Thursday, October 18, 2007

Here is Hoping!


Most of your Blogger’s readers should by now be aware of his disapproval of Benazir Bhutto. But that should not detract from his major bugbear – the ruthless military dictatorship in Pakistan. After all, Onlooker is, if nothing else, a democrat by creed and by conviction.

A country belongs to its entire people and not just to its self-aggrandizing elites – military officers, bureaucrats, feudal landowners, and business magnates and senior executives – who consist of less than 1% of Pakistan’s population.

Simply put it is time that the battered and bruised people of Pakistan had their say.

So if Benazir Bhutto’s arrival in Pakistan helps destabilise Musharraf and his corrupt, power-obsessed cronies I am all for it.

So along with many others I am counting the crowds. The more the better!

__________________________________________________

ADDENDUM

At 12:09 am there were two horrific bomb explosions as Benazir Bhutto's vehicle passed the Karsaz area of Drigh Road. While Bhutto was rushed off to the safety of Bilawal House, it is reported that there are some sixty dead and over a hundred injured.

Senior PPP party members were quick to blame the regime's secret agencies for carrying out these blasts. A successful return for Benazir Bhutto does threaten the Musharraf regime, so these accusations do have a logical basis, particularly when these agencies are known for carrying out such incidents.

However, it could also have been carried out by South Waziristan's Baitullah Mehsud's men or some other extremists.

With elections not far in the future, preventing Benazir Bhutto from addressing large gatherings and other public activities, also makes a lot of sense if one happens to be a die-hard regime supporter.

The next few days will reveal if she now takes shelter within Bilawal House – as her opponents would wish – or continues with her self-proclaimed mission of "bringing about democracy in Pakistan".

Readers I must confess the death and injury of so many innocents makes me sick to my stomach. All I can do is simply curse the callous bastards who carried it out.

24 comments:

Pakistani said...

For latest News in Video Format, visit: www.pakistannewsroom.com

Cheers

NoHypocrisy said...

IN response to your shameless welcome to the d of the east the b of the west, i say..now we see you true colours .. no different from those pretend democrats the CJ, Kurd (running on a PPP ticket) and co.

nohypocrisy said...

A man who welcomes someone who steals a billion USD plus from the poorest on earth does not have moral credibility regardless of any pretended real-politc justification

nohypocrisy said...

i did suspect this previously, from the way you consistently quote the enemies of your country (eg Ducet who recently featured here) as some sort of moral authority... your compass is somewhat askew. I do pray we are not witnessing the death of a brave nation, but the signs are not good.

Anonymous said...

BB, 'sharam maga tum ko nahin aati'. Have a heart, Mrs Imelda Marcos/Miss Phoolan Devi of Pakistan.

Haris said...

do you really that think BB will destabalize mushi (may Allah's curse be on him)? their existence depends on each other.

Ahsan said...

$1 billion? are you on crack? no one is arguing that bb has been corrupt, but seriously $1 billion? where, pray tell, are you getting your figures from?

AAS said...

To Nohypocrisy: I don't always see eye to eye with ONLOOKER....i think he is always trying to be pragmatic...so i dnt think he truly likes BB but for now she is a counterpoint to MUSH.

I would like nothing more then for her to to be tried and hung....but unfortunately that is not how the game is being played out.

Hamza Hasan said...

My guess is that the Taliban lived up to their word when they claimed they would "welcome Benazir with suicide bombers".

Ahsan said...

um, onlooker, why would mush's security agencies carry out an attack when his regime has purportedly made peace with her and her party? what possible incentives do they have?

it's the taliban or a militant group such as AQ. there really can be no doubt about this.

Anonymous said...

Imitation of the 9/11 ?

Question: Is it possible, or too soon to blame that Bhutto herself was involved with the blasts? Blaming others, blaming the President, trying to get rid of them or just him at a later stage? way to bring up democracy of her own?
If US could have the 9/11 attacks (for example or lets assume the govt. involved) because no ones able to prove it and those who could prove it are actually ruling over the weaker ones ?

So we pakistanis become weaker and would surrender to her commands if she's sympathized for these attacks!
Resting in a glass cabin when the explosions took place?how obvious could this get? Knowing the point of explosions and getting restless then?? stretching the parade for up to 12 hours??

"Humara Mulk KAB tharaqi karega?"

AAS said...

So many innocent people were killed and yet the person most deserving of death survived unharmed. Life truly is not fair.

Asad said...

"person most deserving of death". no one is deserving of such an end, what the bloody hell is wrong with you?

Ahsan, BTW, is absolutely right in that the BB's embezzlement figures, whilst high, are a fraction of $1bn.

asfand said...

it reeks of your rather blind-eyed hatred of musharraf to even consider the outlandish possibility that the current govt is behind the two bombings. also well noted should be the ridiculous politicization of these bombs from every pathetic excuse of a politicians in the coming days.

and please, can we really stop calling musharraf's "regime" a tyrannical, oppressive and remarkably odious dictatorship?

its inconsistent and frankly, utterly, utterly stupid.

Anonymous said...

We should denounce corruption just as much as violence.

Our country's only hope is the rule of law.

It would be nothing short of revolutionary if the Supreme Court rejects Musharraf's current bid for the Presidency and declares the NRO as null and void.

This would be the best outcome from all that has passed.

Shame on the world and our educated folk for accepting anything less than a path of integrity for our country.

Ahsan said...

so to recap, these are some of the opinions coming out of this post and the responses to it:

1. mush and his agencies are behind the attacks.

2. 9/11 was an inside job.

