Tag Archives: understand

Pakistan, courts Islamometer

Islamo-meter in the courts…and Anjuman Shahzadi

By Omar Ali

Back in the 1980, General Zia was “Islamizing” Pakistan, primarily by having several thousand people flogged (mostly for political offences..including a barber in,if i remember correctly, Faisalabad, for putting up Zia’s picture as one of the available hairstyles). I happened to chat with Sharif Sabir Sahib, an observant, reasonably orthodox Muslim (known as “Molvi Sharif Sabir”) and a great scholar of Punjabi (who also taught Persian). I asked him what he thought of this Islamization? He said “son, take an islamo-meter to the district court. The day it registers an even slightly positive reading, I will personally wash Zia’s feet with rose water”. Of course, both of us knew this was a safe bet.

Osama Sameer surveys how things look in the district courts today, further down the winding road that is taking us away from British India and towards Pakistan, fortress of Islam.

I am not posting this to help “the world understand us better”. How “the world” understands us is the least of our problems. Frankly (and I hope this does not strike anyone as rude) that is the sort of bullshit that buffoon Musharraf was known for. The idea that “the world” has misunderstood our lovable self. That if we can somehow “promote our soft image” (this was a phrase Mushie used several thousand times) and show the world that we paint trucks, we pray in petrol stations, we walk half naked down catwalks, then all will be well. I think this whole shtick is meaningless in the larger scheme of things. The world that matters (the people who start wars, sell oil, buy countries) doesnt care about any of that and neither do most Pakistanis. All of that is neither problem nor solution. Even the s0-called “ideology of Pakistan” (which i attack at every opportunity and Samosa and Riaz Haq sahib will defend till they have something more urgent to do) is a problem mostly because taking it seriously causes other, more real problems. If we can confine it to schoolbooks (preferably grade 5 and below) we can safely ignore it.

btw, If the world wants to understand ”moderate Islamic Pakistani” closer to street level, here is a Pakistani Mujra (an art form slightly older than catwalk modelling) by Anjuman Shahzadi, complete with “Hajji brothers” logo proudly displayed in the background (Hajji means someone who has been for Haj to Mecca). She died last year, apparently of infection and diabetes. Who knows.

She could be incredibly crude:

Read more » Brown Pundits

Will the Washington Bomb Plot Force Obama into War with Iran?

by Tony Karon

“We are not talking to Iran, so we don’t understand each other,” outgoing Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen told the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace last month. “If something happens, it’s virtually assured that we won’t get it right — that there will be miscalculation, which could be extremely dangerous in that part of the world.”

Mullen’s warning of the perils arising from the two sides’ inability to communicate and understand each other’s intentions — “Even in the darkest days of the Cold War, we had links to the Soviet Union”

Read more: http://globalspin.blogs.time.com/2011/10/12/will-the-washington-bomb-plot-force-obama-into-war-with-iran/#ixzz1ahp4QSYq

 

We need multiple measures to start a return: Mobarak Haider

by Waseem Altaf

The forces of chaos and disruption will not agree on anything less than absolute power. Unfortunately the world community will have to act. We are moving in a direction where our case might resemble that of Japan and Germany in Second World War

“Tragedies darken when their victims refuse to understand the causes. Intellectual failure has thus been the principle deficit; which means the so-called men of intellect are to blame” says Dr. Mobarak Haider. A political activist, scholar and renowned writer of English and Urdu, Dr. Mobarak Haidar was born and brought up in a traditional Muslim family of Pakistan. Mobarak received extensive Islamic education, graduated with Arabic. He earned his masters in English Literature, and taught in different colleges.

He was sent to jail several times by Pakistan’s Martial Law dictators as a political activist for democracy and human rights since 1967. Haider is member of HelpIntgrate, a group of activists working for the integration of Muslims with the modern societies. His books include ‘Tehzibi Nargasiat’ (Cultural Narcissism) and “Taliban: The Tip of A Holy Iceberg”. Excerpts:

Do you agree that Pakistani state as well as society is degenerating? If yes, what are the indicators?

Yes, unfortunately, that is true. The indicators are: 1) Rapid Ideological drift of vocal and dominant classes to a medieval concept of governance and society, 2) Ever-hardening ban on dialogue and debate, even organised physical elimination of dissent, 3) Chaotic exclusiveness in personal and institutional conduct, 4) Absense of the will or willingness to negotiate that chaotic exclusiveness, 5) Wild growth of armed non-state forces, 6) Paralysis of the state and society’s will to fight these forces, 7) Free fall of economy, incorrigible energy crisis, and an ever-deepening indifference of the state and its institutions toward economic and intellectual problems, 8) Systematic erosion of trust and prestige of democracy and political institutions, 9) A foreign policy of self-righteous isolation leading to a potential suicide blast, 10) Absence of a leadership with vision and prestige enough to halt the disaster. …

Read more → ViewPoint

Like army, like nation – by Nadeem F. Paracha

Excerpt:

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

“Just so you do not have thoughts…” – by Shazia Nawaz

We all know that burqa does not have its roots in religion. Religion only asks women to dress modestly. Where did the burqa or veil come from then? Why do so many women in the world cover their faces?

