Shaheryar Ali

It was a pleasant evening and I was conversing with a progressive intellectual of Pakistan who was a Marxist revolutionary during the revolutionary times and now is a billionaire who runs an empire of NGOs through out Pakistan.  After the collapse of Soviet Union it was quite easy for these “revolutionary” intellectuals who literarily had no roof over their heads to sell their skill and talent to the international donors, a slight twist of language which converted “bourgeoisie” into elites did the trick and now most of them are richer than fellows of traditional propertied classes who were once their main declared enemy.

My dear friend was deeply distressed over the latest developments in Pakistan. The epic drama of entrenching and hostage taking in the General Headquarters of Pakistan Army in the Garrison town of Rawalpindi had pushed him beyond the limit. Playing with his glass of red wine which he had brought from France where he went to attend a conference on “Poverty alleviation”, he said to me, “Your country will become Afghanistan, this conflict will continue for at least 20 more years”. “They entered the GHQ. Killed a brigadier and took men hostage remained there for 24 hours” he continued. “It’s the damn headquarter, the heart of our defense establishment, can any one imagine such an incompetence? Where were the mighty ISI and MI” he kept lamenting. “The state of our state has been exposed in front of the whole world, our guardian cannot guard themselves” he sipped his wine, which perhaps didn’t soothed him at all. “Did you hear that press conference by Nawaz Sharif?” he asked me.

Whats there to listen? I said “Lier Lier bloody lier , he is a damn bloody lier” he threw away the glass. His sculptured face though showed the shadow of age but held its old mystique. His cheeks were now the colour of wine he was drinking. I wanted to remind him of his empire’s support of Judicial movement and his praises of “progressive Shahbaz

Black Coats/Black Shirts

Black Coats/Black Shirts

Sharif” and his great administrative skills. These skills are clearly evident from Aata to Sugar crisis and attacks on Police Training center, which has become a ritual of the sort by the terrorists. I wanted to remind him about his praises of Sharif’s principle stand on “judiciary”. “Did you by any chance manage to read the decision of Lahore high court on the petition challenging the arrangement of leasing thousands of acres of land in Seriki southern Punjab to Saudi Arabia?” I asked him. “Yar is that the issue?” Southern Punjab is being talibanized , you know its become the den, I have just seen the mighty complex they are building in Bahawalpur.” He informed me. Yes I know, from Taank and DI khan, they enter Bakher and from there spread to whole Seriki wasiab, there are sleeper cells in Kabirwala , Mianchannu , Multan, they have been  piling up explosives for more than a year now. One depot of theirs exploded accidentally in Mianchannu demolishing the entitle village, I know whats going on in Bahawalpur, I also know why in certain mosques in this entire region study circles of university students are being conducted these days., I also know once again slogans of “Kaffir Kaffir Shia Khaffir” are being visible on the walls of this region” I said.

“And you still want to bash the judiciary instead of highlighting the real issue” he asked me. I thought about the state of distress my elder friend was in, the dream this generation saw of equality and change which shattered in front of them; they changed the course, compromising with western powers they took up the agenda of democracy, reformism and secularism, which too was failing in front of them. Taliban appeared as a ghost from their past to haunt them. “I am highlighting the real issue, though you may not acknowledge it” I commented. “You were also carried away by your dear friend Aitzaz Ahsan’s poetry—- Adel bina jamhoor na ga” I said sarcastically. “I am bashing judiciary but what Ali Ahmad Kurd is doing?” now the “azad manish judges are pharaohs eh? I took a sip from my glass and continued , “problem is my friend, you don’t have to attend namaz-e-janaza of murdered Bloch leaders, every second day in Quetta and face the angry eyes of Baloch nationalists who supported the judicial movement believing Ali Ahmad Kurd and Aitzaz Ahsan that it will result in rule of law” I said . “You don’t have to go through that ordeal every second day but Ali Ahmad Kurd

Honourable Chief Justice LHC

Honourable Chief Justice LHC

has too, he has to answer those in Quetta for those the murderous character of this state was not transformed into a Matriarchal one as Aitzaz Ahsan promised”. I went on. “and as for the dreams of Jinnah’s Pakistan and secular revolution you guys were bringing in imamat of Aitzaz Ahsan, General Hamid Gul and Qazi Hussein Ahmad, I just want to ask you why every sectarian monster incarcerated in Punjab has been released  in the past few months, the same monsters who are now entrenching in southern Punjab”. I asked him.

