Tag Archives: South Asia

Pakistan must abandon the jihadist ideology which forms the ethos of Islamist terrorist organisations

The ideology of Pakistan, its founding fathers’ legacies and the ambitions thrust upon the state are marred with the same delusion of the Islamic state, which motivates Islamist terrorist organizations today

By Harbir Singh

A commentator from South Asia who has tried to understand the psyche and motivations of Pakistan with some success may be utterly unfamiliar with the wider Islamic world, but ISIS will not be unfamiliar because ISIS speaks a radical form of the same language one hears from hyper-nationalists. The difference is that Pakistani hyper-nationalists are less daring, less bold, more fearful in their interpretation of the doctrine that motivates ISIS. They are limited in thinking to the geographical region that Pakistan occupies on the globe and to the people who inhabit this region. They are concerned with the continuity and success of the state of Pakistan within the Muslim narrative, for they haven’t the courage to take upon themselves the responsibility for the larger purpose that they are well aware of, something that Islamist militant organizations have stepped up to do.

The Two Nation Theory is South Asia specific subset of the Islamist ideology. Pakistan, in fact, came into being as an ‘Islamic State’ – the Islamic State of Not-India.

Read more » The Nation
See more » http://nation.com.pk/blogs/04-Dec-2015/pakistan-must-abandon-the-jihadist-ideology-which-forms-the-ethos-of-islamist-terrorist

The Quest for Political Identity in Jammu Kashmir

Nayyar N Khan is a US based political analyst, peace activist and a freelance journalist. His area of expertise is International Peace and Conflict Resolution.
Nayyar N Khan is a US based political analyst, peace activist and a freelance journalist. His area of expertise is International Peace and Conflict Resolution.

By Nayyar N Khan

Prior to the emergence of modern state, during the monarchy the subjects of monarchs had little say in their relationship with the state. Over time, the concept of citizenship and identity developed, with the principle that citizens were not just residents of a given territory, but were members of a political community with a particular identification and recognition. Civil, political, and social rights became associated with citizenship, differing by country in the balance among these and in their scope.

Different simulations of the appropriate relationship between a state and its citizens are exemplified in different systems, which legitimize these models based on their preferred political ideology. All regimes have formal institutions that reflect their ideological claims. But central to these identifications, besides having differing ideologies is the element of political identification, because modern day nation states in global north have kept religion as a private and personal matter and have set forth a “political doctrine” where citizens are equal before the law without prejudice to the their spiritual beliefs. Social scientists have established several different methodologies to understand how identities are formed and why they become politically prominent. Whether identity groups are politically important, and whether people act politically based on group membership, depends on a variety of factors, such as whether a group has a pre-existing sense of itself: it must be an existing reality with both historic ties and a forward-looking agenda. It must have some felt grievance, and it seems to need political identity to be recognized as a distinct unit. When it comes to conflict in Himalayas where the State of Jammu Kashmir comprised of different regions, with inhabitants of different ethnicity languages and religions; the factor of political identity seems more prominent and dominant in the decades long strife in the region. Historically the ethnic, religious and linguistic groups living in the State of Jammu Kashmir have a shared history of living together in peace and harmony over the centuries. This “Peace and harmony” was, however, shattered by the religiously charged atmosphere of 1947, when both India and Pakistan attained their independence under the umbrella of Two Nations Theory. Although India rejected the concept of Two Nations Theory and vowed for the secular and political identification but over the years religious identity has been a dominant insignia across the Radcliffe Line.

Continue reading The Quest for Political Identity in Jammu Kashmir

Towards Understanding South Asia – A Comparative Study of Kashmir Conflict in Regional and Global Perspective

Nayyar N Khan is a US based political analyst, peace activist and a freelance journalist. His area of expertise is International Peace and Conflict Resolution.
Nayyar N Khan is a US based political analyst, peace activist and a freelance journalist. His area of expertise is International Peace and Conflict Resolution.

By Nayyar Niaz Khan

The State of Jammu Kashmir has been at the vanguards in India-Pakistan relations since the abrupt withdrawal of Great Britain from sub-continent and formation of two States. Since 1947 Pakistan and India have gone to war thrice, Kashmir perceived to be the main dispute. In 1999 Kargil crisis again brought both newly nuclear rivals to brink of war. The then US administration led by President Clinton intervened promptly and timely negotiated to deescalate the overwrought situation when both were at fighting an impromptu war at the peaks of Kargil in Jammu Kashmir. After US led war against terrorism in Afghanistan (2001), the genre of global politics exclusively transformed and it also influenced the South Asia and anywhere else in the world. Due to the changing global political scenario and new fronts of confrontation after the end of cold war, both India and Pakistan advanced their bilateral relations during the Musharraf and Vajpayee’s regimes in their respective countries. Back door diplomacy led them to take some sort of Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) including a direct bus service across the Line of Control (LOC) in the disputed State of Jammu Kashmir. South Asian politics of guns and arsenals was replaced by composite dialogues, negotiations, reconciliations, sports and exchanges of cultural, intellectual, academics and musicians. But all this could not last long due to absence of a democratic system in Pakistan and history of mistrust among the rivals. Musharraf regime, which was already fragile and lacking public support, became weaker due to his confrontation with judiciary in Pakistan in the first quarter of 2007. The unfortunate and untimely death of Benazir Bhutto was a blow in the forthcoming regional politics of South Asia. As a result of February 2008 general elections in Pakistan, Musharraf lost the power but successive governments of President Zardari and then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif could not show mature judgments on various key issues regarding the future of South Asia including the resolution of Kashmir conflict. On the other hand victory of Hindu nationalist BJP led by Narindra Modi in 2014 general elections in India altered the corridor of Indian politics and secularism. Even the major party to the conflict could not stand for the “Ownership Building Measures” and trusted the CBMs which was a colossal error on behalf of Kashmiri leadership across the LOC.

