Tag Archives: socio

Immy, tell us what you want – by Dr Manzur Ejaz


…. If the US stops drone attacks, can Imran Khan give the guarantee that the Taliban — ardent adherents of an anti-democratic political system — will stop coercing society into theocratic chaos? If he deliberates for a few moments on this prospect, he will be as silent as he has been about religious terrorism. So, does it mean that he is ready to turn Pakistan into a theocratic state? Probably yes, whether he knows/acknowledges it or not. In private conversations he has been an admirer of the tribal jirga system, which shows that the idealisation of tribal institutions has been part of his mindset.

Besides opposing the US intervention, his political campaigns have been criticising and exposing the ruling political elite. Again, we know what he does not want but we do not know what he wants the Pakistani socio-political system to be. Mysteriously, he has not been very vocal about the role of the Pakistani military in the disaster-ridden evolution of Pakistan. He has not articulated the genesis of the socio-political ills that have proliferated under military rule. ….

To read complete article → Wichaar


From Hindi to Urdu – Language can unite

– Language can unite – by Zubeida Mustafa

MORE than six decades after Partition, India and Pakistan continue to be locked in disputes which even take them to the brink of war.

It is difficult to believe that people who had lived side by side for centuries now refuse to recognise the commonalities in their culture and languages. Against this backdrop comes a breath of fresh air in the form of a new book that focuses on social harmony rather than cultural discord.

Dr Tariq Rahman, a professor of sociolinguistic history at the Quaid-i-Azam University, has published his 11th book titled From Hindi to Urdu: A Social and Political History (OUP) that should make many scholars sit up. Some have already challenged his findings. …

Read more: DAWN.COM

Military monopoly challenged

by Dr Manzur Ejaz


Pakistan’s socio-political system has reached a critical stage where the competition or confrontation between institutions is leading to an inevitable but unexpected change. An overwhelmingly agrarian Pakistani society has evolved into a multi-layered complex body where new urban middle classes have matured enough to play a role. If the dominant institutions of the military and political elites do not rapidly adjust to the changing reality, an unprecedented and disastrous situation can develop.

Whatever way we cut it, the incidents of the last month compelled the military to come to parliament and explain itself to the legislators and the public. Despite the chiding posture of General Shuja Pasha, this was a new development. But then, Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani issued a long rebuttal, a public criticism, after the 139th Corps Commander’s Conference. In this comprehensive statement, he reasserted the military’s monopoly over defining the ideology and policy of the state of Pakistan. If one dissects General Kayani’s statement, part of it is the military’s claim to define the country as an ‘Islamic’ state and other parts are operational policies as to how the country is going to be run.

What General Kayani and the army do not realise is that the military’s monopoly over the Pakistani state was the product of a set of historical factors that have substantially changed. Now, other institutions of the state are maturing to the level that a new inter-institutional balance has to evolve or the state will wither away. …

… In the last decade, the media, as an institution, was rising and having an impact on different sectors of society. The movement for the restoration of the independent judiciary also showed that a vital branch of the state was gaining enough maturity. The way the PML-N acted as an opposition party was also another sign of the strengthening of democratic forces. Despite the incompetent PPP government and its non-cooperation with the judiciary or with the genuine political opposition, it is becoming clearer that a realignment of institutional balance is underway. Therefore, the military is facing other sets of forces that are different from the 70s. In this situation, the military can unleash ruthlessness to suppress the emerging forces or concede to them as a fait accompli. Maybe the military has read the tea leaves as an ex-COAS, General Jehangir Karamat maintains, but it has yet to be seen how far the military can withdraw itself from civilian affairs.

To read complete article: Wichaar


Like army, like nation – by Nadeem F. Paracha


The basic socio-political mindset of the Pakistani society is the outcome of various faith-based experiments conducted by the state and the armed forces.

The party

In 1995, sometime in May, an uncle of mine (an ex-army man), was invited to a party of sorts.

The invitation came from a former top-ranking military officer who had also worked for the Pakistan intelligence agency, the ISI. He was in the army with my uncle (who now resides abroad) during the 1960s.

My uncle, who was visiting Pakistan, asked if I was interested in going with him. I agreed.

The event was at a military officer’s posh bungalow in Karachi’s Clifton area. Most of the guests (if not all) were former military men. All were articulate, spoke fluent English and wore modern, western clothes.

