May 31, 2009
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May 30, 2009
The inferno of “Rah-e-Haq” is burning humanity in Swat. Anyone who is not supporting the barbarity is being declared a “Taliban” by the pro-imperialism and pro establishment liberals. Many assumptions of these liberals are based on myths. One such myth is that Pakistan Army is fighting Taliban in Swat. Pakistan Army is just killing ordinary innocent people in Swat. Taliban were provided safe passages by Army through the clumsily conducted exodus. Some will be killed especially those who are no more loyal to Army. The Taliban have been sighted in the refugee camps of Mardan and Peshawar. Taliban phenomenon is rooted in “state” of Pakistan itself. Rubina Saigol is one of the few academics from Pakistan who has raised the fundamental question about Taliban. She has called it “Pakistan at war with itself”
Rubina Saigol , [The News, 28 Feb, 2009]
Religious fundamentalist movements of all shades and hues have gripped large parts of the world and have posed a threat to the prevalent political, economic and social systems. While “fundamentalism” is a term that is used in varying contexts to denote differing realities, its origins lie in 1920s America where it was used to refer to puritanical evangelist movements. The term is sometimes used to deny history by suggesting a return to some imagined early purity or “golden period” that supposedly existed in a bygone era. Fundamentalisms have manifested themselves in virtually all kinds of cultures and societies, Christian, Muslim, Hindu or Jewish. Like anything that is not much explored or understood, fundamentalisms have given rise to certain myths that tend to seduce public imagination. The purpose of this article is to try and dismantle eight of the most common myths about Muslim fundamentalism and extremism in our part of the world by juxtaposing such myths against observable facts.
Myth: Fundamentalism is the result of mental and moral backwardness, attitudes, religion and beliefs.
Fact: Fundamentalism is about geopolitics, involving power, money, and control over territory, people and resources. If we examine the actions and pronouncements of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan or the Swat Taliban – actions that include beheading, rape, murder, public display of dead bodies, public executions, suicide bombings killing scores of innocent people – it is not hard to discern that such actions have little to do with religion or a moral order. Through brutal means and barbaric methods, the Taliban have gained control over territory in Swat and Waziristan. They have forced the government to accept their power over people and resources through the Nizam-e-Adl agreement reached between the Tehreek-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Muhammdi’s Maulana Sufi Muhammad and the provincial government of the ANP. Apart from drug trafficking, the money is raised from donations received from Saudi Arabia and other countries and goes to pay Rs15,000-20,000 per month to about ten thousand militant followers of Maulana Fazlullah.
Myth: Fundamentalism in Pakistan can be traced back to the era of General Zia.
Fact: Fundamentalism can be traced much further back to Imam Hanbal, Al-Ashari, Imam Ghazali (he influenced writers like Ashraf Thanvi who wrote Bahishti Zewar), Abdul Wahhab and the Darul Uloom, Deoband.
Contrary to the common perception that General Zia’s Islamisation laid the foundation of extremist and fundamentalist strands of religion, the seeds were sown much earlier. Reactionary Islamic thought goes back centuries, to the time when rationalism first appeared in Muslim lands. The Asharite revolt against the Mu’tazila rationalist thought located in Greek philosophy, Imam Ghazali’s total repudiation of Reason as a source of truth apart from Revelation, and his denunciation of the great scientists, medicine men, mathematicians and thinkers like Al-Kindi, Al-Razi, Ibn-e-Rushd and Ibn-e-Sina who introduced enlightenment within the Muslim world between the 8th and 11th centuries, are reflections of early fundamentalist reactions. In the heyday of Baghdad, the genius of these thinkers was much admired and they were highly respected during the time of Khalifa Al-Mamun. However, later Muslim rulers like Al-Mutawakkil punished them severely for injecting innovative thought in the Muslim world. It was political power that chose to ally itself with the traditionalist and conservative ulema who crushed innovative and scientific thinking in favour of obscurantism.
The 18th century Arabian thinker Abdul Wahhab, who was also protected by and aligned with the House of Saud and political power, rejected all later accretions in Islamic thought and insisted on returning to purported versions of pure Islam during its early years. The bland Wahhabi version of religion that he propounded was exported to the subcontinent through Saudi Arabian funding of religious movements in Pakistan. The much more syncretic, tolerant and non-violent versions of Sufi Islam were rejected by a highly intolerant version which came though Saudi imperialism. In the context of the subcontinent, fundamentalist thought was furthered by Maulana Maudoodi, who used his influence in the passage of the Objectives Resolution in 1949 which laid the foundation of a potentially “theocratic” state. General Zia made the Objectives Resolution a substantive part of the Constitution in 1985 through the insertion of Article 2-A. General Zia thus merely accelerated a process begun by his predecessors.
Myth: Only religious parties and sectarian outfits support or forge fundamentalism.