Continue reading Towards Understanding South Asia – A Comparative Study of Kashmir Conflict in Regional and Global Perspective

Where the Kashmiri nationalists really Stand in the greater game

Nayyar N Khan is a US based political analyst, human rights activist and a freelance journalist. His area of expertise is International Peace and Conflict Resolution.
Nayyar N Khan

State Assembly Elections in Indian-administered Kashmir: People’s Participation a Strategy or Paradigm Shift.

By Nayyar N Khan

State assembly elections 2014 in Indian administered Jammu Kashmir have glimmered a manic deliberation among the parties to the conflict and stakeholders. Indian media and politicians at Delhi and elsewhere in the country are depicting the participation of ordinary masses in the vale of Kashmir as a trust building notion on the Union of India and rejection of separatist sentiments. Pakistani media on the other hand remained both unconcerned and silent or repeated the same rhetoric of yellow journalism. Kashmir based analysts and activists are twisting the story that fits best in their pre-occupied state of mind. The reality is that after almost three decades of boycotts, strikes and shutdowns Kashmiri people decided to vote instead of boycott. Some intellectuals and writers are taking it as an abrupt decision and others are debating it as a dissatisfactory notion from the state of affairs Kashmiri people have been going through since 1988.

What basically happened has its roots in the past, political evolution, experimental judgment and revisited wisdom. It definitely involves the role of Hurriyat Conference/other separatist factions, lessons learned from militancy and a series of boycotts, role of Pakistani establishment and that of Indian government.  Understanding the linkages between past and present situations in the valley of Kashmir is absolutely basic for a good understanding of the events and chain of the events that, in a nutshell, is why history matters. Finding a linkage with past and present is not only useful rather it is an essential part in understanding the social, economic and political attitudes and beliefs in a constituency. The glance of the past is essential for ‘rooting’ people, ideas, movements and events in time. Does it really matter to find the correct answer? The answer is yes it is. Because without finding the correct answer only speculations cannot put the course of “what we are today” in the right perspective.

Elections 2014 of the state assembly in Indian Occupied Jammu Kashmir have initiated a new chapter in the political panorama of the region. A decade of off-and-on detente between India and Pakistan has drawn to a close after months of deteriorating relations that began with the election victory in May 2014 of the Hindu nationalist Bhartiya Janta Party and the appointment as India’s Prime Minister of a noted hard-liner, Narendra Modi. Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) led by Narendra Modi after had already triumphed in a landslide victory across India in the general elections held in the spring of 2014 is continuously altering the political map of Indian Union by winning the elections held for various state assemblies (constituents of Indian Union). Prime Minister Modi has decided to take that heat to the state of Jammu Kashmir to win the hearts and minds of Kashmiri people.

It is chilling winter in Kashmir where some parts are so cold just like frozen Siberia. Glaciers of Himalayas are melting down due to the political heat and participation of Kashmiri people in the elections after almost three decades. People in the valley who were accustomed to the calls of boycott and shut down calls from both the pro-freedom and pro-Pakistan leadership and in practice have sacrificed their daily means of bread and butter in solidarity with the anti-India leadership since 1987. But in 2014 the corridor of political venue has altered the paintings on the Kashmiri canvas. Instead of shutter down and wheel jam strikes lenses of both electronic and print media are capturing the live enthusiasm of people participation in the electoral process.

This apparent shift in the valley raises some serious concerns as well as some lessons to be learned. Indian state-owned media is propagating the events as a paradigm shift in the Kashmiri politics while Pakistani media is silent on the electoral process of Indian held Kashmir. The politicians across Jammu Kashmir are interpreting the events well in accordance with their pre-occupied state of mind and trying to concrete and cement their long-held opinions on the very issue.

Continue reading Where the Kashmiri nationalists really Stand in the greater game

China’s Choice: India or Pakistan?

Which South Asian country is more important for China’s future?

By Mu Chunshan

Among China’s relations with Asian neighbors, its ties with the countries in South Asia are generally considered to be the weakest. Now, with Sino-Japan tensions over the East China Sea and conflict with many Southeast Asian countries over the South China Sea, the role of South Asian countries has become more prominent. South Asia is now a focus in China’s regional strategy, as shown by President Xi Jinping’s recent visit to the area.

When it comes to South Asia, people think of India and Pakistan first. China has an “all weather friendship” with Pakistan but an ambivalent, often testy relationship with India. But the future is sometimes different from both the past and the present. Moving forward,  which country is more important for China? Even without a clear answer, just puzzling through this question can help make many issues clear.

In fact, we only to need to answer two questions to know whether India or Pakistan is more important for China. First, which one is a major power? Second, which one can better help China realize its interests?

Which is the major power, India or Pakistan? The answer is relatively simple — India. When it comes to international influence, India is part of BRICS and the G20 and is a leader of the developing world through the G77 and the Non-Aligned Movement. India is well poised to become a major power in the world arena.

The answer is even more obvious from the economic perspective. According to the World Bank, India’s GDP in 2013 was roughly $1.9 trillion. By contrast, Pakistan’s GDP was only $236 billion, only about 12 percent of India’s. In 2013, India was the 10th largest economy in the world in terms of GDP.

India’s economy is just beginning to boom; its growth rate in 2013 was 4.5 percent. Experts believe that India today is like China in the mid-1980s, poised for rapid economic growth. Despite many difficulties, there is no reason for India’s economic growth to come to a halt. By contrast, Pakistan has not enjoyed the same type of economic growth in the past decade. Of course, at 1.2 billion, India’s population is far greater than Pakistan’s, but even when looking at per capita GDP India outranks Pakistan. The gap between two countries will probably widen in the future, placing Pakistan at even more of a disadvantage when compared with India.

Continue reading China’s Choice: India or Pakistan?

Pakistan: Peshawar Mass Transit -Progressing towards destination

Peshawar is the capital of the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) and the administrative and economic hub of this area. The population of Peshawar city is approximately 2 million, and it is located at 34.0117°N, 71.5389°E with an area of 1,257 sq.km (485.3 sq miles). Peshawar is situated in a large valley between the eastern edge of the Iranian plateau and the Indus Valley, near the eastern end of the Khyber Pass, Renowned in Persian as “City on the Frontier”, Peshawar’s strategic location on the crossroads of Central Asia and South Asia has made it one of the most culturally vibrant
and lively cities in the greater region.
1.01 Urbanization trends and increasing demand The urban population of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is increasing at a very fast pace, due to many push and pull factors. The Afghan influx in KPK, the law and order situation coupled with natural calamities like floods and earthquakes pushing people out from FATA, Malakand etc. The pull of safety and security, education and health facilities, better business and employment opportunities, all have their attraction, bringing more
people to the cities and increasing the population.