Judicial Revolution in Jinnah's Pakistan

Judicial Revolution in Jinnah's Pakistan

“One can’t accept an institution of a state to transcend the ideological boundaries of the state, they have a limited operative space Sherry” his face became redder. “ahan than what was the fuss all about my friend? What was the nonsense about revolutions and long marches, what was all that, last time I checked its called de-contextualization, you guys misled the public opinion exhausted the energy of the people to bring change and pushed them into disillusionment”. My voice raised a little and he winced. I helped myself to bar and put some orange juice in the glass and splashed a liberal amount of Vodka in it. I gave the glass to my friend; this will be soothing I told him. “The link between Punjabi sectarian organizations and Al Qaida has long been established. They were the first to join Al Qaida in Pakistan; they are the most advance tendency of extremism in Pakistan. They have demonstrated their ability by attacking Mumbai, GHQ and ISI instillations, why than they were being released by judiciary?”  I asked him. “You know Lahore High Court has made United Nation and Government of Pakistan ban on LeT practically ineffective. Now they have ordered the government to withdraw all cases against Hafiz Muhammed Saeed. Before that they released many people of other sectarian organizations , Supreme court of  Pakistan released Molana Aziz the monster of Lal Masid and he toured the whole southern Punjab with police escort instigating jihad. Only in Taunsa 300 burqa clad girls with strips of “Sharia or death” around their heads got their names registered with Aziz, this happened with the chants of “Jan Jan Taliban” now I was angry. “I hope Junaid Jumshaid and Aitzaz Ahsan will release a joint album of “Jaan Jaan Taliban and Riyasat ho gi maa ke jesi—adal bina jumhoor na ho ga” I taunted him.

“The judiciary in NWFP is giving similar concessions to Sufi Muhammed, his sons who were combatants in Swat were released what non sense is this? You people want more bloodshed in Swat? “Half a dozen or more poor human beings were burned alive in Gojra, the city PML-N chief, the police and these sectarian thugs burned people alive, our restored judiciary which was supported by NGOs and Human Rights brigade instead of acting on behalf of victims supported Blasphemy laws, the most honorable chief justice pledged to protect the Blasphemy law and to protect Pakistan from “conspiracies of Hindus and Jews” that according to the news paper reports” I told him. “Do you people have any decency left? Now you are crying over talibanization? You want me to curse Fazal-ul-reham and Zardari and mullahs, my dear friend you people are equally responsible. You brought back right wing partisans in judiciary and they have purged every liberal one” I continued.

Vodka had done the trick, my friend was now calm. “Ghulam Rasool!” he called his servant and clapped. “Yes Sir” he said. “Start the stereo”  “Janab what will you like to hear” he asked. My friend closed his eyes for few minutes and than said “Ub ke hum bichre tu shahid kabhi khabo mein millen— Sherry baba likes Ahmad Fraz” he told him and smiled. Servant knew well enough and soon the room was echoing with the voice of Hussain Hazervi.

“Wazirstan mein operation shuru ho gaya “the servant informed us. “Very good” he said. I had already read the International Crisis Group’s report on the expected failure of the operation and Army’s pact with two Taliban groups so was rather worried! “You havnt learned anything” I said. I took a big gulp from my glass and started listening to the wonderful ghazal

Nasha bherta he sharabe’n jub sharbo’n mein mile’n. But my nasha was already gone——-

