Tag Archives: Washington Diary

About banning Facebook, YouTube & Twitter in Pakistan

Dr. Manzur Ejaz

More than meets the eye – Dr Manzur Ejaz

– BBC Urdu bulletins were banned in Pakistan without any justification

WICHAAR

In the garb of performing a pious act by banning the most popular internet sites, the government has knocked out its critics. Now, Pakistanis are left at the mercy of the government or corporate media overwhelmed by religious ideologues

Pakistan has done it once again. From Morocco to Indonesia, nowhere did the public come out against the abominable act of depicting cartoons of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) except in Pakistan. Other than Pakistan, no other government, including theocracies in Saudi Arabia and Iran, keen on condemning the US in any way, have hurriedly shut down Facebook, YouTube or Twitter and several hundred sites on the pretext of the repulsive cartoons. Both Pakistan’s government and demonstrators have agendas other than reacting to these said cartoons.

The question was raised in my column a week back why most jihadis throwing bombs in other countries are traced back to Pakistan. Another question to raise is, why do only Pakistanis feel hurt when a lunatic publishes something in other countries? Are Pakistani Muslims the most honest, pious and God-fearing in the entire world? Every Pakistani knows in his or her heart that Pakistanis’ honesty and reverence for religion is a myth that is broken every day by corruption, nepotism, underhand dealings, cruelty to the poor and women and overblown greed. Therefore, Pakistanis taking the pain of safeguarding the entire Muslim world is quite hypocritical.

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The Republican versus Pak jihadis – Manzur Ejaz

Dr. Manzur Ejaz

The Republican jihadis

Courtesy: WICHAAR

Extremist forces of the world pretend that they represent the people at large. For them the opinion polls and surveys do not matter. For the US and Pakistani jihadis, the only people that matter are the ones who agree with them. The dissenting public is just sub-human, the misled herd

When Pakistan’s delegation arrived in Washington for the strategic dialogue with the US, every noteworthy American politician was overwhelmed with the healthcare debate. I am sure Pakistan’s army chief, foreign minister, key cabinet ministers and top ranking bureaucrats may be wondering why Obama is making such a big deal about providing healthcare to every American instead of focusing on Afghanistan and Pakistan since Pakistani ruling collectives have never wasted their time on such an outlandish idea of thinking about people’s health and forgetting Kashmir, India or Afghanistan even for a day. However, the health debate must have brought a smile on the Pakistani delegation’s faces by watching the Republican Party’s protests.

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Changing realities of Afghanistan – Dr Manzur Ejaz

Dr. Manzur Ejaz

Courtesy: Wichaar

It is highly probable that arrests of key Taliban leaders were meant to scuttle a deal being negotiated between Kabul and the insurgents without Pakistan’s involvement. Therefore, Pakistan has established the fact that no deal in Afghanistan can be negotiated without its involvement

Pakistan is going into a strategic dialogue with the US, believing that it has staged a policy coup against India with reference to Afghanistan. There are many versions of the coup, making it hard for commoners like us to believe which one is true. Furthermore, the question arises if Pakistan’s new or rehashed policy is based on emerging economic realities in Afghanistan or the old assumptions.

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For a reformed Pakistan – Dr Manzur Ejaz

Dr. Manzur Ejaz

Courtesy: WICHAAR

Being in power, directly or indirectly, for the last 30 years, the establishment has been endorsing legal and illegal methods of accumulating wealth. Whether in India or the US, military men do not retire as millionaires!

It appears that Pakistan’s ruling class knows something that we do not about the judiciary’s promise to treat every citizen equally and punish everyone violating the laws of the country. Along with the Taliban’s murderous suicide attacks, Pakistanis are bombed everyday by price hikes, hoarding, load-shedding, cheating by every influential person — political or otherwise — and the list goes on. It is evident that either the ruling classes believe that the judiciary and other state agencies working for accountability are mere show casings, or that they have been reined in.

Last week, Lahore witnessed the worst kind of suicide attacks and multiple bomb blasts. However, while the bodies of the innocent people were being buried in Lahore, Karachi, and many other places, we learnt that two high officials of an intelligence agency made two dacoits disappear from police custody. The DSP who had nabbed them despite the discouraging attitude of the higher ups, had refused to release them. The DSP was rewarded with an undesirable suspension for catching the dacoit and his mafia head. The incident was so brazenly unlawful that the people of that area staged demonstrations in support of the DSP — a rare show in favour of a policewala.