Read more » http://www.urbanpolicyunit.gkp.pk/MTS%20Project%20Brief.pdf

 

Haleem Brohi: The non-conformist

By Amar Sindhu

As a result, none of his work was taken seriously by local critics except for Fahmida Riaz who cited his novel Odah (Inferno) in her book Pakistan: Literature and Society as a landmark in Pakistani literature. This novel was based on the Freudian concepts of male sexuality. “We have this fantastic short Sindhi novel Odah/ Orrah by Haleem Brohi,” Riaz wrote. “It is a minor classic about male sexuality and about the sexual act turning into a terrible mental torture. It has unforgettable sentences such as, ‘I am walking, endlessly, in this thick white marsh, under a mercilessly blazing sun.’” Riaz also mentioned this novel in her recent interview with Herald magazine.

Continue reading Haleem Brohi: The non-conformist

Who wants to divide Sindh?

By: Zulfiqar Shah

Sindh is on the verge of widespread political violence due to newly announced local government ordinance. The situation can possibly be disastrous for the future political course of Pakistan and might even have disastrous impact on South Asia and the rest of the world.

SINDH IS undergoing an unending and nerve taking process of political standoffs since the creation of Pakistan, and therefore, has been continuously struggling since last six decades over the rights, sovereignty, security, and interests of the province and its indigenous underdeveloped majority population.

The recent issue of Sindhi-Hindu exodus is still waiting to be concluded positively, yet rise of another issue of People’s Local Government Ordinance (PLGO) promulgated by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Mutahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) may possibly open a new chapter of popular movement and possibly a slight degree of violence in Sindh. The dilemma of the issue is the violation of citizen’s right to information by the government through avoiding to public the text of the ordinance; however some features of the ordinance have been made public by the provincial information minister.

Continue reading Who wants to divide Sindh?

Tribute to Comrade Sobho Gianchandani

Sobho Gianchandani is a prominent Sindhi revolutionary who remains a source of inspiration for many generations of Sindhi activists, writers and social reformers. Mr. Gianchandani, known lovingly as Comrade Sobho, has been associated with many political  and campaign groups, including the Indian National Congress and Khudai Khidmatgar and is the founder of many progressive, democratic and nationalist campaigns in Sindh. After the partition, Pakistani authorities pressured himlike millions of other Sindhi Hindus — to leave Sindh and migrate to India, but Sobho refused, and in consequence he was forbidden to travel abroad until 1998. Sobho was imprisoned for more than a year during the British rule, and after the partition, he fell under the wrath of Pakistani establishment and has many jail sentences to his credit, including one in 1971 for opposing military sponsored genocide in Bangladesh. Comrade Sobho and G. M. Syed were close associates and comrades in different aspects of the Sindhi rights movement. The G. M. Syed Memorial Lifetime Achievement Award is bestowed on Mr. Gianchandani in appreciation of his life-long struggle for emancipation for Sindhis and other oppressed peoples of South Asia and in recognition of his grass-roots efforts to promote tolerance, justice, communal harmony and peace. …..

Read more » ChagataiKhan

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More » THE MAN FROM MOEN–JO-DARO – Interview with Comrade Sobho Gianchandani

Hamid Karzai: Pakistan Firing Missiles Into Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghan President Hamid Karzai accuses Pakistan of firing 470 rockets into two of its eastern border provinces in a three-week barrage.

Afghan security forces said Sunday that 36 people have died in the barrages, which hit civilians in areas where NATO forces have withdrawn. After the civilians fled, Pakistani Taliban came in and occupied the cleared areas, Afghan border officials said. …

Read more: → HuffingtonPost

Saleem Shahzad, Al Qaeda and ISI

By Khaled Ahmed

Murdered journalist’s findings show Al Qaeda is winning in nuclear Pakistan more effectively than in Somalia and Yemen

Anyone who has read Inside Al Qaeda and the Taliban: Beyond Bin Laden and 9/11 by Saleem Shahzad (Pluto Press 2011) will come to the following conclusions:

1) It is Al Qaeda rather than the Taliban who plan militant attacks in Pakistan and that the Taliban execute no operations without the permission of Al Qaeda; 2) Jihadi organisations are subservient to Al Qaeda at the same time as some are also extensions of the Pakistan Army; 3) TTP was shaped by Al Qaeda through Uzbek warlord Tahir Yuldashev after the 2007 Lal Masjid affair; 4) ‘Retired’ army officers earlier handling proxy jihad defected to Al Qaeda but continued to use contacts within the military on behalf of Al Qaeda; 5) Benazir was killed by Al Qaeda and not Baitullah Mehsud; he was merely an instrument; 6) Mumbai was done by Al Qaeda through former Pakistan Army officers with help from Lashkar-e-Tayba (LeT) without the knowledge of the ISI despite the fact that LeT was on ISI’s leash; 7) Army officers or freedom fighters trained by army for Kashmir jihad spearheaded Al Qaeda’s war against Pakistan Army; 8) Islamic radicalisation of Pakistani society and media mixed with fear of being assassinated by Al Qaeda agents – who include ex-army officers – have tilted the balance of power away from the state of Pakistan to Al Qaeda; 9) Punjabi Taliban are under Haqqani Network which is supposed to be aligned with Pakistan Army; 10) Pakistan Army has ex-officers in Al Qaeda as well as serving officers collaborating with these ex-officers. …

Read more: → The Friday Times

Military strategy and the flight of capital – by Dr Manzur Ejaz

The Malaysian Consul General, General Khalid Abdul Razzaq, told the press that in the last few years, about 700 Pakistanis had transferred Rs one trillion and 80 billion to his country in a specific programme. If one includes the most popular places for Pakistani capital in the Gulf States, Europe and the US, the transferred amount would be in the hundreds of billions of dollars. If capital is flying out so ferociously, the Pakistani economy has a very dim future. The more depressing aspect is that the policies that created such conditions are not changing in the foreseeable future.

