is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Continue reading Ardeshir Cowasjee – WE are determined never to learn from history. In our universe, we are in the middle of a party celebrating our greatness and self-glorification but in the real world, Pakistan is in big trouble is unlikely to go away.

Occupy Wall Street rediscovers the radical imagination

– The young people protesting in Wall Street and beyond reject this vain economic order. They have come to reclaim the future

• Police tactics attacked as officers pepper-spray women
• Occupy Wall Street: the protesters speak

by

Why are people occupying Wall Street? Why has the occupation – despite the latest police crackdown – sent out sparks across America, within days, inspiring hundreds of people to send pizzas, money, equipment and, now, to start their own movements called OccupyChicago, OccupyFlorida, in OccupyDenver or OccupyLA?

There are obvious reasons. We are watching the beginnings of the defiant self-assertion of a new generation of Americans, a generation who are looking forward to finishing their education with no jobs, no future, but still saddled with enormous and unforgivable debt. Most, I found, were of working-class or otherwise modest backgrounds, kids who did exactly what they were told they should: studied, got into college, and are now not just being punished for it, but humiliated – faced with a life of being treated as deadbeats, moral reprobates.

Is it really surprising they would like to have a word with the financial magnates who stole their future?

Just as in Europe, we are seeing the results of colossal social failure. The occupiers are the very sort of people, brimming with ideas, whose energies a healthy society would be marshaling to improve life for everyone. Instead, they are using it to envision ways to bring the whole system down. ….

Read more → guardian.co.uk

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via → guardian news blogYouTube

The killer has no remorse

– Salmaan Taseer case: No remorse as defence wraps up arguments

By Mudassir Raja

RAWALPINDI: In their concluding remarks on Saturday, lawyers representing Malik Mumtaz Qadri, the self-confessed killer of former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer, tried to justify the high-profile assassination by saying the governor’s conduct was “unbecoming of a Muslim”.

Special Judge Anti-Terrorism Court-II Pervez Ali Shah put off the hearing in the case until October 1 after the lawyers representing Qadri said that if their client had not killed Taseer, someone else would have.

Special Public Prosecutor in the case, Saiful Malook, was absent from court on Saturday, though he is likely to make the prosecuting case on the next date of hearing.

Talking to the media after attending the hearing in Adiala Jail, Advocate Raja Shujaur Rehman, representing the accused, said they had argued before the court that the action of Qadri was as instantaneous as the statements of a public figure like the Punjab governor had been provocative. He added that Taseer’s conduct was against the sentiments of the common man.

The lawyer said the accused himself had tried to justify his act by presenting different passages of the Quran and Islamic teachings against blasphemy.

The governor’s statements against blasphemy laws, Rehman said, were also against the laws of the country but state machinery did not take any legal action against him.

Courtesy: →  The Express Tribune, September 25th, 2011.

For Pakistan to change, army must change

– by Ayaz Amir

Decades of misadventure have distorted and even corrupted the Pakistani mind. We do not live in the real world. Our foreign policy notions, our list of assets and threats, have but a remote relation to reality. We must look to first causes. How did we create these bonfires for ourselves? How did we become prisoners of our misconceptions? Liberating the Pakistani mind from the shackles of these self-imposed errors must be the first of our tasks if, with luck, we are to become a normal nation.

The army and its strategic adventures have brought Pakistan to its present pass. The footprints of the terrorism now haunting the country go back to the first Afghan ‘jihad’, the one army-inspired event which pushed Pakistan to the frontiers of insanity. The phoenix won’t rise from its ashes, and there will be no return to sanity, unless the army can bring itself to change its outlook and reinvent some of its mental apparatus.

Civilians have been poor administrators, in no position to escape their share of the blame for the mess the Fortress of Islam is in. But in the driving seat of Pakistan’s steady march to the brink have been our holy guardians. There is little room for quibbling on this point.

Even so, despite the mounting evidence of disorder, the army refuses to change, still obsessed with the threat from the east, still caught up with the quixotic notion of exercising influence in Afghanistan. God in heaven, why should it matter to us if a president of Afghanistan is a Tajik, an Uzbek or a Pathan? Can’t we keep our eyes focused on our own problems? The threat we face lies squarely within but our strategic grandmasters insist on being foreign policy specialists.