This week we learnt that officials were involved in the theft of natural gas, costing the nation billions of rupees. We also learnt that the prime minister has ordered the reorganisation of eight national institutions like PIA, the railways, WAPDA, etc, which are sustaining losses of billions of dollars. Who is going to reorganise the biggest money losers? Is it going to be the political leadership, which does not pay taxes on their own real income, costing the national exchequer an unknown huge amount, or the same officials who have been plundering every national institution? Probably, the same old set of officials sitting in the eight money losers will be rotated.

The prime minister and chief ministers keenly rush to the places of tragic happenings to announce monetary compensation for the victims. Records show that the prime minister has paid zero tax while the chief ministers — all four being billionaires — have paid nominal or no taxes. These powerful heads of the state and provinces do not pause to think for a moment whose money they are distributing. It is clear that this is not their money!

The prime minister and chief ministers belong to different parties but, as a class, their behaviour is identical. Therefore, it is clear that replacing one individual/party with the other will not change anything.

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Sufi chants and revolutions – Dr Manzur Ejaz

Dr. Manzur Ejaz

Courtesy: Wichaar

If one reads Punjabi [Sindhi] classical poetry, with no presumption of Sufism, it is just good poetry of a certain period that has withstood the test of time. I do not know anybody who would claim that just reading and singing of this poetry would bring social change.

One of our reputable progressive historians asserted in one of his recently published column that chanting Sufi songs cannot change the situation: one needs a modern theory or model to address contemporary problems. I agree with the main assertion but strongly disagree with the intent he has put forth in his argument. His formulation lacks historical perspective of which he is supposed to be an expert.

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Pakistan : The rise of extremism – Dr Manzur Ejaz

Dr. Manzur Ejaz

The rise of extremism

courtesy: WICHAAR

After the Afghan war ended, the US left in haste, leaving behind the mess of several hundered thousand jihadis. The Pakistani establishment, intoxicated by the routing of the Soviets, undertook ventures to conquer Afghanistan and Kashmir, and destabilise India. The mullah-military nexus was further strengthened.

The rise of the right wing conservative religious forces in Pakistan was due to a combination of factors. A changing economy, military adventures and backward state institutions played a main role in giving rise to jihadism, etc. It was not dictator Zia or other military rulers who were the only players in such an outcome. The evolution of Pakistan has to be reviewed in a broad historical perspective.

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Tax troubles

WASHINGTON DIARY: Tax troubles

by Dr Manzur Ejaz, USA

Courtesy: Wichaar.com, September 29th, 2009

With taxable classes not paying, indirect taxes have been used to skim people who are least capable of paying anything to the government. Even then, the gap remains wide and ruling elites travel the world to beg, borrow, steal or blackmail.

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Pakistan : Behind the scenes (sugar crisis)

WASHINGTON DIARY: Behind the scenes (sugar crisis)

by Dr Manzur Ejaz, USA

Courtesy: Wichaar.com, September 23rd, 2009

In Pakistan, the same people or families produce goods, make laws about the production of those goods and then implement them. Therefore, the system is not structured for a free market economy

Bulleh Shah famously said:

Kitay Ramdas kitay Fateh Mohammad, eho qadeemi shor

Nipat gia dohan da jhag’ra, wichon nikal pia koi hor

(At one place, his name is Ramdas, and at another, Fateh Mohammad. This is the ongoing dispute since antiquity. When their dispute was dealt with, something else emerged.)

Following Bulleh Shah’s wisdom, every Pakistani thought that once terrorism was dealt with and the jihadis and Taliban suppressed, Pakistan would again become a paradise. But now that the terrorists are being pushed back, Pakistanis are discovering that their problems lie elsewhere too. Newspapers are reporting every day cases of land-grabbing by the rich and powerful and corruption cases being dropped by the accountability authorities, among other things.

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Pakistan: Unstoppable history

Dr. Manzur Ejaz
Dr. Manzur Ejaz

WASHINGTON DIARY: Unstoppable history

by: Dr Manzur Ejaz, USA

Courtesy: Wichaar.com, September 8th, 2009

The village’s isolation has ended and society has started interacting and amalgamating itself although in an uneven and extremely anarchic manner. Along the way it has generated some weird trends and ideologies but that is how history unfolds.