3. BB stole 1 BILLION DOLLARS.

4. its too bad BB wasn't killed in this attack.

5. BB herself was possibly behind the attack.

am i the only one who's wondering what happened to a serious blog and its formerly serious readership?

AAS said...

To Ahsan:

1. The attacks could have been carried out by a coalition of those who hate Bhutto. As most things of this nature...we never truly ever do find out who is behind them.

2. Yes 9/11 happened and was carried out by extremists....that does not mean that certain elements of the US government are not involved. You should read the 9/11 commission report... there are lots of things that don't add up.

3. Who knows how much BB stole...but let me tell you, it was certainly way more than a couple million. Does it matter though? It is an open secret how corrupt and crooked she was.

4. Yes..i am sad for all those innocent supporters of BB who lost their lives...i very much wish they had lived. But i am not going to lie to you when i say that I wish the only one killed was the diva herself. For example BB stole millions of dollars. Maybe she didnt directly kill anyone to get that much loot but think about all the services and help that money could have provided. How many died because of lack of health funding, security, or lack of basic necessities. No matter what she thinks of herself, the woman has blood on her hands...and i would not be sad if she paid with her life.

I am in favor of having her tried fairly in the courts but look how many times and how long she has managed to avoid that...and i am not even talking about our state institutions that have repeatedly failed to bring BB to justice so that the people of Pakistan may have justice. If this happens one day i am for it unitll then if she dies before then, GREAT!

5. I dnt believe she is stupid enough to rig an attack on herself. :)

Ghani Jafar said...

Dear all,
I am resorting to the not so polite a manner of sending out this joint message to you all since addressing it individually would have been quite time-consuming. Please accept for apologies for that.
The present is meant to be an update on what has transpired in my personal as also professional life over the past month or so.
Rather, the countdown should perhaps start nearly six months ago. As most of you may know, I had since early 2000 rejoined the Institute of Regional Studies, Islamabad, as a research analyst after remaining in the wilderness for nearly a year subsequent to my summary dismissal from the job there. As now, the place even then was headed by a retired Pakistan Army general. My crime? The same as now: writings in the print media that the then government of Mian Nawaz Sharif, particularly his close adviser of the time, Mr Mushahid Hussain Syed, did not quite approve of.
Now, fast-forward to April 2007. I had ever since getting back to the IRS seven years earlier tried to avoid writing in the media on Pakistan’s internal affairs; but could no longer suppress the urge to put some of my thought to paper as things started getting hot politically in the homeland once again. The particular incident that had provoked me was the storming of Geo offices in Islamabad by the police and the time-tested administrative ploy of hushing up the whole affair.
My article on the subject appeared in “The News” on April 10 (‘Déjà vu, but vicariously’). Although I had been careful in narrating my own experience of 1992 in the third person, the message was not lost to ‘them’. The feedback was both encouraging and, understandably, otherwise.
My next piece (‘Battlelines’) was carried by “The News” in its edition of July 23. That was written in the aftermath of the Lal Masjid showdown. The feedback was again mixed – but stronger at both ends.
Then came ‘Hijacking of Pakistan’ in “The News” on August 21. The scales went further up both ways a few notches. Finally, what blew ‘their’ top was the one that appeared in the same daily on Saturday, September 22: ‘Reclaiming Pakistan’. Some of my close friends were quick in expressing their surprise that I was still well and alive! But, ‘they’, too, were not late in responding. The same evening, somebody dropped an undated official notice of vacation of the premises I was living in “within 24 hours failing which action… to take over the possession by force will be taken”.
The notice was addressed to Mr S. Iqbal Hussain, a senior official in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, who is married to my elder sister, Sajida, currently serving as Minister (Press), Pakistan High Commission, Dhaka.
When they and their son were leaving for her to take up the position in Bangladesh more then three years ago, I was requested by them to move over from my rented house in Islamabad to the said premises allotted officially to my brother-in-law who had opted to take leave from his job for the family to be together in Dhaka. The idea was for me to take good care of their place and belongings in their absence. I agreed.
Now comes this notice; alarm bells are sounded here, there and everywhere. ‘They’ had timed it well, as they usually do. I could not even get a court stay order over the weekend.
At any rate, the Secretary, Housing and Works, Mr Rauf Chaudhry, agreed to intervene to stop the process on Monday morning (September 24). He met me promptly at his office early in the day and reassured me that he would have the ‘forced action’ delayed by a week during which period Mr S. Iqbal Hussain must report back for duty to his Ministry. Armed with that guarantee, I had barely reached back my office with the intention of conveying the good news to my family members in Dhaka, when my mobile telephone rang. The number was that of my residence. “We are terrorists,” said a serious male voice. I, too, had had enough; and told him to do with himself whatever he liked. “Alright, then vacate the house,” came the cool reply before he hung up.
I rush home to see the place littered with police, armed ones included; and the labourers they had brought along were throwing each and every thing in the house out in the open.
Alarm bells again, but to no avail. The Secretary Housing or any of the high-ups in the Islamabad Administration continued to make themselves unavailable to some of the most senior and respected names in the federal bureaucracy till late in the evening.
I will leave the details of the trauma to your imagination.
There is a God above: even as I was still trying to put my life together yet again, there showed this light at the end of the tunnel. As I checked my e-mail account late in the evening on October 2 – a week after being thrown out of the house – there was this message from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, stating “We are very pleased to offer you a place to study at SOAS.” No; bless you, SOAS, the pleasure is entirely mine!
True, I had applied for admission there, but had despaired of that as the classes for the 2007-2008 academic year had already started. No worries there, either. The message went on to state that I still had time to enrol.
As luck would have it, I still had a valid visit visa to UK. If I were to go for a student visa, the processing time would have denied me the opportunity to join the course. So, I decided to travel on my visit visa, get enrolled, and then fly back home during the winter break to get the student visa.
I was pretty certain of getting a year’s study leave from IRS together with my dues by way of earned leave and gratuity for the seven-year-plus period I had put in there. After all, one of the reference letters for admission was from none other than the President, IRS, Maj. Gen. (retired) Jamshed Ayaz Khan. My getting admission at the prestigious SOAS would be a matter of honour for the IRS and its head as well.
No, I must quit the job if I wanted my lawfully earned money, I was told. I did exactly that; it’s a different matter though that what I did get at the end was a good hundred thousand rupees less than the amount the office accountant had worked out for me on the quiet before I had resigned.
Meanwhile, I had already booked myself the first available flight to London that brought me here on October 7.
I went to SOAS last week with the request for a deferral of my admission to the next semester starting January next year as I realised after reaching here that starting my studies on a visit visa would not entitle me to even campus jobs. So, I thought it best to brave my dear homeland to get the student visa and only then get started with the SOAS course. But, they could only defer me to the next academic year starting September 2008; and that is what I have done.
I have rented out a cosy little studio apartment in a quiet West London neighbourhood from where I write these lines to you.
Boundless are His Blessings. I am pleased to report that only this afternoon I got the glad tidings that He had bestowed yet another Mercy upon me: One of my three daughters had given birth to her second daughter in a London hospital. I have been with them to plant a kiss on the cheeks of the mother and her angel of a daughter; both of them in perfect health. I intend to continue working as a freelance journalist and researcher.
All of you are free to use the above information as you may like – spread it round on the internet, publish it or, should you feel like it, help me connect to opportunities in journalism (both print and electronic) and research to make the going easier on me. I can be reached at the e-mail address I am now using.
Ghani Jafar October 15, 2007.
London
PS: I am attaching copies of the articles mentioned above as also of my CV.
Ghani Jafar Malik
E-mail: ghanijafar@yahoo.co.uk