First of all, it is mindboggling how a country wracked by all kinds of law and order problems and power shortages can still generate such a mammoth surplus that is being transferred abroad. This reflects the vibrancy and tenacity of the Pakistani population that it can survive against all odds the way it has been doing for centuries. Probably, this is one of the reasons that our rulers, specifically the military, are continuing the perilous policies that they adopted three decades ago.

Last month, Pakistan’s economic division estimated that the Pakistani economy has suffered losses of about $ 68 billion due to the war on terror. However, the figure was based on certain unproven assumptions and less than solid stipulations. It seemed that the figure was touted in the international press to convince foreign governments about the cost Pakistan is bearing for the war on terrorism and tell them that their aid is too little when compared to the losses. One could have questioned Pakistan’s projected loss figure on various grounds but the capital transfer to Malaysia cannot be questioned because it is coming from the horse’s mouth.

Every economist knows such a huge surplus that is being transferred abroad is gained through extreme exploitation and skimming of the masses. The surplus, whatever way it is gained, is called ‘the savings of an economy’. And, if the savings are not invested back into the economy, the country can never grow — on the contrary it can only degenerate. Pakistan’s rate of inflation, rising poverty and unemployment, which may be as high as 70 percent if one includes the redundant rural workforce, is a manifestation of how the export of Pakistani savings abroad has jeopardised the revival of the economy.

The migration of Pakistani savings to other countries shows that its top wealth holders — whatever their percentage — do not see a safe future in Pakistan. Insecurity is the fundamental reason for such a prevalent view among prosperous Pakistanis. The rise of religious extremism and acceleration of jihadism through the Taliban, al Qaeda and other private militias is the root cause of insecurity in Pakistan. Therefore, the state institutions that have given rise to such forces are directly responsible for the disaster Pakistan is facing.

The flight of capital from Pakistan started during the 1970s and 1980s, long before 9/11 and the US invasion of Afghanistan. Rising sectarianism in the country and ethnic violence in Karachi, engineered by secret agencies with no US input, started scaring potential domestic and foreign investors. It is interesting that this violence-ridden environment opened another chapter of economic plundering in Pakistan by all kinds of exploiters. The attitude had been to squeeze as much as possible in the shortest period. Somehow, the deepening of anarchy provided more opportunity to the exploiting classes and we witnessed unprecedented accumulation of wealth and its transfer abroad in this period. Who is responsible for creating such conditions?

The Pakistan military’s doctrine of seeking strategic depth in Afghanistan with the help of the Taliban and al Qaeda added to the anarchy, insecurity and, strangely enough, economic exploitation. Military spending kept on rising at the expense of the impoverishment of the masses. Therefore, the policy of seeking strategic depth in Afghanistan has caused misery for common Pakistanis from many angles.

Despite the international pressure and domestic rejection, Pakistan’s military is continuing its failed policy. Besides the US, every international power, including China, has asked Pakistan to clean up its jihadi mess and change its direction from India obsession-cum-seeking-strategic depth in Afghanistan to being friendlier towards its neighbours. Domestically, after Mian Nawaz Sharif’s declaration that we should end hostilities towards India and that the military should get out of civilian matters, other than a few religious parties no mainstream political party shares the military’s strategic vision. The PPP and ANP may be toeing the military’s line for opportunistic reasons for the time being but both parties are far from India-haters.

Therefore, it is the military strategy that is causing insecurity in the country and forcing Pakistani capital to flee. The quantity of outflow of capital is so huge that a few billion from the US, any other country or international agencies (the World Bank and IMF) cannot compensate the losses. Therefore, the first sign of stability in Pakistan would be seen when Pakistani capital outflows stop and domestic savings start getting reinvested in the country.

On the contrary, if the military keeps walking on the suicidal path, the economy will be squeezed and, if India grows steadily, Pakistan will become irrelevant in the region. The outcome of the ongoing military strategy of Pakistan will result in just the opposite of what is desired.

Courtesy: WICHAAR.COM

Chronicles foretold – By Najam Sethi

– The cold-blooded torture and murder of journalist Saleem Shahzad by “invisible agencies” roused the journalists of Pakistan to unite and demand an independent and credible commission of inquiry to unearth the facts and punish the perpetrators. A media “dharna” outside parliament in Islamabad was aimed at securing an independent supreme court judge to head the inquiry instead of Justice Agha Rafiq, the chief justice of the Federal Shariat Court, nominated by President Asif Zardari.

Two questions arose. First, why did the media unite in such an unprecedented manner in this case when it didn’t do so in the case of the sixteen journalists so far killed this year in Pakistan? What was so particularly frightening or significant about this murder that compelled the media to stand up and be counted? Second, why did President Zardari originally pick a “Zardari-loyalist” to head this commission? Was this aimed at shielding any slip up or criminality on the part of the PPP government? And if it wasn’t, who was President Zardari trying to shield and why?

The answers are straight forward enough. Saleem Shehzad had recorded his problems with the ISI and left a testament indicting it if he was harmed. He was writing a book exposing the inroads into the armed forces and ISI made by retired or serving officers sympathetic to Al Qaeda’s violent ideology. Such exposure was deemed irrevocably embarrassing to the national security establishment. It explained the lack of preparedness on the part of the military to defend and protect itself — as evidenced in Rawalpindi, Karachi and Abbottabad in recent times. It also confirmed the fears of the international community about the security of the nukes, triggering scenarios of pre-emptive action against them in the event of their seizure by rogues allied to Al Qaeda. When Saleem Shehzad went ahead and published his book, he had to be silenced.