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Pay your dues

WASHINGTON DIARY: Pay your dues

by: Dr Manzur Ejaz, USA

Courtesy: Wichaar.com, September 1st, 2009

Some critics argue that paying taxes in Pakistan is counterproductive because it further enriches the corrupt ruling classes. One can argue that accountability for tax revenues is a very low political priority because the most vocal and powerful sections of society do not pay their fair share.

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More of the same

WASHINGTON DIARY: More of the same

by Dr Manzur Ejaz, USA

Courtesy: Wichaar.com, June 16th, 2009

Even if the civil war is taken care of and political stability is achieved, the economic disaster will be far from over. The spike in oil prices during the last three months indicates that world markets are still being manipulated by speculators. Similar economic irrationality is prevalent in Pakistan where political and economic conditions do not support the going real restate prices or the rise of the stock market.

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Why Pakistan will stay uinted – Daily Times

manzoorejzWASHINGTON DIARY: A united Pakistan

by Dr Manzur Ejaz, USA

June 2nd, 2009

Dr. Manzur Ejaz’s note – This column has been written as a student of Political Economy and not from any patriotic inkling. So, please comment from that angle if you want to.

Sri Lanka took more than two decades to suppress Tamil separatists and prevailed. The Pakistani state, with its powerful institutions and military, can get the job done in the northwest in a much shorter period.

For some time now, several elements in the US intelligentsia, military strategists, Indian analysts and even some Pakistani intellectuals have been declaring Pakistan a failed state that will disintegrate in the near future.

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Changing course

manzoorejzWASHINGTON DIARY: Changing course

by Dr Manzur Ejaz, USA

Courtesy: Wichaar.com, May 26th, 2009

Foreign pressure may have played some role in getting the government and the military to confront the Taliban, but it was the Taliban’s own actions that triggered the operations. Every day, I run into people who were all committed to Islamisation and indirectly support the Taliban by putting the entire blame on the United States. In a dramatic turn, they now blame the military for taking so long to fight back against the Taliban! For the first time, a group hastily organised a rally demanding strict action against the Taliban in front of the hotel where President Asif Zardari was staying in Washington during his US visit. Two main Urdu weekly newspapers, the Pakistan Post and the Urdu Times, have announced a major convention to be held in New York against Taliban terrorism.

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Pakistan’s ideological vacuum

Pakistan’s ideological vacuum
by Dr Manzur Ejaz
Courtesy: Wichaar.com
An independent judiciary seems to be taking root in Pakistan, but it is just one institution of many, and cannot induce societal balance on its own. Furthermore, an isolated institution cannot survive for long unless a more modern and progressive political force takes the reins of the state.

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WASHINGTON DIARY: A new socio-economic agenda (Daily Times)

by Dr Manzur Ejaz, USA
December 30th, 2008
Courtesy and Thanks: Wichaar.com & The News
The writer can be reached at manzurejaz@yahoo.com
Feudal aristocracy is usually, by its very nature, oblivious of human rights issues and democracy. This is how a declared offender in a vani case and an apologist for the live burial of women in Balochistan are raised to the level of federal ministers

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Dr Manzur Ejaz: SANA’s promise: An independent view of SANA

WASHINGTON DIARY: SANA’s promise

Dr Manzur Ejaz, USA

Courtesy & Thanks: Daily Times, 16/7/2008

Unlike the prosperous doctors of the Association of Pakistani Physicians in North America (APPNA), SANA represents the middle class living in the US. Most of its members save for the whole year to attend this annual convention

The Sindhi Association of North America (SANA) has shown itself to be one of the most open and democratic platforms. At its recent annual convention, presentations in all Pakistani languages, including Urdu, were permitted and encouraged.

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WASHINGTON DIARY: History as we know it

Dr Manzur Ejaz, USA

Courtesy & Thanks: Wichaar.com, July 8th, 2008

An overhaul of the entire curriculum is a prerequisite for any positive change in the Pakistani psyche. Unfortunately, it is reluctantly being done under US pressure, which is leading to misperceptions of its own

“Was Aurangzeb a brutal emperor?” a fairly educated journalist asked me, after watching the play The Trial of Dara Shikoh. The question was revealing because it shows that the teaching of history leaves with our students concocted fiction rather than fact-based records of the present and past.

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