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan

Subject: Cosmetic changes won’t resolve militancy

Lahore, July 21: While welcoming the return of the Malakand IDPs to their homes as a positive development, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has warned the government that no cosmetic shift in the security policies will solve the crisis of militancy and that efforts in a new dimension will be needed to achieve that end. Based on the conclusions of a quick fact-finding mission to the Frontier province, led by Ms Asma Jahangir, the HRCP statement issued on Tuesday said: “The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan is monitoring the gradual return of the IDPs from Malakand Division to their homes. This is a positive development and gives peace a chance. It also presents a brief window of opportunity for reversing the trend towards Talibanisation but this opportunity may be lost if a cohesive policy is not adopted and civilian infrastructure not put in place, an infrastructure that can sustain peace. It is important to recognise the collective role played by the humanitarian agencies as well as the civilian and military administration in making the early return of the IDPs possible. Even more crucial to this turn of events was the exemplary behaviour of the displaced people and their local hosts. The displaced people found their own way to safety under extremely tough conditions and are now making their way home on their own. They have little faith in the government and there is a serious deficit of trust between the local population and the military. In order to build trust as well as to sustain peace HRCP believes that the government must take a new direction. There was near unanimity amongst official and non-official interlocutors that met with HRCP during their missions to Pakhtoonkhwa (NWFP) that any cosmetic shift in the security policies of the government will not solve the crisis of militancy in Pakistan. HRCP believes: • It is crucial that the policy of “bleeding India” and maintaining a strategic depth in Afghanistan be reviewed. In short, the national security paradigm must shift to the need to keep pace with the political realities of the region. There are indications that this has so far not happened.The government must distance itself from the ideology of pan-Islamism. • The nucleus of the top militant leadership must be taken apart and their communication and financial infrastructure dismantled. There are no indications that this has happened either. On the contrary, there are well-founded suspicions that certain elements known for their pro-Taliban policies continue to protect a number of top militant leaders. • The operation in Malakand Division must not lose sight of the strong militant presence in FATA. Peace will not return to Swat unless militant networks in FATA are defeated. • Simultaneous action must also be carried out against all militant networks in other parts of the country, particularly the Punjab, where militants operate with impunity. • The civil and political administration must take command on the ground in Swat soon. There is a comprehensive plan of recruiting and equipping the police force in Pakhtoonkhwa. The number of police stations in the Malakand Division is to be doubled and the police force tripled. It appears that the civil administration is also preparing a comprehensive plan for better governance in the province. The resources provided to them will, however, be monitored by a serving army general on behalf of the Federation. The Awami National Party leaders plan to visit Swat on a regular basis now but almost all IDPs resented the bunkerisation of the political leadership while they faced all the risks and tragic deaths of their families. • Access for independent journalists and observers to the area must be ensured. So far, the military has only encouraged embedded journalism to an embarrassing extent. At times local journalists have openly raised slogans in support of the military. Foreign journalists have accused the authorities of misleading them by giving false names of the places they were taken to for reporting. There are several reports of reprisals against journalists by the militants as well as by the security forces. • Human rights violations should be closely monitored both during and post-conflict. HRCP was appalled at reports of extrajudicial killings carried out by security forces. Militant leader Maulvi Misbahuddin was apprehended by the security forces and later the bodies of Misbahuddin and his son were found in Bacha Bazar. The government claims that they were killed in an encounter while eyewitnesses hold that they were arrested by the police in Mardan. Amir Izzat, spokesperson of the Swat militants, was arrested from Amandara. Two days later the authorities claimed that Izzat was killed allegedly by militants trying to rescue him when they attacked the vehicle taking him to jail. Independent journalists claim that the targeted vehicle shown to them did not even have an engine. The most harrowing reports were of dead bodies strewn upside down by the military with notes attached to the bodies warning that anyone supporting the Taliban will meet the same fate. There must be a difference between the actions of agents of the State and those of fanatical non-state actors. Such tactics only terrorise and dehumanise society. HRCP urges the government to impart training to the security forces and familiarise them with human rights and humanitarian law. HRCP has also received credible reports of the security forces resorting to collective punishments, forcible occupation of orchards and the use of indiscriminate and excessive force. • All human rights violations during the conflict must be investigated and those responsible brought to justice. There are reports of reprisals which can only be discouraged if the State fulfills its obligation of providing justice through due process. • HRCP has received reports of children abandoned during the conflict being handed over to dubious NGOs. It is vital that the provincial government keep track of the adoption of every single child and ensure that children are reunited with their families or are looked after by well-intentioned groups.”

