“When children start committing suicide, it means we are doing something fundamentally wrong in the society.” ~ Sadhguru
KARACHI, Aug 16: A book titled ‘What’s wrong with Pakistan?’ written by eminent journalist Babar Ayaz was launched at a hotel on Friday.
The main feature of the event was an interesting discussion on the contents and genesis of the book with the writer anchored by journalists Asif Noorani and Amir Zia. Mr Ayaz was first requested to read out a couple of passages from What’s wrong with Pakistan?
The author obliged and mentioned that at the beginning of every journalist’s career he’s asked to learn about the five Ws (what, where, when, who and why). Citing examples of the likes of political economist Adam Smith and economist and revolutionary socialist Karl Marx, he pointed out they studied why society behaved in a particular way.
He said he had read many books on the topic he chose to write on but had found out that those books shied away from calling a spade a spade. His was an attempt to call a spade a spade. He then read out passages from the preface to the book in which he touched upon issues such as distrust between institutions and provinces, military operations, war on terror and the notion of a failing state espoused by certain writers. He said there was a need to have an unbiased and dispassionate diagnosis. He argued Pakistan was born with a genetic defect.
After the reading was over, Mr Noorani asked the writer about why he penned a book at such a later stage in his life. The author replied that when he was a young student in Sukkur, he was required to read Shakespeare. It made him think to himself that Shakespeare would not have even imagined that one day his work would be read in a place called Sukkur. This meant writing helped you live on. Mr Ayaz said he was not in favour of compiling his newspaper columns into a book. The fact that Syed Sibte Hasan began writing after he turned 60 proved an encouraging factor as well.
Swift changes in production and consumption are changing the society and politics in Sindh
By Dr Manzur Ejaz
Contrary to common belief that Sindh is a feudal-ruled primitive land, socio-economic transformation in Sindh is as fast as in Punjab. Rapid urbanization, mechanization of agricultural sector and commercialization has changed the very basis of Sindhi society. Such a transformation will have inevitable political consequences that may not be visible currently, but will materialize down the road.
The effects of this transformation are trickling down even to the common person, whether it is cellphone equipped goat herders or teens from small towns using motor vehicles. Colorful rickshaws have replaced tongas and tractors trollies have taken the place of centuries old wooden plows pulled by animals. Consumer goods have penetrated the Sindhi society deeply, uprooting and transforming the artisan classes and their skills. Consequently, the realignment of Sindhi class structure is duly underway.
Swift changes of economic production and consumption triggered mammoth urbanization from the 1980s onward. The newly urbanized masses have started playing their political roles as summed up by Zafar Junejo, chief executive officer of Thardeep – an NGO working for economic development – in an article published by Newsline.
He argues that recent protests against the new local governments system are led by these new urban masses rather than traditional nationalist groups.
Parallel to the great socio-economic transformation, Sindhi intelligentsia is cognizant of emergence of a neo-feudal class, led symbolically by Asif Ali Zardadri, Zulifqar Mirza, Pir Mazhar et al. These are people who do not come from the traditional feudal class but are rumored to have amassed huge tracts of land and industries by making money through illegal means, occupying public lands or forcing small land owners to sell their land. This is a class or type of ruling class which remains absent from their electoral constituencies and just show up at election times. They have nothing to do with the people and this is the main reason the major developmental projects are nowhere to be seen in the whole province. Hyderabad’s non existing metal roads are a manifestation of poor performance by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) government in the province and the center. This may lead an ultimate downfall of the PPP in Sindh.
By: Zulfiqar Halepoto
Hundreds of civil society leaders, human rights and peace activists writers, lawyers, intellectuals, students, women activists and concerned citizens joined first day of token hunger strike and protest by CIVIL SOCIETY of Hyderabad against the black BILL of SPLGO 2012 today on 02-10-2012 @ Hyderabad Press Club, Hyderabad, Sindh, Pakistan. Civil society called the bill a conspiracy to divide Sindh on administrative line to pay ways for further demographic and geographic divide of Sindh on ethnic basis- It was resolved that people of Sindh are prepared to bleed to save their historical motherland from being divided. Civil society appealed to Sindh-loving Urdu speaking Sindhis to get out of their homes against the bill and rural-urban divide and be counted in the list of those who love their motherland, its sovereignty and integrity- Civil society hunger strike and protest was joined and addressed by leading civil society and political leaders including STPP chairman Dr Qadir Magsi, Zulfiqar Halepoto, Amar Sindhu, Punhal Sario and others. On this occasion and resolved that they have planned to stage sit-ins, token hunger strikes, peaceful protests till this black bill is withdrawn. Civil society hunger strike and protest was attended by Please join us Dr Qadir magsi, Zulfiqar Halepoto, Punhal Sario, Inam Shaikh, Amar Sindhu , Mushtaq Mirani, Professor Tanveer Jnejo, Mukhtiar Abassi, Apa Nazir Qureshi, Gulshan laghari, Noor Memon, Muzaffar Chandio, Muzaffar Kalhoro, Javed Soz Halai, Jabbar Bhatti, Asghar Lagahri, Dilip Doultani, Abbas Khoso, Haseen Musratt Shah, Perveen magsi, Saleem Lashari, Niaz Chandio, Ayaz Chandio, Rbail Aziz, Hussain Bux Thebo, Advocate Inder Jeet Lohano, Ayaz Tunio, Hiader Shahani, Mr. Jamari Advocate, Nandlal Malhi and others.Civil society moot was joined by the leaders and workers of several political parties including STP, PMLN, AJP, JSQM and others
By Raza Rumi
It is perhaps too early to analyse and unpack the turbulent events of last week that shook Pakistan and alarmed the world as to its endemic instability, increasingly exacerbated by the mass radicalisation of its society. Though the grave provocation by a random, obscure amateur film-maker may have been the trigger, each segment of Pakistani polity contributed to the undoing of the façade of civilian power as well as the illusion of relative social harmony.