I was not surprised by this but what did surprise me was a rather schizophrenic aura about the surroundings. Though modern-looking and modern-sounding, the gathering turned out to be a segregated affair.

The men’s wives were placed in a separate room, while the men gathered in a wider sitting area.

By now it become clear to me that I wouldn’t be getting served anything stronger than Pepsi on the rocks!

I scratched my head, thinking that even though I was at a ‘party’ in a posh, stylish bungalow in the posh, stylish Clifton area with all these posh stylish military men and their wives and yet, somehow I felt there very little that was ‘modern’ about the situation.

By modern, I also mean the thinking that was reflected by the male guests on politics, society and religion. Most of the men were also clean-shaven and reeking of expensive cologne, but even while talking about cars, horses and their vacations in Europe, they kept using Arabic expressions such as mashallah, alhamdullila, inshallah, etc.

I tried to strike up some political conversations with a few gentlemen but they expected me to agree with them about how civilian politicians were corrupt, how democracy can be a threat to Pakistan, how civilian leaders do not understand India’s nefarious designs, et al. …

The experiment

The Pakistan Army was once a staunchly secular beast. All across the 1950s and 1960s it was steeped in secular (albeit conservative) traditions and so were its sociological aspects.

In fact, until the late 1960s, Pakistani military men were asked to keep religion a private matter and religious exhibitionism was scorned at as well as reprimanded – mostly during Field Marshal Ayub Khan’s dictatorship (1959-69).

Continue reading Like army, like nation – by Nadeem F. Paracha


Delhi – Shabnam Virmani

Shabnam Virmani is a filmmaker and artist in residence at the Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology in Bangalore, India. 7 years ago she started travelling with folk singers in Malwa, Rajasthan and Pakistan in a quest for the spiritual and socio-political resonances of the 15th century mystic poet Kabir in our contemporary worlds. Among the tangible outcomes of these journeys were a series of 4 musical documentary films, several music CDs and books of the poetry in translation (www.kabirproject.org). Inspired by the inclusive spirit of folk music, she has begun to play the tambura and sing folk songs of Kabir herself. Currently she is working on co-creating a web-museum of Kabir poetry & music with folk singer communities in India and developing ideas for taking mystic poetry and folk music to school classrooms. She continues to journey to new areas such as Kutch, Gujarat and draw inspiration not only from Kabir, but also other mystic poets of the sub-continent [such as Shah Abdul Latif] and the oral folk traditions that carry them to us. Her earlier work consisted of several video and radio programs created in close partnership with grassroots women’s groups in India.

You Tube


Asma Shirazi Exposes Imran Khan

“Faisla Aap Ka” is a socio-political show hosted by Asma Shirazi which aims to highlight issues faced by the common man. The program is designed as an outdoor based talk show which emphasizes and showcases issues and concerns of people from different regions. Asma Shirazi genuinely  exposed him in her program Faisla Aap Ka – 16th April 2011.

Some excerpt from the program:

– Imran Khan aka Taliban Khan was brought by his mentor  Hameed Gul. – His (Imran Khan’s) 5,000 sq ft. palace (farm house) can be seen from Islamabad on long distance. – He has No team at all, one man show. – He is supporter of Taliban. – His kids are living outside.

When the anchor of the program, Asma Shirazi asked him to openly say that you are against Taliban in this crowed. He diverted her question to discuss some other issue. He was unable to answer properly any single question of Ms. Asma Sherazi. He is indeed a confused man.

Courtesy: SAMAA TV (Faisla Aap Ka with Asma Sherazi, 16th April 2011)

via – Siasat.pkYou Tube


Problems of Sindhi Nationalism – What way forward?

Written by Dr Beenish Shoro


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To read full article :→ Marxist.com


Pakistan : Not revolution but anarchy

– Not revolution but anarchy

by Waseem Altaf

Revolution refers to drastic change in thinking and behaving in the cultural, economic and socio-political context.

Socio-economic deprivation or gross disparity or conflict of interest among competing groups causes frustration which leads to aggression. The aggression so caused is channelized by leaders who symbolize an ideology. A critical mass of the population is necessary who are supportive of this ideology.