Fact: Fundamentalism has been supported or encouraged as much by the so-called secular elite as by religious parties to maintain class power and privilege.
The common assumption that only parties like the JUI-F, JUI-S and Jamaat-e-Islami and sectarian and Jehadi outfits like Sipah-e-Sahaba-e-Pakistan or Harkat-ul-Mujahideen support fundamentalism in Pakistan overlooks the constant capitulation to religious extremism by seemingly secular and liberal parties. Most analysts like to quote Jinnah’s August 11, 1947, speech to argue that he envisioned a secular state, but in several of his other speeches he catered to the religious lobby’s sentiments to justify the two-nation concept. In 1940 he declared: “It is extremely difficult to appreciate why our Hindu friends fail to understand the real nature of Islam and Hinduism. They are not religious in the strict sense of the word, but are, in fact, different and distinct social orders, and it is a dream that the Hindus and Muslims can ever evolve a common nationality, and this misconception of one Indian nation has troubles and will lead India to destruction if we fail to revise our notions in time. The Hindus and Muslims belong to two different religious philosophies, social customs, literatures. They neither intermarry nor inter-dine together and, indeed, they belong to two different civilisations which are based mainly on conflicting ideas and conceptions.”
Even though Ayub Khan was considered modern and enlightened, a large number of his speeches cater to the religious lobby, in particular the ones that were designed to ensure “national integration” and emphasise Pakistani identity over ethnic and regional identities. In 1962 he declared: “Pakistan came into being on the basis of an ideology which does not believe in differences of colour, race or language. It is immaterial whether you are a Bengali or a Sindhi, a Baluchi or a Pathan or a Punjabi – we are all knit together by the bond of Islam.” The Council for Islamic Ideology was established during his rule to scrutinise laws for their conformity to religion. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, often associated with the Left and socialist thought, caved in to the demand to declare the Qadianis non-Muslims in 1974 through the Second Amendment, and later capitulated to the Nizam-e-Mustafa movement by taking certain symbolic measures towards Islamisation. The National Education Policy of 1972 declared that Islam is woven into the warp and woof of Pakistani society and would be reflected centrally in education. It was during Benazir Bhutto’s second tenure that the Taliban gained ascendancy in Afghanistan in 1996 and her government was the first to recognise their rule.
Again, it was the right-of-centre PML-N which, during Nawaz Sharif’s first tenure, instituted the death penalty (295c) for blasphemy, a law much abused by religious zealots against the Ahmadi and Christian communities. In his second tenure he introduced his infamous Shariat Bill (15th amendment) which would have effectively made him Amir-ul-Momineen, for it was designed to gain power by deciding virtue and vice and imposing it upon the country. Most recently, the ANP has entered into a desperate agreement with TNSM for Shariat in return for peace – an expensive peace which may or may not come about! Liberal, centrist and Left-oriented leaders and parties have contributed heavily to the rise of religious fanaticism in order to maintain their hold on power.
Myth: Fundamentalists want a genuine Shariah-based system of quick and affordable justice.
Fact: Fundamentalist and extremist outfits have little or no understanding of Shariah and have devised a highly convoluted version of Shariah that is rejected by a large number of serious religious scholars.
Recent interviews of a cross-section of religious scholars and thinkers in Punjab and the NWFP conducted by a team of researchers reveals the following: There is not a single serious scholar of Shariah and Islamic jurisprudence who believes that bombing and torching girls’ schools, digging out dead bodies and hanging them from trees, murdering with wild abandon and killing innocent people with suicide bombing are Islamic. Similarly, these scholars informed us that there is no known school of Islamic thought that forbids the education of women and disputes their right to work, or their freedom of movement to carry out their daily tasks. Rather, virtually every scholar or religious leader that we interviewed said education is the foremost duty of every Muslim, man or woman. There is no respected religious scholar who supports the beating of women for going out of their houses or starving children to death by disallowing women from earning a livelihood. Virtually, every scholar, belonging to various sects and schools of thought, strongly condemned the actions of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan of Baitullah Mehsood and Fazlullah’s actions in Swat as efforts to give religion a bad name.
Myth: Fundamentalism is the antithesis of imperialism and Jehadis/Taliban are fighting against imperial domination.
Fact: Fundamentalism and imperialism are deeply linked and invoke each other for their own aims; fundamentalism is itself a specific form of imperialism.