The civilian government capitulated way too early to an agenda set by the extremists, who not content with using the issue of blasphemy as a domestic political lever, are insistent on imposing it on the world. The ludicrous outcome of the so-called protests on what was supposed to be a day to show our love for the Holy Prophet (pbuh) was massive (but entirely avoidable) damage to human life, public and private property, and a slowing down of economic activity which cost the economy billions (in a country chasing IFIs for quick cash), and most importantly, to the future of a democracy in Pakistan.
The likelyhood of death sentence being awarded to an 11 year old for alleged blasphemy is symptomatic of the naked abuse of power exercised by religious zealots
By Ayesha Siddiqa, Independent Social Scientist
Let us roll a dice and guess who is more lucky: Abbas, tortured and burnt to death for allegedly blasphemy, or Rimsha who may survive death but will forever be scarred for being nearly sentenced to death on similar charges? Some will probably consider the young Christian girl lucky, compared to Abbas and scores of others who suffered under the archaic blasphemy law.
BY S. AMJAD HUSSAIN
Most Americans reacted with disgust and revulsion when a white supremacist opened fire in a Sikh gurdwara and killed six innocent people in suburban Milwaukee this month.
It is heartwarming that all segments of society condemned this wanton act of terrorism, and the bizarre philosophy that underpins such acts. But we seldom reflect on why such things happen. What compels a man such as Wade Michael Page to go on a rampage?
Perhaps the same reasons compelled U.S. Army Maj. Nidal Hasan, a psychologist, and Norwegian Anders Behring Breivik, each of whom faces charges in mass shootings, to kill innocent people in the cause of something they hold dear.
The incident in Milwaukee could have been a case of mistaken identity. Perhaps the gunman thought he was avenging the 9/11 attacks on America. Most likely, he did not know the difference between a Sikh and a Muslim.
The media and its talking heads have a tendency to dismiss such an incident as the work of a lone, crazy man. But how could we not think that the xenophobic hatemongering that emanates from some Protestant pulpits and the ranting of right-wing radio shock jocks and born-again patriots might have something to do with it?
Since 9/11, foreigners in general and Muslims in particular have been under scrutiny in our country. A certain brand of Christianity has played a devilish role in creating an atmosphere that provides oxygen to the ruthless and the mindless.
Christian Nurses poisoned to Punish drinking tea during Muslims Ramadan in Pakistan
Karachi: July 30, 2012. (PCP) Christian staff nurses of Civil Hospital Karachi were poisoned as punishment to drink tea in their Hostel rooms during Holy Month of Ramadan being observed these days by Muslim majority community of Pakistan.
Among Eleven (11) poisoned Christian nurses (3) were rushed to Intensive Care Unit ICU of Civil Hospital Karachi were remaining (8) are being treated in emergency ward.
Civil Hospital Karachi is under ministry of health of Sindh government where Christian medico staff was in majority till 1985.
Staff Nurses Rita, Anila and Rafia were in serious condition in ICU ward of CHK while staff nurse Rita was later transferred on life saving equipment.
There are reports that FIR have been registered against unknown person on poisoning Christian nurses in Aram Bagh Police Station of Karachi and non was arrested so far.
According to Ramadan Ordinance of Provincial Sindh Government, to eat in Public places is prohibited and restaurants and vendors will remain closed during timing of Ramadan.
The Ramadan Ordinance is not imposed on Five Star Hotels in Sindh Province and allows minority community individuals to take meals in indoor facilities.
After independence of Pakistan in 1947, all restaurants have to put curtain on their doors where Muslim and other religious communities were free to dine and smoke during Holy Month of Ramadan but laws of total ban or closure were made after Islamization of Pakistan during Zia-ul-Haq rule.
The poisoning incident of 11 Christian nurses have spread wave of fear among religious minorities of Pakistan and rising extremism in society.
Courtesy: Pakistan Christian Post
Via – Twitter
By Saeed Qureshi
Living in Pakistan for most of the Pakistanis is nothing short of a persistent nightmare and an unrelenting trauma. The Pakistani society is rapidly decaying and could be pictured as rotten. The rulers and the coterie of leaders do not shy away from heaping miseries, humiliations and deprivations on a nation that was born some six decades ago. The people have been subjected to horrendous civic and social deformities that could equate Pakistan with some of the obscure African countries where life is at a subhuman level and human civilization is yet to make its presence felt.
The dignity, the self esteem, the honor and the moral principles look like unpalatable anathema to the politicians of Pakistan. The, shameless leaders, the brazen-faced politicians and the parliamentarians are like leeches sucking the blood of the people and turning that hapless segment of humanity into living corpses.
Water, let alone potable, is becoming a luxury to be bought with money. The electric power for a society is like blood in human veins. This indispensible amenity is not only horrifically scarce but callously expensive. Because of the load-shedding patently a cover- up for acute power shortage, a whole nation is developing mental disorders and sinister psychological disabilities.