That, at least, is the media’s perception of what happened to him and why. Thus the media banded together to demand accountability so that the same fate did not befall any other journalist. If this perception was wrong, an independent commission of inquiry should have been able to establish the innocence of the ISI and redeem its credibility. If it was right, the ISI had to be chastened and cleansed of such elements. What is wrong with this way of thinking? Indeed, when an attempt is made to hide the facts behind a stooge commission, such suspicions and perceptions take deep roots and protests are inclined to become more widespread and violent. If President Zardari hadn’t finally heeded the journalists’ threat and appointed Justice Saqib Nisar to head the commission instead of Mr Agha Rafiq, the media was all geared up to announce a blackout of all government news and military press statements and advice.

Much the same sort of trouble for the government and military may be forecast for another commission of inquiry pledged by parliament to uncover the truth behind the Abbottabad debacle. In this case, too, the military seems to have leaned on the weak PPP government to desist from seriously inquiring into the mishap because it would deeply embarrass the “national security establishment” and conceivably jeopardise its “strategic relationship” with its Pentagon counterpart in the United States.

In both instances, however, there is one critical factor that threatens to derail the unholy nexus between a weak government and an arrogant military that are clutching at each other for protection. That is the opposition lead by Nawaz Sharif. The PMLN stood solidly with the fearful media in the first instance and will back the outraged public in the second. No less significantly, the sympathies of the newly independent judiciary are with the media, opposition and public. This is an inherently unstable and precarious situation. Where do we go from here?

The military has no option but to press the strategic “Paradigm Reset” button. The media and judiciary have joined the stake holders’ club. The military must realize that it is no longer capable of “managing” or “manipulating” or “blackmailing” the twice-bitten opposition to do its bidding blindly. The media too has been empowered by a wave of “citizen-journalists” who cannot be repressed. There are 20 million internet users in Pakistan and 4 million Facebook freaks and Tweeters. This organic new species had defied the dictators of the Middle East and smashed their censors. It is destined to do the same in Pakistan.

The situation is fraught with dangers of unmanageable upheaval. The military must adjust its sights accordingly. If, for example, the US were to launch any new unilateral action that outraged the Pakistani media, opposition and public, the military would be caught in the eye of the storm. It won’t be able to resist the public pressure but it also wouldn’t like to be savaged by America. Thus it could be the biggest loser in the game. Forewarned is forearmed.

Courtesy: Friday Times

via Wichaar

Accountability of Military Inc

by Najam Sethi

The terrorist attacks on GHQ last year and the Mehran Naval Base last month were outrageous examples of terrorist efficiency and motivation as opposed to ISI incompetence and military ill-preparedness. The US Navy Seal raid to extract Osama bin Laden from a compound in Abbottabad was deeply humiliating as well. Heads should have rolled. But the military will not even consider an independent commission of inquiry to unearth the facts. No wonder its credibility and sacred-cow status have taken a mighty hit. Within the armed forces, officers are standing up to question and confront their superiors. Outside, an angry public wants to know why we are spending half our tax resources on equipping the military with F-16s and BMWs when it can’t even protect itself, let alone defend the nation. This questioning of Military Incorporated is unprecedented.

More significantly, the civilian opposition is up in arms. It is demanding an informed debate over the military’s national security doctrines – particularly with reference to the obsession with, and fear of, “arch-enemy India” – that have spawned such self-serving budgetary outlays and an arms race at the expense of the social welfare of Pakistanis for six decades. The indignant argument that criticism of the military is “unpatriotic” or serves the interests of the “enemy” doesn’t wash any more. Indeed, the term “establishment”, used hitherto to refer obliquely to the military so as not to offend it, is rapidly going out of fashion. People are not afraid to call a spade a spade.

Ominously, the ISI’s mythology of power is now being deconstructed and exposed as being undeserved. The “agencies” are out of fashion, the ISI is squarely in the spotlight. The premeditated abduction and torture of journalist Saleem Shehzad, which led to his death, has been bravely laid by the media and opposition at the door of the ISI and not some invisible “agency”. The government’s silence – in not establishing a credible commission of inquiry – has also compromised the ISI’s position. This is remarkable, not because of the pathetic response in self-defense elicited from unnamed spokesmen of the ISI but because a conviction has now taken root in the public imagination that the ISI should not be beyond the pale of the law and accountability. The opposition has gone so far in parliament as to demand an oversight of its functions, duties, responsibilities and budgets. This is a far cry from a demand by the media and opposition not so long ago to shield and protect the ISI and its DG from the “conspiratorial” tentacles of the PPP government and its ubiquitous interior minister, Rehman Malik, who sought to bring the ISI’s internal political wing dedicated to political machinations under civilian control.

All this has happened because of two new factors that are not sufficiently imagined or understood by the military and ISI. One is the rise of a fiercely competitive and free media that is rapidly coming of age and will not allow itself to be manipulated wholesale in the “patriotic national interest”, a term that is constantly being re-evaluated in light of changing realities. The other is the revival of a chief justice and supreme court that are acutely aware of the civil burden imposed by their historic and popular enthronement. Neither will countenance any political or military oversight of their own sense of freedom and function. So if the military cannot rely on the troika of army chief, president and prime minister for political leverage of government – because the president and prime minister are one now – it is even more problematic to try and manipulate the media and SC merely on the yardstick of “patriotism” and “national interest”. The military’s woes are compounded by the fact that, for the first time in history, a popular Punjabi “son of the soil” like Nawaz Sharif, whose PML is a veritable creature of the predominantly Punjabi-origin military itself, has turned around and openly challenged its supremacy, arrogance and lack of accountability. The “Punjabi establishment” – meaning the civil-military power combine that has ruled Pakistan since independence — is therefore openly divided. The irony of history is that it is a Sindhi politician (Asif Zardari) who is opportunistically lending his shoulder to the military as it braces for fresh buffetings at home.

But that is just the beginning of a new story. The international establishment – principally the USA and EU – that has nurtured and molly-coddled the Pakistani military for six decades with money and weapons is also at the end of its tether. The “strategic partnership” mantra is dead. Washington, like Islamabad, doesn’t trust Rawalpindi either as long-term partner or ally. It is only a matter of time before the civilians in Pakistan and those in DC or Brussels make common cause for mutual benefit. Indeed, if the Kerry-Lugar-Berman bill were to be floated anew with clauses enjoining civilian supremacy over the military, there would not even be conscientious objectors today.