If a Stalin were around, although fat chance of that occurring, he would lay his hands first not on militants and assorted terrorists but on the foreign policy experts who infest our television studios.

Is Mossad pulling the strings of terrorism in Karachi? Was the CIA behind the attack on Shia pilgrims in Mastung? Was RAW behind the attempt on the life of the Karachi special investigator, Chaudhry Aslam?

By any reasonable computation we have enough of a nuclear arsenal. By any yardstick of common sense, a commodity often in short supply in the conference rooms of national security, we have as much of a deterrent as we need to counter the real or imagined threat from India. This being the case, we should be directing what energies we have to the threat from within: that posed by militancy marching under the banner of Islam.

As part of this undertaking, we need to advertise for a Hakim Luqman who could cure our general staff and the ISI of their preoccupation with the future of Afghanistan. We have been burnt by Afghanistan. We don’t need any further burning. For the sake of Pakistan’s future we need to distance ourselves from Afghanistan’s problems, dire as they are.

Continue reading For Pakistan to change, army must change

MQM Chief caught escaping to South Africa?

Altaf Hussain with Imran Farooq's father. Photo courtesy goes to Opinion Maker.

He was escaping to South Africa?

By Special Correspondent

London: The London Post has reported Altaf Hussain self exiled leader of MQM-A caught escaping to South Africa by the authorities. According to sources, ‘Altaf Hussain was hiding in the Wrexham area close to Slough in Berkshire for the past few days. He was stopped when was going to Heathrow Airport in a private taxi. Interestingly the taxi driver was a Pakistani whom Mr Hussain thought as an English man due to his appearance.

According to sources Altaf Hussain told the authorities that, ‘he is leaving UK and going to South Africa for security reasons and personal protection’. According to sources he was told that, ‘security can be provided to him in the UK’. It is not yet clear if Mr Hussain detained or taken in protective custody. Mr Altaf Hussain is a British Citizen and living in self imposed exile since 1992. He is never been to Pakistan since 1992, not a registered voter now and never voted in any elections ever since.

Earlier yesterday it was reported that British police raided two addresses including an office of MQM-A in London in connection with the on going murder investigation of Dr Imran Farooq. It is reported that police took the crucial evidence in custody including the carpets for forensic investigation. According to reports 35 well trained officers of the Scotland Yard took part in the operation on Thursday 24th August 2011”.

It is reported that those MQM-A terrorists arrested in Karachi were actually coming from Colombo Sri Lanka and had connections with the murder of Dr Imran Farooq. The arrests took place as result of tip off from British authorities.

According to reports both Khalid Shamim and another MQM-A terrorists who were arrested in Karachi while arriving from Colombo actually called in to be eliminated in Karachi by their own party MQM-A. They had crucial information related to Dr Imran Farooq’s murder as well as target killing cells in various countries including South Africa. They knew too much about the MQM-A illegal and terrorist activities and needed to be eliminated that is why they were called in Karachi. They are lucky to be alive in the custody of Pakistani authorities than killed by their own death squad.

Courtesy: → Opinion Maker → The L0ndon Post

http://www.opinion-maker.org/2011/08/altaf-hussain-caught/

http://www.thelondonpost.net/

The Bitches!

by Dr. Shazia Nawaz

This is a reply to J. Sahib who keeps calling American women “bitches”. On the beach, we saw these two teenagers wearing shirts; one shirt said bitch no.1, and the other one said bitch #2, we found it hilarious.

It is extremely difficult to understand for a Pakistani man that what kind of self confidence an American (Western) woman has and why.

Europe and America is heaven for women. Myself and my daughter are blessed to be American women.

No one would force us to do anything here. We are free to choose our way of life for ourselves. We do not have to date if we do not want to but if we wanted, no one can stop us. We can wear whatever we want, we can go inside the water (ocean etc) and men do not stand in line staring at us making us feel uncomfortable. No one will force us to go to a bar, we would only go if we wanted to. But no one can kill us here for going to a bar.

We can drive in USA and jog on a street with out being harassed. If our husbands ever hit us, it only takes police to get here in 5 minutes or less. And trust me, they do put a stop to domestic violence, and it works for poor women too. In Pakistan only rich and influential families can protect their daughters from domestic violence.