The social sector is in an indescribable mess. The Health, education, transport, environment, institutions, departments, railways, roads, dams, manufacturing units, mills, factories, moral moorings, individual ethics, are in state of rapid decay. If we try to look around for good governance among various societies in the modern times, Pakistan cannot be among them. If you picture Pakistan in your mind, you may visualize the deterioration of such essentials features as order, discipline, peace, decency, honesty, fairness, mutual respect, and self-esteem.
Jinnah amputated India and inflicted a permanent bleeding wound on a 5,000-year old border less society, turning friendly neighbours into cannibalistic monsters, hellbent on feeding frenzy over each other’s corpses.
More » Out Look
Via – TK’s facebook page
On 13th May, 2012, Paar Publication Canada formally launched its quarterly Sindhi / English Magazine in an impressive ceremony held in the city of Mississauga Canada.
Participants including ladies belonging to Sindhi & Non-Sindhi communities participated in the ceremony. Addressing to the audience the Editor of the Magazine K.M. Kolachi and sub-editor Dileep Ratnani expressed their pleasure that they have introduced Sindhi Publication/ Magazine in the plural and multi-cultural society of Canada. They also, requested the audience to come forward and join hand-in-hand to serve the language and Sindhi people through their articles containing their experience, knowledge, research etc,.
Distinguished guests who addressed the gathering also included Syed Akbar Adil Shah, Abdul Razzaq Khsuhk, President SANA CANADA GTA chapter, Syed Shahnawaz Shah, Rafiq Memon, Barrister Abdul Hameed Bhashaani Khan, and others who appreciated the initiative by the Paar Publication & expressed their appreciation for the hard work, dedication, and determination of the editor and complete support for the magazine.
Participants enjoyed the session, with poetry, jokes, stories and later few songs were also sung by some of the participants followed by Dinner and meeting and mingling.
By: Nadeem F. Paracha
There is a genuine fear among some (yes, just some) Pakistanis that their society and state is headed straight to becoming a 21st century model of fascism.
I say the fear is being noted and felt by just some Pakistanis because it seems to most of their compatriots – especially those squirming within the growing, agitated and uptight urban middle-classes – the emergence of such a state and society is actually something to do with abstract concepts like ‘national sovereignty,’ ‘honour’ (ghairat), ‘revolution’ and a ‘positive Pakistan!’
It’s like saying chronic neurosis is a pretty positive thing to have.
Recently in a sharp and pointed article, author and scientist, Pervez Hoodbhoy, clearly alluded to how the Pakistani society and state are showing signs of the kind of myopic mindset that the German society plunged into in the 1920s and 1930s, setting the scene for Hitler and his fascist outfit and mentality to become Germany’s overlords – eventually taking the nation over the brink and towards widespread destruction.
So is the Pakistani society headed in the same direction?
A number of experts and sociologists have drawn some prominent symptoms to look for in figuring out if a particular society is drifting into the clutches of fascism.
Let’s discuss a few in Pakistan’s context:
• Symptom 1: Powerful and Continuing Nationalism
Fascist societies/cultures tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.
In Pakistan patriotism has been intertwined with the belief in a divine monolithic deity. Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether a person is singing praises of God or the state. It’s as if both are one and the same. Thus, if you are not all that enthusiastic about singing loud patriotic songs or displaying 50X10 Pakistani flags over your 5X2 office cubical, you are a traitor and/or/thus a kafir.
By: Waris Husain
…… When the decision by the Pakistani Supreme Court was released, a commentator on twitter noted that Rinkle Kumari, one of the three females in the case, was showing signs of Stockholm Syndrome. Neither the commentator nor I have the credentials to administer a psychological diagnosis to Ms. Kumari, now known as Faryal Bibi. However, let us think of the hundreds of other cases that have existed throughout Pakistan’s history where Hindus, Sikhs, or Christians were converted against their will.
Stockholm Syndrome has been described as a condition where an individual is abducted or kidnapped, and begins to empathise with their captor to the point that they defend their actions. In evolutionary psychology, theories have been developed that explain the evolutionary benefit of the Syndrome. When humans lived in hunter gatherer societies, clans of men would continually fight one another, and women would be taken as “victory prizes.” The women who protested their capture were regularly killed, while the ones who adjusted to life with their brutal captors survived.
Therefore, one should examine the case of religious minorities in Pakistan from this brutal, archaic, and outdated perspective. Potential converts are born into a society that subjects them to massive social and institutional discrimination, for public services and employment. Non-Muslims have been subject to murder, rape, or beatings merely for simply being born to a different religion in a nation where the right to spread Islam is more protected than the right of minorities to live in peace. In this environment, when a woman, child, or minority is converted to Islam, they could likely develop Stockholm Syndrome and embrace their new faith as an instinct to survive in a brutal society.
This raises a question that should be asked to the ‘gairatmand.’ Is the benefit of forcibly converting one individual to Islam worth jeopardising the validity of all the converts to their faith? Many say that the justice system is flawed if it mistakenly punishes one man, even when it rightfully punishes thousands. In that light, does the forced conversion of one soul not call into question the thousands of others that may have converted voluntarily?