Couldnt resist the temptation, i have been long writing that Pakistan’s Army’s operation in Swat is just a PR exercise to improve their standing Amongst the people of Pakistan. Dr Samina Ahmad of International Crisis Group had also repeatedly warned people about this. She warned people against beating Army’s drum and the need to limit Army’s role in humanitarian activities in Swat. After killing innocent people and displacing 2.5 million people, creating ethnic hatred in Sindh between Pashtuns and Sindhis and providing safe escape to Taliban and spreading them all over Pakistan, in guise of operation: The notorious Taliban leader Mullah Fazalullah today contacted BBC. Yet another monster Muslim Khan the spokesman of Taliban also talked to the BBC. Not only they are well but they are running their Sharia Justice. They have “pardoned” 5 politicians and threatened others. The legendary Taliban radio was also heard in Swat again according to reports The secular clowns who were beating Army’s drum and cursing anyone who tried to point out that Army is main supporter of Taliban. Even  if thats not the case [suppose], these “patriots” [read establishment stooges] should worry about the professional capabilities of Pak Army who could kill a single Taliban top leader and couldnt block a FM radio Now keep cursing India, Gandhi and ANP. Welcome to Reality l FACT:  During the  Swat operation  , one of the most glorified military operation of Pakistan Army, Not a single Top Taliban leader was either arrested or killed. the estimated number of Taliban in region was approx 6000. 2.5 to 3 million people were displaced whose life has been ruined. Long Live “Jinnah’s” Pakistan

Dr Ahmad is a brilliant Pakistani academic trained in Australian National University and Kennedy School of Governance. She heads the South Asia chapter of International Crisis Group. She is a keen observer of Pakistani establishment and had repeatedly warned the world about Army’s support to the Islamic extremists. She brought General Musharraf’s double game to world’s attention. She repeatedly warned about the continuous support to Taliban and Al-Qaida by Pakistani establishment. She has focused on the “education policy” and “religious madrassas” as key contributors to spread of extremism. In 2005 at the height of General Musharraf’s golden rule of “enlightened moderation” she wrote in Washington Post an article which was named “Pakistan still schooling the extremists” in collaboration with Andrew Stroehlein. In that article she wrote something which now appear prophetic. She wrote:

“Musharraf’s promises came to nothing. His military government never implemented any program to register the madrasas, follow their financing or control their curricula. Although there are a few “model madrasas” for Western media consumption, the extremist ones account for perhaps as many as 15 percent of the religious schools in Pakistan and are free to churn out their radicalized graduates.

Whether or not it turns out to have been part of the London bombing story, Lashkar-i-Taiba is an excellent example of how Musharraf’s government has failed to curb extremist religious militants. Formed by Arab-influenced veterans of the Afghan jihad in 1988, the group enjoyed the military’s patronage in its jihad against India in Kashmir. Though formally banned in 2002, Lashkar-i-Taiba simply renamed itself Jamaat ul-Dawa and continued its activities, including the promotion of jihad in Kashmir, where it has openly claimed responsibility for terrorist attacks.

The organization’s leader, Hafiz Sayeed, was temporarily detained, but only under Pakistan’s Maintenance of Public Order legislation, not its much more stringent Anti-Terrorism Act, and he was soon released. Prominent figures from this and other formally banned groups such as Sipah-i-Sahaba and Jaish-e-Mohammed appear to enjoy virtual immunity from the law”

This was 2005. What has changed? The same LeT and Hafiz Saeed later attacked Mumbai. There was yet another banning and yet another temporary imprisonment . Lahore High Court released the monster to a Hero’s welcome. Today in Lahore , these people the same groups which Dr Ahmad has named have killed Mufti Dr Sarfaraz Naimi, the grand Sunni Mufti who was opposed to Taliban.