Today people in Pakistan are frustrated. This has caused aggression. The manifestations of this aggression are visible everywhere. The irritability of the common men, show of force and inflammatory speeches in public rallies, ever increasing crime rate, intolerance and impatience are all indicative of this aggression. However there is no such leader who has an ideology and who enjoys the support of a critical mass of the population which can bring about a revolution in this country. Hence the thought of revolution becomes even more irrelevant in a country where there are so many ethnic, social, political and religious divides with no leader enjoying mass support at the national level.

However this country is fast drifting towards a change. Let us see what the present state of the nation is:

Today it is not the government, the parliament, the media, the judiciary or even the army which calls the shots but the firebrand mullah in the streets who determines the tone and tenor of the statements and initiatives emanating from all the so called pillars of the State. Sherry Rahman has withdrawn the blasphemy bill, informed the Prime Minister on Wednesday 2nd of Feb. Sitting ministers either support the stance taken by the mullah or remain silent. While it is Mumtaz Qadri versus the State, the case has been shifted to Adiala jail for proceedings as the State does not feel secure in an open court in Islamabad. Last time the public prosecutor could not attend the court as the jail premises was thronged by Sunni Tehrik supporters of Mumtaz Qadri.Today the conduct of the Parliament is determined by the mullah as in the Senate, it was not allowed to say fateha for Salman Taseer in response to a resolution moved by Senator Nilofar Bakhtiar. Even the liberal MQM members refused and not a single member of PPP rose to support the resolution. …

Read more : View Point


Will Pakistan Follow Egypt’s Example?

Author: Jayshree Bajoria, Senior Staff Writer

Pakistan may be even more vulnerable than Egypt (The News) to popular discontent, with higher inflation, unemployment, and external debt, much of it exacerbated by the devastating flood of 2010 that crippled an already teetering economy. Many Pakistanis are sympathetic (PressTV) to the anger over corruption, surging food prices, and lack of jobs driving Egypt’s protests.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani rules out the likelihood of an uprising such as those in Egypt and Tunisia. “Our institutions are working and democracy is functional,” Gilani says (Daily Times).

Huma Yusuf, a Pakistan scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, says it is unlikely Pakistanis will unite against a common cause. “Decades of manipulative politicking under military regimes have fractured civil society (Dawn) and factionalized politics,” she writes. “We will always see ourselves through an ethnic, sectarian, or socio-economic lens before we see ourselves as Pakistani.” The murder of Pakistan’s Governor Salman Taseer by his own security guard in January, and support for Taseer’s assassin among many Pakistanis, exposed some of these growing divisions.

Like Egypt, Pakistan is an important strategic partner whose stability matters even more for U.S. national security interests, in neighboring Afghanistan as well as in U.S. efforts to confront al-Qaeda. But U.S.-Pakistan relations have been strained following the detention of a U.S. diplomat on possible murder charges. The Washington Post reports the Obama administration has suspended all high-level dialogue with Pakistan.

Read more : Council on Foreign Relations


Shabeer to Daikhega!

The language of the program is urdu/ Hindi.

Courtesy : Express TV (Shabeer to Daikhega – 22nd January 2011)

via – ZemTVYou Tube Link


Current wave of extremism in Pakistan

Statistical ambiguity society

Just how some recent events of our surface politics offer an interesting study of the deep politics

By Dr Ahsan Wagha

It started with the worst ideological polarisation promoted by the military generals in the 1970s when Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was forced to invite Saudi ambassador Riaz Al-Khatib to mediate between him and the opposition, a practice that was reverberated during the Musharraf-Nawaz conflict and has almost culminated into becoming one of the basic features of our foreign policy. The phenomenon can be investigated in the background of the history of Arab colonisation of this region.

Continue reading Current wave of extremism in Pakistan


Times we live in

In order to make sense of the atmosphere of fear, it is important to distance oneself from essentialist readings of Muslim culture as being inherently intolerant.

By Ammar Ali Jan

It is difficult to point out what is more painful to witness; the brutal murder of a Governor of the largest province of the country because he had dared to express dissent on a controversial law or the public celebration of this violent act by extremist forces, with complete impunity from the state. What is particularly shocking, however, is the muted response of secular political parties in the country in the wake of this assassination. Despite enjoying complete electoral hegemony over religious forces in Pakistan, mainstream parties are finding it increasingly difficult to speak out against discriminatory practices in our society, owing to the growing domination of religious forces in setting the contours of our cultural discourse.