In his thoroughly researched book Jihad-e-Kashmir o Afghanistan, journalist Muhammad Amir Rana reveals the following: After the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, Jimmy Carter’s administration created a secret fund of $500 million to create terror outfits to fight the Soviets. Nicknamed “Operation Cyclone,” this fund was kept secret even from Congress and the American public. Subsequently, the Reagan administration and Saudi Arabia provided $3.5 billion to General Zia’s regime for the funding of madrassahs for the Afghan Jihad. Militants were trained in the Brooklyn School in New York and in Virginia by the CIA. In Pakistan they were trained by MI6 and the Inter-Services-Intelligence. Between 1979 and 1990 there was a mushroom growth of madrassahs – Jihad-related organisations grew by 100 percent and sectarian outfits multiplied at the rate of 90 percent. By 1986 the rate of increase of deeni madaris was 136 percent annually, whereas in previous times it had been a mere 3 percent. By 2002, 7,000 religious institutions were offering degrees in higher education. Currently, it is estimated that there are between 18,000 and 22,000 madrassahs operating in Pakistan, teaching over 1.5 million children. Pakistan is in fact located at the nexus of multiple and competing imperialisms representing the US (and the so-called West), Saudi Arabian Wahhabiism and Iranian forms.
Myth: Fundamentalism and related terrorism are problems of the Frontier regions/FATA/Swat.
Fact: The Largest recruitment for Afghan and Kashmir Jehad is from the Punjab followed by the NWFP, Sindh and Balochistan.
Amir Rana’s study reveals that Punjab contributes about 50 percent of the Jihadi workforce, followed by the NWFP, Sindh and Balochistan. Punjab has the largest number of deeni madaris (5459 according to a 2002 study). The NWFP, Sindh and Balochistan have 2,483, 1,935 and 769, respectively. Karachi alone accounts for about 2,000 madrassahs. Statistics collected by the ministry of education show that FATA has 135 while Islamabad alone has 77 deeni madaris. According to Rana, the great majority of militants from the Punjab were sent to fight in Kashmir by groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Muhammad, while most of the Pakhtoon and Balochi youth from the NWFP and Balochistan were sent to and killed in Afghanistan. Most belonged to the JUI-F and the TNSM (which has now entered into an agreement with the ANP government of the NWFP). A large number of organisations, such as Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, Harkat-ul-Jabbar wal Islami, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Al Badr and Lashkar-e-Islam have participated in the Kashmir and Afghan Jihad getting their poor foot soldiers killed while the leaders enjoy luxurious lifestyles that include Pajeros, expensive mobile phones, large houses and frequent air travel.
Myth: Only non-state actors are involved in religion-based terrorism and fundamentalism.
Fact: State policy, in line with imperial and vested interests, has fully encouraged and supported the growth and rise of fundamentalist and sectarian outfits.
The state is fully implicated in backing, supporting and fanning the growth of extremist outfits. Pakistan’s “strategic depth” theory effectively helped keep the Taliban in power in Afghanistan, even as they killed, murdered and butchered children for playing football, women for going to the bank or school, working or lifting the lower part of the burqa to cross a river. The reign of terror had Pakistan’s official support while the rest of the world remained incredulous. The policy of “bleeding India with a thousand cuts” through infiltration in Kashmir also had state sponsorship. One look at the curriculum and teachings by Jamaat-ud-Daawa, an offshoot of Lashkar-e-Taiba, reveals the main purpose of this organisation. Their alphabet revolves around killing, murdering and jihad and their hatred is focused on Hindus. The games children play are war games designed to inspire them to lay down their lives for “holy war.” Going into the Afghan jihad in return for dollars was also a state decision.
Myth: Fundamentalist outfits have the support of local populations.
Fact: People have invariably voted in secular and liberal parties in elections.
A frequent defence in favour of religious hegemony is that the people are essentially religious and want a religious order in Pakistan. An examination of all elections held since 1970 reveals that people invariably voted for secular and liberal parties, while religious parties were promoted only by dictators: the Jamaat-e-Islami by General Zia and the MMA by Musharraf! The major winners of elections in 1970, 1977, 1988, 1990, 1993, 1997, 2002 and 2008 were the Awami League, the PPP, the PML-N, the ANP and the MQM, along with smaller nationalist parties. The religious parties failed to capture people’s imagination in a significant way in any election.
The myths that one has tried to unpack above need detailed scrutiny. As a nation we need to contemplate our choices: can we afford religious extremism with its negative obsession with controlling women as well as its anti-democracy, anti-development stance and its propensity towards violence because of its love for martyrdom, death and the next world? Or, do we need a plural democracy that can ensure fundamental rights while also accommodating and balancing the concerns of the different provinces, ethnicities, religions and genders into a just system of production and distribution.
(The writer is an independent researcher specialising in social development. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
May 20, 2009
For last two years people of Pakistan have been listening to lectures on “rule of law”. “justice”. “human rights”, by PML-N. All of our great liberals and progressives kept dancing on Sharif’s beat. When honourable justice Iftikhar Chaudhry was restored, it was equated to a “new dawn” similar to that of 14th August 1947!
