Lahore


LAHORE, Pakistan — All through the years of the Soviet empire, its Politburo held “elections.” Of course, calling something an election and actually having it be an election are different things.I am under house arrest in Lahore, barricaded in by Pakistani police with bayonets. Despite Gen. Pervez Musharraf‘s announcement of a date for parliamentary elections, I doubt that we are in for a change.

   

I cautioned the general earlier this year that his election as president by the present parliament was illegal. He insisted otherwise.

We agreed to disagree and decided that we both would accept a ruling by the Supreme Court regarding eligibility.

Yet when the court was on the brink of deciding, Musharraf imposed martial law by suspending the constitution, and he removed several of the Supreme Court justices. Today the nation is paying for his mistake.

We are witnessing a farce in Pakistan: While an election schedule has been announced, the problem lies in what has not been announced. No indication has been given as to whether Musharraf will keep his previous commitment to retire as army chief on Thursday.

No date has been given for the lifting of emergency rule; the reconstitution of the election commission; the implementation of fair election practices; the removal of biased officials; or the suspension of the mayors, who control the guns and the funds — that is, police and government resources — to adversely influence elections.

Moreover, judges, lawyers, human rights activists and students across the country are in prison or under house arrest. The independent media have been shut down, television stations stopped from broadcasting news. Several foreign journalists have been expelled. Thousands of political activists, a majority from my Pakistan People’s Party, have been arrested.

Police have erected barricades and deployed armored personnel carriers and trucks filled with sand to cut off access to my house and to prevent people from going from one city to another.

Musharraf knows how to crack down against pro-democracy forces. He is, however, unwilling or unable to track down and arrest Osama bin Laden or contain the extremists. This is the reality of Pakistan in November 2007.

The only terror that Musharraf’s regime seems able to confront is the terror of his own illegitimacy. This is the second time Musharraf has imposed martial law and the second time he has sacked judges since taking over the country in a coup in 1999. It was then that he first promised “to bring true democracy.”

The election commission has promulgated election rolls judged illegitimate by Pakistan’s Supreme Court and the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs. Some polling sites have been kept secret. Musharraf’s political opposition is banned from campaigning or organizing and has been denied access to state-controlled media. We cannot meet, we cannot rally, and when we try to bring the people to the streets they are gassed, beaten and shot at with rubber bullets. This is not only a military dictatorship, it is a classic police state.

On top of a litany of assaults on the rule of law, the general has unilaterally amended the Army Act of 1952 to grant the army the power to try civilians in military courts. Courts-martial will operate by military rules in secret, and defendants are not allowed legal representation.

No attempt has been made to differentiate between average citizens and terrorism suspects associated with militant groups. Many believe that these laws were passed to intimidate pro-democracy forces, not to try terrorism suspects. This is the “democracy” that Musharraf envisages.

While living in America when I attended Harvard in the early 1970s, I saw for myself the awesome, almost miraculous, power of a people to change policy through democratic means. Today I am seeing the power of the people coalescing once again. Journalists, judges, and political and civil activists have joined together against Musharraf’s second declaration of martial law. They see him as the obstacle to the democratization of Pakistan.

This is why I have called upon Gen. Musharraf to resign as president and chief of army staff, and to pave the way for the composition of an interim government of national consensus that will oversee the transfer of power to duly elected representatives of the people.

The people of the Soviet Union knew that “elections” for the Politburo were fraudulent. The people of Pakistan know that elections under martial law are a similar sham.

By Benazir Bhutto

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Observing Pakistan is a tiring job , tiring, exhausting and frustrating, because its really is a postmodern experience, with all the flare , confusion, psychedelic hallucinations. Again and again i am recalling the words of French theorist Gilles Deleuze ,who commented in “Two Regimes of Madness”:

The current political situation is very muddled. People tend to confuse the quest for freedom with the embrace of capitalism. It seems doubtful that the joys of capitalism are enough to liberate a people. The bloody failure of socialism is on everybody’s lips, but no one sees capitalist globalization as a failure, in spite of the bloody inequalities that condition the market, and the populations who are excluded from it. The American Revolution failed long before the Soviet Revolution. Revolutionary situations and experiments are engendered by capitalism itself and show no signs of disappearing, unfortunately. Philosophy remains tied to a revolutionary becoming that has nothing to do with the history of revolutions.”

With the single stroke of pen , United States great friend and last Knight crusader of the “Free World”, General Musharaff took away the rights which were won by humanity on streets of France, The Right to Vote, The Right of Association, The Right to make Union, The Right of Free Movement, The Right to be Judged equally before law. The rights that had to be enshrined in Universal Declaration of Human Rights charted by Stalin-Roosevelt’s “Lets oppress the world together Club” , The United Nations. The very rights that form the bases of “claim” of “Free world” to be Free and spread these freedoms. Thanks to United States people of Pakistan are now “People without Human Rights”, the “Dhimmis” of George. W. Bush.

In the War against Terrorism , War against Islamic Fascism , the most organized secular institution of Pakistan , the Bar is subject of state terror! Thousands have been tortured , arrested without right of bail. While hardcore secular humanists like Aitzaz Ahsan , Asma Jahangir , I.R Rehman remain under arrest the Talibanist executioner Mullah Fazal Ullah roams free in Sawat preparing for a “peace negotiations” with Secular Musharaff.

The women being tortured on streets of Lahore are not wearing hijab or carrying suicide bombs. Their every right, every freedom has been snatched in the name of a war that wants to spread freedom! In the academic debate of spreading democracy by imperialism , Pakistan is emergence of a “Democracy Paradox” . All democratic freedoms perish in Pakistan on the orders of the most favorite man of western democracies. A paradox that is getting bloodier by every second!

Hello “world!”. A very simple line it appears to be but it haunts me. What is the world? World was understood either as “A totality of Objects” or “A totality of Facts”. There was a world, where we use to have a “Pak Tea House”, which enjoyed a corporeal being. A solid real object that was alive , living and healthy. Objects float in Time and time is condensed in epochs which determine the spirit of objects. The epoch we entered had a peculiar spirit. It enchants and bewitches . The objects are reduced to their use value , loosing their corporeal being and solidity to a mere exchange value , becoming ghosts. When a Cafe can’t make profit , it has to close down. It becomes a ghost. No matter, if its the only witness to a nation’s feeble attempt to develop ideas. No matter if it had been graced by the titans of modernity. No matter if it helped develop language and thus thought. Thought has no “exchange value” and hence is not required by the Market, at least not in Pakistan where radical academy has not yet become a business !

That brings me down to facts! Facts deal with “Reality”. In “Twilight of the Idols”, Nietzsche traces humanity’s quest to reach the “Real”from time of Plato, marked by the dualism of “The Real” and “the apparent” . In our quest for the real he , laments , we have done away with even the “Apparent”. What we have now in “Modern Times”, is neither Real, nor Apparent, but some thing in between. Yea, the “ghosts” that i talked about earlier. In postmodern times they call it “The Virtual” . Which Nietzsche propheciesed as ” the last breath of vaporizing reality”. Nietzche could lament. we are condemned to celebrate it because ours is epoch of ghosts. Enter the “De-realization” of Pak Tea House.

Hello World, whatever that is!!

Na Janoon Raha , Na Parri Rahi

Ju Rahi , so be khabri rahi————