Burqa is a mobile jail invented by men to hide the women they love. If love was involved, I would accept it. That makes the jail a little more acceptable in a twisted kind of way.

But then what kind of man will keep a person he loves in a jail?

So then, Burqa is more a jail to keep in the women they “own”.

Brain washing starts very early. At a very young age, you are told that you have to hide yourself from men. It is ‘piety’ to hide your face. You are also taught to fear men. From a very young age, you are told that men are dangerous and should not be trusted. Only your father and brother are the ones you can trust. As someone put it very eloquently the other day, ‘In Pakistan, women are told that men are wolves and women are sheep.’ and due to this teaching , most men do indeed start acting like wolves and women as sheep.

Our men say that women should cover up, so we would not have ‘thoughts’ about them. Thoughts of harming women and thoughts of raping them. So, they want to put me in a mobile jail just so their mind would stay clean?! What a twisted logic!

But then does it really stop their ‘thoughts’? In the real world, they do not care if you are in a burqa, they will harass you. Covering my face never protected me from street harassment.

In a smaller city in Pakistan, always either my father or brother had to accompany us on the streets, or in spite of all the layers of clothes on us, men would yell taunts, follow, and even try to rub against us when were passing by. Due to this very reason, women can not leave houses alone, and always have to have a male of the house with them. Men have to protect their women from each other in Pakistan and in all muslim countries.

When we moved to a bigger city, Lahore, and got rid of the big chador, sexual harassment, believe it or not, was less. Men around us there were used to women who walked around with out covering their heads and faces. Men were more educated and their own sisters and mothers had more freedom too.

Coming to USA and experiencing the behavior of their men on the streets was an amazing experience. I can walk around wearing whatever I want. No one dares to harass me. That told me that it is not the burqa that keeps the dangerous men away, it is the mindset of a society and it is the implementation of the laws that keep women safe in any country.

My first experience of the cool breeze touching my skin on a beautiful beach in Hawaii was wonderful . Men rob women of their basic right of enjoying the nice weather by putting them in a tent called burqa. It is dark in there and it is hot in there. Just because you do not have ‘thoughts’ about me, I should be suffocated?!

Doctors consider ‘thoughts’ a God made healthy phenomenon. Acting on your thoughts without other person’s consent would put you in a jail for 10-20 years in any civilized country.

It is difficult to understand for a man of an oppressed society that in a free world men indeed learn to control their ‘thoughts’ and do not blame women for it. …

Read more : Let Us Build Pakistan

The Pakistani military mindset

by A.H Amin

While third world military figures , in power or retired make impressive speeches at various forums and think tanks , very few outside their countries understand their mindset and motivation , which by and large is driven by highly personalized and ulterior motives !

Keeping this premise in view it is important to understand the mindset and the personalities of the third world military juntas , most important in this case being the Pakistani military junta! ….

Read more : WICHHAR –  Chowk.com

Failure of Leadership in Pakistan

Review by Azhar Ali Shah

In oder to understand the root causes of the failure of leadership and parliamentary democracy in Pakistan, I will be sharing some important articles, for your comments and interaction. The idea is to detect the main causes of the faults and propose the remedy based on consensus of all of us. At the end we would try to synthesize these discussions in the form of a publishable document which could provide the bases for starting a public campaign for the implementation of political reforms in Pakistan.

To begin with, I am presenting my review of the Khalid bin Sayed’s article (Click here to read, COLLAPSE OF PARLIAMENTARY DEMOCRACY IN PAKISTAN ). This article provides some of the description of political setup during the very 1st decade of Pakistan and observes that it was Punjabi Machiavellianism (the political doctrine of Machiavelli: any means (however unscrupulous) can be used by a ruler in order to create and maintain his autocratic government) that caused the collapse of parliamentary democracy. The author then comments on the performance of the military regime and how it was dealing with politicians, civil servants and common people. The whole article is worth reading and is available online a: http://www.jstor.org/pss/4323166 .

Collapse of Parliamentary Democracy in Pakistan

Kahild bin Syed, Middle East Journal,Vol. 13, No. 4, Autumn, 1959

Review by Azhar Ali Shah
This article begins with the description of parliamentary democracy and its success in homogeneous communities. The article questions whether democracy could be a way of life in a country like Pakistan (consisting of heterogeneous communities)? It cites examples of Pakistani leaders (both at center and provinces) who flouted democracy and took arbitrary actions but there was no rally by any party/leader to defend the sovereignty of parliament!

Continue reading Failure of Leadership in Pakistan