Opportunists like Aitzaz Ahsan and Tahirah Abdulla kept confusing the intellectual class by their theories and pushed them all in the basket of Right Wing.
Ahmedi Kids remain in jail, untouched by “Justice Revolution” so as 80% of Pakistani population which lives on less than 2 dollars a day! But Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif got justice, their lawer Abid Minto didnt even have to speak much, he was given a month leave of absence as well. Aitzaz Ahsan thank you very much! we got justice and Jinnah’s Pakistan. In front of these great achievements , bodies of martyred Balochs hold what meaning? What if they are still waiting for judicial intervention to get the FIR registered!!
One more evidence of Shahbaz Sharif’s good governance. Thankyou very much Aitzaz Ahsan and Tahirah Abdulla
20 May 2009
PAKISTAN: Love marriage greeted by the torture of a family; one girl is abducted by a Punjab MP
ISSUES: Torture; abduction; illegal detention; disappearance
The Asian Human Rights Commission has received information that six members of a family, including three women and one young girl, were arrested on the instructions of a member of the Punjab provincial assembly (and Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N) in retaliation for a love marriage. All have been tortured severely by police in custody, with one man unable to walk. A seventh member of the family, a sixteen-year-old girl, has not been seen or heard of since her arrest, when she was sent away in a car with the parliamentarian. The AHRC believes she is in danger of being raped. Two men and one woman remain in Adiala Jail, Rawalpindi.
CASE DETAILS: (As related by the victims and local NGOs)
Miss Kulsoom Baloch, 25, belongs to a wealthy industrial family in Islamabad, which owns cotton mills and has ties to parliament. Her cousin Mr. Iftekhar Ahmed Baloch is a member of the Punjab assembly (MPA) and is a parliamentary secretary. The AHRC has been informed that Khulsoom’s family were enraged by her decision to marry Mr. Fazal Abbas, 29, who is from a less wealthy family. The pair were married in Sarghodha–Abbas’ home city 400km away–in a civil court on March 22, 2009.
On April 25 a First Information Report (FIR: a document of complaint) was filed against Abbas at the Airport Police Station in Rawalpindi (Punjab province) by Kulsoom’s brother, Mr Mehmood Ur Rehman. It charged Abbas with the girl’s abduction and rape, and the theft of her jewelry and cash.
Early the next morning Baloch, the MPA, with Mehmood Ur Rehman and Kulsoom’s brother-in-law Mr. Nasir Khan Baloch, along with Mr. Basheer, an assistant sub inspector (ASI) and other police officers, raided the house where Kulsoom was staying. She was beaten severely by each member of the raiding party and asked for the address of her husband’s office. Neighbors intervened and Kulsoom managed to escape.
The same group of men then visited the house of her in-laws in Iqbal colony, Sargodha. They forcefully entered the home and badly beat the women and girls there, asking again for the address of Abbas’ office. After some time, officers and the MPA arrived at the house with Abbas, who was reportedly bruised and bleeding.
They then forced Abbas and his sisters, Mrs Riffat Rani (wife of Shafiq Dogar); Miss Nadia, 19, who is a national badminton champion; Miss Shazia Riaz, 16; and Miss Nazia, 12, into three private cars. Shazia Riaz was loaded into a car with Iftekhar Ahmed Baloch, and has not been seen or heard from since.
At Airport Police Station, Rawalpindi, 400 km away, our reports allege that the three women and Fazal were badly and systematically beaten by Station House Officer (SHO) Mr. Choudhry Safdar and Assistant Sub-Inspector, Mr. Basheer. Basheer reportedly told Nadia that if she were to become his ‘friend’–suggesting some kind of sex act–he would give her certain concessions. The women’s clothing was torn, their hair was pulled and they were thrown against walls. The officers continually asked them where their daughter-in-law Kulsoom was hiding.
Baloch, the MPA, visited the station twice during that period, telling the women that unless they could lead the police to Kulsoom, he would never release Shazia from his personal custody.
After three or four days the women were produced before Mr. Azmat Ullah, a civil judge in Rawalpindi for remand and were charged with aiding the abduction of Kulsoom when she married their brother. Remand was granted, and the judge ignored the girls’ claims that they had been severely tortured. Nadia also tried telling the judge that since she was the national badminton champion he should consider the pride of the nation; he reportedly laughed at her.
In the meantime, on April 28, officers at Brana Police Station, Jhang, Punjab arrested Mr. Shafiq Dogar, the husband of Fazal’s elder sister, and charged him with stealing. The case was filed the next day. This police station lies in the electoral constituency of Iftekhar Ahmed Baloch, the MPA. On May 3 Dogar was taken by ASI Basheer of Rawalpindi and two of Kulsoom’s brothers, Mehmood ur Rehaman and Saif ur Rehman to the Airport Police Station, where he was beaten so badly he lost the use of his legs. He believes that they are broken, but has been given no medical care. On May 12 Dogar was produced in a wheel chair before the same civil judge, Mr. Azmat Ullah, who showed the same indifference to his injuries. He was released on bail for charges of theft, but remanded further on a new charge of aiding Kulsoom’s abduction.