Now Dr Ahmad has spoken to France 24 and have pointed out an important fact, how Army can use Swat operation to increase its popularity. She has also boldly told the truth that Army still is controlling the political institutions. She says:

Of course, a significant part of the problem is that the army’s current operation is simply coming too late.

Rather than resolutely confronting the Taliban earlier, both military and civilian governments chose a worst-of-all-worlds policy, alternating the use of haphazard force with short-sighted appeasement deals with militants. This only strengthened the Taliban, making today’s fight many times more difficult than it would have been a few years ago.

The army’s use of heavy force, its failure to address the full cost to civilians and its refusal to allow effective humanitarian access to conflict zones have already been counter-productive.

Another danger is that the military will exploit any success on the battlefield and in its own relief efforts to try to dominate reconstruction to win public support and bolster its standing in the country.

Despite Pakistan’s transition to civilian rule in February 2008, the military continues to dominate key institutions, and it will take some time to tame its ambitions fully.

If Pakistan is going to emerge from this crisis a more stable country and a stronger democracy, all assistance efforts – relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction – have to be civilian-led. They must be responsive to the needs of local people and empower their communities. Beating radical Islamist groups and “the army” in the aid game is a key to winning this war”

The whole text of saving Pakistan can be reached here

Listen to Samina Ahmad , stop beating Army’s drum or else it will be too late

Shaheryar Ali

Did I expect anything from Lahore High Court: especially since restoration and appointment of the current chief justice by direct intervention of Chief

Lahore High Court

Lahore High Court

Justice of Pakistan? I was expecting exactly what has happened. I have a very bad record with Lahore High Court. I expect worse from it. Historical compulsions and socio-political alignments for last 100 years have made it one of the most reactionary state institutions. From judicial murder of Shaheed Bhagat Singh to judicial murder of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, this court has always done the deeds of establishment. Now its Shaif Raj in Punjab and Mansoora is controlling the courts. One Sharif is policing Art and culture in Punjab and other Sharif is banning singers.

The fruits of the “black revolution” are slowly becoming evident, first monster of lal masjid Molana Aziz was released by Supreme Court of Pakistan and now the master mind of Mumbai attacks and head of the Lashker-e-Toiba, the monster of Murikay Hafiz Saeed has been released by Lahore High Court. This should be kept in mind that this move comes at a time when PPP-ANP coalition shifted the tide of public opinion against the Taliban by playing a dangerous gamble of signing the controversial “Nizam-e-Adel” regulations. By taking a U-turn against their ideological orientation ANP-PPP exposed the right wing PML-N and JI in front of the public and they had to abandon their Taliban sympathies. The people of Pakistan were outraged by the lecture on Islam given by the blue eyed boy of ISI and Pakistani right, Molana Sufi Muhammed. ANP out maneuvered not only PML-N, JI, JUI-F but also Pakistani Armed Forces who had to start a military operation in Swat.

From the day 1, army was not serious about fighting the Taliban; grave mistakes were done during the start of Rah-e-Rast. People of Swat were forcibly evicted from the area [State machinery announced in Swat , those who will remain will be considered Taliban and will be shot!] Millions of people were displaced without any documentation or registration; this was done to provide “safe cover” to the escaping Taliban which are considered strategic asset by Pakistan Army. Innocent people are being butchered in Swat, not a single top Taliban commander has been caught or killed yet. Disillusioned Swati youth which had joined Taliban mostly for sake of adventure have been killed by Army while the hard core cadre has actually been protected by the Army. Mr Arshed Khan, member center executive committee of Awami National Party was murdered in cold blood in his home in Swat by Pakistan Army. [Today, they have very kindly announced an inquiry] This is the reality of “Operation Rah-e-Rast”.