Continue reading Times we live in


New opportunity and old challenges — Dr Hasan-Askari Rizvi

The threats to the Pakistani state include socio-cultural intolerance, religious extremism and the use of violence to pursue self-articulated narrow ideological agendas. If these negative trends are coupled with a faltering economy, there is little hope for a stable, democratic Pakistan. …

Read more : Daily Times


Human rights in Pakistan?

by Nizamuddin Nizamani

General Ziaul Haq organically changed the socio-political landscape of the state and turned the country’s mass into a ticking bomb by planting the seeds of religious fundamentalism. To counter the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy, he initiated a military operation in Sindh and created sectarian and ethnic militant groups in Karachi and other parts of the country

The world community celebrates Human Rights Day on December 10. The envisaged purpose seems to accept the truth that despite the claims of modern, scientific, human-friendly development and globalisation, still some heinous human rights violations are the order of the day in some regions, while realising the universal truth that all humans without discrimination have equal rights to live and develop.

It seems that the UN and related bodies have bitterly failed to guarantee access to basic amenities for common people globally in general and the global south specifically. Even the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) seems a distant dream. …

Read more : Daily Times





South Asia is an intricate web of diverse cultures and socio-political systems with a history of invasions and colonialism. While the invading armies of Greeks, Persians, Arabs, and Mongols have left their mark on the land and its peoples; it was the European colonial powers, particularly the British that gave the region its modern political outlook and the problems that come with it. The departure of British colonial power with the division of subcontinent along communal lines ushered new era of unending disputes and tensions. The region is now the hub of global terrorism, extremism, and militarism.

ICFPD is hosting a full day discourse on the questions of extremism, terrorism, and conflicts that have plagued South Asia and the neighbouring areas for decades. We are inviting the best minds to investigate and examine the correlation between state politics, extremism, and terrorism. Analysing the role of state in advancing or curbing extremism and terrorism is often underestimated or downplayed and requires careful examination to understand possible options and barriers in dealing with it. Political systems, functioning democracy, and military dictatorships play a significant role in either confronting or promoting armed conflicts and insurgencies based on the nature and the interests of the states involved.

Speakers: Bob Rae, MP Libral (Farmar Premier of Ontario), Tarek Fatah political activist, writer, and broadcaster, Derek Lee, MP Libral, Kamran Bokhari, Hans Bathija, Dr. Zafar Boluch, Senge Sering (Gilgit Baltistan National Congress)

For more information : ICFPD


Book review – Harvest Will Come (New Book by Iqbal Tareen)

A new book by an American of Sindhi-Pakistani origin is published. The book contains selected articles, correspondence and speeches of Mr. Tareen, who is a noted human rights, and political rights activist.  Mr. Tareen is former President of Sindhi Association of North America (SANA) and founder President of Jeeay Sindh Students Federation (JSSF) (1960-70s). Mr. Tareen is current president of Washington based civic group called “Forum for Democracy and Justice in Pakistan” The book contains Mr. Tareen’s vision for Pakistan and Sindh, socio-economic and Political challenges that country and province face.

It also contains correspondence between him and Mohtarma Shaheed Benazir Bhutto, his few letters to US administration including Secretary of State, Chairman Senate Foreign Relations Committee and now VP Joe Biden, his speeches to different protest demonstration outside White House on democracy issues in Pakistan. The Book also reflects on his association with politicians of Sindh late GM Syed and Rasool Bux Palijo.

Book provides Writer’s excellent reflections on Sindh and his vision under several articles such as :

1. Sindh on the Threshold of 21th Century,

2. Sindh in the Eye of Terror,

3. Sindh Vision 2020,

4. US Sindhis Demand equity in Indus Commission,

5. 11 Guardians of Indus,

6. Chauvinism lurking out of Punjab,

7. Sindh is mother of Pakistan,

8. Government warned against division of Sindh

And the master piece of the book is valuable, thoughtful and beautiful article “Harvest will come” the title of the book, which is an excellent & refreshing analysis of change in modern history specially since 1820 to latest, how world has moved forward over the years, and writer believes “No matter how hard they try they cannot deny you dreams and hope. They might have stolen the day but tomorrow belongs to you.

Have faith, the harvest will come.

The Book is useful for those who have interest in Sindh’s Political issues, democracy in Pakistan and its American connections, also how does enlightened Pakistani Diaspora thinks of its own country.

For Contact Author Iqbal Tareen at iqbal.tareen@gmail.com