After Dogar’s arrest on the 28th his wife was released from custody. Nadia and Nazia were released on bail on May 6, but when their mother, Mrs. Nasrin Akhtar, 50, collected them at Adiala jail in Rawalpindi, she was arrested. She was taken to the Airport Police Station and beaten by the same SHO and ASI, and bears the torture marks on her back and hands. She is currently in Adiala jail on the orders of civil judge Azmat Ullah.
The family have filed a case regarding the illegal arrest and torture, however the continuous arrest of family members and threats from the Baloch family have sent them into hiding across Pakistan, and they are unable to pursue their case.
May 14, 2009
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 column 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.
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
May 8, 2009
Well done Aitzaz Ahsan , Tahirah Abdullah Civil Society and Jinnah worshiping secular clowns who marched with Jamate Islami and PML-N. Those who became hysteric on Governor Taseer’s take over. Crying for “good governance” of Shahbaz Sharif. One clown i encountered on blogosphere was declaring Shahbaz Sharif “greatest administrator” of Punjab since Maharaja Ranjeet Singh. Yet another wrote a “qaseeda” of Sharif trying to prove his secular-progressive credentials. Ironies of History, these elitists thugs who gave life to dying Pakistani right wing consider “One man populist-authoritarian” model of governance as “good governance”. They also consider “bureaucratization” and “centralization” key to “good governance”. In the age of de-centralization and de-regulation , distribution of responsibility and power this man restored the British Colonial model of administration and yet he is being hailed as model of
“good governance”. Irony is that most of these clowns hold degrees from United States and UK. More conscientious has been Ayiaz A Mir , the MP from Shaif’s party who has written consistently against Shahbaz Sharif’s mode of governance. The lawyer’s movement and Civil society’s delusions have resulted in return of Right. Southern Punjab has become hub of Islamic fascism thanks to Shahbaz Sharif’s “good governance”. Taliban have thrown leaflets in Multan. Shahbaz Shaif action was to “ban dance” in Lahore. Than he oversaw DVD burning in Lahore. When Lahore shook due to a series of blasts targeting a cultural festival , our secular-progressive and according to HH General Hameed Gul “socialist” CM ordered his chief secretary “to check the spread of Obscenity in name of culture”. Some days back our restored Punjab government darling of Civil society and secular bloggers sponsored the Jihadi “Khatam e Nabuat Conference”, targeting the minority Ahemdi community. The Shirif Loyalist “free judiciary” first released the Monster of Lal Masjid Molana Abdul Aziz
and than banned two folk singers on charges of obscenity. Now this report by Asian Human Rights Commission, tell every thing. Irony when lawyers movement supported these thugs in name of “rule of law”. I will say shame on opportunists like Aitzaz Ahsan and Tahira Abdulla
Where is Justice? Where is Justice Iftikhar and his “soumoto”? But our glorious Judge cant see Ahmedies or Balochs.
[Honourable Justice Iftikhar Chaudhary , reciever of Harvard Medal of Freedom has never took notice of any extra-judicial murder or torture of an Ahmedi or any murders [some of them conducted in police/state/judicial custody] of those accused of Blasphemy]
We hope and plead that Chief Justice of Pakistan will act to save lives of these kids. I hope that i am proven wrong on Judiciary and indeed its proven that it has become free! i hope
Qatal e Tifl’an ki manadi ho rahi he shaher mein
Mugh ku bhi maa’n manid e Moosa baha de Neher mein
[The children are being murdered on state decree o my mother throw me in Neil as Mosses mother did [to save his life]
PAKISTAN: Government of Punjab kept four teenagers and a man in illegal detention on Blasphemy charge
PAKISTAN: Government of Punjab kept four teenagers and a man in illegal detention on Blasphemy charge
ISSUES: Illegal detention; medical treatment; threats; false charges
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that four children were illegally arrested under the blasphemy laws on January 28, 2009. They are in dangerous health conditions in the jail and their parents are not allowed to visit them according to jail policy. One, Mohammad Irfan son of Mukhtar Ahmed, 15 years of age came down with typhoid fever due to the jail’s inhuman, unsanitary conditions. His health is in a precarious state with the jail authorities not allowing him to see a doctor. The detention of the four children has been proved illegal. The senior police officer has submitted a report to the government of Punjab province that the children are innocent and charges of blasphemy as arrested, accused persons are baseless. It is reported that the government of Punjab did not want to annoy Muslim fundamentalists, who are allies of the provincal government, as they will create problems for the government.