The Pakistan military should see the writing on the wall. It must hunker down and become subservient to civilian rule and persuasion instead of embarking on new misadventures in the region like the proverbial Pied Piper. The road to hell is always paved with self-serving intentions.

Courtesy: Friday Times

via Wichaar

The army narrative: fiction

by Dr Manzur Ejaz

The fallacious super-religious-patriotic narrative has been created by the army to preserve its superiority in the Pakistani state for perks that are not available to any other armed forces in the whole wide world.

Once again it has been proved that no one can beat Pakistan’s army in turning a military defeat into a propaganda conquest for the people of Pakistan. After the 1965 debacle and 1971 surrender in East Bengal, the Pakistan Army has concentrated less on defending Pakistan and more on refining and perfecting the Machiavellian politics and techniques of propaganda to confuse and mislead the unsuspecting masses of the country.

The US’s Abbottabad operation was a colossal failure of the Pakistan Army because first it did not know if Osama bin Laden was living next door to an elite military academy — if one accepts their claim — and then who took his dead body away unless President Obama called President Zardari. Instead of explaining its incompetence on both accounts, the military took the propaganda offensive while seeking refuge behind the civilian leaders just like the 1971 defeat and Kargil disaster. Not only that, the army chided the poor elected politicians through General Shuja Pasha, Director General (DG) Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Parliament was forced to pass an army-pleasing resolution, which had no mention of terrorism eating up the country.

The Pakistan Army, with the help of gravely uniformed and corporate media, has created a narrative for all ills in Pakistan as a consequence of the US intervention in Afghanistan. The narrative claims that the US is forcing the country to fight its war on terror while Pakistan is offering huge sacrifices for nothing. The entire narrative is constructed to provide political cover to the army’s misplaced policy goals as well as to the Taliban, al Qaeda and jihadi groups. The fact is that Pakistan has neither helped the US’s war on terror nor has it done anything more than inflicting wounds to its own body that it categorises as ‘sacrifices’. The narrative is based on fallacies that need to be examined closely.

First, Pakistan has not been dragged into the war on terror by the US only. Pakistan had become a nursery of terrorists that led to international bombings, including the dramatic incidents of 9/11, which dragged the US into the war on terror. Of course, the US was the main producer of Islamic jihadis with Pakistani collaboration, but the seeds of Islamic extremism had been put in place by General Ziaul Haq much before the American participation. As a matter of fact, seeds of religious intolerance and extremism were sown in the early 1950s by passing ‘Qarardaad-e-Maqaasid’ (the Objectives Resolution).

Second, suicide bombings in Pakistan are not only due to Pakistan’s so-called cooperation with the US. Al Qaeda, the Taliban and other jihadis had no need to use violence in Pakistan because the state was not only accommodating them but was helping them to conquer Afghanistan by all means. The religious extremist forces were going to use violent means the day the Pakistani state stood in their way. The incident of the Red Mosque is cited as a trigger for the suicide attacks and that proves the point that armed Islamist forces were going to hit Pakistan if the state put any hurdle in their way. The process was accelerated because, under US pressure, it became difficult for the Pakistani state to accommodate the religious terrorists and hence suicide bombings were unleashed on Pakistan.

Third, Pakistan has not done more to stop religious terrorism than other countries because its doings are just partial remedies for its self-inflicted wounds. According to this part of the narrative, Pakistan has done more by catching and handing over more religious terrorists to the world community than any other country. But, why were all such terrorists found in Pakistan and not in any other country in the first place? Should other countries produce more religious terrorists and then hand them over to the US to compete with Pakistan? Naturally, more terrorists will be nabbed in a country where they are found. Therefore, this part of the establishment narrative is absolutely ridiculous.

Four, Pakistan will not become a safer place if it cuts its ties with the US. However, Pakistan can become a dreadfully silent place if Islamisation and Talibanisation is given a free hand to turn it into a primitive theocratic state. If the state or the other sections of society resist Islamisation in the country, violence will accelerate, destroying every institution of the state even after Pakistan distances itself from the US. Therefore, the US or no US, religious extremism is a reality in Pakistan and has to be recognised as such.

Continue reading The army narrative: fiction

Guru Ke Maseet

In India’s Punjab, a rebuilt mosque stirs hope

By Rick Westhead

One of the most revered figures in the Sikh religion, Guru Hargobind built it for the local Muslim community at the same time as the Taj Mahal was being constructed in central India. But in 1947, the Guru Ki Maseet was ransacked and fell into disrepair after Muslims living here migrated to Pakistan following partition.

Nowadays, there are about 15 Muslim families living in Sri Hargobindpur and the closest operable mosque is an hour’s drive away.

Besides preserving what is arguably an archaeological site, the repair means Muslim families here will have a place of worship within walking distance. A Sikh foundation in the U.S. has contributed $20,000 for the project, with the Punjab state government adding another $88,000.

“I think if Gandhi could see this he would pat us on the back,” said Harjeet Bhalla, 60, president of Sri Hargobindpur’s municipal council.

“Ours is a multilingual, multi-religious country so it’s important that we do this.”

Several locals say they hope the project sends a message beyond this remote farming community.

To read full article >> The Star

The Ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity – BJP’s Jaswant revises Jinnah

 

VIEW: BJP’s Jaswant revises Jinnah —Karan Thapar

Jaswant Singh’s view of Jinnah is markedly different to the accepted Indian image. He sees him as a nationalist. In fact, the author accepts that Jinnah was a great Indian. I’ll even add he admires Jinnah and I’m confident he won’t disagree

There’s a book published tomorrow that deserves to be widely read and I want to be the first to draw your attention to it. It’s Jaswant Singh’s biography of Jinnah. Read on and you’ll discover why.

Continue reading The Ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity – BJP’s Jaswant revises Jinnah

Sindhi folk dance Chhalaro at Nagpur India

Sindhi folk dance Chhalaro performed by Sudha Masand and group at Nagpur India. Migrant Sindhis from Sindh are settled in Nagpur, India. Hindu Sindhis are scattered all over the world and India but mostly concentrated in Ulhasnagar (near Bombay) and Nagpur in province of Maharashtra.