Pakistan IndiaThe establishment was forced to enter into Swat by a mix of international pressure and the brilliant but nevertheless risky politics by ANP. Army played back by creating the IDP crisis and making sure it bleeds ANP to death this time. MQM and PMl-N closed Punjab and Sindh to IDPs. With all the tears, and sweet words coming from PML-N about opening the doors of Punjab, the reality is that Punjab government has refused to open any camp for the IDPs in Punjab. Police has conducted operations against IDPs in southern Punjab. All this is being done to create hatred in Pashtun population against ANP which against the popular sentiment took a federal line on Pashtun nationalism. On top of it, an SMS campaign is going on in Punjab which speaks of how “Taliban are Hindus!” Banking on the phallic obsession of muslim men the text messages says that 90% of those caught and killed in Swat are not muslims because they are not circumcised!!!. The section of opinion makers which historically has been considered “loyalists” by Pakistani establishment has been constantly propagating these insights into Taliban insurgencies. It gets usual nod of approval from retired army officers and ISPR. Now to remind our secular elite, that this politics of penises is not a new one in Pakistan. When our great Army entered Bengal in 70 , the usual practice was to gather all the Bengali men and boys , their dhoti [Loin cloth] was snatched .Comments were passed on their penises and they were butchered. In West Pakistan our patriots told every one with horror that how Mukti Bahni are actually Hindus because they have uncut penises! The initial phase of Bengali Genocide focused on Bengali Hindus and communists, later muslim Bengalies were also being killed. In our Army eyes they too remained “un-cut”. The family of Sarahadi Gandhi [Wali Khan , Asfan Yar Khan] always remained “Hindu” in eyes of Army, Muslim League, Right wing press [Nawa-e-waqat use to publish article every week or so in Hindu practices of Khan family, yet another interesting news item which appears after every 15 days or so is that RAW has entered dozen or so beautiful women into Pakistan to woo sate secrets from lusty macho men of Pakistan]. Late GM Syed also remained “hindu” in eyes of these people, every time his photo was published; it was the same photo with “tilek” thanks to our media artists!!!] Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was also Hindu, Jasarat [the Jamate Islami’s news paper] and other mainstream papers published numerous articles on Hindu nature of Bhutto family, and it included a “Hindu name” for Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Such was the strength of this propaganda that when Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was hanged on orders of Lahore High Court, after his death his trouser was removed to see if Bhutto had a “un-cut” penis to prove his “hinduness”, it was photographed and filmed for state record [BBC] This whole project is being conducted to end war against Islamism. By bringing penises into politics what our establishment is doing amounts to “de-contextulization” of Islamist problem. Creating mania and hysteria against India and Hindus will save Taliban and Islamism. India is a Hindu majority secular nation state with a sizeable muslim minority, India can never support any radical muslim insurgency, its absolutely non sense.

Release of Hafiz Saeed must be looked in this context. In eyes of Pakistan’s security establishment, the liberal patriots and state institutions, the man is “Fateh-e-Mumbai”. The free judiciary has released the conqueror of Mumbai

Happy Jihadies

Happy Jihadies

despite the pleadings of Latif Khosa, Attorney General of Pakistan. Mr Khosa gave an in camera briefing to the honorable court. Mr Khossa told the court that government of Pakistan has evidence that LeT is allied to Al-Qaida. One must also note that the highest international law making body the United Nation Security council had considered evidence and banned LeT and its frontal organization but Pakistan’s free judiciary failed to see any evidence against Hafiz Saeed. This release comes a day after the monstrous suicide attack on Lahore. When Punjab is in midst of suicide attacks, the head of Punjabi Taliban is a free man. All thanks to our great civil society and champions of Jinnah’s Pakistan. With release of Hafiz Saeed one thing is now clear, that Pakistani state is now going to unleash a wave of terror in Southern Punjab and possibly Gilgat and Baltistan . In the last few days courts have bailed a number of sectarian monsters all over southern Punjab who were incarcerated for a long time. Warm up sectarian killing have already started in Gilgat and surrounding areas.