Academic Qualifications
LL.B. 1976; Punjab University Law College, University of the Punjab, Lahore.
B.Com. 1974 ; Hailey College of Commerce, University of the Punjab, Lahore.

Professional Qualifications
Executive Course; Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA, September-December 2003 (Class 2003-3)
International Security; Summer School, July-August, 1996; University of St. Andrews, Scotland, UK.
Editor as a Journalist and a Manager; Course organized by Thomson Foundation, March-May 1992; Cardiff, Wales, UK.
American Language Instructor; Course conducted by Imperial Iranian Air Force (IIAF) Language School; 1978; Tehran, Iran.

Professional Experience
Senior Research Analyst; Institute of Regional Studies (IRS), Islamabad; Jan 2000-Sept 2007).
Creative Director; Manhattan Private Limited (MPL), Islamabad; 1999.
Senior Research Analyst; Institute of Regional Studies (IRS), Islamabad; 1997-98.
Senior Research Fellow; Institute of Strategic Studies (ISS), Islamabad; 1994-96.
Editor; Pulse Weekly, Islamabad; 1993-94.
Executive Editor; The Muslim, Islamabad; 1990-92.
Assistant Editor; The Muslim, Islamabad; 1989-90.
Diplomatic Correspondent; National Press Trust, Islamabad; 1988-89.
Deputy Editor; Pakistan Observer, Islamabad; 1988.
Research Analyst; Institute of Regional Studies (IRS), Islamabad; 1982-87.
City Editor; The Muslim, Islamabad; 1980-82.
Staff Reporter; The Muslim, Islamabad; 1979-80.
Language Instructor; Imperial Iranian Air Force Language School, Tehran, Iran; 1978-79.
Proof Reader; Kahyan International; Tehran, Iran; 1978-79 (Part-time).
Lawyer; District Courts, Rawalpindi; 1976-77.

Publications
Book (Authored):
The Indus Valley: Moment of Truth; 2005, Redrose Publications, Islamabad.
Made in Hell: the Brahmanic-Talmudist Alliance; 2002, Redrose Publications, Islamabad.
The Sikh Volcano; 1987; Vanguard Publishers, Lahore.

Book (Co-authored & Edited):
Pakistan: Countering Global Terrorism; 2006, IRS, Islamabad.
Elections in India – 1984-85; 1987; Institute of Regional Studies (IRS), Islamabad.

Book (Co-edited):
Jinnah as a Parliamentarian; 1976; Azfar Publishers, Islamabad.

Books (Contribution):
Dev Raj Dahal and Nishchal Nath Panday (Editors), “Comprehensive Security in South Asia”, Comprehensive Security in South Asia; 2006, Manohar, New Delhi.
“The Storming of the Golden Temple”, The Rise of Hindutva Fundamentalism; 2003, IRS, Islamabad: 294-441.