There should be no societal benefit for belonging to the majority religion, just as there should be no detriment for being a minority. Therefore, one hopes that Parliament can address the societal discrimination at the heart of this issue by passing appropriate legislation. This legislation could thereafter be utilised and enforced through the Court. The Pakistani Constitution recognises the right to religion as fundamental, and despite contradictory laws that discriminate against minorities, a legislation is required to fairly deal with forcible conversions.
Read more » DAWN.COM
If Pakistan needs a strong civil government, it will need a strong leader. If it looks for a heroic voice, someone who is courageous enough to take on a Justice system that has proven itself to be pro-Jihadi and anti-female, pro-rape, run by a Pro-Establishment, Chief Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry- this hero may well be Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s recent speech, covered in two stories in LUBP, deserves another look. He reflected his mother’s bravery, Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, and her intelligent and fearless tone, unafraid to speak plain truth and stand up to injustice. His voice sounds like the voice of the people, and has a grassroots type manner of appeal. Unlike manufactured politicians like Imran Khan, Bilawal is not afraid to say the unpopular things. When Imran Khan vaciliated in his condemnation of the murder of PPP governor, Salman Taseer, it was PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari who condemned it unequivocally.
The Pakistan Resolution promised to safeguard the rights of the Muslim minorities living in the Muslim-majority provinces of British India; it sought independence and sovereignty for those provinces outside the independent Indian Union.
However, the struggle took a new turn after the creation of Pakistan, when Bengali, Pashtun, and subsequently Sindhi and Baloch nationalist movements rose to press for provincial autonomy. Later, a powerful federation embracing the idea of the ideological state also led to alienating the country’s religious minorities. Many have come to live in fear because discrimination against them has been given legal cover, in effect, depriving them of equal rights. Here, leaders from various political parties speak of their respective party’s stance on the issues that haunt Pakistan’s minorities, and on ways to redress the problem…
Mir Hasil Bizenjo, National Party
National party is secular, democratic & secular. We do not believe in minorities, all citizens are equal & must not be discriminated against on the basis of caste, creed or religion. It is matter of great concern for us that the state discriminate against own people in the name of religion.
We have to fight against this constitutionally by making Pakistan a secular state. National party has protested in each & every case of discrimination against Hindus & Christian. Hindus in Balochistan are being victimised by religious groups & criminals. Religious fundamentalism is a major threat to non-Muslim communities, against which political parties & civil society must rise. The solution is a strong, secular & democratic Pakistan.
The army was constitutionally mandated to be an arm of the Pakistan state with elected civilians in control of the executive. But it has seized the commanding heights and subordinated the other organs of the state to its own unaccountable purposes.
In recent times, however, something even more sinister has been happening. This is the creeping growth of the ISI from a small arms-length intelligence directorate or department of the military (Inter Services Intelligence Directorate) in the initial decades of independent Pakistan to an omnipotent and invisible “deep state within the state” that now controls both military strategy and civilian policy.
General Pervez Musharraf’s unprecedented appointment of General Ashfaq Kayani, a former DG-ISI, as COAS was the first step in this direction. The second was General Kayani’s own decision to routinely rotate senior and serving ISI officers to positions of command and control in the army and vice-versa, coupled with his insistence on handpicking the DGISI and extending his service. Together, these decisions reflect a harsh new reality. The ISI has walked into GHQ and seized command and control of the armed forces.
This is a deeply troubling development because it violates the established norm-policy of all militaries in democratic societies – intelligence services must consciously be kept at arms length from GHQ because “field commanders must not get contaminated” or tainted by cloak and dagger operations in grey zones. That is why COAS Gen Zia ul Haq kicked Gen Akhtar Abdul Rehman, DGISI, upstairs to CJOSC rather than give him troops to command. That is why COAS Gen Asif Nawaz sidelined DGISI Gen Asad Durrani as IG Training and Evaluation. That is why COAS Gen Waheed Kakar prematurely retired Gen Durrani from service for playing politics in GHQ and then recommended Gen Jehangir Karamat as his successor rather than his close confidante and former DGISI Gen Javed Ashraf Qazi. Indeed, that is why the CIA, RAW, MI6, KGB, MOSSAD etc remain under full civilian operations and control even though soldiers may be seconded to them or head them occasionally.
The ISI’s meteoric rise in the 1980s is well documented. It became the official conduit for tens of billions of dollars of arms and slush funds from the US and Saudi Arabia to the Mujahideen against the Soviets in Afghanistan. Three serving generals of the time were billed as “the richest and most powerful generals in the world” by Time magazine in 1986. Two of them, Gen Akhtar Abdul Rehman and Gen Hameed Gul were in turn DGs-ISI while the third, General Fazle Haq, was the Peshawar gatekeeper to Afghanistan.
Three Prime Ministers have fallen victim to the ISI. PM Junejo ran afoul of DGs ISI Gen Hameed Gul and Gen Akhtar Abdul Rehman over the Ojhri Camp disaster. Benazir Bhutto was undermined by DGs ISI Gen Gul and General Asad Durrani. And Nawaz Sharif by DG ISI Gen Javed Ashraf Qazi and COAS Gen Waheed Kakar. Indeed, Mr Sharif might have survived in 1999 if Gen Musharraf had not earlier cunningly moved Gen Mohammad Aziz from the ISI to GHQ as CGS because it was the latter who nudged Corps Commander Pindi Gen Mahmood Ahmed to execute the coup in the absence of Gen Musharraf.
