Tag Archives: society

Suicide

“When children start committing suicide, it means we are doing something fundamentally wrong in the society.” ~ Sadhguru

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What’s wrong with Pakistan?

By Peerzada Salman

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.

Continue reading What’s wrong with Pakistan?

Alternatives to Capitalism

There Are Good Alternatives to US Capitalism, But No Way to Get There

Jerry Mander’s new book explores the fatal flaws of the “obsolete” capitalist system and strategies for change.

By Jerry Mander

The following is an excerpt from Jerry Mander’s new book The Capitalism Papers: Fatal Flaws of an Obsolete System (Counterpoint, 2013):

Which Way Out?

Let’s start with some good news. There is no shortage of good alternative ideas, plans, and strategies being put forth by activist groups and “new economy” thinkers in the United States and all countries of the world. Some seek to radically reshape the current capitalist system. Others advocate abandoning it for something new (or old). There is also a third option, a merger of the best points of other existing or proposed options, toward a “hybrid” economic model that can cope with modern realities.

Continue reading Alternatives to Capitalism

The great Sindhi transformation

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.

Continue reading The great Sindhi transformation

Why Pakistan is not a failed state – By Michael Kugelman

It’s been about a week since the Connecticut school massacre, and Americans are still grieving.

Yet we’re comforted by the thought that, with time, the bereaved community of Newtown will bounce back. Students will return to school, and victims’ families will somehow get on with their lives. This is because America, as politicians and the US media have intoned repeatedly in recent days, is a strong and resilient society.

For me, such words bring to mind another strong and resilient society — one that endures constant afflictions, tragedies, and privation. I can think of few nations that suffer more misery than Pakistan.

Continue reading Why Pakistan is not a failed state – By Michael Kugelman

GRAND Civil Society Protest against notorious Black law of Divide of 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

Courtesy: Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151267955529974.518472.580054973&type=1

Is the state disintegrating?

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.

Continue reading Is the state disintegrating?

PAKISTAN PERISCOPE – Curse of Blasphemy Law

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.

Continue reading PAKISTAN PERISCOPE – Curse of Blasphemy Law

Venom spread into the whole of society: the arrest of a young Pakistani Christian girl on blasphemy charges

Pakistani activists alarmed by threats to minorities

The US has said that it is deeply disturbed by the arrest of a young Pakistani Christian girl on blasphemy charges. It also expressed satisfaction, however, about President Asif Ali Zardari’s action to probe the case.

On Monday, when Pakistani Muslims were busy celebrating the Islamic Eid festival, hundreds of Christian families living in the low-income Mehrabad neighborhood of the Pakistani capital Islamabad were forced to leave the homes where they had been living for more than two decades.

The Christians feared that they would be attacked by the majority Muslim community after Rimsha, a Christian girl aged between 10 and 13, allegedly burnt pages with the verses from the Koran inscribed on them. The incident took place last Thursday and Rimsha was later taken into custody by the Pakistani police.

The angry Muslims of the neighborhood, which is only a 20-minute drive from Western embassies in Islamabad, immediately demanded that she be punished for her “sin.”

According to some media reports, the girl was burning papers that she collected from a rubbish pile for cooking when some Muslims entered her house and accused her of burning the Islamic text. Pakistani officials have claimed the girl suffers from Down’s Syndrome, a genetic disorder causing major learning disabilities.

On Monday, the US State Department took serious note of the girl’s arrest. “This case is obviously deeply disturbing,” spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters, adding that the US government was encouraged by President Zardari’s move to order the interior ministry to submit a report on the case.

“We think that the president’s statement is very welcome, and we urge the government of Pakistan to protect not just its religious minority citizens but also women and girls,” Nuland said.

Religious discrimination is widespread

Religious discrimination in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is not a new occurrence but it has increased considerably in recent years. Pakistan’s liberal sections are alarmed by the growing influence of right-wing Islamists in their country.

Rights activists complain that the Islamists enjoy state patronage, while on the other hand liberal and progressive voices have to face the wrath of the country’s security agencies.

Rights organizations also point out to the legal discrimination against minorities in Pakistan, which, in their opinion, is one the major causes of maltreatment of Pakistani minority groups.

President Zardari’s PPP (Pakistan People’s Party) government has recently come under sharp criticism from the country’s rights organizations and the West for refusing to reform the anti-blasphemy laws despite the assassinations of Shahbaz Bhatti, a Christian cabinet minister, and Salman Taseer, the former Governor of Punjab province.

Controversial anti-blasphemy laws

The two politicians were brutally murdered by Islamists in 2011 because they had dared to speak out against the controversial laws, which were introduced by the military dictator General Zia-ul-Haq in the 1980s.