Four students from grades nine and ten of the Superior Academy and Mr. Mubashar Ahmed had been arrested on January 28, 2009. Charges were made that they wrote the name of the last prophet of Islam, peace be upon him, on the walls of a toilet in a mosque. (See further: AHRC-STM-022-2009) The students are Muhammad Irfan (14), son of Muhammad Mukhtar, Tahir Imran (16), son of Abdul Ghaffar, Tahir Mehmood (14), son of Muhammad Aslam and Naseer Ahmed (14), son of Nasrullah. All five are from the Ahmedi community, a minority sect of Islam. It was declared infidel for making amendments in the constitution. The five are victims of the Punjab provincial government working against the Ahmediah sect by holding a conference against the community. On April 11, 2009, the provincial government arranged a conference on the finalization of prophethood and a resolution was passed to purge all officials from the provincial government who are from the Ahmediah sect.
The whole process of the arrest of four students and one aged person was illegal because an investigation, mandated by law prior to the registration of a blasphemy case, was not held. According to an amendment made by parliament in 2004 in section 295-C of the constitution, police officials, not less than senior superintendent of police, are obligated to thoroughly investigate accusations of blasphemy before presenting criminal charges. But police, under the pressure from Muslim fundamentalists’ groups, have not followed the due process of law and arrested five persons. The provincial police, under threats of strike and agitation, made no investigation for almost one and half months just to please the fundamentalists’ groups. The Layyah district police also have not made any investigation, in spite of the fact, that the case was registered in the same district. This was again due to violent reaction from the Muslim
groups. The senior superintendent of police (SSP) of another district, the Rajan Pur, Mr. Pervez Rathore was assigned to conduct the investigation and prepare a report in which the police will submit a challan (case diary) in the court against the accused persons. The SSP, after thorough investigation, declared that the case of Blasphemy against the accused students and a man, was false. It had no base and the accused persons were to be released as no bad intentions were involved. The report was sent to the ministry of the interior, government of Punjab, at the end of March 2009 for the withdrawal of the cases against the five accused persons on blasphemy charges.
The report from the senior police officer is still waiting for action from the government of Punjab since January 28. In addition, another illegal process has surfaced because according to the law, police have to produce challan (case diary) immediately after the investigation is completed. The government has stopped producing students before the magistrate’s court and parents are still not allowed to visit their children in jail. One student, Mohammad Irfan, contracted typhoid fever and the others are suffering from several other diseases. On the instruction of the first class magistrate, Layyah, the provincial police have to submit the challan on April 28. However, it was again deferred to May 12. The local police say that they could not submit challan as they are waiting for instructions from the government of Punjab. The Layyah district police fears that if they release all the students then Muslim fundamentalist groups will resort to violence and kill the accused persons.
Victim’s pictures Credit: The Persecution of Ahmadiyyah Muslim Community Blog
May 6, 2009
President Zardari is visiting United States. As it is clear to any one with intact mind that Pakistan is falling apart. Pakistan Army is either reluctant or finds itself incapable of fighting Taliban insurgency in Swat. United States and various experts have raised the issue of security of Pakistani nuclear weapons. In response to it the delusional minority in Pakistan, the English speaking Liberals [who are considered Kaffir by Taliban and security risk by Army] who consider themselves the vanguard of Pakistan non-existent nationalism, have raised a storm of protest. These protest are similar to their protest against India during the Ajmal Kasab’s issue. How serious is “nuclear threat” from Pakistan? As we all know, when these English speaking “experts”, and “intellectuals” were busy denying any such threats, nuclear proliferation actually took place. Notorious nuclear proliferator AQ Khan sold nuclear material to North Korea, Iran and Libya.
Serious cracks are visible in Pakistan’s security establishment. Reports suggest widespread unrest within the Army with record number of deserters. Key figures of state have been accused of complicity with Taliban. Civil administrator of Sawt/Malakand had open ties with Taliban and was responsible for their takeover. Late General Hamza Alvi accused senior Generals of complicity with Taliban and payed the price. On whose side is ISI has become a question similar to that of existence of God. With this kind of “security” , Pakistan’s nuclear arsnel is a very serious threat to humanity.