Research papers:
“The Hindu-Sikh riots in Indian Punjab”, Focus on Regional Issues, IRS, Islamabad, June 1982.
“Bombay Textile Workers’ Strike & its Impact on Trade Unionism”, Focus, IRS, August 1982.
“Mrs Indira Gandhi’s Visit to the Soviet Union”, Focus, IRS, October 1982.
“Martial Law in Bangladesh”, Regional Studies, IRS, 1(1) Winter 1982: 5-18 (IPSA 34.3227).
“Polls and Politics in Sri Lanka”, Regional Studies, IRS, 1(2) Spring 1983: 17-73 (IPSA 34.3228).
“Change in Indian South: the Success of Regional Alternatives”, Regional Studies, IRS, 1(3) Summer 1983: 14-39 (IPSA 34.2619).
“The Akali ‘Morcha’: an Assessment”, Regional Studies, IRS, 1(4) Autumn 1983: 69-106 (IPSA 34.4206).
“The Tamil Factor: Genesis and Prospects of the Indian Stake in Sri Lanka”, Regional Studies, IRS, 2(2), Spring 1984: 25-64 (IPSA 34.5537).
“The Indian Constitution: Myth of Federalism”, Regional Studies, IRS, 2(3) Summer 1984: 64-109 (IPSA 35.2919).
“Operation Bluestar: Resolving the Sikh Nationality Question?”, Regional Studies, IRS, 3(1), Winter 1984: 72-135 (IPSA 35.4882).
“India’s Eighth General Election”, Regional Studies, IRS, 3(3), Summer 1985: 18-67 (IPSA 36.2838).
“Elections in Indian Punjab”, Regional Studies, IRS, 5(1), Winter 1986: 28-63
“The West versus Muslims: Moment of Truth”, Strategic Perspectives, Institute of Strategic Studies (ISS), Islamabad, 3(1&2), Winter 1994 & Spring 1995: 80-100
“India’s Nuclear Programme: the Global Dimension”, Islamabad Paper Series, ISS, July 1996.
“Kashmir and Palestine: Similar Solution to Similar Issues?” Strategic Studies, ISS, 18(2&3) Winter 1995 & Spring 1996.
“India: Economic Reform and Liberalisation”, Regional Studies, IRS, 16(1) Winter 1997
“The Brahmanic-Talmudist Alliance: ‘Soul-Mates’ Come Together”, Regional Studies, IRS, 20(2) Spring 2002: 3-65.
“India-Iran Economic Relations”, Regional Studies, IRS, 21(4) Autumn 2003: 3-50.
“Determinants of South Asian Stability”, Regional Studies, IRS, 23(1) Winter 2004-2005: 57-93 (IPSA 56 2502).
“President’s Concept of ‘Enlightened Moderation’: Proposed Strategy”, October 2004, IRS, Islamabad (restricted circulation).
“GCC Comes of Age-I”, Regional Studies, IRS, 24(1) Winter 2005-2006: 54-115 (IPSA 56 7728).
“GCC Comes of Age”, Regional Studies, IRS, 24(2) Spring 2006: 05-128.
“Iran: Unravelling the Global Nuclear Order”, Regional Studies, IRS, 24(4) Autumn 2006: 3-75.
“China: From ‘Peaceful Development to ‘Peaceful Rise – the Southeast Asian Flank”, Regional Studies, IRS, 25(3) Summer 2007: 3-34.

Honours
 Presented a paper on “Peaceful Development and Security in the Asia Pacific Region” at the International Forum of China Association for Military Science, Xiangshan-Beijing, October 2006.
 Presented a paper on “Comprehensive Security in South Asia”, at the Regional Workshop on Comprehensive Security in South Asia, jointly organized by the Institute of Foreign Affairs and Friedich-Ebert-Stiftung, Katmandu, Nepal, November 19, 2004.
 Presented a paper on “Regional Peace and Stability: the Pipeline Promise” at the IRS-IPIS joint forum at the Institute for Political and International Studies (IPIS), Tehran, June 24, 2003.
 Visited NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) and Shape (Supreme Headquarters of Allied Powers Europe), Belgium; August 1996.
 Member of academic delegation that visited China and Japan for a broad range interaction with their policy making institutions; May 1996.
 Visited USA as State Department’s guest on their ‘International Visitors Program’; 1991.
 Visited Japan as a member of the press delegation accompanying the President of Pakistan; 1990.
 Participated in two international seminars organized by Marga Institute, Colombo; 1986.
 Member of Pakistan’s official delegation to international seminar on ‘Security of Small States’ organized by the Bangladesh Institute of International Strategic Studies (BIISS), Dhaka; 1985.
 Represented Pakistan in ‘International Seminar of Young Journalists’; Istanbul, Turkey; September 1981.

Languages
English, Punjabi, and Urdu: Excellent.

Professional Strengths
• Editing, Research, Report Writing.
• Policy Analysis.

International Travels
Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Belgium, China, Germany, Iran, Japan, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkey, UAE, UK and USA.

References
Available on request.
Deja vu, but vicariously
By Ghani Jafar

There's this acquaintance of sorts. The only thing remarkable about the fellow is that he has never known what is good for him. Just look at his current predicament and you'd know what I'm talking about. Now, for the past few weeks he has been itching to put pen to paper. It's just that his friends, the few he has, and the family would for some inexplicable reason not quite yet like to see him become history. That concerned group; yours truly included, I hate to confess; have for once prevailed upon him to let someone else air his problem.

Hence, the following lines. Well, the story he has this irrepressible urge to get out of his system goes back many a year. He then happened to hold an important editorial position at the all-time irreverent English daily from Islamabad, the since departed The Muslim.

The year was 1992; the month September. Mian Sahib was the prime minister, Mohtarma being in opposition. The latter had started losing patience at being out of power for no less than two years. She and the others in opposition got together to take the capital by storm. As it happened, this troublesome pen pusher of ours considered it his God-given duty to be the barking dog at whosoever happened to be in power at any given time.

The government, meanwhile, was beginning to lose nerve. Newspaper reporters and photographers -- the electronic media had not yet made its advent -- were being thrashed by the police day in and day out. That, however, was only making matters worse for the government, as it inevitably does each time. The secret agency then calling the shots was the Intelligence Bureau (IB).