The ISI’s creeping coup – ISI officers returning to command positions in the army – against GHQ is fraught with problems. It has eroded the credibility and capacity of both the current DG ISI and COAS within the military and civil society. The ISI’s spectacular failures (BB’s assassination, Mumbai, Raymond Davis case, missing persons, Memogate, Mehrangate, Abbotabad, Saleem Shehzad, Get-Zardari, etc) can all be laid at GHQ’s door just as the ISI’s anti-terrorist policy failures are responsible for the loss of over 3000 soldiers to the Pakistan Taliban and the terrorist attacks on GHQ and Mehran Navy Base. The fact that both the COAS and DG ISI have taken extensions in service has also undermined their credibility far and wide.
Welcome to 1984
By Irfan Husain
OVER the years, despite repeated bouts of military dictatorship, Pakistan has remained a relatively open society. Even with spooks running around unchecked, people have expressed themselves pretty openly, both privately and publicly.
In large measure, this has been due to the incompetence of our bureaucracy. Few cops and spies are very enthusiastic about surveillance duties. More often than not, they file their poorly written reports that go unread, and pile up in some dusty government archives, never to see the light of day.
But all this is about to change. According to an international tender floated by this government, it is aiming to acquire technology that will enable it not just to block websites at will, but to read our emails and monitor all Internet traffic.
A friend on Facebook had status which said (Translated from Sindhi): “Mian Mithoo can harass a helpless, poor girl to say whatever he likes! Let us give this Pir of Bharchundi (alone) to the men of Bal Thackeray and he would convert (to Hinduism) in no time! (sic)”
Sindh has been known for its Sufi culture which has kept pushing the extremism off its borders. It has in it several shrines, religious harmony, coexistence and tolerance, not to mention the centuries-old civilization, Mohen-jo-Darro. Sindhis have always claimed to have secularism and Sufism to be present as if in their gene and, thus, they wouldn’t ever side with religious intolerance and extremism.
Well, this is true to a great extent since we can see that where Pakistan has seen surge in extremism throughout the post-9/11 period, Sindh has remained comparatively more peaceful and, especially, incidents of extremist activities have been equal to none. There definitely was an incidence of burning NATO oil tankers in Shikarpur, Sindh, but the same was condemned by the Sindhi nationalist parties attributing the incidence to the agencies trying to tarnish the soft image of Sindh; in fact, there were massive protests against the blazing up of the oil tankers throughout the land.
Sindh has been home to many religions, all coexisting peacefully. However, there have been certain incidents which would reveal the nature of the ‘rare’.
One such event which took place on the unfortunate day of November 02, 1939, which blotted the humane face of Sindh, was when a saintly Sufi singer and poet of humble and peace-loving nature, Bhagat Kunwar Ram was murdered at Rukk Station, Sukkur (Sindh) in the name of religion – for being a Hindu.
The person booked as the major perpetrator in the murder was Mian Abdur-Rahim of Bharchundi Dargah, a religious center in a small village of the same name. Bhrarchundi Dargah is famous for spreading hatred against the Hindus, and converting them to Islam forcibly for years now.
Thus, to many in Sindh, this news did not come as a surprise, but it did disturb them to come out on roads and protest against the Pirs of Bharchundi — what happened was that Rinkle Kumari, a Hindu teenage girl, was kidnapped on February 24, 2012, forced to convert to Islam and, subsequently, marry a Muslim boy, Naveed Shah (a Punjabi settler). And the person involved is none else than a Pir of Bharchundi Dargah, Mian Abdul Haq (popularly known as Mian Mithoo), the son of Mian Abdur-Rehman, the major perpetrator in the case of Bhagat Kunwar Ram’s murder in the past. Mian Mithoo also happens to be an MNA of the Pakistan People’s Party, the ruling party.
By Saad Hafiz
….. Pakistan is being left behind as more developing countries make an effort to capitalize on the full human potential of their female population to drive economic development and social transformation. Muslim countries such as Bangladesh and Malaysia have made significant progress in implementing gender equality in five critical areas: economic participation, economic opportunity, political empowerment, educational attainment, and health and well-being. If Pakistan is to make economic and social progress in the near future it needs to educate its women from primary to the highest levels, open up economic opportunities to women, introduce social infrastructure and services to unburden women of the domestic and child care burdens and enforce laws to protect women’s rights. Hopefully, the education and empowerment of women in Pakistan will also result in a more caring, tolerant, just and peaceful society.
To read complete article » PaK Tea House
After US Congressman Dana Rohrabacher’s sudden attention to Balochistan, the Pakistani media went bonkers to protect the proverbial ‘sovereignty’ of our country — a cause championed by the security establishment and most of its mouthpieces in the media as well as political circles and civil society. Emerging from the fathoms of near oblivion to almost a dozen Op-Eds in the mainstream press daily, Balochistan is now the darling of the prime time TV cupola as well.
If the anchors and columnists want to sound more profound, and if they run out of words to express the imperiousness of the US Congress for interfering in Pakistan’s internal matters, they would endlessly repeat almost clichéd references to 1971 with emphasis on giving ‘due importance to the Baloch problem’. The umpteen ‘political analysts’ and ‘Balochistan experts’ religiously recount the current government’s failure to address the issue despite the latter’s trumpeted mantra of ‘democracy, the greatest revenge’. Such talk would be garnished with admonishing the ‘irresponsibility’ of the Baloch nationalists in attacking innocent citizens of ethnicities other than the Baloch.