We can make our own decisions. every single one. Something as simple as if we want to go to a library. I was 25 when internet became a hit in Pakistan. I had just finished my medical school, while my younger brother, 22, was still in medical school. I joined a computer school to learn how to use a computer properly. My brother came to pick me up and saw that there was a video game shop in front of the computer school and about 25 boys were standing there. Although both myself and my brother had studied in co-education all our lives, boys at a video game shops were considered ghunds/lafangas by my brother. So, he decided that since there is a game shop there, I am not allowed to go learn computer. This is what I wanted most at that point in my life; learn how to use a computer.

No matter what a big fight I put up, I was not allowed to go to that computer school again. Society makes it difficult for your brothers. Brothers make it difficult for each others sisters by staring and teasing each others sisters.

Here in USA, we make our own decision. Call us bitches if you want, just know what we have, your women can only dream of. Or perhaps they can not even dream of it, they do not know what it is.

Courtesy: → Pakistani e-lists/ e-groups, August 19, 2011.

Why to blame MQM, when PPP leadership is there for capitulation to preserve their narrow personal short-term interests and has nothing to do with the welfare of the people

– Potters’ wares – by Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

Watayo Faqir is to Sindh what Mullah Naseerudin is to Turkey, Afghanistan and Central Asia. Once someone informed Watayo that his mother had gone crazy and was writhing in the dust in the city centre; knowing his mother acted oddly at times he was nonetheless surprised. Reaching home he inquired; she replied that having seen a rupee coin in the path and thinking that if she picks it up someone would claim it, the best way was to act crazy and pocket it without anyone suspecting. Watayo said, “I knew my mother would not be all that crazy without a very good reason.”

What the PPP leadership terms as the policy of reconciliation is in fact a policy of capitulation for preserving their narrow personal short-term interests and has nothing to do with the welfare or benefit of the people in general and Sindhis in particular. But then nothing better can be expected from people whose politics are based on self-interest.

National interest and preservation of democracy is mendaciously bandied about as the reason behind the vacillations, oscillations, dithering and capitulation of the PPP, which would shame even the most brazen politician of any country, to appease the MQM. The sole purpose behind these brazen transmogrifications is the self-interest of the elite of these two parties who do not even bother to ask their colleagues’ opinions. Syed Zafar Ali Shah, Taj Haider and Nabeel Gabol have come out openly against this ludicrous pantomime. Naturally, no one from the MQM wants to end up in a gunny bag so there has not been a squeak from anyone; any way why would the victors complain?

The resentment amongst the people of Sindh is palpable and their anger at the PPP’s capitulation was expressed by the success of the strike called by the nationalist parties on August 8 and 13. Even PPP members have taken to the streets against the latest capitulation. This pusillanimous and chronic backtracking has made them an object of ridicule and derision for common people because those who forge and implement these preposterous decisions live in inaccessible mansions away from the grubby masses. This habitual volte-face along with the carefree attitude towards the views and problems of workers is isolating the PPP from whatever support that has survived.

The MQM is a different entity; it is ruled from London and only absolute submission is the rule — dissenters are meted out horrible punishments. It is a party that is based on terror, oiled by terror and thrives on terror. This is how this organisation is run and there is no other way for its survival. A quote by George MacDonald (1824-1905), a Scottish poet and author, fits to a T all fascist organisations and individuals. He says, “A beast does not know that he is a beast, and the nearer a man gets to being a beast, the less he knows it.”

The terrorism perpetrated after Zulfiqar Mirza’s statement left a trail of destruction in its wake because the call to teach him a lesson resulted in a score killed and properties and vehicles destroyed. This carnage was one of the sequels of the May 12 incident; there have been quite a few follow up episodes of that successful run of the show by the MQM during the Musharraf era. Oddly, no one is ready to blame the real culprits in Karachi.

The much flaunted powerbase and mandate have been acquired by sowing terror. All elections are massively rigged and manipulated and all parties practice it in places where they can cow the election staff. The MQM always boasts of a mind-boggling number of votes cast in their constituencies and this they do through fraudulently stuffing ballot boxes. The number of votes that the MQM claims cannot physically be cast in the limited time period and the cumbersome procedure that is required to cast a single vote. This rigging is done to lay claim to being the majority’s representative. This comes in handy to intimidate others into submission through threats. A heavy and unhindered presence of international observers during the elections could expose this mandate farce any day. …

Read more → Daily Times

Sindh is a CAUSE not a CARD – New Sindh is emerging led by the people

– Congratulations! to Saaieen Zardari …. he has united virtually whole Sindh, nationalist parties, ANP, PPP dissidents on one platform to observe complete shutter down strike in Sindh against unending black mailing of MQM-A on gunpoint & betrayal of PPP in Sindh. No body should take Sindh for granted!  New Sindh is emerging led by the people.