You Tube Link

Prospersous South Asian Sub-continent – A beautiful dream or the future that we are missing!

Beyond the Deep State: Prospects of Pak India relations
by Omar Ali
A friend from “Critical PPP” asked for an article about the current crisis in Pakistan and got me thinking on the question: Is there something peculiar about the crisis in Pakistan or is it similar to all the other countries in South Asia, with the same problems of inequality, poverty, corruption, elite incompetence, poor governance, institutional decay and post colonial hangovers? I would submit that there is, and this peculiar problem is breaking the camel’s back. What is it? It is the ideological mindset of the deep state and it has brought us to the edge of disaster. This Is not a new insight, but I want to put it in terms that are usually avoided in the Pakistani media; Instead of presenting a history of the deep state and its pathologies, I will stand a mile behind the starting line and look far away at a hazy finish line: what I think the shape of a different Pakistan would be.

I think that a Pakistan that has managed to reorient its deep state from its current suicidal course may have some of the following features:

1.       The state will accept that historically and culturally, we are “Western India”, not North-Eastern Arabia or some imaginary concoction whose defining feature is that it is kryptonite for anything Indian.  Having accepted this, we will discover that far from pulling us back into the Indian state, Indian policymakers will spend their days trying to make sure we don’t come back home to mama and that we stay in our own apartment. We can visit anytime and we can use Mama’s name in some songs,movies, overseas grocery stores and restaurants, but she would much rather we stayed in our own pad.

2.       The state will no longer spend every waking moments looking for good jihadis to go blow up India and every sleeping moment dreaming of sticking it to the Brahmans so good they will remember their Naani. In fact, the state will own up to the fact that our Naani is one and the same and both parties could use an occasional day remembering grandma and her glorious cooking. Freed up from the need to shelter every homicidal psychopath in the region, we may find other things to do. And of course, we will no longer have to worry about “good psychopaths” turning into “bad psychopaths” and explosively detonating in our own markets, shrines and mosques.

3.       India will become our largest trading partner and we may become their 4th largest trading partner. Multiple scandals involving the disbursement of franchise licenses to TATA and Reliance will keep NAB busy for the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, these interactions will generate real jobs, real industry, real money and real Bajaj motorbikes for every farmer.  Transit trade to Afghanistan will enrich even more retired army officers than the number who have become millionaires hauling NATO supplies.  Students by the thousands will flock across the border in either direction (admittedly, more may go East initially, but we too are an enterprising people and will find ways to correct the balance).

4.       Kashmir will remain formally divided, but practically, will become one large pistachio and shawl manufacturing country. Large numbers of ex-servicemen from both countries will find employment in the various security companies that will protect the handicrafts business from extortionist jihadi gangs as they switch from being supported by Pakistani taxpayers to full time kidnap and robbery operations. Sikhs and Pakistani Punjabis will become so chummy in these security agencies, it will be an embarrassment.

5.       River water treaties will be a cause of friction, but if we can make them work through 60 years of cold and hot wars, we can make them work through 60 years of cold and warm peace. Still, drastic development in agriculture and water-saving technologies will be needed as global warming wreaks havoc. No longer busy planning the next war, both overstaffed armies may find something to do maintaining order and fixing irrigation ditches.

6.       Renewed cultural interaction and absence of GHQ and VHP instigated paranoia will lead to development of all regional languages and cultures in Pakistan. East Punjab will also see a deeper revival of Punjabi literature and arts and Delhi will become a more Punjabi city. Even Urdu may get off its deathbed once a better connection with the heartland in North India is restored. Who knows, Indian and Pakistani Muslims may even revive Islamic learning and turn it away from its current flat-line orientation into something more creative. Cricket will become a South Asian game with Australians occasionally allowed to win a match by the match-fixers. The film industry in India will import even more Punjabis and Pathans to star in “fair and lovely” ads and hundreds of musical geniuses will emerge in Faisalabad and Gojra and take the world by storm.

7.       Pakistani political parties will increasingly resemble their Indian counterparts and both sides will exchange know-how about vote-buying and ballot-stuffing. At the upper end of the political scale, think tanks will gainfully employ bullshitters from both countries without distinction. Since our bullshitters know all about their problems and their bullshitters know all about ours, we can exploit the strengths of both parties. MQM will find much to do in the vast network of sleepy North Indian Muslim communities, where it’s sophisticated and battle hardened cadres will be a little bit like European adventurers used to be among Native Americans in the nineteenth century, but with the added advantage of being racially and linguistically the same people.

8.       Chinese massage parlors will expand from Islamabad to all over India. So will Chinese Qingchi makers and duck egg salesmen. Memons and Marwaris will be given a run for their money by the Cantonese at the upper end of the business spectrum.  Sindhi coal will fire up polluting power stations in Gujarat and Indian wind and solar manufacturers will sell their wares in Mekran.

And so on. It can happen. But someone will have to bring the deep state under adult supervision before it does.

Courtesy: – http://criticalppp.com/archives/25447

India’s establishment is not different in stupidity than Pakistani establishment

ISI behind CWG Bridge Collapse: Indian Minister

– Dan Qayyum

DELHI – In a sensational twist to the ongoing and unrelenting embarassment that is the Delhi Commonwealth Games (CWG), Indian External Affairs minister SM Krishna has alleged that Pakistani ’state-actors’ and ‘hired guns’ are behind the latest calamity to hit the games – the collapse of an under-construction foot overbridge near Jawaharlal Nehru stadium here on Tuesday afternoon. …

Read more >> pakistankakhudahafiz

Afghanistan asks Pakistan to shut terror sanctuaries

New Delhi, Aug 31 (IANS) In an oblique reference to Pakistan, Afghanistan Tuesday called for shutting down of terrorist sanctuaries and conveyed to India that it has ‘evidence of cross-border involvement’ in the attack on the Indian embassy over two years ago.