What goes completely missing from this narrative is the origins of the conflict, the response of the state to the centrifugal nature of Baloch nationalism and the ever deteriorating civil-military relations in Balochistan, which now seem to have reached the point of no return. The way Balochistan was made to accede to Pakistan goes missing from the textbooks alongside any reference to the military operations carried out in 1948, 1958-59, 1962-68, 1973-77 and the current surge starting from 2002 to date. The result is a general apathy towards Balochistan in the rest of the country with almost no understanding of the surges in historically seeded ethno-nationalism in Balochistan, described as ‘Baloch insurgencies’ in the mainstream media. The same media gives prime space to opinion makers who describe Taliban insurgents as ‘freedom fighters’. No wonder one finds so many people in upper Punjab and Islamabad who take Baloch nationalists as ‘traitors’, while the Taliban militants as flag bearers of Muslim nationalism. ….
Read more » Daily Times
Imran Khan talks about ending corruption in 90 days but illegal electricity is used in his jalsa. Electricity theft during the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) jalso in Umerkot, Sindh through illegal ‘kundas’. Imran Khan and Shah Mehmood Qureshi keep talking about eradicating corruption and theft from society and government but were using theft electricity during the meeting. The language of the news is urdu (Hindi).
Courtesy: SAMAA Tv » YouTube
GIVEN the scale of radicalisation across Pakistan, it is clear that methods other than military strategy must be brought into play to quell it. The Pakistan Army set up de-radicalisation centres to provide interventions to those deemed ‘radicals’ – mainly persons detained in conflict zones. But, as editorialised by this newspaper last month, there are a number of points of concern, including the fact that the public has no idea about the details of the programmes. What do they entail, what process is followed or expertise offered – and how are ‘radicals’ delineated from ordinary citizens? For example, has it been conclusively proved that those in de-radicalisation centres were involved in militant or extremist activities? Now, it has come to light that the programmes have not been working. On Thursday, an official of the Pakistan Army’s judge advocate general branch told the Peshawar High Court that despite having been through the de-radicalisation process, several militants from Swat had rejoined militant groups.
Radicalisation is an ideological state of mind, and not something empirical of which a person can reliably be said to have been cleansed. No doubt there are people who were absorbed by militant outfits involuntarily and would welcome rehabilitation. But militancy in Pakistan is linked to a peculiar set of ideologies that have a lasting hold on the minds of its subscribers. For militants who have vowed to fight the very nature of the state and federation, a de-radicalisation programme may be the softer option whilst in detention.
For Pakistan to control radicalisation, it must counter the growing extremism evident in society as a whole. This is emerging as a greater threat to the country than terrorism, as was pointed out at the launch of a related report in Islamabad on Thursday. Extremism cannot be eliminated by the gun; the task requires methods of long-term persuasion and extensive societal change. Concurrently, the state must face up to the fact that it has for decades followed a duplicitous policy towards militancy. Cosmetic measures, such as banning certain outfits but allowing them to operate under other names, were bound to prove insufficient. The ideological underpinnings of militancy in Pakistan, which were endorsed by elements within the state during the ’80s and after, have never been honestly or fully rejected. That mindset has not just become more entrenched, it is fast gaining new subscribers. If Pakistan is to be saved, this mindset must change. That requires formulating a definitive state policy on the factors that pro- vide militancy with its moorings.
Past present: Black mirror
History often helps in analysing the present day issues by reflecting on past events. Generally, this approach is adopted in a society where there is dictatorship, censorship and legal restrictions to express discontent in regard to government policies. The method is effective in creating political consciousness by comparing the present with the consequences of bad governance and disillusionment of the past.
After the independence[?] of Pakistan, the army and the bureaucracy emerged as powerful state institutions. In the absence of a constitution, the two institutions were unaccountable to any authority. Bureaucracy followed in the footsteps of the colonial model, treating people with arrogance and contempt. A strong centre allowed it to rule over the provinces unchecked. The provinces, including the former East Pakistan, greatly suffered because of this.
Sindh chose to raise its voice against the oppressive attitude of the bureaucracy and a strong centre. Despite the grand, national narratives which justified the creation of a new country, Sindh responded by presenting its problems and grievances by citing historical suffering of its people.
During the reign of Shahjahan, Yusuf Mirak, a historian, wrote the book Tarikh-i-Mazhar-i-Shahjahani. The idea was to bring to Shahjahan’s notice the corruption and repressive attitude of the Mughal officials in Sindh. As they were far from the centre, their crimes were neither reported to the emperor nor were they held accountable for their misdeeds.
Mirak minutely described their vices and crimes and how the people [Sindhis] were treated inhumanly by them. He hoped that his endeavours might alleviate the suffering of the people when the emperor took action against errant officials. However, Mirak could not present the book to the emperor but his documentation became a part of history.
When the Persian text of the book was published by Sindhi Adabi Board, its introduction was written by Husamuddin Rashdi who pointed out the cruelty, brutality, arrogance and contempt of the Mughal officials for the common man. Accountable to none, they had fearlessly carried on with their misdeeds.
Today, one can find similarities between those Mughal officials and Pakistani [civil & military] bureaucrats of the present day. In the past Sindh endured the repercussions of maladministration and exploitation in pretty much the same way as the common man today suffers in silence. But one can learn from the past and analyse the present to avoid mistakes.