Salute to the people of Sindh for complete strike on 13th August 2011. The short sighted & self centered PPP leadership, living in the palaces of Islamabad that ruined its won core constituency should learn lesson that Sindh is not political CARD to use for personal interests but a CAUSE. The people of Sindh never let any one to play this card any more against the wishes of the people of Sindh.

Courtesy: → Above text is adopted from different Sindhi Walls of Facebook.

Rolling back the tsunami – Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

Excerpt;

…. The state, its institutions and luminaries here are complicit in the spread and sustenance of fundamentalism because they were the immediate beneficiaries and without it could not have sustained themselves; it is only now when this tsunami is engulfing them that they are having second thoughts. The fundamentalist ‘brainwashing’ here is societal and if this tsunami of fundamentalism is to be rolled back it has to be tackled on a similar scale. Pebbles of de-radicalisation are not going to stem this tsunami.

The remedy, which may take a generation or more to take effect, is adopting a secular constitution like Bangladesh, curbing the media channels spewing hatred in name of religion, allowing nations the right to self-determination, disempowering the army, shunning ‘strategic depth’ and ‘assets’, ensuring transparency in governance, revamping education curriculum, banning loud speakers and keeping madrassas in check. But I ask the impossible. They simply will not move an iota from their established lucrative position and will readily take down all with them; this tsunami will haunt the world for a long time.

To read complete article → Daily Times

Pakistan: A Ship without a Captain

– By Dr. Muzaffar Iqbal

Pakistan has a strange history of strongly directed, self-centered, military rule followed by a democratic drift into an abyss; it is, once again, in the midst of a drift, like a ship without a captain. If logic dictates historical necessity, then the next military coup should not be too far. This is not a forecast, just a possible outcome of the current so-called democratic experiment, which is perhaps the greatest watershed in the political history of this unfortunate nation where genuine leadership has been as rare as the legendary huma bird.

One does not need to fortune tellers to see where the country is going; the drift itself is so obviously toward a certain chaos which will leave nothing in tact in an already fragmented polity. One can understand how the ruling party has led the country into this state, but it is hard to understand the impotency of the official as well as unofficial opposition. In more concrete terms, all that the country has is empty bombast, being issued from the frothy mouths of the entire spectrum of those who constitute “opposition”. …

Read more: REBELNEWS

The biggest hurdle to the better future of Pakistan

Survival of the self-centered

By Badar Alam

Excerpt:

…. In another indication that the army continues to overstep institutional boundaries, the press release has invoked popular endorsement for the army. The question is why it needs such an endorsement if it is carrying out its official functions of maintaining national defence and internal security as it should. Is it hankering after direct public support because it does not operate under a constitutional arrangement in which a people’s will is solicited and channeled into the policies of the government through democratically elected institutions? Effectively the army has become a supra-constitutional organisation that bypasses, and sometimes also subverts, the writ of the people in their very name.

If the army is a government department, with its rights and responsibilities laid down under the constitution mandated by the people of Pakistan, does it then perform as a government department? No, it is not. Postal services, for example, do not set ideological goals for them and they do not seek direct public support in discharging their duties; they just deliver letters as they are supposed to do under the legal, institutional and constitutional provisions that govern their functioning.

The army, indeed, needs to do what it is supposed to do under the law and the constitution – and that excludes a lot of what it is doing now. First and foremost, it needs to start observing its institutional limits and stop talking and acting beyond its constitutional mandate. If it cannot do that, and it seems it does not want to, no amount of loud declarations about its pious intentions and even louder condemnations of the ‘divisive designs’ of its alleged detractors will improve its image and performance.

To read complete article: DAWN.COM

M.F. Husain dies; famous Indian painter, 95, was in exile after death threats from Hindu hardliners

India’s most prominent painter, M.F. Hussain, dies in self-imposed exile at age 95

By Associated Press

NEW DELHI — M.F. Hussain, a former movie billboard artist who rose to become India’s most sought-after painter before going into self-imposed exile during an uproar over nude images of Hindu icons, died Thursday. He was 95.