As it later surfaced after the fall of Mian Sahib's government, a scheme was hatched at the IB to do something drastic to teach these no good journalists a lesson. The target chosen for the purpose was none other than this incorrigible chap of ours. To put a long story short, a minor traffic incident was staged to enable the cops to beat him black and blue, wreck the car he was driving and put him behind bars He was treated to third degree methods overnight before his colleagues learnt of the incident and managed to get him out.

If they could do so to such a senior and -- I dare say -- respected journalist and get away with it, all the rest would know that none was beyond their reach; so went the logic. The only problem was that it didn't go that way. The media at large was up in arms. Skipping the details again, the upshot was that the prime minister felt it necessary to do something about it personally.

A small group of journalists, our still unrepentant one included, was invited to tea by the prime minister. That's where the first aspect of his deja vu comes in. After hearing the details of the episode from the others in the delegation, Mian Sahib turned to our fellow and asked in all innocence who he thought was behind it all. What? The journalist was dumb-founded. He gave the prime minister a cold, hard look. No, Mian Sahib was not joking.

"Well, you are the prime minister. Don't you think I should be the one asking you the question?" End of conversation.

Of course, the prime minister did form a committee to look into the matter. The result was the same as always: a big fat zilch. The protesting journalists were anything but pacified. Something had to be actually done to appease them. So, two of the delinquent cops had been suspended, the interior minister announced in parliament: the second element of the deja vu.

That may well have been the end of the matter, but was not to be. An upright, young reporter at The Muslim filed a story. The same editor was to decide its fate. He read through it and was shocked beyond measure. He called in the reporter. Not that he had any reason to doubt the veracity of the report, but still wanted to reassure himself. The reporter's source was impeccable, but the editor was still in doldrums. After giving it a long thought, he approved it for publication. It was carried in the next day's issue.

What the report divulged in essence was that prior to the much trumpeted suspension of the two constables, the senior superintendent of police had addressed the entire staff of the relevant station. The high police official had basically patted his subordinates on the back for doing a good job in dealing with the journalist. But, he said that since the matter had taken a political turn (familiar?), he needed two volunteers for suspension. Those who offered themselves for the purpose, he had assured the audience, would not only be reinstated but also given promotions once the heat died down.

After the appearance of the report, the editor was conveyed in no uncertain terms that the cops were coming for him and his family if he did not quit his job. He resigned and went in hiding, tried to seek bail before arrest, but that's another story.

Living a virtually reclusive life as he now does, he is not only convinced a decade and half later but also insistent that I round off this narrative of his reminisces on his declaration that certain things never change -- do they?



The writer is a senior journalist presently working as a research analyst at the Institute of Regional Studies in Islamabad. Email: ghanijafar@yahoo.co.uk
“The News”, April 10, 2007.
http://www.thenews.com.pk/arc_news.asp?id=9





Battlelines






By Ghani Jafar
It has been the ‘in thing’ for all those feeling uncomfortable with the increasing intrusion of religion in both public and private life in Pakistan, to lay the blame for the scourge squarely on the Zia era. That is only half true. To those of us still able to retain a sense of history in this age of being made to jump from one moment to another in the trance of the ever-shifting ‘living stories’ the idiot box may choose to sell at any given point, the saga of Pakistan’s rot on the given count has been as old as the country itself.

Jinnah fought secretly with death till he could actualise our homeland against all odds. For the sake of record, it would not be out of place to recall how our latter-day vanguard of Pakistan’s defence among the political clergy were then fighting their own battle tooth and nail: against the very movement for the creation of a separate state by the Muslims of South Asia and their ‘sole spokesman’, the Quaid-i-Azam. To them, ‘Pakistan’ read ‘Kuffaristan’ and ‘Quaid-i-Azam’ ‘Kafir-i-Azam’. Where were the battlelines then drawn? Jinnah was a liberal and a democrat to the core; the mullahs pitched against him fascists through and through.

So then, how and why did the ‘metamorphosis’ of the mullah into the champion of Pakistan’s solidarity and a democrat to boot, come about as soon as the country was formed? Even before the demise of the Quaid, executive authority over Pakistan had already been usurped by the carpetbaggers who found it expedient to insinuate both Islam and Urdu as touchstones of patriotism to establish legitimacy over their adoptive domain.

What better proof of the stealth of Pakistan’s raison d’etre at the very outset would be needed than the fact that Jinnah’s August 11, 1947 landmark policy address at the Constituent Assembly of the state yet to be born was censored in the following day’s press by our government of the time? The sordid details of all that has transpired in the relevant field cannot possibly be summed up in a newspaper piece. Our history is yet to be written. But, the long and the short of it all is that, with the marked exception of Ayub, all the successive rulers of Pakistan have to this day either actively promoted bigotry, tried to appease it (that is a self-defeating tactic; for, you simply cannot satisfy one whose only worth is nuisance value!) or at best simply procrastinated in dealing with the growing monster in our midst.

Even in the present scenario, it is highly unlikely that the fast-spreading tentacles of the Lal Masjid brigands would have been checked so conclusively but for the uncharacteristically no-nonsense response of China for its long-time ally Pakistan to the kidnapping of some of the former’s citizens in the capital. That, nevertheless, is a fait accompli. That, for the sake of record again, also represents the only occasion in our history so far when state power has been exercised so forcefully against the enemies of the nation within who are all-out to hijack Pakistan once and for all in the name of Islam.