What was ironic that in Lahore, our self righteous lawyers humiliated Latif Khossa in Punjab bar meeting where Chief Justice of Pakistan was sitting watching all this political drama in front of him where , highest law officer of Pakistan, who is a Baloch and a Seriaiki was humiliated in Lahore by Punjabi lawyers for “betraying the struggle for free judiciary” , the same free judiciary which is releasing Molana Aziz and Hafiz Saeed and banning singers, while Baloch leaders are being murdered in cold blood and our courts fail to act. While Sharif brothers are acquitted of all charges in a decision which can be called scandalous to say the least. Even Justice Wajih-ud-din Ahmed had to criticize the decision and proceedings while talking to BBC With Balochistan in grip of a separatist movement and Taliban on the rampage on rest of the country what good courts and lawers are doing to nation by releasing these monsters and humiliating the political government which is desperately trying to control insurgencies?. When Senator Latif Khossa was being humiliated in front of honorable Chief Justice of Pakistan, didn’t he remember that it was the same Latif Khossa whose head was smashed by Punjab police while he was leading the protest procession Lahore for his restoration. Or do they want Multan, DG Khan and Muzaffergerh bars to raise slogans “Assan qaidi takhet Lahore de”. Don’t they know that Seraiki nationalists are already talking about joining “Azad Balochistan”?. Mr Chief Justice, look at these issues, you have not targeted a single important issue which threat this nation. Political decisions will doom this nation, people want action against Molana Aziz and Hafiz Saeed. Not against Asif Ali Zardari and Latif Khossa.

picasso23

Shaheryar Ali

Martyr Shabana

Martyr Shabana

Shabana’s bullet ridden body was found slumped on ground in the centre of Mingora’s green square, strewn with money, CD recording of her performances and photographs from her albums. Shabana was a traditional singer and dancing girl from Swat. She was brutally murdered for defying the ban imposed by Taliban. A Taliban leader later appeared on the FM Radio [which our most professional Army with one of the best technical skills, failed to block and claimed it was impossible to do so and which resulted in satirical responses from rival Indian Army as well as from distinguished physicist Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy] and claimed the responsibility for her murder and warned that the Taliban will not tolerate any “un Islamic vices”

This all started when, enlightened and progressive General Pervez Musharraf , who than enjoyed the support of Judiciary [Honourable Justice Iftikhar including], the “civil” society, liberal Imran Khan, gave the province of NWFP to Mullahs of MMA , who in return passed the 17 amendment and legalized Musharraf’s coup. The conscientious judges followed suit.  Molana Fazul-ur Rehman and Qazi Hussein Ahmad enjoyed the fruits of governance for years and later became voices of democracy along with conscientious judges, civil society and of course Imran Khan! The 5 year rule of MMA in NWFP [Pakhtoonkhawa] resulted in banning of music, destruction of arts including the commercial Arts. The thugs of Jamate Islami blackened the feminine figures on the billboards in Peshawar. The traditional bazaars where music instruments were made and sold and where the artists and artisans lived were targeted by police and moral bigots who forced most of these people to flee the province. When MMA left, the province was in the hands of Taliban and Shabana got murdered.

A lot was written in foreign press, Shabana couldn’t finds even a two column10 space in our “free media”, just like that poor Pushto singer who was murdered in Peshawar a few days back. The girl was not even named! Only one who lamented Shabana was “buri auart”, that communist and Indian agent Kishwar Naheed. A representative of second wave feminism, who is now expressing the 3rd wave sensitivities, Naheed was part of the pro-communist Afro-Asian writers association with Faiz Ahmad Faiz. A living witness to the progressive movement and the tradition of resistance literature and Art, Naheed’s response to the times of Jihad has been a collection of poetry which has been titled Wehshat aur barrod mein lipti hue shairi”. ‘Poetry wrapped in explosives and barbarism. The poetry is the expression of a true artist living in the age of Jihad and Crusade! The moral relativism demonstrated by most of newly emerged pro-imperialist liberals by their silence on crimes of United States imperialism in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia and Pashtunkhawa, is not to be seen in this work by a great progressive. Whilst the focus of the book remains the Islamist barbarism, one finds echoes of Guantanamo bay, Fallujah and Sarajevo as well. The book includes touching poems on lost comrades like Ahmad Fraz, Benazir Bhutto and Edward Said.