CNN-IBN TV channel quoted a friend, Arun Vadehra, as saying that Hussain, often described as India’s Picasso, died at the Royal Brompton hospital in London. His lawyer, Akhil Sibal, confirmed the death to The Associated Press.

Hussain had lived in Dubai since 2006 after receiving death threats from Hindu hard-liners in India for a nude painting of a woman shaped like India’s map, often depicted as “Mother India” in popular arts, folklore and literature. A nude of Hindu goddess Saraswati also angered the hard-liners. ….

Read more: Washington Post

 

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

In-camera session: The ultimate betrayal

By Badar Alam

After all the hullabaloo about the civilian supremacy over the military, the parliament’s joint session has ended up achieving the opposite of what leaked reports on the military and intelligence bosses being on the defensive might suggest.

The unanimous resolution passed at the end of the session has reaffirmed and validated Pakistan’s flawed security discourse –espoused and led by the military and its supporters among politicians and media pundits: That the United States of America – in cahoots with India – is out to destroy Pakistan. What else can explain the worrying absence from the resolution of both Osama bin Laden and the terrorist organisations on the prowl across the country with their poisonous ideologies and lethal strategies to implement them?

Bin Laden was no ordinary criminal on the run from the law. He had been ordering, planning and sponsoring acts of terrorism across the globe using our territory. And in a gross violation of our territorial sanctity, the world’s most wanted terrorist, whose organisation al Qaeda more than once declared war on Pakistan, has been living just outside the country’s top military academy reportedly for years.

Still, the parliamentarians forgot to refer to the fact that by virtue of his visa-less stay in Abbottabad, he has been undermining Pakistan’s sovereignty and subverting the sacredness of our borders as much as the American helicopters did when they invaded Pakistan to capture and kill him.

Whether this omission is deliberate or accidental, it confirms the most dominant view in our security and intelligence discourse that the roots of Pakistan’s problems lie outside of the country and not inside. Besides the obvious demerits of this flawed approach which has exposed Pakistan to hostile neighbors on both its eastern and western borders, it allows the military, the government, the parliament and the intelligentsia the luxury to bury their heads in the sand as the chances of an implosion of the state and the society become increasingly imminent around them.

The problem with such smugness is that it wants an immediate end to drone attacks and is willing to go to any lengths to have them stopped but is willing to look the other way as terrorists – operating illegally out of our territory – continue to commit horrible crimes against humanity, within Pakistan as well as outside it.

The parliamentarians have not just underestimated the global anxiety over terrorism emanating from our own backyard, they have also undermined the sacrifices of 35,000 civilians and about 5000 security personnel who lost their lives to terrorist attacks. Or did they actually die fighting against some aliens descended on us through the American drones? By choosing to ignore these issues, the parliament looks like having answered this question in the affirmative.

Continue reading In-camera session: The ultimate betrayal

Pakistan is entering another dark stage of history

Another dark period – by Dr Manzur Ejaz

Jamaat-i-Islami is holding rallies to condemn Osama’s death in the name of Pakistan’s sovereignty as if al Qaeda and the Taliban are not violating it.

Before Osama Bin Laden’s death in Abbottabad, Islamabad’s political orientation had shifted further to the right on every level. In retrospect, it is becoming clearer that the newfound unity between Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q) had been forged with the military’s tacit support. No wonder that Prime Minister Gilani’s responses after the Abbottabad debacle were totally in sync with the military’s public face, Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR). By now all the primitive forces of Pakistan have forged an opportunistic unity barring any enlightened solution to the country’s internal and external problems.

After the Jamiat-i-Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) had left the government of their own will or on someone’s prompting, the PPP was in a very precarious position. It had no solution other than bowing to the military and seeking its help. PML-Q, not a political party as such, but an ensemble of electable Pakistani aristocrats always finding it abhorrent to sit on the opposition benches, were keen to come back to the ruling group. PML-Q had served in the military-managed government of General Musharraf and got on board once they received signals from the right quarters.

Pakistan’s military had hardly any choice but to support the PPP government after exacting the maximum concessions from it. It has been reported by many insiders that the military hates to see a federal government run by Mian Nawaz Sharif and his party PML-N. The military is fearful of his independent approach and his strong belief in civilian supremacy over the armed forces. His firing of two army chiefs during his last stint as prime minster was more than the military could swallow. The military is said to believe that though the PPP government is inept and corrupt, it still listens to them and dares not challenge its will, while Mian Nawaz Sharif is going to do what he likes and may try to exert control over the ‘untouchable’ mighty institution.