Many rights activists say they have little to do with blasphemy and are often used to settle petty disputes.

Farooq Sulehria, a London-based activist and journalist, told DW that they should be immediately repealed. “But I doubt that in the absence of a working-class struggle in Pakistan, any government will be forced to do it.”

Mohsin Sayeed, a journalist in Karachi, said the laws were “un-Islamic.”

“The anti-blasphemy laws should be abolished because they have nothing to do with Islam. We have been demanding their repeal for a long time. This demand has met with a fierce reaction from religious extremists, who are no more a marginalized group in Pakistan,” Sayeed told DW.

He also criticized the Pakistani judiciary for its alleged sympathetic behavior toward the right-wing. “Asia Bibi is still languishing in jail, while Mumtaz Qadri (Taseer’s assassin), is still alive,” he said.

‘Intolerance is becoming mainstream’

There have also been reports of hundreds of members of the Hindu community trading Pakistan for India, citing mistreatment, discrimination and persecution in their homeland as reasons.

Continue reading Venom spread into the whole of society: the arrest of a young Pakistani Christian girl on blasphemy charges

The Muslim populace, not America, is under siege

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.

Continue reading The Muslim populace, not America, is under siege

11 Christian nurses are poisoned in Pakistan for daring to drink tea during the month of Ramzan

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

http://www.pakistanchristianpost.com/headlinenewsd.php?hnewsid=3656

Via – Twitter

The Collapsing State of Pakistan!

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.

Continue reading The Collapsing State of Pakistan!

The Quaid and the Quetta massacre

By Haider Nizamani

If Muhammad Ali Jinnah happened to be on the Quetta-bound bus of Shia pilgrims on June 28, the self-proclaimed custodians of Islam would have killed him, along with 13 others. They would do so because Jinnah was a Shia and that would have been reason enough.

Jinnah, for most Pakistanis today, is the Quaid-e-Azam — the man above any sect in the Islamic Republic. As the Republic he founded increasingly becomes a place where minorities feel vulnerable, it would be remiss to forget that the founder of the country was a Shia. Born into an Ismaili family, he later converted to the Twelver (isna ashri) branch of Shia Islam. He died in 1948 and his sister, Miss Fatima Jinnah, filed an affidavit in the Sindh High Court stating that her brother was a “Shia Khoja Mohamedan”. Liaquat Ali Khan, the first prime minister of Pakistan, jointly signed the affidavit. Khaled Ahmed, in his book Sectarian War, documents in detail how the last rites of the Quaid were performed according to Shia stipulations. Jinnah’s Shia colleagues such as Yusuf Haroon and Hashim Raza attended the namaz-e-janaza (funeral prayer) at the Governor General’s House, while prime minister Liaquat Ali Khan waited outside in the adjacent room. After the Shia funeral prayer, the nascent state took the body for Sunni last rites at the grounds where now stands the Quaid’s mausoleum in Karachi. Miss Fatima Jinnah passed away in 1967 and in her case, too, private last rites were performed according to Shia guidelines and the state-sponsored namaz-e-janaza followed it.

Sunni militant outfits portray Shias as lesser Muslims and thus, lesser Pakistanis. This commandeering of state discourse on Islam from the 1980s onward has emboldened the militants to take up arms against their coreligionists in select parts of Pakistan.

Continue reading The Quaid and the Quetta massacre

Kuldip Nayar’s new book on Jinnah, Shastri, Nehru India & Pakistan

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

http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?281456#.T-8SOS96nz0.facebook

Via – TK’s facebook page

Pakistan: ‘Jihadi danger is from the elite, not the poor’

Muslims and modernity: ‘Jihadi danger is from the elite, not the poor’

By Aroosa Shaukat

LAHORE: Most global jihadis are not illiterates raised in poor slums, but from well-off families and with advanced education degrees. “Most of the danger comes from us,” said Majid Nawaz, founder of Khudi, at a seminar titled ‘Muslims and the Modern World The State of the Muslim Ummah’. Young people being educated at “elite” schools and colleges were joining the extremists, he said.

“Terrorists are not just from slums – statistically, a disproportionate number of global jihadis come from a higher education background,” said Nawaz, who was formerly a member of the Hizbut Tahrir (HT). He quit the group to found Khudi, which works to counter extremism.

Nawaz said there was a difference between the political and the religious definitions of the word ‘ummah’. He said there was no contradiction between being a Pakistani and being a Muslim. Pakistanis could carry multiple identities, he said, owing to religious or social affiliations. “People themselves organically determine who they are, as a group or a nation,” he said.