The history of Sindh shows two types of invaders. The first example is of invaders like the Arabs and the Tarkhans who defeated the local rulers, assumed the status of the ruling classes and treated the local population as inferior. The second type was of invaders like Nadir Shah and Ahmad Shah Abdali who returned home after looting and plundering. The rulers of Sindh defended the country but sometimes compromised with the invaders. Those who defended it were vanquished and discredited by history, and their role was not recognised.
G. M. Syed in his tract Sindh jo Surma made attempt to rehabilitate them. According to him, Raja Dahir who defended Sindh against the Arabs was a hero while Muhammad Bin Qasim was an agent of the Umayyad imperialism who attacked Sindh to expand the empire and to exploit Sindh’s resources.
Decades later, in 1947, a large number of immigrants arrived from across the border and settled in Sindh. This was seen by Sindhi nationalists as an attempt to endanger the purity of the Sindhi culture. In 1960, agricultural land was generously allotted to army officers and bureaucrats. Throughout the evolving circumstances in Sindh, the philosophy of Syed’s book is the protection and preservation of the rights of Sindhis with the same spirit with which the heroes of the past sacrificed their lives for the honour of their country [Sindh].
By MICHELE DUNNE and SHUJA NAWAZ
ONE year after the revolution that ousted President Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian military is closing down civil society organizations and trying to manipulate the constitution-writing process to serve its narrow interests. Meanwhile, in Pakistan, where the military has also held sway for more than half the country’s existence – for much of that time, with America’s blessing – a new civil-military crisis is brewing.
For the United States, the parallels are clear and painful. Egypt and Pakistan are populous Muslim-majority nations in conflict-ridden regions, and both have long been allies and recipients of extensive military and economic aid.
Historically, American aid tapers off in Pakistan whenever civilians come to power. And in Egypt, Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama both resisted pressure from Congress to cut aid to Mr. Mubarak despite his repression of peaceful dissidents.
It is no wonder that both Egyptians and Pakistanis express more anger than appreciation toward the United States. They have seen Washington turn a blind eye to human-rights abuses and antidemocratic practices because of a desire to pursue regional objectives – Israeli security in the case of Egypt, and fighting Al Qaeda in the case of Pakistan.
The question now is whether the United States will, a year after the Egyptian revolution, stand by and allow the Pakistani model of military dominance and a hobbled civilian government to be replicated on the Nile.
Pakistan and Egypt each have powerful intelligence and internal security agencies that have acquired extra-legal powers they will not relinquish easily. Pakistan’s history of fomenting insurgencies in neighboring countries has caused serious problems for the United States. And Egypt’s internal security forces have been accused of involvement in domestic terrorist attacks and sectarian violence. (However, Washington has long seen Egypt’s military as a stabilizing force that keeps the peace with Israel.)
The danger is that in the future, without accountability to elected civilian authorities, the Egyptian military and security services will seek to increase their power by manipulating Islamic extremist organizations in volatile and strategically sensitive areas like the Sinai Peninsula.
Despite the security forces’ constant meddling in politics, Pakistan at least has a Constitution that establishes civilian supremacy over the military. Alarmingly, Egypt’s army is seeking even greater influence than what Pakistan’s top brass now enjoys: an explicit political role, and freedom from civilian oversight enshrined in law.
Intellectual and historian Dr Mubarak Ali is a prolific and versatile writer who has produced around fifty books on issues ranging from the Age of Reason in Europe to the women’s movement and the history of South Asia.
The objective of this seminar series is to understand the roots and dynamics of religious extremism within the context of Pakistani society, which could be referenced to evolve a strategy for de-radicalization of youth. Scholars will be invited to deliver talks in Urdu (Hindi). The talks will involve a small audience with the key purpose to record and disseminate the lecture widely among the youth.
For further details, visit the related link at IPSS website:
By Marvi Sirmed
Atiqa Odho needs to change her name. Not only her name but also the prefix if she wants to avoid further humiliation that she possibly could not and would not want, just because she is a woman and does not bear the right prefix before her name. Brigadier Zafar Iqbal had both — the right name and the right prefix.
The good brigadier embarked on a PIA flight from Karachi to Lahore on Saturday night, intoxicated with the ‘sherbet’. The captain of the plane handed him over to the Airport Security Force (ASF) after the brigadier publicly harassed one of the female crew members. The ASF, obviously, could not hold him for more than a few minutes when they discovered the full name of the detainee. No wonder the news item merited just a few lines in Sunday newspapers. I am still waiting for the ‘suo motu’ and media-panic that we saw in Atiqa Odho’s case. Pertinent to remind here, Ms Odho was neither drunk nor did she harass anyone on the flight.
This points to two serious maladies of this society: one, a strong gender bias that women of this country have to endure everywhere, including the courts; and two, unjust and unfair partiality that society confers on the military. It is not only about an overly powerful military but also about an extremely weak civil society. It would be naïve to believe that civil society in Pakistan is powerful enough to foil any attempt to usurp power from the civilian entities. This is mainly because the military here never departed from power. Irrespective of who occupied the buildings of the Prime Minister Secretariat and the Presidency, the military always ruled in the country through its incontrovertible influence over political decision-making and social phenomena.