A few months back the military was seemingly trying to corner the PPP and replace it with some other combination of political groupings including MQM. Mian Nawaz Sharif was being encouraged to play a role to destabilise the PPP government but, apparently, he did not oblige. Somehow, he seems to be wedded to the concept of not throwing out the democratically elected government when there is direct or indirect danger of military intervention. Since he did not take the military’s bait, the military had no choice but to work with the PPP.

A weakened PPP government due to lack of governance, incompetence and perceived corruption, had changed its patron from the US to the military. After the PPP-PML-Q alliance was put in place, Prime Minister Gilani has been issuing strong pro-military/ISI statements, owning up to all the mess that Pakistan is accused of creating.

PM Gilani’s reported suggestion to Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karazai to tilt away from the US and embrace China was also in accordance with the military’s cat and mouse play with the Americans. His out-of-place statement that the military’s intelligence agencies are following the civilian government was also an attempt at mollycoddling the GHQ. His statements after the US operation in Abbottabad followed the same pattern. In essence, the military has recreated a Musharraf-like civilian set-up, which will allow it to do whatever it likes in dealings with the US, Afghanistan, India, China and other key external partners. It also gives them a free hand to play duplicitous policy games if they like to.

Presently, the PPP is trying to outdo Imran Khan, religious parties and all other anti-US political formations in standing behind the military. Jamaat-i-Islami is holding rallies to condemn Osama’s death in the name of Pakistan’s sovereignty as if al Qaeda and the Taliban are not violating it. Some religious leaders are blaming the Yahood-o-Hunood (Jews and Hindus) for hatching a conspiracy against the Pakistan military as if Osama bin Laden had been planted by them in Abbottabad. Other random groups are even holding rallies in support of the military. This is happening at a time when the civilians, specifically the governing party, should have been asking some tough questions from the military. Instead, the political groups are competing with each other to win the trophy for being the ‘Best Military Apologist’.

Whether Osama bin Laden was living in Abbottabad with or without the military’s knowledge is a question haunting Pakistan. The world is asking if it should be considered a case of incompetence or mischief on the part of Pakistan. The PPP and all other apologists can woo the military in pursuit of their own agendas but they can neither satisfy the world (not just the US) nor force the military establishment to initiate a corrective mechanism so that, in future, Osama bin Ladens are kept away from Pakistan. In fact, the political environment has been so ‘militarised’ that the Abbottabad operation has turned out to be a blessing for the military. Now the military has proved that it is beyond scrutiny and will be more encouraged to do whatever it wishes. This simply means that the Pakistani state is going to deteriorate further with no self-correcting mechanism in sight.

The conditions in Pakistan were already bad but with the PPP-PML-Q alliance combined with pro-military noises indicate that Pakistan is entering another dark stage of history.

The writer can be reached at manzurejaz@yahoo.com

Courtesy: Wichaar

CP of Pakistan’s 8th congress report

The 8th historical congress of the Communist Party of Pakistan was successfully convened and concluded from 11-13th April,2011, at Hyderabad city Sindh. The decision for holding the party’s most awaited congress,

Continue reading CP of Pakistan’s 8th congress report

Pakistan: Silence has become the mother of all blasphemies. Pakistan’s mullahs and muftis have managed to blur the line between what God says and what they say

by Mohammed Hanif

Two months ago, after Governor Salmaan Taseer’s murder and the jubilant support for the policeman who killed him, religious scholars in Pakistan told us that since common people don’t know enough about religion they should leave it to those who do – basically anyone with a beard.

Everyone thought it made a cruel kind of sense. So everyone decided to shut up: the Pakistan Peoples party (PPP) government because it wanted to cling to power, liberals in the media because they didn’t want to be the next Taseer. The move to amend the blasphemy law was shelved.