Let’s be clear of the perspective. In the first place, such is the force of myths that any number of Pakistanis today have been fully indoctrinated into believing that their country was indeed established for the ‘enforcement’ of Islam. (As though a belief-system can be administered against one’s will!) This misguided lot of the nation has a point. That is the regular diet of disinformation they have been fed all their lives. Just leave aside for the while what the seminaries are teaching. Has the fare being dished out by our mainstream educational institutions from the very basic all the way up to the doctoral level, been any different? The more wishful among us had readily believed that the present dispensation did actually mean to take certain basic measures to rid the nation’s mindset of all those outright lies. They were at least making the right kind of noises. Nothing of the sort has been attempted in the past eight years.

While it is still not too late for the requisite political will to come into play, the battlelines of the mind have, by virtue of the Lal Masjid operation, taken on the physical form of active hostilities. Those in authority would do well to wake up to their momentous duty of fully preparing the nation for what may lie ahead, instead of taking shelter behind the typically bureaucratic shield of wishy-washy explanations for the deadly spate of bombings in unmistakable retaliation for the military operation in Islamabad.

Bloody and long-drawn-out as the battle may prove to be, it is one forced upon the nation by nothing but our record of expedient governance over the past sixty long years. Call them by whatever name you like, they are all at one among the rank and file in confrontation with the country and the nation. Just pause and ponder the kind of language being used: those of the Pakistan army who fell victim to the Lal Masjid firepower are not shaheeds’; those who took part in the operation are ‘murderers’. Times are desperate for them. In a response typical of a cowardly bully finding himself finally cornered, they are coming out in their true gruesome colours.

Add also to that the public ridicule and despise earned graphically for themselves by their backstage Ghazis of the field, and you need no further explanation of their turning the guns against the very nation, country and its armed forces whose ultimate defenders they had thus far hypocritically proclaimed to be. In short, they well realise that party time is over for them.

But, times are perhaps even more desperate for the nation against which they have launched a one-way war. The essential difference lies in that those at war are united in perceiving the challenge to them and in carrying out their surreptitious moves of death and destruction at the expense of the life of mostly misdirected young men used by them as cannon fodder.

The nation and its forces at the receiving end, on the other hand, are being kept in the dark. Are we destined to go down just like that – without being mobilised to put up the fight for our national survival? When if ever have mere declarations from lofty platforms of the country’s being in a state of war served as anything other than an invitation to total annihilation? Would it be too much to expect of those at the helm today to know that much? At any rate, history has always been ruthless in holding the rulers of a nation accountable in the ultimate analysis. There is no reason for anyone to be smug about it.

The writer is a senior journalist working at present as a research analyst at the Institute of Regional Studies, Islamabad. Email: ghanijafar@yahoo.co.uk



Monday, July 23, 2007, Rajab 7, 1428 A.H.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007.
Hijacking of Pakistan
By Ghani Jafar

Jinnah's liberal and democratic vision for Pakistan was hijacked even before the state appeared on the map of the earth as an independent country on August 14, 1947. The then government's censoring from the media of the Quaid-i-Azam's landmark policy statement in the opening session of the Constituent Assembly in Karachi on August 11 of that year had been cited as clear proof of this painful reality.

As a matter of fact, when some people later started quoting from the speech to highlight the manner in which Jinnah's concept had been distorted beyond recognition in the basic constitutional framework of Pakistan soon after his demise, those at the helm of affairs had the audacity of maintaining that the founder of the state and the nation had in fact made no such remarks!

Much has, no doubt, changed in the intervening years by way of setting the record straight on that count; and none would today be foolhardy enough to challenge the authenticity of the text of Jinnah's relevant address as recorded in the official proceedings of the Constituent Assembly's session on the given date.

Nevertheless, not many Pakistanis may still be familiar with the gimmick employed in the first place as a pretext for keeping Jinnah's historic words spoken on the occasion out of the following day's media -- all controlled at that time by the government. The press was instead given a contrived 'major national achievement' to go to town on in their August 12 editions.

Though not included in the Constituent Assembly's agenda for August 11, a rabbit of sorts was pulled out of his hat by our prime minister to steal the attention of the house that day as also of the media the next day. Liaquat Ali Khan produced the proposed national flag for approval by the Assembly. That did the trick.

The suggested design of the national standard proved to be highly controversial. The non-Muslim members of the assembly had a serious problem with the glaring manner in which religious symbolism of the majority community had been depicted on it both through the use of the green colour and the star and crescent emblem of Islam. After a prolonged debate on the issue, the reservations of the minority community were simply ignored.

It may be pointed out here that non-Muslims constituted a sizeable proportion of Pakistan's national population at the time of independence. According to an estimate by Shahid Javed Burki based on the 1941 census figures, nearly one-fifth of the population in the areas that first became West Pakistan and, subsequent to the 1971 separation of East Pakistan, then today's Pakistan comprised non-Muslims.

The ratio of the non-Muslim population in the former East Pakistan was even higher. As against the 20 per cent in West Pakistan, they accounted for nearly 30 per cent in the eastern wing. They were, therefore, equally well represented in the Constituent Assembly.

But, over and above all that, Jinnah had long made it a point to reinforce his understanding of Islam's most revolutionary message of human equality at birth regardless of religious and class backgrounds. A recent article published in India has caused something of an uproar in that country in that it has highlighted his secular credentials by pointing out that his best friend, trusted servant and his personal secretary were all Hindus. Written by a noted Gujarati journalist and writer, Gunvant Shah, the piece has appeared in the June 16 issue of Gujarat, the state government's mouthpiece published by its information department.