Afghan National Security Adviser Rangin Dadfar Spanta Tuesday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and sought closer cooperation with India in combating terrorism.

He also met External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and his Indian counterpart Shivshankar Menon.

Spanta briefed the prime minister about the evidence of the involvement of the Pakistani agencies in the attacks on the Indian embassy in July 2008 and a failed attempt in October 2009, sources said.

He also apprised India about Pakistan’s complicity in aiding and abetting violence and instability in Afghanistan through its proxies, sources added.

Read more >> YahooNews

Sindhi film “Trapada Teshan te”

India – Ulhasnagar –  Premier show of the New hilarious Comedy Sindhi film “Trapada Teshan te” was arranged at Ashok Anil Theatre of Ulhasnagar one day before the film was being released. The Show was organised by Saeen Balram of Dharamdas Darbar, Ulhasnagar.

Prominent dignitaries of Ulhasnagar, Director Mohan Sachdev and many artistes of the Film graced the occassion.

The film is presented by Loveen arts, Nagpur. Rajesh Chhabrani, Pahlaj Sachani, Narayan Demble and Vinod Ramani are producers of the film.

The film is out and out comedy written by Kishor Lalwani and Directed by Mohan Sachdev.

Many drama artistes Aarti Jadwani, Jeetu Vazirani,Sanjay rohra, Rakesh Karda, Ashok PunjabiVijay Bhawnani (from Mumbai ), Gopal Khemani,Kishor Lalwani, Tulsi Setiya, Ashok Jeswani,Vinod Ramani,Naresh Mohnani, Laxman Thawani, Vijay Widhani ,Parso Chelani, (From Nagpur)have played their characters nicely.

The film is released by the same group which released the well marketed and successful film “vaeesara Ee Gum” which is still running in many cities.

September 1, 2010

Sindhis as ‘an Indo-Pak bridge’

Across the Wagah : An Indian’s Sojourn in Pakistan

by Mohammad Ali Mahar, Austin, TX

… an interesting book, ‘Across the Wagah : An Indian’s Sojourn in Pakistan’. The author of the book, Maneesha Tikekar, a Marathi professor, spent almost all her time in Pakistan — which was not more than only a few months — in Islamabad. However, her study of the life in Pakistan is astounding, to say the least. Even though the book has other areas dealing with different parts of Pakistan, including Sindh, the following piece exclusively deals with Sindh.

“During the British rule, Sindh was reduced to the backyard of the Bombay Presidency. It remained poor and backward except for Karachi whose prominence increased after Sindh’s separation from Bombay. Sindh’s fortunes changed little after the creation of Pakistan for, it has been made to play the second fiddle to Punjab.

Contours of the Sindhi society have been shaped by three major forces; a handful of biradaris like Chandios, Jilanis, Talpurs, Khuhros and Bhuttos; powerful landlords, waderas, whose stories of exploitation of women and repression of the poor farm labour, haris abound in Sindh; and the Pirs of Hala and the most (in) famous Pir of Pagara. Urban Sindh has been dominated by mohajirs. Ethnic conflict in the southern province of Sindh between indigenous Sindhis and Urdu-speaking mohajirs, claimed hundreds of lives during the 1990s. Traditionally the Sindhi Muslim was poor, backward and uneducated and the middle class barely existed. At the time of independence Sindh ‘was beset with extremes of wealth and poverty. Since the creation of Pakistan Z.A. Bhutto was the only Sindhi leader who had stirred the masses so deeply that they rose above biradari links and voted for him and his party. The disciples of Pir of Pagara are reported to have said, sir Saeen da, vote Bhutto da meaning ‘our life is for the Pir but vote for Bhutto’.

Hindu-Muslim relations in Sindh were cordial and they have survived the trauma of the partition. It is the Sindhi Sufi tradition that bound the two together. Sufi poet saint Shah Abdul Latif is revered by both Muslims and Hindus alike. Despite the fact that Pakistani establishments kept the communal equation unsettled in Sindh, the bonds between the two communities have not been snapped altogether. If along with the Mumbai-Karachi ferry service, Munbao-Khokrapar (Rajasthan-Sindh) rail link is also revived as proposed by India in October 2003 as a part of the package of confidence building measures between the two countries, then it will be a double bonus to the Sindhi community living on either side of the border. Saeed Naqvi, a noted Indian journalist describes Sindhis as ‘an Indo-Pak bridge’.”

One may or may not agree with the observations made in the above piece, it is interesting to know how the world sees us, Sindhis.

August 20, 2010

The Kashmir Calculus

by Dr. Uddipan Mukherjee

After a period of relative calm, Kashmir is on the boil again. Over the years, analysts have come up with a plethora of way-outs of this tangle. While accepting the Line of Control as the international border is one among many theories, none seems to take the bold path. This essay attempts a workable and pragmatic solution to this ‘singular’ security calculus from the Indian nationalistic perspective by proposing an “All Kashmir Federation”. …

Read more >> Boloji

Pakistan accepts India’s offer, appeals for more aid

… Moreover, Pakistan has decided to accept flood aid from its neighbour India, saying the offer was a “very welcome initiative” as both countries look to improve their tense relations.

Foreign Minister Qureshi told India’s NDTV television in an interview broadcast Friday that Islamabad would take India’s offer of five million dollars which was made last Friday.

“I can share with you that the government of Pakistan has agreed to accept the Indian offer,” Qureshi said from New York, where he addressed a special session of the UN General Assembly called to boost aid for flood victims.

“I think this initiative of India is a very welcome initiative.” …

Read more >> DAWN

The political economy of Bangladesh — Ishtiaq Ahmed

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

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

Read more >> Daily Times

Militants Overtake India as Top Threat

Pakistan Says Militants Surpass India as Threat

Fundamental Shift Could Affect Afghan War, Bilateral Talks

By TOM WRIGHT in Islamabad and SIOBHAN GORMAN in Washington

Pakistan’s main spy agency says homegrown Islamist militants have overtaken the Indian army as the greatest threat to national security, a finding with potential ramifications for relations between the two rival South Asian nations and for the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan. …

Read more >> WALL STREET JOURNAL