It was an unprecedented victory for Pakistan’s mullah minority. They had told a very noisy and diverse people to shut up and they heard back nothing but silence. After Pakistan’s only Christian federal minister, Shahbaz Bhatti – the bravest man in Islamabad – was murdered on Tuesday, they were back on TV, this time condemning the killing, claiming it was a conspiracy against them, against Islam and against Pakistan. The same folk who had celebrated one murder and told us how not to get murdered were wallowing in self pity. …

Read more : Guardian.co.uk

Pakistan’s populist judges : Courting trouble

– An overactive judiciary might undermine a fragile democracy

PAKISTAN’S chief justice, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, is riding high. At a time when most of the country’s political leaders are despised as venal, lazy or inept, its senior jurist is held in esteem. People tell pollsters they trust him more than anyone. They cheer his efforts to take on the corrupt and hapless president, Asif Ali Zardari. Yet Mr Chaudhry may be crossing a line from activist judge to political usurper.

His judges pass up no chance to swipe at the government. Mr Chaudhry spent months trying to get Swiss officials to reopen a corruption case that could have toppled Mr Zardari (in Pakistan, criminal proceedings against a sitting president are prohibited). After that failed, the courts took up a thin-looking case in which the president is accused of unconstitutionally holding an office for profit. That looks vindictive: the office in question is his post as head of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party.

The courts quickly adopt populist causes, especially those that squeeze Mr Zardari. After an American diplomat shot dead two men in the street in Lahore last month, the mother of one victim appealed for justice on television, saying that she would trust only Mr Chaudhry to help. The High Court in Lahore promptly ordered that the diplomat, who had been arrested, must not be allowed out of the country—even if the government were to rule that he had immunity. In this case, as in many others, the judges have shown themselves to be able self-publicists. Their stance has won approving coverage.

And on the country’s illiberal but widely popular blasphemy law, the Lahore High Court intervened to forbid the president from issuing an early pardon to anyone convicted by lower courts. Before the murder last month of Salman Taseer, the governor of Punjab and critic of the blasphemy law, Mr Zardari had told him he was planning such a pardon. The courts seem set on boxing him in. …

Read more : The Economist

Court issues arrest warrant for ex-president Musharraf for his involvement in the killing of ex-prime minister Benazir Bhutto

ATC issues arrest warrant for Musharraf

ISLAMABAD: A Pakistani anti-terrorism court on Saturday issued an arrest warrant for former president Pervez Musharraf over the assassination of ex-prime minister Benazir Bhutto, a public prosecutor said.

Musharraf, who was president when Bhutto was killed in December 2007 in a gun and suicide bomb attack, is in self-imposed exile in London. He will not be going back to Pakistan for any court hearing, his spokesman said.

The former president and military ruler is alleged to have been part of a “broad conspiracy” to have his political rival killed before elections ….

Read more : DAWN

Taliban & The Girl from the Swat Flogging

The Girl from the Swat Flogging

An interview with Saira Bibi

Tell us about the day of the flogging.

I don’t remember the exact date, but it was in January 2009. My husband works at a coalmine in Hyderabad and he was away. He had asked us to organize a lunch for one of his friends who had recently got married. After the lunch guests left, we heard noises at our door. They were shouting for us to quickly come out of the house. My mother-in-law asked them who they were. They said they were the Taliban. They said there were some allegations against me, and they wanted to question me. I told my mother-in-law I had no reason to face them. They kept shouting, threatening to drag me out themselves. My brother-in-law took me to them. He said we have no choice, that I should trust Allah.

What did the Taliban say to your family? How were you feeling when you left with them?

They said I would have to defend myself in their Shariah court which was set up at a government-run primary school for girls about 200 meters from our home. So we walked there. I was scared. In my mind, I was walking toward my death.

What happened at the school?

When I got to this self-declared Shariah court, I saw three men with long beards who were fully equipped with weapons. One of the Taliban there accused me of having an illicit relationship with the friend of my husband whom we had had the lunch for. He said I would have to face punishment; that I will have to be flogged because that is what Islam says. I denied the allegation, but they didn’t listen to me. One of them told me to bend my head toward my knees, and then they started flogging me. Another one counted up to 15 for each time I was struck. They told me to walk to the nearby ground for the final decision. As I walked there I was thinking they are going to slit my throat and kill me like they have others. There was a mob gathered there. I was told to lie face down on the ground. Two men held my hands down, another had his hand on my neck, a third one held my feet. I kept shouting I am innocent. I kept crying to Allah to help me. They lashed me another 15 times. After the second round of flogging, I wasn’t able to walk and my brother-in-law had to assist me back home. ….

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