The most advance public opinion in Pakistan according to these delusional liberals was one motivated around the “lawyers movement”. All liberals drummed up the “secular humanist” nature of Lawyers movement . Its leadership was in hands of ex Maoists and Stalinists like Aitzaz Ahsan. Who was in firm alliance with Islamic Fascist Jamate Islami [accused of Bengali Genocide] and PML-N [General Zia’s comrades in Arms]. During the glorious Lawyers Movement, the Bar Associations conducted country wide mock presidential elections in which Dr AQ Khan was their representative. When this is the state of affairs with the “most advance layer of public opinion”. The world must consider its options. If Pakistani liberals have no conscience and consider it act of patriotism to support the evil deeds of their state than its duty of the world to take action. Following is the article by Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy a rare voice of conscience and it was written year back or so things have gone from bad to worse and it should open the eyes of conscientious Pakistanis
“The safety procedures and their associated technologies are only as safe as the men who use them”
Pakistan’s Nuclear Threat
Pervez Hoodbhoy. International Herald Tribune
A cacophony of protests in Pakistan greeted a recent statement by the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohammad ElBaradei. “I fear that chaos, or an extremist regime, could take root in that country, which has 30 to 40 warheads,” he said. He also expressed fear that “nuclear weapons could fall into the hands of extremist groups in Pakistan or Afghanistan.”
But in Pakistan, few worry. The Strategic Plans Division, which is the Pakistani agency responsible for handling nuclear weapons, exudes confidence that it can safely protect the country’s “crown jewels.” The SPD is a key beneficiary of the recently disclosed secret $100 million grant by the Bush administration, the purpose of which is to make Pakistan’s nuclear weapons safer.
This money has been put to use. Indeed, ever since Sept. 11, 2001, there has been a regular traffic of Pakistani military officers to and from the United States for coaching in nuclear safety techniques. While multiple layers of secrecy make it hard to judge success, the improvement in the SPD’s public relations is palpable. PowerPoint presentations, guided tours of military headquarters and calculated expressions of openness have impressed foreign visitors.
Senator Joseph Lieberman, chairman of a Homeland Security and governmental affairs committee, left reassured. After a briefing by the SPD’s chief, Lieutenant General Khalid Kidwai, Lieberman declared in a press conference, “Yes, he did allay my fears,” and promised to carry that message back to Congress.
So, is ElBaradei needlessly alarmed? Of the two diametrically opposed opinions, which deserves greater credence?
The two men are looking at different things. Lieberman was impressed by how well Pakistani nuclear handlers have been tutored in the United States. ElBaradei, on the other hand, expressed a broader concern. He presumably reasoned that safety procedures and their associated technologies are only as safe as the men who use them.
This is the crux of the problem. Pakistan has become steadily more radicalized as the influence of Islamists increases in its culture and society. The deliberate nurturing of jihadism by the state has, over 30 years, produced extremism inside parts of the military and intelligence. Today, some parts are at war with other parts.
This chilling truth is now manifest. A score of suicide attacks in the last few weeks, some bearing a clear insider signature, have rocked an increasingly demoralized military and intelligence establishment. For example, an unmarked bus of the Inter Services Intelligence agency was collecting employees for work early in the morning in Rawalpindi when it was boarded by a suicide bomber who killed 25 when he blew himself up. The ISI had not recovered from this shock when, just weeks later, another bus was blown up as it entered the service’s closely guarded secret headquarters.
Elite commandos of the Special Services Group have fared no better. Here, the suicide bomber was an army man. Still more recently, a group of six Pakistani militants, reportedly brainwashed by clerics linked to Al Qaeda, was arrested in December for plotting suicide attacks against military targets. Their leader was revealed to be a former army major, Ahsan-ul-Haq, who had masterminded the Nov. 1 suicide attack on a Pakistan Air Force bus that killed 9 people and wounded 40 others in the city of Sargodha, where nuclear weapons are said to be stored.
Fearful of more attacks, military officers have begun the transition to a new, surprisingly modest lifestyle. They have given up wearing uniforms except on duty, move in civilian cars accompanied by guards in plain clothes, and no longer flout their rank in public.
As the rift within widens, many questions pose themselves. Can collusion between different field-level nuclear commanders – each responsible for different parts of the weapon – result in the hijacking of one complete weapon? Could jihadist outsiders develop links with sympathetic custodial insiders?
Many vexing questions concern the weapons laboratories and production units. Given the sloppy work culture, it is hard to imagine that accurate records have been maintained over a quarter century of fissile-material production. So, can one be certain that small, but significant, quantities of highly enriched uranium have not made their way out? More ominously, religious fervor in these places has grown enormously over the last 30 years.
Nevertheless, we Pakistanis live in a state of denial. Even as suicide bombings escalate, criticism of religious extremists remains taboo. The overwhelming majority still attributes recent terrorist events – such as the assassination of Benazir Bhutto – to the Musharraf government. But these delusions will eventually shatter. At some point we will surely see that ElBaradei’s warning
Pervez Hoodbhoy is chairman of the department of physics at Quaid-e-Azam University in Islamabad and the author of “Islam and Science: Religious Orthodoxy and the Battle for Rationality.”
May 5, 2009
Some times back, 31 May 2008 i wrote in my article , Nepal’s Fictitious Revolution: Goodbye King , Welcome Microsoft, few lines which i recalled when i saw great Maoist leader comrade Prachanda resigning from the office of Nepal’s prime minister.