The trusted servant that Gunvant Shah has referred to was not only a Hindu, but a dalit at that; as also was Joginder Singh Mandal (1904-1968) from Bengal who Jinnah nominated as one among the only five Muslim League members in the interim government that came into being on October 26, 1946. Some commentators would unfairly describe that as Jinnah's tit-for-tat to the insistence by Congress on nominating a so-called 'nationalist Muslim' to the cabinet. If that were the case, Jinnah had little reason to put up the same 'twice untouchable' Mandal as the temporary chairman of the Constituent Assembly when it met in its inaugural session of August 10, 1947, while the Quaid was himself formally elected to the post on the subsequent day.

From being the member for law in the interim government, Mandal was given the additional portfolios of education, art and labour in the provisional government of Pakistan; and then served as minister for law and labour in the federal government of the newborn state. He continued to remain in that position till, subsequent to the mass killing of Hindus in East Pakistan earlier in the year, he fled to India in October 1950, and sent his letter of resignation from there to Prime Minister Liaquat Ali.

How had this trusted lieutenant of the Quaid from Barisal now in Bangladesh become so disillusioned? In total opposition to Jinnah's pronouncement in the August 11address that, "You may belong to any religion or caste or creed, that has nothing to do with the business of the state," Liaquat Ali Khan set out as the objective of Pakistan the establishment of a polity in which the religious minorities were to be relegated to the status of second class citizens. That came about on March 7, 1949; less than six months after the death of the Quaid-i-Azam.


The "Objectives Resolution" moved by the prime minister in the Constituent Assembly on that date, and adopted by it five days later, set Pakistan on the course of religious intolerance that was at once the very negation of the historical dynamics responsible in the first place for the creation of a separate homeland for Muslims in India. All said and done, this country had come into being simply because the Hindu majority was dead set against according their Muslim compatriots equal rights as citizens in post-colonial India.

What if no discord over the principle of human equality at birth lay at the root of the Hindu-Muslim divide in India? While the caste-based inequality is the sine qua non of the Brahminic worldview governing the Hindu belief system, Islam is nothing if not a faith in the equality of all human beings at birth. At the same time, this basic conflict in India predates even the introduction of Islam in this part of the world. It is as old as the conversion of the pre-existing class structure of the region into a religiously ordained caste hierarchy by the Hindu priestly section of the Brahmins more that two millennia ago. The inhabitants of the Indus Valley in particular, that forms the territory of Pakistan today, had readily accepted Islam precisely because it reflected their age-old adherence to republicanism that had long remained in defiance of the Brahmin superiority. How was it then that after putting up such a long and bitter fight against Hindu dominance, those in this part of the world flouted the very principle they had struggled for despite all odds.

The short answer is that those who came to rule over Pakistan lacked any credentials other than Islam and Urdu to legitimise their authority. They found it expedient to seek fortunes for themselves in their adoptive nation-state. That was just the beginning of our sad saga of authoritarian rule in the name of Islam spanning the past six decades.

So thoroughly brainwashed has this nation become that an overwhelming majority has come to believe that the country itself was found to perpetrate a system of inequality where neither the non-Muslims nor women are entitled to equal rights as citizens of the state.



The writer is a senior journalist working at present as a research analyst at the Institute of Regional Studies, Islamabad. Email: ghanijafar@yahoo.co.uk



Reclaiming Pakistan
By Ghani Jafar
9/22/2007
It was heartening to learn from a news report early last week that somebody had at long last mustered the courage of moving the Supreme Court for setting right a few of the distortions in the basic scheme of democracy inherent to the 1973 Constitution. The petitioner, Joseph M Francis, chairperson of the Pakistan Christian National Party, has challenged a number of constitutional provisions in this regard.

While nothing can at this stage be obviously stated about the outcome of his groundbreaking initiative, it has come as a breath of fresh air in a political atmosphere polluted heavily by the wild scramble for power by individuals seemingly incapable of seeing beyond their self-centred noses.

The petitioner has based his plea on the contention that the articles of the Constitution challenged by him violate his equality as a citizen, specifically with regard to his right to contest elections to the office of president. To that extent, therefore, the scope of the issues raised by him for adjudication by the Supreme Court is rather limited, even in terms of our history of legislation for so-called Islamisation of Pakistan's state and society.

Noble as the attempt may be, mere patchwork on our constitutional framework would simply not suffice. What needs to be done, instead, is for a workable new social contract to be enacted that, first and foremost, restores Jinnah's liberal, democratic, secular Pakistan where citizens are equal.

What is being proposed here is the formation of a constituent assembly to frame and adopt the basic law that not only incorporates the above principles but also brings the federal structure in line with the aspirations of the smaller units vis-à-vis provincial autonomy.

The scheme of the 1973 Constitution on the latter count, even though not infringed upon to the disadvantage of the constituent units in the past 34 years, has proved not to be tenable any more.

"Islamisation," on the other hand, has been given a major boosts not only during General Zia's dictatorial era but also by Nawaz Sharif's elected government in 1991. We were mercifully saved from the latter's attempt to establish a totalitarian caliphate of sorts through the abortive 15th Constitutional Amendment in 1998.

Starting with Liaquat Ali Khan right down to Nawaz Sharif, Ayub excepted, each and every ruler of Pakistan has not left the seat of power without adding some more weight to the burden of inequity on the corpus of law in the name of "enforcing" Islam.

Jinnah declared in his celebrated August 11, 1947, address, "You may belong to any religion or caste or creed, that has nothing to do with the business of the state." Within six months of his death, Liaquat Ali Khan set out as the objective of Pakistan the establishment of a polity in which the religious minorities were to be relegated to the status of second-class citizens. At one stroke, democracy had been dealt a fatal blow.