The way things happen in the court, and outside of it, memo scandal is a case in point. In the memo scandal, Husain Haqqani was treated as an accused by the media and society at large because the military thought so. Everything else had to be in sync with what the military wanted or at least, was perceived to be wanting. The same ‘evidence’ (the BBM conversations claimed by Mansoor Ijaz that took place between him and Husain Haqqani) implicated the head of the ISI who was accused in the same BBM conversations to have spoken to the leaders of some Arab states and gotten their consent to sack the present government. But no one from the media, politicians (even the ones who portray themselves as most committed to civilian supremacy) and the judiciary could ever point a finger towards General Pasha, the accused. Husain Haqqani was an easy target because he was not a general. Or even a brigadier.
Later, the chief of army staff and the head of ISI submitted their affidavits in clear departure of the government’s point of view — the same government that both of them are accountable to. The prime minister was openly criticised by everyone for calling this action of the two generals as unconstitutional. So much so that the media wing of the Pakistan Army, the ISPR, attacked the prime minister — their boss — by issuing a strongly worded statement warning the government of grave consequences and serious ramifications. So there were two statements, one by the chief executive of a country castigating his subordinate generals for unconstitutional actions, and the other from the subordinate generals threatening their boss with grave consequences. Guess who had to retract the statement? You got it right, it was the boss. The Islamic Republic is unique in its construction.
What can be more worrying for a people whose representative is humiliated by an agency that should be subordinate to the people. The agency, it is more perturbing, does so with popular consent. The absence of popular outrage amounts to consent if one could decrypt public reactions. We can go on endlessly criticising hungry-for-power generals, selfish politicians, corporate media and an ambitious judiciary, but what remains a fact is Pakistani society’s utter failure — rather refusal — to grow from a Praetorian state to even a half decent egalitarian democracy.
A few days ago, Irfan Habib, a noted researcher and author of TO MAKE THE DEAF HEAR – Ideology and Programme of Bhagat Singh and His Comradessent his thoughtful piece on the legendary Bhagat Singh.
Incidentally, Bhagat Singh was hanged on Pakistan’s Republic Day – March 23 though nine years prior to that – in Lahore – thereby adding another dimension to the symbolism of March 23 for Pakistanis. Bhagat Singh for his principles, struggle for just causes and valour is a shared hero.
I am quoting some of the passages from Habib’s article below. Citing a Tamil newspaper editorial of 1931, Habib writes:
Free-Market Medicine: A Personal Account
by Michael Parenti
When I recently went to Alta Bates hospital for surgery, I discovered that legal procedures take precedence over medical ones. I had to sign intimidating statements about financial counseling, indemnity, patient responsibilities, consent to treatment, use of electronic technologies, and the like. ….
Read more » Common Dreams
– Christian children have become the victims of recent violence
The shocking protest of a Catholic Member of Parliament in Pakistan: “In Karachi children are being raped and tortured to eliminate the presence of Christians. Dozens of people have been reported as a result of the blasphemy law
By Vatican Insider staff
Children raped and tortured, families extorted, abuse and violence taking place at the expense of terrified victims who remain silent: this is the reality of what is happening to the Christian community in some suburban quarters of Karachi, Southern Pakistan’s biggest city and the capital of the Sindh province.
Speaking to Catholic news agency Fides, Michael Shind, a Catholic MP working in Pakistan’s Sindh province, gave a shocking statement condemning the situation for Christians in the Country. Javed, whose statement was also reported by Vatican Radio, warned that for months now, Christians in the areas of EssaNagri, Ayub Goth and Bhittaiabad, have suffered indescribable violence perpetrated by members of political movements, such as the Pashtuns, which are characterised by a strong ethnic and Islamic identity. Christian families are going through living hell but “people are not reporting the abuse for fear of retaliation.”
Just last month, Javed told Fides, “We recorded 15 cases of rape.” In EssaNagri there are real “torture cells” where Christian children are imprisoned and tortured. “Captors ask for ransoms of up to 100.000 rupees and if families cannot pay, the little ones are tortured until they are beyond recognition.” The result of the violence that has been going on over the past six months is that numerous families have decided to leave Karachi. “These acts of violence are aimed at eliminating Christian presence in the area; it constitutes a kind of ethnic cleansing: we are seen as slaves who are unworthy of setting foot on Pakistani soil.”
In another case reported, a so-called “house of tolerance” was opened near a Catholic Church in Ayub Goth where “Christian girls from destitute families are forced into prostitution.” Although the authorities have been made aware of this, they have not taken any action yet. Javed is launching an appeal to ask “for an end to the oppression of our community.”
What is more, the controversial blasphemy law continues to provoke disputes and attract criticism in Pakistan and internationally, while the situation for religious minorities is very serious. They are suffering as a result of the rising extremism of Islamic fundamentalist groups. As reported by Fides, the numbers of people against whom charges have been pressed for allegedly committing blasphemy are shocking. In 2011, the blasphemy law (articles 295b and 295c of the Penal Code) led to at least 161 people being incriminated and 9 killed in extrajudicial executions after they were accused of blasphemy. These accusations “are false in 95% of cases,” says one Muslim lawyer, who wished to remain anonymous for security reasons.
According to a Report by the Asian Human Rights Commission, a human rights watch NGO operative in Asia, “Pakistan failed to guarantee respect for the human rights of its people.” The Commission documented the killings of 18 human rights defenders and 16 journalists in 2011. They had been involved in a process of denouncing evil in society, corruption and Islamic extremism.
Corutesy: Vatican Insider