Here is the man who controlled 70% of Nepal through his revolutionary armed resistance. The Nepali state had no control on 70% of the territory,the liberated region had Maoist administration, its taxation, its system. Here is the man on whose call people rose in the Capital and surrounded the Palace. During the movement one color was to be seen in Kathmandu and it was Red. The two communist parties of Kathmandu and Maoists controlled every thing. On there one call, people who were surrounding the palace could have stormed it. No, but No. With great pomp and rhetoric , king was sent home and communists saved the system. They returned the 70% of conquered territory back to the bourgeoisie. They returned their arms. Like good loyal Liberals they became part of system, the capitalist system that is.
This was called the great revolution. I unlike most communists have a problem that i have read Lenin’s State and Revolution. He wrote:
“Marx’s idea is that the working class must break up, smash the ‘ready-made state machinery,’ and not confine itself merely to laying hold of it.”
When Pakistani communists were celebrating the “revolution” in Lahore i had no hesitation in writing and declaring it a “fictitious” revolution. I knew one thing, one simple thing. There is no revolution without capture of power. The only problem for humanity is the reformist degeneration of communist leadership. The degeneration of communist parties into capitalist liberal democratic parties. They have the power, like they had in Nepal but they put it on plate and return it to the bosses with thanks. What do the bosses do, when the time comes, they strike
back without any gratitude. Like they did to comrade Prachanda, without any gratitude, that this man who could have snuffed out capitalism from Nepal and could have galvanized India and ushered in a new revolutionary epoch, but he choose to give up his land, his arms to the bourgoiese . They , kicked him out.
What did i say?;
“I dunno why i recall that famous speech by Michael Moore , delivered at the Oscars, ” we like non fiction because We live in fictitious times , we live in a time where fictitious elections give us a fictitious president—”
The tragedy continues, we are now having what i call “Fictitious Revolutions”, one has just occurred in Nepal, where a heroic struggle by people resulted in Communist victory but which resulted in a “revolution” where “workers” are not in control and capitalism still rules. Good bye to the King and welcome Microsoft is the Maoist agenda
Yet another of fictitious revolutions is being cooked up in Pakistan, with “Go Musharaf Go” and “Welcome Capitalism Welcome” is the policy of Pakistani lawyers and civil society”
Now Prachanda has gone. Our king Mush has gone too, and our revolution has occurred too, Justice Iftikhar is back. But change can be seen no where. Tragedy of fictitious revolutions and fictitious revolutionaries continue
Now Prachanda and the communist should wait for a genocide and civil war or become loyalist liberals in that case push people to disillusionment and face the destruction of whole communist movement of Nepal. Decades back Leon Trotsky wrote:
“In the last analysis, the crisis of humanity was reduced to a crisis of leadership of the proletariat”
In the same article Rajesh Tayagi wrote:
As a system of governance, the monarchy had already lost all its steam since the great people’s uprising of April 2006, while the forces of medieval reaction ‑ hitherto protected under the wings of the monarchy in Nepal ‑ were already adapting with Nepali bourgeois rule. Because of this, the abolition of the monarchy in Nepal as a state system, and the consequent emergence of a republic, has but a limited significance. This is in sharp contrast to the bourgeois overturns in 19th century Europe, where the emergence of bourgeois republics, represented a turn in world history. In 21st century Nepal, such a republic (although a step forward in bourgeois democratic terms) is of no real meaning and of no practical use for the people of Nepal, unless and until it puts power directly in the hands of the working class and through it the peasantry. Power would be meaningless until it is directed against the bourgeois”
Mr Tayagi wrote and these line now appear to be Prophetic :
“The present turn in the politics of Nepal, presents only a caricature of the February revolution in Russia in 1917, with no October overturn in the offing, in the absence of a Bolshevik opposition. We will soon witness the same surrender of power by its Menshevik leadership, before the local reaction and imperialist bourgeoisie. We will find this leadership zealously defending the bourgeois state, law and property against the people. Unable to advance the revolution even an inch further, with every passing day, the Maoists would find themselves more and more trapped inside their false web of bourgeois democracy. Either the Maoists abandon the working people becoming open apologists of bourgeois democracy or the working people becoming more and more disillusioned, will eventually be forced to look for an alternative to the Maoists”
The tragedy continues. If anyone is interested in studying the history of crisis of leadership of Proletariat , here are three articles “Marxism and State” which deal with this question in detail.
Great Urdu write Quratulain Hyder once wrote about Faiz’s poem “ye daagh daagh Ujala” [this night bitten dawn], that it has become an anthem for her generation, i wonder that betrayal and degeneration of revolutionary leadership will make it the anthem for how many more generations to come— we are prisoners of the dawn in Nepal and Pakistan.