Buddha crying in Swat

Buddha crying in Swat

Hundreds of years old historic statues of Lord Buddha were also wrapped in explosives and were blown. This monstrous attack on Pashtun history and cultural identity also took place during General Pervez Musharff’s golden rule. September 2007, the giant Buddha in Swat dating from 2nd century BC, was attacked twice in 20 days. The Taliban worked in broad day light putting dynamite with help of drill machines. The BBC, Hindustand Times, Dawn and Daily Times reported and highlighted the issue, but nothing was done and Taliban, re attacked it after 20 days. There was hardly any news in Urdu press; no protests were seen in any city of Pakistan. The free media channels of Pakistan also showed a complete apathy. Now Taliban are blowing humans in Swat. The attack of Taliban on statues and silent collaboration of MMA government scarred the artists especially those who earned their living craving Buddha sculptures which were popular amongst tourists.

The Seriaki speaking Pashtun city, Dera Ismail Khan, also known as DI Khan, the fusion of seraiki and Pushto civilization gave the city a unique status. A cultural hub, it was once known as “Dera Phulla’n da Sehra” [Dera is garland of flowers!]. After destruction of Jhang , this city has seen the curse of Jihad! Hundreds of people have been murdered. For years now target killing of Shia population and progressive artists and intellectuals is going on. Silence is the criminal response of Pakistan. The facts are buried in media grand meta-narrative of “sectarian violence”. There is no sectarian violence in DI Khan, there is no rift or collusion between any two sects which are living together for hundreds of years. What’s going on is an Anti-Shia holocaust by Jihadis: Target killing of intellectuals, writers and artists.

Philosopher, poet and linguist, author of 22 books Jamshaid Nayab , was tortured and his bullet ridden body was thrown in front of his house in DI Khan. The Molana praised the act of killing Kaffirs like him in the Friday sermon. Mr Nayab was an intellectual par excellence, a refined poet who authored books of history of western philosophy, on languages and civilization. He belonged to progressive tradition of intellectuals. He was member of the Communist Party of Pakistan. The left wing intellectuals and political activists have been the main target of Jihadi/Taliban forces in Pakistan. More than 450 socialists/Marxist/nationalists political activists have been murdered in Swat and Pashtunkhawa Most activists of PPP and ANP who have been murdered in Pashtunkhawa were those who belonged to socialists/Marxist wings within these parties. It must be noted 98% of  attacks and murders of political activists by Taliban are on 3 parties PPP, ANP and CPP  [all left wing parties]Many of these activists were poets and artists as well or main organizers of art and cultural activities in their regions. Great Urdu poet Mohsin Naqvi also fell a victim to these Jihadi forces in the 90s. His crimes were multifold, being a poet [Koran explicitly condemns poets and poetry in Chapters of Poets], was Shia , was progressive and socialist and supported PPP. He also famously wrote a poem on Benazir Bhutto. The poem has acquired a mythical status “Ya Allah Ya Rasool—–Benazir Beqasoor”

Music is a inseparable part of Pakhtoon culture and tradition. Pakhtoons have never lived without music and dance! For the first time such a thing is happening. The shrine of greatest Pashtu poet and Sufi, Rehman Baba was blown up by the Taliban. Rehman Baba had played a central role in building Pashtun identity, language and tradition. A humanist his poetry teaches peace, love and tolerance. He was known as “Nightingale of Pashtunkawa”. Barbarism didn’t spare the most sacred place of the Pashtun Culture. Hundreds of music centers and shops have been destroyed. Years back , great revolutionary and Marxist academic Eqbal Ahmad vested Kandahar of Taliban. He saw a graveyard of Pashtun culture and tradition. The living Kandahar of coffee houses, story tellers and musicians was no where to be seen. He wrote his impressions in form an article which was titled “Land without Music”. Now Pakistan is becoming the Land without Music.

To be continued

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