The "Objectives Resolution" moved in the Constituent Assembly by the first prime minister on March 7, 1949, and adopted after a five-day debate, took away sovereignty from the people. "Whereas sovereignty over the entire universe belongs to Allah Almighty alone . . ." read the opening of the document. That may very well be understood in the metaphysical sense, and in conformity with the Islamic belief system, at that, but how in heaven's name are the poor mortals on earth to determine His Will in worldly affairs?

Therein lay the catch. His Commands have most exhaustively been laid down in the Holy Quran and the Sunnah, but their "correct" understanding and interpretation is the exclusive preserve of the few "learned" among the mass of ordinary Muslims.

Republicanism was totally alien to this scheme of things. Democracy had been given a new definition in the "Islamic Republic of Pakistan" now envisioned for the state: government of the mullah, by the mullah, for the mullah. Even as the Muslim population of the country had been denied their inalienable right to rule over themselves, the fate of the religious minorities was to be even worse.

Society had come to be divided into three classes: the privileged lot of the mullah was to be first-class citizens, ordinary Muslims second-class citizens, and non-Muslims third-class citizens. It was on the same basis that Pakistan was declared an "Islamic Republic" through the coming into force of the first Constitution in 1956.

In came General Ayub through a martial law two years later, and abrogated the Constitution. While further restricting the democratic rights of the people, the Constitution he enforced in 1962 took away the "Islamic" infringement in the earlier document. Pakistan, henceforth, was to be a "Republic," plain and simple -- but on his terms of severely limited franchise through the mechanism of "basic democracy" contrived by him.

The eastern wing of the country broke away to form Bangladesh in 1971. The new constituent assembly for Pakistan that had been elected in 1970 now met on April 14, 1972, comprising 144 of those elected from West Pakistan alone (together with two who came from what had been East Pakistan). Bhutto had majority support in this assembly of what had remained of Pakistan. Efforts started anew to draft a constitution.

Realising that their only value was that of nuisance, the mullahs were now clamouring for even more "Islamisation" than that in the 1956 Constitution; and Bhutto was only too glad to oblige. Pakistan not only became an "Islamic Republic" once again in 1973, but also one in which not just the ceremonial office of the president but also that of the all-powerful prime minister were reserved for Muslims alone.

Through the "Constitution (Second Amendment) Act" the very next year, Ahmadis were declared non-Muslims. The legislature of the "Islamic Republic" thus came to arrogate to itself the celestial role of judging matters of faith as well.

That proved to be the beginning of sectarian warfare for power in Pakistan. Which of the sect within the main body of Muslims should be the next target for disenfranchisement? We had come to relive history, not in the earlier context of the Hindu-Muslim divide, but in the unending framework of intra-Muslim violence.

The details of further "Islamisation" in the post-Bhutto years of the Zia era and then during Nawaz Shairf's days in power are too numerous to be recounted here.

If the terrorists of today are out to kill all those -- women and children included -- who do not subscribe to their skewed understanding of Islam, we are nothing but reaping the blood-soaked harvest of hatred and intolerance sowed, and so very carefully tended to, over the past half century.

No, any further tinkering with the Constitution would just not do. We have got to structure our polity on the firm principle that religion is a matter totally private to the citizen. The state has no business with that, whatsoever.

Let the parties go into an election to create a constituent assembly with clear-cut positions on that core issue, together with all other contentious matters related to the federal scheme as well as to the form of government.



The writer is a senior journalist working at present as a research analyst at the Institute of Regional Studies, Islamabad. Email: ghanijafar@yahoo.co.uk

Anonymous said...

Onlooker, you are right in deferring to the people of Pakistan.

Please do not be dteracted by the self righteous pronoucements of people like nohypocrisy who think they have a superior right than the masses to decide who should rule Pakistan.

That said, if and when you have reason to criticize Benazir Bhutto please continue to do that too. After all, that is what democracy is about. Accepting the majority's decision and recognizing the right of everyone to ctiticize (though without the "if you disagree with me you are shameless" arrogance of some).

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Still this subject is in developing phase and need to do a lot to formally recognize Political Marketing as separate subject. In my point of view Political Marketing is highly significant in all countries especially in democrat governments and more especially to developed countries. Political Marketing is essential for political parties, leaders, government and as well as for general public. Political Marketing brings stability in political culture of a country that in return brings prosperity in national economy at root and gross level. Without Political Marketing or misuse of Political Marketing it is really intricate to better understand public needs and it is so intricate to create and develop good governance in a society.

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To better understand the scope of Political Marketing I would like to quote two examples. 1st for the country where Political Marketing is being implement since many years and in contrast to this the another country where Political culture is not developed yet in parties as well as political leaders are not aware about Political Marketing.

On 1st hand I will like to quote USA. Where we can see very clear that Americans are implementing Political Marketing since many years in America, before elections the candidates create and develop a philosophy for their election campaign. So they are clear about what they are communicating in their dialogue. At all level their philosophy remains same, their goals, mission and objective does not change, audience to audience and place to place.

What ever they communicate for coalition parties or public, in New York or in any other state, the theme of their communication at all level remains same because they are well prepared, we can’t find any contradiction in their speeches, it builds harmony and trust in public. As a result we can see that in America normally election forecasting is done before elections by survey and pools and election result proofs those predictions.

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Rohan David said...

Dear Readers:

Here is a small effort to bring religious, cultural and ethnic harmony in Pakistan. Your support counts a lot to make a difference to our country.

http://greenwhitepakistan.co.cc

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