He said it was “politically naive” to demand the implementation of the Sharia, the main aim of the HT. He said that when imposing Sharia, a society chooses a particular interpretation of Islam and closes the door on ijtehad. “Islam must be kept free of political interference,” he said.

He called for a comprehensive national strategy to counter extremism. All political and religious factions should agree on “basic social principles”, he said.

He said that the National Counter Terrorism Authority needed to be activated. He said that the government had not even started the “de-radicalisation of society”.

Science and religion

Science requires free thinking, a mind that questions,” said Pervez Hoodbhoy in his talk on ‘The intellectual decline of the Muslims’. He said that Muslims had moved away from progressive scientific approaches over the last 700-800 years.

Continue reading Pakistan: ‘Jihadi danger is from the elite, not the poor’

Inauguration of Sindhi Magazine “Ameeq” in Canada

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.

Has Pakistan gone fascist?

Go figure!

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.

Continue reading Has Pakistan gone fascist?

Forced faith or force of faith?

By: Waris Husain

Excerpt;

…… 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

Persecution – Connivance at a cost

Targeted killings of Shias this time is not business-as-usual. It follows the pattern that is evident countrywide and it is linked to the Taliban finding new havens and areas of control

By Raza Rumi

It seems that Pakistan is heading towards another purge — this time a violent process of cleansing the Shia population. There is a mysterious wave of terrorism that is killing Hazara population on a daily basis in Balochistan, Shias in Gilgit-Baltistan, Kurram Agency and elsewhere.

In the last one-month, dozens of Shias have been targeted and killed as if Pakistan was a medieval land, practicing witch-hunting. The ‘banned’ organisations have taken responsibility for most of the attacks in Balochistan.

The case of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB), on the other hand, has faced a virtual media blackout. Not long ago, GB was touted as the fifth province but when it comes to the vital question to protecting its population, the state is miserably failing.

The most gruesome incident took place when 15 passengers of the Shia community were taken off the buses in Chilas, Diamer district, and shot. People from the region say that GB is under attack by the Taliban insurgents from Malakand division and Waziristan. The Darel and Chilas Valleys provide them refuge. The stronghold of Salafis and Wahabis on Pakistan’s Afghan and, consequently, Taliban policy cannot be delinked from the ongoing massacre.

Continue reading Persecution – Connivance at a cost

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari: Evolving Strength of Character – by Rusty Walker

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.

Continue reading Bilawal Bhutto Zardari: Evolving Strength of Character – by Rusty Walker

“Eqbal Ahmad saw the Taliban as a social cancer that, if unchecked, would reduce Muslim society to medieval primitivism

File photo

US defeat won’t be Afghan victory

By Pervez Hoodbhoy

Excerpt;

…. Eqbal Ahmed, who worked for Muslim causes from Palestine to Algeria, was by far the most perceptive and knowledgeable social activist and intellectual I have known. We had occasional disagreements but he too saw the Taliban as a social cancer that, if unchecked, would reduce Muslim society to medieval primitivism. ….

Read more » The Express Tribune

Betraying the 1940 spirit?

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.

Courtesy: http://www.dawn.com/2012/03/23/betraying-the-1940-spirit.html

ISI has taken over GHQ – By Najam Sethi

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.

Continue reading ISI has taken over GHQ – By Najam Sethi

On censorship in Pakistan – Welcome to 1984

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.

Continue reading On censorship in Pakistan – Welcome to 1984

Kidnapped, Forced to Convert to Islam and Married to a Muslim – Sad Story of Rinkle Kumari

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.

Continue reading Kidnapped, Forced to Convert to Islam and Married to a Muslim – Sad Story of Rinkle Kumari

A national challenge

By Saad Hafiz

Excerpt;

….. 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

PAKISTAN – The burden of radicalisation

By Raoof Hasan

The radicalisation of society in Pakistan is an undeniable phenomenon which has gathered in pace and intensity in the recent past. Its gruesome symptoms are a daily occurrence which symbolise the regression shaping the way people have started reacting to events and situations. It is violent and wicked. It is abominable and depressing. Even worse is the extensively pervasive nonchalance with which it is greeted at every appearance.

The fragmentation of society on religious, ethnic, sectarian, social and economic basis has become a norm. For the rulers, it is a convenient means of securing and perpetuating their hold on power and for the ruled, it is a method for manifesting their allegiance to accrue benefits. It works to the mutual advancement of both. Should it, therefore, follow that this is the best that we have and this is the way it is always going to be? A scary thought of what one may actually have to live with! ….

Read more » The Express Tribune

The ‘anti-state’ Sarmachars of Balochistan – Marvi Sirmed

Excerpt;

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

Set a thief to catch a thief?

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